by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 1 Study # 7 November 26, 2017 Humble, Texas
4 Who are Israelites; to whom [pertaineth] the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service [of God], and the promises;
5 Whose [are] the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ [came], who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
1901 ASV Translation:
4 who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service [of God], and the promises;
5 whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
I. The Legislation (Mosaic Law).
A. The term Paul chose to use is only used here in the New Testament. Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon has three or four references to its use in the extra-biblical world. It means "legislation"; the "imposition of Law". In Israel's case, it was the institution of a national constitution for a theocracy wherein the King is revealed as dwelling in Light to such a degree that no man could approach (1 Timothy 6:16) without a huge provision and condescension by God in the form of The Substitute (Jesus, the Christ and our Adam Who qualifies us for such privilege).
B. In Paul's theology, "Law" is the revelation of perfection wedded to the moral imperative of divine perfection in all of creation and upon all creatures.
1. As revelation, we have Psalm 119, 176 verses extolling the enormous benefits that the knowledge of God and His automatic and present moral imperatives. It begins declaring the blessedness of those who walk in harmony with that moral universe; but it ends 176 verses later declaring, "I have gone astray like a sheep...".
a. The blessedness is automatic to the practice of moral integrity.
b. The reality is automatic to the fallen condition of man, continuously going astray and never achieving the moral imperatives of perfection.
2. As imperative, we have Romans 3:20 and 3:23 ("by the Law is the knowledge of sin"; "all have sinned") and 1 Corinthians 15:56 ("the sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the Law").
C. As an enormous benefit, "Israelites" had access to the knowledge of sin so as to press them to "faith" as opposed to "performance" as a relational methodology, and they had the true knowledge of God's infinite moral character that leads to Life Unbounded (eternal and infinite).
1. This was directly related to the issue of "The Adoption" because that event acknowledges the successful preparation of the children to be "sons" and "Law" is the expression of the character of those prepared as "images of God" to rule in His Kingdom of "righteousness". The Jews turned it into a methodology for "qualification", being unwilling to accept its denunciation of their ability as sinners. But God presented it as the bottom line of quality for the character of those who are to rule.
2. The "methodology" issue is that "faith" alone in God's Provision alone can bring a person to the "righteousness" of the Kingdom of Light. "Performance" by unregenerated sinners will never measure up, but the standard of righteousness never wavers.
II. The Service (most fundamentally of the tabernacle/temple).
A. The term used is found five times in the New Testament and is used by Paul only in Romans and only twice.
B. As the service of the temple, "The Service" has to do with all that the Law set forth for the activities of the priesthood as they acted as mediators for the Israelites before God.
1. The author of Hebrews goes into this issue at length in chapter nine and the conclusion of the matter is that "The Service" was both "type" and "pattern", pointing to the greater realities in the heavens (9:23-24).
2. As a matter of "Israelite" blessedness, the forms of "The Service" made more explicit what the words of divine revelation declared. Everyone knows humans learn better by being involved in precise guided activity than by "reading the instructions". The Israelites were given a great lesson in learning by all of the forms of The Service, most of which was lost by their twisting of the knowledge into a legal form of relating ("do" this, rather than "believe" this).
3. This is directly related to "The Glory" as the author of Hebrews points out in 2:10 and 9:5 where "The Glory" resides in the Tabernacle of Heaven.
III. The Promises (Contained in the Covenants).
A. "Promise" is found in 51 texts in the New Testament.
B. "Promise" is connected to the covenants in Ephesians 2:12 as they are the undergirding commitments to "The Promise".
C. According to Hebrews 6:11-17, God made "The Announcement" of the Abrahamic Covenant to Abraham and added to it an "oath" in order to "more abundantly ... show unto the heirs of promise [literally "The Promise"] the immutability of His counsel..." Because of our weakness of faith, God added an "oath" to "The Promise" to encourage our confidence. Thus, we have the third of the parallelism (adoption/legislation; glory/temple service; and covenants/promises).