In the discourse of last Sabbath, I attempted to enforce the first of these two propositions, showing what is meant by the expression "being not without law to God." It becomes necessary that I shall, this morning, discuss the second of these propositions, by showing what is meant by being "under the law to Christ." Evidently the two are distinct, for if the first affirms the perpetuity of God's law, so that, under no circumstances, can it be cancelled; the second clearly implies that the believer's relations are in so far changed to it, that he obeys it in the hands of Jesus Christ as the rule of His Mediatorial kingdom.
Each month the "Cross-Examination" column presents a summary statement of a Reformed and Reconstructionist conviction in theology or ethics, and then offers brief answers to common questions, objections or confusions which people have about that belief. Send issues or questions you would like addressed by Dr. Bahnsen to the editor.
As we saw in our last study, postmillennialists believe that Jesus established the kingdom of God on earth during His first advent. "God has highly exalted Him to His right hand to be a Prince and Savior that He might give repentance and forgiveness of sins" (Acts 5:31). He is now "the only Potentate, the King of kings and the Lord of lords" (1 Timothy 6:15). He must reign until all opposition is defeated, and then He will deliver up the kingdom to the Father - at His second coming, which is "the end" of history (l Corinthians 15:24-25).
Old Testament passages regarding Jubilee are found in: Leviticus 25:8-55; 27:17-24; Numbers 36:4; and Isaiah 27:13; 61:1,2. A study of these reveals the following:
1) Jubilee took place at the end of every seven "weeks"/sabbaths of years, i.e., every fiftieth year.
2) In the Jubilee year the land was to rest, debts were cancelled, lsraelite slaves were released, and the land was to be returned to the original family owners. Non-Israelite slaves, however, were not released. As non-covenantal persons, they were always to be enslaved.
3) Jubilee was not a communistic redistribution of wealth. Rather, it was a return of the land to the God-given, tribal owners. Jubilee, however, did bring about a stabilization of the economy and help for the poor. Social and economic justice was assured through the Jubilee.
"Newsweek" titled the latest check-bouncing scam by the U.S. Congress as "Rubbergate". Americans continue to be bombarded with improprieties of our political leaders, and "Rubbergate" will undoubtedly cost a number of congressmen their political careers.
Technically, the House Bank was not a bank. It was a cooperative of congressmen with guaranteed loans (overdrafts) available to each member of Congress from a common pool of funds. Policies and actions are permissible in a cooperative which would not be allowed in a traditional bank. Assuming the pool of funds did not involve public money, the anger of the American public has probably been unjustified and overly harsh. Unless a law is broken, we must refrain from indictments.
In our last message we noted that as we enter Zechariah 5 there is an evident change of tone: a change from consolation to warning: Here we leave the vision of the white robes of innocence for the high priest, as in chapter 3. Here we no longer see the miraculous impartation of the pure oil of the Holy Spirit as in chapter 4. The representations of the Gospel hope vanish from view. In this chapter the people are brought face to face with the demands of the law and the potential curse it threatens against the lawless. Our covenant theology understands the significance of the prophets as standing for God's lawyers, representing God and His legal suit against Israel. So they necessarily demand law obedience.
You see, Zechariah not only urged the rebuilding of the Temple, but also confronted the national conscience regarding the awful nature of its sinfulness. He begins with words of consolation and grace, speaking the wonders of God's love. But as a true prophet of God he cannot forget the demands of God's righteous Law. Soothing words are protected against abuse.