Joseph Prince’s Doctrine that the Old Covenant is Purely under Law & New Covenant is Only under Grace is One Big Lie – By Rev George Ong (Dated 19 Apr 2022)
(This article was also sent to Rev Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian, General Secretary, National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) office, and for the attention of the Executive Committee Members.)
In a weekly Sunday sermon aired on YouTube on 8 December 2021, (instead of preaching a new and fresh sermon on 8 Dec 2021, Joseph Prince aired an old and stale sermon that he preached on 26 Oct 2014.), Joseph Prince said the following;
“So here we go. The Bible clearly says it’s not through the law. And Abraham did not get blessed because of law keeping; you know why? Very simple reason. This is so profound, so simple, you’d be shocked. The Law, the Ten Commandments has not yet existed during Abraham’s time. Abraham lived 400 over years before the Ten Commandments was given on Mount Sinai and Moses went up there to take it. That was about 400 over years, people, 400 over years before, was the story of Abraham. And God called Abraham ‘My friend’. He’s a friend of God, and yet he doesn’t know the Ten Commandments. But did he walk in holiness? Yes. Was he closed with God? Oh Yes! But it was not through law keeping.”
Joseph Prince said that Abraham didn’t know a thing about the law until it was given 400 years later through Moses. Is Prince correct? Yes and no.
Yes, because during Abraham’s time, the law wasn’t officially given at Mount Sinai. No, because Abraham and his descendants were already aware of it, either through God’s revelation to them, or, at least through their God-given conscience.
Though the Law in the Ten Commandments was formally given in Exodus 20, this doesn’t mean that the Israelites weren’t aware of these laws and weren’t practising them:
Genesis 26:3-5 NASB
3 Live for a time in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed Me and fulfilled his duty to Me, and kept My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”
Genesis 26:3-5 ESV
3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. 4 I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”
Joseph Prince owes us an explanation regarding Genesis 26:3-5. Prince falsely teaches that God’s dealings with the Old Covenant people were only by grace until they had asked to be related to Him by Law (Ten Commandments) at Sinai in Exodus 19-20.
So, Prince needs to tell us, according to Genesis 26:3-5, was God dealing with Abraham by grace or by law? If it is totally by grace, why was Abraham required to obey God and keep His commandments and laws in Genesis 26:5?
The reconfirmation of God’s covenantal promise to Abraham in Genesis 26:3-4 is clearly tied to a condition – the condition of Abraham’s obedience to God’s commandments and laws in Genesis 26:5. This makes Abraham’s obedience to God’s commandments and laws vitally important.
The commandments and laws that were mentioned in Genesis 26:5 that Abraham obeyed were evidently related to the Ten Commandments that God gave to the Israelites in Exodus 20.
A comparison between the two following verses will make this clear:
Deuteronomy 11:1 NIV
1 “Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always.”
Genesis 26:5 NKJV
5 “because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”
It is rather significant that many miss the full significance of what God said about Abraham’s obedience in Genesis 26:5, hundreds of years before God spoke about the law to Moses and Israel at Mount Sinai.
Regarding Deuteronomy 11:1 and Genesis 26:5, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary explains:
“The Lord then added a remarkable note: Abraham ‘kept my requirements [mismarti], my commands [miswotay], my decrees [huqqotay] and my laws [wetorotay]’ (Genesis 26:5).
“It is remarkable that this is precisely the way in which obedience to the Sinai Covenant is expressed in Deuteronomy 11:1: ‘Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements [mismarto], his decrees [huqqotayw], his laws [mispatayw] and his commands [miswotayw]’ …
“Thus Abraham is an example of one who shows the law written on his heart (Jeremiah 31:33). He is the writer’s ultimate example of true obedience to the law, the one about whom the Lord could say, ‘Abraham obeyed me’ (Gen 26:5). Thus, by showing Abraham to be an example of ‘keeping the law,’ the writer has shown the nature of the relationship between the law and faith. Abraham, a man who lived in faith, could be described as one who kept the law” (Vol 2, 1990, pp 186-187).
In other words, Abraham obeyed the same foundational spiritual and moral laws in Genesis 26:5 that were given later to Israel in Exodus 20. These same moral laws are still applicable to us, the New Covenant people of today, not as part of justification but sanctification.
However, the symbolic tabernacle or temple ceremonies and rituals and Israel’s civil or national administrative laws were not applicable in Abraham’s day. Nor are they necessary for individual Christians today, because the physical temple is no longer the centre of our worship as it was in the ancient nation of Israel (Jn 4:19-21; Heb 9:9-10).
Interestingly, the laws defining righteous attitudes and behaviour that were given to Israel in Exodus 20, were already generally known and practised by Abraham and his descendants, long before the Sinai Covenant was ever established and they are still binding for New Covenant believers of today.
Abraham not only believed God, but he also understood and faithfully obeyed God’s laws as a result of his faith (Gen 26:5). Abraham’s pattern of faith, which he has set for us, is one that must be demonstrated by his obedience to God and His laws.
Many believers are aware that God gave the Law, the Ten Commandments to the nation of Israel at Sinai, as recorded in Exodus 20:1-17, which occurred about two months after Israel left Egypt.
But is this the first time the Israelites had heard about these Ten Commandments? Facts in the Bible point to the contrary.
Abraham, the Father of the Old Covenant and New Covenant people, already generally knew about God’s commandments and laws (Gen 26:2-5), though not in its meticulous and breadth of detail as in the Mosaic Covenant, hundreds of years before the nation of Israel was formed.
Since Abraham obeyed God and kept His commandments and laws hundreds of years before Moses, then surely those commandments and laws must have been known before Sinai. Though the Law in the Ten Commandments was officially given and codified in Exodus 20, it was already unofficially and informally known to people before that event.
For example, let’s examine the First and Second Commandments (Ex 20:3-5):
Exodus 20:3-5 NASB
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.” 4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol… 5 You shall not worship them or serve them…”
As a matter of fact, Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, already knew about the first and second commandments given by Moses in Exodus 23:3-5, when he instructed his household,
“Put away the foreign gods which are among you.” (Gen 35:2,4).
This was hundreds of years well before Moses gave the Law. So, Jacob had already understood the first and second commandments – the importance of not having any other gods besides Jehovah God, and about getting rid of idols, and only worshipping the true God.
Let’s take another example regarding the Fourth Commandment:
Exodus 20:8 NASB
8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
Interestingly, Israel was already reminded to keep the Sabbath Law in Exodus 16:23-30 even before the Law was given at Sinai in Exodus 19 to 20. This was when God gave them manna to eat:
Exodus 16:23-30 NIV
23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’” 24 So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. 25 “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a sabbath to the Lord. You will not find any of it on the ground today. 26 Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.” 27 Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. 28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? 29 Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.”
Chronologically (in terms of time sequence), Exodus 16 comes before Exodus 19-20. This means the Sabbath Law that was given in Exodus 20 was already known to the people in Exodus 16. These laws, such as the Sabbath, that were already known to the Israelites in Exodus 16, were codified and put in more official and formal terms in Exodus 20.
God had already expected them to obey the Sabbath Law in Exodus 16:23-30 well before the Mosaic Law was officially given in Exodus 20. Already in Exodus 16, before the official giving of the Law at Sinai, God had related to His people not only by grace but also by law.
So even before they arrived at Sinai at the official giving of the Law in Exodus 20, God had expected His people to obey His Law and commandments, including the Fourth Commandment – about the Sabbath in Exodus 16.
Hence, Joseph Prince’s teaching that God had been relating to His people before the giving of the law in Exodus 19-20 (especially after they came out of Egypt) purely and only by grace (and not by law) is a lie.
Joseph Prince doesn’t really know his Bible. If he does, why isn’t he aware of Exodus 16, when the people were well aware that they must keep the Sabbath Law even before the Law was officially given in Exodus 20?
And because they were already expected to keep the Sabbath Law in Exodus 16, God can’t be relating to His people purely by grace before the Law was given in Exodus 20.
Furthermore, Exodus 16:28 throws more light on the issue:
Exodus 16:28 NIV
28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?”
God by saying (Ex 16:28),
“How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?”
clearly indicates that the people were frequently disobeying God’s Law. This only goes to show that the Law was already in place and the people related to God by the Law too (besides grace) well before the official and formal giving of the Law in Exodus 20.
Next, let’s consider the Sixth Commandment (Ex 20:13).
Ex 20:13 NIV
13 “You shall not murder.”
As far back as the second generation of humankind, Cain killed his brother, Abel, out of anger and jealousy. Cain, who murdered Abel, already knew that murder was wrong, and he was punished for his moral crime by God:
Genesis 4:6-16 NIV
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” 8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.” 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
Though God related to Cain by law when He had to punish him for the sin of murder (Gen 4:11-12), He, at the same time, related to Cain by grace when he put a mark on Cain so no one could kill him (Gen 4:15). In other words, God related to Cain both by law and grace.
Again, Joseph Prince’s teaching that God related to the people prior to the giving of the law in Exodus 20 purely by grace is exposed to be false.
However, after the Flood, God told Noah that He demanded a life for another life penalty for it:
Genesis 9:5-6 NIV
5 “And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. 6 “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.”
So, during Noah’s time, people already knew that God was against murder, hundreds of years before the Law of Moses was given in Exodus 20. It seems that Joseph Prince is rather ignorant as he seems unaware of this passage in Genesis 9:5-6. This passage clearly indicates that God had already related to man not only by grace but also by Law – the Law against murder – that anyone who murders someone, will himself, be put to death.
Last, let’s look at the Seventh Commandment (Ex 20:14).
Exodus 20:14 NIV
14 “You shall not commit adultery.”
The law against adultery in Exodus 20:14 was already known by Joseph many years before the giving of the Law in Exodus 20. That’s why Joseph was determined to obey the law by not falling for the temptation of Potiphar’s wife, when he said,
“How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Gen 39:9 NIV)
This was probably so because Joseph, who was the great-grandson of Abraham, somehow knew that there was a law against adultery (7th of the Ten Commandments) that he must not contravene when he ran away from Potiphar’s wife.
These commandments that Abraham obeyed in Genesis 26:5, must have been passed down either orally or through the witness of their own conscience, from Abraham to his son, Isaac, to his grandson Jacob, then to his great-grandson Joseph, etc. From Joseph and the rest of Jacob’s children, they must have been passed down to their descendants.
God Himself had also warned Abimelech, king of Gerar (Gen 20:1-7), not to commit adultery with Sarah (Abraham’s wife), failing which a severe punishment would be meted out to him and his nation. This shows that the adultery law was not only known to the Israelites but also to the pagans, and this was well before the Law was officially given in Exodus 20.
Once again, Joseph Prince’s teaching that God related to His people before the Law was given in Exodus 19-20 based only by grace (and not by law) is a falsehood.
One must note that the Ten Commandments existed and were known and practised by people before they were officially and formally given in Exodus 20. These laws were known, either by the witness of their own conscience or/and by revelation from God, and they were being orally passed down from one generation to another. These laws are still important laws for all peoples of all time, and especially for the New Covenant people of today.
There are those, such as Joseph Prince, who teaches that these moral laws in the Ten Commandments devised by Moses only came into being at the time of Moses.
But what I have laid out so far shows that this argument is false. The Ten Commandments of God existed long before Moses. God was simply using Moses to officially record and codify these laws for Israel when they agreed to the covenant (Ex 19:8).
Many examples exist of people having knowledge of God’s Law prior to its codification on Mount Sinai. Noah, for example, understood the laws about clean and unclean meats (Gen 7:2). This law was later recorded in Leviticus 11.
The Laws of God have already been given to men informally by word of mouth. What Moses did was to have them formally codified in Exodus 20.
Without the formal giving of the Law at Sinai in Exodus 20, men will still be judged by the Law written in their conscience as Romans 2:14-16 NLT testifies:
14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. 16 And this is the message I proclaim – that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life.
Some people have pointed out there are similarities between the Ten Commandments and the laws of other nations at that time. For example, there was a person called Hammurabi, which I had learned in history when I was in secondary one back in 1971. He was reputed to have written laws that were similar to the Ten Commandments.
Why are the other laws similar to that of Moses’? The answer is quite simple.
These are God’s laws written into human nature, written on man’s conscience. God gave them to other men too in their conscience as He had formally given them to Moses (Rom 2:14-16). And in fact, we’re told that in Romans 2:14-16 that those Gentiles who never heard about the Ten Commandments do know about them too because they were written on their conscience.
Why? – Because these are not arbitrary laws. These are laws that are written on the human nature. And because these are universal laws that God has written on the conscience of human hearts, they are not only peculiar to the Jews, but they have been binding on humankind since time immemorial and since the first man and woman ever lived. That is why even today, every nation has laws against stealing, lying, adultery and murder – which are reflected in the Ten Commandments.
Think with me – if these laws are still binding on every unbeliever of today in every nation of the world, how could Joseph Prince say these Laws are no longer applicable to New Covenant believers? He must really be crazy even to suggest such a thing!
Be clear once and for all that these moral laws of God are still binding on us, the New Covenant believers of today. Thus, Joseph Prince’s teaching that New Covenant believers have nothing to do with the moral Laws of God is a falsehood.
One must also note that God did not relate to His people after the Law was given in Exodus 19-20 only on the basis of the Law as Joseph Prince falsely teaches. But His marvellous grace was displayed to them on many occasions even though the Law was already given.
The idea that law purely belongs to the Old Testament and grace only belongs to the New Testament, which is the pet doctrine of Joseph Prince, is plainly false. Grace existed in both covenants.
Did we have grace in the Old Testament before the Lord Jesus?
Yes, most certainly.
There was an abundant display of grace under the law of Moses. It is significant to note that Moses, the mediator of the Old Covenant through whom the law was given, found grace in the sight of God in Exodus 33:12:
Exodus 33:12 NKJV
12 Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’
The marvellous lesson that surprises many is that there was grace even in the giving of the law.
And you would begin to see that there was grace even though the people had committed the sin of idolatry by building the golden calf when the Law was given – in that God displayed His grace even in His judgement:
Exodus 34:5-7 NIV
5 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
God had at first wanted to destroy the whole nation of Israel and start anew with Moses. If not for the pleading and intercession of Moses on behalf of the Israelites and if not for His grace, God might have destroyed them.
Can you see the marvellous grace of God, a God who is compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, that was displayed, even in the midst of judging and punishing His people at the giving of the law in Exodus 34:5-7? The grace of God was shown in abundance to the people under the Old Covenant.
Does Joseph Prince know that the word ‘grace’ was mentioned five times in a short passage in Exodus 33:12-17?
Exodus 33:12-17 NKJV
12 Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ 13 Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” 14 And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.” 17 So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”
Is Joseph Prince aware that Exodus is not in the New Testament but Old Testament?
Can you now see that Joseph Prince’s teaching that the Old Covenant people are under the Law and not under grace, while the New Covenant people are under grace and not under Law, is mere hogwash?
In Exodus 33:12-17, Moses pleaded for God’s mercy to be shown to His people based on His grace to him and the people. Because God was gracious to Moses in verse 12,13,16 and 17, and His people in verse 16, God changed His mind about destroying His people and promised that His presence would go with them. God relented because of His grace that was shown to Moses the law-giver.
So instead of wiping the whole nation off the face of the earth, only 3,000 out of the roughly two million people were destroyed by God. Is that not due to the abounding and merciful grace of God? Was there no grace under the Old Covenant? Of course, there was.
As we shall see, God’s grace was substantially portrayed in the Old Testament, not just the New. If one cares to look, it would not be long for him to discover that God’s grace fills the pages of the Old Testament.
It was the grace of God that gave the best gift to Adam in Eve to be his helpmeet. It was the grace of God that put both Adam and Eve in the garden of paradise and put all animals under their dominion. It was the grace of God that covered their nakedness with garments of animal skin even though both had sinned against Him.
It was the grace of God that saved Noah and his family even though He destroyed the entire world. It was the grace of God that rescued Lot and his two daughters from the destruction of Sodom.
It was the grace of God that Abraham was chosen to be the father of our faith. It was the grace of God that preserved Jacob’s family in Egypt. It was the grace of God that Joseph found favour with the prison warden.
All that could not have happened except for the grace of God.
It was the grace of God that preserved his people in Egypt even though they were severely ill-treated. It was the grace of God that delivered His people from bondage in Egypt. It was the grace of God that opened the Red Sea and saved the Israelites from the Egyptians who were pursuing to slaughter them.
It was the grace of God that provided manna as food for the entire nation for 40 years in the wilderness, and their clothes didn’t wear out, and their feet were well taken care of, despite their disobedience.
It was the grace of God that His people were given the law to mark them as the privileged and chosen people of God.
It was the grace of God that gave the Israelites victory over their enemies to occupy Canaan, the Promised Land. It was the grace of God that judges were raised to deliver them from the attacks of their enemies, time and again when the people cried out to Him for help, even though these attacks were a result of their own sins and disobedience.
It was the grace of God that provided a way for the Old Covenant people to commune with God through the tabernacle. It was the grace of God that provided the children of Israel a way to be cleansed from their sins through the animal sacrifices.
We could go on and on…
Can you see how much of the grace of God was present in the Old Testament?
Hence, Joseph Prince’s portrayal that God is only a God of law under the dispensation or Covenant of law in the Old Testament, and God is only a God of grace under the dispensation or Covenant of grace in the New Testament, is categorically false.
The truth is God is portrayed as a God of grace, both in the Old Testament as well as the New. One also needs to know that both law and grace are displayed in both the Old and New Testament.
Some of the greatest displays of God’s grace and mercy was not in the New Testament but Old Testament, when God saved the entire city of Nineveh, a city of more than 120,000 wicked people, from destruction:
Jonah 4:11 NIV
11 “And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left – and also many animals?”
Even Peter’s preaching on the Day of Pentecost pales in comparison. Peter’s preaching at Pentecost, as great as it may be, brought only 3,000 people into the Kingdom. But Jonah’s preaching brought the entire city of more than 120,000 people, including the king to be converted.
Who says the grace of God is only experienced in the New Testament? Who says the grace of God isn’t evident in the Old Testament? God is a God of grace both in the Old and New Testament.
In fact, God’s grace that was displayed in the case of Nineveh in the Old Testament was much more abundant and far more bountiful than many instances in the New Testament.
On the other hand, God has chosen to display His law – wrath not just in the Old Testament but also the New.
Romans 1:18 (a New Testament text) tells us that the wrath of God is being displayed (present tense) against the world, and the world is now under the wrath of God:
Romans 1:18 NIV
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.”
The Apostle Paul warns in Romans 1:18 that God’s wrath has already been poured out and is still being poured out on this present world.
Joseph Prince has deceived the multitudes that Paul is only a preacher of grace and not law – wrath. Prince is plainly going against the scriptures.
By perusing the numerous texts in Paul’s epistles, it is utterly clear that Paul is not only a preacher of grace but he is also a preacher of law – wrath:
Romans 2:5,8 NIV
5 “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” 8 “But for those… who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.”
Romans 5:9 NIV
9 “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”
Romans 9:22 NIV
22 “What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath – prepared for destruction?”
Ephesians 2:3 NIV
3 “… gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
Ephesians 5:6 NIV
6 “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.”
Colossians 3:5-6 NIV
5 “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.”
1 Thessalonians 1:10 NIV
10 “and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead – Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”
1 Thessalonians 2:16 NIV
16 “… In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.”
God Himself will unleash His greatest wrath against the ungodly at the coming of His Son, Christ Jesus, as the Book of Revelation reveals:
Revelation 6:16-17 NIV
16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!” 17 “For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”
Revelation 11:18 NIV
18 “The nations were angry, and your wrath has come…”
Revelation 14:10 NIV
10 “they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.
Revelation 15:1 NIV
1 “I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues – last, because with them God’s wrath is completed.”
Revelation 15:7 NIV
7 “Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever.”
Revelation 16:1 NIV
1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.”
Revelation 16:19 NIV
19 “The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.”
Revelation 14:19 NIV
19 “The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath.”
Revelation 19:15 NIV
15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.
Is Revelation an Old or New Testament book? Revelation is a New Testament book. And His wrath would be most fiercely and dreadfully poured out at the second coming of Christ in the Book of Revelation.
Just as God’s love is lavishly displayed in the Old Testament, God’s wrath will climax in the New in Revelation. There is nothing as horrifying in the Old Testament than the New Testament in Revelation, that portrays this terrifying image of the great winepress of God’s wrath, crushing sinners mercilessly like grapes in Revelation 14:19 and 19:15.
“The God of love and wrath is the same God in the Old Testament and the New – the only difference is as compared to the Old, God’s grace is expressed in greater immensity at the start of the New, but God’s wrath is expressed in harsher proportions at the close of it.” (George Ong)
While one of the greatest displays of God’s grace and mercy in the case of Nineveh was not in the New Testament but Old Testament, the most horrifying manifestations of God’s law in His wrath and judgement that will be poured out are not in the Old Testament but the New Testament in the Book of Revelation, when the terrifying wrath of God will be mercilessly unleashed on the world.
This only goes to show that Joseph Prince’s strict demarcation between the God in the Old Covenant of law, and the God in the New Covenant of grace, is false. There is no such strict demarcation.
So, Joseph Prince’s teaching that only law is demonstrated in the Old Testament, and only grace is displayed in the New Testament cannot stand the test of scriptures. The truth is, both law and grace are displayed both under the Old Covenant as well as the New.
God does not have one ‘negative’ set of behaviour in the Old Testament and another positive set of behaviour in the New Testament. The Old Testament God does not behave differently in the New Testament.
He is the same God in both the Old Testament as well as the New. Moreover, God has revealed that He never changes, “I the Lord do not change…” Malachi 3:6.
Malachi 3:6 NIV
“I the Lord do not change…”
God is unchanging in His character. There might be one aspect of His attributes that is revealed more in some passages or chapters or books of the Bible than His other aspects. But His attributes, from the overall perspective of the entire scriptures, remain the same, whether it is in the Old or New Testament.
Finally, there is no doubt that the God of the New Testament is not only a God of grace and love to New Covenant believers, but He is also a God of law and wrath to them.
Because God is still a consuming fire (God of wrath) in the New Covenant in Hebrews 12:29, as He is under the Old in Deuteronomy 4:24:
Hebrews 12:28-29 NIV
28 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Deuteronomy 4:24 NIV
24 “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”
And the Book of Hebrews, and Hebrews 12:29, in particular, were written to believers to warn them that if they were to become apostates and abandon the faith, they would come under God’s wrath because He is still a consuming fire.
In conclusion – as all my preceding arguments have shown, Joseph Prince’s teaching that the Old Covenant God is angry, wrathful and judging to Old Covenant people because they are under the Covenant of law, while the New Covenant God is loving, gracious, and kind to New Covenant believers, because we are under the Covenant of grace, is plainly false.
There is no such strict demarcation between the Old Covenant of law in the Old Testament and the New Covenant of grace in the New Testament, as both law and grace permeate both the Old Testament and the New.
The God of the Old Testament does not act differently from the God of the New as Joseph Prince would suggest. But the God of the Old Testament behaves the same way and is the same God of the New. The God, who is angry, wrathful and judging, is also at the same time loving, gracious and merciful, both in the Old Testament as well as in the New.
Hence, the doctrine that the Old Covenant is characterised purely by law, whereas the New Covenant is distinguished only by grace which is the core of Joseph Prince’s Grace Doctrine has been conclusively demolished and is exposed to be one big lie.
Since I have completely demolished the doctrinal core and foundation of Prince’s Grace Doctrine, to regard Joseph Prince as a false teacher is the only scriptural, logical and imperative step to take.
Rev George Ong
Appendix to the above Article Regarding Romans 6:14
To justify that New Covenant people are only under grace and not law, Joseph Prince keeps repeating like a broken record in his teachings about what Paul taught,
“You not under Law but under grace” (Rom 6:14).
But Prince has deceptively kept the other half of the truth from the people about what Jesus said,
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (Jn 14:15 NASB).
In other words, every New Covenant Believer is still under the Law – The Law of Christ.
Paul, who taught we are not under the Mosaic law but under grace (Rom 6:14), also clearly declared that we are under the Law of Christ (1 Cor 9:21, Gal 6:2). This would include everything Jesus commanded, just like the Law of Moses includes everything God had commanded.
Though all New Covenant believers are saved by grace, they are still under the law, the Law of Christ.
Hence, no New Covenant believer can be allowed to be lawless as not functioning under any law is to commit the sin of lawlessness as Joseph Prince is guilty of. All who are lawless or who commit the sin of lawlessness will be barred from God’s kingdom (Matt 7:23).
Jesus would deal with them on the day of judgement,
“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS” (Matt 7:23 NASB) – and cast them to hell.
In a sermon, titled, ‘Not Under Law but under Grace’ based on John 1:17, Martyn Lloyd-Jones said,
“We are no longer under the law, Romans 6:14, you are not under the law but under grace. You see we are not under it in the sense that it condemns us. That’s what that means. It doesn’t mean it’s (law) done away with. We’re not under it in the sense that it is demanding the impossible from us and condemning us. We are not under the law but under grace.”
Joseph Prince has been deceiving the people with his teaching that under the New Covenant we are not under law but under grace (Rom 6:14) because the law is being permanently done away with.
But that’s not what Paul is teaching. Paul’s point is that from the angle of justification, we are not under the law but under grace. The grace of Christ is what justifies us, not the law.
When Paul says we are not under the law, he was referring to the law as the way of getting right with God, which the Jews have wrongly believed. But Paul never teaches that the moral law of God has been abolished.
If Joseph Prince claims that Paul teaches that the law is being done away with by virtue of our New Covenant Faith based on Romans 6:14, why did Paul say in Romans 3:27-31:
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
In ‘Exposition of Romans chapters 3:20-4:25, Atonement and Justification written by Martyn Lloyd-Jones’, Pages 139-140, he wrote (Romans 3:27-31),
“The Apostle puts that in an interesting way. He asks another rhetorical question, ‘Do we then make void the law through faith?’” (Rom 3:31) … “Having put his rhetorical question, the Apostle answers it at once by the words here translated, ‘God forbid’, which really mean, ‘May it not be’, ‘It is unthinkable’. The Apostle is speaking very frankly and bluntly… But the thing is so abhorrent that he says, ‘May it not be, do not even think of it, do not even come near to suggesting it. The thing is unthinkable.’ We must discover, therefore, the reason for this sense of abhorrence which the Apostle feels at the mere suggestion of such an error. Indeed he himself gives us the reason at once. He says, ‘Yea, rather, we establish the law’. Far from making the Law of none effect we are helping it to stand, we are establishing it, we are really showing its essential importance.”