Laws in Sacred Literature: Patriarchs, Prophets and Sages

The Old Testament era sacred writings serve as the fundament of Western religious law, human ethics and morality. The first indicator of the shift from ancient polytheistic paganism is noted in Genesis, "To Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord." – Genesis 4:26.

A significant improvement came with Noah, "a just man and perfect in his generations," who listened and obeyed when God instructed him to build the ark to escape the flood (Genesis 6-9). The reward of Noah's obedience was the gift of laws, what have come to be known as the Noachide Laws.

Monotheism and Perfection

Every name of a person, place or thing has a meaning, a true definition beyond its face value.

Abram, who became Abraham, embodied the next step in ascension of consciousness, the move to monotheism and beginning the quest for perfection: The Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect. And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. – Genesis 17:1-2.

The Old Testament stories unfold a fascinating adventure when we read them as history, as spiritual and psychological allegories, as we use the place names to chart mental maps and a revealing "human geography." If the head is the Garden of Eden, the chest area is the Promised Land, and everything below the waist is the Land of Egypt, what fabulous tales can we unravel? What spiritual laws will they reveal?

The stories tell the soul's heroic romance in falling prey to and conquering the illusions and delusions of the world. Every name of a person, place or thing has a meaning, a true definition beyond its face value. Twelve tribes of Israel reveal positive character traits and personality types. Twelve tribes of Ishmael reveal their polar opposites: He will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him. – Genesis 16:12.

Prophecy and Distilled Wisdom

After the patriarchs, God spoke to us through the prophets – sometimes we listened, but often we did not. The messages that poured through the prophets are an unending stream of "Truth and Consequences," filled with God's if/then proclamations – "If you do this, I will do that." Most prophetic messages deal with various aspects of responsibility and accountability.

The writings of the patriarchs, wise men and sages share the richness of experiences they gathered during long lives of doing it their way and learning that obedience to law is the only path leading to lasting riches, honor and joy. We all do it our way until we learn the wise way. We learn the hard way until we learn to learn by observing.

Many other books of wisdom did not make their way into the Biblical canon for one reason or another. We present a sampler of these other sacred writings here as exotic side dishes at a banquet of Scriptural Orthodoxy. We hope the offerings from Qumran's Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library, etc., pique your interest, curiosity and fire a desire to learn more. All these sources are the flowering of monotheism.

The New Testament: Renewal

Yet, without the constant renewal of the Breath of Life, the entropy inherent in a closed system stifles the life of the law. Light, which is God, reintroduces that critical chaotic element through the instrument and process we call Messiah or Christos, Christ consciousness, which is the measure of chaos that Light deems essential to maintain health in an open system.

Jesus spent a lifetime preparing and three years in preaching and teaching as he peeled away the layers of prejudice and dry husks of opinion from the law. He rescued the soul of the law from the intellectuals, reinterpreted it as compassionate forgiveness, and gave it to the common people as a love letter from their Heavenly Father.

Law weaves its way through all the Biblical accounts, to be read with a discerning eye. On the Via Christa, law is our passion, our study, our companion and our guide. We have collected some of the more universal laws, which we share with you here. May you find as much joy in your studies as we have in ours.