Was the law of Moses placed inside or outside the Ark ?


By BibleAsk Team

The Law of Moses

In regard to the law of Moses (Deuteronomy 29:21; 30:10), the Lord commanded that it will be place outside the Ark saying, “Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you” (Deuteronomy 31:26).

Some Jewish commentators are in disagreement in their views regarding the above verse. Some claim that the written scroll that contained Moses’ Law was placed inside the ark with the two tables of stone (Ten Commandments), others, say that it was put outside the Ark in a compartment formed at the right side held by a bulging board.

But the clear statement in the Scripture that says, “there was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb” according to 2 Chronicles 5:10 and also 1 Kings 8:9, clearly affirms that Moses’ law was placed outside the Ark of the Covenant. The Revised Standard version confirms this view in its translation that says, “by the side of the ark” (Deuteronomy 31:26).

The Mosaic Law Ended at the Cross

The Mosaic Laws that pointed to Christ’s ministry and death (the priesthood, sacrifices, rituals, meat and drink offerings, etc.) were temporary as they foreshadowed the cross. When Christ died, they came to an end. Because of sin, Moses’ law was given (or “added” Galatians 3:16, 19) till Christ should come and die. The yearly or annual feasts (which were also called sabbaths) or holidays of Leviticus 23 were nailed to the Cross (Colossians 2:16).  

God’s Moral Law Remains Today

God’s Law has existed at least as long as sin has existed (Romans 4:15). When people sin they break God’s moral law (1 John 3:4). Unlike the Mosaic law, the Ten Commandments (God’s law) “stand fast for ever and ever” and therefore, are binding today (Psalms 111:8). And the weekly seventh-day Sabbath of the fourth commandment remains in effect (Matthew 5:17,18; Luke 16:17; Romans 7:12; Hebrews 4:9…etc.).  

Paul confirms that God’s Moral Law is still in effect: “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); “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law?” (Romans 3:31). 

Moses’ 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).

Thus, we can conclude that the Ten Commandments that were written upon the two tables were of such an important nature as to place them in a separate and distinct class by themselves- inside the Ark while the Mosaic law was placed outside the Ark.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

Categories Law

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