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The "Law of Moses"
— a Misnomer

by Dave Clark

Yes, though they are actually God's Laws, God, Himself, does call them the "Law of Moses" (Mal 4:4); and Jesus Christ, too (Luk 24:44).  Let us not be deceived, however, as to God's meaning.  Ellen G. White also recognized the danger of misconstruing this misnomer of the "Law of Moses."  She said:

Review and Herald, 05/06/1875, par.12: "Moses of himself framed no law.  Christ ... gave to Moses statutes and requirements necessary to a living religion and to govern the people of God.  Christians commit a terrible mistake in calling this law severe and arbitrary, and then contrasting it with the gospel and mission of Christ in his ministry on earth, as though he were in opposition to the just precepts which they call the law of Moses."

After quoting a statute found in Deuteronomy 24:14-15 and another one in Leviticus 19:13, she makes three points, I feel, regarding all of God's Statutes, that (#1) these are commandments, (#2) they are part of the law of God written by Moses in a book, and (#3) they are still binding in our day:

Review and Herald, 12/18/1894, par.7: "The Lord Jesus gave these commandments from the pillar of cloud, and Moses repeated them to the children of Israel and wrote them in a book, that they might not depart from righteousness.  We are under obligation to fulfill these specifications; for in so doing we fulfill the specifications of the law of God."

Thus, our modern churches have made the "Law of Moses" into a terrible misnomer — in particular, when they claim the "Law of Moses" has been nailed to the cross.  Note that Jesus Christ, Himself, denies this (Mat 5:17-19).  The Apostle Paul, also, denies this (Rom 3:31; Rom 7:12-13; Gal 3:21).  In point of fact, you'll never find, either in the Bible or in Ellen White's writings, that any statute was ever abolished.  What, then, are the churches trying to accomplish with such a claim?  You can be sure satan is behind it but, whatever it is, they end up throwing out the baby with the bath-water when they do so!

First off... Do they realize that the entire first five books of our modern-day Bible constitute the "Law of Moses" as defined by both the Old and New Testaments of that Bible? The "Torah" (Hebrew) and the "Pentateuch" (Greek) are the first five books of the Bible! The Bible uses the "Law of Moses," the "Torah," and the "Pentateuch" all as synonyms of each other.  It is these first five "books" of the Bible, including the Commandments, which were entirely "written in a book" and placed in the side of the Ark of the Covenant.  The following is the proof text for this and please note the Hebrew word for "law" (Strong's H8451) in the following verse is the Torah:

Deu 31:26: "Take this book of the law,8451 and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God..."

We cannot pick and choose amongst God's Law (categorized as the Commandments, the Statutes, and the Judgments: see Gen 26:5; Lev 18:4-5; Lev 18:26; Lev 19:19; Lev 19:37; Lev 20:8; Lev 20:22; Lev 25:18; Lev 26:3; Lev 26:15; Lev 26:43; 1Ki 2:3; 1Ki 3:14; 1Ki 6:12; 1Ki 9:4-6; 1Ki 11:11; 1Ki 11:33-34; 1Ki 11:38; 2Ki 17:13; 1Ch 28:7; 1Ch 29:19; 2Ch 7:17; 2Ch 7:19; 2Ch 19:10; Ezr 7:10; Neh 10:29; Psa 50:16; Psa 89:31-32; Psa 119:48; Jer 1:16; Jer 44:10; Eze 5:6-7; Eze 11:12; Eze 11:20; Eze 18:9; Eze 18:17-21; Eze 20:11-16; Eze 20:19-24; Eze 36:27; Eze 37:24; Eze 44:24; Zec 1:6; Mal 4:4).  Note that the previous bolded reference is a prophecy of an end-time Jesus Christ with all of the statutes and judgments as inviolate.  Otherwise, God, Himself, says there is more to His Law than just the Commandments:

Gen 26:5: "Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge,4931 my commandments,4687 my statutes,2708 and my laws."8451

Exo 16:28: "And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments4687 and my laws?"8451

Notice, in those verses, that He iterates both His Commandments and His Laws separately.  Notice, also, that it is the same Strong's number (H8451, the "Torah", the entire first five books of the Bible) for the word "laws."  By the same token, God states that the new covenant is not just the Ten Commandments, but the entire law of the Torah (H8451 in the Hebrew and G3551 in the Greek):

Jer 31:31-33: "... (33) But this shall be the covenant1285 that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law8451 in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."

Heb 8:8-10: "... (10) For this is the covenant1242 that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws3551 into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:"

Heb 10:15-17: "Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, (16) This is the covenant1242 that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws3551 into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; (17) And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."

So... What is being thrown out if one throws out the first five books of the Bible by "nailing them to His cross," as they propose? They are still indirectly throwing out the Ten Commandments, of course, which are the most prominent feature of those five books (in both Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5).  Then, breaking the following statutes would also no longer constitute "sin" — though this is not an exhaustive list:

Then... Note that God intended to speak, for Himself, not only the words of the Ten Commandments to the people; but, also, all of the words of the Statutes and the Judgments.  The people, however, would not allow the Lord to continue (Exo 20:19) and begged Moses to go up into the mountain (Deu 5:23-27) to hear the rest of the Lord's Words (Deu 5:28-33).  Verse 31 is of particular note.

Deu 5:31: "But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments,4687 and the statutes,2706 and the judgments,4941 which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it."

I'm sure one can agree that doing away with the Laws of God would be nothing more than a deception of the devil.  So... From where do the churches claim to draw this deception of the devil that the Law of Moses was nailed to the cross? Let's read:

Col 2:13-17: "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) blotting out the handwriting of ordinances1378 that was against us, which was contrary to us, (15) and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (16) Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (17) which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."

The first question that must be answered is, "Are any of God's Laws, or part of God's Laws, against us?" No, for if you say that, implicitly or explicitly, then you say that God, Himself, is against us (Joh 3:16-17; 2Ti 1:7-9) — as His Laws are a transcript of His Character and He is Love (1Jn 4:8; 1Jn 5:3).  But, God's Laws are a witness against us (Deu 31:26) for the Law was given to show us our sins (Rom 3:20).  If we have nothing to show us we are sinful, then we will not recognize our need of a Savior (Act 4:10-12).  What is against us is the written record of our sins (Deu 31:28-29) — for that record is in opposition to the witness of the Law.  The first part of Col 2:13 brings that out clearly.  So verse 14 and 15 tells us that, through His sacrifice, Jesus Christ made it possible for the written record of our sins to be blotted out — i.e., no longer held against us and placing us under penalty of the second death (2Ti 1:8-10).

The second question is, "What are verses 16 and 17 trying to tell us?" To start with, let's (#1) leave out any italicized words (which were included by the translators and are not in the original text), and grammatically omit (#2) the list of items being talked about, and (#3) the sub-parenthetical phrase describing the list, so that we can see just the basic premise:

Col 2:16-17: "Let no man therefore judge you ... but the body of Christ."

Well! I think that certainly sheds the light of truth on this issue.  The Christian's only rightful judge is the "body of Christ." But, hold on a second... The common understanding for the definition of the "body of Christ" is the "church." Yet, in this life, we are to pass judgment on no man.  If you think about it, though, there is another definition for the "body of Christ" (which I heard in a sermon by Pastor Ivor Meyers at an ASI Convention recently).

Joh 6:53-58: "Then Jesus said unto them, 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. (54) Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up, at the last day. (55) For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. (56) He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. (57) As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (58) This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever.'"

Well, Jesus Christ is the WORD (Joh 1:1-3,14) and just as John was to eat the little book (Rev 10:1-2,8-9), so eating Jesus' flesh is symbolic language for making the Word of God an integral part of our daily life.  (As an aside, just as the blood sustains the flesh, so Jesus was sustained by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit inspired the Word of God — thus, drinking Jesus' blood is symbolic language for asking for the filling of the Holy Spirit.) So, getting back to Colossians 2:16-17, we will be judged by the precepts taught us in the Word of God.

Now that we have the basic premise figured out, let's address what we previously left out:

Col 2:16-17: "Let no man therefore judge you in meat,1035 or in drink,4213 or in respect of a holy day,1859 or of the new moon,3561 or of the sabbath:4521 (17) which are a shadow of things to come..."

The first thing that one absolutely must not ignore is those last four words shown above, "...of things to come..." What does that tell you? The things listed in verse 16 are shadows of something which has not yet come! What did Jesus say?

Mat 5:17-18: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law [of Moses],3551 or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. (18) For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law [of Moses],3551 till all be fulfilled."

Thus, since they are shadows of things yet to come, then that also means they are not yet all fulfilled and are thus, also, all still binding! So, instead of these verses telling us that the Law of Moses was nailed to the cross, they are instead telling us that the entire Law of Moses is still binding and it was only the record of our sins which was nailed to His cross.  Note that I included two bracketed phrases to make it clear, from the meaning of Strong's G3551, just what law is being talked about.

Where else might the churches claim to draw this deception of the devil that the Law of Moses was abolished by Christ's Sacrifice? Let's read:

Eph 2:13-17: "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (14) For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between Jew and Gentile]; (15) Having abolished in his flesh the enmity [between Jew and Gentile], even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain, one new man, so making peace; (16) And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity [between Jew and Gentile] thereby: (17) And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh."

I included the same three bracketed phrases to make it clear, from the context, just what is being talked about.  The perceived problem, though, comes in the middle part of verse 15:

Eph 2:15: "Having abolished in his flesh ... the law3551 of commandments1785 in ordinances1378 ..."

So... What was abolished by Christ's fleshly sacrifice? For one, the division between Jew and Gentile — which makes it possible for the Gentile to be grafted into the Branch and to become a spiritual Jew (Rom 11:17).  But, more to the point, what "law of commandments in ordinances" did Christ abolish? It can't be all ordinances (because Strong's G1378 is "a law") because, then, we are back to "without the law there can be no sin" and, therefore, no need of a Savior.  Besides that, the Apostle Paul enjoins us to keep ordinances and taught their requirement himself:

Rom 13:1-2: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (2) Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation."

1Co 11:1-2: "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. (2) Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you."

Well, since He was(is) the Supreme Sacrifice, it seems obvious (to me, at least) that His Sacrifice should take the place of the sacrificial system of ordinances surrounding the Ceremonial Law — for those sacrifices and oblations (Dan 9:27) served no more purpose than to point to Him.  This is also why the Lord's Supper (as observed on the eve which begins the Passover Day) should replace the Passover Supper (as observed on the eve which ends the Passover Day).

Note, though, that this does not abolish any other of God's Laws.  If it did, then Jesus would be made a liar by His words of Matthew 5:17-18.  Thus, His Sacrifice does not abolish the Ten Commandments, the Statutes, or the Judgments.  The Statutes include, as outlined in Leviticus 23:2-3, the Seventh-day Sabbath (on which twice as many animal sacrifices were performed than another other day of the year) nor does it abolish the statutes of the feast days (Lev 23:14,21,31,41).  All of these memorial days are not about the sacrifices which were performed on them, but these days also point both backward and forward as "...a shadow of things to come." (Col 2:16-17)

Sometimes we must let go of man's traditions where we have been taught that certain passages of Scripture mean certain things.  Like the "noble Bereans" (Act 17:10-13) we must study, not wrest, the Scriptures to find what truths lie there.  We must not forget that the Bible, as a whole, agrees with itself.  There are so many Scriptures which state that God's Feasts have the same beginning (e.g., Gen 1:14, Gen 19:1-3, Psa 81:3-5) and the same ending (e.g., Mat 5:17-19) as all of His Other Laws.  Even His Ceremonial Laws were not abolished — merely substituted — from type to anti-type and from symbol to reality.  His Feasts, on the other hand, cannot be merely substituted because they do much more than merely point to Christ's Sacrifice.  They are a tri-fold prophecy spanning the entire Plan of Salvation and will not be entirely fulfilled until satan and his angels are no more and the Earth is made New.

I digress to speak directly of the Feasts.  The reason for this is I get the distinct impression that the whole reason for wanting to "throw out" the "Laws of Moses" is for the sole purpose of trying to get rid of God's Feast Days.  Classifying the Feasts in with the Ceremonial Laws also seems like an excuse to get rid of the Feasts.  I understand this from satan's point of view — as the Feasts testify (yeah, prophesy) concerning the Plan of Salvation.  But I don't understand this from the point of view of the Church.  So, proof they are not yet entirely fulfilled?

  • The Feast of Passover — this feast was first fulfilled at the beginning of the Exodus Experience.  The final Plague of Egypt passed over those whom had the blood of the lamb on the door posts of their homes.  It was fulfilled the second time when Christ became the True Passover Lamb of God and placed His Blood upon the posts of the Cross for us.  This feast will be fulfilled the third time, during end-time events, when the Seven Last Plagues pass over those whom have the Blood of the Lamb upon the door posts of their hearts.
  • The Feast of Unleavened Bread — this feast prophesies concerning getting sin out of our lives.  It was fulfilled the first time when God removed His People from their bondage to the Egyptians.  I was fulfilled the second time when Christ paid the Price to purchase His People back from the bondage of Death in Sin.  But Christ's Crucifixion was only the promise of a future literal fulfillment when He physically  removes His People  from the bondage of this world and Sin is destroyed forever.
  • The Feast of the Wave Sheaf — this feast is a feast of first fruits and was fulfilled when the graves were opened on the Friday of the Crucifixion (Mat 27:50-53) as Christ took these first fruits with Him on Sunday morning when He Ascended to His Father.  That Sunday morning happened to also be the day of the Feast of the Wave Sheaf that year and Christ presented His Wave Sheaf (the group of resurrected saints) to His Father at the 3rd hour just as indicated in the symbolic service.  Of course, He was also Sacrificed at the 9th hour just as indicated in the symbolic service.
  • The Feast of Pentecost — this feast prophesies concerning the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon His People.  It was fulfilled the first time when God poured out His Spirit upon His People during the Sinai Experience on the Day of Pentecost.  It was fulfilled the second time, as the Early Rain, in the book of Acts on the Day of Pentecost, again.  However, Joel 2:28-31 prophesies in support of this feast that it is yet to happen again.  Malachi 4:5-6 also prophesies an Elijah message which will turn the hearts of the children back to the feasts of the fathers.  This feast is also a feast of first fruits.  The 144,000 will become this group of first fruits when the Latter Rain is poured out upon God's Church.
  • The Feast of Trumpets — this feast prophesies concerning a warning of impending judgment.  Is there not another Judgment Day to come?  Does not Ellen White tell of how an announcement will come from Heaven itself for all the saints to hear of the day and the hour of His Coming?  She also tells us (The Great Controversy (1888), page 399.2-.3) that the final, end-time events must be fulfilled according to the timings of the symbolic service (which was given as an example for our instruction).  Thus, it seems to me, that this announcement will come on the literal Feast of Trumpets in that selfsame day — just as I now believe that the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit, upon the 144,000, will commence on the Feast of Pentecost, again.
  • The Day of Atonement — this feast prophesies concerning both a time for afflicting our souls before the Lord and a time in which He desires to be One with us and seeks to make us One with Him.  It was fulfilled the first time during the Sinai Experience.  It was fulfilled the second time during the Incarnation Experience —  i.e., I feel there is evidence to suggest He was most likely circumcised on the Day of Atonement and was baptized on the Day of Atonement.  Thus, it seems to me His 2nd Coming will also be on the Day of Atonement.  Does Ellen White not also tell us that we will be afflicting our souls during the Time of Jacob's Trouble to see if there be any sin in us?
  • The Feast of Tabernacles — this feast prophesies concerning God's desire to tabernacle (dwell) with us — His People.  He did it the first time in the Wilderness.  He did it the second time in the Incarnation.  But He is still, yet, to do it again, for the final time, during the Millennium and in the Earth made New.
  • The Last Great Day of the Lord — this is the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles.  Ellen White tells us we will spend seven days journeying back to Heaven after His 2nd Coming.  Do you not see this means that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will take place on the Last Great Day of the Lord — as prophesied to us by His Feasts?

It is a terrible thing that we Seventh-Day Adventists have been missing out on all this very important information which, I believe, is also very pertinent to our salvation.  Not "salvational" mind you, though if one rejects these truths it would certainly indicate a problem in that person's relationship with Jesus.  After all... Remember how Jesus Christ "...beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." (Luk 24:27)  How much more His Feasts testify and prophesy of Him and of the Great Plan of Salvation!

To take this even a step further, here's my Sep. 14, 2007 prophecy... We Seventh-Day Adventists have been too at ease; basking in the light of the straight talk from the Catholic Church which holds up the Seventh-Day Adventist Church as the one which follows the Bible. Well, one day the Catholic Church is going to stand up and shake the Seventh-Day Adventist Church to its core in embarrassment in front of the whole world. The Catholic Church is going to correctly point out, to the world, that even the Seventh-Day Adventist Church is one more of the Daughters of the Mother Church because we, too, are an image to the Beast. The Catholic Church is going to correctly show the world that mother church is responsible for doing away with the Feasts of the Bible, where there is no Biblical basis, and setting up its own "Beast Days" in their place. After all, how many Seventh-Day Adventists continue to observe St. Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, etc., which were established by the Catholic Church? So, for what is the Catholic Church waiting? They are probably waiting for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church to make it an official part of their doctrine (because it's not official, currently; it is only tradition) that the Feasts were done away with at the Cross. At that time, the Catholic Church will pounce.

The End