The Difference between the Ten commandments and the ceremonial law

3 min


 On Mount Sinai, Moses received both law of God and a precise set of instructions for the sacrificial system. These were to form the basis of the religious ceremonies of the Israelites.

Both sets of instructions were called the law, but they were different in that the law of Ten Commandments defined what sin was, whereas the ceremonial law contained the solution to the sin problem. God wrote the Ten Commandments, and Moses wrote the ceremonial law, or book of the law.

 Law of Ten Commandments

And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God (Exodus 31:18).

And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables (Exodus 32:16).

When Moses returned from meeting with God on Sinai he found that the Israelites had made for themselves a golden calf to worship. Moses was so angry that he broke the tablets of stone. Then God said to him, “Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark” (Deuteronomy 10:1-2).

When Moses broke the first tablets, it symbolized the law of God that had been broken by God’s people when they served the golden calf. The law did not change as a result of the people’s sin. Rather, God wrote the law again onto the new tables of stone that Moses fashioned, symbolizing that we have to be co-workers together with God in upholding His law. Only in God’s strength can we uphold the law, but we must cooperate with Him in this regard.

The two tables of stone were placed inside the Ark of the Covenant.

The  Ceremonial Law

This law of types and ceremonies was written by Moses in the book of the law, and was placed beside the Ark.

 And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee (Deuteronomy 31:24-26 emphasis added).

These two sets of laws, the one moral and the other ceremonial, were thus entirely different and served different purposes

Amazing Discoveries  

The law of God is a revelation of His will, a transcript of His character, the expression of divine love and wisdom. The harmony of creation depends upon perfect conformity to the law of the Creator. Everything is under fixed laws, which cannot be disregarded. But man alone, of all that inhabits the earth, is amenable to moral law. To man, God has given power to comprehend the justice and beneficence of His law, and of man unswerving obedience is required. 

Satan represented to the holy pair that they would gain by breaking the law of God. Today many talk of the narrowness of those who obey God’s commandments, while they claim to enjoy greater liberty. What is this but an echo of the voice from Eden? “In the day ye eat thereof”—transgress the divine requirement—“ye shall be as gods.”Satan did not let it appear that he had become an outcast from heaven. He concealed his own misery in order to draw others into the same position. So now the transgressor disguises his true character; but he is on the side of Satan, trampling upon the law of God and leading others to their eternal ruin. 

Many who teach that the law of God is not binding upon man urge that it is impossible to obey its precepts. But if this were true, why did Adam suffer the penalty of transgression? The sin of our first parents brought guilt and sorrow upon the world, and had it not been for the goodness and mercy of God, would have plunged the race into hopeless despair. Let none deceive themselves. “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23. 

From Eternity Past


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