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Remember the Law of Moses

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What is the difference between the law of God and the law of Moses? Is the Law of Moses relevant for us today?

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Malachi 4:4 (AV 1873)
4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, Which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments.

What is the Context?

Malachi 4 (AV 1873)
1 For behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; And all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: And the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, That it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise With healing in his wings; And ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet In the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.
4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, Which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments.
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, And the heart of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
We know this is speaking of the time when Christ shall come to destroy the wicked in flaming fire. See 2 Thes. 1:7-8 and Matt. 3:11.
This passage is a prophecy for those alive at the 1st and 2nd coming of Christ.

Whose Law is it?

Many say that God came up with the 10 commandments and Moses came up with the Law of Moses, but is that the case?
Deuteronomy 4:13–14 (AV 1873)
13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. 14 And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.

What is the Foundation of God’s Government?

A: Love
1 John 4:8 (AV 1873)
8 He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.
Everything that comes from God is a manifestation of love.
Matthew 22:36–40 (AV 1873)
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
The main principle on top of God’s government is selfless love. From this single principle God further elaborates and explains that we are to love God and others, explaining what that basically looks like.

What are all of the “Extra Laws” in the Law of Moses?

First, what is “the law of Moses”?

The law of Moses refers to the first 5 books of the Bible, and consists of different types of laws, traditionally totalling 613 laws.
These laws generally fall into 4 categories:
Ceremonial
Civil
Health
Moral

Law of Moses Abolished?

Many believe that everything within the Law of Moses was done away with, because:
It was kept on the side of the ark, while the 10 commandments were inside.
It was written on parchment, while the 10 commandments were written on stone.
It was written by Moses, while the 10 commandments were written by God.
The following passage is also used to support this belief:
Colossians 2:14–17 (AV 1873)
14 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; 15 and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
There is a lot in this passage, but we will only touch the surface.
According to Colossians 2:14-17, what was involved in the thing that was abolished?
Meat
Drink
Holydays
New Moons
Sabbath Days
All of which are “shadows” of Christ

What law was a “shadow” of Christ?

Hebrews 10:1 (AV 1873)
1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
According to this passage, the laws which were abolished were the sacrificial laws which were a shadow of Christ.
Hebrews 9:8–10 (AV 1873)
8 the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9 which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
Here we see that the sacrificial law had meat and drink offerings, as well as ritual purifications. This passage also mentions “carnal,” or fleshly/physical, ordinances, which seems to be speaking concerning things which are external and can do nothing for the heart, such as physical circumcision, tzitzits, phylacteries, etc.
The feast days and ceremonial sabbath days were also shadows of Christ’s earthly and heavenly ministry.
According to Colossians 2:14-17 and Hebrews 9:8-10; 10:1, the “laws of types and shadows” were done away with when Christ was nailed to the cross.
Clear that 10 commandments (love) not a type or a shadow

Does the Law of Moses ONLY consist of these “shadow laws”?

Q: Do the “shadow laws” comprise the entirety of the Law of Moses?
The “Law of Moses” also contains health, moral, and civil laws.
Let’s look at a few of these laws in the other categories to see if they were also “shadow laws” which were nailed to the cross.

Health Laws

Leprosy in the House

Leviticus 14:33–48 (AV 1873)
33 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 34 When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession; 35 and he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, It seemeth to me there is as it were a plague in the house: 36 then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house:
37 and he shall look on the plague, and behold, if the plague be in the walls of the house with hollow strakes, greenish or reddish, which in sight are lower than the wall; 38 then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days: 39 and the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house; 40 then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city:
41 and he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place: 42 and they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other morter, and shall plaister the house. 43 And if the plague come again, and break out in the house, after that he hath taken away the stones, and after he hath scraped the house, and after it is plaistered; 44 then the priest shall come and look, and behold, if the plague be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean.
45 And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the morter of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place. 46 Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even. 47 And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes. 48 And if the priest shall come in, and look upon it, and behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the house was plaistered: then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed.
Do we want mold in our houses today? Of course not.
The above is not a shadow, but is a health principle.
A quick Google search will show the fact that modern science has found that having mold in the home is extremely serious and terrible for our health.
Of course we have other ways of dealing with mold, and don’t necessarily have to destroy our house, but the principle of getting rid of mold is still valid.

Consumption of Swarming Bugs

Deuteronomy 14:19 (AV 1873)
19 And every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you: they shall not be eaten.
According to a 2021 article by the Canadian Health Alliance:
“Insects are mycotoxins and fungi powerhouses”
“Insect consumption is an easy excuse for another zoonotic pandemic”
“Crustacean allergies in humans and pets can kill”
Q: Was this law concerning eating unclean bugs a “shadow law”?
The statutes God gave regarding the consumption of “unclean animals” is backed by modern science.
God did not give arbitrary laws concerning these health principles just to give us more “rules.” He wants us to be a happy and healthy people!

Moral Laws

Love God and Others

Jesus said all of the law and prophets hang upon two principles: “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Mt 22:37) & “love thy neighbour as thyself (Mt 22:39).
Where did He get this idea from?
When Jesus said this, He was actually quoting statutes from the Law of Moses.
Deuteronomy 6:5 (AV 1873)
5 and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Leviticus 19:18 (AV 1873)
18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.

Do Not Curse Your Mother and Father

Exodus 21:17 (AV 1873)
17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.
Matthew 15:3–4 (AV 1873)
3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

Why does Jesus quote the 5th commandment and attach a statute to it?

Jesus repeats the 5th commandment, following it up with a statute because it elaborates what it means to honor our parents.
^This^ is the purpose of the Statutes!

The Purpose of the Statutes

The purpose of the statutes and judgments God gave Israel was to help more clearly explain God’s law of love.
The purpose of the statutes and judgments God gave Israel was to help more clearly explain God’s law of love.
Here one author which most of us are familiar with says this about the statutes and judgments of God:
The statutes and judgments specifying the duty of man to his fellow-men, were full of important instruction, defining and simplifying the principles of the moral law, for the purpose of increasing religious knowledge, and of preserving God's chosen people distinct and separate from idolatrous nations.” Ellen White, Review and Herald, May 6, 1875, par. 5
“Christ gave to Moses religious precepts which were to govern the everyday life. These statutes were explicitly given to guard the ten commandments. They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ. They were to be binding upon man in every age as long as time should last. These commands were enforced by the power of the moral law, and they clearly and definitely explained that law. Ellen White, Review and Herald, May 6, 1875, par. 10
Just as the statutes explain the moral law, so does Jesus explain the character of His Father.
Statutes point to and explain the 10 Commandments
Jesus points to and explains His Father
Statutes on the side of the Ark
Jesus on the side of His Father
Let’s look at a few more examples on how the statutes further explain the commandments:

The 7th Commandment

Exodus 20:14 (AV 1873)
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
What is the definition of adultery?
Adultery (H5003) = “… woman that breaketh wedlock.” Strong’s Dictionary, p. 75
Adultery (H5003) = “… woman that breaketh wedlock.” Strong’s Dictionary, p. 75
Is this the only situation covered by the 7th commandment?
Psalm 119:96 (AV 1873)
96 I have seen an end of all perfection: But thy commandment is exceeding broad.
Jesus expounded the 7th commandment when He said: “27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matt. 5:27-28.
Jesus expounded the 7th commandment when He said: “27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matt. 5:27-28.
The statutes likewise expound upon the 7th commandment:

No Incest

Leviticus 18:5–6 (AV 1873)
5 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord. 6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the Lord.

No Homosexuality

Leviticus 18:22 (AV 1873)
22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
This statute is repeated in Romans 1:26–27
Romans 1:26–27 AV 1873
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one towards another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

No Beastiality

Leviticus 18:23 (AV 1873)
23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
I think we can all agree that these statutes are still valid today, and are not shadowy types to pass away.

The 4th Commandment

Exodus 20:8–11 (AV 1873)
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
KEEP IN MIND (for these next statutes) that we must consider the “time and place” of the statutes given, and potentially adapt them to the time we live in.

No Kindling Fire

Exodus 35:1–3 (AV 1873)
1 And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the Lord hath commanded, that ye should do them. 2 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. 3 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.
What would it look like to kindle a fire in ancient times? It would have been much different than the way we kindle a fire today.
Numbers 15:32–35 (AV 1873)
32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. 33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. 34 And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. 35 And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.
Word for “sticks” is most often translated as “trees” (161/329 times).
Chopping down trees for firewood sounds like work to me.

No Strenuous Traveling

Exodus 16:28–30 (AV 1873)
28 And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? 29 See, for that the Lord hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
Jesus reiterated this commandment for those who were to live after His death:
Matthew 24:20 (AV 1873)
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

Didn’t Jesus break the “old Sabbath laws,” showing they are no longer valid?

Luke 6:1–2 (AV 1873)
1 And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. 2 And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?
Many read this and assume Jesus broke some of the “old laws” concerning the Sabbath to show they no longer matter. Is this the case?
The Jewish New Testament Commentary gives us some valuable insight into this matter:
“At issue behind this seemingly minor matter is whether the Pharisaic tradition—which evolved into what rabbinic Judaism calls the Oral Torah, later committed to writing in the Mishna, Gemara and other works—is God’s revelation to man and binding on all Jews… According to the Oral Torah as we have it now in the Mishna (Shabbat 7:2) thirty-nine categories of m’lakhah (work) are prohibited on Shabbat, namely, those prohibited on Shabbat while the Tabernacle was being built.
One of these was reaping, another threshing. At v. 1 we are told the talmidim [disiples] were reaping; in the parallel passage at Lk 6:1 they were also rubbing the heads of grain together in their hands, which would be defined as threshing. This is the content of the accusation the P˒rushim [Pharisees] were making against them and by implication against Yeshua [Jesus], responsible as their teacher for their behavior.” David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary : A Companion Volume to the Jewish New Testament, electronic ed. (Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996), Mt 12:2.
(Also see Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 284)
The “Oral Torah” contained the additional laws which the Pharisees created, making the Sabbath a burden to the people. God never commanded these and are not found in the Bible.
Some of these man-made statutes concerning the Sabbath forbid things such as Carrying, Writing, Knotting, and Untying. Some of the laws they came up with were in harmony with God’s law (such as harvesting and threshing), but the way they interpreted these things was a burden to people and made God look like an arbitrary tyrant.

Statutes in the New Testament

Are we Saved by Our Works?

In the early church, some of the converted Pharisees said that it was essential for the new Gentile believers to keep all the statutes (+ shadowy types, and carnal ordinances (circumcision, etc.)), in order to be saved.
Acts 15:1 (AV 1873)
1 And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
Acts 15:5 (AV 1873)
5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
The problem here is not necessarily with the statutes, but with the idea that any of our own works can gain us salvation, because we know that “no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.” Gal. 3:11.
After this counsel to answer this question, the apostles carried the verdict to fellow believers.
Acts 16:4 (AV 1873)
4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
The definition of the word “decrees” is G1378, and means “decree” or “ordinance
What were these “ordinances” which they delivered to the Gentiles?
Acts 15:19–21 (AV 1873)
19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20 but that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
All of these are found in the statutes given by Christ through Moses!
Idolatry (Deuteronomy 7:25–26)
Fornication (Leviticus 18 and Deuteronomy 22:20–21)
Things strangled (Leviticus 17:13)
Consumption of blood (Leviticus 17:14)
(For further study, see Ellen White, Acts of the Apostles, p. 195)
These are some of the big statutes which the apostles and elders thought were very important for Gentiles to understand immediately. The rest could be learned when they heard the Law of Moses read in the synagogues on Sabbath (Acts 15:21).
Can stop here if necessary and continue in study,. Or continue if time allows.

More Statutes Reiterated in the New Testament

Circumcision of the Heart

Romans 2:29 (AV 1873) 29 but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Deuteronomy 10:16 (AV 1873) 16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.

Fornication

1 Corinthians 5:1 (AV 1873)
1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named amongst the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
Deuteronomy 27:20 (AV 1873)
20 Cursed be he that lieth with his father’s wife; because he uncovereth his father’s skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen.

We Cannot Fulfill God’s Law and His Statutes by our own Power

Ezekiel 36:24–27 (AV 1873)
24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
We can’t do good on our own, we can only do right by surrendering to God and allowing Christ to work through us (also see Col. 1:27; Phil. 2:13).

If We Obey God’s Statutes We Will Have Life

Deuteronomy 30:16 (AV 1873)
16 in that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
Deuteronomy 6:1–8 (AV 1873)
1 Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: 2 that thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: 5 and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
If Israel obeyed God’s law of love, allowing Him to work through them to keep His commandments and statutes, they would have been a light to the world-physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Deuteronomy 4:5–8 (AV 1873)
5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. 6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? 8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

If We Disobey God’s Statutes We Will Have Death

Revelation 21:7–8 (AV 1873)
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
This passage lists some of the 10 commandments as well as different statutes which address:
Fear (Deut. 31:6)
Unbelief (Num. 14:11)
Whoremongers (Deut. 23:17)
Sorcery (Deut. 18:10–12)
Lying (Lev. 6:2–4)

Passages for Further Study

1 Corinthians 6:8-10; Galatians 5:19-21, Deuteronomy 27-30.
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