In the last post we discussed some of the different aspects of the Law of Israel. We noted that it was primarily a national constitution for the nation of Israel that acted as a relational contract (i.e. covenant) between God and Israel. It also provided them with a culture, religion, legal system and moral code to call their own. In this post we want to touch on other reasons gave the Torah (i.e. Law of Moses).
Stemming the Tide
Besides being a national covenant (i.e. constitution) it was also given to Israel to curb the corruption of sin. God desired to bring Christ the Savior into the world at the right time, but first he had to set the stage. Israel was chosen to be the nation that would bring this salvation into the world (John 4:22). This was the second part of God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. But God’s stage could not be set without some semblance of righteousness. So before the Word of God became flesh in order to renew the nature of men through His resurrection and the second birth, God would have to give them something to hold back the tide of sin. For this reason, God gave them commands written on stone along with strict punishments for breaking it.
This law code could not change the hearts of the Israelites, but it could restrain the corrupting influence of sin. In many cases the breaking of the social laws would result in the death penalty. Those that committed adultery or murder were to be put to death by the testimony of two or three witnesses. The murderer or adulterer was given no chance to “reform” himself because he had already been corrupted by the influence of rebellion and this leaven was not to be given a chance to infect the rest of God’s people. The punishment of the offender did not only stop him from influencing others, the example that was made of him would have the added benefit of discouraging those who were being tempted to commit similar crimes.Continue reading “A Nation Set Apart (OT Interpretation #3)”