9-1-3 No Difference Between Torah And The Ten Commandments

It is often argued that keeping of the Sabbath was one of the Ten Commandments given to Moses, and that, whilst the rest of the Law of Moses was done away, the obligation remains to keep all of the Ten Commandments. Some make a distinction between a ‘moral law’ of the Ten Commandments, “the law of God”, and a so-called ‘ceremonial law’, the “law of Moses”, which they believe was done away by Christ. This distinction is not taught in Scripture. The Bible uses the terms “law of Moses” and “law of God” interchangeably (Num. 31:21; Josh. 23:6; 2 Chron. 31:3). The Old Covenant refers to the Law of Moses, which was replaced on the cross by the New Covenant. - God “declared unto you (Israel) his covenant, which he commanded you (Israel) to perform, even Ten Commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone” (Deut. 4:13). Again it should be noted that this covenant, based upon the Ten Commandments, was made between God and Israel, not Gentiles of the present day.

§ Moses ascended Mount Horeb to receive the stone tables upon which God had written the Ten Commandments. Moses later commented concerning this, “The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb” (Deut. 5:2), i.e. through those Ten Commandments.

§ At this time, God “wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments” (Ex. 34:28). This same covenant included details of the so-called ‘ceremonial law’ (Ex. 34:27). If we argue that keeping the covenant made in the ten commandments is necessary, we must also observe every detail of the entire law, seeing that this is all part of the same covenant. It is evidently impossible to do this.

§ “There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb…the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:9,21). Those tables, on which were the Ten Commandments, were the covenant.

§ Heb. 9:4 speaks of “the tables of the covenant”. The Ten Commandments were written on the tables of stone, which comprised “the (old) covenant”.

§ Paul refers to this covenant as “written and engraven in stones”, i.e. on the tables of stone. He calls it “the ministration of death...the ministration of condemnation...that which is done away” (2 Cor. 3:7‑ 11). The covenant associated with the Ten Commandments can certainly not give any hope of salvation.

§ Leviticus 19 gives a good example of how varied the laws are: " Do not steal [one of the 10 commandments). Do not lie. Do not deceive one another... Do not hold back the wages ...Do not mate different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two different kinds of seed" (Lev 19:11,13,19,27) -there is no implication that there are different categories of law.

§ Christ blotted out “the handwriting of ordinances that was against us” (Col. 2:14) on the cross. This alludes to God’s handwriting of the Ten Commandments on the tables of stone. Likewise Paul speaks of “the law...being dead...the oldness of the letter” (Rom. 7:6), probably referring to the letters of the Ten Commandments which were written on the tables of stone.

§ Just one of the Ten Commandments is styled “the law” in Rom. 7:8: “The law...said, Thou shalt not covet”. The preceding verses in Rom. 7:1-7 stress how “the law” has been done away by Christ’s death; “the law” therefore includes the Ten Commandments.

All this makes it clear that the Old Covenant and “the law” included the Ten Commandments. As the New Covenant has done the Old Covenant away, the Ten Commandments have therefore been removed. The Lord Jesus invites those who follow Him to accept the “rest” which He gives (Mt. 11:28). He uses a Greek word which is used in the Septuagint for the Sabbath rest. Jesus was offering a life of Sabbath, of rest from trust in our own works (cf. Heb. 4:3,10). We shouldn’t, therefore, keep a Sabbath one day per week, but rather live our whole lives in the spirit of the Sabbath.

The Ten Commandments are referred to in Revelation 19:10 when the term " testimony" is used. In the Law the " Testimony" was another term for the Ten Commandments: " then put in the ark the Testimony" (Ex 25:16, 21; 30:6), " when the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God" (Ex 31:18). So we can see that the " Testimony of Moses" was the Ten Commandments. Now what does Revelation say the " Testimony of Jesus" is? " The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Rev 19:10). The " testimony" of the old covenant is replaced by those New Testament prophets who spoke under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Various Objections

- All the believers are described as being priests (1 Pet. 2:9) - who were exempt from keeping the Sabbath (Mt. 12:5).

- Paul lists many sins in the New Testament, both those practised by the " world" as well as those practised in the churches: (Rom 1:28-32, 2 Cor 12:20-21, Gal 5:19-21, Eph 4:25-29, 5:3-18, 2 Tim 3:1-9, 2 Pet 2,3:3-7) but nowhere mentions Sabbath-breakers.

- If we are to keep the Sabbath, we must do so properly; we have earlier shown that it is fatal to keep the Mosaic Law partially, because this will result in our condemnation (Gal. 3:10; James 2:10). Israel were not allowed to do any work on the Sabbath: “Whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death”. They were also commanded: “Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Sabbath day”, and therefore they were forbidden to prepare food on that day (Ex. 35:2,3; 16:23). A man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath, presumably in order to kindle a fire, was punished with death for doing so (Num. 15:32-36). Those denominations which teach that Sabbath-keeping is binding upon their members should therefore punish those members with death when they break the Sabbath like this.

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