Preface to the First Edition
It would not be possible, in the present temper of the public mind, to offer a more uninteresting book than a treatise on the Law of Moses. The feeling of the general reader is, that the subject belongs not only to the ancient, but the antiquated; not only to the old, but the obsolete; not only to the lifeless, but the discredited and the untrue. But experience shows that there is no reliable guidance in the feeling of the general reader, or the temper of the public mind. Nothing is more changeable, nothing less founded on true reason. The general sentiment that regards the Law of Moses with aversion, professes to regard Christ as the supreme expositor of divine truth, without apparently being aware, or at all events without giving due weight to the fact, that Christ was a zealous upholder of the Law of Moses, and avowed it to be his mission to fulfil that law—declaring with emphasis that "not one jot or one tittle would pass from the Law till all was fulfilled". An enlightened mind has to make a choice between Christ and general sentiment. Considering how purely human and uninformed the public mind is on such matters, there can be no hesitation in choosing Christ, though such choice necessarily places a man in an insignificant minority with much present disadvantage. Public sentiment will change and pass away. Jesus says, "My word shall not pass away". By this word, the Law of Moses is upheld as the Law of God. As such, it is entitled to all the attention and admiration to which the reader is invited in the following pages. (The Author, September 20th 1898).
Preface to the Second Edition
As was explained in a note to the first edition, this is the Author's last work. He died suddenly a day or two after writing the foregoing Preface, and the book was first published in the summer of 1899. This second edition of the book is now issued as a continuation of the testimony in hope of that promised day. (C.C. Walker, Birmingham, July 1910).
Preface to the Third Edition
After another fourteen years of watching and waiting, "the hope of Israel" is brighter than ever before. As the outstanding result of the "World War", the House of Israel is returning to the Holy Land, now governed by Great Britain under the Mandate of the League of Nations. This third edition is therefore issued with still greater confidence that the things treated of will shortly be transferred from the realm of argument to that of practical politics. This edition (reset) is a practically verbatim reprint of the last edition. (C.C. Walker, Birmingham, February 1924).
Preface to the Fourth Edition
A footnote on page 205 of this fourth edition, which is a practically verbatim reprint of the third edition, calls attention to a slip on the part of the Author. In the second paragraph he speaks of a "little lack of chronological correspondence" in the time of the sacrifice of Christ and the offering of the first sheaf of harvest. The correspondence is perfect, the Author, contrary to his own statement on page 205, last paragraph, falling into error of placing the offering of the first sheaf at Pentecost. It was offered "on the morrow after the Sabbath", after the Passover, and then seven weeks afterwards the two wave loaves, baked with leaven, were offered at Penetcost.
The Passover lamb foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus, the presentation of the first sheaf representing his resurrection, on the third day. The presentation of the Christ firstfruit community was typified by the two wave loaves at Pentecost. This is the apostolic explanation (1Cor. 15:23). The three annual feasts were a parable of redemption by resurrection. Earth's harvest is gathered in three stages answering to the three feasts. "Every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits (Passover); then the end when he shall deliver up the Kingdom" — at the end of the Millennium—Ingathering.
On page 261, and throughout Chapter XXVIII, the Author speaks of the high priest performing certain duties in connection with the ceremonies for cleansing the defilement arising from contact with death. These duties were performed not by the high priest but by Eleazer, the high priest designate. In this, as in the putting aside of the high-priestly robes for the services of the Day of Atonement, it was indicated that the cleansing from death was not by the Law and its ritual, but through the work of the High-Priest to come.
The Letters to the Hebrews is the inspired commentary on the Law of Moses. An exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, published from the Office of THE CHRISTADELPHIAN, is a useful companion volume to The Law of Moses, now sent forth in this fourth edition as a continued help in instructing readers concerning the wondrous things of God's law. (John Carter, Birmingham, February 1939).
Preface to the Seventh Edition
For the best part of a century this book has well served those who have taken to heart the comments of the Apostle Paul that "the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24). Thus are linked together what many would see to be two irreconcilable principles, the law which marked every transgression and the grace of God which provides for the justification of sinful mankind.
All the details of the sacrifices, feasts, commandments and precepts are shown by the Author to be part of a glorious whole. The Law provided for just and merciful dealings between men, a guid for healthy living and the Godly upbringing of children. While obedience to its every precept is not enjoined upon those who have been freed from the law by the blood of Christ, the principle that as God is holy so ought His children to be, remains true for all time.
This work is commended to a new generation of readers with the hope that it will assist in leading them to Christ and to a more perfect understanding of the Gospel of salvation. (Michael Ashton, Birmingham, June 1987).