The entire ceremonial of the sanctuary took place with reference to the law of God, preserved in the ark, in the inner compartment of the tabernacle. It was precisely for the violation of that law that sacrifices had to be instituted. "When a soul sins in error against some of the Lord's commandments, about what should not be done, and does against some of them; if the anointed priest sins to the people's scandal, he will offer for his sin, which he has sinned, a spotless bullock , to the Lord, for the atonement of sin ". Lev. 4: 2 and 3.
It was the transgression of the "commandments of the Lord" that made the system of sacrifices necessary. It was the sin against God's law that started the temple ritual. Sin was the motive for morning and evening sacrifices, the Day of Atonement ceremonies, the offering of incense and individual sacrifices for particular sins. And sin is breaking the law.
Beloved John had a vision of the temple of God in heaven. There he saw the law of God, "the ark of His covenant". Apoc. 11:19. The law occupies a prominent place, even in heaven; to such an extent that the temple is called "the temple of the tabernacle of testimony", not the temple of incense, nor of blood, nor of the ark. it is "the temple of the tabernacle of testimony", the temple of the law of God. Apoc. 15: 5.
The most sacred city in the Old Testament was the city that God had chosen as His home. The most sacred place in that city was the temple. The most sacred place in the temple was the most holy. The most sacred object of the most holy was the ark within which were the stone tablets on which God had written with His own finger the ten commandments, the law of life, the oracles of God. This law was the center around which the whole ceremonial revolved, the basis and reason for the whole ritual. Without the law, the temple ritual would have no meaning.
The law is an expression of character, a revelation of the spirit. For this reason, God's law is important. it is part of God, so to speak. Reveal Him. it is a transcript of His character, a finite expression of the infinite. It gives us a glimpse of God's own thought; a view from the base of His government. Just as God is eternal, so are the principles of the law. Just as God is eternal, so are the principles of the law. Since God is immutable, it is the immutable law. And it must be so. The law, being a transcription of the character of God, cannot be changed unless a corresponding change in God is made. But God cannot change. "I, the Lord, do not change". Mal. 3: 6. In God "there is no change or shadow of variation". James 1:17. "it is the same yesterday, today, and forever". Heb. 13: 8.
God's law, as contained in the Ten Commandments, has always been a fruitful field of study for God's children. There are numerous references in the Bible to the joy that the saints of God found when contemplating the perfect law of freedom. Far from being a painful obligation to them, they considered it a pleasure to contemplate the deep things of God. Let us hear the psalmist: "I love Your commandments more than gold, and even more than fine gold". "Your testimonies are wonderful". "You, by Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are always with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, because I meditate on Your testimonies". "In all perfection I saw a limit, but Your commandment is very broad". 119: 127, 129, 98, 99 and 96.
The Ten Commandments were first proclaimed by God on Mount Sinai, and then written by Him on two stone tablets. (Ex. 20; 24:12; 31:18). These boards were placed in the ark, in the most holy place of the sanctuary, directly under the mercy seat, and covered by it. (Ex. 25:16, 21). What was written in them, according to the Almeida version, is the following:
"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
1. "You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. "You shall not make for yourself a sculpture image, nor any likeness of what is above in the heavens, or below on the earth,
nor in the waters under the earth; you will not bow down to them or serve them; because I, the Lord your God, am a zealous God, who visit the wickedness of parents in their children until the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, and I show mercy to thousands who love Me and keep My commandments.
3. "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain: for the Lord will not hold innocent that which takes His name in vain.
4. "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you will work and do all your work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God; you will not do any work, neither you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your handmaid, nor your animal, nor your stranger, I am inside your doors, because in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and everything in them and on the seventh day he rested, therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and kept it holy.
5. "Honor your father and mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
6. "Thou shalt not kill.
7. "You shall not commit adultery.
8. "You will not steal.
9. "You will not say false testimony against your neighbor.
10. "You shall not covet your neighbor's house, you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything of your neighbor". Success. 20: 2-17.
The Ten Commandments are not arbitrary decrees imposed on disgusted subjects. Rather, they are the law of life, without which national existence, personal security, human freedom and even civilization would be impossible. Over time this will become more and more evident.
The commandments are divided into two parts. The first, covering the first four commandments, defines man's duty to God; and the other, integrating the last six commandments, defines man's duty to his fellow men. Christ recognized this division by declaring that the two great principles of the law are love of God and love of neighbor.
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your thought. This is the first and great commandment. And the second, similar to this, is: You will love your neighbor as yourself. These two commandments depend on the whole law and the prophets ". Mat. 22: 37-40.
The time when God proclaimed His law at Sinai was the beginning of a covenant relationship with Israel. God had chosen Israel to be His people. She had taken him out of Egypt and was going to take him to the promised land. He had promised to bless him and make him a holy nation and a royal priesthood. However, these promises were subject to acceptance in favor of them. Would they, for their part, love and obey God? Would they faithfully observe the conditions of the pact? They had become generally familiar with the law of God. But behold, God proclaims it from heaven, so that there can be no doubt as to what is expected of them. Holiness must not depend on particular interpretation. God gives a standard of justice. This standard is perfect. "The law is holy, and the commandment is holy, just, and good." it is an expression of God's will for man. it is the perfect rule that contains all the duty of man.
It is somewhat perplexing to find Christians opposing the law of God. What objection can you make against a law that commands love to God and man, condemns evil and encourages good? What objection can they raise against a law whose author is Jehovah, whose end is holiness, and which is locked up in God's sanctuary? We could expect this opposition from sinners, because the law exposes and condemns sin. Christians, however, are on another level. With the psalmist, they exclaim, "Oh! How much I love Your law! It is my meditation all day long." Psalm 119: 97.
Like law in general and the foundation of government, God's law is the foundation of God's government. Ten clear and concise statements proclaim the whole duty of man. it is a complete, concise, perfect constitution. Nothing can be added or omitted.
The law is an emblem of security, stability, fidelity, uniformity, equality. The absence of law means chaos with the evils that accompany it.
The world is built on the law, the universe obeys it. Infringement of the universal law will mean the annihilation of God's creation. Each part is related to all the others, and what happens in one place reflects to the ends of the universe. This makes universal law necessary. A law must govern wherever creation exists. Two conflicting laws will produce disaster.
The only fundamental moral law in the universe is the law of God, contained from all eternity in the two great principles of love for God and love for man. These principles were extended and applied to humanity, and the Ten Commandments were proclaimed, for the direction of man, on Mount Sinai. They constitute the basic law of life and existence. As has already been said, these are not arbitrary demands imposed for the sake of authority. They are what God, in His wise prediction, saw as necessary for men to live together, and to make human society possible. And the attitude of men has confirmed divine wisdom. The world has demonstrated that obedience to God's law is necessary for existence, security and life.
The Great World War was a demonstration of this. Men scoffed at the Ten Commandments. They ridiculed us. They started killing each other and destroying each other. Each nation thought that if it won the war, it would not only gain great benefit for itself, but without a doubt for the whole world. But the world was disappointed. He learned that there is no use in hatred and killing. The World War was a categorical statement of the folly of rejecting God's commandments. Not only were millions of human beings mutilated and killed, immense debts accumulated, and a general catastrophe was imminent, but many were positively convinced that the continuation of the war would mean the end of civilization and national life. The men were amazed at the magnitude of the calamity that faced them.
The same lesson is being taught to the nations today. Crime is prevalent, insolent, defiant. There have always been wicked men, but never on the scale they are today.
Crime is now organized, and in some cases it is actually waging war against society. Sometimes criminals are better armed and organized than the forces of law and order. Just now governments have really understood that they face disintegrating agents committed to destroying civilization. They are now making every effort to uproot evil, but the task is not easy for them. It is costly; grueling. Sometimes disheartening; but it must be brought to a happy end, or the result will be disaster. The governments attempts to reduce bribery, uproot addiction, stop exploitation, maintain the sacredness of family relationships, impose honesty in public relations, and to protect property, is an admission on your part that God is right, and that men should not lie, nor steal, or commit adultery; that the transgression of these commandments leads to disaster and disorder, and that the government is justified in taking the necessary measures to improve conditions.
Any initiative designed to suppress criminality is a powerful testimony in favor of the integrity and permanent value of God's commandments. Men and governments are learning that crime is bad, that it is costly, that it ruins and destroys. This is the lesson that God wants you to learn. And they are discovering the value of obeying the law in their own way. The world has never had such an objective lesson in the cost of crime, the cost of transgression. The world itself provides us with demonstration material and pays for its cost. This makes the lesson all the more effective.
The law is an expression of the will, nature and character of the governing power. Any law that is not such an expression ceases to function and lapses. Human law is usually the result of experience, of a meditated purpose, based on discovering what it is and should be, and an attempt to formulate in appropriate statements the rules of conduct and appropriate procedure. It must have the will as a basic factor, and be an expression of this will, and also of the nature and character of the legislator. The law, therefore, indicates personality, and defines and reveals that same personality.
The expression "law of nature", as it is commonly used, is misleading, and should be used only in an accommodated sense.
Correctly speaking, there is no law of nature, because it has no will or thought of its own, and no way to express that will or thought. What is generally understood by "law of nature" is the ordered process by which nature acts, the defined mode of generally predictable consequences. The Christian believes that the laws of nature are the laws of God, an expression of personal will, and that they do not endow nature with attributes that belong only to one personality, to God.
AH Strong employs an illustration that presents an important lesson. A Christian sees a drive shaft turning large, complicated machinery. In his attempts to discover what makes this great axis turn, he comes to a brick wall from which the axis comes out, and beyond which he cannot go or see. However, it does not draw the conclusion that the axis turns itself. You cannot see or prove the existence of the motor that exists beyond the wall and that communicates strength to the shaft. He knows, however, that he is there. Common sense tells you. The man who claims to be strictly scientific and believes only what he sees, looks at the transmission shaft and marvels at its inherent power. The Christian also sees the transmission axis, but sees beyond it. He sees the invisible, and knows that there is a hidden power behind the axis. This is simple for him, clear and nothing mysterious. It is only surprising that not everyone can see what seems to him so evident. Likewise, through nature you see the God of nature; and the laws are for him simply the laws of God.
God's law is a transgression of the divine nature, and as such it is not "made" as human laws are, nor is God "made". It cannot be said that the law had a beginning, any more than it can be said that God had a beginning. Being a revelation of what He is, his existence is contemporary with God. It can only be changed if God changes. It is not provisional, as it is not God. It is not an expression of an arbitrary will, but the revelation of a being. It is not local or limited to specific situations only, just as God is not local. it is incapable of modification, since it represents the unchanging nature of God.
it is immutable, holy and good, because God is immutable, holy and good. it is spiritual: it is just, it is universal. The law is all of that and must be, because it is a transgression of the essential nature of God.
In addition to the divine moral and written law, there is an elementary law imprinted on the very fibers of every moral creature, which is not written, and yet exercises authority. It existed before Sinai, and it is also an expression and a reflection of God's moral nature, although it is not as clear as the written law. Pagans who "have no law [in written form], naturally do the things of the law, having no law, for themselves they are law; who show the work of the law written in their hearts, testifying together to their conscience , and their thoughts, whether accusing them or defending them ". Rom. 2:14 and 15.
This unwritten law has so much authority that God is justified in using it in judgment. "For all who have sinned without a law will also perish; and all who have sinned under the law will be judged." Vers. 12. Pagans "naturally do things that are lawful"; that is, they have an inherent sense of good and evil, and by that sense they are judged. "Since they have no law, they are law to themselves". According to the light they have, or could have had, they are judged.
This elementary law, while not written, has all the characteristics of the written divine law, and, where it operates, has equal authority. No man can violate natural law and hope to escape its consequences. The laws of nature are inviolable, and are administered without respect for people. Whoever commits transgression, whether prince or beggar, pays the penalty. A king who, without knowing it or deliberately throws himself into space when climbing a rugged mountain, shatters himself against the rocks as surely as his most humble subject. Men have learned the certainty of natural law and rely on its infallible uniformity. They are convinced that the laws of physics, mathematics, and tension do not vary overnight. Thus, they plan, build, live and work, relying on the security of the law. And God does not lack the law. Men can trust God and His natural law.
Unwritten moral law is just as secure. Consciousness bears witness to a power greater than that of man, a compelling force, an almost irresistible power.
What is certain is that the moral law, because it operates in a kingdom superior to the physical, cannot be demonstrated immediately, and the effects of the transgression may not be as apparent as in the case of the violation of the physical law. But they are, however, just as certain as these.
Not every violation of physical law is immediately punished. If someone touches a wire that is charged with electrical voltage, he is wounded with immediate death. Another violates the law of his existence regarding eating and drinking, without noticing any immediate effect. Years later, however, the results are noticeable. While postponed, they are certain and inevitable. So it is with the moral law. The results of transgressions can be postponed. But they arrive safely. They may not even appear in this life, and be reserved for the coming judgment. But in any case the results are certain and inevitable "unless divine grace interferes.
God's way of acting has its reason. If punishment were always applied immediately, character formation would be very hindered, if not made impossible. Every physical sin, however small, has the seed of death in it. If that death were to occur immediately, it is logical that the affected person would have no opportunity to learn any lesson from the experience. On the other hand, the others, knowing that the result of disobedience would be immediate death, would depart from transgression, not out of principle but out of fear. In order to give men the opportunity to repent of physical sins and to do them without the fear of immediate death influencing their decision, God must for some time postpone the consequences of transgression. It does so, and the result justifies the procedure.
This principle is even more applicable to the moral law. God must not carry out the mastication of the transgression of the moral law immediately, in order not to vitiate his plan and make salvation difficult or impossible. Although it is sometimes true that "since judgment is not immediately carried out on evil work, therefore the hearts of the children of men are entirely willing to do evil", God does not need to execute judgment immediately, lest it happen to produce more harm than good. God knows what he does. The task of saving humanity has been imposed, and it is carried out in the best possible way.
The written divine law, as contained in the ten commandments, synthesizes every duty of man to God and to men.
The God who made the law of nature is the same God who made the Ten Commandments. Both laws are given by God, and while acting in different kingdoms, they are equally in force and cannot be transgressed with impunity. The law of God as written on the two tablets of stone, as well as in the heart of the believer, is in harmony with the divine and unwritten law.
But nowhere does nature indicate a definite day of rest. This appears in the written divine law. Pagans have perceptions of good and evil, and their conscience accuses and excuses them. This does not seem to be the case, however, with regard to the seventh day, or rest day, there is nothing in nature that induces someone to observe one day in seven, let alone a definite seventh day. This may require some study.
The Sabbath was instituted at the time of creation. "It was done because of man". Mark 2:27. By His own example of rest, God sanctified that day and blessed it. Among all the days of the week he chose one, setting aside for a holy use. Since then he has been blessed among other days, sanctified by God Himself.
The choice of a particular day of the week was a determined act of God that can be known only through revelation. Nature gives us no clue as to what day of rest it is, or whether there is any day of rest. The commandment to observe the seventh day is a declaration by the sovereign God, who sets aside a given day as holy time. While it seems right that the last day of the week of creation was chosen as the day of rest, it is conceivable that Wednesday or any other day could fulfill the purpose as well, if the creator had so ordered. The choice of the seventh day rests not on some feat of nature, but on a positive order from God, not accompanied by any additional elementary or natural law. It is based entirely on a "so says the Lord".
We believe that this has a reason and we will continue with this study.
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law, sanctuary ritual, obedience