An excerpt from: "Sabbath Confession"
(Part 6) God’s Law (The Ten Commandments) vs. The Mosaic Law
Written by: Mark Johnson, 2016
It is simply just a fact of Church life; very few understand the difference between God’s Law (a.k.a The Ten Commandments) and the set of laws, commands, statutes, ordinances and instructions known as the Law of Moses or simply, as the Mosaic Law. Most Christians are familiar with the Ten Commandments (or at least it is so hoped) as those commandments are numerated in Chapter 20 of the Book of Exodus and in Deuteronomy 5:6–21. And, as has been explored previously in this series of essays, the Ten Commandments are actually a promised Covenant, they are His wedding vows, declared by God to His bride, Israel (and by extendtion, the Church). Furthermore, and as it has also been previously explored, the first three Commandments, those concerning God, and the last six Commandments, those concerning Man, are all tied together by the fourth Commandment, the Sabbath Commandment, and that Commandment ultimately personified by the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus.
It is important to understand that the Ten Commandments are complete as they are. In fact, once given by God to Israel face-to-face, in His own voice, in Israel’s own hearing, the Commandments were cut into stone tablets by God Himself signifying their completeness and permanence. Moses witnessed to such when he said, “These words the LORD spoke to all your assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me” (Duet 5:22 ESV). So, the Ten Commandments as a Covenant stands alone, complete and eternal, cut into granite not by human hands, but solely by God, Himself. And as such, the Ten Commandments stand unique and apart from the “Law of Moses” in a number of ways.
Firstly, the Law of Moses, a.k.a The Mosaic Law, separately followed the giving of the Covenant (the Ten Commandments) and was dictated directly to Moses by God apart and away from the presence of the people of Israel! Secondly, the commandments, statutes, ordinances and instructions dictated to Moses at that time were written down by the perishable hand of Moses onto perishable parchment into a book with pen and ink. Therefore, signifying a temporary condition as the hand and materials used and the “handwriting” of that Law, itself, would one day pass away -- very much unlike the Law of God, the Ten Commandments, which were written by the eternal hand of God on imperishable stone!
The New Testament reveals to us in many ways and places what was the purpose of the Law of Moses; and that purpose, of course, was to foretell and illustrate via commands, statutes, ordinances, actions and duties of the Mosaic Law the coming of the Messiah, who he would be, what he would do and how he would do it to deal with the matter of sin and to declare the coming kingdom of God to all of God’s elect. Moreover, God’s Ten Commandments on stone tablets were to be kept within the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:16) as a record of the bond between God and His bride (the ark in John Wesley’s way of thinking also representing the Body of Christ). The book of the law, the Mosaic Law, was to be kept on the outside of the Ark of the Covenant to stand as a witness against us (Deuteronomy 31:26).
It is not the intent of this essay at this time to explore the particular meanings, actions and intents of various aspects of the Mosaic Law. That will likely be done at another time. What is the intent of this essay is to clearly illustrate that the Law of God, a.k.a the Ten Commandments, and the Mosaic Law are two separate, distinct utterances of God with two very separate and distinct purposes. So, it can be plainly seen that the Law of God, the Ten Commandments, indeed divine wedding vows, are permanent and eternal -- just as human wedding vows are supposed to be for the life of the wedded. And, all the while the Mosaic Law was, by design, temporary and intended, itself, to be “nailed to the cross” coming to its end as its purpose was complete at the final and ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, himself.
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