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Proclaimed Anew at Sinai
The Lord had delivered the people of Israel from Egyptian bondage that they might serve Him and make His ways known to the nations. This was according to the prom
ise made to Abraham. To them was committed the written revelation of God, and through them was to come in the fulness of time the promised Messiah.
While the Lord at this time "made known His ways unto Moses," and there was begun the written revelation which
grew into "the volume of the book," the Holy Scriptures, one portion of revelation was not left for the prophet of God to speak or for the inspired pen to write. The Lord proclaimed His holy law with His own voice, and gave to men copy "written with the finger of God." Moses said of this.
"The Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And He declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and He wrote them upon two tables of stone." Deut. 4:12, 13.
This display of majesty and glory indescribable was designed to teach how sacred and holy is the law, and to cause men to fear to transgress its precepts. Ex. 20: 20.
It was not for themselves alone that the law was committed to Israel. They were to teach the truth to others. As the New Testament says, it was greatly to their advantage that "unto them were committed the oracles of God." Rom. 3:2. But they "received the lively oracles to give unto us." Through obedience to the divine law, they were to be a light to the nations.
"Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them?" Deut. 4:6, 7.
An interesting comment upon these words is supplied by a speech of Phalerius, librarian to Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt. Urging the king by all means to secure copies of the sacred books of the Jews for his great library in Alexandria, Phalerius said:
"Now it is necessary that thou shouldst have accurate copies of them. And indeed this legislation is full of hidden wisdom, and entirely blameless, as being the legislation of God; for which cause it is, as Hecateus of Abdera says, that the poets and historians make no mention of it, nor
of those men who lead their lives according to it, since it is a holy law, and ought not to be published by profane mouths."— Josephus, "Antiquities,” book 12, chap. 2, sec. 4.
Unfaithful as the Jewish people oftentimes were, yet through their testimony and the dealings of God with them, the fame of the living oracles was spread abroad among the ancient nations.
One God — One Moral Standard
"There is one Lawgiver." James 4: 12. He is ever the same, and His law is the standard of righteousness for all mankind. There was not one moral standard before Christ and another after. Christ's death upon the cross because man had broken the law, is the divine testimony to all the universe that God's law can never be set aside nor its force suspended. Jesus opened His public teaching with the declaration:
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 5: 17-19.
The moral law of ten commandments is one code, every precept equally sacred and equally binding:
"Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For He that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." James 2: 10-12.
The law of God still speaks with all the force of that voice from Sinai, and it speaks to every soul on earth:
"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." Rom. 3:19.
Thus the law of God convicts all men of sin, and would drive every one to Christ for pardon and for the divine gift of the grace and power of obedience.
The ceremonial law the precepts and ordinances commanded for the sacrificial system - ceased with the sacrifice of Calvary, as all these ceremonial observances pointed forward to the cross. There can be no confounding of the moral law and the ceremonial law. The ceremonial law of types and shadows showed in itself that a primary or higher law the moral law - had been violated, making necessary a divine sacrifice if transgressors were to be saved from death and restored to obedience.
The Standard in the Judgment
The law of God's moral government, which is the rule of life for every creature, must necessarily be the standard in the great judgment day. The Scripture states the sum of all human obligation and responsibility in the words:
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Eccl. 12: 13, 14.
Every son and daughter of Adam's lost race is judgment bound, to answer before the bar of God the demands of the perfect law. Divine justice cannot abate one jot or tittle of the requirements of the holy law, nor by any means clear the guilty. But divine mercy has provided the way by which God can "be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."