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Moral and Ceremonial Laws part 1

Moral and Ceremonial Laws part 1

When you read the Ten Commandments, you will notice that God specifically asked us to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy, yet most Christians today worship on Sunday, the first day of the week. Why is this? Some people say that they worship on Sundays in honor of Jesus Christ's resurrection. Others say that the Ten Commandments were changed with Jesus death on the cross and try to use Paul's writings in the New Testament to support their assertion. While Paul did talk about certain laws being done away with, did you know that there are two primary laws in Scripture? There is God's moral law which distinguishes good from evil. There is the ceremonial law, which is also known as the law of ordinances and sacrifices.

Let's turn to Genesis 2:15-17.
- According to these verses, what did God command man?
  • Answer (highlight to read): Man may eat of every tree in the garden of Eden, except of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
All the prinicples of the Ten Commandments are actually contained in the command God gave in Genesis 2:15-17. God laid down the ground rules of what is good and what is evil God expected obedience to His command. Disobedience to His command was sin, and the wages of sin is death. God's moral law existed before Adam and Eve sinned. The purpose of the moral law was to distinguish right from wrong, good from evil.

So, when did the ceremonial law come into existence? Let's turn the Genesis 3:21.

- According to this verse, what did God make for and clothe Adam and Eve?
  • Answer: Tunics of skin
The ceremonial law comes in after Adam and Eve sinned. The ceremonial law was not part of God's original plan - it came in because of sin. A sacrifice took place the day Adam and Eve sinned. The shame of Adam and Eve's nakedness were covered by tunics of skin provided by a lamb. What do you need to do to get the skin of an animal? That animal has to be slain. God was showing man that the death of the lamb would cover their sins and nakedness.

We know that the Ten Commandments were given in Exodus 20. The question we should ask ourselves now is "did the moral law exist from Genesis 4 through Exodus 19?"

Let's turn to John 3:8.
- According to this verse, did Satan sin?
Let's turn to Romans 5:12.
- According to this verse, did Adam sin?
Let's turn to Genesis 4:7.
- According to this verse, did Cain sin?
Let's turn to Genesis 6:5.
- According to this verse, did the race before the Flood sin?
Let's turn to Genesis 13:13; 18:20-21.
- According to these verses, did Sodom and Gomorrah sin?
Let's turn to Genesis 15:16.
- According to this verse, did the Amorites sin?
Let's turn to Genesis 20:1-11.
- According to these verses, did Abraham know that lying was wrong?
Let's turn to Genesis 39:9.
- According to this verse, did Joseph know that adultery was sinful?
Let's turn to Exodus 16:22-30.
- According to these verses, did the Sabbath exist before Mount Sinai.

The answer to all these questions is yes. We can say with certainty that the moral law, the Ten Commandments, existed long before the Israelites came to Mount Sinai in Exodus 20.

The next question we should ask is "did the ceremonial law exist from Genesis 4 through Exodus 19?"

Let's turn to Genesis 4:3-5.
- According to these verses, did Cain and Abel offer sacrifices?
Let's turn to Genesis 8:20-21.
- According to these verses, did Noah offer a sacrifice after exiting the ark?
Let's turn to Genesis 22:1-13; John 8:56.
- According to these verses, did Abraham offer sacrifices and raise up altars to the Lord?
Let's turn to Genesis 26:25.
- According to this verse, did Isaac offer sacrifices?
Let's turn to Genesis 28:18-22; 35:1; 46:1
- According to these verses, did Jacob offer sacrifices?

The answer to all these questions is yes. The ceremonial law also existed from Genesis 4 through Exodus 19.

Let's now compare the Ten Commandments (the moral law) to the ceremonial law. The Ten Commandments is the constitution of God's government and are also reflection of His character. They tell us what God is like in His person. Therefore, you cannot change the Ten Commandments anymore than yu can change God's character (Malachi 3:6). God spoke the Ten Commandments directly to the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 5:22). God wrote the Ten Commandments with His won finger (Exodus 31:18). Notice that God wrote the Ten Commandments in stone (Deuteronomy 4:13). The Ten Commandments were placed directly inside the ark of the covenant (Deuteronomy 10:1-5). The Ten Commandments are not burdensome - they are not a yoke of bondage like many Christians believe (1 John 5:3). David, a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22), loved God's moral law (Psalms 119:72, 131, 174).

In comparison, the ceremonial law was written by Moses, not God (Deuteronomy 31:9). Moses spoke the ceremonial law to the religious eladers and the congreation (Leviticus 1:1-2). (Notice that God spoke the ceremonial law only to Moses - God used an intermediary to speak to the people.) The ceremonial law was written in a book and placed besides the ark of the covenant (Deuteronomy 31:24-26).

Friend, can you see that there is a significant difference between the moral law and the ceremonial law? In our next lesson we discuss the functions of each law.