OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT TEACHING OF THE LAW OF GOD
Neh 8:1-8 KJV 1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel. 2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. 3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. 4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: 6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. 8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
Who was this Ezra?
He was a descendant of Aaron Ezra 7: 1-5. A scribe of the law. Ezra 7:6
Ezr 7:10 KJV For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.
In his time he appointed people that will teach the law
Ezr 7:25 KJV And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not.
This account took place when the children of Israel who were formerly in captivity were brought back into their land. They were settling down having built the walls of Jerusalem which was spearheaded by Nehemiah and the building of the house of God spearheaded by Ezra.
Ezra was a priest and scribe of the law of God. On this occasion he was called upon to read the book of the law unto the people who had gathered together and when he mounted the pulpit, all of them stood up, bowed and worshiped. What reference do they have?
As he read from the book of the law, the Levites were also helping in expounding the law, teaching people and making them understand.
There are things to note that only the priest and kings had access to the book of the law. Also, not every part is well understood therefore the need for teaching priests to help them comprehend.
In the time of Jehoshaphat, a similar thing happened.
2Ch 17:7-9 KJV 7 Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, even to Benhail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah. 8 And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tobadonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests. 9 And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people.
Priests were sent out to teach the people about the law of God.
But in the New covenant that we have, we don’t need any teaching priest to tell or teach us about the laws of God. The laws were written on two tablets of stone and were placed in the ark of covenant. Copies were made for priests and kings.
But the people were not able to do the law; none was found to be perfect in fulfilling the requirements of the law for justification and living. They all failed. The bible gave us the reason why the law was not able to make anyone perfect.
Rom 8:3 KJV For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Heb 7:18-19 KJV 18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
So, God decided to make a new covenant because the Old was faulty due to the inability of man to fulfill his own part Heb 8: 7-8.
Here is what the prophets prophesied about the new covenant as it relates to the laws of God.
Jer 31:33-34 KJV 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Ezekiel was getting closer to the mind of God when he wrote his prophecies:
Eze 36:26-27 KJV 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
Ezekiel says that God will put a new spirit within His people. And because of that they will walk in God’s way. This gives us a clue about what the new spirit will be doing.
The writer of the book of Hebrew is very specific:
1Jn 2:27 KJV But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
How does God write His law in our heart?
It begins with regeneration. Regeneration is being “born of the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit guides people to believe that they may receive the life of God. The Bible tells us that God begets us with the gospel which is also the word of truth (1 Cor. 4.15, James 1.18).
We are “begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth” (1 Peter 1.23). Through the Holy Spirit God uses His word to impart His life to us and have it planted in us. In God’s word the life of God is hidden; indeed, His words “are life” (John 6.63). As soon as we accept God’s word we receive His life.
Regeneration, therefore, is none other than having, besides man’s own life, the life of God. (Gal. 4.6, Rom. 8.15,16). God’s uncreated life—that which is “eternal life” (John 17.3) and which Adam failed to receive and which we did not have —now comes into us.
When the Holy Spirit begets us again and puts God’s life in us, He quickens our spirit (Eph. 2.5) as though lighting a lamp.
God’s uncreated life in man’s spirit—the divine Spirit makes alive man’s spirit first.
When the Holy Spirit begets us He also gives us a “new heart” and puts in us a “new spirit” (Ezekiel. 36.26). In giving us a new heart God has not given another heart but has simply renewed that corrupted heart of ours. Likewise, in giving us a new spirit God does not give another spirit, He simply makes alive and renews that dead spirit of ours.
Another glorious fact is that when we are born again God also puts His Spirit in us (Ezek. 36.27). The Holy Spirit now dwells in our renewed spirit. This never happened in the dispensation of the Old Covenant.
What, then, is the law which can be put within us and written on our heart? What is the nature of this law?
The law which God puts in us is the life which He gives to us. As soon as anyone has God’s life, he has this law of life within him. God comes among men in His Son, and God’s Son comes into men in the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who brings to us this life, and the operation of this life in us is what is here called the law of life. In other words, this law of life comes from the Holy Spirit. This is what Romans 8.2 defines as “the law of the Spirit of life.”
This law is singular in number unlike the law in the Old Covenant contains many articles, whereas the law in the New Covenant does not have articles one, two, three, on up to the last one; for it has but one article, which is the law of life. This is the New Covenant.
What is the nature of this law of life? Such a nature will operate spontaneously along a certain line. What God puts in us is life, and this life is a law by itself. He has not placed in us a mere outward form or letter; He instead puts in us a living law of life which operates spontaneously.
The Relation between Heart and Laws
The life which we receive at regeneration is a law. This refers to the law itself. But the operation of this law in us is more than one. God’s life has its operation in all our inward parts. It operates in our spirit, in our mind, in our will, in our emotion. So that what Jeremiah records—”I will put my law in their inward parts”—points to the operation of the law of God’s life in every inward segment of man. So far as the law itself is concerned, it is singular; but as far as the operation of this law goes, it is plural.
Benefits of the law of life giving by the Holy Spirit
That this life of God in us is both alive and operative is also positive and undeniable: and having God’s life in us, we should experience revelation, enlightenment, an inner voice, and an inner sensation..
The Spirit causes us to know and teaches us. We are able to receive it without questioning.
The Holy Spirit teaches us by intuitive knowledge or revelation, by perception and through conscience that is educated in the word of God.
One of the ways the Holy Spirit teaches is by the anointing which depicts His presence. His presence releases the life of God in our heart and the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that this matter or that matter is of God. You will have an inward witness..
The Holy Spirit dwells in our born again spirit and He is united with our spirit. When you desire God and delight in Him. the Holy Spirit will put the will of God or what He desires in your spirit. then your spirit will communicate it to your soul who will eventually release it in your body and outward circumstance.
Other times the Holy Spirit causes you to have compassion and love toward somebody. This is not carnal love but God kind of love. It is because the Holy Spirit is teaching you to either pray, call, admonish or intercede for them. Most times it is like you saying I feel like talking to this person but because it doesn’t come in the third person singular, you may miss it and be thinking that it is you.
This gives us an advantage over the Old Testament people who have to have the law read to them before they could know what God wants them to do or not to do.
Rom 7:6 KJV But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
Amplified Bible render it very well:
Romans 7:6 But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life].
So now we have the prompting. What is prompting? The action of saying something to persuade, encourage, or remind someone to do or say something.
To prompt therefore means:
To lead (someone) toward what they should say or do.
To show or tell an actor/person the words they should be saying, or actions they should be doing.
To initiate; to cause or lead to.
Luk 12:11-12 KJV 11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
Joh 14:26 KJV But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Joh 16:13 KJV Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
The Greek word for “guide” is “hodēgeō”
- to be a guide, lead on one’s way, to guide
- to be a guide or a teacher
3. to give guidance to or to show the way (literally or figuratively [teach ]): – guide, lead.
These are the few ways the Holy Spirit teaches a believer to know what he or she should do or not do. It is by inspiration. He just gives you a thought. Something you were not thinking about suddenly pops up in your mind.
A New Testament man will not need to seek the will of God from another person because we will know God by ourselves inwardly. It is one of the tenets of the New Covenant. Others are cleansing and the other is life and power,
So a New Testament man has the Holy Spirit who will teach him the ways of the Lord. He will have an intuitive deeper knowledge of God. The Holy Spirit will reveal Jesus and give knowledge about the Father and Son to the mind of man. We will be able to receive and know the things of God.
He will be able to love God and mankind effortlessly.
Gal 5:22-23 KJV 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Those, whose lives are adorned by the above virtues, cannot be condemned by any law, for the whole purpose and design of the moral law of God is fulfilled in those who have the Spirit of God, producing in their hearts and lives the preceding fruits.
The people in the Old Covenant could not understand because the law of God is written to the heart and not to the head. They do not have the spirit indwelling in them so it is difficult for them to receive the things of God.
1Co 2:12-14 KJV 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Now it knows God and is sensitive to sin. And for this reason, anyone who says he has been born again and yet neither knows God nor is sensitive to sin brings his experience into question.
With a new heart we may now think of God, desire after Him, and love Him. With this new heart we develop a new delight and inclination towards heavenly and spiritual things. And with a new spirit we will not be feeble towards spiritual matters nor dull towards the things of God as we were once before. Instead, with the new spirit we will be strong in spiritual things and be discerning in the things of God (1 Cor. 2.12). We will be able to commune with God..
The difference between the New Covenant and the Old.
In the Old Covenant the law was placed outside of men, having been written on tables of stone;
in the New Covenant it is put into our mind and written on our heart. What is outside and written on tables of stone must be of the letter (2 Cor. 3.6).