The Ten Commandments and the Ceremonial law (Mosaic Law)
When God delivered the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage, He also delivered to them the Ten Commandments in magnificent fiery majesty. This law of eternal duration was spoken by God, written by God, recorded on tables of stone and stored on the inside of the Ark under the mercy seat. Around the same time the temporary ceremonial law (Mosaic Law) was also delivered to Israel. It was written by Moses and recorded on parchment (paper) and stored on the outside of the Ark. This law dealt with the ceremonial rites of the Jewish sanctuary service that passed away at the cross. The Mosaic Law can easily be identified in Scripture as it talks about sacrifices, offerings, purifications, holy days, circumcision (a religious Jewish rite) and other rites associated with the Hebrew sanctuary service.
Many Christians today are so ignorant on God's Word that when they see the word “law” in scripture and it appears to be doing away with the law, they blindly choose to believe it is referring to the Ten Commandments. This is not pleasing to God or having a love of the truth and may not end well for them. Some of these people have also chosen to call the fourth Commandment a Mosaic Law or even all Ten Commandments the Mosaic Law when they are two very distinct laws as already seen. To explain this very simply and to state the obvious, the Mosaic Laws were written in the Mosaic Law and the Ten Commandments were written in the Ten Commandment Law. The fourth Commandment (The Lord's Sabbath) is written in the Ten Commandment law and hence is one of the Ten Commandments. It is not and can never be called a Mosaic Law. For more detail see is the Sabbath a moral law.
So the Bible speaks of two great Laws. Law Number 1 is the Law of God (“the Ten Commandments,” or “Two tablets of the Testimony,”) also known as the “Moral Law,” the “Law of Love” and the “Decalogue.” Law Number 2 is the “Law of Moses” (the “Book of the Law,” or “Book of the Covenant,”) also known as the “Mosaic Law,” the “Ordinances,” the “Ceremonial Law” and the “Sacrificial Law.” Is there a relationship between the Ten Commandments and the Ceremonial law? Absolutely. If an Israelite sinned, he broke Law Number 1, the Moral Law of the Ten Commandments. He then had to bring his offering according to Law Number 2, the Sacrificial Law to receive forgiveness. This is the relationship between these two laws. Law Number 1 defines sin, as sin is the transgression of the Moral Law, the Ten Commandments. 1 John 3:4. Law Number 2 defined sacrifices, the Ceremonial Law which was the remedy for sin.
When the Israelite sinned, he broke the first law. To make atonement for his sin he had to obey the second law. So here are two very distinct laws which is unmistakable. Jesus Christ our true Passover Lamb permanently took the place of Law Number 2 when He cried out “It is finished” and bowed His head and died that Friday afternoon. See also what day was Jesus crucified. When that unseen hand tore the temple curtain from top to bottom, this signified that the Ceremonial law that pointed the people to His sacrificial death was once and for all nailed to the cross. Note how Hebrews 9:1 below explains that the first covenant had also the ordinances of this ceremonial sanctuary system, but are gone in the New Covenant now leaving only the Ten Commandments which God writes in our hearts and minds. See also Hebrews 8:10 at the bottom of this page.
Hebrews 10:8-10 says, “Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin you wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do your will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Hebrews 9:1 “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.”
While the word ceremonial is commonly spoken of in scripture the term ceremonial law is not. In the King James Bible, it is normally translated to ordinances which the Strong's dictionary translates to being a ceremonial law or law of ordinances. As it was a system of commandments given by God to Israel, there can be no doubt that it was a law that involved ceremonies so you will more often hear it called the Ceremonial law.
The following table gives an overview of the various feast Holy days that were part of the ceremonial law. This law was written in a book by Moses (hence two of its names, Book of the Law and Mosaic Law) and you will note that this law had several ceremonial sabbaths that so often get confused with the fourth Commandment (written in stone by God) of the Ten Commandments which is the Sabbath of the Lord and is eternal for everyone as are the other nine Commandments. The ceremonial sabbaths on the other hand were temporary for literal Israel only and were nailed to the cross.
|Spring Festivals||Autumn Festivals|
|A Week Long Festival
15th to 21st Day
|50 days from
|An Eight Day Festival
15th to 22nd Day
Feast of Weeks
8th Day of Festival
|A Sabbath||Not a Sabbath||A Sabbath||A Sabbath||A Sabbath||A Sabbath||A Sabbath||A Sabbath|
|In Jerusalem||In Jerusalem||In Jerusalem|
|Barley Harvest||Wheat Harvest||Fruit Harvest|
|Latter Rains||Early Rains|
Do the contents of the above table look like the Ten Commandments? Silly question I know but some would tell you yes! Despite the unmistakable difference, it is sad that some Christians still teach that there is no distinction between the two laws and it is normally these same people who say that the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross. Satan has being lying to Christians about obeying God since Adam and Eve, still is, and has no shortage of excuses to try and convince Christians that we no longer need obey the Ten Commandments. If this group does acknowledge both laws, then their reason for not obeying the Ten Commandments is gone. One can imagine that some confusion does come from the Old Testament where the term commandments is sometimes used in the context of referring to both laws since the Jews were bound to obeying both. However, there can be no doubt that one law was indeed practiced to make reconciliation for sin. No person that has a good understanding of the Word will have any difficulty in seeing this. There is a huge difference between theft, murder or adultery etc, and having to sacrifice a lamb for committing these sins. Normally, those that fail to see the obvious truth here are those that do not want to acknowledge one or all of the Ten Commandments, and typically condemn others that love and teach the law in obedience to God. It is my heartfelt prayer that they devote their energy to winning souls rather than teaching their heresies while avoiding loving obedience to our heavenly Father. I thank God that this group is in the minority.
Matthew 5:19 says, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least Commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least [by those] in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall DO and TEACH them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
The following verse should also serve as a warning to those who teach we no longer need the Ten Commandments.
James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more severely.”
This following passage of scripture gives some detail on what had to be done to make reconciliation for the sin of the people. It involved meat and drink offerings, Holy day festivals (feasts) in the monthly new moons and on the various ceremonial sabbath days, such as Passover and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) for instance, which were yearly ceremonial sabbaths. Note also the colour coding that will remain consistent in the following passages for easy comparisons.
Ezekiel 45:13-17 “This is the oblation that you shall offer; the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of wheat, and you shall give the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of barley: 14 Concerning the ordinance of oil, the bath of oil, you shall offer the tenth part of a bath out of the cor, which is an homer of ten baths; for ten baths are an homer: 15 And one lamb out of the flock, out of two hundred, out of the fat pastures of Israel; for a meat offering, and for a burnt offering, and for peace offerings, to make reconciliation for them, saith the Lord GOD. 16 All the people of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel. 17 And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.”
No Christian should have any trouble in noting that the above passage of scripture is not referring to the Ten Commandments but a law of bondage that was followed to make reconciliation for sin which is the breaking of the Ten Commandments. 1 John 3:4
Paul exhorts in Galatians 4:9-10 that keeping the various feast days, monthly new moons and yearly sabbaths of the ceremonial law (ordinances) was bondage and in his letter to the Colossians, he writes that the ordinances of the ceremonial law was against them and contrary to them and was only a shadow of things to come. Example: Passover was a shadow of the crucifixion when the true Passover Lamb of God died for everyone, and fifty days after Passover was the Feast of weeks, which was a shadow of Pentecost and coincided with the giving of the Ten Commandments. See the previous table above for more detail. This is what Colossians 2:17 refers to in regards to a shadow of things to come.
Paul is explaining to the Colossians that this ceremonial law with its sacrificial system pointed the people to the coming of Jesus. Every time a beast was sacrificed and its blood shed in the old Jewish temple, it was a reminder that someday a Saviour would come and die for their sins. This is why John the Baptist pointed to our Lord Jesus Christ and declared, “Behold the Lamb of God.” This is why Paul says to the Colossians let no man therefore judge you for no longer following the previously prescribed meat and drink offerings, the feast holydays, new moon festivals and all the ceremonial sabbaths that belonged to the ordinances of the ceremonial law. To continue in this law of sacrifices would be to deny the work of Jesus on the cross. Speaking of, what exactly was nailed to the cross? Many Christians today demean the sacrifice of Christ by nailing everything to the cross they do not want to obey. To establish exactly what was nailed to the cross, ask yourself these simple questions. What did Jesus die on the cross for and what was practised for this before the cross? The only thing nailed to the cross is what Jesus replaced when He died for our sins. The sacrificial ceremonial law and nothing else!
One deceived Catholic who despises the Sabbath truth claims sabbath days in Colossians 2:16 is referring to the Lord's Sabbath based on his fallacy that all feast days are annual ceremonial sabbaths, and hence claims Paul would effectively be saying, “don't let anyone judge you on sabbath days, new moons and sabbath days” if sabbath days was not the Lord's Sabbath. So he includes one of the Ten Commandments in the sacrificial law. Just to clarify, the sacrificial law was practised when the Ten Commandments were broken. This effectively means according to this Catholic that if a person committed murder, he would have to go and keep the Lord's Sabbath that week to make reconciliation for his sin. I am sure I do not need to explain how ludicrous this is. The Lord's sabbath was never kept because someone sinned! There were in fact many feast days that were not ceremonial sabbaths so his argument has absolutely no correct facts whatsoever anyway. The feast of unleavened bread is a week long festival (feast) as seen in the above table and only the first and last days were ceremonial sabbaths. So not all feast days are ceremonial sabbaths as this person opposing the truth erroneously claimed. So when Paul said, “don't let anyone judge you in holy feast days, new moons and sabbath days,” that is exactly what he meant!
This same Catholic while trying to give credibility to his fallacy, also needed to turn sabbath days (plural) in Colossians 2:16 into the singular, when the original Greek records “sabbath” as been plural in this verse. The Mosaic Law had several ceremonial sabbaths and so “sabbaths” or “sabbath days” is correct. Sabbath day does not fit in any way at all. So what was inspired by God? The original Greek and Hebrew text etc, or the multitude of Bible translations? Obviously the original Greek text was. Many Bibles have wrongly translated “sabbaths” in two places in the singular as sabbath sounded right. But was it? The argument is that since some translations translated “sabbaths” as “sabbath” when the Greek text showed they should have been plural, then “sabbaths” in Colossians 2:16 must also be “sabbath.” This of course is wrong and another shameful attempt at attacking the truth of the Lord's Sabbath. The original Greek text is inspired and is always correct regardless of what some Bible translations may have wrong. Below are two translations that did correctly translate “sabbath” in the plural as the original Greek text was written in regards to the two verses he used for his fallacy. John 19:31 informs us that the crucifixion Passover was a High day meaning that the Passover sabbath fell on the Lord's Sabbath. This is why Matthew 28:1 is in fact sabbaths!
Matthew 28:1 ALT “Now after [the] Sabbaths, at the dawning into [the] first [day] of the week [i.e. early Sunday morning], Mary the Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the grave.”
Matthew 28:1 YLT “And on the eve of the sabbaths, at the dawn, toward the first of the sabbaths, came Mary the Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre,”
Luke 4:16 ALT “And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And He entered, according to His custom, on the day of the Sabbaths into the synagogue, and He stood up to read aloud [the Scriptures].”
Colossians 2:14 and Colossians 2:16
It seems the older translations taken from the original Greek are often more accurate than modern translations where more and more detail and understanding of Biblical times seems to have become lost. Many modern translations have translated this passage out of context as they failed to understand the issue of meat and drink offerings and translated this to food and drink. There NEVER were unclean drinks, only unclean foods and these had no relationship to the ordinances that were nailed to the cross but meat and drink offerings did and fit the context 100% perfectly. The following is taken from “Alexander Campbell's Living Oracles 1835, The Sacred Writings of the Apostles and Evangelists of Jesus Christ. Translated from the Original Greek.” This passage has been heavily focused on here as there is so much misunderstanding with these verses. Note the perfect parallel to Ezekiel 45:17 above, which very clearly reveals that the context of Colossians 2:16 is entirely the ordinances of the ceremonial law. Parentheses are added.
Colossians 2:14-17 “Having blotted out the handwriting of the ordinances concerning us, which was contrary to us, he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross: 15 having spoiled governments and powers, he made a show of them openly, having triumphed over them by it. 16 Let no one, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink [offerings], or in respect of a festival, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths; 17 which are a shadow of the things which were to come, but the substance is of Christ.”
Note the Greek word for “ordinances” in Colossians 2:14 is “dogma”, pronounced “dog'-mah” and the Strong's definition is “a law (civil, ceremonial or ecclesiastical): - decree, ordinance.” Strong's states this is a law and that this law is ceremonial which is also called the “Ordinances”, “Book of the Law”, “Mosaic Law” and the “Law of Moses” etc. The Thayer dictionary is more direct and states the “Law of Moses” outright. Thayer Definition: “The rules and requirements of the Law of Moses; carrying a suggestion of severity and of threatened judgment.” As seen earlier, the Law of Moses is not the Ten Commandments, thus everything in Colossians 2:16 is part of the ceremonial law and the sabbath days are of course ceremonial sabbaths (plural) and not the Sabbath of the Lord. See Adam Clarke and Albert Barnes Commentaries. See also Colossians 2:14-16.
The table below makes it easy to see the perfect parallel between Colossians 2:16 and Ezekiel 45:17, which no one can dispute is speaking of the ordinances of the ceremonial law with the prescribed sin offerings. This should leave no doubt in ones mind that Colossians 2:16 is referring to the Jewish feast days, such as Passover, that all ended at the cross as they pointed forward to the work that Jesus did on the cross. Jesus became our Passover Lamb and hence ended the Passover feast and the associated ceremonial sabbath and sacrificial lamb offering. See Ezekiel 45:13-17 quoted previously.
|Colossians 2:16||Ezekiel 45:17|
|meat, or in drink, [offerings]||meat offerings, and drink offerings,|
|or in respect of a festival||in the feasts,|
|or of a new moon||and in the new moons,|
|or of sabbaths||and in the sabbaths,|
The same passage has also been quoted below from King James Version Bible since most Christians know this translation can be trusted as it is recognized to be one of the most accurate and reliable Bible translations. Note that Holyday, Feast day and Festival are synonymous as also quoted by the Strong's dictionary.
Colossians 2:14-17 “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 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 [offerings], or in respect of an holyday, 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.” Parentheses are added.
So were these ordinances of Colossians 2:14 the “Law of Moses” as the Thayer dictionary states and hence also handwritten by Moses? Was it “the Ten Commandments” or the “Law of Moses” that had feasts, new moons and ceremonial sabbaths? These feasts, new moon festivals and ceremonial sabbaths described in Colossians 2:16 are the festivals described in the table at the top of the page. These were what were practiced because of sin until Christ replaced these ordinances of the ceremonial law, perhaps better known as the Law of Moses and Book of the Law. (Galatians 3:10) Remember that sin is breaking the Ten Commandments (1 John 3:4) and this is what was practised when Israel did sin before the cross. The ordinances are not and cannot be the Ten Commandments which should now be very clear. These feast days have nothing to do with love and morals or the character of God. They were instituted because of sin and were a schoolmaster (Galatians 3:23) to teach the Jews. Example: What did Passover teach the Jews? Answer: That one day the true Lamb of God would come and take away the sins of the world by becoming our Passover Lamb. See the table below.
|Passover||Feast of Unleavened Bread|
|1st Day||2nd Day||3rd Day|
|Date||14th day of 1st month (Nisan)||15th day of 1st month (Nisan)||16th day of 1st month (Nisan)|
|Historical||The Angel of God did ‘Passover’ houses covered with the blood of a lamb||God delivers the Hebrews from Egyptian bondage||Hebrews delivered as first fruits from Egyptian slavery from the tomb of the red sea into the promised land|
|Passover lamb slain in the 9th hour to atone for the sins of the people (Leviticus 23:4-5)||Unleaven Bread is broken, buried and redeemed during the feast. Leaven represents sin. (Leviticus 23:6-8)||The Omer (First Fruits) The first fruits of the harvest are presented to the Lord (Exodus 23:19)|
|Jesus crucified as our Passover Lamb to atone for the sins of the people. Died in the 9th hour (Matthew 27:46)||Jesus our Passover Lamb rests in the tomb on the Passover sabbath (John 1:29)||Resurrection of Jesus who is the first fruits
(1 Corinthians 15:20-23)
Note also the following verse for confirmation that the ordinances were by the hand of Moses and are separate from the whole law despite those who would try and tell you the Law of Moses and the Ten Commandments are the same. I really struggle to understand why some cannot tell the difference and lead good people astray with their false teachings.
2 Chronicles 33:8 “Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.”
It was the ordinances that were practised because of sin that were abolished in His flesh on the cross, and hence were nailed to the cross when Jesus became our perfect sacrifice ending the need for this sacrificial feast system that pointed to the cross, and thus was only a shadow that disappeared when it found its fulfillment in Christ. Albert Barnes Commentary on Ephesians 2:15 has also been provided below since this verse is also misunderstood by some.
Ephesians 2:15 “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man...”
Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible (1798-1870)
The enmity - Between the Jew and the Gentile. Tyndale renders this, “the cause of hatred, that is to say, the law of commandments contained in the law written.” This is expressive of the true sense. The idea is, that the ceremonial law of the Jews, on which they so much prided themselves, was the cause of the hostility existing between them. That made them different people, and laid the foundation for the alienation which existed between them. They had different laws; different institutions; a different religion. The Jews looked upon themselves as the favorites of heaven, and as in possession of the knowledge of the only way of salvation; the Gentiles regarded their laws with contempt, and looked upon the unique institutions with scorn. When Christ came and abolished by his death their special ceremonial laws, of course the cause of this alienation ceased.
Even the law of commandments - The law of positive commandments. This does not refer to the “moral” law, which was not the cause of the alienation, and which was not abolished by the death of Christ, but to the laws commanding sacrifices, festivals, fasts, etc., which constituted the uniqueness of the Jewish system. These were the occasion of the enmity between the Jews and the Gentiles, and these were abolished by the great sacrifice which the Redeemer made; and of course when that was made, the purpose for which these laws were instituted was accomplished, and they ceased to be of value and to be binding.
Contained in ordinances - In the Mosaic commandments. The word “ordinance” means, decree, edict, law; Luke 2:1; Acts 16:4; Acts 17:7; Colossians 2:14.
And just for good measure, here is one more verse that also attests that the ordinances and the Ten Commandments are not the same.
Luke 1:6 “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.”
Galatians 4:9 and Galatians 4:10
To still observe all the various Holy days that took place in various seasons as well as yearly Holy days such as the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and monthly such as the new moon celebrations would be putting us back into unnecessary bondage and imply that the work of Jesus on the cross was not finished and incomplete. Compare all of the following four passages using the colour coding for extra help. Parentheses are added.
Ezekiel 45:17 “And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts [holyday], and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.”
Colossians 2:14-16 “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [sin] … 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink [offerings], or in respect of an holyday [feast], or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:”
Galatians 4:9-10 “But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years.”
Note that the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments of God that defines what sin is and the Commandments of God are never spoken of flippantly such as referring to the fourth Commandment as a day. It is always called “the Sabbath” or “Sabbath day” but it is never referred to superficially as just a day. Paul is not exhorting you can simply ignore anything that is a day, month or year in the Bible such as the Sabbath of the Lord as some have wrongly concluded. He is referring to something that includes all of these things, which is and can only be the ordinances of the ceremonial law. Galatians 4:9-10 is talking about bondage and servitude and the ordinances of the ceremonial law were exactly that, which Paul also states in Colossians 2:14 and throughout the book of Galatians. Note that the ordinances Paul speaks of in Colossians 2:14 are described in verse 16 and of course did have days [holy DAYS], months [new moon] and years [sabbaths days], which were yearly eg; Passover sabbath.
This is one of many abused passages our adversary uses to keep us from one of God's Commandments and has also added further confusion by raising a minority group who insist we must still keep the sacrificial feast days that actually were nailed to the cross. They very conveniently exhort that these were pagan days, months and years, which unless God made a Covenant with Moses on Pagan days (would be blasphemous) is impossible. They also attempt to support this heretical teaching by saying that nowhere in the Bible are months mentioned and therefore must be pagan. Perhaps they do not know what the new moon festival was and that these were monthly and were used to keep track of each Month! See Colossians 2:16 Ordinances, Feasts and Holy days for more.
The Galatians had wandered from the truth that Paul had first taught them and began to follow some judaizing teachers from Jerusalem who insisted that they should still be observing all the rites of the Jewish religion such as circumcision etc. These teachers taught that Paul was inferior and insisted that the Law of Moses was still binding and was necessary for justification. This is where most of the confusion originates. See the Galatian heresy on Galatians and the law for clarity on this very misunderstood book. See also Albert Barnes and People's New Testament Commentaries on Galatians 4:10.
Romans 14:5 and Romans 14:6
The word Sabbath does not exist in the entire chapter of Romans 14 and yet some have concluded that Romans 14:5 is referring to the weekly Sabbath of the Lord. The Sabbath of the Lord is a precious Commandment to God and as stated earlier is never referred to as just a day! Romans 14 concerns “doubtful things” and is not a discussion of the Ten Commandments of God but over foods sacrificed to idols and the Jewish feasts days that had ended. The converted Jew retaining respect for the Law of Moses abstained from certain meats and observed ceremonial days while the converted Gentile understood that Christianity put him under no such obligation in regard to the ceremonial points of the ordinances. Also very significant is that the word “alike” in Romans 14:5 does not exist in the Greek and is an added word, which tends to convey an idea which the apostle never designed or intended. See People's New Testament and Adam Clarke Commentaries on Romans 14:5. See Romans 14:5-6 here or Romans 14:5 for more detail.
While the ordinances as Paul informs us were bondage, the Ten Commandments on the other hand is the Perfect Law of Liberty.
James 1:25 “But whoso looketh into the Perfect LAW of LIBERTY, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
And just so there can be no doubt what is being referenced above…
James 2:10-12 says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if you commit no adultery, yet if you kill, you are become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak you, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the LAW of LIBERTY.”
If we see in scripture a law that speaks of observing days, months, seasons and years and or various offerings and bondage etc, we know it is speaking of the sacrificial law that ended at the cross. If the passage of scripture is centered around loving God or man, then we can be sure it is referring to the Ten Commandments or the greatest Commandments that sum up this law. See Matthew 22:35-40 and Romans 13:9. Having now covered much of the required ground work, let the Bible itself using the following table give a clearer distinction between these two laws.
|Ten Commandments (Moral Law)||Ceremonial Law (temporary Jewish law)|
|1. First spoken personally by God. Exodus 20:1, 22||1. Spoken first by Moses. Exodus 24:3|
|2. Written by God's finger. Exodus 31:18; Exodus 32:16||2. Written by Moses hand. 2 Chronicles 35:12; 2 Chronicles 33:8; Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 31:9|
|3. First written on stones. Exodus 31:18||3. Written in a book. Exodus 24:3, 7; Deuteronomy 31:24|
|4. Handed by God its writer to Moses. Exodus 31:18||4. Handed by Moses its writer to Levites. Deuteronomy 31:25-26|
|5. Placed by Moses “inside the ark.” Deuteronomy 10:5||5. Placed by the Levites “on the outside of the ark.” Deuteronomy 31:26, ARV|
|6. Deals with moral precepts. i.e. love and relationships with God and man. Exodus 20:3-17||6. Deals with ceremonial ritual matters. (See parts of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy)|
|7. Reveals sin. Romans 7:7||7. Prescribes offerings for sins. (See book of Leviticus)|
|8. Breaking this law is “sin.” 1 John 3:4||8. No sin in breaking for now “abolished.” Ephesians 2:15 (Where no law is, there is no transgression. Romans 4:15)|
|9. We should “keep the whole law.” James 2:10||9. Apostles gave “no such commandment” to “keep the law.” Acts 15:24|
|10. We “shall be judged” by this law. James 2:12||10. We are NOT judged by it. Colossians 2:16|
|11. The Christian who keeps this law is “blessed in his deed.” James 1:25||11. The Christian who keeps this law is not blessed. (See for example Galatians 5:1-6)|
|12. “The perfect law of liberty.” James 1:25 (See also James 2:12)||12. The Christian who keeps this law loses his liberty. Galatians 5:1, 3|
|13. Paul said, “I delight in the law of God.” Romans 7:22 (See also Romans 7:7)||13. Paul called this law a “yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1; Galatians 4:3, 9 (See Acts 15:10)|
|14. Established by faith in Christ. Romans 3:31||14. Abolished by Christ. Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14|
|15. Jesus was to “magnify the law and make it honorable.” Isaiah 42:21||15. Blotted “out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us.” Colossians 2:14|
|16. Eternal? Yes. Psalms 111:7-8; Matthew 5:18; Luke 16:17||16. Eternal? No, ended at the cross. Hebrews 7:12; Galatians 3:19; Colossians 2:14|
|17. Points out sin. 1 John 3:4; Romans 7:7||17. Points to Christ. (added because of sin until Christ) Leviticus 4:27-31; Galatians 3:19|
|18. Obey Now? Yes. Matthew 5:19; Luke 16:17||18. Obey Now? No. Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14-17; Galatians 4:9-10|
|19. Liberty? (freedom) Yes. James 2:12; James 1:25||19. Liberty? No. It was bondage. Galatians 4:9; 5:1
Note: Freedom and bondage are exact opposites.
|20. Perfect? Yes. James 1:25; Psalms 19:7||20. Perfect? No. Hebrews 7:19|
|21. Good? Yes. Romans 7:12||21. Good? No. Colossians 2:14; Galatians 4:9|
There is an extreme amount of confusion not only between the Ten Commandments and the Ceremonial law but also specifically between the fourth Commandment the Sabbath and the ceremonial sabbaths. This being the case, the table below has been given that relates specifically to the Sabbath of the Lord and the ceremonial sabbaths with some facts and questions that will hopefully clear up any misconceptions.
|Sabbath of the Lord||Ceremonial Sabbaths|
|Was made at creation (Genesis 2:1-3)||Were made after Sinai (Exodus 20:24)|
|Spoken by God personally (Exodus 20:1, 8-11)||Spoken by Moses (Exodus 24:3)|
|Written in stone by God Himself (Exodus 31:18)||Written by Moses hand on paper (Exodus 24:4)|
|Put inside the Ark of the Covenant (Deuteronomy 10:5)||Stored on the outside of the Ark (Deuteronomy 31:26)|
|Was established before sin (Genesis 2:1-3)||Were established after sin (Exodus 20:24)|
|Breaking the Sabbath is sin (1 John 3:4)||These were kept because of sin (See Leviticus)|
|The Sabbath is eternal (Exodus 31:16-17, Isaiah 66:22-23)||Were nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14, Ephesians 2:15)|
|It is a law of love (Matthew 22:35-40, Isaiah 58:13-14)||They were not love (Colossians 2:14, Galatians 4:9-10)|
|It is a law of liberty (freedom) (James 1:25, 2:10-12)||They were bondage (Galatians 4:9-10, Colossians 2:14)|
|God calls it MY Sabbath (Exodus 31:13, Ezekiel 20:20)||God calls them HER sabbaths (Hosea 2:11, Lamentations 1:7)|
|The Sabbath is for everyone (Mark 2:27)||Only for the children of Israel & Jews (Old & New Testament)|
Our God is a God of infinite wisdom.
God is all knowing. (Omniscience)
God is love. (1 John 4:8, 16)
God's Ten Commandments are a law of love. (Moral law)
The Ceremonial sabbaths were observed as a result of sin. (Were not love)
The Sabbath of the Lord is for personal quality time with our Creator. (A love Commandment)
Why would our God of infinite wisdom put His Sabbath in His law of love if it is not a law of love?
Why would our omniscient God put His Sabbath in His eternal law of love if it's not eternal?
Why didn't God put His Sabbath with all the temporary ceremonial sabbaths if it was to end at the cross?
Why didn't God put His Sabbath with the Jewish ceremonial sabbaths if His Sabbath was only for the Jews?
Did God's eternal law change that Jesus said would not change by a Jot or Tittle till heaven and earth pass? (Matthew 5:18, Luke 16:17)
Did God's love for us diminish or end at the cross since He gave us the Seventh day for personal time with Him?
Does God no longer want to have this personal, quality Holy time with us on His Holy Day anymore?
If yes, then why didn't Jesus remove the Seventh day since it would be obsolete, and change to a Six day week?
And why did Jesus keep the Sabbath and why did the Jews and Gentiles such as Paul and Luke keep it after the cross?
And why did Jesus show we would still be keeping the Sabbath when the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.? (Matthew 24:20)
And why did God say that all flesh would still be keeping the Sabbath in the New Heaven and Earth? (Isaiah 66:22-23)
The Sabbath truth:
God did not include His Sabbath with the ceremonial sabbaths that were nailed to the cross because His Sabbath is NOT a ceremonial Sabbath. God did not include His Sabbath with the ceremonial sabbaths that were just for the Jews because His Sabbath is for ALL FLESH. How could our God of infinite wisdom place a Temporary law in an Eternal law or a law that is NOT love in a law that IS love? Our God is not a fool and “is not the author of confusion…” 1 Corinthians 14:33. God put His Sabbath in His Moral Law of Love because it is a Law of Love and a very special one that is a SIGN it is God we Love and Worship and that we are His children. It is also a SIGN that it is God that sanctifies us and makes us His Holy children. What person who truly loves God would not want to be under this SIGN? It is NOT a sign when we keep another day. To do so is to profane the Holy and to try and make Holy the profane. Only God can make a day Holy.
Ezekiel 22:26 “Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.”
Exodus 31:16-17 “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a PERPETUAL covenant. 17 It is a SIGN between me and the children of Israel FOR EVER: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”
Before responding the above passage does not apply to you and that you are not a child of Israel, please understand the following. Today there is the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16) and the Israel after the flesh 1 Corinthians 10:18. The Israel of the flesh are those that are Jews by birth. The Israel of God is anyone who belongs to Christ and is under the New Covenant. There are many Christians who do not understand that if we are Christ's then we are spiritual Jews and the Israel of God now. Observe below who the New Covenant was ONLY made with. If one rejects this truth then they cannot be under the New Covenant. See also Romans 2:28-29, Romans 9:6-8, Galatians 3:28-29 and Isaiah 41:8. When the Jews rejected God's message from Stephen (Acts 6:8-7:60) and stoned him, the following statement became fact. He is not a Jew which is one outwardly, but he is a Jew who is one inwardly and so if we are God's children then we are Abraham's seed and therefore children of Israel and heirs according to the promise. Read is the Sabbath only for Israel and Daniel's 70 week explained for more on why anyone who belongs to Christ is now Israel. Most have missed and do not understood this very important fact. It is sadly amusing that those attacking the Ten Commandment law of God often say the Old Covenant was made just with Israel so the Ten Commandments are gone with the New Covenant. Did they even bother to see who the New Covenant was made with? This certainly reveals how desperate our adversary is to prove the law is abolished.
Hebrews 8:10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws 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:”
What a beautiful verse. God found fault with the Old Covenant in that the people would not obey the Ten Commandments. So now God has written His law in our hearts and in our minds in hope that it will be our hearts desire to love and obey Him so He can be our God and we can be His people. Many do not realize that there is a growing list of more than 500 denominations that observe the Seventh day Sabbath. Select the following link to view a list of some of the different denominations of Sabbath keeping Churches.
See also the who changed the Sabbath to Sunday.