As aforementioned, one of the serious violations of justice in Bragg’s indictment is the attempt to draw upon and finagle the articles from two different corpus of law in order to maximize the prosecution against a political adversary. Having just completed the first draft of a theological project which deals with this very issue, this aspect of the indictment has special resonance with me.
In dealing with the two main covenants in the Bible, Mosaic and Christian, one body of Protestant thought (re: Covenant Theology) insists that these two distinct covenants constitute one covenant with two administrations. Another notion, prevailing within Protestant Evangelical circles, is that the jurisdictional force of the Mosaic Covenant was abrogated at some inscrutable point within the Apostolic era (c. 1st century A.D.).
A corollary of this latter view is Supersessionism or Replacement Theology, wherein ethnic Israel has permanently forfeited their distinct place before Jehovah and that the Christian church now constitutes the New Israel, along with the promises which were made in Old Testament Scriptures. It is well understood, and justifiably so, that Supersessionism has served as the historical root and noetic basis for Christian persecution of the Jews over the last seventeen centuries.
Brothers, let me put this in human terms. Even a human covenant, once it is ratified, cannot be canceled or amended. The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say, “and to seeds,” meaning many, but “and to your seed,” meaning One, who is Christ. What I mean is this: The law that came 430 years later does not revoke the covenant previously established by God, so as to nullify the promise.
However, Apostle Paul cited a juridical principle of natural justice, presumably understood by common humanity, that legal contracts, covenants, and constitutions, which do not have an amending formula contained within the terms of that legal construct, cannot be changed without violating those terms and thus nullifying that legal construct. And just as the Mosaic Covenant cannot justly abrogate the Abrahamic Covenant, neither can the New (Christian) Covenant justly abrogate the Mosaic Covenant. The jurisdictional force of all three covenants remains and operates distinctly and concurrently, all having distinct and multiple purposes. Hereby, the foundational justification for Supersessionism is refuted.
As is well recognized within Christian circles, the attempt to conflate the laws of the Mosaic Covenant with the laws of the Christian Covenant leaves an incoherent mess of confusion.
See, I have taught you statutes and ordinances just as the LORD my God has commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land that you are about to enter and possess. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding in the sight of the peoples, who will hear of all these statutes and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” For what nation is great enough to have a god as near to them as the LORD our God is to us whenever we call on Him? And what nation is great enough to have righteous statutes and ordinances like this entire law I set before you today?
The Mosaic Covenant is, in the parlance of political theory, a social covenant, coming under social contract theory. The Mosaic Covenant’s first stated purpose was to naturally fashion the “Good Society” in this world, one whose fruits would be recognized by neighbouring peoples, although the latter had little knowledge of Israel’s holy writ. The underlying ethos of the Mosaic Covenant was a strict, even harsh, justice for the communal good.
The Christian Covenant, on the other hand, was expressly purposed for a Kingdom not of this world.
Its underlying ethos is that of grace which, while seeking to appeal to those dissatisfied with this world, was never intentioned nor can its principles be plausibly implemented in this world.
Christ, Himself, confirmed the continued jurisdictional force of the Mosaic Covenant until heaven and earth pass away and until everything is accomplished.
Do not think that I have come to [loosen] (katalysai) the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to [loosen] them, but to fulfill them. For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
Well, heaven and earth have not yet passed away and not everything is accomplished.
Christ would then embark upon promulgating a new and different set of ethical principles which would incontrovertibly modify the terms of the Mosaic Covenant if, indeed, that was their intent. The most obvious principle, within the Sermon on the Mount, in which Christ’s ethics differed, is contained in “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’ But I say . . .”
This principle of retributive justice was foundational to the Mosaic Social Covenant, necessary to maintain civic order. If the Hebrew community failed to uphold this principle, they were duly condemned by Israel’s God. Another clear difference in the Christian Covenant is with regard to the Sabbath which, by the way, cannot logistically be observed consistently in the Lands of the Midnight Sun.
If, indeed, Christ was modifying the terms of the Mosaic Covenant, whether de jure or de facto (via interpretation), Christ would have violated the clear terms of an unamendable Mosaic Covenant. (“You must not add to or subtract from what I command you, so that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I am giving you.”
“See that you do everything I command you; do not add to it or subtract from it.”
Covenant Theology seminarians, who subscribe to the “one covenant, two administrations” understanding of the two clearly distinct Covenants, are justifiably subject to complaints by critics that Covenant Theology lends to an arbitrary and capricious picking and choosing which laws from the Mosaic Covenant remain in force. At minimum, this mixing and matching leads to inscrutability of law and justice and to confusion.
Scriptures expressly repudiates the excising or subtracting of any of the purported 613 mitzvot in the Law as a violation of justice as it pertains to covenants.
Replace circumcision in “again I testify to every man who gets himself circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law,” with any of the other 613 mitzvot in the Mosaic Covenant, by virtue that they are in the Mosaic Covenant, and the juridical principle remains the same.
There is a subset of similar laws within the New Covenant, just as any two distinct legal jurisdictions share a common set of laws. But Christians are technically held to those laws within the New Covenant to which they gave free consent. There was no person at Sinai to act as representative from any of the goyim nations.
Returning to Bragg’s indictment of Trump, this same issue of procedural injustice through the arbitrary and capricious picking and choosing which laws from two distinct jurisdictions, state and federal, and their respective corpus of law, comes into play. As noted, “a precedent, set in Manhattan, would invite all kinds of creative gerrymandering in the prosecution of the laws, Kafkaesque in consequence.” And every citizen and denizen, under such a conflated and confused juridical regime, would face a greater peril to their life, liberty, and livelihood from motivated and malicious prosecutors with too much discretion in their possession.
Galatians 3:10; James 2:10