The Works of the Law Text - or MMT (No. 104)
(Edition 2.0 19950415-19990618) Audio
This paper explains what it is that Paul refers to as the Works of the Law in his epistles. This most misunderstood subject is explained in view of the more recent archaeological evidence using the Dead Sea Scrolls. The texts translated by Quimron and Strugnell are examined. It shows that the Works of the Law is a body of writings extant in the first century, the Miqsat Maíase Ha-Torah or MMT, which have only recently been recovered. This makes Paul more intelligible to modern Christians.
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The Works of the Law Text - or MMT
This paper is the last in the series on the law. It concerns the concept of the works of the law to which Paul refers. There has been an attack on the church made worldwide, over an extensive period, trying to do away with the concept that the law exists, and using Paulís comments in Galatians and Romans as the basis. The arguments are spurious, but they are not well understood
Romans 3:20 20 For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (RSV)
Paul uses a term called the works of the law. Most modern Christians have assumed that what he is talking about is the law of Moses. They are assuming that he is saying the law is done away. The works of the law are of no avail, and the works of the law are not part of the system. Everyone then writes those comments back to the Old Testament generally, and says the works of the law have no relevance to us. That argument is not correct because of the arguments in the paper Distinction in the Law (No. 96). In that paper it was shown how Godís laws were eternal, and they proceeded from His nature. It was also shown that the sacrificial law was the thing that was nailed to cross and not the Moral law of the commandments. There is another aspect, called the works of the law, which relates to the sacrificial law, and relates to the law of God only in an indirect way. The works of the law have not been understood, and it is only now, through archaeological evidence, that we are able to understand what Paul was actually addressing. We can now demonstrate that Paul was actually talking about a body of writings, which became prevalent in Judaic sectarianism, based around Qumran, and which had no part in rabbinical Judaism. It was used because the Essene and others had rejected the Talmud and the Temple system and priesthood. They were the Bible only groups of the first centuries BC/AD. We will see that Paulís term the works of the law refers to a sectarian analysis of ritual purifications which have no basis in salvation. They do not refer to the laws of God for spiritual salvation at all. They refer, only indirectly, to the Holy Days. They refer to sacrifice and cleansing, i.e. ritual purifications. We will see, from the sequence, what was involved. In Romans 3:20 we have the first comment of this nature. It says therefore by the deeds of the law. Some versions translate the text the works of the law.
Romans 3:20-27 20 For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; 26 it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus. 27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On the principle of works? No, but on the principle of faith. (RSV)
Here Paul is saying, in effect, by what law? of works no, but of the principle of faith. This is the central or pivotal hinge of the extension of salvation to mankind. Yet Paul upholds the law.
Romans 3:28-31 28 For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of their faith and the uncircumcised through their faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. (RSV)
So Paul is establishing the law in the Roman Church, yet he is saying that the works of the law here are not correct. They do not confer any salvation. Salvation is only through faith in Jesus Christ. Why did Paul become involved in this argument? Many, because of the clear conflict in the terms, have assumed that he was dealing with the sacrificial law against those who were trying to defend the law. There is a problem with Paulís statements and the cohesiveness of the Bible, because there are clear contradictions in what Paul is saying. On one hand he is saying one must uphold the commandments, and on the other hand, he is saying that these works of the law confer no advantage. This apparent conflict had to be resolved. The final answer, apart from the clear distinction between the Moral and sacrificial law we have addressed in the Distinction in the Law paper, lay in a body of writings, of which we were unaware. The term he used is ergoon nomou, (in the Romanised Greek), meaning the works of the law. That translates a Hebrew term, we have found now from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The term is Miqsat Maíase Ha-Torah, or MMT, the translation of which, by Strugnell and Qimron, is Some of the Precepts of Torah. It is found nowhere in rabbinic Judaism. It did not become normative and the understanding was hence lost. However, miqsat does not mean simply some. When used in MMT it does not refer to some random laws. An understanding can be gleaned from its use in the Talmud. Thus Martin Abegg considers (Paul, Works of the Law and MMT, Biblical Archaeology Review, Nov.-Dec. 1994, pp. 52 ff), that we might translate the word as some important or pertinent. Strugnell and Qimron translate the phrase maíase ha torah as precepts of Torah. Lawrence Schiffman suggests legal rulings of Torah (from Abegg ibid). Perhaps that is more generally translated as the specifics of the law. But its use in the Greek has been translated as ergoon nomou. This term was used in the Septuagint to translate the term maíase ha torah. The term ergoon nomou is the term used by Paul and which is translated into English as the works of the law. It is becoming obvious that Paul was actually talking about a view of the law which the Qumran sect held, and which became current in non-rabbinical Judaism in the first century and did not become part of Talmudic tradition and translation. It did not become part of what we understand as general Judaic thought. It then passed away. We had to wait until the Dead Sea Scrolls to see the copies recovered and translated. From those finds we could then properly understand Paul. We will go through some of these texts, and then go through what the actual Dead Sea Scrolls say the regulations are. We will get a feel for the sort of things that Paul is attacking. We will see what he is saying is done away with. It confers no benefit. It has nothing to do with our view of salvation, of the regulations in the Old Testament, covering us. It is concerned with the sacrificial and the ceremonial purification laws. It confers righteousness by works through a misreading of a text.
There has been a court case fought in America over the rights of the Works of the Law or translations of the MMT, as they call it. Elisha Qimron and John Strugnell have produced the text. They are trying to retain the rights of the Qumran texts. You may say "What does it matter to us? What does it matter whether they dig up a paper in Qumran? And how does that affect our faith?" The answer is that it gives us another tool, a weapon or shield, against those who try to tear down the faith and the law. Once you do away with the law, you do away with the concept of sin, and you do away with the concept of the Holy Days of Unleavened Bread. You attack the very basis of Godís plan of salvation. The obscuring of the meaning makes it difficult for us to understand what Christ is doing with us, and how he is taking us forward.
Discussion about what Paul said in Romans and Galatians can be defended and explained through the increased understanding. The explanation is that he was talking about the Works of the Law - the Miqsat maíase ha-torah or MMT, which is specifically a writing of the Qumran sects, which entered sectarian Judaism in the first century, and disappeared from the second, third and fourth centuries.
After the dispersal, after the fall of Jerusalem, and, ultimately, the fall of the Massada, the MMT was lost. It remained in a cave in Qumran. The understanding of what Paul was saying was locked up, so people who wanted to do away with Godís laws used New Testament texts to strike down the law through what Paul was saying. The New Testament letters were also used to attack Paulís attitudes, and then because of it, the Jews themselves felt under threat because of what Paul was saying. It introduced what appeared to be an apparent contradiction into the Bible texts. Galatians 2:13 gives a feel of what is happening.
Galatians 2:13 13 And with him the rest of the Jews acted insincerely, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their insincerity. (RSV)
They got to Barnabas in other words, so the elect were not immune from this reasoning.
Galatians 2:14-16 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?" 15 We ourselves, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, 16 yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified. (RSV)
Now the term works of the law has generally been taken to have meaning from the two words as, the workings of the law, but in fact it is, as we see, a title, Works of the Law, which translate the Hebrew title Miqsat maíase ha-torah. From now on, we can identify this as a title of a Judaic work of the first century, which tries to convey some justification by works. Galatians 3:1-14 gives further explanation.
Galatians 3:1-14 1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? 4 Did you experience so many things in vain? -- if it really is in vain. 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? 6 Thus Abraham "believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." 7 So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." 9 So then, those who are men of faith are blessed with Abraham who had faith. 10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them." 11Now it is evident that no man is justified before God by the law; for "He who through faith is righteous shall live"; 12 but the law does not rest on faith, for "He who does them shall live by them." 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us -- for it is written, "Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree" -- 14 that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (RSV)
Paul refers to Abraham in the text in Galatians, because Abraham was reckoned righteous, from the texts in Genesis. The whole composition of the righteousness of Abraham was from Genesis 22:16 where Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac at Godís command. And Abegg raises this as a point (ibid). He thinks that there is one possibility, and it is a very strong possibility, otherwise Paul would not have used the reference in relation to this text. He would not have spoken about the works of the law, and used the example of Abraham, unless that example was specific to action and reckoning to righteousness. The fact was that he was reckoned righteous by what he had done. Abegg makes a very good point, and it appears correct, that the basis of the works of the law conferring righteousness was perhaps also taken from Psalm 106:30-31.
Psalm 106:30-31 30 Then Phin'ehas stood up and interposed, and the plague was stayed. 31 And that has been reckoned to him as righteousness from generation to generation for ever. (RSV)
What contemporary Judaism, and then the Church, had done is taken this concept where Phinehas stood up, and through his action, by what he did, was counted righteous for all generations. So the Qumran sect and the MMT, and the groups who thought that the law could confer righteousness by works, took this text and applied it as being the justification for righteousness being conferred through the actions of individuals. The Sons of Zadok was the title the Qumran sect used. That Zadok, high priest under David and Solomon, was the direct descendant of Phinehas supports this view. Paul said that no man is justified before God by the law. He who through faith is righteous shall live.
Thus righteousness is obedience to the commandments through faith. Adherence to the law without faith in a higher system is nothing. That is the concept being attacked. This physical view of righteousness was held despite the fact that there are many biblical texts in Isaiah, particularly Isaiah 9:1-6, talking about Messiah, and Isaiah 53, talking about his suffering and the taking away of sin. All of those texts pointed towards the expiatory sacrifice of the Messiah to remove sin. Yet these people thought that through works they could achieve righteousness. As Paul said Oh foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you? Did you receive the spirit by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?" And then he dealt with Abraham. Paul saw that their position derived from the two texts, although he didnít mention Phinehas. However it seems certain that the text of Abraham being justified by his obedience and his works in the sacrifice of Isaac, was the basis of their thinking. It may actually have even played a part in their Monastic celibacy in some areas. Perhaps from the sacrifice of children, by not having any, you confer celibacy with righteousness. So you are counted righteous by simply denying your offspring. It is a bizarre sort of reasoning. But one suspects that it may actually be that simple. There are other ritual purifications, which make that a logical extension, because you cannot be ritually pure all the time, under the law, given all of the limitations within human life. Abegg seems to make a good case for the origin of the name. He points out that MMT is couched in the exact language of what Paul was rebutting in his letter to Galatians (Gal. 2:16) (Abegg op. cit. p. 55).
One then asks the question: What is the Works of the Law? Qimron and Strugnell have done a reconstruction of the Works of the Law in the DSS texts. It consists of three parts. It is, firstly, a calendar consisting of lines of numbers from 1 to 21. Secondly, it is sections of the law, consisting of the second set of the Hebrew texts, numbered 1 to 82. Thirdly, it has an epilogue, consisting of a third set of texts, from 1 to 32.
Fragments of six separate copies of the MMT were found at Qumran, so it is not an isolated text. There were multiple copies of them. They are designated in two ways, first by 4Q numbers, indicating that they came from Qumran cave 4. These are 4Q394 through 4Q399. Second, they are designated by letter a through f. In the left margin the source of the text is indicated by letter and 4Q number (in parenthesis). Thus the first 18 lines of the calendar come from copy a, which is equal to 4Q394. The numbers following the 4Q numbers identify columns and lines (many are repeated in other texts) (Annex A).
Line one reads i [the sixteenth (day) of it (i.e. the second month) is a Sabbath]. Now these are not biblical positions. These are perhaps based also on the solar calendar in Qumran, which is wrong. It throws the Holy Day system out as well. That is a reason why some of the calendar structures affected had to be removed. That is why they could not be allowed to survive past the second century.
The reconstruction says:
The twenty-third of it is a Sabbath. The thirtieth [of it is a Sabbath. The seventh of the third (month) is a Sabbath - the fourteenth of it is a Sabbath - the fifteenth of it is the Festival of Weeks [Thus Pentecost fell on the 14th and 15th of the third month for Qumran: this is contrary to Leviticus 23. The text continues]. The twenty-
ii fi]rst of it is a Sabbath. The twenty-eighth of it is a Sabbath After it (i.e. the Sabbath), Sunday and Monday, [Tuesday is to be added (to this month).
These are the reconstructions (in the day names that we use, so that you understand what the days of the week are in modern terms). The text continues:
And the season terminates - ninety-one days. The first of the fourth month is a Memorial Day. The fourth]
iii of it [is a Sabbath]. The el[eventh] of it is a Sabbath. The eighteenth of it is a Sabbath. The twenty-fifth of it is a Sabbath. The second of the fif[th month is a Sabbath. The third of it is the Festival of the (New) Wine...
iv The ninth of it is a Sabbath]. The sixteenth of it is a Sabbath. The twenty-third of it is a Sabbath. The thirtieth [of it is a Sabbath. The seventh of the sixth (month) is a Sabbath. The fourteenth of it is a Sabbath ...
The text goes on listing then the Sabbaths down through the year, and then completes the year by Sabbaths, through the festivals of the new oil and the festivals of the wood offering. These are not Holy Day festivals that the Bible enjoins on us or that we are to hold through the Holy Days periods. There are a whole series of calendar festivals, that are in the Works of the Law, that are being enjoined on people without direct biblical sanction or at best by inference. They appear to have even sucked Barnabas in with this material. That was how insidious the material was in the first century.
The text continues:
1 Now these are some of our rulings [...] which are [some of the rulings according to]
2 [the] precepts (of the Torah) in accordance with [our opinion, and] all of them concern [...]
One has to remember that these are excavated 2,000 years old papyrus, and some fragments are missing. There are ellipses in the fragments. It continues:
3 and the purity of [the... And the concerning the sowed gifts of the] new wheat grains of the [gentiles which they...]
4 and let their [...] touch it and de[file it, and no one should eat]
5 any of the new wheat grains of t[he gen]tiles, [nor] should it be brought into the sanctuary.
Here we are getting the concept - donít touch - donít eat - donít taste. These comments of Paul all make sense now. He is talking about the Works of the Law, which is what this text is. He is saying that you canít get sucked in by this stuff. It is saying - donít touch this, and donít taste that, and donít do this. This doesnít confer justification. Your justification is in Christ Jesus. This is a radical new find, and it is an important text and translation. This is also one of the reasons why the Qumran texts were held up for 50 years. The texts blow away the arguments of modern day Protestantism. This justifies the traditional Sabbath and Holy Day position of the Church absolutely. The modern day anti-nomialists are brought to a standstill by the publication of this text. They are absolutely without excuse.
We go through to the concepts now (in line 5).
any of the new wheat grains of t[he gen]tiles, [nor] should it be brought into the sanctuary. [And concerning the sacrifice of the purification-offering]
6 that they cook in a [copper] vessel [and they...] in it,
7 the flesh of their sacrifices, that they [...] in the Temple court (?)...
And so we are talking about the sacrifices and the way they should be doing them in the Temple court. They didnít have control of the Temple! But they did have a minor edifice they referred to as the Temple. What they were doing was making up regulations for something that they didnít have control of. But they were, in effect, telling the Pharisees and the rabbinical authorities what the structure should be. Now this became a very persuasive document throughout the Middle East in the first century. So much so that Paul had to devote part of Romans and Galatians to the combating of this text. That is how wide-spread it was.
It talks about
8 the broth of their sacrifices. And concerning the sacrifice of the gentiles: [we are of the opinion that they] sacrifice
9 to the [...] that it is like (a woman) who whored with him, [And concerning the cereal offering] of the sacrifice
In other words, they attacked directly everything the Gentiles did in the sacrifices for the Temple. Their opponents left the cereal offering from one day to the next. They held that it should have been eaten before sunset on the day that it was sacrificed.
However, one gets the concept coming through, as with John, that it is talking about the woman, the false religion, who is a whore, because Judah viewed false religion as a whore in relation to God and as an adulteress.
It says of their sacrifice of well-being, which the opponents leave over from one day to the following day, but it is written, and on point 11, the cereal offering is to be eaten after the suet, and the flesh are sacrificed in the day when they are sacrificed before sunset. For the sons of the Priests should take care considering this practise, so they do not cause the people to bear punishment. MMT refers to the purity regulations of the cow of the purification offering, i.e. the red cow. He who slaughters it, and he who burns it, and he who gathers it in ashes, and he who sprinkles the water of it, of purification; it is at sunset that all these become pure.
Now we are aware of the sacrifice offering of the red heifer (Num. 19:2). The writers of the MMT are concerned primarily with the sacrifices. They are regulating the sacrifices. What Paul is saying, once again, is that all these sacrificial purifications were done away. It was the cheirographon, if you like the indebtedness, that was nailed to the cross in Colossians. This book of indebtedness, that these sins pile up, was nailed to the cross. But one can see how insidious it is. The sects had made up a secondary set of rules, like the Talmud, which became a series of texts that has regulated their daily lives, and it becomes an extension of rabbinical Judaism, but in opposition to it. So they are obsessed with washing their hands and looking at what they are doing, and what they are going to eat, what they are going to combine with their offerings.
Now they then address the issue of the priesthood. They refer to the priesthood as the sons of Aaron. They have instruction for the water of purification and its sprinkling. Discussion centres then (18 ff.) on the hides of the cattle and the sheep. The MMT talks about bringing them into their sanctuary. Also for example:
concerning the hides and bones of unclean animals. It is forbidden to make handles of vessels from their bones and hides.
You canít pick up a dead animal and use its bones and carve a bone handle and put it on a vessel, because it renders the vessel unclean. So all these are regulations of what you are to do in day to day practise. The MMT takes the Torah and extends it into these purification regulations.
And concerning the hide of the carcass of a clean animal, he who carries such a carcass shall not have access to the sacred food.
So you carry even a clean carcass, and you are not allowed to partake of the sacred food. For instance, from this, if you were working in an abattoir, you couldnít take part in the sacred bread offering. If you bring that into Christianity, you canít partake of the bread and the wine. So all of it is regulatory nonsense which Paul had to attack, because it attacked the efficacy of Christís sacrifice. However, he was not doing away with the Old Testament law. He was doing away with a body of law centred around the Old Testament law. The sacrificial law had quite clearly been done away with by Christ, as taught by the apostles, as I referred to in the Distinction in the Law paper. So you have these three elements. We are dealing with three different elements of the law in the New Testament. Paul himself is talking about three different elements, so that is why you get an apparent contradiction in what Paul is saying. Because we didnít know what the Works of the Law was. But the Works of the Law we now understand is a text, an explanatory text, like the Talmud, affecting the Old Testament. Now when you understand that, it is so simple. We can see through modern anti-nomian writings simply by our own understanding and comparison of the Bible as we have it. The MMT was not taken into consideration when Distinction in the Law was written, but it was quite easy to shoot holes in the anti-nomian arguments without it. With the text of the MMT, the anti-nomian arguments are destroyed completely. One is able to say to anybody who says that the law has been done away, that they donít know what they are saying. This is the significance of the MMT. We now know what the Works of the Law was.
MMT goes through the issue of the priests to that of the people, causing the people to bear punishment.
The MMT locates the place of slaughter inside the camp - in the northern part of the camp. They held that the sanctuary is a tent of meeting, and that Jerusalem is the camp, and that outside of the camp is outside of Jerusalem.
That is the encampment of their settlements(29-30). It is outside of the camp where one should [offer?] the purification offering, and take out the ashes of the alter and burn the purification offering, for Jerusalem is the place that he has chosen among all the tribes of Israel.
It appears that they infer from this that Jerusalem is a moveable site, as the settlements of Israel. This is of significance to activity in the dispersion.
They are arguing from these texts, about where the slaughter should take place, and where the disposal of the ashes should take place. Hence, we are looking purely at the sacrificial law, and the purification offerings arising from animals and the sacrifices, and from animals which die of themselves. The MMT texts are purification and cleansing rituals. This gives one an idea of the level of purification ritual that was endemic in Judaic society at the time. We tend to judge them by our standards, and what we do.
They were obsessed with cleanliness! Obsessed with ritual! It was a fixation. Paul had to deal with that because Christ had to place their understanding of religion on a stable intellectual basis. This view of religion was a stumbling block to the whole world, and still is a stumbling block to the whole world. It is only when you read things like the Works of the Law, you realise the magnitude of the problem that Paul faced.
MMT then goes on (from 36) to the sorts of eating habits concerning pregnant animals. You canít sacrifice a mother and its foetus on the same day. You canít eat a foetus that is found in its dead motherís womb; it may be eaten only after it has been ritually slaughtered. These sorts of things, from our normal handling regulations, are not done by us anyway. But these were regulations so that people didnít do those things.
It is then concerned with the issue of who may enter the congregation. Those named are the Ammonites, and the Moabites, and the mamzer, and him whose testicles have been crushed, and him whose male member had been cut off who nevertheless enter the congregation and take wives to become one bone, and enter the sanctuary. MMT here is talking about who can marry and who canít marry - what the regulations of the law say. And they talk about impurities of co-habitation and the fact that they canít be united with Israelites. MMT lists the sorts of forbidden unions or inter-marriage. The prohibitions on racial inter-marriage also concern marriages outside of tribes. MMT also talks about blind people, so people who are blind should be aware of all mixture, and cannot see a mixture when it occurs. They must make a reparation offering. So if you are blind, you canít mix anything because you have to know what you are eating or wearing. What a burden to put on a blind man. They are the sorts of things with which the Works of the Law is concerned. Now you understand why Paul was refuting it. Why he was so condemnatory. The proponents of MMT thought this conferred righteousness. There is nothing righteous about what we have read from MMT. The sacrificial laws have been done away. Sacrificial laws are considered to be a subject of indebtedness, but righteousness came by Jesus Christ. We would not consider any of MMT to be righteous, or any of it to be even central to or concerning our faith.
MMT goes through the whole question of liquids - dogs entering the camp - eating the bones of the sanctuary - Jerusalem being the camp of Holiness etc. They became concerned with that as a central position. They saw Jerusalem as the capital of the camps of Israel.
They talked about fruits of trees planted for food in the land of Israel. They had to be dealt with as firstfruits according to the rights of the priests. Likewise, with tithes and the flocks being given.
Also, concerning healed lepers, the sect of MMT were of the opinion that they may not enter any place containing sacred food, but should be isolated, and outside any house (64-70 pp. 59 f.). If someone violates a prohibitive commandment unintentionally, and the facts escape him, he should bring a purification offering. [[A]nd concerning him who purposely transgresses the precepts, it is writ]ten that he Ďdespises and blasphemes] (70 ibid.).
So we then go on through the concept of lepers and clean animals and of unclean mixtures, e.g. sowing your fields and vineyards with mixed species. You are not allowed to do that also from biblical texts. MMT then talks about ploughing with unequally yoked animals. There is a whole sequence of activities you should be doing. We, now, because of our urban orientation, take unequal yoking to mean people of different conversions. They primarily took it into the physical concepts of not being allowed to use them under the law, so they made further regulations (from biblical precepts) about what you had to do. Then there were the regulations of what you could bring into your home. There was also the concept of fornication with women. The priesthood were forbidden to marry the laity. You couldnít pollute your seed, so it was a pollution question; it wasnít a spiritual/morality problem. All of these concepts came to be viewed in physical contexts. The whole structure of the Spirit, our understanding of what we were doing spiritually, was undermined completely by this text on the Works of the Law. It reduced everything to a physical non-spiritual level.
Basically, MMT is there to confer the blessings and the curses. What the writers say then, when it is boiled down, is that some of the blessings and the curses have already been fulfilled as is written in the book of Moses. Some of the blessings from Solomon and some of the curses from Jeroboam (18-19 op. cit. p. 61). It refers to (21) the end of the days when they will return to Israel (22) forever ... and not be cancelled (?) but the wicked will act wickedly. (There are some ellipses in the text). MMT goes on from (23 ibid. p. 61)
23 and [...]. Think of the kings of Israel, and contemplate their deeds: whoever among them
24 feared [the To]rah was delivered from troubles; and these were the seekers of the Torah,
25 whose transgressions were [for]given. Think of David who was a man of righteous deeds and
26 who was (therefore) delivered from many troubles and forgiven. We have (indeed) sent you
27 some of the precepts of the Torah according to our decision, for your welfare and the welfare of your people. For we have seen (that)
28 you have wisdom and knowledge of the Torah. Consider all these things, and ask him that he strengthen
29 your will, and remove from you the plans of evil, and the devices of Belial
30 so that you may rejoice at the end of time, finding that some of our practises are correct.
31 And this will be counted as a virtuous deed of your, since you are doing what is righteous and good in His eyes for your own welfare, and
32 for the welfare of Israel.
MMT precepts of Law, or Works of the Law, becomes then the concept of conferring righteousness. That is not true. Now we can understand what Paul was getting at and what he was saying. The Works of the Law, the MMT or ergon nomou conferred no righteousness. We see what he was attacking and what he was comparing to justification by faith. We are better equipped now to argue for the matter of the meaning in Romans and Galatians and the integrity of the texts. With this paper on MMT and the Distinction in the Law paper, we are better equipped to refute the assertions of modern day Protestantism. It is now demonstrably obvious that they have got it wrong. It is not the Torah that confers righteousness, and it is certainly not these ritual cleanliness rules that can confer righteousness. What this was, was a codification or a simplification of the sacrificial and purification laws in the Torah to try and make it part of the conferring of righteousness.
It is the moral law which springs from the nature of God that exemplifies righteousness. You can imagine being in the first century as Christians sitting together and people are coming in with this prevalent writing. People were talking about it. It becomes generalised that we have got to do this action or that action. We have got to be clean. We canít use that bone to make a handle for that object. We canít take that animal into that place. You canít do this and you canít do that. It would drive you mad. We would have these people saying that it has got to be done because it is in the Works of the Law. The Works of the Law says. It is like somebody saying that an individual cult leader said, or Bishop x said. That appears to be what happened.
As we have had to deal with false works on the Passover question which attempt to create a 14 Nisan Passover from a tissue of lies, so too we would have had to deal with the MMT question. Paul had to deal with it, because it obviously infected the Galatian Church. It is no accident that it permeated Galatia but is mentioned in passing in Romans because the Jewish community in Rome was a lot further away from Jerusalem than Galatia. The further the distance, the less the problem, but obviously in the Middle East they had a serious problem. It was when the Temple was marked for destruction. That is why the Temple and all these environs had to be destroyed, to get rid of this, non-biblical, Judaic system. So that the whole structure could go forward in a cleaner system, so that we could look at the spiritual intent, instead of being tied into all this ritual; these elements. However, one of the casualties of the elimination was the knowledge of the fact of the existence of this material. We didnít know that the Works of the Law was actually a text. It was a book. It wasnít purely an action. We can now look at the texts in the light of the fact that what Paul was probably saying was, in fact, a reference to the MMT. It is not conclusive yet, but the scholars now are fairly sure - that is what it is all about. The implications are revolutionary. Not for the Church of God, who are doing it anyway. It is revolutionary for modern day Protestants who ignore the distinction in the law that was so clearly understood by them in the Reformation even though they did not understand the Passover and other Holy Days in the plan of salvation correctly. The Church is vindicated by this find. Modern Christianity will then be able to see, absolutely, that the Church of God actually had it right from the beginning.
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