Does the Bible differentiate between God’s moral Law and Moses ceremonial law?

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The Bible made a clear distinction between the law of the Ten commandments and the ceremonial law of Moses. Moses wrote, “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. 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” (Deuteronomy 4:13, 14). Here, Moses separated between the Ten Commandments, which “he commanded you,” from the statutes which “he commanded me” to give the people.

Again, the Lord spoke of the law “I commanded” and also the “law … Moses commanded”: “Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them” (2 Kings 21:8).

Also, Daniel gave the same distinction when he prayed for the desolated sanctuary of his beloved nation. “Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him” (Daniel 9:11). We can see clearly the phrases “thy law” and “the law of Moses,” and this time the two are recognized as different in content.

The Bible presents two separate laws:

The Mosaic LAW

  • Called “the law of Moses” (Luke 2:22).
  • Called “law … contained in ordinances” (Ephesians 2:15).
  • Written by Moses in a book (2 Chronicles 35:12).
  • Placed outside the ark (Deuteronomy 31:26).
  • Ended at the cross (Ephesians 2:15).
  • Added because of sin (Galatians 3:19).
  • Contrary to us, against us (Colossians 2:14).
  • Judges no one (Colossians 2:14-16).
  • Carnal (Hebrews 7:16).

GOD’S LAW

  • Called “the law of the Lord” (Isaiah 5:24).
  • Called Ten Commandments-“the royal law” (James 2:8).
  • Written by God on stone (Exodus 31:18; 32:16).
  • Placed inside the ark (Exodus 40:20).
  • Will stand forever (Luke 16:17).
  • Points out sin (Romans 7:7; 3:20).
  • Not grievous (1 John 5:3).
  • Judges all people (James 2:10-12).
  • Spiritual (Romans 7:14).
  • Perfect (Psalms 19:7).

The law of Moses ended at the cross.

The Mosaic law was the temporary, ceremonial law of the Old Testament. It regulated the priesthood, sacrifices, feasts, rituals, meat and drink offerings, etc., all of which foreshadowed and ended at the cross. This law was added “till the seed should come,” and that seed was Christ (Galatians 3:16, 19). The rituals and sacrifices of Moses’ law pointed forward to Christ’s sacrifice. When He died, this law came to an end.

God’s moral law is binding today

God’s law has existed at least as long as sin has existed. The Bible says, “Where no law is, there is no transgression [or sin]” (Romans 4:15). According to the Bible, “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4).

Jesus declared that His moral law can’t change, “For 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” (Matthew 5:18). The Ten Commandments “stand fast for ever and ever” (Psalms 111:8).

Also Paul wrote, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Romans 7:7). He added, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law?” (Romans 3:31). And he further emphasized that the Circumcision of the Mosaic law is canceled at the Cross but keeping God’s commandments remains for ever binding “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God” (1 Corinthians 7:19). Finally, Jesus invited His followers to obey His law saying: “If you love me keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

For more on this topic, check the following link:

The Moral and Ceremonial Laws

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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