The Law of Moses
misunderstand this pivotal topic. The Law of Moses was not Moses'
It was what God gave him as a guide for righteousness!
When Elijah contested
with the false prophets on Mt Carmel (1 Kings 18), he vigorously upheld
the Law of Moses!
The prophet Malachi
foretold of the return, at the time of the end, of an Elijah who would
restore this Law to the people (Mal 4:4-6).
That time is now here!
The term ‘Law of Moses’ is
misunderstood and misrepresented. Some years ago I heard a message given
by Derek Prince, in which he talked as if the Law of Moses was no longer
applicable today under the New Covenant. He did not properly explain
what the Law of Moses was, and it was clear that he was not sure what it
He is not alone in his
misunderstanding. Such ignorance is widespread among evangelical and
charismatic Christians. Most think it is ‘done away’.
However, the last prophecy in the Old
Testament says to REMEMBER the law of Moses. Isn’t it ironic that
whenever God has something recorded so that we can remember it, people
generally forget it?! That’s the reason He states it in such a way. He
knew beforehand how the devil would twist and distort the truth, causing
the majority to believe a lie.
But then, God is extremely wise. He
knows the heart of man, and that many do not want to obey Him. So, He
lays a trap for them:
He catches the wise in their own
craftiness (Job 5:13).
For this reason God will send them
strong delusion, that they should believe the lie (2 Thes 2:11),
because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might
be saved (2 Thes 2:10).
Notice that God allows STRONG delusion
to come upon those who have rebellion in their spirit. The delusion
about the Law of Moses is just such a delusion. It is widely believed,
and it is so strong that you will have a hard job convincing most people
that they have believed a lie.
Notice also what that last prophecy
says, because it defines what the Law of Moses was:
Remember the Law of Moses My
servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the
statutes and judgements (Mal 4:4).
The law which God gave Moses was not
Moses’ law. It was GOD’S LAW for mankind – God’s instruction to
man. He gave it to Israel first, because Israel was the only
nation to whom He was revealing spiritual truths at that time. Israel
was the Old Testament forerunner of the New Testament Church. She was
the “church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38).
If God has commanded something, man
has no right to say that it is no longer relevant unless God says so.
And you can search the New Testament from beginning to end and not find
that the Law of Moses has been disbanded. In fact, some of the very
first words of Jesus recorded for us totally contradict that view:
Do not think that I came to
destroy the Law... (Matt 5:17).
Jesus was so adamant about the fact
that the Law of Moses was not to be annulled that He elaborated further:
For assuredly I say to you
[He couldn’t have been
stronger in His emphasis!], till heaven and earth pass away
[that hasn’t happened yet], one jot or one tittle [fragment]
will by no means [further emphasis!] pass from the law till
all is fulfilled [all has not been fulfilled yet!]
So, what is His view of those who say
some parts are no longer in force? Let Him speak:
Whoever therefore breaks one of
the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called
least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them,
he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:19).
There you have it. Jesus says that
Bible teachers who espouse and teach the wrong view that the Law of
Moses has passed into desuetude are very low in His estimation. Their
teaching is not worth much. By contrast, the man who teaches that all
God’s precepts have tremendous value, he is great in God’s estimation.
Not long ago I received a dream from
God in which I was given this prophetic word:
A preacher’s success is not rated by
the number of people he reaches, but by the depth of repentance he
It was a catchy little piece, and
since I am not one for prose, perhaps that’s why God had to reveal it to
me via a dream.
So, to return to the beginning, the
Law of Moses comprised teaching given to Moses BY GOD! It
contained the Ten Commandments, and also the statutes and judgements, as
Malachi 4:4 makes clear. Some of these statutes are applicable in their
present form. Some need modification or amplification because
they were geared to the system in which they lived, which was basically
agrarian, and we need further revelation to see how they fit us in our
society. For example, the Land Sabbath and Jubilee. The principles are
still valid, but how to apply them is not clear, because we are not a
nation under theocratic rule. We are individuals trying to live by God’s
law in a highly imperfect (satanic!) system.
The Ten Commandments, of course, have
not changed one bit, despite what others may say. They were engraved in
stone, for permanence. It was the statutes and judgements which were
written on parchment.
However, all that is God’s law for
man, which was not superseded at Golgotha when Jesus died, except for
the Levitical laws concerning ritual purification – animal
sacrifices, physical offerings and washings, etc. Those physical
rituals, which were given for the Levitical priesthood to perform, were
a reminder of the penalties of sin until Christ came and made complete
atonement. Hebrews explains that Jesus disbanded the Levitical
priesthood, annulled those rituals by His death, and instituted a new
universal priesthood composed of those with His Spirit (1 Pet 2:5).
Those are the aspects of the ‘Law of
Moses’ that were superseded at Jesus’ death (see later). All the other
commands of God concerning human behaviour are as valid today as they
were when God gave them to Israel via Moses. Otherwise, at the
‘Jerusalem Council’ (Acts 15), the believers would not have advised
Gentiles to keep these aspects of the Law of Moses:
...we write to them to abstain
from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things
[animal meat] strangled, and from [consuming] blood
[with meat] (Acts 15:20).
Why didn’t the apostles recommend
other more well known aspects of the Law of Moses, such as keeping the
Sabbaths and festivals, or not eating unclean meat? Because those
aspects were so well known, and recognised by the newly converted
Gentiles, that they needed no further emphasis. Notice that in the very
For Moses has had throughout many
generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the
synagogues every Sabbath (Acts 15:21).
The main objection to what I am
explaining here comes from a misunderstanding. There are those who claim
that Acts 15 shows that there is no longer any need to keep the Law of
Moses. After all, it records that the problem being addressed there was
one of legalists claiming that they had to keep the Law of Moses.
Certain men came down from Judea
and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to
the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved (Acts 15:1). Some of the
sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary
to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the Law of Moses.”
The ‘Law of Moses’ was here being
broadened to include the previous rite of circumcision, which was given
to Abraham’s descendants as a reminder of the Covenant which God had
made with him (Gen 17:11).
But there is something else that
escapes most people’s attention in the Acts 15 account. It is that
the emphasis of the Pharisees and other legalists was on the works,
not on the faith of Christ. They were insisting that the works were
necessary precursors to salvation, subtly inferring that they were a
part of the salvation process, which they are not. Jesus saves us by His
blood, and by His life or Spirit living in us. Our works don’t
However, that does not mean that once
we come into the faith, that we can throw out those works and say they
are not necessary at all. We do good works when we receive the Spirit of
God (Eph 2:10). We come into submission to God, obey His precepts as
fully as we are able, not in order to gain salvation, but
because it is right to do so. In one sense, they confirm that we are
recipients of the promises of God in salvation through Christ, because
we then live out the same life He lived while on earth, and He was
completely obedient to all God’s Law.
If the laws of Moses were no longer
relevant today to Christians, then Acts 15 would contain no details of
that Law, reminding us of our obligations to keep them (15:20), and you
could do just as you like. You could break all God’s commandments with
And that’s just the reason such a
false teaching has gained so much ground! Many people prefer lawlessness
Who Is The End-Time Elijah? (£2) | The Controversy
Concerning Law and Grace (£2)
Reject The Law of Moses
In the nineties, I wrote several
letters to Derek Prince or his ministry staff, to try to alert him to
some serious doctrinal errors in his teaching. Like most evangelists, he
didn’t want to know. Here is just one of those letters, on this subject.
28th November 1997
I recently obtained a copy of your
excellent booklet God is a Matchmaker. On page 133, you make
some comments which I find ambiguous. They contradict some of your
teaching in other publications. I write to ask for clarification,
please. I have written previously to your office in England, only to
have my letters ignored, even though I asked them to forward them to
you. I would much appreciate your response, despite the heaviness of
On page 133 you say that "the Law
of Moses must always be applied as a single, comprehensive system,
all the requirements of which are equally valid." Then, in relation
to this law you quote James 2:10 that if we break one point we are
guilty of breaking it all.
Yet, in another publication,
How To Fast Successfully (page 58), you say that there is one
aspect of this law which we as Christians should not be keeping
today – the Sabbath. Yet, this is an immutable command, engraved in
stone by the finger of God. Isn't that symbolic of its intended
permanence for us? It was not like the other directives about
sacrifices which God gave Moses, and which were superseded by Jesus'
supreme sacrifice later.
In Acts 15, the apostles
recommended to new Gentile converts that they should be keeping
certain aspects of the Law of Moses, specifically they were not to
eat blood and strangled animals. Also, they emphasised obedience
with regard to certain other points which we would not argue about
today such as avoiding sexual immorality. The reason these aspects
were singled out was because they needed emphasising to that
audience, whereas all the other aspects of that law didn't warrant
Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is
read in the synagogues every Sabbath (Acts 15:21).
Clearly, those other points [such
as the Sabbaths and Festivals of God] needed no further emphasis.
The point I am making is that the
apostles were not saying the law of Moses had been abandoned. After
all, that law contained the ten commandments, and there is a need
for Christians to keep those, not just in the letter but in the
Spirit, as Jesus showed us in His 'sermon' on the Mount.
The... dispute concerned an aspect
which predated the law of Moses, such as circumcision (Acts 15:5),
but which ended up bearing that label.
Malachi prophesied the need to
uphold the law of Moses (Mal 4:4), which is strongly implied as
being part of the work of the end-time Elijah (verses 5 and 6).
Obedience toward God, in every respect, as you strongly emphasise,
is fundamentally an aspect of holiness.
My question is therefore: If James
(in James 2:10) is referring to the law of Moses as you say, and
insists we should be keeping all of it, why are you teaching
people there is no need to keep certain aspects of it?
I'd appreciate your considered
response when you are able. Thank you.
There was no response!
The Festivals of
God (£1) |
Our Sabbath Rest (£3) | Paedophiles in the Church,
contained in Sunday Versus Sabbath (£5)
The Faith Once Delivered To The Saints (£1)
Aspects of The Law of
Despite what most preachers claim
about the Law of Moses now being obsolete, or worse still ‘done away’, a
careful scrutiny of the New Testament reveals several specific aspects
of the Law of Moses, which Jesus indicated are still valid.
For example, He berated the Pharisees
for their legalistic approach and heartless lack of true love and
spirituality. But, He acknowledged that what they taught had validity:
The scribes and Pharisees sit in
Moses’ seat. [In
other words, the commands in Moses’ writings – the Law of Moses – which
they taught the need to obey, carry weight or authority for human
conduct.] Therefore whatever they tell you, that observe and do, but
do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do
[they were hypocrites; so don’t be like them!]
You pay tithe of mint and anise
and cummin and have neglected the weightier matters of the law:
justice, mercy and faith. These ought you to have done, without
leaving the others undone (Matt 23:23).
The Tithe of God (£1) | Giving and Receiving (£2)
In Acts 10:9 onwards, we find the
account of Peter’s vision in which he was shown not to call any man
common or unclean (10:28). It is also clear that Peter refused to
eat (10:14) unclean foods which God had forbidden in Leviticus 11
and Deuteronomy 14.
in Acts 15:20 and 15:29, there are reminders that strangled animals
and blood are not fit for human consumption. These were proscribed
in Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:13,14 and 19:26.
What Should We Eat? (£1)
Sexual immorality was another
issue which the apostles reminded new Gentile believers to be very
careful about (Acts 15:20,29). There is a very detailed code of
sexual taboos listed in Leviticus 18, which goes far beyond the one
commandment that forbids adultery (Ex 20:14; Deut 5:18).
Why Marriage? (75p)
You shall love your neighbour as
yourself (Mark 10:31).
He was quoting Leviticus 19:18, the
Law of Moses.
By so doing, Jesus was validating
the authenticity of that Law as a valid code of conduct for
Christians. In the same chapter, Leviticus 19, alongside the edict
of not consuming blood, for which we find specific NT support in
Acts 15 is this:
You shall not eat anything with
the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying (Lev
Occultic divination and soothsaying is
relying upon revelation provided by demonic sources. Would those who
espouse the view that the Law of Moses is now irrelevant to us, also
subscribe to sanctioning occult activity? I shouldn’t think so. But
their logic breaks down. There is no consistency in their argument.
Notice some other points in Moses’ Law
which are just as applicable to NT believers today:
You shall not cheat your
neighbour, nor rob him (Lev 19:13).
You shall not take vengeance,
nor bear any grudge against the children of your people (Lev 19:18).
Do not prostitute your
daughter, to cause her to be a harlot (Lev 19:29).
You shall not make any cuttings
in your flesh for
[‘honouring’ or worshipping]
the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you (Lev 19:28).
You shall not curse the deaf,
nor put a stumblingblock before the blind (Lev 19:14).
You shall do no injustice in
judgement. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honour the
person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your
neighbour (Lev 19:15).
You shall not steal, nor deal
falsely, nor lie to one another. And you shall not swear by My name
falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God, I am the Lord
When you reap the harvest of
your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor
shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not
glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your
vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger (Lev
You shall be holy, for I the
Lord your God am holy (Lev 19:2).
Every one of you shall revere
his mother and father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God
Do not turn to idols, nor make
for yourselves molded gods (19:4).
You shall keep My Sabbaths and
reverence My sanctuary (19:30).
You shall rise before the grey
headed and honour the presence of an old man and fear your God (Lev
And if a stranger dwells with
you in your land, you shall not mistreat him (Lev 19:33).
You shall do no injustice in
judgement, in measurement of length, weight, or volume (Lev 19:35).
You shall have honest scales, honest weights (Lev 19:36).
You shall not take vengeance,
nor bear any grudge... But you shall love your neighbour as
yourself. I am the Lord (Lev 19:18).
Do you see how applicable the Law of
Moses is today?
I hope so.
God spoke to a N American prophet in
1996 and said that America and the Church face severe judgement and
captivity because they have defiled the holy things of God.
He added that if the nation instituted
the Law of Moses and lived by it, they could avert that judgement!
The Imminent Fall of America (£5)
The Law of Moses
Prior To Moses
It may sound ludicrous to suggest that
the ‘Law of Moses’ was in existence before Moses’ time, but it doesn’t
take much searching to see that parts of it were around long
before Moses received it from God.
The ‘Law of Moses’ was not legislation
thought up by Moses. It was given by God at Horeb, and was additional to
the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) which God gave Moses on Sinai.
While it was initially given to
Israel, it was not intended solely for Israel. In one sense, the Church
today is the ‘Israel’ of God. He has finished working with Israel as a
nation for the time being (Rom 11), and will resume that after Jesus
returns to institute the Millennium. Meanwhile, He is working with the
Church, and the outline of ideal behaviour that He gave Moses applies
equally to all the Church now.
Furthermore, prior to Moses, aspects
of that law are identified long before Israel was ever born!
I have mentioned at least two of those
– the law against consuming blood (Gen 9:4), and the command to keep
holy the Sabbath day which God instituted for man at Creation (Gen 2:3).
There were other effective rules of
conduct which God gave to the entire human race from the beginning of
mankind – long before Moses codified them! These included legislation
Murder (Gen 4:10,11; 9:5,6).
Violence (Gen 6:12,13).
Sexual debauchery (Gen 6:2).
Adultery (Gen 12:14-20; 20:1-16).
If you look carefully in Genesis, you
can also see references to other matters which Moses’ Law contained:
The Festivals (Gen 1:14).
Tithing (Gen 14:20).
The Passover (Gen 14:18).
The Feast of Tabernacles (Gen 4:3,4).
The allusions to the festivals in
Genesis are shrouded from the unsuspecting. However, close study reveals
much. In Genesis 1:14, God declares that He has set the sun and moon in
the sky in such a way as to be signs to demarcate seasons as well
as days and years. The word seasons is from the Hebrew moedim,
which does not just refer to the four seasons, but to the festival
In Genesis 4:3, we find that God
expected to receive an offering from Cain and Abel at a particular time
of year. This was not an unspecified requirement, or that would have
been an unreasonable demand. God is not unreasonable. He had stipulated
what He required as an offering. It was a lamb:
Abel brought of the firstborn of
his flock and of their fat (Gen 4:4).
“In the process of time” (Gen 4:3)
means literally “at the end of days”, which could refer to the Feast of
Tabernacles, the festival kept around the autumn equinox, at the end of
the harvest or at the end of the rural cycle – “at the end of days”.
Moreover, what was Abram receiving
from Melchizedek as tokens of deliverance and blessing? (Gen 14:18-20.)
Bread and wine, forerunners of the Passover symbols in the New Testament
And who was Melchizedek? The name
means “My King is Righteousness”. He was a Priest, appearing in human or
bodily form – an ‘apparition’ of God, who later came to earth as Jesus,
our Passover Lamb.
Jesus & The Law of
Jesus upheld the Law of Moses, not
solely because it was His duty as the Messiah to keep the law perfectly,
but also as an example to us of how we should live.
When Jesus was tempted in the
wilderness fast, every scripture He quoted to defeat Satan was from
Moses’ Law. He didn’t consider that law invalid! He quoted exclusively
from Deuteronomy (Matt 4:1-10).
The Ten Commandments are the central
facet of that law, and Jesus was unwavering in His insistence on
obedience to all of those commands:
If you want to enter into life,
keep the commandments (Matt 19:17).
The keeping of those precepts does not
earn salvation (Eph 2:8,9), but why would you think God will grant you
salvation if you despise them? He requires good works from you (Eph
2:10; Rev 22:12). And not just basic obedience. You are to aim for
perfection (Matt 5:48).
Jesus’ earliest theological exposition
hinged on this dogma:
Do not think
[what most theologians today DO
think!] that I came to destroy the Law [what is written in
the Pentateuch, first five books of Moses: Moses’ Law] or the
Prophets [the writings of the prophets who showed up Israel’s
unfaithfulness to that Law]. I did not come to destroy but to
fulfil [Greek, fill up to the full].
For assuredly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot
or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is
fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these
commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the
kingdom of heaven, but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be
called great in the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:17-19).
That’s pretty plain, yet many don’t
Many people simply don’t want
to understand! So, God allows them to believe a lie, because their
nature is such that they refuse to obey God (2 Thes 2:10,11). But you
don’t have to be deceived.
Paul & The Law of
Paul was ‘pulled up’ by the Jews in
his day, accused of violating the Law of Moses:
They said to him, ‘You see,
brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and
they are all zealous for the law; but they have been informed about
you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to
forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their
children nor to walk according to the
customs (Acts 21:21).
This was not true, however. Paul did
not teach that we should disobey the Law of Moses, rather that
dependence upon our obedience to that Law does not grant salvation.
Justification is not by works, but by faith through God’s grace (Eph
2:8,9). No one can ever be made righteous by what they do. Jesus imputes
His righteousness to us (2 Cor 5:21) when we repent and show our desire
to receive the righteousness of God. But that righteousness is not
something that WE attain by our own efforts. It’s something that is
produced from the indwelling of holy Spirit.
This is what Paul taught. His emphasis
was on works of the Spirit, not on works of the flesh.
Paul had been reared in the most
acclaimed school of Jewish religious law and was zealous towards God in
that respect (Acts 22:3). He did not teach against obedience to any
aspect of the Mosaic law as it applied to personal conduct. What he
taught against was that such obedience was the means to
salvation. Paul also explained that the Levitical laws of purification
and redemption via animal sacrifices, offerings, and ritual washings
were now no longer necessary because Jesus had paid that price in full
The believers who knew that the
accusation against Paul wasn’t true urged Paul to shave his head as an
outward ritual which would indicate to these Jews that he did indeed
obey the Law of Moses:
Therefore do what we tell you: We
have four men who have taken a vow. Take them and be purified with
them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and
that all may know that those things of which they were informed
concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly
and keep the law (Acts 21:23,24).
Paul did as they suggested (v 26), to
visually demonstrate the point. However, it does not mean that such
purification rites are still valid under the New Covenant.
It is also significant that Ananias
had this commendation from God and Paul:
A certain Ananias, a devout man
according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who
dwelt there, came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Paul,
receive your sight.’ (Acts 22:12,13).
Why would God have used Ananias, a man
so devout in the Jews’ estimation – one so devoted to strict adherence
to the Mosaic Law – to bring healing to Paul’s blindness, if that
adherence to the law was now a legalistic throwback and no longer a part
of the New Covenant faith once delivered? Many misguided theologians
today, as in former centuries, throw the false accusation that obedience
to the Law of Moses is ‘legalism’ or ‘Judaizing’.
If so, Jesus was a legalist, too. And
if He had not been a Jew, He would also have been labelled a 'Judaizer'!
Peter mentioned later about similar
misunderstandings that were being spread as highly tendentious rumours
among the believers. These later took root and gave rise to the
beginnings of heresies that have become widespread among Christians
today. Peter wrote about Paul:
...our beloved brother Paul,
according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in
all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are
some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people
twist to their own destruction... (2 Pet 3:15,16).
Have you ever wondered why God, in His
supreme wisdom, allowed the New Testament to contain so much material by
Paul that has been so widely misunderstood by believers and scholars
alike? I’ll tell you why: so that they can fall backward. It was
The word of the Lord was to them,
‘Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line
upon line, here a little, there a little,
that they might go and fall backward, and
be broken and snared and caught' (Is 28:13).
Peter called it “the error of the
wicked” (2 Pet 3:17).
It’s one of God’s ways of separating
the wheat from the chaff, the true from the false.
I find it amazing how ingenious God
is. Even some scriptures which prove the validity of the Law of Moses
for believers in Jesus today are twisted to mean the opposite. These
very words will judge them at the last day. Here’s one example:
So let no one judge you in food or
in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths (Col
And yet, these antinomians use that
very text to judge others who keep the festivals, new moons and
Sabbaths! They claim it proves we don’t have to keep such times of
worship today – the very opposite of what it intimates.
I can’t believe that all scholars are
that stupid that they don’t see what it actually says! Many of them are
blatantly dishonest! Most Bible teachers use it as a clever ruse to pull
the wool over the eyes of their followers and teach the accepted dogmas
that they don’t want to defy. But they will be judged by it when they
pass from this world into the next.
You don’t have to fall for such lies.
You are privileged to have access to the truth, because,
...we know that the law is good if
one uses it lawfully (1 Tim 1:8) ...according to the glorious gospel
of the blessed God which was committed to my trust
(1 Tim 1:11).
Clarifying The Law Of
Moses’ Law (Teaching / Instruction)
contained these categories:
1) The Ten Commandments (Ex 20; Deut
2) The Statutes (e.g. Lev 18:6-25);
they are Godward,
3) The Judgements (e.g. Lev 20); they
4) The rituals concerning animal
sacrifices (Lev 1-6; 7:1-21),
5) Regulations concerning ritual
6) Other ancillary teaching, history,
7) Prophetic statements.
To understand the applicability of
each of these categories to us today as Jesus’ followers, you should
first familiarise yourself with the truth contained in The
Controversy Concerning Law and Grace, and the literature referred to
earlier in this publication.
After God drew Israel out of Egypt, it was His intention
to make them His model nation. However, He foreknew that they would
reject Him, and that He would finally accomplish this objective during
the Millennium after Jesus’ 2nd Coming. Nonetheless, He offered them the
chance to be His special people, ruled exclusively by Him.
For them to fulfil His aspirations, God gave Israel the
laws codified in the Pentateuch which were designed to teach Israel
about God’s holiness. They were not designed to make Israel holy.
That could not be achieved until Jesus came to provide the indwelling of
His Spirit in man. The purpose of the Mosaic laws was to outline various
basics in human conduct that identified their sinfulness. The Mosaic
period showed Israel (and all mankind through Israel’s example) their
innate stubbornness and self-will which led to wickedness – the
antithesis of God’s holy state. They failed to obey and do as God asked
The ‘experiment’ with Israel was to demonstrate their
need for inner spiritual purification of motives, and their utter
failure, without Christ, of achieving the holy standard God required for
Him to dwell in their midst. (It’s no different for any other nation or
people.) The failure of Israel to submit to and obey God was an
essential lesson in history, and was one stage in the nation’s humbling.
Before God can come into you and change you, you have to
be humbled. Israel had to be humbled. Everyone has to be humbled. The
process of humbling is not straightforward or simple. It has many twists
and turns, and can take many years, decades, or even a generation. It
starts with God’s invitation or offer, followed by man’s rejection of
it, and the ensuing consequences (usually referred to as ‘judgement’).
That was what occurred. Israel was offered a special
relationship with God as their Ruler, Leader, Protector, Provider and
Lover (Husband). To effect the relationship, He was also their Lawmaker.
The laws He gave them – if they obeyed them – would keep them in
relationship with Him. He would be their God, and they would be His
people. He would rule over them and protect and guide them, providing
all they needed. That was the deal. That was the Covenant He made with
them at Sinai. They agreed.
It was to be a unique form of government – the only time
it has ever existed in all history – a Theocracy – an entire people
ruled by God. He promised to fight their battles, to provide all their
needs, to watch over them, care for them and make them an envy to the
surrounding nations – IF they kept His laws which He gave them at Sinai.
Well, you know what happened – that they did not stay
faithful and fulfil their part of the Covenant. Later, you read in
Samuel that Israel rejected God in favour of having a human king as
The Ten Commandments
The foundation of that Covenant was
the Decalogue. Those ten commandments, thundered by God from Mount
Sinai, and written on stone by the finger of God, given to Moses, and
passed on to the people, are the foundation for righteous conduct. This
is why we read from Paul:
Therefore the law is holy, and the
commandment holy and just and good (Rom 7:12).
The Decalogue was not merely written
on parchment or clay tablets; it was engraved in stone. What does that
imply? Can you erase engraved wording, and restore the original surface
of the rock to make it look like there was nothing there before? Of
course not. You might be able to chip more rock away, but it’s obvious
to anyone that it has been tampered with. God’s law of the Decalogue was
never to be altered in any way – and certainly not by man! It was
perfect (Ps 19:7,8) and needed no modification. It is permanent for
humanity and will endure without alteration to the end of time.
That perfect law of liberty, as James
described it (Jas 1:25), is the bedrock for human righteous conduct. The
problem of failure was not in that law, but in human inadequacy to obey
it (Gal 3:22; Heb 8:8; Rom 3:23).
The Sacrificial Laws
Because God knew Israel would fail, He
added to that basic law. He had to remind Israel of their infractions. A
physical nation, without insight into the Spirit, needed physical
rituals to perform as reminders of their sin and need for spiritual
atonement and redemption which they could otherwise not perceive. Those
were the laws of sacrifices which God added, and which the Levitical
priests conducted for the people.
Paul explains in Hebrews that the
Levitical priesthood, with the physical sacrificial system, was
disbanded at Jesus’ death (Heb 7-10). Paul must have been taught this
personally when he was with Jesus (Gal 1:12) in Arabia (Gal 1:17). Thus,
these animal sacrifices, offerings and ritual washings are no longer
relevant to us under the New Covenant.
In Israel’s theocracy, God gave
various additional laws to the ten commandments. These are either
described as ‘statutes’ or ‘ordinances’ to differentiate them from the
Decalogue, but no less important. They were given for spiritual, moral
or physical guidance (for example, most of Lev 18 about sexual conduct;
Lev 11 about unsatisfactory foods), or for instruction about spiritual
worship (Lev 23; Deut 16).
Regarding the latter – God’s festivals
– these have great meaning. They keep us in remembrance of the plan God
is working out with humanity – of His various days of salvation. While
the festivals are still binding upon us today, just as all the other
commandments and statutes of moral conduct, the physical sacrifices on
those days are superseded now by spiritual counterparts as we are
individually moved by the Spirit.
The early Church kept all these days
of worship. They are God’s Appointed Times (Heb moedim) when He
meets with His people congregationally. He invariably pours out more
inspiration, revelation, and prophetic words on these occasions – as we
have personally experienced time and time again.
The Rites of Purification
were physical rituals required for various situations or bodily
conditions. Like the physical sacrifices, they were to remind the people
of the need for purity, because God is pure and holy. Today, they are no
longer relevant to a people in whom God’s Spirit lives. For the Spirit
is now meant to be our Tutor, reminding us, as we learn to listen to the
Spirit and follow God’s lead. (See earlier footnote 1.)
These were punishments which God
decreed for the nation at that time under that theocracy (for example,
Israel rejected God, and the theocracy
was annulled by their disobedience. Along with that annulment went the
However, that doesn’t mean there
wasn’t any judgement from then on. There most certainly was! The
underlying principle of judgement / punishment for disobedience is
The nation later went into exile – a
fulfilment of the most severe judgement of all, which God had warned
them about in Deuteronomy 28:58-68. He had predicted multiple curses for
All these curses shall come upon
you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because
you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His
commandments and His statutes which He commanded you (Deut 28:45).
God does not separate the commandments and statutes. They are both
equally valid in moral conduct and worship of Him.
principles underlying the judgements are still valid. Demons are
instrumental in doing the work of punishment for wrongdoing. Jesus
warned of the jailers who would be unrelenting in their pursuit of
sinners (Matt 5:25; Lk 12:57-59). In that analogy, sin is our adversary,
God is the judge, but Satan and his demons are the officers or jailers
who hold people in their grip until they learn to submit to good and
Prejudice Against The
We live in
an antinomian age; a lawless, rebellious time. False teachings abound in
‘Christianity’ about the Law of Moses. It has been labelled ‘bondage’
and rejected by the majority who think that Jesus did away with it all.
He didn’t (Matt 5:17-19). He only modified certain parts.
massive prejudice against the Law of Moses and many judge it based upon
what they see others do in Judaism, assuming they are living out what
Moses commanded Israel. You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover; it’s
far worse judging it after it has been given a wrong cover!
When you see Orthodox Jewish men with
long beards, peculiar curls for sideburns, black coats and distinctive
hats – making them stand out as totally different from others – and
performing weird ceremonies, genuflexion and rituals – don’t assume that
such customs are what God gave Moses for Israel. Most of that is an
aberration from what God said! Religion has departed a long way from
Moses and the laws which God gave him
have been terribly tainted by human invention in the name of religion.
The Law of Moses, which is really the Law of God, has been given a bad
reputation. Yet Paul said that if there was a law that could have
brought life, that was it!
Is the law then against the
promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given
which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by
the law (Gal 3:21).
The problem with prejudice is pride.
Pride leads to deception and wrong perception. Misconceptions then
abound because of this evil root in the human heart. Most folk who
reject the applicability of keeping God’s Sabbaths and festivals under
the New Covenant do so because they are too proud to accept them. They
think they have a superior theology, one achieved by misunderstanding
and misrepresenting Paul’s writings.
All that is part of the humbling. When
they come to see the truth on the other side of the veil, they will
realise they opposed the very Truth they claimed to espouse. Moses and
Elijah will be there with Jesus to welcome them.
By rejecting Moses’ law, they actually
reject Jesus, because the One who came in human flesh to save us from
our folly and sinfulness was the One who gave Moses those instructions
for Israel and you and me to live by. (1 Cor 10:4).
With most of them God was not well
pleased (1 Cor 10:5). Is it any different today?
Malcolm B Heap
Concerning Law & Grace
– Vital truth on this misunderstood topic
Our Sabbath Rest (£3)
– The truth about this much neglected
Meetings With Jesus (£2)
– Jesus will come into your fellowship
meetings, if you let Him
God's Church – Whose Authority? (£3)
– Hierarchy is the biggest
abuse in the Church!