Prepared by Ruth Magnusson Davis
Answers the question, what is abrogation in the Bible?
This is the second post in the Principal Matters blog series. I found this a moving and edifying study. Pastors, here is great sermon material.
The purpose of the Principal Matters series is
(1) To get to know the Table of Principal Matters in the 1537 Matthew Bible.
(2) To learn through Bible studies from the Reformation.
“As the bees diligently do gather together sweet flowers, to make by natural craft the sweet honey, so have I done with the principal topics contained in the Bible.” So began John Rogers’ introduction to the Table of Principal Matters in the 1537 Matthew Bible. The Table was a concordance at the front of the book, which set out Bible topics in alphabetical order. Under each topic were statements of doctrine and scripture references for further study. This series proceeds topic by topic, following the order of the Table.
Rogers began by defining “abrogation” as to abolish, etc. Then he cited scripture verses that declare the futility of the Old Covenant and of the decrees and ceremonies of that covenant, which is why it and its ceremonies were abrogated. The verses also describe the inner virtues that please God. Then Jeremiah prophesies of the New Covenant, under which God would write his laws on our hearts so that we can walk in virtue and please him.
Note: It did not enter the Reformers’ minds that a time might come when people would interpret the Bible as foretelling a future beatific age when the abrogated ceremonies of the temple would be restored in fulfillment of God’s will for the Jews. Please see the full introduction to the Principal Matters series in this regard.
Now, from the Matthew Bible:
(1) Abrogation: that is, to abolish or make of no effect.
(2) And so the law of the commandments which was in the decrees and ceremonies is abolished:
Ephesians 2:15 For he is our peace, who has made of both one, and has broken down the wall that was a partition between us, and has also put away through his flesh the cause of hatred (that is to say, the law of observances contained in the written law), to make of the two one new man in himself, so making peace.
Colossians 2:14 And he has put out the handwriting that was against us, contained in the written law: he has taken it out of the way and has fastened it to his cross.
Galatians 3:13 Christ has delivered us from the curse of the law.
Romans 7:4-6 … my brethren, you are dead concerning the law by the body of Christ, in order to be coupled to another (I mean, to him who is risen again from death), so that we will bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the lusts of sin, which were stirred up by the law, reigned in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, and dead to that to which we were in bondage, in order to serve in a new life of the Spirit, and not in the old life of the letter.
(3) The sacrifices, feasts, foods, and all the outward ceremonies are abrogated:
Hosea 6:6 For I have pleasure in lovingkindness and not in offering; yea, in the knowledge of God, more than in burnt sacrifice.
Isaiah 1:10-17 Hear the word of the Lord, ye tyrants of Sodom, and hearken to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah. Why do you offer so many sacrifices to me? I am discontent with the burnt offerings of rams and with the fatness of fed beasts. I have no pleasure in the blood of bullocks, lambs, and goats. When you appear before me, who requires you to tread within my porches?
Offer me no more oblations, for it is but lost labor. I abhor your incense. I cannot abide your new moons, your sabbaths, and solemn days. Your fastings are also in vain. I hate your new holy days and fastings, even from my very heart. They make me weary. I cannot abide them. Though you hold out your hands, yet I turn my eyes away from you. And though you make many prayers, yet I hear nothing at all, for your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean. Put away your evil thoughts out of my sight. Cease from doing evil and violence. Learn to do right, apply yourselves to equity, deliver the oppressed, help the fatherless to his right, and let the widow’s complaint come before you.
1 Samuel 15:22 Has the Lord as great pleasure in burnt sacrifices and offerings as he has that you should obey his voice? Behold, to obey is better than offering, and to give heed is better than the fat of rams.
Jeremiah 31:31-33 Behold, the days come (says the Lord) that I shall make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah – not the covenant that I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt, which covenant they broke, for which I punished them sore, says the Lord.
But this will be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will plant my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Micah 2:7-8 Truth it is, my words are friendly to those that live right, but my people do the contrary. Therefore, I must take part against them. For they take away both coat and cloak from the simple….
Micah 6:8 I will show you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: namely, to do right, to have pleasure in lovingkindness, to be lowly, and to walk with your God, so that you may be called the city of the Lord and so that your name may be righteousness.
Amos 5:21 I hate and abhor your holy days. And whereas you cense me when you come together, I will not accept it. And though you offer me burnt offerings and food offerings, yet I have no pleasure in them. As for your fat thank offerings, I will not look upon them. Away with that noise of your songs: I will not hear your plays of music! But see to it that equity flows as the water, and righteousness as a mighty stream!
Zechariah 7:5-6 Speak to all the people of the land and to the priests, and say: when you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month (now this seventy years) did you fast for me? When you ate also and drank, did you not eat and drink for your own selves?
Hebrews 7:18-19 So then, the previous commandment is abrogated because of its weakness and unprofitableness. For the law made nothing perfect, but was a preparation for a better hope, by which hope we draw near to God.
Unidentifiable scripture citation: Esay.ix.a.
– New Testament Scriptures are from the October Testament, the New Testament of the New Matthew Bible. Old Testament Scriptures and Apocryphal writings are taken directly from the Matthew Bible, with obsolete English gently updated, roughly as they will read in the New Matthew Bible when it is complete.
– Information about the New Matthew Bible Project is here.
– Sample scriptures from the New Matthew Bible are here.
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