The Law and the Commandments

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Deuteronomy 30:6-16


I.         Seventh-Day Adventists insist that the only acceptable day of worship is the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath day.

            A.        To get to that belief, they insist that the Ten Commandments are separate from the rest of the Law of Moses.

            B.        While the “ceremonial laws” were done away by Christ, they insist that the “moral laws,” in particular the Ten Commandments, have always existed – both before and after the Law of Moses.

            C.        One Adventist cited Deuteronomy 31:26, noting that the tablet with the Ten Commandments were in the ark while the written law was placed beside the ark

            D.        By defining the Ten Commandments as not a part of the Law, the Adventist can accept passages that state the Law ended and say that it was just the ceremonial law and not the Ten Commandments.

II.        Multiple terms to define the same thing

            A.        David cried out, was it to one or two - Psalms 18:6

                        1.         Did Moses represent five or one - Exodus 3:15

                        2.         Of course, these are various names for one - Exodus 6:3

            B.        There are a set of descriptions to describe what is in the Law - I Kings 2:3

                        1.         Let’s see them used - Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 5-8, 12-14

            C.        Defining the terms

                        1.         Law (torah) - We often think of laws as a list of regulations, as we find in our government books, but the word here means "instructions" or "teachings."

                        2.         Statutes (chuqqah) - Statutory, legal obligations, or binding regulations.

                        3.         Judgments (mishpat) - Decisions by which to judge or govern, as well as the consequences of following or breaking these decisions.

                        4.         Teachings (lamadh) - Things to be learned

                        5.         Commandments (mitswah) - To give an order

                        6.         Words (davar) - What God has said.

                                    a.         Interestingly, "Ten Commandments," found in Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 4:13; 10:4, is literally "Ten Words."

                                    b.         Deuteronomy 4:2,13 are the same word

                        7.         Wisdom (chokmah) - Wisdom, skill, or good sense. It refers to acting in accord to right principles.

                        8.         Understanding (binah) - Insight. Understanding the logic of something.

                        9.         Covenant (berith) - A legal contract to establish and regulate a relationship

            D.        These are different ways to view the same body of work

                        1.         In a way they are subsets of a greater whole, but not independent works

                        2.         They are intermixed. Just try to divide the Old Testament into each category

                        3.         The Ten Commandments are the prologue to the entire body of work

III.       Are the Ten Commandments separate from the Law?

            A.        Paul quotes the tenth commandment, but also said, “the law said” - Romans 7:7-8

                        1.         It is a law that the Jews died to so they could be joined to Christ - Romans 7:4

                        2.         Being freed from the Law, they are now free to serve the Spirit - Romans 7:6

                        3.         But that means the Ten Commandments are a part of the Law that we are freed from!

            B.        Let’s look at Deuteronomy 31:26 again

                        1.         “This book of the law” contained the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5.

                        2.         Yes, it was separate from the copy of the Ten Commandments written by God in stone, but what was on the stone was a subset of what God had Moses write in the book.

                        3.         Speaking of stone - II Corinthians 3:7-11

                                    a.         Paul is referring to the tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments

                                    b.         He called them “the ministry of death” and “the ministry of condemnation” that had a fading glory so faint that the glory of the Gospel far exceeded it.

                                    c.         It was a ministry of death and condemnation in part because the Gentiles were excluded from its terms - Deuteronomy 4:8; 5:3

            C.        Daniel confessed that Israel had not kept God’s law - Daniel 9:9-14

                        1.         Thus, the consequences spelled out in that law were justly applied to Israel

                        2.         What laws did they break?

                                    a.         Jeremiah 8:10 - Coveting, the tenth commandment

                                    b.         Jeremiah 7:30 - Worshiping idols - the first and second commandment

                                    c.         Jeremiah 7:9 - stealing, murder, adultery, swearing falsely - the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth commandments

                                    d.         Ezekiel 22:13 - breaking the Sabbath - the fourth commandment

                        3.         They broke the law of Moses, which included the Ten Commandments

IV.      The Law was abolished - Ephesians 2:11-16; Colossians 2:13-17

            A.        As noted, most Adventists agree with this but insist that only a part of the law was abolished, not the whole of it.

            B.        Notice Ephesians 2:15 again “The law of commandments contained in ordinances”

                        1.         The commandments were mixed in with ordinances that formed the law

            C.        But you can’t separate one piece of the law from the rest - Galatians 5:1-4

            D.        Speaking of Colossians 2:17, some will try to avoid what it says by claiming that “Sabbath days” only refers to the special Sabbaths and not the weekly observance

                        1.         But the argument is done by definition only.

                        2.         It is assumed that Paul could not be including the Ten Commandments in his discussion of the ending of the law (despite Romans 7), so the Adventist redefines terms to match his beliefs.

                        3.         But this is a private interpretation - II Peter 1:20-21

V.        Watch for tricks!

            A.        The book of Moses was about sacrifices - II Chronicles 35:12

                        1.         Yes, Moses’ law contained instructions about sacrifices, but not ONLY this!

                        2.         This does not prove the Ten Commandments were not also a part of the Ten Commandments

            B.        Nine of the Ten Commandments appear in the Law of Christ

                        1.         Example - Romans 13:9-10

                                    a.         Notice the summary, which Jesus called the second greatest command, is from Leviticus 19:18

                                    b.         It was not a part of the Ten Commandments

                        2.         The only command that is not repeated in the Law of Christ is keeping the Sabbath

                        3.         Instead, Paul said not to let anyone judge in you in the matter of the Sabbath day - Colossians 2:17

            C.        Sadly, most won’t listen to these reasons because their mind is already made up.

            D.        But you can listen to the Word of God and profit from His teachings

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