Doctrine: Mosaic Law
“For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” Jesus as recorded in John 1.17
Tod Kennedy, December 20, 2006
1. What is the Mosaic Law?
a. The Mosaic Law is the document that God gave to Israel through Moses while Moses was on Mt Sinai. It was to govern the life of the Israeli theocracy—the priest nation. The law contained requirements, blessings, and cursings, along with narrative (Exodus 19-20.1). The law is that which points out God’s will for Israel.
b. When we study the law, we need to remember that there are other words used for different emphases in the law, such as law, testimony, precepts, commandments, and judgments. Psalm 19:7-9 illustrate this for us.
i. Law, Psalm 19:7. Torah Strong 8451. WBOT 910d. Law, teaching, instruction.
ii. Testimony, Psalm 19:7. Aydooth, Strong 5715. Witness, testimony.
iii. Precept, Psalm 19:8. Piqqudim, Strong 6490. Statute, precept commandment.
iv. Commandment, Psalm 19:8. Mitsvah, Strong 4687. Commandment, law, ordinance.
v. Fear, Psalm 19:9. Yirah, Strong 3374. Fear, reverence.
vi. Judgment, Psalm 19:9. Mishpat, Strong 4941. WBOT 2443c. Judgment, ordinance, decision. Religious or government judgment or justice.
vii. Statute. Chuqqah, Strong 2708. WBOT 728b. Related to verb to engrave, a rule, a prescription, legal right, statute.
2. Where is the law emphasized in the Bible?
a. The word law is first used in Exodus 12:49. The word is used many times in the Old Testament. But, Malachi 4:4 is a good summary verse stating the importance of the law for Israel.
b. In the New Testament the word law is used 214 times in 164 verses. Select Scripture for our understanding of the law include Matthew 4:4, 5:17-18; Luke 2:22-27; John 1:17, 45, 7:19; Acts 7:53, 13:15 and 19, 28:33; Romans 78 times; Galatians 32 times; Hebrews 13 times; and James 11 times.
c. Galatians and Hebrews are probably the central New Testament books that explain the relationship of the Law to the church.
3. When was the Mosaic Law in force?
a. The Mosaic Law was in force only during the age or dispensation of Israel.
b. Jesus Christ fulfilled the law during his earthly life and his death for sin. Law ended with Christ, though Israel’s dispensation will conclude with Daniel’s seventieth week, which is the 7 year Tribulation period after God removes the church to heaven. The Church is a parenthesis near the end of the dispensation of Israel.
4. What was the form of Moses’ Law?
a. God used the known Hittite (Joshua 1.4) suzerainty treaty as the legal form or frame of reference for his law. In the ancient world treaties took two forms: parity, between equals; and suzerainty between a sovereign (suzerain) and a vassal (subject).
5. What general kinds of law does it contain?
a. Three kinds that total 613 laws (365 negative and 248 positive).
b. The moral code (Exodus 20.1-17 with 34.28).
c. The judgments or social code, which deal with the life of man with man (Exodus 21-24).
d. The ceremonial code or spiritual law which deals with the teaching of doctrine through ritual and response to the Lord (Exodus 25 and following; Leviticus).
6. How was Israel related to Moses’ Law?
a. The Mosaic Law was given to Israel in the dispensation of Israel. The law was not given to Gentiles (Exodus 19.3; Leviticus 26.46; Deuteronomy 4.8; 5.1; Romans 2.14; 9.4).
b. The Mosaic Law was given as a system or way of life for the nation. The purpose ended when Christ died on the cross and was resurrected (Galatians 3.16.19). The Mosaic Law will not be reissued in the Millennium. Similar protocol will be used, but not the Mosaic Law (Ezekiel 40.1-46.24).
c. The law prepared Israel for Christ. When he came and finished his work, the law ended. Israel will be restored, but not to live under the law. See Galatians 3 and 4 and Romans 9-11.
d. Israel (Jews) is not now under the law.
7. How was Christ related to the Law?
a. Christ was born while the law was in force (Galatians 4.4).
b. Christ completed the requirements of the law while he was on earth. He obeyed it perfectly (Matthew 5.17-19; Romans 10.4; Galatians 3.13; Colossians 2.13-14; Hebrews 8-10).
c. Christ removed the need for the Mosaic Law or the Old Covenant. Therefore the purpose and force of the Mosaic Law ended with Christ (Ephesians 2.15-16; Hebrews 8-10).
8. How is the Church related to the Law?
a. The law was never given to the church. The church is not supposed to live under the Mosaic Law (Acts 15.5-29; Romans 3.21-22; 7.6; 2 Corinthians 3.7-11; Galatians 2.21; 5.1-13).
b. The unbeliever Jew may think that he is now under the law, but the believer Jew of the church age is now a part of the church and is not under the law (same church Scripture and 1 Corinthians 10.32).
9. What was the value of the Law?
a. The law showed God’s holiness and God’s grace (Romans 3.20-21).
b. The law was good. It was a wonderful heritage that guided, protected, and taught Israel. The law gave Israel the potential to live better than the peoples and cultures around them. Paul was proud to be a Jew and to have the law in his heritage (Romans 7.12 and 9.3).
c. The law was temporary; it functioned until it accomplished its purpose (Galatians 3.19-25).
d. The law predicted that the Messiah would come (Romans 3.21; Hebrews 10.1).
e. The law taught spiritual truth through illustration (Hebrews 8.1-7, 13; 9.1-15).
f. The law did not save anyone—ever. God always graciously saved mankind through faith (Romans 3:20; 4:13; Galatians 2:16).
g. The law provided a frame of reference by which to understand sin (Romans 3.19-20; 7.7; 1 Timothy 1.8-10). Some Jews wrongly made circumcision and the temple important to salvation and the Christian life (1 Corinthians 7.18-19; Acts 16.3; Galatians 2.1-5; John 4.23-24; Acts 19.8).
h. The law is not the standard for the Christian life (Romans 6.14; Galatians 3.1-5, 19-25; 5.1-9).
i. Believers in the church age live under the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8.2-4).
10. So how does this doctrine affect me?
a. Do not think that you must live by Israel’s laws.
b. Use the law to better understand God’s righteousness in contrast to the world’s relative righteousness.
c. Use the law to demonstrate God’s substitutionary sacrifice for mankind’s sin.
d. Use the law to learn how God works through nations and what protects freedom, privacy, property, and volition.