Conflation and the Six Commandment Door to Life
Everyone likes that one thing, the panacea, including people in New Testament times. One of Yeshua’s contemporaries asked him about the one thing a person seeking life should do. Evdently the answer to this type of question had better be accurate. The questioner, in Mark 10:17, being a Jew, gets the top priority interest of all Jews: comply with the covenant. The interviewee is experienced and skilled in dealing with entrapment questions, and this looks like one of them. The man and his entire nation could hardly say they tried to find a one thing, it was all over the place. Adam demonstrated grabbed it, it distingushed Abraham, it eternalized David, and gave exulting joy to Sarah, Ruth, Deborah, and Mary. We have a record of one thing at work, while on the other hand we have covenant failure and God’s persistence in showing the key to life’s door, but the persecution of Moses, the patriarchs, and prophets is a record of conflating the discrete revelations of God’s design – Law, Prophets, and Writings – into a sweet and deadly deception.
Historical hostility to Moses
Did not Moses give you the law, and [yet] none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? John 7:19
Historical hostility to Yeshua, prophets, and Christians
- For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they [have] of the Jews: KJV 1Thess 2:14 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: 1Thess 2:15 KJV Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. 1Thess 2:16 KJV
- Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: KJV Acts 7:52 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept [it]. Acts 7:53 KJV
- To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. Acts 10:43
Inescapable witness to death
Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Matt 23:31
After claiming to have kept the law (perhaps he means he tried, or is aware of it) the questioner is exposed as a lost soul, whose life-interest was his possessions. There is no question that Yeshua knew that even with the man’s best efforts the man was one of those for whom He came. Yeshua cannot be forgetful of the difference between Saviour and sinners.
Sweet little thing
Our tendency to conflate causes us to treat the similar narrative in Matt. 19:16ff as identical. They are not. The person in Matthew is not young, and he insults the Lord by equating the Lord with a thing humans could do. In the realm of things we can do and of things we need done Christ is himself the answer. None of us dare tell any one that entering life is a Six Commandment Thing, and one would have to stark raving demoniac to argue that selling one’s property and distributing the proceeds to the poor opens the door to life. It may have been the best thing to demonstrate a readiness to repent and be forgiven, but as far as entering into life is concerned, all of us, people enter into life by grace.
After his resurrection from the dead our Lord tagged His own disciples as “slow-hearted” to believe the prophets, including Moses. Luke 24:25
A sweet and deadly deception undergirds human righteousness, in any form, and we do well to avoid the sting of death and its power.
- The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law. 1 Cor 15:56, But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor 15:57, Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Cor 15:58
- Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel. Deut 31:19
- Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee. Deut 31:26
Six, two, ten, one hundred or five hundred commandments do not amount to a righteous standard, and the Lord’s work (God’s work) is to believe. His personal accomplishment of God’s will was to die for us and live to help us and ours best accomplishment is to believe.
Who has believed the news, and to whom was God’s Arm revealed?