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The Inward Voice

gordonmcdowell.com agendaminutes.calgary.ca www.councilconnect.ca
Video Rating: 3 / 5

Although the Law of Moses was given to the descendants of Israel probably sometime around 1440 B.C, God had already given the entire human race another Law that predated the Mosaic Law by at least 2,500 years—a Law that He wrote upon every human heart. This fact is quite obvious, because as Paul pointed out, “death reigned from Adam until Moses” (Rom. 5:14). That is, people were dying long before God gave the Law of Moses to Israel, and death is a clear indication of God’s displeasure and judgment. Because “sin is not imputed when there is no law” (Rom. 5:13), obviously people’s sins were being imputed by God before the Mosaic Law, because after Adam, “death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12, emphasis added). That indicates that there must have been a Law to which all were accountable even prior to the Mosaic Law.

That pre-Mosaic Law is also a post-Mosaic Law. It has been engraved by God on the heart of every person, Jew and Gentile, from the time of Adam until this present moment. Paul wrote that the Gentiles reveal “the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them” (Rom. 2:15).

As far as we know, that law of the conscience is the only comprehensive law that God gave anyone, with the exception of the descendants of Israel, for a period of about four thousand years, from Adam until Jesus’ public ministry began.

There is, of course, plenty of additional evidence that God’s Law was written on everyone’s heart prior to His giving the Mosaic Law. We can read in Genesis of people who lived long before the giving of the Ten Commandments who knew right from wrong. The Egyptian Pharaoh of Abraham’s day, for example, knew it was wrong for a man to take another man’s wife (see Gen. 14-20.) So did Abimelech, a Philistine king (see Gen. 20:1-18, 26:6-11). Jacob knew that deception was wrong (see Gen. 27:12), yet he deceived his father in order to steal from his brother (see Gen. 27:1-45). Judah knew that adultery was wrong (see Gen. 38:24), yet he committed adultery. Joseph also knew that adultery was a sin, but unlike Judah, resisted the temptation (see Gen. 39:7-9). All of these people lived before God gave the Law of Moses. All bear testimony of God’s Law written on their hearts, conveyed to them by their consciences.

But did the people who lived before the Mosaic Law know anything more of what God expected than just His prohibition of adultery or lying? Certainly. An inscription on a tomb overlooking the modern Egyptian city of Aswan, belonging to Harkhuf of Elephantine, who lived during the 23rd century B.C.—at least 800 years before God gave the Law of Moses—reads (in part):

“I gave bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked, I ferried him who had no boat….I was one saying good things and repeating what was loved. Never did I say aught evil to a powerful one against anybody. I desired that it might be well with me in the Great God’s presence.”

Although Harkhuf may not win high marks for humility, the inscription on his tomb reveals that the Law God inscribed on his heart could be summarized, “Love your neighbor as yourself” or,

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