Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and his sons had no rules, no structure, no Bible, no communication from God for 100’s of years. Just circumcision is established. Jacob’s kid Judah hires and impregnates a prostitute and no one cares and God has no comment. Judah only initially condemns his daughter-in law for being umfaithful to his son. Moses 400+ years later says God hates prostitution. Judah’s only pre Moses ‘sin’ is not giving Tamar his youngest son to be her husband according to Judah. Jesus is an ancestor of the union of Tamar and Judah and that is in the Bible. Really they were lawless for 400 plus years.
What About Moses and the Law?
It seems that Moses son born in Midian was not circumcised and God almost killed Moses on account of it.
Really only one clear command to circumcise before Moses writes the Law, and only Zipporah his Midian wife knew what to do it seems. This passage is not clear but it seems if God gives us one clear rule, He really wants us to follow it.
Moses then takes the slaves out of Egypt. All are circumcised when they leave Egypt, but none were a generation later (See Joshua 5:3). Was this generation mad at God for not letting them go to the promised land?
Moses had apparently put the first 5 books of the Bible into written form in this period but had not circumcised anyone in the wilderness. Had Moses given up on this generation of Israelites?
Then God establishes the Jewish nation and gives form and rules to give structure to life in this otherwise non coherant nation. It also helps us see we are sinners.
Then from Moses (c1340 BC) to Malachi (c400 BC), we cannot see any Pharisees. Everyone is too little effort in faith and given structure. The whole first 1500 years from Abraham to 300 years after Malachi, there are no people who have erred by being serious about religion. Finally, in 167 BC Pharisees appear who are passionate but missing the mark by simply being aggressivley religious. The Pharisees emerged from 167 BC.
Jesus Came After the Pharisees Emerged
I believe Jesus came after the Pharisees finally appeared in strength. It was the right time. We needed to see both ditches. The prostutes and the tax collectors were in one ditch and the Pharisees were in the other. We needed to see that. It was also the time of Pax Romana when people could travel on Roman Roads and the Mediteranean Sea in remarkabe comfort and safety not achieved for 1000’s or years before and over a 1000 years after this time. The Pharisees became Rabbinic Judaism after 70 AD with the Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple according to Jesus Words 40 years before.
In Acts 15, the Apostles decide to give up on all the rules from Moses except drinking/eating blood and sexual immorality. That was a big meeting.
Abraham to Us – What About Us?
It really brings us to where we are today. If God’s main point was the rules, he would not have left Abraham and his descendents with faith and no rules. Jesus would not have simplified to just 2 rules. Our Lord would not in the Sermon on the Mount have made the rules unreachable. Jesus also used these rules in the Sermon on the Mount to make us aware of sin.
Life is about Faith and Loving God and our neighbor. Simple, but we often make it complicated and judge other Christians too much when we all fall short.