The Worldview of God’s Law: The Law in the Biblical Worldview (2)
The Law teaches us to expect more revelation from the Lord.
“And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’” Deuteronomy 18:17-20
As important for Israel’s well-being as the Word of God through Moses was, it was not the “last word.” God promised to send “a prophet” like Moses, one who would have the words of God in his mouth, who would speak to the people and explain the commandments God would give to him. That many such prophets seem to be envisioned in the words, “a prophet,” is evident in verses 19 and 20. There will be some prophets who claim to be prophets but are not, while there will be others who are true prophets and whose words prove truly to be the Word of God (cf. Deut. 13:1-5; see also Deut. 18:21, 22).
We must consider what the purpose of such prophets-to-come might be. Certainly the fact that more prophets, like Moses, were to come—and would have the Word of God in their mouths—should tell us that the Law of God is not the “last word” of divine revelation. There must come further elaboration and clarification of what God has communicated in His promises and Law. Such revelation will not be, strictly speaking, anything like an “addition” to the Law of God—since the Law of the Lord is perfect (Ps. 19:7; cf. Deut. 12:32). But it only makes sense to think that, with changing historical circumstances and the further unfolding of God’s redemptive plan, the understanding of God’s Law would be enlarged and clarified, and the proper use of it would need to be explained in each generation.
The Law is to the rest of Scripture like an acorn to an oak, or the footprint of a great building to the building itself. It is perfect and complete for its place and time, but, as the design of the oak or the building unfolds to completion, the contribution of the Law, its place in the finished product, will be clarified and, finally, fulfilled.
So it is with the Law of God in the grand design of redemption which God has purposed from before the foundations of the world (Titus 1:2, 3). The Law established a footprint in time which subsequent prophets would build upon in bringing the eternal plan of God to fulfillment. This plan is finally realized in Jesus Christ and His redeeming work, which is interpreted to us by the Apostles in the revelation of God in the New Testament.
So the Law points beyond itself, and we, who live beyond the time frame of the Law as first given, must follow the Law’s pointers and look beyond it to all the revelation of God if we are to understand the application and use of the Law for our day. The Law is the worldview acorn to the oak of Biblical worldview. It contains all the substance of the finished whole, but it is not the finished whole itself. If we would know and use the Law lawfully (1 Tim. 1:8), then we must see it as the Law itself directs us to see it, as foundational to, but not exclusive of, the entire prophetic revelation of God’s Word.
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In the Gates is a devotional series on the Law of God by Rev. T.M. Moore, editor of the Worldview Church. He serves as dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of twenty books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are The Ailbe Psalter and The Ground for Christian Ethics (Waxed Tablet).
Scripture quotations in this article are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, (c) copyright 2001, 2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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