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God gave His children in the wilderness two distinct laws:
First: God’s moral law or the Ten Commandments. God “gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God…” (Exodus 31:18; 32:16). This law was placed inside the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 40:20). God’s moral law serves as a mirror (James 1:23–25) for it points out wrongdoing in our lives and leads us to Christ for forgiveness and cleansing (Acts 4:10; 2 Timothy 1:9). People don’t keep the Ten Commandments to be saved but because they are saved.
God’s moral law cannot be changed. Jesus said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail” (Luke 16:17). Because these commandments are revealed principles of God’s holy character and are the very foundation of His kingdom, they stand true as long as God exists. “All His precepts [commandments] are sure. They stand fast forever and ever” (Psalm 111:7, 8).
Second: The Mosaic law which is composed of various civil, social, and religious laws. These laws were put in writing and collected into a book, known as “the book of the covenant” (Exodus 24:7). This book was not placed inside of the Ark of the covenant but next to it (Deuteronomy 31:26).
The primary laws in this book were those that deal with the worship of God (Exodus 24: 23–26). Then the laws respecting the rights of persons (Exodus 21:1–32), beginning with the rights of servants and ending with compensation to people for damages caused by animals. The third part deals with rights of property (Exodus 21:33 to 22:15). And the last part of the “book” gives various laws, some concerned with divine affairs, some with human affairs generally related to the civil structure of the state. This code contains about 70 different laws.
The Mosaic law was abolished at the cross (Colossians 2:14–17; Ephesians 2:15) because it consisted mainly of the ceremonies that foreshadowed the cross and ended at Christ’s death, as God had intended. Moses’ law was added till the “Seed should come,” and that “Seed … is Christ” (Galatians 3:16, 19).
In His service,
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