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Almost every atheist bangs on about Moses and Christians.

This is incomprehensible to most Christians, because Jesus Christ put an end to the 613 tenets of Mosaic Law.

Yet, the atheist’s bravo sierra persists: ‘So, how is it you can eat seafood and wear mixed fabrics?’

Why are they not asking this of Reform Jews instead?

My suggestion to atheists is to stop reading the ignoramus Dawkins and begin studying the Bible and proper Christian theology.

My ‘go to’ man for biblical Christianity is the Reformed minister and Westminster Seminary California professor, Dr R Scott Clark, author of several theological books and the website Heidelblog, devoted to the eponymous catechism and the Reformed confessions.

If every town and city had an R Scott Clark, we would have much less unbelief and a more intelligent articulation of Christian faith.

Take, for example, Dr Clark’s ‘Abraham was not Moses’. Most professing Christians know the difference between the two. All of us will acknowledge both as being biblical greats. However, for Christians, one outshines the other in spiritual terms.

Clark explains (excerpts follow, more at the link, emphases mine):

The covenant theology underlying the Reformed view of baptism does not understand Abraham to have been, strictly speaking, an “old testament” character. He was a typological character in the history of redemption (John 8:56; , Matt 3:9; 22:2; Acts 3;13, 22; 13:26; Rom 4; 9:6; Gal 3; Gal 4:21; Heb 2:16; 6:13-15; ch. 7; 11:8; 11:17;  but not an “old covenant” character. He lived in the period of, as Hebrews puts it, “types and shadows” (Heb 8:5;  10:1. see also Col 2:16).

We distinguish Abraham from the old covenant because Paul does so consistently. He does so in 2 Cor 3:14 when he applies the language “old covenant” not to Abraham but to Moses. Of course the pattern for this was established in Jeremiah 31:32, which describes the new covenant as not like that made with the fathers when they were led out of Egypt. In other words, Jeremiah connects the old covenant to Moses and not to Abraham. Paul also makes this identification in Galatians 3 and 4, where he explicitly distinguishes between Abraham and Moses. In Gal 3 Paul argues that the Mosaic covenant did not change the Abrahamic covenant which is fundamental to God’s administration of saving grace in the world. The Mosaic covenant was a codicil added to the Abrahamic covenant 430 years later and it has expired with the coming of Christ. The Abrahamic covenant, however, has not expired.

The NT appeals consistently to Abraham and to the promise given to Abraham, not in earthly terms but in spiritual terms, not with respect to the land promises (which has expired with the expiration of the national covenant with Israel) but it consistently regards Abraham as our spiritual father in the faith. Abraham was looking forward to the heavenly city.

This is true not only of the Reformed — Calvinist — denominations but of Catholic and the other earliest Protestant ones as well: Lutheran, which came before Calvinism, then the Anglican Church.

Liturgical prayers, particularly during the Holy Communion service, often refer to ‘Abraham, our father in faith’.

None refers to Moses. And Christ’s abolition — fulfilment — of Mosaic Law (ritual, hygienic, ceremonial) is the reason why.

Although other smaller denominations came later, hardly any of these — including piestist-oriented churches — observe Mosaic Law. Those which do, do so in error. Those are not true Christian congregations.

Abraham’s story is one of absolute faith and hope in the Almighty. God asked him to sacrifice his only son Isaac. When God saw Abraham’s faith as he brought Isaac forward, He had confirmation of the man’s belief. Does this occur now? No. However, God works everything to His divine plan. Abraham is a role model for us. God blessed him richly because of his obedience to Him.

Today obedience is a bad word, even when it concerns God our Creator and Father. However, Christians cannot consider themselves as such unless they recognise His sovereignty.

Certainly, Dr Clark would have expressed my thoughts more eloquently.

Suffice it to say that Abraham’s belief was one of hope. He did not see Christ Jesus on Earth. He lived thousands of years before the arrival of the Messiah. Yet, without knowing the detail, he believed in God’s salvific plan which would embrace all of mankind.

This brings us to the everlasting covenant of God’s grace and what Protestants refer to as the solas. As Clark explains:

The chief benefit  of the covenant of grace is righteousness with God and it is by grace alone (sola gratia) through faith alone (sola fide) which looks to the righteousness of Christ alone (solo Christo). This was true for Abraham and it’s true for believers today. Abraham believed as a gentile and he believed as a Jew. Circumcision did not do anything more or less than signify and seal his faith, i.e. it was visible word or proclamation of the coming obedience and death of Jesus (through the shedding of blood) and a seal or a promise to those who believe that what the gospel offers is really true for them.

Clark goes on to cite the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, specifically chapters 7 – 10 and 13. Essentially:

The comparison and contrast is not between Abraham and the new covenant but between Moses and the new covenant. The covenant that God made with Abraham was a covenant of grace, the covenant he confirmed with the “blood of the eternal covenant” (Heb 13:20).

Therefore, with Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the Cross:

The Mosaic covenant, the old covenant, is, in the language of 2 Cor, fading. According to Hebrews 8:13 it is “obsolete.” These things are not said about Abraham’s faith or the promise of salvation given to and through Abraham.

Thus, the Reformed covenant theology sees the promises and commands given to Abraham as still in force. The typological elements (bloodshed in circumcision) have been fulfilled in Christ but the promises and commands (to initiate children of believers into the visible covenant community) remain. This is why God said through the Apostle Peter, “the promise is to you and to your children….” The promise is the very promise he gave to Abraham: “I will be a God to you and to your children.

I hope that this explains briefly why the Mosaic Covenant is no longer in force for Christians. It was to prepare the Jews for the Messiah’s coming. It had a time limit. Jesus was meant to fulfil it, which He did on what we recognise as Good Friday. He died for our sins, and rose on the third day — Easter Sunday.

Atheists might wish to step back from Dawkins and read the Bible for themselves, along with worthwhile biblically Christian sites as well as solid biblical commentary.

Heidelblog is a good place to start.

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