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THE MOSAIC DISPENSATION ABOLISHED BY THE CHRISTIAN DISPENSATION.
HE taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.-HEBREWS, X. 9.
THE apostle wrote this epistle for the particular benefit of the believing Jews. They had been educated under the Mosaic dispensation. They firmly believed the divine mission of Moses. They said, "We know that God spake unto Moses." They considered the Old Testament as given by divine inspiration, and clothed with divine authority. They found a difficulty, therefore, in reconciling the law with the gospel, or the Mosaic dispensation with the Christian, which seemed to be inconsistent with each other. The difficulty, however, did not arise from any real inconsistency between the law and the gospel, but from their ignorance of the nature, design and meaning of the law. They did not know that their laws were in their own nature temporary, that their rites and ceremonies were altogether typical, and that the whole Mosaic dispensation was designed to prepare the way for the coming of Christ and the universal spread of the gospel. Had they understood these things, they would have found no difficulty in reconciling the doctrines, precepts and institutions of the Christian dispensation with those of the Mosaic, under which they had lived, and by which they had been bound. To clear up these points the apostle wrote this epistle, which is a plain commentary upon the laws of Israel, and very instructive to both Jews and Gentiles. To accomplish this purpose, his method is easy and natural. He begins with illustrating the divine nature and the divine authority of Christ, by which he was superior to Moses
and all the prophets. He says, " God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds." From the divinity of Christ and his su premacy above all the prophets, he justly infers that the Jews ought to regard his commands, rather than the commands of Moses. "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; who was faithful to him who appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honor than the house." "And Moses verily was faithful in all his house as a servant — but Christ as a son over his own house." After this the apostle proceeds to explain the rites and ceremonies of the law, and 'shows that they were altogether typical of Christ and the gospel. "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually, make the comers thereunto perfect." He now expressly asserts that Christ was authorized by the Father to set aside the Mosaic dispensation, and establish his own. "Wherefore, when he cometh into the world he saith, sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me; in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sins, thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come, (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above, when he said, sacrifice, and offering, and burnt offerings, and offerings for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein, which were offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second." Though there had been a patriarchal dispensation, yet the Mosaic dispensation was the first, and the christian dispensation the second, in respect to the Jews. The apostle, therefore, means to assert in the text, that Christ did take away the Mosaic dispensation and establish his own. The first ceased as soon as the second was instituted by Christ. This then is the truth, which is now to be considered,
That the Mosaic dispensation ceased when the gospel dispensation commenced. I shall,
I. Show that the Mosaic dispensation was abrogated by the gospel ;
II. Show how the Mosaic dispensation was abrogated by the gospel; and,
III. Point out those things under the Mosaic dispensation, which were abrogated by the gospel.