Take Heed, CFP, Watchman Nee
I know thy tribulation, and thy poverty (but thou art rich), and the blasphemy of them that say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. (Rev. 2.9)
Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of them that say they are Jews, and they are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. (Rev. 3.9)
In both the letter to the church at Smyrna and the letter to the church at Philadelphia, our Lord shows us how the Jews disturbed both churches. How seriously has Christianity been tampered with by Judaism. A slight carelessness will bring in Judaism. The priests of the Old Testament become our pastors today. Law regulates our behavior. Festivals are made mandatory of us. All this began at Smyrna and was practiced in Philadelphia. In the nineteenth century a group of people in the Church rose up and overcame the Judaizers. But up to the present, there yet remain the works of the Judaizers in the Church. The Protestant Church succeeded the Roman Church, but neither have their communicants been freed from the bondage of Judaism either. Let us therefore spend time to show new believers how to deal with this influence. In this message today we will deal with the Judaizers in the Church from the perspective of their attitude towards the law.
Of the Ten Commandments, the fourth one concerns the Sabbath day, which is Saturday. It is a mistake, say certain Judaizers, to observe it on the Lord’s Day. Let us see if this notion is in accordance with the teaching of the Scriptures, as is claimed by its adherents.
First of all, what do the Scriptures teach about the law? God never gave it to the Gentiles. He gave it to the nation of Israel: “He showeth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his ordinances unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his ordinances, they have not known them. Praise ye Jehovah” (Ps. 147.19-20). It is the explicit teaching of the Bible that the Gentiles do not have the law: “When Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves” (Rom. 2.14).
(1) How about the Gentiles after they are saved? Acts 15.5 reads: “there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees who believed, saying, It is needful to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses.” Nevertheless, the decision of the council at Jerusalem was: “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you [Gentile believers] no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which if ye keep yourselves, it shall be well with you” (Acts 15.28-29). The Gentiles do not have the law before they are saved, and they are not required to keep the law after they are saved. For God has not given the law to the Gentiles.
(2) How about the Jews? The law was given to the Jews. They are born under the law. “Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished” (Matt. 5.18). The Lord has no intention of destroying the law among the Jews, for they are under the law. “To fulfil” (5.17) means to fill it to the full. For example, formerly it was: “Thou shalt not kill”; today, says Jesus, it is: Thou shalt not hate. This is to fill the law to the full.
(3) Many Jews have believed in the Lord. How about their relationship to the law? When the Jews become Christians, they belong to the Church in which there is neither Jew nor Gentile (see Col. 3.11). Paul illustrates it this way: “are ye ignorant, brethren (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law hath dominion over a man for so long time as he liveth? For the woman that hath a husband is bound by law to the husband while he liveth; but if the husband die, she is discharged from the law of the husband. So then if, while the husband liveth, she be joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if the husband die, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be joined to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ; that ye should be joined to another, even to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom. 7.1-4).
For a Jew to believe in the Lord is like a woman getting married. How can she be freed from the former husband, the law? There is only one way—if the husband dies. But here is a problem: As we have read already, heaven and earth may pass away, but one jot or one title of the law shall not pass away till all things be accomplished. What can be done if the law never dies? Well, even if the law does not die, you can die. How? “Ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ.” So the teaching of Romans 7.1-4 is that though the law cannot die, God has caused us to die with Christ, and thus we are freed from the law. Through the death of Christ we are set free from the law. We are raised from the dead with Christ and then married to Him. This death is real death. Hence, in being joined to Christ, we are no adulteress. God uses the death of Christ to include our death. How assured this is. And resurrection is also sure.
Hence, a man (even a Jew) who has formerly been under the law has died and been raised in Christ to receive new life. He is not under law anymore since he has already died. “Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace” (Rom. 6.14). Furthermore, “now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that wherein we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter” (Rom. 7.6). In believing in the Lord, one is discharged from the law. The position of a Christian is that he has died. It is a position of death, he having been crucified with Christ. The law has no relationship with him, it having only a relationship with the old man.
(4) We must show new believers why God gave the law. There is a good reason for it, made clear in the Scriptures. “Now this I say: A covenant confirmed beforehand by God, the law, which came four hundred and thirty years after, doth not disannul, so as to make the promise of none effect…. What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made; and it was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator…. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the law…. But now that faith is come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Gal. 3.17,19,21,25).
These words explain why the law was given and how we are delivered from the law. Four hundred and thirty years before God gave the law He had already promised to Abraham that “in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12.3b). Abraham believed God and was thus reckoned to be righteous. His descendants also shall be saved through faith, for the promise of God is according to the gospel of grace. Before the gospel of grace is accomplished, there is first the promise. Yet to receive grace, there must also be transgressions. For if men have no need, they cannot accept grace. Yet in the sight of God all are sinners. But men themselves do not know that they are sinners. They need to sin before they know themselves to be sinners. How can they know they have sinned? By giving them the law. With the coming of the law comes also a knowledge of transgression. For example, there has been coveting, but to man it is not known to be sin. But after God says, “Thou shalt not covet” (Ex. 20.17a), coveting transgresses the law, thus becoming sin. The use of the law is to expose to man the sin of man. “Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image . . . ; thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them” (Ex. 20.4a-5a). Man’s making a hundred golden calves as images is not known to be sin, not till the law was proclaimed by God to the people from the heavens (see Ex. 20.1-6, 20-23).
Abraham was reckoned by God as righteous because of his faith. This too was the covenant of the Lord, the Abrahamic Covenant. Yet, as Paul has said, how untrustworthy were men. Accordingly, four hundred and thirty years after that covenant was made, God gave men the law. The law was to be kept, and yet it did not disannul the covenant God had made with Abraham and his descendants. Then what is the use of the law? “What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made” (Gal. 3.19). With the law added, there comes transgression. Thus God is able to put His covenant into effect. Sin was originally present, but the sinner could not receive the grace of God because he had no knowledge of his sin. Now, though, he has sinned against the law; and so, he is able to receive grace. The law will continue on till the Lord Jesus shall come. “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John” (Matt 11.13). The function of the law is to fulfill the promise. The end is grace, and the means is law. The law must be used to bring people into grace.
Do law and grace oppose each other? No. Wrote the apostle Paul: “before faith came, we were kept in ward under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. So that the law is become our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3.23-24). The law is God’s servant, leading us to Christ. Once we touch Christ, we are no longer under the tutor anymore, that is, under the law. Hereafter we do not live under law, nor do we follow it any longer. For the more we keep the law, the more hopeless we are. Nevertheless, it has led us to Christ. The law, therefore, is not to be considered a hindrance.
(5) Some argue that even though we are saved by Christ and not by the law, we still need to keep the law after we are saved. Let us again look into the Letter to the Galatians and discover how it deals with such people. The apostle Paul maintains that as it was useless for man to keep the law for justification, so it is equally needless for man to keep the law after being justified through faith in Christ. Some Judaizers had urged the Galatian believers to keep the law. “I marvel,” said the apostle Paul, “that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another gospel: only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal. 1.6-7). If you were not able to keep the law before, you are still unable to keep it now. Paul went further by saying, “If any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema” (v.9). “Anathema” means “accursed.”
“If I build up again those things which I destroyed, I prove myself a transgressor” (2.18). Whoever is to preach a gospel of another kind is to be cursed. If I build up this other and false gospel, I am a transgressor. For Christ has died to the law so that I might live unto Him. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me” (v.20a). Only one who is living can again be put under the law. Since I have died with Christ, who will possibly be put under the law save Christ who lives in me? It is absolutely impossible. So I who now live unto Christ can never again be put under the law. The law speaks to the natural man; it cannot speak to the man who is dead.
“O foolish Galatians, who did bewitch you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set forth crucified? . . . Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now perfected in the flesh?” (3.1,3) The law has its demand upon the flesh, but you are in the Spirit. It would be going backward if you try to be perfected by keeping the law.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law” (5.22-23). “Against such there is no law” may also be interpreted as “against which there is no control of the law.” For the fruit of the Spirit is not under the control of the law. That which violates the law is the flesh; that which keeps the law is also the flesh. The fruit of the Spirit is beyond the reach of the law. If you try to keep the law, it is your flesh that attempts it. As the law enters in, the Holy Spirit ceases to be active. The moment you think of keeping the law, immediately the flesh comes forth. It is far better if you do not try to keep the law, for the object of the law is the flesh. So this is Christianity.
Since the law cannot give us justification, how can we who have been justified in Christ return again to the law? If we are not careful, we may easily be Judaized. People who do not understand God’s plan and arrangement of salvation always attach themselves to the law. When God gave the law to men, His purpose was not for them to keep the law for the law’s sake. It did not say that keeping the law would satisfy His heart. The reason for asking them to keep the law was to obtain the righteousness according to the law. To not covet, to honor father and mother, and to not worship idols—all these are reckoned as righteousness. So the keeping of the law is not for the sake of honoring the law, but rather for the purpose of attaining to the righteousness according to the law.
Here we have (i) the keeping of the law, (ii) the righteousness according to the law, and (iii) the receiving of life before God. The righteousness according to the law comes through the keeping of the law, but who is able to keep the law? Now through Christ we have received life. After we have received life the Judaizers would tell us we must still keep the law. Yet this is recalling the old man back to life. We are saved because God has put us into the death of Christ. We are reckoned righteous through the blood of our Lord. In Him we receive a new life which is not subject to the keeping of the law. In order to again keep the law the flesh must be revived to keep it. For this new life has no need of keeping the law. When we receive life, the righteous requirement of the law is already fulfilled in us. There is no need for us to keep it. “That the ordinance [mgn: “requirement”] of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8.4). “Do not covet” is the law. “Not coveting” is righteousness. We today refrain from coveting because of the righteousness which comes from the life of Christ. We do not need to keep the law, and yet we have the righteous requirement of the law. This is the gospel. Christians do not covet—yet this does not come from the law that says: “Do not covet”; it comes from the righteousness of the Holy Spirit. This truly is the gospel!
The law does not end in itself. It ends in righteousness. But now apart from the law, God has used another means to produce righteousness. We are not justified by keeping the law; therefore, once being justified we have no obligation to keep the law. Now because life does not come from keeping the law, so it is useless for us to keep the law after we have been saved and received new life. We have been crucified with Christ. We are not justified by keeping the law. The righteousness of God comes to us through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. Having begun in the Holy Spirit, we now must be perfected in the same Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who works in us that righteousness.
“But now that ye have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how turn ye back again to the weak and beggarly rudiments, whereunto ye desire to be in bondage over again?” (Gal. 4.9) “For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage” (5.1). “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ; that ye should be joined to another, even to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom. 7.4). Everyone who has received life is joined to Christ. Through the death of Christ a Christian is raised from the dead that he might be joined to Christ. He not merely receives life; he actually is joined to the life of Christ. So a saved person is one who has been raised from the dead and is joined to Christ. He is married to Him. Whoever tempts him to go back to law makes him an adulteress. This is to be accursed.
In the latter part of Romans 7.4 it says: “that ye should be joined to another, even to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God.” It does not say, do not worship idols. It says that we bear or bring forth the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and one of the fruits is not worshiping idols. We are not to produce the righteousness according to the law by keeping the law, but to fulfill the righteousness of the law through the fruit of the Holy Spirit. There is the righteousness of the law without the need of keeping the law.
Now concerning the keeping of the Sabbath, we have seen in the days of the local church at Smyrna that the Judaizers came in. Later, during the ascendancy of the Roman Church, Judaism and Christianity became deeply intertwined. For over a thousand years the Lord’s Day was called the Christian Sabbath. Furthermore, a century ago the Judaizers came into the Church again and commanded people to keep the Sabbath. They even hung the text of the Ten Commandments in church buildings. They considered the Sabbath, which is Saturday, to be the Lord’s Day. Yet Saturday is the Sabbath of the Jews, while Sunday is the Lord’s Day of the Christians. The Christians do not keep the Sabbath day of the Fourth Commandment. It is highly improper to change the Sabbath, which is the seventh day of the Jewish week, to the first day of the week. The real issue, however, does not lie in which day of the week it is. It rests in the fact that Christians do not keep the Sabbath, for we believers are not under the law.
Let us see what the Scriptures teach about the Sabbath: (1) The first mention of it is found in Genesis 2.3: “God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made.” From that time, for the next two thousand five hundred years nothing further was heard about the Sabbath. (2) After leading the children of Israel out of Egypt, God gave the Sabbath to them in the wilderness: “See, for that Jehovah hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day” (Ex. 16.29). (3) The Sabbath became law: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is a sabbath unto Jehovah thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore Jehovah blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Ex. 20.8-11). (4) You as the people of God must keep My Sabbath day for this is a sign between you and Me throughout the generations. So instructs the word of God in the Old Testament: “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily ye shall keep my sabbaths: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am Jehovah who sanctifieth you. . . . It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed” (Ex. 31.13,17)—“Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am Jehovah that sanctifieth them” (Eze. 20.12). (5) To keep the Sabbath is the salvation of the Jews. It is quite evident that the Sabbath is given to the Jews as a sign.
What does Paul teach concerning the Sabbath? He maintains that the Sabbath is a thing that has passed away: “having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross . . . Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a sabbath day: which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ’s” (Col. 2.14,16-17). “The bond written in ordinances” refers to the entire law. On the cross our Lord has blotted out the entire law. This is because the law attacks us and demands us to be holy. But we are sinful. So the Lord was crucified for us. The Judaizers argue that what has been blotted out is the ceremonial law, but that the moral law was not taken away. Feast days, new moons and Sabbath days are not classified by them as being under ceremonial law. Therefore, they must be kept, even as the moral law under the Ten Commandments.
However, the Scriptures do not make such a distinction. All the ceremonial laws are for moral purposes. To offer sacrifice is for a moral reason. Colossians shows us that what has been blotted out is not merely the ceremonial law. “The bond written in ordinances” refers to the total contract God made with Israel. It is the same as when we sign a contract today. In Exodus 19.5 we read: “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be mine own possession from among all peoples: for all the earth is mine.” And in verse 8: “all the people answered together, and said, All that Jehovah hath spoken we will do.” There is the bond written in ordinances. It refers to moral and not only to ceremonial law. So let us cause new believers to see that for us Christians it has already been nailed to the cross.
In Romans 7.7 we see the presence of the law: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Howbeit, I had not known sin, except through the law: for I had not known coveting, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” But in Colossians 2.14 we see that the law has been taken out of the way, having been nailed to the cross. Verse 16 follows verse 14. Because the law has been taken out of the way, therefore meat or drink or feast day or new moon or sabbath day have all passed away. According to Exodus 19.8, there is no reason to divide the law into ceremonial and moral law. Christians therefore are not subject to these laws.
The Judaizers immediately retort that the Sabbath day mentioned in Colossians 2.16 is not a regular Sabbath day. It is the Sabbath day of a feast. But the Greek original shows the number to be plural here: “sabbaths.” It therefore includes the Sabbath days of the weeks as well as the Sabbath days of the feasts; otherwise, why should the Sabbath be mentioned after citing the feast, which already includes its Sabbath day? Accordingly, no one has the authority to say that the Sabbath day of the week is excluded from the meaning of Colossians 2.16.
Furthermore, the Judaizers in Colosse were not as interested in the Sabbath days of the feasts as they were concerned with the Sabbath days of the weeks. That is why Paul wrote the letter to the Colossians in order to show them that all these things had passed away. Only in modern days have people tried to separate the Sabbath days of the weeks from the Sabbath days of the feasts.
In the same verse (2.16) the apostle declares, “Let no man therefore judge you . . .” In other words, these things are not worthy to be judged; for these things are “a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ’s” (v.17).
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ; that ye should be joined to another, even to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom. 7.4). As Christians we have been discharged from the law of the former husband. The Judaizers, however, debate the point and remonstrate that the law here refers only to ceremonial law. How absurd is their reasoning. In verse 7 Paul notes this: “I had not known coveting, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” This is one of the Ten Commandments. It is moral, not ceremonial. So “if the husband die, she is discharged from the law of the husband” (Rom. 7.2b). “The law of the husband” is the law of the Ten Commandments.
“For if the ministration of condemnation hath glory, much rather doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. . . . For if that which passeth away was with glory, much more that which remaineth is in glory. . . . And [we] are not as Moses, who put a veil upon his face, that the children of Israel should not look stedfastly on the end of that which was passing away ... But if the ministration of death, written, and engraven on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look stedfastly upon the face of Moses for the glory of his face; which glory was passing away: how shall not rather the ministration of the spirit be with glory?” (2 Cor. 3.9,11,13,7-8)
Here we see the difference between the ministration of the law and the ministration of the Spirit, the difference between the ministry of Moses and the ministry of Christ. The law condemns, brings in death, and is passing away. This distinctively points to the law written and engraved on stones. The Judaizers again use their sole argument, they saying that the law that ministers death refers to ceremonial law. But we all know that what were inscribed on the stones (the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments) were moral laws. Today the law of the Spirit is written upon our hearts. In verse 3 we only see the contrast between the tables of stone and hearts of flesh. Thus have we been absolutely freed from the law. God has made Christ our righteousness through the Holy Spirit. There is no need for us to keep the law. Therefore the question of the Sabbath is a thing of the past.
“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that eateth, eateth unto the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, unto the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks” (Rom. 14.5-6). Here, two matters are being dealt with: (a) keeping or not keeping a day, and (b) eating or not eating meat. Some people eat vegetables and not meat. Paul says that this person is one who is weak in faith.
Likewise, there are people whose conscience bothers them if they do not keep a day. These, again, are weak in faith (see v.1).
In the Old Testament time, a person who did not keep the Sabbath day was to be stoned to death. In the New Testament time, the Jews wanted to kill the Lord for His not keeping the Sabbath. They were not able to carry out their plan because miracles through Jesus were definitely being performed. In the days of Paul, the apostle maintained that “every day [was] alike.” Here must have been a change in dispensation. The Sabbath day is a shadow of things to come. There is in the law a portion which serves as type. In the Old Testament, commands to keep the Sabbath day are frequently given. Even in the millennial kingdom the Jews will still offer sacrifices. Yet in the New Testament writings of Paul he did not exhort people to keep the Sabbath day, not even once. It would really be strange if the Sabbath day was to be kept and yet was not mentioned at all. Thus we realize that the dispensation has changed.
According to Acts 15.22, at the council in Jerusalem the apostles and elders were all present. If the Sabbath day was important, surely it would have been taken up and decided on by the council. But this was not addressed. For the law and the prophets prophesied until John. Christ is now the sum of the law. Hence in the New Testament there is no command that we need to keep the Sabbath day. In Colossians we are told that the Sabbath day has passed away. Paul also maintained—in Romans 14—that to keep or esteem a day or not is something optional.
Finally, nothing in the New Covenant needs to be completed with the help of the Old Covenant. The Roman Church teaches that keeping the Lord’s Day is keeping the Sabbath day of Christianity. Yet this is to blend together Judaism and Christianity. Here come the Judaizers who try to bring the entire system of Judaism into Christianity. Yet if we must keep the Sabbath day, then we are no longer Christians. By accepting the Jewish system, we drop the status of being Christians and turn into pure Jews—even as the apostle Paul declared: “Ye observe days, and months, and seasons, and years. I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain” (Gal. 4.10-11).
The Book of Acts is a continuation of the history of Christ as presented in the Gospels. Yet Acts gives facts but no explanations. It is only history and not teaching as well. The completion of the establishment of Christianity came in about 96 A.D. (the date of the writing of the Book of Revelation), that is to say, by the end of the first century. Then was fulfilled what the Lord had predicted: “Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he shall guide you into all the truth” (John 16.13a). All these Jewish influences of which we have been speaking gradually dropped off, Christianity evolved step by step, so that in the Epistles we finally have Christianity in its more complete form. It is important for us to know and to recognize the progress of Christianity. In the Jerusalem council told about in Acts 15 James and the others did not argue over the matter of keeping the Sabbath day. In fact, it never came up. They discussed circumcision. Paul himself had entered the Jerusalem temple to declare the fulfillment of the days of purification. There is nothing surprising for a Jew to be circumcised. However, we hope the brethren today will see the progress and completion of Christian teachings. Then we shall know what Christianity truly and fully is.
When our Lord was on earth He kept the Sabbath day and received circumcision. But the Letter to the Galatians puts an end to this matter of the Sabbath. The same is true with circumcision. Only after 70 A.D. (the Roman destruction of Jerusalem’s Temple) could the letters of Paul stand on the pure ground of Christianity. Before that time the Temple and the priests were still present. It was easy to sit on the fence and enjoy both the lamb and the Lamb of God. For this reason we were given the Letter to the Hebrews. The following verse therein points to this changing time: “There remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins” (10.26). Thereafter, people could no longer straddle the fence. Furthermore, Christianity has developed to the point where a word of God resolves all the problems of the past.
If the Jewish Temple existed today we would still have difficulties, for these Judaizers would bring forth such midway things as have been discussed. A fundamental principle to be recognized is that nothing in the Scriptures can be decided midway. These matters of the Sabbath day and the law are both midway things. They cannot be resolved without going to the Epistles. The final word on the teaching concerning the Sabbath is found in Colossians 2.14, which declares: God has “blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us; and he hath taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.”