“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
“We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”
“…and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations… and I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the Lord.”
Order of Contents
Wyclif, John – On the Truth of Holy Scripture tr. Ian C. Levy in TEAMS Commentary Series (1377-1378; Medieval Institute Publications, 2001), pt. 4
ch. 28, ‘The Status of Mosaic Law’, pp. 322-32
ch. 29, ‘Judaizing & the Correction of Fellow Christians’, pp. 332-38
ch. 30, ‘A Mystical Reading of Some Old Testament Laws’, pp. 338-43
ch. 31, ‘Christ as the Fulfillment of the Old Law’, pp. 343-52
Wolleb, Johannes – 14. ‘The Ceremonial & Political Law’ in Abridgment of Christian Divinity (1626) in ed. John Beardslee, Reformed Dogmatics: J. Wollebius, G. Voetius & F. Turretin (Oxford Univ. Press, 1965), bk. 1, pp. 79-85
Wolleb (1589–1629) was a Swiss reformed theologian. He was a student of Amandus Polanus.
Turretin, Francis – Institutes of Elenctic Theology, tr. George M. Giger, ed. James Dennison Jr. (1679–1685; P&R, 1994), vol. 2, 11th Topic
24. ‘What was the end and use of the ceremonial law under the Old Testament? When and how?’ 145
25. ‘Was the ceremonial law abrogated under the New Testament? When and how?’ 158
Heidegger, Johann H. – 14. ‘On the Ritual Law of Moses’ in The Concise Marrow of Theology tr. Casey Carmichael in Classic Reformed Theology, vol. 4 (1697; RHB, 2019), pp. 107-13
à Brakel, Wilhelmus – The Christian’s Reasonable Service, vol. 4 ed. Joel Beeke, trans. Bartel Elshout Buy (1700; RHB, 1992/1999), Appendix: Administration of the Covenant of Grace in the Old & New Testaments
ch. 3, ‘The Ceremonial Laws Given at Sinai and the State of the Church from Sinai Until Christ’
‘The Location of Israel’s Ceremonial Worship: The Tabernacle & the Temple’, pp. 422-28
‘The Persons who Performed the Ceremonies: The Priests & Levites’, pp. 428-31
‘The Ceremonies Themselves’, pp. 431-33
‘Israel’s Grievous Conduct in Response to Their Gospel Privileges’, pp. 433-34
ch. 5, ‘The State of Old Testament Believers’
‘The Ceremonies Were a Divine Blessing Rather than a Judgment Imposed in Response to the Golden
Calf Episode’, pp. 496-503
a Brakel (1635-1711) was a contemporary of Voet and Witsius and a major representative of the Dutch Further Reformation.
Voet, Gisbert – Syllabus of Theological Problems (Utrecht, 1643), pt. 1, section 2, tract 5 Abbr.
On the Passover & the Paschal Lamb
The Expected Changing of the Ceremonial Laws
1st Century Jews Expected Laws to Change with the Messiah
Jews acknowledged Numerous Ceremonies changing at Christ’s Death
Babylonian Talmud ed. William Davidson, Yoma 39b.3-6
“The Sages taught: During the year in which Shimon HaTzaddik died, he said to them, his associates: In this year, he will die, euphemistically referring to himself. They said to him: How do you know? He said to them: In previous years, on every Yom Kippur [Day of Atonement], upon entering the Holy of Holies, I was met, in a prophetic vision, by an old man who was dressed in white, and his head was wrapped up in white, and he would enter the Holy of Holies with me, and he would leave with me. But today, I was met by an old man who was dressed in black, and his head was wrapped up in black, and he entered the Holy of Holies with me, but he did not leave with me. He understood this to be a sign that his death was impending. Indeed, after the festival of Sukkot [Feast of Tabernacles], he was ill for seven days and died.
Without the presence of Shimon HaTzaddik among them, the Jewish people were no longer worthy of the many miracles that had occurred during his lifetime. For this reason, following his death, his brethren, the priests, refrained from blessing the Jewish people with the explicit name of God in the priestly blessing.
The Sages taught: During the tenure of Shimon HaTzaddik, the lot for God always arose in the High Priest’s right hand; after his death, it occurred only occasionally; but during the forty years prior to the destruction of the Second Temple [A.D. 70], the lot for God did not arise in the High Priest’s right hand at all. So too, the strip of crimson wool that was tied to the head of the goat that was sent to Azazel did not turn white, and the westernmost lamp of the candelabrum did not burn continually.
And the doors of the Sanctuary opened by themselves as a sign that they would soon be opened by enemies, until Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai scolded them. He said to the Sanctuary: ‘Sanctuary, Sanctuary, why do you frighten yourself with these signs? I know about you that you will ultimately be destroyed, and Zechariah, son of Ido, has already prophesied concerning you: “Open your doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour your cedars”’ (Zechariah 11:1), Lebanon being an appellation for the Temple.”
The 3 Stages of Ceremonial Law in Biblical History
A Discourse of Conscience... (Cambridge, 1596), pp. 19-22
“The ceremonial law is that which prescribes rites and orders in the outward worship of God. It must be considered in three times. The first is time before the coming death of Christ: the second, the time of publishing the gospel by the apostles: the third, the time after the publishing of the Gospel.
In the first, it did bind the consciences of the Jews, and the obedience of it was the true worship of God. But it did not then bind the consciences of the Gentiles, for it was the partition wall between them and the Jews. And it did continue to bind the Jews till the very death and ascension of Christ. For the hand writing of ordinances that was against us was nailed on the cross and cancelled. And when Christ says that the prophets and the law endured till John, Luke 16:16, the meaning is not that the ceremonial law ended then: but that things foretold by the prophets and obscurely prefigured by the law, began then more plainly to be preached and made manifest.
The second time was from the ascension of Christ, till about the time of the destruction of the Temple and city: in which, ceremonies ceased to bind conscience and remained indifferent. Hereupon Paul circumcised Timothy; the apostles after Christ’s ascension, as occasion was offered were present in the Temple, Acts 3:1; And the council of Jerusalem [Acts 15], tendering the weakness of some believers, decreed that the Church for a time should abstain from strangled [animals] and blood. And there was good reason of this, because the Church of the Jews was not yet sufficiently convicted that an end was put to the ceremonial law by the death of Christ.
In the third time, which was after the publishing of the Gospel; ceremonies of the Jews’ Church became unlawful, and so shall continue to the world’s end.
By this it appears what a monstrous and miserable religion the Church of Rome teaches and maintains, which stands wholly in ceremonies, partly heathenish and partly Jewish.”
English Popish Ceremonies (1637), pt. 1, ch. 8, ‘That Festival Days take away our Christian Liberty, proved out of the Gospel’, pp. 25-26
“[Col. 2] verse. 17, What should we do with the shadow, when we have the body? another, verse 20, Why should we be subject to human ordinances, since through Christ we are dead to them, and have nothing ado with them?…
…whereas it might bee thought, that the apostle does not condemn all holy-days, because both he permits others to observe days, Rom. 14:5, and he himself also did observe one of the Jewish feasts, Acts 18:21. It is easily answered that our holy-days have no warrant from these places…
…that which the apostle either said or did hereanent, is to be expounded and understood of bearing with the weak Jews, whom he permitted to esteeme one day above another, and for whose cause he did in his own practice, thus far apply himself to their infirmity at [???] time, when they could not possibly be as yet fully and throughly instructed concerning Christian liberty and the abrogation of the Ceremonial Law, because the Gospel was as yet not fully propagated: and when the Mosaical rites were like a dead man not yet buried, as Augustine’s simile runs. So that all this can make nothing for holy-days after the full promulgation of the Gospel, and after that the Jewish ceremonies are not only dead, but also buried, and so deadly to be used by us. Hence it is, that the apostle will not bear with the observation days in Christian Churches, who have known God as he speaks.”
The Sabbatical & Jubilee Years in History
The Sabbatical Year, where all of Israel was to rest and cease from normal labor for a year, was to happen every seven years according to Leviticus. The Jubilee year is when Hebrew slaves were to be set free, debts cancelled, and the people were to rest, every 50 years.
Though these years were never fully celebrated in Israel before the Babylonian captivity (586 BC), according to Scripture’s testimony, yet the below will be of significant interest. To see that James Ussher, the 1600’s puritan, was fundamentally correct in his approach to chronology, see our page Bible Chronology.
Larry Pierce, ‘Appendix E – Some Objections Considered’ in the appendices to James Ussher, Annals of the World, in this document, p. 40
“Josephus [a 1st century Jewish historian] records a Sabbatical year in 163 BC and 37 BC. This agrees with the start of the first Sabbatical year as deduced from the Bible by Ussher of 1445 BC and the resulting cycles…
Ussher noted some very interesting Jubilee years in history:
a) When Solomon finished the temple in the eighth month (about November) of 1005 BC, he waited until the seventh month (about October) of the following year to dedicate this multi-billion dollar building—the seventh month of 1004 BC was the start of a Jubilee.
b) The seventh month of the same year of Hezekiah’s deliverance from the Assyrians in 710 BC, was the start of a Jubilee.
c) The Jubilee year in 563/562 BC marked the year when Nebuchadnezzar was freed from his insanity and Jeconiah was freed from his imprisonment.
d) The last Jubilee in biblical history heralded the start of the ministry of John the Baptist in the fall of 26 AD.”
Voet, Gisbert – Syllabus of Theological Problems (Utrecht, 1643), pt. 1, section 2, tract 5 Abbr.
“The ceremonies are Christ veiled: Christ wrapped in swaddling-cloths, Christ the Son of righteousness shining through a cloud. Christ was implicitly revealed in them all.”
Francis Roberts, 1675