The Signs of the Times


August 25, 1887

Christ and the Law; or the Relations of the Jew and Gentile to the Law


At the first advent of Christ into this world, the people were favored with a new and fuller manifestation of the Divine Presence than they had ever enjoyed before. The knowledge of God, and the infinite love and benevolence of his character, were revealed more perfectly; for it pleased the Father that in his well-beloved Son all fullness should dwell. The middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile was broken down, and both were made partakers, not only of the blessings promised under the old covenant, but also the spiritual and heavenly truths revealed through Christ. ST August 25, 1887, par. 1

The Jewish church, with its rites and ceremonies pointing forward to Christ, was not to be despised. This was a dispensation of glory. In the wilderness, Christ himself, though invisible, was the leader of the armies of Israel; and the power of God was often revealed in a special manner in their behalf. Considering these glorious displays of divine power, Moses thus addresses Israel: “What nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” How many pass over these words of Moses as though they were meaningless, and continue to heap reproach and derision on divine institutions. How many trample on the divine law, the righteous judgments and statutes which were committed to God's ancient people. ST August 25, 1887, par. 2

In the mount, when the law was given to Moses, the Coming One was shown to him also. He saw Christ's work, and his mission to earth, when the Son of God should take upon himself humanity, and become a teacher and a guide to the world, and at last give himself a ransom for their sins. When the perfect Offering should be made for the sins of men, the sacrificial offerings typifying the work of the Messiah were to cease. With the advent of Christ, the veil of uncertainty was to be lifted, and a flood of light shed upon the darkened understanding of his people. ST August 25, 1887, par. 3

As Moses saw the day of Christ, and the new and living way of salvation that was to be opened through his blood, he was captivated and entranced. The praise of God was in his heart, and the divine glory that attended the giving of the law was so strikingly revealed in his countenance when he came down from the mount to walk with Israel, that the brightness was painful. Because of their transgressions, the people were unable to look upon his face, and he wore a veil that he might not terrify them. ST August 25, 1887, par. 4

It was the light of the glory of the gospel of Christ, who was the foundation of the sacrificial system, that shone in the face of Moses. “But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away; how shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?” When the reality, the full blaze of midday light, should come, the dim glory which was but an earnest of the latter, should be done away, swallowed up in the greater glory. ST August 25, 1887, par. 5

“And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished.” God was pleased to reveal to Moses the end of the sacrificial offerings at the time of the giving of his law. It was made plain to him that the Angel that stood at the head of the armies of Israel was the great Offering for sin, the foundation of the entire typical system. He saw type reach its antitype. The former was but an earnest of the latter, and in comparison with it was intricate and mysterious, although of great beauty and clearness. ST August 25, 1887, par. 6

Had the Israelites discerned the gospel light that was opened to Moses, had they been able by faith to look steadfastly to the end of that which was abolished they could have endured the light which was reflected from the countenance of Moses. “But their minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which veil is done away in Christ.” The Jews as a people did not discern that the Messiah whom they rejected, was the Angel who guided their fathers in their travels in the wilderness. To this day the veil is upon their hearts, and its darkness hides from them the good news of salvation through the merits of a crucified Redeemer. ST August 25, 1887, par. 7

It is no wonder that transgressors of God's law at the present time will get as far from it as possible; for it condemns them. But those who hold that the ten commandments were abolished at the crucifixion of Christ are in a similar deception to that of the Jews. The position that the law of God is rigorous and unbearable casts contempt upon Him who governs the universe in accordance with its holy precepts. A veil is over the hearts of those who hold this view in reading both the Old and the New Testament. The penalty for the least transgression of that law is death, and but for Christ, the sinner's Advocate, it would be summarily visited on every offender. Justice and mercy are blended. Christ and the law stand side by side. The law convicts the transgressor, and Christ pleads in the sinner's behalf. ST August 25, 1887, par. 8

With the first advent of Christ there was ushered in an era of greater light and glory; but it would indeed be sinful ingratitude to despise and ridicule the lesser light because a fuller and more glorious light had dawned. Those who despise the blessings and glory of the Jewish age are not prepared to be benefited by the preaching of the gospel. The brightness of the Father's glory, and the excellence and perfection of his sacred law, are only understood through the atonement made upon Calvary by his dear Son; but even the atonement loses its significance when the law of God is rejected. ST August 25, 1887, par. 9

The life of Christ was a most perfect and thorough vindication of his Father's law, and his death attested its immutability. Christ did not, by bearing the sinner's guilt, release man from his obligation to obey the law; for if the law could have been changed or abolished, he need not have come to this world to suffer and die. The very fact that Christ died for its transgressions attests the unchanging character of the Father's law. ST August 25, 1887, par. 10

The Jews had departed from God, and in their teaching had substituted their own traditions for the divine law. The life and teachings of Christ made plain and distinct the principles of this violated law. The heavenly host understood that the object of his mission was to exalt the Father's law and make it honorable, and to justify its claims by paying with his own life the penalty of its transgression. It was thus that he made reconciliation between God and man. As the great blessings brought within the reach of the human race at the first advent of the Saviour were seen by the angelic visitors, they burst into the glad, triumphant anthem: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will toward men.” ST August 25, 1887, par. 11

The middle wall of partition between the Jew and Gentile was broken down. They were no longer in separate rooms; the unbelieving Gentile has been united with the believing Jew. The Gentile did not crowd the Jews from their original position, but he became a partaker with them of their blessings. ST August 25, 1887, par. 12

Thus was fulfilled the mission of Christ; and from his own divine lips were heard the words: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” ST August 25, 1887, par. 13

Basel, Switzerland.