Understanding The Bible
STUDY REFERENCE
Clarence E. Mason's "ESCHATOLOGY 1"
SECTION 2E - Exodus 19 - Acts 1
THE ISRAELITISH AGE and
THE DISPENSATION OF THE LAW

BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
1970

Edited by Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.


  1. Exodus 19-Acts 1 THE ISRAELITISH AGE and THE DISPENSATION OF THE LAW
    This age and dispensation are ushered in by the Mosaic Covenant.
    1. The key personage is Moses.
    2. The extent of the period is from the giving of the Law at Sinai to Christ's death, fulfilling that Law, and laying the foundation for the beginning of the Church,
      1. It did not exist from Adam to Moses Rom. 5:13-14
      2. It was given by Moses John 1:17
      3. It ruled only till Seed came Gal. 3:19
    3. The general Scripture portion is from Exodus 19:1 to Acts 1:26
    4. The characteristic or state of man during its course. To teach Israel:
      1. The awesome holiness of God Ex. 19:10-25
      2. The exceeding sinfulness of sin Rom. 7:13d; 1 Tim. 1:8-10
      3. The necessity of absolute obedience Jer. 7:23-24
      4. The inevitable judgment and curse upon disobedience Gal. 3:10; Dt. 27:26
    5. The special responsibility instituted by God was for Israel to do all the Law. "He who offends in one point is guilty of all." James 2:10.
      The test was "whether man limited to his own efforts, with detailed regulations governing his conduct in relation to God and his fellowman, covering his moral, social and religious activities, is able to lead a holy life." (Thiessen)

      NOTE: It would not be out of order to caution the student concerning a statement on page 1115 of the Scofield Reference Bible on John 1:16, where we read "The point of testing is no longer legal obedience as the condition of salvation..." This wording is misleading and unfortunate. Many who knew and admired Dr. Scofield are puzzled by it because it is well known that he went out of his way to exalt the doctrine of salvation as the free gift of God through grace. If by "legal obedience" he meant the outward expression of a personal faith in God's grace, then the concept is correct. That this evaluation of Dr. Scofield's position is a true one is easily established. For instance, language coulA|p3t be plainer than in his conclusion of the last paragraph on point 2 (The Lawful Use of the Law) in the chapter on Law and Grace, on page 56 (of some editions) of Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, as well as the Scriptures quoted under both points 2 and 3 on pages 55 and 57. The paragraph reads as follows:

      "It is evident, then, that God's purpose in giving the law, after the race had existed twenty-five hundred years without it (]ohn 1:17; Gal. 3:17), was to bring to guilty man the knowledge of his sin first, and then of his utter helplessness in view of God's just requirements. It is purely and only a ministration of condemnation and death."

      Also, in the center column note on Mark 12:34, Scofield comments on the phrase "Thou art not far from the kingdom of God" as follows: "i.e., not far in knowledge. He knew the very law which utterly condemns the best man - its true office. Rom. 3:19; 10:3-5; Gal. 3:10,22-24." It is plain from these quotes and many others that could be cited that Scofield certainly did not mean salvation was or possible by law-keeping. The law was never a rival means of justification (Gal. 2:21; 3:21). The New Scofield omits this misunderstood wording of the old note on John 1:16 and substitutes an excellent emphasis on Scofield's well-known view of salvation apart from works (John 1:17).
       
    6. The failure of man under the test.
      Israel was a complete failure under this test. Rom. 10:1-3; Acts 15:10
    7. The resultant judgment.
      1. The ten tribes were carried into captivity by Assyria 2 Kings 17
      2. The two tribes were carried into captivity by Babylon 2 Kings 25
      3. Israel took the responsibility for Christ's death Mt. 27:25
      4. The nation was cast aside and dispersed into all the world Mt. 23:37-39
    8. The gracious intervention of God is seen in that:
      1. God provided sacrifices for her sins of ignorance
      2. Moses interceded repeatedly for them
      3. Joshua pleaded for them
      4. The judges were raised up to rescue them
      5. The kings were helped in battle by God
      6. The prophets warned again and again of impending judgment
      7. They were provided with protection (Esther)
      8. They are protected in their present dispersion
      9. There will be a future restoration of His People
      10. Future blessing will be theirs in the millennium and in eternity

        The law did not change the provisions of, nor abrogate, the promise of God as given in the Abrahamic Covenant. It was not given as a way to life (i.e., a rival means of justification, Acts 15:10-11; Gal. 2:16, 21; 3:3-9,14,17, 21, 24, 25) but a way of life for a people already in the Covenant of Abraham and sheltered by blood sacrifice, e.g., Passover lamb, etc. Its purpose was to make clear the purity and holiness which should characterize the life of a people with whom the law of the nation was at the same time the law of God (Ex. 19:5 -6a), Hence, the law's function in relation to Israel was one of disciplinary restriction and correction, like that exercised over Greek and Roman children by the trusted "household slave" (in Gal. 3:24, the word is incorrectly translated "schoolmaster") to hold Israel in check and keep God's people from hurting themselves:
        (1) until Christ should come (He is actually our Schoolmaster, for the grace which saves us also teaches us, Gal. 3:24; Titus 2:11-12); and
        (2) until the Father's appointed time that the heirs (children of promise) should be removed from a condition of legal minority into the privileges of heirs who have come of age (Gal. 4:1-3). This God did in sending His Son, and believers are now in the position of "sons" in the Father's house (Gal. 4:4-7; 3:26, margin). See New Scofield note on Law, Ex. 19:1.

        Unfortunately, Israel misinterpreted the purpose of the law (1 Tim. 1:8-10), sought righteousness by good deeds and ceremonial ordinances (Rom. 9:31-10:3; Acts 15:1), and rejected her own Messiah (John 1:10). The history of Israel in the wilderness, in the land, and scattered among the nations, has been one long record of the violation of the law.

 

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