By: Malcolm Wilhelm Faith, Grace, and Torah Ministries
Many times we are told that there is a difference between the Law of Moses and the Law of God. Is that the case? What do the scriptures say?
Proponents of this teaching like to claim that the Law of god was written by God himself (10 commandments) and are binding upon believers today while the Law of Moses was given only by the hand of Moses and was for a nation and time period.
Let’s look at the first place the phrase “Law of Moses” appears:
Jos 8:31 As Moses the servant of the LORD commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings.32 And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;
Now there are many more examples of the “Law of Moses” but now let us contrast that with the “Law of God”
Jos 24:26 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.
2Ki 10:31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.
At first glance it might seem that there are two different laws at work here but we already know that there is ONE Law!
Exo 12:49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
In actuality this is another example of having an unstable foundation in the scriptures just as the warning was given about Paul’s writings. Would this even make sense? Let’s look at some scriptures in context.
The example given in Ezra and Nehemiah are prime examples of what the Scriptures teach regarding this matter:
Ezr 7:1 Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah,2 The son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub,3 The son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth,4 The son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki,5 The son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest:6 This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him.
Here we are told quite clearly the origins of the Law of Moses: YHWH God of Israel gave it to him! If we have any doubt a few verses down we read this:
Ezr 7:9 For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.
Here Ezra, the well learned scribe is using the terms “Law of Moses” and “Law of God” interchangeably, and yet we see an even better example of this in Nehemiah.
Neh 8:1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.
Again it is very clear here that it was YHWH who gave us the Law of Moses. Continuing:
Neh 8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.9 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
Neh 8:14 And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month:15 And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.16 So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.17 And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.18 Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.
Just in case we had any doubt we clearly see here that the Law of God includes the Feast of Sukkot as detailed in Leviticus 23! What we see in all this is that Moses was the chosen vessel for Yah to bring forth his instructions; this is truly a beautiful Remez of Messiah’s role as the right arm of Yah!
Deu 18:15 “יהוה your Elohim shall raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brothers. Listen to Him,16 according to all you asked of יהוה your Elohim in Ḥorĕḇ in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of יהוה my Elohim, nor let me see this great fire any more, lest I die.ʼ17 “And יהוה said to me, ‘What they have spoken is good.18 ‘I shall raise up for them a Prophet like you out of the midst of their brothers. And I shall put My Words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.
As the prophet like Moses, Y’shua came to fully teach the law of YHWH. We see the pattern of Moses repeated in Y’shua! Y’shua was anointed to come and as the right arm of Yah fully taught and practiced the Law perfectly!
Isa 11:1 And a Rod shall come forth from the stump of Yishai, and a Sprout from his roots shall bear fruit.2 The Spirit of יהוה shall rest upon Him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of יהוה,3 and shall make Him breathe in the fear of יהוה. And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears.4 But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and shall decide with straightness for the meek ones of the earth, and shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and slay the wrong with the breath of His lips.5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and trustworthiness the girdle of His waist.
Joh 7:14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
So now that we’ve established that the terms the “Law of Moses” and “Law of God” are used interchangeably let’s look at some common objections.
“The 10 commandments were spoken and written by God Himself and therefore indicates its eternal binding nature while the Law of Moses was written by Moses which indicate its temporal nature.”
There are many things wrong with this premise. Let us first the account of the 10 commandments:
Exo 20:1 And Elohim spoke all these Words, saying,2 “I am יהוה your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, out of the house of slavery.3 “You have no other mighty ones against My face.4 “You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth,5 you do not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, יהוה your Elohim am a jealous Ěl, visiting the crookedness of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,6 but showing kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and guard My commands.7 “You do not bring the Name of יהוה your Elohim to naught, for יהוה does not leave the one unpunished who brings His Name to naught.8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to set it apart.9 “Six days you labour, and shall do all your work,10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath of יהוה your Elohim. You do not do any work – you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.11 ”For in six days יהוה made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore יהוה blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart.12 “Respect your father and your mother, so that your days are prolonged upon the soil which יהוה your Elohim is giving you.13 “You do not murder.14 “You do not commit adultery.15 “You do not steal.16 “You do not bear false witness against your neighbour.17 “You do not covet your neighbour’s house, you do not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, or whatever belongs to your neighbour.”18 And all the people saw the thunders, the lightning flashes, the sound of the ram’s horn, and the mountain smoking. And the people saw it, and they trembled and stood at a distance,19 and said to Mosheh, “You speak with us and we hear, but let not Elohim speak with us, lest we die.”
Notice what is said in verse 18 and 19:
Exo 20:18 And all the people saw the thunders, the lightning flashes, the sound of the ram’s horn, and the mountain smoking. And the people saw it, and they trembled and stood at a distance,19 and said to Mosheh, “You speak with us and we hear, but let not Elohim speak with us, lest we die.”
Let’s look at a parallel account in Deuteronomy:
Deu 5:1 And Mosheh called all Yisra’ĕl, and said to them, “Hear, O Yisra’ĕl, the laws and right-rulings which I speak in your hearing today. And you shall learn them, and guard to do them.2 “יהוה our Elohim made a covenant with us in Ḥorĕḇ.3 “יהוה did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive.4 “יהוה spoke with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire.5 “I stood between יהוה and you at that time, to declare to you the Word of יהוה – for you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up the mountain – saying: 6 ‘I am יהוה your Elohim who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, out of the house of bondage.7 ‘You have no other mighty ones against My face.8 ‘You do not make for yourself a carved image, any likeness of which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth,9 you do not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, יהוה your Elohim, am a jealous Ěl, visiting the crookedness of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,10 but showing kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and guard My commands.11 ’You do not bring the Name of יהוה your Elohim to naught, for יהוה does not leave him unpunished who brings His Name to naught.12 ‘Guard the Sabbath day, to set it apart, as יהוה your Elohim commanded you.13 ‘Six days you labour, and shall do all your work,14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath of יהוה your Elohim. You do not do any work – you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, so that your male servant and your female servant rest as you do.15 ‘And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Mitsrayim, and that יהוה your Elohim brought you out from there by a strong hand and by an outstretched arm. Therefore יהוה your Elohim commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.16 ‘Respect your father and your mother, as יהוה your Elohim has commanded you, so that your days are prolonged, and so that it is well with you on the soil which יהוה your Elohim is giving you.17 ‘You do not murder.18 ‘You do not commit adultery.19 ‘You do not steal.20 ‘You do not bear false witness against your neighbour.21 ‘You do not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor do you desire your neighbour’s house, his field, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, his ox, nor his donkey, or whatever belongs to your neighbour.’22 “These Words יהוה spoke to all your assembly, in the mountain from the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a loud voice, and He added no more. And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.23 “And it came to be, when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, that you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes and your elders,24 and said, ‘See, יהוה our Elohim has shown us His esteem and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. Today we have seen that Elohim speaks with man – and he lives!25 ‘And now why should we die? For this great fire is consuming us. If we hear the voice of יהוה our Elohim any more, then we shall die.26 ‘For who is there of all flesh who has heard the voice of the living Elohim speaking from the midst of the fire, as we have, and does live?27 ‘You go near and hear all that יהוה our Elohim says, and speak to us all that יהוה our Elohim says to you, and we shall hear and do it.’28 “And יהוה heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and יהוה said to me, ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They have done well in all that they have spoken.29 ‘Oh, that they had such a heart in them, to fear Me and to guard all My commands always, so that it might be well with them and with their children forever!30 ‘Go, say to them, “Return to your tents.”31 ‘But you, stand here by Me, and let Me speak to you all the commands, and the laws, and the right-rulings which you are to teach them. And they shall do them in the land which I am giving them to possess.’
Notice specifically verses 27-31
Deu 5:27 ‘You go near and hear all that יהוה our Elohim says, and speak to us all that יהוה our Elohim says to you, and we shall hear and do it.’28 “And יהוה heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and יהוה said to me, ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They have done well in all that they have spoken.29 ‘Oh, that they had such a heart in them, to fear Me and to guard all My commands always, so that it might be well with them and with their children forever!30 ‘Go, say to them, “Return to your tents.”31 ‘But you, stand here by Me, and let Me speak to you all the commands, and the laws, and the right-rulings which you are to teach them. And they shall do them in the land which I am giving them to possess.’
Very clearly we see that it was the people who asked Moses to receive the rest of the commandments for fear of the Almighty. So it is without a doubt that the commandments uttered by God are of the same standing as those given to Moses! How would this make any sense with all the places where ordinances of the so called “Mosaic” law are said to be perpetual?
Exo 12:14 ‘And this day shall become to you a remembrance. And you shall observe it as a festival to יהוה throughout your generations – observe it as a festival, an everlasting law. .
Exo 32:13 “Remember Aḇraham, Yitsḥaq, and Yisra’ĕl, Your servants, to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I increase your seed like the stars of the heavens. And all this land that I have spoken of I give to your seed, and they shall inherit it forever.’ “
Lev 16:31 “It is a Sabbath of rest for you, and you shall afflict your beings – a law forever.
Lev 23:31 “You do no work – a law forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
Those are a minute amount of scriptures that indicate that ordinances of the Law of Moses are indeed forever. For your own study do a word study and see how many times you find forever in the Scriptures! Just to illustrate how illogical this stance is let’s apply this logic to some other things:
The prophets all received what to say directly from YHWH; very seldom did God Himself speak to His people directly. Does this lessen the validity of the Prophets in any way? Of course not. In fact the entirety of the scriptures was written in the same fashion as the “Mosaic” law; men were told by Yah what to write! This is precisely why we read in 2 Timothy 3:16
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is breathed by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness,
This would include the “Law of Moses”.
The second most common objection is this:
“Because the Law of Moses was kept in the side of the Ark of Covenant and the 10 commandments inside this shows a separation between them and a superiority of one.”
This is referring to Deuteronomy where we read:
Deu 31:26 “Take this Book of the Torah, and you shall place it beside the ark of the covenant of יהוה your Elohim, and it shall be there as a witness against you,
Now before we attempt to understand this mystery (as it is a great mystery even to modern Rabbis) we must first understand exactly what the Hebrew is trying to convey where we read
“The 10 commandments”
Jewfaq.org says this about the 10 commandments:
“In the Torah, these words are never referred to as the Ten Commandments. In the Torah, they are called Aseret ha-D’varim (Ex. 34:28, Deut. 4:13 and Deut. 10:4). In rabbinical texts, they are referred to as Aseret ha-Dibrot. The words d’varim and dibrot come from the Hebrew root Dalet-Beit-Reish, meaning word, speak or thing; thus, the phrase is accurately translated as the Ten Sayings, the Ten Statements, the Ten Declarations, the Ten Words or even the Ten Things, but not as the Ten Commandments, which would be Aseret ha-Mitzvot.”
So what we really see contained in the 10 saying is the categories of the entirety of the Torah, such as that we could also refer to the 10 sayings as the 10 principles!
As we already know one tablet deals with how to love God and the other with how to love our neighbors! But why would the 10 Sayings be places inside the Ark while the Torah was commanded to be placed by the side of the Ark?
I would recommend any who wish to understand this topic more to read Rashi’s commentary on it: http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/704657/jewish/Inside-the-Ark-or-on-a-Shelf.htm (Note: We at Faith, Grace & Torah do not endorse the beliefs of Rashi and many other modern rabbis and modern rabbinical doctrine and are simply showing a very entertaining and thorough discussion on the topic at hand)
The Ark of the Covenant was kept in the holy of holies (Kodesh Kodashim), and we know that everything in the Mishkan/Tabernacle was a pattern shown to Moses of heavenly things.
Exo 25:9 According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.
Therefore we can conclude that everything has a very special meaning in the tabernacle and later the temple; so what is the meaning of the Ark being in the Kodesh Kodashim?
The inside of the Ark of the Covenant represents the heart of the inner man! How do we know this? We know that Yah has always wanted the law to be written in our hearts as evidenced by the following scriptures:
Deu 11:18 ‘And you shall lay up these Words of Mine in your heart and in your being, and shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. .
Deu 30:14 “For the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart – to do it.
Jer 31:33 “For this is the covenant I shall make with the house of Yisra’ĕl after those days, declares יהוה : I shall put My Torah in their inward parts, and write it on their hearts. And I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.
So the Law has always been meant to be written on our hearts and this is exactly what the Ark of Covenant represents! Just as circumcision begins in the heart:
Deu 30:6 “And יהוה your Elohim shall circumcise your heart and the heart of your seed, to love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart and with all your being, so that you might live,
So too does obedience! The 10 Sayings in the Ark represent the 10 principles bound up and written upon the tablets of our hearts and just as circumcision of the heart leads to circumcision of the flesh having the 10 Sayings or principles in our heart lead to the deeds of the Torah outwardly! That is why the Torah is on the OUTSIDE of the Ark which represents our heart. This ties in wonderfully with what Dueteronomy 30:14 says:
Deu 30:14 “For the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart – to do it.
Paul uses this verse in Romans but makes one slight change:
Rom 10:6 But the righteousness of belief speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who shall ascend into the heavens?’ ” – that is, to bring Messiah down; or,7 ” ‘Who shall descend into the abyss?’ ” – that is, to bring Messiah up from the dead.8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” – that is, the word of belief which we are proclaiming:
So it is Messiah-the Word (Aleph-Tav) that is in our hearts which leads to the inner man being led to obey the full word of Elohim!
Rom 7:14 For we know that the Torah is Spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold under sin.15 For what I work, I know not. For what I wish, that I do not practise, but what I hate, that I do.16 But if I do what I do not wish, I agree with the Torah that it is good.17 And now, it is no longer I that work it, but the sin dwelling in me.18 For I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good. For to wish is present with me, but to work the good I do not find.19 For the good that I wish to do, I do not do; but the evil I do not wish to do, this I practise.20 And if I do that which I do not wish, it is no longer I who work it, but the sin dwelling in me.21 I find therefore this law, that when I wish to do the good, that the evil is present with me.22 For I delight in the Torah of Elohim according to the inward man,
So upon a closer look this only further proves how intertwined the 10 Sayings are and the Torah!
To further illustrate the foolishness that this would entail let us look at the words of our Messiah:
Mat 22:35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?37 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.38 This is the first and great commandment.39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
See our Teaching “The Greatest Two Commands”
If the 10 “commandments” take precedence over the “Law of Moses” then by that logic the two GREATEST commandments are not even binding anymore as these two commandments are direct references to the Mosaic law:
Deu 6:5 “And you shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your might.
Lev 19:18 ‘Do not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the children of your people. And you shall love your neighbour as yourself. I am יהוה.
So let us take the words of our Messiah. If the entire law and prophets hangs on these two commandments than that would entail that the law being referenced is indeed the law given to Moses through YHWH.
Malcolm Wilhelm Faith, Grace, and Torah Ministries