The Moral Law and the Ceremonial Law
by Brad Scott
I came to the conclusion a good many years ago that my life growing up in America was not that much different from millions of other people. In times past I occasionally thought of myself as unique from the masses and at times even somewhat special, until I matured a bit and realized that hindsight and age are universal teaching tools. While growing up I encountered my teachers in school who had rules somewhat different than my parents. While going to church I was given a slightly different set of rules. At times during my rebellious years I encountered other sets of rules when being confronted by armed men with uniforms. Nothing that serious, mind you, but they did have guns and they did have rules, many of which I concluded were for everyone but me. I played various sports with rules. Rules for driving a car, walking through a park, reading at the library and being a passenger in an airplane. As I wandered throughout life I could plainly see that all these various buildings, arenas, streets, vehicles and communities all had different kinds of rules. Each place had a different spokesman for the rules. Some places had teachers, some had coaches, other had officers and flight attendents. This is how the world goes round. There was one place, however, I recall and shall never forget, a place where I was loved, nourished, coddled, entertained, educated, supplied my every need and even tucked into bed. A place where I was disciplined and spanked, as well. There was one house, one home, one father, one mother, one family and one set of rules for all the members of the kingdom, I mean house. One set of rules for all the people in the house all the time, yet not every rule was for every person. A home that I was to take out into the world rather than forcing the world into that home.
When it comes to the commandments of our Father I would not have a leg to stand on if there were many kingdoms, many houses, many Fathers, many ways, many truths, and many lives. But there is one house and one family.
Ephesians 4:3-6 "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Master, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
At some point when I got older I realized that when my dad told me to "go ask your mom" and my mother told me to "go ask your dad", that they both had the same rules, but were attempting to blame their rejection of my request on the other parent. In my home, anyway, the 'rules of mom' were actually the same as the 'rules of dad', because there was only one home. I am going to suggest that if that were not true then the home would be divisive and confusing, and I would go to the parent that gave me what I wanted and stay away from the one I knew would say no. Does this sound familiar? I am suggesting that teaching that there are big differences between the laws of God, the laws of Mosheh, and the laws of Christ, leads the average believer to follow which ever commandment is most conducive and convenient in any given situation. Geeee, that never happens. This teaching works for many people because it appeals to our base nature. "Wow! You mean I don't have to do that?"
Beginning quickly after the first commandment to the times we live in at present, man has always been on a quest to find a way to free himself from the so-called demiurge God of the days of Mosheh. He looks for even the slightest hints to support a favorite commandment or to untie himself from the least favorite. Perhaps the best place in all of scripture to support this premise is that hidden dark period of time between the testaments. Apparently this is where YHVH took a sabbatical to think over the mess he made of the laws of Mosheh. Now it is my proposal that our God is smarter than we are and He knew that this is the nature, the fallen nature, of that part of His creation that is capable of plotting and scheming. With this in mind is it possible that our Father knew what would be the last published words in the most popular Bible version of all time? Did it take Him by surprise that the book of Malakhi would be the very last words that one would read in the Old Testament before turning the page over to the New Testament? I do not think it did and so I propose that He deliberately ended this last book with the following words.
Male’akiy (Malachi) 4:4-6"Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of YHVH: 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."
Could it be possible that our omniscient Creator foreknew what man would do to His instructions once man was exposed to the changing whims of theologians and the intellectual elite? We are told to remember the Torah of Mosheh that was commanded of him at Horeb (Mt. Sinai) for all Israel, statutes and judgments. The words with the is supplied. Remember (pun intended) we covered the statutes and judgments in the first couple of teachings on this subject. If you take the time to go to the word of the week section, we covered the meaning of remember in Hebrew as well, that is to speak or act in behalf of someone or something. We are not told to recall that these instructions from our Father existed, but rather to speak in behalf of them. We are then told that YHVH would send us Elijah the prophet BEFORE the great and dreadful day of YHVH. Remember (there is that word again) that Elijah's ministry was to prepare the way for YHVH and to restore all things. He will send Elijah to restore all things because He knows that his own people will not speak in behalf of the law of Mosheh. The concluding purpose in these last three passages in the 'Authorized Version' of the Tanakh, is to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers. I remember (again?) when I was younger thinking that passage was speaking of my dad. But in context it is speaking of the hearts of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the patriarchs, the fathers. This is what we read about now, week after week and year after year, in our Torah portions. Our heavenly Father knows that most of us growing up learned things ABOUT Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but now we are learning their hearts.
I would like to quote, rather than reword, the opening comments from a web site that is well known to those who believe that the law of God is different from the law of Mosheh which is different from the law of Christ. Can you imagine why people may be confused? In the interest of not singling anyone out in particular, I will be happy to supply the source for anyone who wishes to read it for yourself. This is a typical doctrinal representation of those who slice and dice the commandments of God.
"The Bible speaks of two great Laws. Law Number 1 is the Law of God (the Ten Commandments, or Two Tablets of the Testimony) also known as the "Moral Law, the Law of Love and the Decalogue. Law Number 2 is the Law of Mosheh (the Book of the Law, or Book of the Covenant), also know as the Mosaic Law, the Ordinances, and the Ceremonial Law. Is there a relationship between the Ten Commandments and the Ceremonial Law? Absolutely. If an Israelite sinned, he broke Law Number 1, the Moral Law of the Ten Commandments. He then had to bring an offering according to Law Number 2, the Sacrificial Law to receive forgiveness. This is the relationship between these two laws. Law Number 1 defines sin, as sin is the transgression of the Moral Law, the Ten Commandments. 1 John 3:4. Law Number 2 defined sacrifices, the Ceremonial Law which was the remedy for sin.
Whew! So let me see if I understand this correctly. It appears to me that sin is defined as only breaking the Ten Commandments, and that all other commandments are the remedy for sin. Did I get that right? Do you see something I do not see? It is clear in Scripture that adultery (Law Number 1) and fornication (Law Number 2) are not the same thing. So one who fornicates with, whatever, is not sinning, since only adultery is sin. Observing pagan festivals and discarding our Masters' feasts is only ceremonial and are also not transgressing or sinning. What? The bottom line in this doctrinal position is that the laws of God are not the same as the laws of Mosheh. But how do the Scriptures see this relationship? Let's cover a few examples, following a very important circumstance.
Shemot (Exodus) 20:18-22"And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. And YHVH said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven."
I just wanted to take the time to point out that YHVH spoke the ten words to the people, but after hearing Him speak they did not want to hear Him speak any further. Their request was that Mosheh speak unto them. And YHVH heeded their request and immediately spoke to Mosheh. I wanted to throw that trivial part of the context into the mix. Below are but a few examples of the consistency and continuity of this passage.
Shemot 24:1-3,12"And he said unto Moses, Come up unto YHVH, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near YHVH: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him. And Moses came and told the people all the words of YHVH, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which YHVH hath said will we do...And YHVH said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them."
Divre-Hayamim Alef (1Chronicles) 16:40"To offer burnt offerings unto YHVH upon the altar of the burnt offering continually morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the law of YHVH, which he commanded Israel;"
Divre-Hayamim Bet (2Chronicles) 31:3"He appointed also the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of YHVH."
Divre-Hayamim Bet 35:11-12"And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands, and the Levites flayed them. And they removed the burnt offerings, that they might give according to the divisions of the families of the people, to offer unto YHVH, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen."
Nechemeyah (Nehemiah) 8:1,8"And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which YHVH had commanded to Israel...So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading."
Nechemeyah 8:14,18"And they found written in the law which YHVH had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month...Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner."
It seems so far, that our Creator is a bit confused about the differences between His laws and the laws of Mosheh. It seems that our Father believes that His words straight to the people from Him are no less valid than His words to the people through Moses. It appears that He sees that one's words are equivalent to the very nature and essence of the one who speaks them. I suppose that given the theology of the "God didn't tell me that" folks, the army of Yehoshua' could have refused to march around Jericho seeing that God may have told Yehoshua to be quiet but He didn't tell them that!
Nechemeyah 9:13-14Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Mosheh thy servant:"
Mizemor (Psalm) 119:1-8 "Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of YHVH. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly."
Devariym (Deuteronomy) 26:16-17This day YHVH thy ’Elohiym hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. Thou hast avouched YHVH this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice:"
Mattityahu (Matthew) 4:4-10"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Yeshua‘ said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt YHVH thy ’Elohiym. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Yeshua‘ unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship YHVH thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."
Luke 2:23"As it is written in the law of YHVH, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to YHVH".
In these passages are we talking about His ways and what is written through the law of Mosheh or what is written through the law of God? When a passage does not use the words law of Mosheh or law of God, who is to make the determination as to which one is meant? Yeshua‘ quotes here entirely from the book of Devariym. Are those just from Mosheh and not God? From Mosheh and God? From just God? Do words spoken by God through Mosheh have an expiration date stamped on them? "These words are good till....".
Now I know that virtually everyone says this, but I could go on and on and on and on. The anti law of Mosheh crowd sees the ordinances, statutes and judgments as not only the law of Mosheh distinguised from the law of God, but as literally law number 2. (I am quoting these things exactly as it appears on their web sites). They see them as ceremonial and ritualistic and coming on the scene after the so-called Ten Commandments. Apparently Abraham did not see it that way.
Bere’shiyt (Genesis) 26:5Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws."
Long before the giving of the Ten Commandments on the mountain, Abraham, our model and paradigm, was commended for obeying YHVH's voice, His charge, His commandments, His statutes and His laws. Abraham, a man that is referred to as our Father and the Seed from whence we as children of God spring forth from. You know, my earthly father has some of those same attributes. When I lived under my father's roof, he had laws and judgments, ordinances and statutes. This we will discuss in much further detail in the last installment of this series. The last installment (whenever that is written) will end on a more positive note in a discussion on how to keep the commandments of our God.
When Yeshua‘ is asked in Matityahu 22:36-50 what is the greatest commandment in the law, His response is not found in the Ten Commandments. As a matter of fact He quotes from Devariym and Vayiqera (Leviticus). Hmmmm. Now let's just imagine for a moment that YHVH is smarter than we are and He knows that you cannot separate God from the Word of God. It seems logical to me that if you were in the business of placing His Word in little dispensations, then it would naturally lead to separating YHVH into little dispensations, and if we do away with some of His commandments that is not hard to do away with... well, you know. We have not even touched the common teaching in western religions that the law of Christ is not the same as the law of Mosheh, which is not the same as the law of God. Quite frankly we could spend a lot of valuable stewardship of time dissecting God and His Word. As for me and my house, we are going to worship and serve the one God of creation and stand firmly for ALL of His Word. We are not going to take it upon ourselves to sovereignly determine which commandments stay and which ones go.
Male’akiy 2:8-10"But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith YHVH of hosts. Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law."
Shalom Alecheim! ◊