Text: Deuteronomy 4:1-14
I. I frequently run into odd ideas about the Old Law, especially when I bring up Colossians 2:13-15
A. Oh, most people will accept that Jesus’ death on the cross eliminated animal sacrifices, but they cannot believe all of the Old Testament came to an end.
1. “Surely you except the 10 commandments!” I have been asked.
2. “They worshiped God with instrumental music back then, so it must be acceptable to God even today.”
3. The Catholic church goes to the Old Law to justify its system of priests, the use of incense in worship, and a variety of other practices.
4. Some Protestants, such as Seventh-Day Adventists, justify eating restrictions and Saturday worship times by the Old Testament.
B. In order to have it both ways – to say that Jesus ended some of the Old Law, but not the entire Old Testament – the teachings of the Old Testament are divided into multiple sections.
1. The Seventh-Day groups talk about moral laws and ceremonial laws. The moral laws remain, but the ceremonial ones have been removed.
2. One person told me that there were 613 laws in the Old Testament. They were removed, but the rest remain.
3. Even in the church I have run into those who teach that God only made one covenant with mankind and that the Mosaical Law and the Law of Christ are merely extensions of that single covenant.
4. In every one of these views, the attempt is made to subdivide the Old Testament so that they can claim one portion has been removed while the rest remains.
C. The major problem that is glossed over is that every one of these divisions are arbitrary.
1. It is not as if they will say Leviticus is out and Psalms is in.
2. In almost every book there is something they want to keep and something they want removed.
3. The division is based on their own desires and not on anything laid out for them by God.
II. Many of the divisions are based on word choice. For example, they may claim that law is different from covenant
A. In the introduction to the second reading of the Law, notice all the terms Moses used to describe what he presented to the Israelites the first time - Deuteronomy 4:1-14
1. Moses gave the people words which they heard at Mt. Horeb (Sinai) - Deuteronomy 4:10
2. Those words were God’s covenant - Deuteronomy 4:12-13
a. A covenant which was written on stone tablets.
b. They were commanded to perform this covenant
3. Moses also taught them statutes and judgements - Deuteronomy 4:1, 5, 8, 14
a. But these also were commandments - Deuteronomy 4:2, 13-14
4. Taken together they formed the whole law - Deuteronomy 4:8
B. Look at Psalms 19:7-11 - The Law of the Lord is also His testimony, His precepts, His commandments, His fear, and His judgment.
C. Look at Psalms 78:1, 5-7 - Instruction, words, testimony, law, commanded, teach
D. Why are there a variety of words for the same work?
1. Because no one word fully describes what it is.
2. Just as no one word fully describes who I am.
3. Yet taken together, they give us a more accurate description of what this work is.
E. These passages should be sufficient warning that people should not play word games and make divisions that do not exist.
III. What was removed? (Colossians 2:14)
A. A variety of translations
1. The certificate of debt consisting of decrees (NASB)
2. The handwriting of requirements (NKJV)
3. The bond written in ordinances (ASV)
4. The written code, with its regulations (NIV)
5. The literal translation is “handwriting in the laws”
B. Similar passages
1. Ephesians 2:14-16 - Christ abolished the law of commandments contained in ordinances.
a. The word “dogma” appears here as “ordinances” as well as in Colossians 2:14 as “decrees”
2. II Corinthians 3:7-18
a. The letters engraved on stone whose glory was fading away
b. Hence the apostles were ministers of a new covenant - II Corinthians 3:5-6
c. The old covenant was read with a veil - II Corinthians 3:14
d. But not so with the new.
e. Did that covenant include the 10 commandments? - Deuteronomy 4:12-13; 5:1-5, 22
3. Hebrews 8:13 - By using the word “new,” the implication is that the “old” has outlasted its usefulness.
IV. Why was it removed?
A. Hebrews 8:6-9
1. The new covenant is better than the old because it is based on better promises.
a. The old covenant was built on a promise of a future solution to sin.
b. The new covenant was built on the fact that a solution to sin had been given.
c. Which was the better promise?
2. The old had a fault, the fault is discussed in verse 9 – men where unable to keep it.
3. Hebrews 7:18-19 - The same ending of the old because of a weakness is discussed, but notice that the terms have changed from covenant to commandments and laws.
B. Hebrews 10:1-4, 9-10
1. The old covenant was built on the idea of atonement sacrifices were offered each year for sins.
a. But the fact that they were offered year after year proved that they did not solve the problem of sin, but simply postponed the consequences.
2. The new covenant was built on the idea of a single, perfect sacrifice – the death of Jesus Christ
a. That death was for future sinners as well as those in the past - Hebrews 9:15
C. To take advantage of this new covenant, the believer must first be release from his prior commitment - Romans 7:1-4
1. Attempting to live under two covenants simultaneously would lead to spiritual adultery.
2. This Law included the 10 commandments as Paul uses the tenth commandment as an illustration - Romans 7:7
3. To pull something, such as circumcision from the Old Law, severs our relationship with Christ - Galatians 5:2-4
D. Then there is the problem that the law had limited application
1. It was given to the Jews alone - Deuteronomy 4:7-8; 5:1-3
2. The Jews had the oracles of God - Romans 3:1-2
3. The Gentiles did not have God’s law - Romans 2:14
4. It created “haves” and “have-nots” - Ephesians 2:11-12
a. Circumcision, being a witness of the covenant, is used a representation of those under that covenant (the Jews)
5. The new covenant does not have such a barrier. It was made for all nations - Ephesians 2:13-16
a. But it could only be accomplished by removing the thing that caused the division – the Old Law
b. This is the same point in Colossians 2:13-14
(1) Notice that we are still discussing the entire Old Law, including the 10 commandments - Colossians 2:16-17
(2) Paul called these things shadows of reality, the same point made in Hebrews 10:1
V. Look again a Hebrew 10:1 and Ephesians 2:15. What is removed is called the Law. The idea that Moses’ law was divide does not exist. It is treated as a single unit.
A. Luke 10:25-27 - Notice the phrasing, “What is written in the law?”
1. The answer are two quotes which are not in the ten commandments
a. Deuteronomy 6:5 - In the discussion of the application of the 10 commandments
b. Leviticus 19:18 - In the middle of laws governing the Levitical Priesthood.
B. All that was in Deuteronomy was considered the law - Deuteronomy 30:10
C. Joshua 8:31 makes a reference to Exodus and calls it the book of the Law of Moses
D. Nehemiah 10:36 alludes to Numbers calling it the Law.
E. II Chronicles 23:18 refers to the sacrifices prescribed in Leviticus and calls it the Law of Moses
F. II Chronicles 35:26 says the record of the Kings (I Samuel through II Kings) was the law of the Lord
G. Galatians 4:21-22 - A story from Genesis is referred to as the law
H. References from the Psalms and the Prophets are called the Law - John 12:34
I. Isaiah is quoted saying “In the law it is written” - I Corinthians 14:21
J. Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Nehemiah, and Ezekiel are quotes as parts of the Law - Galatians 3:10-12
K. Psalms and Proverbs are quoted to prove what the Law says - Romans 3:10-19
L. There is no section of the Old Testament that was not considered a part of the Law. It is a unified whole that in its entirety was considered “The Law”