June 2018           "A Journal of Biblical Understanding"           Volume 14           

(Daniel 4:25)
" ... and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will."


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For Until the Law...

To the Editor,

I have a question for you. I have heard  (Garner) Ted Armstrong and others say that the Ten Commandments were in force from the beginning of creation, and I believe this is true. So, in Romans, I am not sure what Paul means by this Scripture:

KJV Romans 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.)

Any thoughts?


This has been re-edited to add new understanding and to mention one of the latest articles you will find in the newsletter section that pertains to this question,   entitled "The School Master")

Dear Sir,
Thanks for your question. It is one that has been bandied about for a long time in the argument of whether or not the law has been done away. I will do the best I can to answer even though it might not fit what many others say about this scripture, ok?

Rom.5:13 "(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.")

First we must determine just what law is meant by "For until the law..."

I John 3:4 "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."

That is pretty plain, but is this the same Law Rom. 5:13  is talking about?

Romans 7:7 "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." {lust: or, concupiscence}

Paul asks here if the keeping of the law is sin, and answers, "God Forbid." Then he says he wouldn't even have known what sin was except that the law defined sin for him. Then he tells us which law he is talking about. Thou shalt not covet is a part of the Ten Commandments, so we know he is referring to those commandments as "the law" in this verse.

The Law spoken of in I John 3:4 is a different law than the one being referred to in Rom. 5:13.

Was there sin before Adam was created?

Ezekiel 28:15 "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, TILL INIQUITY WAS FOUND IN THEE."

Strong's defines "iniquity" as:

05766 `owlah o-law'
from 05765;  AV-iniquity 36, WICKEDNESS 7, UNRIGHTEOUSNESS 3, unjust 2, perverseness 1, unjustly 1, unrighteously 1, wicked 1, wickedly 1, variant 2; 55 1) injustice, unrighteousness, wrong 1a) violent deeds of injustice 1b) injustice (of speech) 1c) injustice (generally)

(The numbers refer to how many times the word is translated thusly.)

And, of course, we know that righteousness is:

Psalms 119:172 "My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.

Yep, ALL God's commandments are righteousness! Unrighteousness then is 'not keeping'   God's commandments!
Lucifer refused to KEEP God's Law and sinned.

Ezek. 28:16 "By the multitude of thy merchandise (trafficing) they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and THOU HAST SINNED: therefore I will cast thee as PROFANE out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy (Strongs-remove) thee, O COVERING CHERUB, from the midst of the stones of fire. "

Lucifer's sin was one of rebellion against God's Law (Ten Commandments). He "lusted" for a position in God's Kingdom, that of sitting on a throne with God and The Word. (See the archived article entitled, "The Seed of Satan.")

There were other of the ten that he broke also but the one that Paul talked about is enough to show that Lucifer broke the Ten Commandments. The Apostle James stated that if one was broken then one is guilty of all. They are a complete group, as it were. And, of course, this was BEFORE Adam was created, because we see an angelic being in the Garden of Eden who is now named Satan (Adversary).  He had been named that before Adam was created.
We know this was Lucifer, re-named to show what he had become, because of the Hebrew word used here (Nachash- means light-bringer).

So sin existed before Adam. The Ten Commandments were re-stated by God at Mt. Sinai but had been in existence forever before that. God reminded Cain that if Cain's attitude didn't change, sin lay at his door.

Genesis 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, SIN LIETH AT THE DOOR. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. {be accepted: or, have the excellency} {unto...: or, subject unto thee}

Eve broke God's commandments when she disobeyed Him and ate of the tree He had forbidden, as did Adam. All this entailed spiritual idolatry and lust.

Romans 5:13 "(FOR UNTIL THE LAW sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.)"

So what law are we talking about in this verse?

It is the law of Sacrifices which was added to the people because of their transgressions (sins-breaking of the Ten Commandments).

Galatians 3:19 "Wherefore then serveth the law (of sacrifice)? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator."

These laws weren't added TO the Ten Commandments, but were to be obeyed also to cause them to remember their sin and what was necessary to PAY FOR SIN. (death)

Deuteronomy 5:22 These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: AND HE ADDED NO MORE. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.

The law of sacrifices ended FOR TRUE CHRISTIANS when Christ died because He was the ultimate sacrifice ONCE AND FOR ALL TIME. Christ was "the seed" mentioned in the above verse. The law of sacrifices was a very expensive burden to those who had sinned because they had to bring their VERY BEST unblemished animals (picturing the sinless Christ) and sacrifice them before God.

Rom.5:14 "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come."

The penalty of breaking God's Commandments (death) reigned (presided over) mankind from Adam to Moses. The Commandments were in full force and effect. During Moses' time the law of sacrifices was set up as a reminder of sin daily.

So perhaps we could render Romans 5:13 in this manner:

"People continued to break the Ten Commandments until God added a law TO THEM that would teach them what the penalty of sin really is. Once they realized that the penalty of sin is death, they then strove to KEEP the commandments. The Law of Sacrifice did not do away with the Ten commandments because there is no sin if there is no law defining what sin is."

I hope this has answered the question to your satisfaction. As you can see, what seems like a simple question gets into very much in God's Word, and of course, that is necessary in order for us to understand. If there is anything else we can do for you, please write.

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