Joshua and Judges: Mt. Gerizim and Ebal, part 3 - the altar of the Law and the sacrifice; Jos 8:30-35.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: Mt. Gerizim and Ebal, part 3 - the altar of the Law and the sacrifice; JOS 8:30-35.  


Announcementsopening prayer:



Though man was a law-breaker, signified by the Law altar, the Lamb of God would come to remove man's sin, signified by the sacrificial altar.


This was not done so that they could excuse themselves from the Law, quite the contrary, for the curses against them for doing so were read aloud to which they were to shout "Amen" is very extensive, and so the curses still existed though the sacrificial alter covered man's sins.


ROM 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,


ROM 3:22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;


ROM 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;


ROM 3:25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;


ROM 3:26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.


The wage of sin is spiritual death and the second judgment. Divine discipline is still in effect.

ROM 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

ROM 6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!


ROM 6:16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?


ROM 6:17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,


ROM 6:18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.


ROM 6:19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.


ROM 6:20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.


ROM 6:21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.


ROM 6:22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.


ROM 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


When they broke the Law they were to look to Messiah with a contrite heart and then offer the proper sacrifice in faith and repentance, which served as a vivid reminder of the coming Messiah's sacrifice.


It wasn't the sacrifice alone that was to be meaningful to the sinner, but what (or Who) the sacrifice represented, producing a humble and contrite heart.


In the valley, between the two mountains, half the people stood facing one mountain and the other half facing the other mountain, and the ark of the covenant was right in the middle, in their midst. The Lord Himself is among them, though they are law-breakers, and due only to the blood of the sacrifice on Mt. Ebal.


This produces a mind-set that sees sin and failure in the proper perspective of the cross and our sanctification. For the OT saint like David, who although he failed, loved God and was humble before the astonishing grace of God.


It is one thing for an OT saint to follow the Law as God's way (a standard of holiness) and another to follow the Law for justification. Justification is by faith in Christ alone.


In order to understand this we must understand the purposes of the Mosaic Law.


The purposes of the Mosaic Law:

1. Reveal the holiness of God and to reveal the standard of worship that God demanded for a proper relationship with Him.


The Law itself was holy, righteous, and good. It showed the standard of God's holiness. They were to keep the whole Law, not just parts, for if the exhortation by God through Moses was to keep most of the Law or as much as they could, then they would have equated Jehovah with a lesser or partial holiness.


2. Provide a rule of conduct for the OT saints and not a means of salvation.


ROM 3:28 makes it clear that no man is justified by the works of the Law. The Law was never a means of salvation, but it had other purposes. In this case it provided a rule of life for the OT believer. It was to be the center of his spiritual life and his delight.


PSA 119:77 May Thy compassion come to me that I may live,

For Thy law is my delight.


PSA 119:97 O how I love Thy law!

It is my meditation all the day.


PSA 119:103 How sweet are Thy words to my taste!

Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!


PSA 119:104 From Thy precepts I get understanding;

Therefore I hate every false way.


3. To provide for Israel occasions for individual and corporate worship, i.e. the seven holy seasons.


The believer must have a means of worship. A relationship must have communication and in this relationship, redeemed to Redeemer and Lord, the saint must have a way of praising and worshipping his Lord.


4. To keep the Jews as a distinct people. They were to be holy (set apart) as God was holy.


To not be distinct from the other peoples of the world would be to equate God with the ways of the world or the heathen. The world is fallen and under the rule of Satan. Neither God nor His people can be equated with it.


This explains the dietary laws, the clothing laws, etc. The Jews were to be distinct from all other people in a variety of ways, as in the worship habits, eating habits, sexual habits, clothing habits, and even in the way they cut their beards.


5. To be a partition between Jew and Gentile to keep Gentiles from enjoying the unconditional covenant of Abraham. The only way a Gentile could enjoy them was to undergo circumcision, put himself under the whole Law, and live like every other Jew.


This again is a part of the holiness of an elected people. The Gentiles were excluded as long as they remained unbelieving and away from God's Law. They could  enter into the spiritual blessings of the Jewish covenants only if they accepted Jehovah as the one and only true God, got circumcised as a sign of the  covenant promise and an obligation to the whole Law and lived in the conduct enforced upon every Jew.


6. To reveal sin. There was no confusion as to what sin was.


Paul states that when he looked into the Law he became aware of his sinful state.


7. To increase sin. Men were sinners before the Law, but they were not transgressors of the Law until it was given.


Paul stated in ROM 4:15, "for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation." He did not mean that there was no sin before the Law. He meant "transgression" as a specific type of sin as in the violation of certain commandments. Once the Law was given the sin nature had a written base of operation, causing the individual to sin more.


8. To show the sinner that there was nothing he could do on his own to please God and had not ability to keep the Law perfectly.


For one to say that he kept part of the Law was to say that he violated the whole Law. This was very important, which is why it was stated several times in both Testaments. So why follow it? One was not to do so to be justified or saved before God. It was a way of life given to a covenanted, elected people. It was a means of conduct for a people who were to be set apart unto God.


9. To drive one to faith in the Messiah.


There was no other recourse, unless you convinced yourself that you could actually keep the Law and by your own works be acceptable to God. Every blood sacrifice was a reminder, as well as all the articles of the tabernacle and temple and the feasts.


PSA 51:16 For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it [and only it]; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering.


PSA 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.


The broken heart is one that is broken of arrogance and independence. The contrite heart is humble. These traits belong to the one who looks to the Messiah as he walks before the cross.


COL 3:12-15

And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.


Rather than looking upon such things as burdensome commands that get in the way of life, the humble believer who sees all that God has done in the right light sees them as life itself - a life that travails the high plains of heavenly blessing and glory.