The Two Laws
By what are all men to be judged at last?
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil." Eccl. 12:13, 14. "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." James 2:12.
With what other law were the people of God for a time concerned, which is not to judge them?
"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; and having spoiled principalities and power, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." Col. 2:14-17.
What terms are employed, for the sake of convenience, to designate these two laws?
"The first is called "the moral law," summarily contained in the decalogue; the second is known as the "ceremonial or typical law" of the Jewish dispensation.
What is the relation of the moral law to sin?
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the taw." 1 John 3:4.
How early in the history of our world was this law applicable?
"For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived; but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." 1 Tim. 2:13, 14.
Since this law was binding on man previous to his fall, what did it cover?
His relations to God and to His fellow creatures: "Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked Him a question, tempting Him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 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. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matt. 22:35-39.
When and for what reason were laws of a ceremonial or typical nature introduced?
They were introduced after man had sinned, and were instituted because God in mercy provided a plan of redemption or a remedial system. "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering." Gen. 4:3, 4. "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts." Heb. 11:4.
NOTE: The excellence of Abel's offering lays in the fact that he offered blood, which fitly typified the sacrifice of the promised Redeemer, and was the true expression of faith in Him. But the law of sacrifices, which was the central pillar in the typical or ceremonial system, would not have been enjoined upon men, had not sin made a Redeemer necessary, and had not such Redeemer been provided. This, therefore, was a derived or secondary law, brought in with the plan of salvation, and owing its existence to the presence of sin; while the moral law may be called a primary or original law, inasmuch as it existed before sin came into the world, grows out of the relation which all creatures sustain to their Maker and to one another, and would have continued just the same if sin had never come into the world. Thus the line of distinction between the two laws is immutably established, in their origin, the circumstance to which they owe their existence, their nature and the purposes they were respectively to subserve.
How was the moral law communicated to the people at Sinai?
"And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire... And He declared His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even ten commandments." Deut. 4:12, 13.
How was the ceremonial law communicated to them?
"And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, if any man of you bring an offering,..." Lev. 1:1, 2. "This is the law of the burnt offering... meat offering,... sin offering,... trespass offering, and of the consecrations, and of the sacrifice of the peace offerings; which the Lord commanded Moses in Mount Sinai, in the day that He commanded the children of Israel to offer their oblations unto the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai." Lev. 7:37, 38.
On what, and by whom, was the moral law written?
"The Lord spake unto you,... and He declared unto you... ten commandments; and He wrote them upon two tables of stone." Deut. 4:12, 13.
In what, and by whom, was the ceremonial law written?
"And commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant." (Neh. 9:14). "And they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel." Neh. 8:1.
Were the ten commandments a distinct and complete law by themselves?
"These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice; and He added no more. And He wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me" (Deut. 5:22). "And the Lord 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." Ex. 24:12.
Was the ceremonial law composed of rules or ordinances?
"The law of commandments, contained in ordinances." Eph. 2:15.
What is the nature of the moral law?
"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Ps. 19:7.
Was perfection to be secured by the ceremonial law?
"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." Heb. 9:9.
How did the prophet Isaiah say that Christ would treat the moral law when He should appear on earth as the great teacher?
"The Lord is pleased for His righteousness' sake; He will magnify the Law, and make it honorable." Isa. 42:21.
How did Christ fulfill this prophecy?
By opening before the people the deep spiritual nature of the law, living in perfect obedience to both letter and the spirit of all its requirements, and giving His life to save men from the penalty of its transgression. See Matt. 5:17-48; John 15:10; 1 Peter 2:22; Rom. 4:25.
How long was the ceremonial law to continue?
"Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation." Heb. 9:10.
When was this time of reformation?
"But Christ being come a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once [once for all] into the holy place [places], having obtained eternal redemption for us." Heb. 9:11, 12.
How did Christ's death affect the ceremonial law?
"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." Col. 2:14. "Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances." Eph. 2:15.
What was the object of the ceremonial law?
"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." Heb. 10:1.
What does Paul say of the holiness and spirituality of the moral law?
"Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." "For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin." Rom. 7:12, 14.
How does faith in Christ affect our relation to the moral law?
"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law." Rom. 3:31.
How does dependence on the ceremonial law affect our relation to Christ?
"Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." Gal. 5:2.
How long does Christ say that the moral law is to endure?
"Verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matt. 5:18.
To which code of laws does the Sabbath commandment belong?
"And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made." Gen. 2:2, 3.
NOTE: It appears that the Sabbath belongs to the original, primary, or moral, law, because it was institued before sin came into the world, and consequently before a type or shadow, or any ordinance of a ceremonial nature, could have had an existence.