A Regulator of Church Purity: The Ceremonial Law
Section #1: Introduction
Section #2: Old Testament Righteousness & Regeneration – ceremonially speaking
Section #3: Separation from Once-Born Imposters
Old Testament Righteousness & Regeneration – ceremonially speaking
Tracing the Mosaic Law
Do you remember when I had formerly made the point that, “The second birth is the second circumcision, it is the spiritual seed which claims the spiritual inheritance in Abraham, and to be ignorant of this is to be ignorant of salvation altogether”? The Mosaic Law, with all its Ceremonial Law, is in concert with the Law of Circumcision established in the Covenant that God made with Abraham. Take, for example, the Law of sacrifices. It was not the physical sacrifices that saved men, was it? For then, physical circumcision would also have had the power to save men, wouldn’t it? We need to come to understand the spirituality of the Law of Sacrifices.
For example, if a man had no spiritual reality with God and, consequentially, he brought a sacrifice for atonement without any true repentance from sin, the sacrifice was unacceptable to God (keep in mind that repentance is a spiritual gift given by God, granted as a fruit of saving faith). A man cannot repent unless, inwardly, the Spirit of God was working, therefore God disqualified all carnal, outward, physical sacrifices which were without this spiritual work within the heart. The requisite for all physical sacrifices implies the necessity for spiritual sacrifices. The animal for the man is acceptable only if the man relinquishes the sins he has committed and renders himself as a spiritual sacrifice to God once again. Therefore the Law strictly forbade the sacrifice of the unrepentant (the wicked), saying,
“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.” – Proverbs 15:8
“The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?” – Proverbs 21:27
My reader, when men would keep the Law physically, and not spiritually, then God would say, “TO WHAT PURPOSE is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me” (Isa. 1:11)? This strong denouncement illustrates the wrath of God against such a misunderstanding, an understanding that misinterprets the Law to be as carnal hurtles, you might say; something that a man can comply with and accomplish in the outward form, and that’s all. Consider the whole passage of God’s angry denouncement, saying,
“TO WHAT PURPOSE is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before Me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread My Courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto Me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of Assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the Solemn Meeting. Your new moons and your appointed Feasts My soul hateth: they are a trouble unto Me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide Mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.” – Isa. 1:11-15
Why were the physical sacrifices such an abomination to God? It was because there were no spiritual sacrifices being made by the people! Without a second circumcision, there was no salvation; even so, here, in the Law of Sacrifices: without a second sacrifice there was no salvation. What is the second sacrifice? David explains it exactly in Psalm 51:16-19, saying,
“For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.” (Psalms 51:16-19)
“…if thou be a breaker of the Law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision” – Rom. 2:25
If thou be a breaker of the Law, thy sacrifices are made to be no sacrifices.
“…if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the Law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?” – Rom. 2:26
If those who do not make physical sacrifices do keep the righteousness of the Law, shall not his no sacrifices be counted as sacrifices?
If a wicked man gets circumcised, my reader, the man must be circumcised again! If a wicked man makes a sacrifice, the man must make a sacrifice again!
It is a second circumcision and sacrifice, spiritual in nature, which does save a man, and all physical institutions do show figures of these spiritual realities!
Interpreting the Law in its righteous and true sense, David refrained from bringing physical sacrifices… but why? In the present circumstances in which Psalm 51 was written, David confessed of God, “Thou desirest not” and “Thou delightest not” (Ps. 51:16). David knew the grounds for acceptable and unacceptable sacrifices, according to the aforementioned passages of scripture. Therefore, before David ever dared to bring physical sacrifices to God, lo, he brought before God the spiritual sacrifices of heartfelt repentance with a “broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart”, for he knew that, without this, God would have despised the physical sacrifice. This heartfelt repentance, otherwise known as full surrender – offering your body as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2) – was a spiritual sacrifice which was acceptable to God, and saving, without which, all physical, outward, carnal fulfillments of the Law become vain and unacceptable! Speaking of uttering before God repentant words and prayers, Hosea said, “so will we render the calves of our lips” (Hos. 14:2), for verily, to God, these were the spiritual sacrifices of “calves” which do save a soul in truth! Therefore, God said to apostate Israel, unless they “put away the evil of
[their] doings”, “cease to do evil”, “learn to do well”, “seek judgment”, “relieve the oppressed”, “judge the fatherless”, and “plead for the widow” (Isa. 1:16-17), then the Lord would hate, reject, and be troubled by any physical sacrifices offered by the people. Whether in the OT or NT, salvation consisted of a spiritually real walk with God via repentance and faith… and nothing less. Furthermore, in the following verses, could the prophet Micah make it any clearer for us? Surely the interpretation of the Law of Sacrifices argued thus far was indeed the understanding of all Israelites who were “children of promise” and “born after the Spirit” in the Old Testament (Gal. 4:28-29), even as Micah did boldly declare,
“Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:6-8)
The Spirituality of the Law is so evident, so plain, the prophet Micah said, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good” (Micah 6:8). I say again, the spirituality of what God was requiring of the people was so clearly explained and well-told, Micah justifiably said, “He hath shewed thee, O man”, therefore it was unjustifiable for the people of Israel to think that God was pleased with the purely physical and carnal observance of the Law of Sacrifices, no matter how profound the offering. Having left off walking with God and, thus, being deceived by false prophets, the people were fast-bound with damnable heresies. A walk with God consisted of a present-continuous repentance of all known sin, or, in other words, a present-continuous self-offering to God – the individuals themselves becoming living sacrifices to God (Rom. 12:1-2). God required an inward salvation not an outward keeping, according to the Spirituality of the Law made evident to all once upon a time. Therefore without an inward salvation, evidenced by keeping the righteousness of the Law (Rom. 2:26), all outward observances of the Law existed before God as Law-breaking instead of Law-keeping. On this wise, physical circumcision was as uncircumcision to God… remember? Even so, without a spiritual salvation evidenced by keeping the righteousness of the Law (Rom. 2:26), the physical sacrifices become no sacrifice at all in the sight of God.
Take, for another example, the Law of Washings. Wicked Israelites can wash themselves with waters, and they can sprinkle themselves with lawful sprinklings, but if they have not been washed again, spiritually speaking, then the physical washing was vain. After all physical washings were done with ceremonial exactitude, carnally speaking, God would still say, “wash you, make you clean” (Isa. 1:16). It not was about the physical washings otherwise Israel would have been washed well enough by that time. Salvation was not within the physical ceremonies of the Law, no! “The Law is Spiritual” (Rom. 7:14). The physical washings had power to save, no! Only spiritual washing could reach to the heart, to the inner man, “by the washing of regeneration and [the] renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5)! And speaking on this wise, God said, “O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee” (Jeremiah 4:14)? My reader, this is no private interpretation.
Clean & Unclean
Take, for another example, the Law of Cleanness. One can make himself physically and lawfully clean according to the outward man, but God would say to him, “make you clean” again (Isa. 1:16)! How? Surely the outward observance of Ceremonial Cleansings was rendered null and void under the same circumstances as the former Laws! Furthermore, let us take note of this very carefully. Let us put all popularized misinterpretations aside. The truth is, “uncleanness” was not isolated and exclusive to ceremonial transgressions (deviating from the carnal specifications of the rituals performed or rituals neglected). Nor is “uncleanness” just an Old Testament issue, my reader. Without controversy, the identity of the Israelite people was “holy”, “clean”, and “pure”, but when and if any Israelite transgressed the Moral or Ceremonial Law, he or she did officially become: “unclean”. If this be the case, how scarcely can “cleanness” be obtained or maintained? For who can say, “I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me” (Job 33:9)?
Demonstrating that men were born unclean, Eliphaz said, “what is man, that he should be clean? And he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous” (Job 15:14)? Understanding Original Sin, David confirmed, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps. 51:5). When mankind is in need of forgiveness, like David, they were helpless to cleanse themselves from sin via an outward ritual of sprinkling and washing. At such a time, like David, they must cry out to God for a spiritual cleansing which was performed by God through the Spirit. In desperation, he cried out,
“Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin…Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part Thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” - Ps. 51:2, 6-7
David knew that he could not wash himself, cleanse himself, or make himself clean by mere outward ordinances in keeping the letter of the Law, but he cried out to God that the Lord would wash him within, spiritually speaking, “by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5), so to speak. David knew that his heart was unclean, and that God was going to condemn him if he didn’t have truth in the “inward parts”, not merely the outward parts (Ps. 51:6). The eyes of God pierced into the inner man of David, saying, “the LORD seeth not as man seeth” (1 Sam. 16:7)! Aye, but do we see Old Testament Law as mere man interprets it to be? Under the painful conviction of The Spirituality of the Law, David remembered, “the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). Crying out for this specific need, he said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me” (Ps. 51:10-11)! Cleanness must first be spiritual, “by nature”, “inwardly”, “of the heart”, and “in the Spirit” (Rom. 2:25-29)! Indeed, “who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin” (Prov. 20:9)? NO ONE! But if God cleanses a man - it is done! David was of a clean heart at the beginning, when God first found him (“the LORD hath sought him a man after His own heart”-1Sam.13:14), but after he fell from grace (1 Kings 15:5) he pursued after this vertically accomplished and supernatural cleansing of the heart once again (Ps. 51) because he knew the requirements of the Law. It was written in the Law which David read, meditated upon (Deut. 17:18-20), and sang about, saying in summary,
“A Psalm of David. LORD, who shall abide in Thy Tabernacle? who shall dwell in Thy Holy Hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.”
“Who shall ascend into the Hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in His Holy Place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” – Psalm 24:3-5
The requirements of the Law were written, repeated, and sung; thus those to whom it could be lawfully said that they were, “of a clean heart” (Ps. 73:1), God welcomed! But, fearfully… all others were rejected.
Lifting Up of Hands
Truly, a man may lift up his hands and spread them forth in prayer to God (according to a ritualistic, shallow, and outward interpretation of the letter of the Law), but God would say, and did say, “…when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide Mine eyes from you” (Isa. 1:15). In other words, the men must lift up their hands again, spiritually speaking, because the salvific work must reach to the heart. This means, in other words, “Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens” (Lamentations 3:41)!
Rending Garments & Fasting
Even so, also, a man with an untorn heart may rend his garments once upon a time, but will this get the attention of God? God would testify to the hard-hearted man with words like those communicated through the prophet Hosea, which were, “break up your fallow ground” (Hos. 10:12), and by this the LORD would mean to say, no doubt, “rend your heart, and NOT your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil” (Joel 2:13). A resemblance of lawful penitence and humiliation performed outwardly means absolutely nothing to God, according to The Spirituality of the Law, because the outward rituals and carnal ceremonies of the Law were always meant to resemble and portray spiritual realities wrought within the heart of man through the Spirit of God; salvation was thereby proclaimed through a diversity of shadows! Upon rending the garments a man would usually fast in further humiliation, but, once again, if this act of outward humiliation was not an inward turning of the heart to God, spiritually speaking, then God would say to the man that he must fast again! The Lord would solemnly denounce the legitimacy of the first fast, saying, “did ye at all fast unto Me, even to Me” (Zech. 7:5)? What a fearful question. If a man fasted outwardly without the Spirit of God, the people would quickly find out that God rejected it because the words of the prophets would drop upon them. Then they would say, “Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and Thou seest not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and Thou takest no knowledge” (Isa. 58:3)? They must fast again!
Men under the delusion of “outward Law-keeping” may, furthermore, begin to cry aloud to God in prayer… but will God hear such cries? Fearfully, God would say, “they have not cried unto Me with their heart” (Hos. 7:14). What if the delusional men cried with the utmost intensity they could muster… is it unto God? The prayers of lawless Israelites were no better than those of Baal worshippers crying to a non-existent god (1 Kings 18:26-28). What a terrifying thing! The LORD did most solemnly declare, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer shall be abomination” (Prov. 28:9). All the men of God in the Old Testament knew this truth, that “if [they] regard iniquity in [their] heart, the Lord will not hear [them]” (Ps. 66:18). Oh, how woeful was this condition! Make no mistake about it, my reader! God can, and did, just what He warned he would do! Jeremiah lamented on behalf of the wasted and scattered Israelites who were taken away in the Babylonian Captivity, saying, “Also when I cry and shout, He shutteth out my prayer…Thou hast covered Thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through” (Lam 3:8, 44)! In such a case, my reader, the men must pray again! David gave the answer why, when he said, “I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. FOR THIS shall every one that is godly pray to Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found” (Ps. 32:5-6). You see, my reader? As David sang, so it was.
The Second Birth
With the aforementioned examples of the Law in mind, Circumcision included, what is the conclusion of the whole matter? If a man has one pair of eyes and one pair of ears, and he tarried all day long before Nehemiah, before Ezra, before the teaching Priest and the Levite, was it of any good at all if it was merely outward attendance? God would say, you need to hear again, you need to see again! This means, in other words, you need a second pair of eyes and a second pair of ears! A man can “have eyes, and see not”, and “have ears, and hear not”, as Jeremiah said (Jer. 5:21). The Lord has to give men spiritual eyes, ears, and hearts, as it was written: “Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day” (Deuteronomy 29:4; See also Isaiah 6:9-10, Ezekiel 12:2, Matthew 13:13-17, Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22, 13:9). Whether addressing commandments or denouncements, problems or solutions, the Law was far-reaching in its application. The Law demanded the attention of humanity with deep and meaningful spirituality, likeable to King David’s intimacy with God, a far different picture than the shallow and outward religiosity assumed by the dominant “Christian” interpretation of the Law in this our day. The edicts of the Law reached further than what eye can see, what ear can hear, or anything mere man can do left to himself. Do you understand the Spiritual Biology? Salvation in terms of eyes, ears, hearts, and hands? Salvation in terms of circumcision, sacrifice, washing, and cleansing?
There is a spiritual biology behind salvation, my reader! There is a Spirituality to the Law! “The Law is Spiritual” (Rom. 7:14)! Therefore outward observances of the Law by carnal and once-born men will not and cannot profit! Therefore, gloriously, there was a spiritual circumcision (a second circumcision), spiritual sacrifices (a second sacrifice), spiritual washings (a second washing), spiritual cleanness (a second cleansing) – just like there was a spiritual Manna (a second Manna), a spiritual Water (a second Water), a spiritual Rock (a second Rock) in the Wilderness (1 Cor. 10:1-4) – even so, necessarily, there was a spiritual eyesight (a second pair of eyes), a spiritual hearing (a second pair of ears), a spiritual heart-transplant (a second heart) used by redeemed mankind and reckoned in the Law as saving grace! Even so, is it of any wonder then that a man must be spiritually born (a second birth) into the family of Abraham, made into the spiritual seed of Abraham, a spiritual heir (inheriting a spiritual inheritance), following after spiritual deeds of righteousness which were after the spiritual image of the new Abraham who was, necessarily, conformed to the image of the God? In other words, is it of any wonder that “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Rom. 9:6-7)? Is it of any wonder that, by the spiritual salvation of God manifest in the spiritual realities of the Law via the figures of Gospel-shadows, God separated the saved from the unsaved, the righteous from the unrighteous, the spiritual from the carnal, the second-born from the once-born, and so, Abraham from Terah, Isaac from Ishmael, Jacob from Esau, righteous Israelites from unrighteous Israelites (under the Mosaic Law), and finally, foremost of all, Jesus Christ from the once-born and apostate Jews of the 1st century?
All throughout the centuries, behold, there existed a spiritual seed and family in the midst of the literal, physical seed of Abraham, and they held sole rights to the spiritual inheritance of Heaven. To denounce this… to be in oblivion to the second family of Abraham (the spiritual family), the second seed of Abraham (the spiritual seed), and the second inheritance of Abraham (the spiritual inheritance) is to denounce and be ignorant of the second circumcision of Abraham (the spiritual circumcision). To denounce and be ignorant of the second family of Israel (the spiritual family) in distinction from the first family of Israel (the physical family) is to denounce and be ignorant of the second sacrifice, washing, cleansing, and rending of the Mosaic Law from generation to generation. These two denouncements are in direct contradiction to the biblical explanation of Church History rendered with Divine Infallibility, which said (and I repeat): “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Rom. 9:6-7).
Therefore, historically speaking, the second-born family, seed, and company of heirs, all of which were second-time circumcised, sacrificed, washed, and cleansed (spiritually speaking), were at enmity with the once-born family, once-born seed, and once-born company of heirs, all of whom were one-time circumcised, sacrificed, washed, and cleansed (outwardly speaking), and they both were the Jews of Abraham’s of Israel’s literal physical seed. Biblical Church History tells the story, my reader. Let’s face the facts! To believe and preach that literal, physical circumcision is what saved a man instead of the second circumcision (which was spiritual and of the heart -Deut. 30:6), for example, is the same message as preaching that all once-born, literal, physical children of Abraham were saved irrelevant of whether or not they were spiritually born unto Abraham at all (“born again”). Without surprise, this is why Jesus of Nazareth was so astonished that Nicodemus, a supposed “Master of Israel”, didn’t understand the doctrine of being “born again”. Do you remember what the Lord Jesus said to him? He said,
“Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things…If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?” - John 3:10, 12
Nicodemus was under the age-old and notorious deception that all the true Israelites fought against! Namely, that salvation was attained by making “clean the outside of the cup and platter”, even though the “inward part is full of ravening and wickedness” (Luke 11:39). God forbid! Jesus Christ, alongside all the Old Testament prophets, rebuked the once-born Jews, saying, “Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also” (Luke 11:39-40)!? But it was inevitable that the once-born men fell into this heretical and damnable deception, their awful demise. This must be so, my reader. Think of it, they were once-born. They were a plant which the Father “hath not planted”, therefore they, only having their carnal pair of eyes, were blind to The Spirituality of the Law (they were spiritually blind)! Confirming the awful truth of the 1st century blind interpreters of God’s word, lo, Jesus Christ sought to expose the heretical teaching that they created about the Law of Cleanness and Washings, stating… what? The Lord Jesus proved that the origin of all their heresies was simply that they were not born of God into a second pair of spiritual eyes (being made a supernatural planting of the Father, in other words), saying,
“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is FAR from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. And He [Jesus] called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man” (Matthew 15:7-20).
Therefore, as Jesus said to the once-born Pharisees, who were at enmity with Him, “let them alone”, meaning –SEPARATE! Even so, Ishmael was at spiritual enmity to Isaac, Esau was at spiritual enmity to Jacob. Every time, in every generation, the same age-old method of salvific holiness was preached: “Cast out” the once-born (Gal. 4:30), God said; thus we must cast out the castaways from the holy grounds of The Church! Have you heard the New Testament call, my reader? Oh, there is much to address, but will you first hear your Master, the Lord of Heaven and the Testator of the New Covenant?
 Ps. 24:4, 51:10, 73:1, Prov. 20:9, Ezekiel 18:31, 11:19, 36:26