Were the Ten Commandments Nailed to the Cross?
It seems that many Christians either have the mentality of wanting to nail anything they do not like to the cross or are unable to tell the difference between the sacrificial law and God's moral law. All too often Christians see the word “law” in the Bible and assume it is the Ten Commandments. Why do so many assume that the ordinances and the Ten Commandments are the same thing? The only relationship between the two laws is that the moral law defines sin, as sin is the transgression of the Law. (1 John 3:4) And the “ordinances” or the “Law of Moses” and the many other names it is referred to in the Bible defined the sacrifices, which were the remedy for sin. The Old and New Testaments are abundantly clear what the ordinances and this worldly sacrificial sanctuary system were and their purpose. The King James Version should be used to study this topic as it is has the most accurate translation of this passage. Note the following points.
- The Ten Commandments and the ordinances are not the same thing and are separate as shown by Luke 1:6.
- The following scripture also shows that the ordinances were part of the sacrificial sanctuary service and not the moral law by telling us that the first covenant had also the ordinances as well as the Ten Commandments but in the new covenant the ordinances are gone leaving just what God wrote in stone. Hebrews 9:1-2 “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. 2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the show bread; which is called the sanctuary.”
- Paul uses the word ordinances in verse 14, which does consist of “meat offerings”, “drink offerings”, “new moon” festivals, “holydays” and various ceremonial “sabbaths” or “sabbath days” which are described in verse 16 and were all part of the Mosaic Law that pointed forward to the work Jesus did on the cross and hence ended at the cross as Paul says in verse 14. As just seen in Hebrews 9:1-2, these ordinances were part of the worldly sacrificial sanctuary system which involved sin offerings, which of course were no longer necessary and were nailed to the cross when Jesus became the true Lamb of God.
- Ezekiel 45:17 is the perfect parallel of Colossians 2:14-16 and is no doubt what Paul is quoting. Read Ezekiel chapter 45 if you want to get the full context but once again, use the King James as many modern translations mistranslate these passages or translate them in such a way that they are unclear.
Note that Strong's dictionary says “feasts” and “holydays” are synonymous making Ezekiel 45:17 and Colossians 2:16 a perfect match and giving real clarity as to what law was nailed to the cross. As you can see by comparing these verses, the “ordinances” are part of “Mosaic Law” which is sometimes called the “ceremonial law” and hence the Ten Commandments and the ordinances are NOT the same thing.
Thus before the cross there was both the Sacrificial Law and the Moral Law and we know that one of these laws was nailed to the cross. I would hope it is now obvious which law but let's clarify further anyway.
What was sacrificed before the cross for sin and who became our Passover Lamb? Did Jesus become the Lamb of God and our one and final perfect sacrifice? And so did the sacrifice of Christ permanently end the Sacrificial Law? The answer of course is yes.
So while there is this mentality of many Christians wanting to nail everything to the cross, the only thing that in fact was is that which was practiced for sin before Jesus replaced this law by becoming our perfect sacrifice.
Read the following page comparing the Ten Commandments and the ceremonial law for very detailed information. To see that the KJV Bible has translated this passage extremely well and the phrase “sabbath days” is definitely plural, which also verifies that these are ceremonial sabbaths, see the following web site on Colossians 2:16. See also was the Sabbath nailed to the cross and Adam Clarke and Albert Barnes Commentaries.
Thus we find it was not the Ten Commandments that were nailed to the cross but the ordinances of the Mosaic Law. See also do we need to keep the feast days.