Outline of the Law Given to Ancient Israel
The laws given to ancient Israel were of two types, moral laws as well as ritual laws. Some laws were temporary and were used in the Old Testament until the reality of the types and shadows appeared in the New Testament.
The seventh day Sabbath which we read about in Genesis chapter two was not a law at all. The males and females created in Genesis chapter one on the sixth day came into God’s Seventh Day Sabbath and rested with Him. God had prepared everything in the previous six days necessary for mans enjoyment. Because He had gained man, He and man could Sabbath together. The people didn’t have to do anything but feast and rest with God. This was a perfect picture of what the term under grace means. They rested first and then they could set out to accomplish God’s will. This seventh day Sabbath became damaged and obsolete when Adam and Eve rejected God in the Garden and allowed sin to enter into God’s creation. Where sin is there can be no rest (Sabbath). We will address the fourth Commandment the Sabbath later in this article.
Laws given to ancient Israel were moral as well as ritual laws. The moral aspect of the law were contained in statutes and dealt with how to act, how to deal with God, and how to treat others.
The ritual aspect of the law were contained in ordinances, concerning the proper way to worship, how to offer sacrifices, and how to keep the feasts.
The Ten Commandments consisted of nine moral laws and one ritual law. Only one commandment, the fourth was a ritual commandment. Leviticus 23 shows us that the Sabbath in the Old Testament was a Feast to God just as the Passover was a Feast, Pentecost was a Feast, and Tabernacles was a Feast to God. Since the Sabbath was a Feast to God it was a ritual.
All the items of ritual law are types of New Testament realities. They were all shadows of things to come in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 2:16, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon or of the Sabbath days. 17, which are shadows of things to come; but the body is of Christ”.
Those who are in the body of Christ start out as babes and because we are organic in nature, we will grow to maturity and eventually all the types and shadows that represent all the things that Christ has become will benefit us and become our nature also. Scripture says that Christ is all and in all, Colossians 3:11.
When the reality came in New Testament times, all the Old Testament shadows, the ritual laws passed away.
Although, those who are believers in the New Testament age are no longer under the law and having been discharged from the law, Romans 6:14; 7:4 and 6, the moral statutes of the Old Testament remain to be a matter to be fulfilled in the spirit even though the letter of the law has passed away.
The Fourth Commandment
We see in scriptures that God tells His people to keep His Sabbath.It is good for men to have a a weekly time of rest, according to their discretion, to maintain a healthy existence.
The Sabbath, according to the wanderings of the Nation of Israel was very strict, God’s people, servants and animals had to rest completely on the seventh day Sabbath. They were told to gather manna for six days, a double portion of the sixth day and rest on the seventh. They had to rest even during plowing and harvest seasons. They couldn’t light a fire on the Sabbath even to cook their food. They couldn’t take any long journey on the Sabbath. They couldn’t press wine or carry any large bundles on the Sabbath, or buying or selling and not expressing your own ideas and words were prohibited. Yet we find peppered through the wanderings the word “If”. If you obey my voice, Exodus 19:5, or if ye will harken unto My voice, Exodus 15:26. God never intended for the people to try and obey His commands. He knew that they were not able to obey His law. And we now have the proof, through the Apostle Pauls writings, that the people couldn’t keep His laws.
Hebrews 3:17, ” And for whom was He grieved forty years? Was it not with them who had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18, And to whom sware He that they they should not enter His rest but to them that believed not? 19, So we see that they could not enter in because of unabelief.
Was God a failure because His people never entered into the Sabath rest? No, of course not. God from the very beginning never intended for His people to obey any laws. Scripture tell us that Abram believed God and it was counted unto him as righteousness, Romans 4:3. Moses by faith forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the King: for he endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible.
These are men who had faith who didn’t murmur or complain as the Nation of Israel did, Deuteronomy 1:27.
. Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a awarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
All people need another comforter, John 14:16. This comforter is the Holy Spirit. The people wandering in the wilderness were never promised the comforter so naturally they weren’t able to Keep the Sabbath. This is why in the New Testament our situation is different. There is a Sabbath rest for His people, Hebrews 4:9.
In Genesis 2, the males and females didn’t need to work for their rest. God had already provided the rest for the people. So today, there are countless number of people wandering around in the wilderness without the proper knowledge and understanding thinking that they have to do some mighty works. That is not faith. Faith is hearing His voice, and spending time with Him in study and prayer like Moses did when he was upon the mountain. Moses didn’t keep any laws or exhibit any mighty works when he came down from the mountain, yet his face shown because of his being filled and imbued with the life of God.