In his Anchor Bible Dictionary article on “Exegesis,” Douglas Stuart expounded on issues vital for an analysis, such as being undertaken in this essay: In all lexical study, it is imperative that the meaning in the present context be given precedence over all other considerations. The fact that a word may be used 99 percent of the time it is found in ancient writings to mean one thing is essentially irrelevant if in the context of the biblical passage under study it is used to mean something else. Any author may choose to use even a common word in an unusual way. Thus the final question must always be “How is it used here?”1 One additional matter, that of nomenclature relating to the categorization of biblical law, needs attention. The issue of the definition, meaning, and relevance of biblical law for the Christian is an ongoing enterprise, as recent publications attest.2 While there has been some discussion as to the legitimacy of dividing up the requirements articulated in the Old and New Testaments into various groupings,3 Kent Van Til recently indicated that “theologians have often understood the laws of Scripture under the categories of moral, civil, and ritual.”4 As Mark Rooker succinctly summed up: “Moral laws are understood to have permanent validity. . . . The ceremonial laws [including ‘sacrifices, feast days,’ etc., ‘for the Israelites’] symbolize and foreshadow the nature of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. . . . The civil laws pertain to those laws given to Israel by which they are to be governed as a nation.”5 While this essay will not become engaged in this discussion regarding how to identify the traditional categories of legal codes in Scripture, it will proceed along the generally accepted perspective that there is a distinction “between permanent and temporary”6 legislation in the biblical materials–the former being seen as moral law, while the latter is applied to ceremonial regulations.7 David Jones noted that “the ceremonial laws are also called religious laws, ritual laws, [and] cultic laws.”8 This article may use all of these four terms interchangeably, in view of the fact that “the ceremonial law are laws given for the functioning of the sacrificial system, including tabernacle/temple operations, [as well as] religious festivals.”9



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