Howard Rand (1942)
LAW IS THE ESSENCE
It has been the continued and uninterrupted operation of the immutable laws of life that has made possible the existence of the human race. In fact, law is so essential to our very existence that life itself came into being as the result of the operation of law. But the operation of law is not confined to physical existence alone. Our very health and prosperity with every act and need of man, individually, socially and govern-mentally are all governed by law; and if we keep and observe these laws all their benefits will accrue unto us, while if we violate them there will follow inevitable retribution and suffering.
When men come to a full realization of these facts they will willingly apply themselves to understanding these laws so that in the knowledge of their operation and in obedience to them they may secure a blessing.
The many and varied problems of administration which have so troubled and perplexed mankind will find a solution in their observance.
Chaos in the physical, spiritual or economic life of man is evidence that there has been a failure to observe and keep the orderly laws of peace. A perusal of both past and present records of human history reveal chaotic conditions with mankind afflicted with crime, violence and war; while revolution, famine and disease have taken their toll of life. Such evil conditions can only exist where there has been a violation of the perfect laws of life, the keeping of which will bring results far from chaotic.
Creation is an orderly process, while chaos results from the failure of man to observe and keep the Divine Command which is the law of life and the way of peace. Life at its best, with all the blessings of peace, results from keeping the positive commands of God and refraining from violating the negative injunctions.
The laws of the Lord were made known unto man from the very beginning of human history. This was so or else man would have had no guide to prosperity and peace. All the evidence of history and every factor of life continually demonstrate that the keeping of perfect laws is the very essence of a happy and enduring existence. And so it behooves us, if we would have perfection in living, to know them!
In the Beginning . . .
The Bible states, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." A study of that creation reveals order and perfection with a minuteness of balance in accord with the so-called immutable laws of nature. The physical creation of the earth was followed by the creation of life; and finally, man. The same law operating in the physical realm is seen to operate in the instincts and habits so in evidence in the animal kingdom. Is it unreasonable to assume that man, a higher order of creation, is also subject to law, and to laws higher than those governing the instincts and habits of animal life?
God took man, whom He had created, and placed him in the garden, "And the Lord God commanded the man." Thus the command of God became the law of life unto man. From the very beginning man became subject to the commands of God and this was a law unto him for God had-placed man high above the rest of creation in that man was made responsible for his acts, having been given the right of choice and the power to choose.
History of Law
It would be impossible to give a full and accurate account of the entire history of law as it applies to man, for to do so would necessitate the writing of the entire record of the human race involving the manifold phases of social activity, national affairs and international relationships. History, however, records the fact that the happiness, prosperity and contentment of a people is in a large measure the direct result of the type of law administered and the method of administration: a blessing for the people when the commands of God (which is the Divine law) are kept and administered; and a curse when the perfection of that law is violated and its administration ignored.
While the command of God became law unto men yet, in the violation of that command, men became subject to the disasters and troubles which have afflicted the human race from the day of man's disobedience until now. The antediluvian civilization which arose after man was driven from the garden was no exception. During the years following the expulsion of man from the paradise of God there arose a civilization apart from God. Men were a law unto themselves and bound only by their good will to keep the commandments of God. The result was a complete failure to abide by the requirements of the law, which is clearly in evidence in the condemnation of that civilization, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
The deluge brought to an end this civilization of violence and crime. With the beginning of the new order human government was established, and to that government God issued the command, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." (Gen. 9:6.) Here we have the first evidence of the introduction of human government, for though man may know the law of the Lord, that law will not enforce itself! Therefore, it became necessary to delegate to human society the right of administration and judgment. Men were now enjoined to organize society and government and to curb violence. Under this command every earthly government has a right, nay it is a duty and command to bring to justice the murderer and subject him to the death penalty.
The Giving of the Law
Men have failed to recognize that from the very beginning of human history Divine Law has operated in the life of man. Because of this failure they have assumed that the law was first given to man at Mount Sinai. Nothing is further from the fact. God-fearing men have lived in accord with the principles of the law of the Lord centuries before the Mount Sinai experience of Israel and it is erroneous to attribute the knowledge of that law as coming to man through Moses. The revelation of Divine Law is from antiquity. Wherever men have been found, there also, for man's guidance, was a knowledge of the commandments, statutes and laws of God. True, men ignored and forgot them but, nevertheless, God saw to it that in the beginning His laws were known unto men.
Scriptural Evidence of Antiquity
The oldest record in Scripture, in which we have the account of the experiences of Job (who lived a few hundred years after the Deluge) makes mention of the laws of the Lord which were being kept by Job. Abraham was keeping these same laws four hundred and thirty years before the organization of the Israel Kingdom at Mount Sinai. This is borne out in the information given to Isaac to whom the Lord said He was performing His oath which He had sworn to Abraham, giving as one of the reasons, "Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." (Gen. 26:5.)
(PAUL WAS INSPIRED IN THE BOOK OF ROMANS TO SAY DEATH REIGNED FROM ADAM TO MOSES; THE BIBLE STATES THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH; ALSO PAUL SAID "ALL HAVE SINNED" - SIN IS THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW 1 JOHN 3:4] --- HENCE GOD'S LAW WAS FROM ADAM. SEE MY STUDY ON THIS WEBSITE "THE TEN COMMANDMENTS BEFORE MOSES" - Keith Hunt)
Moses Codified the Law
Thus Abraham observed the law long before Moses was born! Moses, however, had a task to perform and codified the laws of the Lord for Israel to administer at the time this people was organized into a Kingdom at Mount Sinai.
The Law vs. Ritual
Inasmuch as Abraham kept the commandments, statutes and law, then of what law is Paul speaking when he refers to the promises made to Abraham four hundred and thirty years before the law? (Gal. 3:17.) The passage is translated by Ferrar Fenton, "And I assert this —the ritual, beginning four hundred and thirty years after, could not cancel a settlement previously established by God, so as to abolish the promises."
It was not the commandments, statutes and laws of the Lord which Abraham was keeping that Paul refers to as coming four hundred and thirty years after the promise, but it was the ritual or religious service which was established or added at Mount Sinai because of sin (Gal. 3:19). Here Israel received their system of national worship, which had to do with the ordinances by which atonement was made for sin.
Establishment of this distinction between the law contained in commandments, statutes and judgments and the ordinances may not seem important. However, due to the erroneous teaching of multitudes of Church leaders regarding the law and their acceptance of the false doctrine that Christians do not have to keep the law, it is necessary to define this distinction between the ritual (abolished in Christ) and the laws of administration which are still in operation.
Law is the very essence of life, for in the observance of the perfect Laws of God life is worth while. The keeping of these laws is essential to orderly conduct and their administration is necessary in bringing justice and establishing equity and peace. Without law, anarchy would reign and society would be in a state of lawlessness and political disorder under which no government could function.
Christians who advocate doing away with the law and who refuse to accept the operation of the principles of the commandments, statutes and judgments of the Lord as the law of life in the conduct of man individually, socially, economically and in the administration of national affairs are no different from the anarchist; for he also advocates the abolition of law. Christians holding such doctrines believe that they are above the need of keeping the law. Anarchism at its best stands for society made orderly by good manners, but where there is no law there is no standard of conduct or good manners and the end of such a society is but confusion and disorder. Anarchists are in rebellion against human government, but the Christians who refuse to observe and keep the laws of God are in rebellion against Divine rule and government. It is a serious charge, but nevertheless true. Peter declared that those who despise government are presumptuous and self-willed. (II Peter 2:10.) If God did establish a government and law upon earth it behooves every man, and certainly all Christians, to conform with the requirements or come under the condemnation of being presumptuous.
What is the sin of presumption? Under the kingdom laws of administration it is deliberately doing that which is known to be forbidden. "Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth (doeth) through ignorance. . . . But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously . . . reproacheth the Lord: and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him." (Num. 15:29-31.)
Law Confirmed by Jesus
Lest there be those who refuse to respect the Divine Commands and Government in their daily living and life, by making the excuse that the New Testament doctrine has set them free from law observance, it is well to listen to these words of Jesus, "Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness (your keeping of the law) shall exceed the righteousness (law observance) of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Hngdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:19-20.)
Here we have an interesting promise made to the Christian, for only those who accept Christ are eligible to position and power in the Kingdom. Greatness in the Kingdom will come to those who have kept, and taught others to keep, even the least of the laws. But condemnation and a place of obscurity are promised for those who are presumptuous and refuse to keep even the least of the laws. Furthermore, Jesus said His followers must keep the law better than that law was being kept by the Scribes and Pharisees.
Many passages in Scripture confirm all this, so let us not be anarchists and above all, Christian anarchists, for the essence of an orderly and happy existence is to observe all the rules and regulations as contained in the commandments, statutes and judgments of the Lord.
The Servant Nation
Once the fact is established that law observance is essential to orderly social relationships it becomes necessary to make known to men the laws that must be kept. But along with a knowledge of that law is the need of an effective instrument or organization through which the law may be administered for the benefit of all men. God recognized this need and, though His laws were known for centuries before Abraham's day, God called Abraham and in this call chose a family through whom He proposed to work, making the descendants of this man a servant nation to become the administrators of Kingdom laws. Through them He would demonstrate to all nations the righteousness and perfection of His government and Kingdom. Moses had this thought in mind when he instructed Israel to keep the statutes and judgments of the Lord. He said, "Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people." (Deut. 4:6.)
Administration of Law Essential
No matter how just and perfect a law may be, the mere knowledge of its existence does not bring it into operation nor will that knowledge alone compel men to observe and obey its precepts. It is necessary that a nation adopt that law as the law of the land and through the acts of administration demonstrate the perfection of that law in operation. In the call of Abraham a race was chosen by God to whom was to be given the perfect laws and through whose administration He would demonstrate to the world the perfection of that law.
The Bible records the history of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the Egyptian sojourn of Jacob's twelve sons. While in Egypt they became a great nation. Then came the deliverance from Egyptian bondage under the leadership of Moses. Following the trek across the wilderness they arrived at the foot of Mount Sinai where they received a national charter from God and were enjoined to administer His commandments, statutes and judgments.
Following the Mount Sinai experience of this people there emerged from the wilderness a nation with a perfect system of administration and law which left so deep an impression upon this nation that it materially influenced all its acts and deeds for a thousand years!
The organization of this Kingdom at Mount Sinai, with the granting unto them of the power to administer law, is so far-reaching and full of significance for all mankind today that space must be devoted to a study of the organization itself— and the ultimate purpose of that Kingdom.
To be continued