*UNDER THE LAW OF MOSES?*
*THE MEANING OF THE TERM “LAW”*
In the Old Testament, the word “law” is used to translated the Hebrew word *TORAH*, “instruction.”
In the progress of God’s revelation to man, we can see 7 different systems of law in the Scripture:
*1. THE LAW OF NATURE*
The law of nature is one which contains natural revelation of God’s eternal power and divine nature (Rom1:20,2:14)
*2. THE LAW OF EDEN*
Adam was instructed to “dress and keep” the garden, and to eat freely of all the trees except the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
*3. THE LAW OF THE PATRIARCHS*
Though very little detail of this is given, God’s instructions to the patriarchs still represent His law, the system of principles and rules designed to direct their lives. Gen.26:5 says, “Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws.” Remember: Abraham lived hundreds of years before Moses.
*4. THE LAW OF MOSES GIVEN TO ISRAEL*
This consisted of 365 negative commands and 248 positive for a total of 613 commands
*5. HUMAN LAW AS PRESCRIBED BY MAN*
Human government is an institution ordained by God’s will, Lk20:22; Acts19:38,Rom.13:1-7. Of course, where human laws conflict with God’s laws, we are obligated to obey God instead (Acts4:19-20)
*6. THE LAW OF CHRIST, THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE*
The fact that the Mosaic law has been terminated does not mean that there is no law in this age of grace, though it is different. The epistles speak of ‘the perfect law of liberty’ (Jam1:25), ‘the royal law’ (Jam2:8), the ‘Law of Christ’ (Gal6:2), and ‘the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus’ (Rom8:2). This consists of the many imperatives found throughout the epistles which comprise this law
*7. THE LAW OF THE KINGDOM*
The New Testament clearly speaks of and anticipates the 1000 years reign of Christ on earth when He will rule in perfect righteousness and justice, with Kingdom laws, Is11:4-5, Is2:3.
*THE USE OF THE TERM “LAW” IN THE NEW TESTAMENT*
1.”LAW” is used for THE ENTIRE OLD TESTAMENT – Jn10:34 is a quotation from Ps82:6, and 1Cor14:21f is a quote from Is28:11-12. Neither the Psalms nor Isaiah are a part of the Old Testament “law,” but sometimes the term “law” was applied to the entire Old Testament because it constituted God’s special revelation of instruction for Israel and ultimately for man.
2.It is used with such terms as THE PROPHETS, AND WRITINGS, again as a title for the entire Old Testament Scripture, but in this way it looks at them in their division Lk24:27,44
3.It is especially used of the first FIVE BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT OR THE MOSAIC LAW (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). Lk2:23;Jn8:5;1Cor9:9;Gal3:10
4.The term is used of the entire specific MOSAIC CODE given to the nation Israel to govern and guide their moral, religious and secular life, and covers parts of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy Deut4:8,44-45
5.The term is used of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS Ex20:3-17
6.Law is used of A PRINCIPLE, FORCE OR INFLUENCE that impels one to action Rom7:21,23a,25
7.It is used of LAW IN GENERAL Rom3:27 and possibly Rom5:13b
*THE NATURE AND CONTENT OF THE MOSAIC LAW*
It is common to divide the Mosaic Law into three parts as illustrated below for an easier study, but such a division is never stated as such in Scripture, rather it is seen as a unit.
–Part1: THE MORAL LAW OR THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. This part of the Law governed the moral life giving guidance to Israel in principles of right and wrong in relation to God and man Ex20:1-17
–Part2: THE JUDGMENTS, OR THE SOCIAL LAW. This part of the Law governed Israel in her secular, social, political, and economic life Ex21:1–23:13
–Part3: THE ORDINANCES OR THE CEREMONIAL LAW. This was the religious portion of Law which guided and provided for Israel in her worship and spiritual relationship and fellowship with God. It included the priesthood, tabernacle and sacrifices Ex25:-31 and Book of Lev.
*THE RECIPIENTS OF THE MOSAIC LAW*
The Law of Moses was given to Israel only, just as circumcision Gen17:11, passover blood Ex12:13-14;29:42 and Sabbath keeping Ex31:13-17, Ez20:12
*THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MOSAIC LAW*
(1) The foundation and basis of the Mosaic Law is the COVENANT GOD MADE WITH THE PATRIARCHS, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ex.19:4-6; Deut4:4-8, Ex2:24-25; Deut4:36-38;29:31;1Chron16:15-19). God had promised to bless the descendants of Abraham and through them, the world (Gen12:1f; 15; 17:1ff; 26:24f; 28:13f). The Abrahamic covenant is a UNILATERAL COVENANT, dependent on God’s sovereign and steadfast faithfulness to His promises to Abraham regardless of Israel’s continued disobedience Ezek20:1-44
The Mosaic Covenant was a BILATERAL COVENANT. It was through obedience to the Mosaic Covenant (the Law) that Israel would be able to experience the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant in the promised land Deut. 28-30
(2) The Mosaic Law is HOLY, GOOD, AND SPIRITUAL Rom7:12,14. It was, however, only temporary as the book of Hebrews so clearly teaches (just as the sacrifices and the tabernacle were holy but temporary). As such, the Mosaic Law was designed to maintain a proper relationship between God and His people Israel (blessing versus cursing), but only until the coming of Messiah and the establishment of a NEW COVENANT in the blood of Christ
(3) The Mosaic Law is WEAK BECAUSE IT IS DEPENDENT ON MAN’S ABILITY. It was a system of merit Rom8:3
(4) The Mosaic Law was AN INDIVISIBLE UNIT, and is that which was terminated by the Lord Jesus. Though the Law is usually divided into three parts, as described above, it is important to see that it was an indivisible unit. Thus, when Paul stated that we are not under the Law, this included all three parts, including the Ten Commandments
It is a unit by the fact that the recognition of any of its features, as a meritorious system of righteousness with God, obligates the person to fulfill THE ENTIRE LAW, as we are taught by both Paul and James Gal3:10,12;5:3;Jam2:8-11
THE JEWS did not consider the three divisions of the Law. Also the penalty of death for disobedience is attached to all three parts of the Law
(5) THE MOSAIC LAW STANDS IN CONTRAST TO THE GRACE OF GOD as now manifested in the coming of Christ Rom6:14; 7:6; 8:3; Gal3:12
*THE EFFECTS OF THE MOSAIC LAW*
The reasons for the effects listed below lie in the wrong reaction of Israel and people today, approaching the Law as a system of merit, shifting from a faith basis to a works basis (Ex.19:8; Rom. 10:3). People often try to use the Law as a means of establishing their own standing before God. But Scripture teaches us that the Law:
-brings a curse Gal3:10-12
-brings death, it is a killer 2Cor3:6-7;Rom7:9-10
-brings condemnation 2Cor.3:9
-makes offenses abound Rom5:10;7:7-13
-declares all men guilty Rom3:19
-and holds men in bondage to sin and death Gal4:3-5,9,24; Rom7:10-14
-Paul says in 1Tim1:9 that he law is for the unrighteous, not for the righteous. Who is the righteous? The one who believes in Jesus 1Cor1:30
*THE END OF THE MOSAIC LAW AS A RULE OF LIFE*
Paul specifically says that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” Rom10:4. This instituted a new law or principle of life, the law of the Spirit, the one of liberty and grace Rom8:2,13. This fact was also clearly settled by the Jerusalem Council in Acts15:6-11.
The book of Hebrews demonstrates that the old covenant of the Mosaic Law was only temporary and has been replaced by the coming of Christ whose ministry is based on (1) A BETTER PRIESTHOOD, one after the order of Melchizedek which is superior to Aaron’s, and (2) A BETTER COVENANT WITH BETTER PROMISES Heb7-10
Ask me for our study ”Old Covenant vs. New Covenant”.
*THE RELATIONSHIP OF NEW TESTAMENT BELIEVERS TO THE MOSAIC LAW*
1.He is never saved by keeping the Law Gal2:21
2.He is not under the Law as a rule of life: sacrifices, Sabbath keeping, tithing Gal.4:10,Col2:16
3.He does not walk by the Law but by the Spirit, which is the new law for the New Testament saint Rom8:4; Gal5:5,16. This is law of liberty through faith in the power of God.
4.He is dead to the Law Rom7:1-6; Gal2:19 by virtue of his union with Jesus Christ who fulfilled the Law.
5.He is under God’s new law, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus Rom8:2-4
1Jn2:3: ”And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep HIS COMMANDMENTS.” Which commandments? To love one another Jn13:34, to go preach the gospel and make disciples teaching them all that Jesus (not Moses) has commanded Mat28:18-20; to believe in Jesus 1Jn3:23.
6. He is righteous through faith, not through the works of the law Rom1:17,11:6;1Cor1:30;Phil.3:9
*CHRIST, THE FULFILLMENT OF THE MOSAIC LAW*
–CHRIST FULFILLED THE TEN COMMANDMENTS by living a perfect and sinless life. Thus, when man trusts in Christ, Christ’s righteousness is imputed to that individual so we have justification even without keeping the law. We have Christ’s righteousness so the Law can’t condemn us Rom8:1; 7:1-6;5:1;4:4-8
–CHRIST FULFILLED THE CEREMONIAL ORDINANCES, the shadows and types of His person and work, by dying on the cross for us and in our place. Again there is no condemnation because the believer is “in Christ” Col2:14; Rom3:24-25
–CHRIST ALSO FULFILLED THE SOCIAL LAW, but now He replaces it with a new way of life fitting to our new salvation. He gives provision for the inner man—the indwelling Holy Spirit—who enables us to experience true sanctification so that we may experience also the righteousness of the Law Rom8:2-4 just as if we kept the law perfectly
Mat5:17: ”Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” See also Luke24:44. See the list with 365 prophecies fulfilled by Jesus.