I have great respect for Rabbi Yisroel Blumental, and have gained much from his 1000 verses. There are many things, though, where, I as a Christian Jew/Hebrew Christian, disagree with him. For example, the Rabbi says:
“The missionary argues that the Giver of the Law presented a Law which brings a curse down upon the human race (Galatians 3:13). The law, argues the missionary, is not something that can benefit man; it was essentially given for the detriment of man. According to the missionary, the system, as it appears, is flawed. Man “deserves” perfection and immortality, and God is withholding it from them. It is only by circumventing the system, through the acceptance of an unnatural belief; that man will get what he “truly deserves”. (I ASSUME THAT ALL THIS IS THE MISSIONARY TALKING – according to the Rabbi).
Galatians 3:13 says, as he correctly points out: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree.”
The curse refers to man – represented by the Jew – in spite of the fact that he is unable to fulfill the law. “It shall come about…if you not obey the Lord to observe to do ALL his commandments and his statutes…that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you” (Deut 28).
But, if we cannot fulfill the law, if we have no capacity to do all that God commands, why will He curse us? This is hard to understand for both the Christian and the Jew, But, this does not mean that the law was given for the detriment of man; recall the Rabbi (above): “The law, argues the missionary, is not something that can benefit man; it was essentially given for the detriment of man.”
On the contrary, this is not the Christianity of the New Testament. Here is the Christian position: it is man, not the system (the law), who is flawed. Much more, he is estranged, cut off, from God because of sin. For this reason he does not deserve “perfection and immortality;” what he deserves is judgment and condemnation. Man’s sin is the reason why God withholds eternal life.
With regard to Christian view of the law, consider the verses that follow Galatians 3:13, which is the verse that Rabbi Blumenthal quotes above:
(Words in capitals are from the Hebrew Bible; words in italics are words added to facilitate the understanding of the original Greek; I have underlined pertinent sections):
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Intent of the Law
15 Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man’s covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ. 17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.
19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20 Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
From the Christian view, then, what is the purpose of the law?
1. To prevent sin:
2. To put to death self-righteousness:
Gal 3:22: “But the scripture consigned all things to sin, that what was promised to faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” Only when you realise how sick you are, will you desire the physician.
3. To discipline Israel during its youth:
Gal 3:24: “the law was our disciplinarian (paidagōgos) until Christ came.”
We are no longer under the law, writes Paul (Galatians 3:25). But he also writes, “the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good” (Romans 7:12); and:
(2 Corinthians 3:7-11)
7 if the ministration of death, written, and engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly upon the face of Moses for the glory of his face; which glory was passing away: 8 how shall not rather the ministration of the spirit be with glory? 9 For if the ministration of condemnation hath glory, much rather doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10 For verily that which hath been made glorious hath not been made glorious in this respect, by reason of the glory that surpasseth. 11 For if that which passeth away was with glory, much more that which remaineth is in glory.
Rabbi Blumenthal will, naturally, disagree with these reasons for the law, but then all I am doing here is putting flesh on, and straightening out a bit, the rickety Christian skeleton of his argument.