Oh how many today are quick to want to cast the first stone, ready to execute judgment. And let’s recognize that these judgments were given to Israel. But how should we take these judgments? Another big question we need to ask is how should they have read those judgments?
Grasping this study will truly give us a deeper understanding of our Father’s character, His love, His mercy, and His judgments. Why were these judgments given to Israel? Jesus himself said “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. “ (Mat 5:38-39)
Jesus said “BUT, I say unto you, that ye resist not evil”, “turn the other cheek”. Let me ask, did He want us to “resist evil” and avenge ourselves in the time before the cross? Or did He want us to “turn the other cheek” even back then? The answer to this question should become very clear as we continue. And when it comes clear, when opening the bible to some of these judgments, we will see them in a light that maybe we haven’t seen them in before.
Was this God’s ultimate will to “resist evil” before the cross? In Exodus 21 we read of some of these judgments including an “eye for an eye” and “tooth for tooth”. But do you think that it was truly God’s ultimate will to take out the eye of someone who had hurt our eye?
How would you react? Would you say “Now I have to remove your eye”? What about mercy? Where does that fit in? Was that God’s will? Some might say “Well, this was God’s will before the cross, but not anymore.” Let’s put away this belief, and let’s examine the gospel of love revealed in the law. Let’s look at what they missed, and what we might be missing.
Living and Dying by the Law
Moses told us about Righteousness that comes by the law and how many truly desire it and desire to execute judgment on sinners… Romans 10:5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
But Moses also told us about righteousness by faith. (Compare Romans 10:6-11 with Deutoronomy 30:10-14)
If you are truly determined to condemn someone, you are no less guilty than the person who has broken the law of God. You will be bringing yourself under the condemnation of the law. And as we continue we will realize that this is an everlasting principle that was true even before Jesus came and spelled it out plainly. Remember this principle as we continue. We are told that justification does not come by the law. There is a reason for that. The just shall live by faith. Let’s look at an example of “a just man” who didn’t seek to execute a judgment on someone he believed to be guilty of sin, and how he understood the judgments.
Joseph and Mary – A Just Man – The Just Shall Live by Faith
Joseph rightfully assumed that Mary was sleeping around because she was pregnant. Normally a woman cannot get pregnant without having relations with a man. She was found with a child. (Matthew 1:18, 19). And so how was Joseph to handle this according to the law? Remember this is still before the cross. Let’s look at the judgment for those who play the harlot as we read it in the law.
Deu 22:20-21 But if…the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: (21) Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.
You might believe that had Joseph found out she was pregnant that it was Joseph’s duty to have her stoned. This should have been Joseph’s first thought according to those who don’t understand the weightier matters of the law. But this is not the gospel, nor is it what God’s ultimate will was, and that is why the thought of Joseph was to put her away privately. Notice the true thoughts of Joseph, a just man.
Mat 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
“A Just Man” was not willing to “stone her with stones that she die.” Was Joseph breaking the law? Many would probably think so since he didn’t live by the law on this point. Or did he? The judgment is different than the law. In order to receive judgment, we have to break the law. So Joseph was not breaking the law. Joseph recognized the principle of mercy in the law. He recognized God is forgiving, and loving.
What did He understand that made him “A Just Man”? “A Just Man” seeks mercy. A just man seeks the judgment of heaven, rather than the judgment of men. Joseph was justified by faith. His understanding of “judgment” was an example of true “justice”.
Gal 3:10-12 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (11) But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. (12) And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
There is a curse to those who break the law. There is no curse if we don’t break the law. But if we desire that someone should be put to death, then we have yet to have to law written on our heart. These judgments were written because of the hardness of men’s hearts as we will see.
To have desired that Mary be stoned would have brought Joseph under the curse, under the condemnation of the law for seeking the judgment of the law, rather than if he had sought mercy. Joseph being a just man wanted to put her away privately. He didn’t want her to suffer being stoned outside her father’s house. Joseph saw and understood the “weightier matters of the law.”
When a child of God is wronged, he does not seek the law to condemn others. He does not cry “I’ve been wronged by Mary.” But rather, he realizes that He is beautiful in God’s eyes, and he would have been on his knee’s for Mary if Mary were in trouble. He recognizes mercy. He shows mercy. This is the weightier matter of the law, the spirit of the law, the more important part of the law.
Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
The weightier matters of the law were left out which include “judgment, mercy, and faith.” And most of us when reading that law who are excited to cast the first stone have yet to see these matters because we need a new heart. So why were these judgments given to Moses if they weren’t God’s ultimate will?
Mark_10:5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
The reason for these judgments was because of hardness of hearts. If people wanted to live by them, they could, and they were to be enforced. However, God’s will was that they would learn mercy and to truly know God and His will.
Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
He told them even back then, “I desired mercy”, not “death”. He wanted to see mercy given to the wicked. He wanted to see the love of the gospel shared with the guilty sinners so that they could become love.
The Woman Caught in Adultery
Here is a perfect example of how ready to execute the judgment that was given because of hardness of hearts. Jesus wasn’t teaching them something new. He was teaching them something they should have already been doing long before the cross. One of the greatest sins ever witnessed by Israel was the sin of David and Bathsheba. And what did God give to David? Let’s read about it.
Psa 51:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
“Thy tender mercies.” If anyone deserved to be stoned, it was King David. He knew better than anyone, he even murdered a man. But this story is a real expression of God’s love and mercy. Did God answer David saying “Nope, you sinned, your guilty. We have to execute the judgment”? David also had another sin and he was asked if he wanted to fall into the hands of men or into the hands of God for judgment. Realizing God’s mercy that God did not want David to be judged by the judgments given to men because of hardness of hearts and stoned, and wanted to show David His mercy. David chose to fall into the hand of Jehovah.
2Sa 24:14 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.
David should have been stoned according to the law. The judgments were only given because of unconverted hearts in Israel. But God desired mercy before ever stoning anyone. The example of Adam and Eve is another example. They were guilty and the penalty was that they must die. But God stepped in. God truly was David’s judge, and because God presided over David’s trial, David found mercy. And this was how the hearts of the people were supposed to be. However, David knew that the hearts of men were wicked, and he did not desire to fall into their hands.
Joh 8:3-5 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, (4) They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. (5) Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
“The law commanded us… “ What was missing here? What had they left out? “Judgment, Mercy, and Faith” since “a just man” lives by “faith”. These men were seeking to condemn this woman using the law. They had missed the fact that God “desired mercy” and because of not having “knowledge of God” they wanted death. Many are still preaching a ministry of condemnation today.
Micah 6:7-8 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? (8) He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
He showed them what is good. He desired them to “LOVE MERCY”. He wanted to see them love it, and see forgiveness. He didn’t want to see stones burying this woman. But because of their hardness of heart, they did not see the weightier matters of the law.
Mic 7:18-19 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. (19) He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Satan will use his servants to actually go to the sea with a shovel and try to dig these old sins up out of the deepest depths of the sea. It’s a lot of work. But God’s mercy endureth forever no matter how much Satan wants to condemn us. No matter how much these men who were inspired by Satan want to condemn the forgiven sinner.
Jesus knew what was written in the law. Jesus knew of the judgments that were given for hardness of hearts:
Deu 22:24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.
Sometimes it is very hard for some to understand this mercy because they haven’t experienced or recognized it. Satan tries to bring their sins before them over and over again, and because of this they feel condemnation. They feel that they should be stoned with stones. But what does God desire? God desires Mercy. Remember this example of the woman caught in adultery is still before the cross.
Jesus stooped down and began to write in the ground. He said that whoever was without sin can cast the first stone, and they were all convicted of their own sins. Jesus knew that this judgment was for the hard hearted, and he even was allowing them to manifest their hardness of heart for all to see. He was truly perfect, and his wisdom and understanding of the weightier matters of the law was so deep that it confounded these Pharisee’s.
John 8:10-11 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? (11) She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Did Jesus break the law since this was done before the cross? No, this is the way it has always been. This was a judgment, not the law. And to execute this judgment on someone who God desired mercy would have shown that Jesus heart was not right, but it was. This is the way it was in the time of David and Bathsheba. Jesus just knew the weightier matters of the law. And because of this, he knew that the Father desired mercy, not condemnation. If we desire the condemnation for another, we desire the condemnation for ourselves since we are to love our neighbour as our self, to desire the curse for another brings us under the curse of the law.
John 19:7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
They were misusing the law again. They didn’t understand the weightier matters, judgment, mercy and faith, and because of this they were guilty. God did not want to see us desiring an eye for an eye, or a tooth for a tooth. God wanted us to go two miles with our brother. But they couldn’t see it because their minds were blinded to the glorious gospel.
Matthew 5:39-42 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. (40) And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. (41) And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. (42) Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
When looking at the books of Moses, their was a veil over their eyes. And most today who read those same writings have the same vail over their own eyes when reading the writings of Moses. They see a different God, many see God as arbitrary, holding a bolt of lightning ready to get the first person who stepped out of line. May Father have mercy on them and forgive them for they know not what they are doing.
2Corinthians 3:14, 4:4 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ… In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Do you think that this might have been the way God wanted them to act even before the cross? I’m convinced that the judgments were abused, and for this reason they were taken away. That the weightier matters were given to them, and that they didn’t see them. They didn’t understand the law, so therefore they didn’t keep it.
Joh 7:19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?
Some are quick to say that the Pharisee’s kept the law. No, they didn’t according to Jesus. They misunderstood it. They thought they kept it, but they had left out the more important parts, the weightier matters. The principles that Jesus laid out are everlasting principles of the everlasting gospel. Understanding these principles, let us go forward and when reading those judgments, let us recognize the weightier matters, that it was God’s will to give mercy to those who broke his law.
Mal 4:4-6 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. (5) Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: (6) And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Don’t remember it like the Pharisee’s remembered it, leaving out the weightier matters.