Gospel Order

The Two Laws

The two laws

If man had kept the law of God, as given to Adam after his fall, preserved by Noah, and observed by Abraham, there would have been no necessity for the ordinance of circumcision. And if the descendants of Abraham had kept the covenant, of which circumcision was a sign, they would never have been seduced into idolatry, nor would it have been necessary for them to suffer a life of bondage in Egypt; they would have kept God’s law in mind, and there would have been no necessity for it to be proclaimed from Sinai or engraved upon the tables of stone. And had the people practiced the principles of the Ten Commandments, there would have been no need of the additional directions given to Moses.

The sacrificial system, committed to Adam, was also perverted by his descendants. Superstition, idolatry, cruelty, and licentiousness corrupted the simple and significant service that God had appointed. Through long intercourse with idolaters the people of Israel had mingled many heathen customs with their worship; therefore the Lord gave them at Sinai definite instruction concerning the sacrificial service. After the completion of the tabernacle He communicated with Moses from the cloud of glory above the mercy seat, and gave him full directions concerning the system of offerings and the forms of worship to be maintained in the sanctuary. The ceremonial law was thus given to Moses, and by him written in a book. But the law of Ten Commandments spoken from Sinai had been written by God Himself on the tables of stone, and was sacredly preserved in the ark.

There are many who try to blend these two systems, using the texts that speak of the ceremonial law to prove that the moral law has been abolished; but this is a perversion of the Scriptures. The distinction between the two systems or laws is broad and clear. The ceremonial system was made up of symbols pointing to Christ, to His sacrifice and His priesthood. This ritual law, with its sacrifices and ordinances, was to be performed by the Hebrews until type met antitype in the death of Christ, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Then all the sacrificial offerings were to cease. It is this law that Christ "took… out of the way, nailing it to His cross." Colossians 2:14. But concerning the law of Ten Commandments the psalmist declares, "Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven." Psalm 119:89. And Christ Himself says, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law… Verily I say unto you"--making the assertion as emphatic as possible--"Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:17, 18. Here He teaches, not merely what the claims of God's law had been, and were then, but that these claims should hold as long as the heavens and the earth remain. The law of God is as immutable as His throne. It will maintain its claims upon mankind in all ages.

Concerning the law proclaimed from Sinai, Nehemiah says, "Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments." Nehemiah 9:13. And Paul, "the apostle to the Gentiles," declares, "The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." Romans 7:12. This can be no other than the Decalogue; for it is the law that says, "Thou shalt not covet." Verse 7.

While the Saviour's death brought to an end the law of types and shadows, it did not in the least detract from the obligation of the moral law. On the contrary, the very fact that it was necessary for Christ to die in order to atone for the transgression of that law proves it to be immutable. PP 364

The Ten Commandments or the Moral Law The Ceremonial Law or the Law of Moses
God spake to all assemblies’ hearing. Deut. 4:12-13 God spake to Moses’ hearing only. Exo. 24:3; Lev. 1:1-3
Written by God’s finger on the two table of stones. Deut. 5:22; 9:9-10; Exo. 24:12-18; 31:18 Written by Moses in a book. Deut. 31:9, 24-26; 2 Chro. 35:12
Inside the ark under the mercy seat. Exo. 30:6; 40:20; Deut. 10:2,5; 1Kings 8:9 In the side of the ark. Deut. 31:26.
Spiritual. Romans 7:14 Carnal. Hebrew 7:16.
Royal Law. James 2:8-12 Law contained in ordinances. Eph. 2:15
Not destroyed by Christ. Matthew 5:17 Taken out by Christ at the cross. Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:14
Cannot be abolished. Isaiah 51:6-7 Abolished at the cross. Eph. 2:15
Magnified by Christ. Isa 42:21 Taken out of the way by Christ. Col. 2:14
Will not pass away but to stand fast forever. Matthew 5:18; Psalm 111:7-8 Necessity of change. Heb. 7:12
Gives knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20; 7:7; 1 John 3:4 Added after transgression or sin. Gal. 3:19; Lev. 3-7.
Perfect, converting the soul. Psalm 19:7 Could not make nothing perfect. Heb. 7:19; 9:9
Cannot be made void. Romans 3:31 Was disannulled. Heb. 7:18
Seventh-day Sabbath pointing to creation. Exo. 20:8-11; Gen. 2:1-3. Ceremonial Sabbaths or Feasts pointing to Christ’s sacrifice and priesthood. Lev. 23:5-44.
Seventh-day Sabbath or rest remained. Heb. 4:4-11. Ceremonial Sabbaths or Feasts blotted out at the cross. Col. 2:14-17.
No cooking on Sabbath. Exo. 16:23 Can cook on Sabbath feasts. Exo. 12:16

What does Paul meant about “the handwriting of ordinances”?

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them init. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” Colossians 2:14-16.

What is contained in the handwriting of ordinances?

“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.” Ephesians 2:15.

What type of ordinances is Paul referring to? “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary… Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.” Hebrews 9:1, 10.

What example of carnal ordinances can we give? “They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it.” Numbers 9:12.

“And he said unto me, Son of man, thus saith the Lord God; These are the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it, to offer burnt offerings thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon.” Ezekiel 43:18.

Whose handwriting was the ordinances been made? “Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.” 2 Chronicles 33:8.

(Please note that the above text described two separate laws. In fact, the ordinances by the hand of Moses was placed in the side of the ark. While the whole law or the tables of stone was placed inside the ark: Deuteronomy 31:24-26, "And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee." Exodus 25:16, "And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.")

What does the “whole law” referring to? “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” James 2:10-12 (Please note that James was referring to the undivided whole of Ten Commandments (Exo. 20:3-17) which God said “He added no more”. Deut 5.22)

Did Paul testify that every man, whether circumcised or uncircumcised, is to do or keep the whole law?

“For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.” Galatians 5:3.

“Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping of the commandments of God.” 1 Corinthians 7:19.

What is the whole duty of man?

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13.

How did Christ stress the importance of keeping the whole law?

“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19.

What did Christ tell the rich young man to do in order to enter into life?

“If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17.

When asked which commandments, what did Jesus say?

“Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Matthew 19:18-19.

(Please note that while not quoting all Ten Commandments, Jesus quoted sufficient to identify the moral law. The second great commandment called attention to the principle underlying the second table of the law – love to one’s neighbor, - which the young man was not keeping.)

How may we know that we love the children of God?

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments.” 1 John 5:2.

What is the love of God declared to be? “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.” Verse 3.

In giving the Ten Commandments, to whom will God show His mercy?

“And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.” Exo. 20:6.

How is the church of the last days described?

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17. “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12.

What is God’s promise to those who keep His commandments?

“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14.

What is God’s test before accepting any light?

“To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20

Who have removed the difference between the holy and profane things?

“Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference unclean and clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.” Ezekiel 22:26.

What is God’s warning to His children in this last days?

“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many… Take heed that no man deceive you.” Matthew 24:11,4.


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