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The Law Given at Sinai

 

How does Nehemiah describe the giving of the law at Sinai?

 

“You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good. You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses.” Nehemiah 9:13,14.

 

What is the chief advantage possessed of the Jews?

 

“What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.”

Romans 3:1,2.

 

Note – The law was not spoken at this time exclusively for the Hebrews. God honored them by making them the guardians and keepers of His Law, to be held by them as a sacred trust for the whole world. The precepts of the Decalogue are adapted to all mankind, and they were given for the instruction and government of all.

We have already seen that, unlike the ceremonial and civil codes which were given to Israel as the chosen people and holy nation, the moral law is intended for all mankind, and it has never been abrogated nor repealed.

 

The Moral Law Before Sinai

 

Before receiving the law at Sinai, how did Moses judge?

 

“Whenever they had a dispute, it was brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and laws.” Exodus 18:16. 

 

In the wilderness, before Israel reached Sinai, how did Moses explain the absence of manna on the seventh day?

 

“He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: “Tomorrow is to be a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil want you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’” So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a Sabbath to the Lord. You will not find any of it on the ground today. Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”

Exodus 16:23-26. 

 

When some went out to gather manna on the seventh day, what did the Lord say to Moses?

 

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?” Verse 28.

Note – It is evident therefore that the Sabbath and the law of God existed before the law was given at Sinai.

 

What further evidence have we that the moral law existed prior to its proclamation at Mount Sinai?

 

“For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19. “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.” 1 John 3:4.

 

Note – The one man through whom sin entered into the world was Adam. Since sin is the transgression of the law, it follows that the law existed in Eden; else there would have been no transgression, no sin.

 

Ten Commandments at Sinai

 

How was the Ten Commandments law first given at Sinai?

 

“And the Lord spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20: 1-3.

 

How did God present the law to Israel in permanent form?

 

‘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.” Exodus 31:18.

 

Note – The law of God, as well as the knowledge of creation, the plan of redemption, and the experience of the early patriarchs, had been handed down from father to son until this time, but not in written form. He wrote the Ten Commandments upon two tables of stone with His own finger.    

 

How did Moses show that the children of Israel had broken their covenant with God?

 

“When Moses approached the camp and saw the [golden] calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.” Exodus 32:19.

 

With what exactness did the Lord write the law again?

 

“The Lord wrote on these tablets what he had written before, the Ten Commandments he had proclaimed to you on the mountain, out of the fire, on the day of the assembly. And the Lord gave them to me.”  Deuteronomy 10:4. 

 

Where did Moses place these two tables of stone?

“Then I came back down the mountain and put the tablets in the ark I had made, as the Lord commanded me, and they are there now.” Verse 5.

 

What other law was given at this time?

 

“After Moses finished writing in a book the words of this law from beginning to end, he gave to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 31:24.

 

Note – Besides the Ten Commandments law, the Lord gave to Moses instruction concerning the sanctuary service, which was ceremonial, and civil laws regulating the subjects of the nation. These laws were written by Moses in a book, and are called the law of Moses, whereas the other law was written on tables of stone with the finger of God.

 

Obedience to Law

 

Why did the Lord take His people out of Egypt?

 

“He brought out his people with rejoicing, his chosen one with shouts of joy; he gave them the land of the nations, and they fell heir to what others had toiled for – that they might keep his precepts and observe his laws. Praise the Lord.” Psalm 105: 43-45.

 

How were they to teach the law to their children?

 

“Impress them on the children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:7.

 

What promise to Israel hinged on keeping the instructions He gave them?

 

“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

Exodus 19:5, 6. 

 

Was this promise made to the Jews alone?

 

“The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make our name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those that bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:1-3. “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29. 

 

Note – From these texts it will be readily seen that God had not one provision of grace and one law for the Jew and another means of salvation for the Gentile; but the plan was that through Abraham’s seed all the families of the earth should be recipients of divine grace and should receive the blessing through obedience.

 

The Christian and the Law

 

What shows that the Ten Commandments law given at Sinai is the law for the Christians?

 

“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” James 2:10-12.

 

Note – James, years after the Christian era began emphasizes the obligation of the Christian to keep the law of the Ten Commandments, not merely one precept, but all, and sets forth this law as the standard by which men will be judged in the great day of God. To us, as Christians, God has committed the blessed law in writing, as He did to ancient Israel. This law points out sin to us, that we may confess it and find forgiveness. And when this law is written in the hearts in the new covenant experience (Hebrews 8:10), it also becomes to us the law of life.

 

Penalty for Transgression

 

What is the wages of sin?

 

“But the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23. “But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:17.  “For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son – both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die.” Ezekiel 18:4.   

 

How did death enter the world?

 

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” Romans 5:12. 

 

Problem of Willful Sin

 

God is merciful, but does this clear the guilty?

 

‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished, he punishes the children for the sin of their fathers to the third and fourth generation.” Numbers 14:18. (See Exodus 34:5-7.) 

 

What is the result of willful sin?

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? Hebrews 10: 26-29. 

 

To whom is execution of judgment given?

 

“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay says the Lord.” Romans 12:19. “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.” John 5:26,27. (See Jude 14,15.) 

 

What presumptuous course do many pursue?

 

“When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.” Ecclesiastes 8:11.

 

What message has God sent to His ministers?

 

“Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done.” Isaiah 3:10,11. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf.” 2 Corinthians 5:20  (See also 2 Timothy 2:24-26.)

 

How can man escape the penalty of sin?

 

‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 6:23.

 

Note – God threatens to punish all who transgress these Commandments: we should therefore, fear His anger, and do nothing against such Commandments. But He promises grace and every blessing to all that keep them: we should therefore, love and trust in Him, and gladly obey His Commandments.   

 

 

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