There is no doubt that the world is pretty much oblivious to the true teachings of God’s Word. A multitude of misconceptions exist concerning the Old and New covenants. Most religious people believe that all men are simultaneously obligated to obey both the Old Law of Moses and the New Law of Christ. The widespread opinion that the Ten Commandments are still binding on all men living today often causes a raised eyebrow when someone suggests that they were voided when Christ died on the cross.
The ever-popular Billy Graham once wrote in a newspaper column, “The Ten Commandments give a concise statement of God’s moral laws and they have never been set aside.” If Mr. Graham and others are right, then it must also be true that the penalties for violating them are still in effect – namely stoning. The fact of the matter is that we do not need the Ten Commandments to establish concise moral laws given by God. The law of Christ, who is now our “lawgiver” has established such laws, which all men living today are bound to obey (Jas. 4:12).
Jehovah considered the Ten Commandments His covenant between Him and the children of Israel alone, “and Jehovah spake unto you (Israel) out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of words, but ye saw no form; only ye heard a voice. And He declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them upon two tables of stone” (Deut. 4:12-13). The apostle Paul reminds us that those tables of stone, which were a covenant between God and the children of Israel, have been done away. Instructing the Christians in Corinth, Paul rehearses how Moses received the Ten Commandments referred to as the “Ministration of death,” and with veiled face took them down to the people. The purpose of the veil was to hide the fact that the glory of the Ten Commandments was already beginning to fade away.
The prophet Jeremiah foretold that the old covenant (Ten Commandments and other ordinances) would go away one day and be replaced by a new covenant—the Law of Christ (Jer. 31:31-34). The author of the Hebrew letter told first century Jews who had converted to Christianity, “for if the first covenant had been faultless, then would no place have been sought for a second…” (Heb. 8:6-13). The Ten Commandments were given until Christ came. Its purpose was to teach us about righteousness. “But before faith came, we were kept inward under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. So that the law is become our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith is come, We are no longer under a tutor” (Gal. 3:23-25).
The Ten Commandments were added because of transgressions, till the seed (Jesus Christ) should come (Gal. 3:19, 16). When God called Moses to Mount Sinai to receive the Law, which was written upon two stone tablets. These where but the beginning of the commandments, statutes and ordinances of God. The grand total of all the commandments given to the people by God through Moses was 613! Nowhere does the Bible say that the Law of Moses was given to people of today, because neither we nor our forefathers were never in Egyptian bondage!
The apostle Paul told Christians in the first century who were being instructed by Jews to keep the Law of Moses, “ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace” (Gal. 5:4). Anyone today, who believes they must keep the Ten Commandments is required to keep ALL 613 precepts of that law and covenant (Gal. 5:3). Paul says that if you desire to be justified by the Law of Moses, you are fallen from the grace of God, which is in Jesus Christ. You can’t have it both ways. Either you obey the Old Covenant given to the Jews, or you obey the New Covenant given to Jews and Gentiles.
Why were the Ten Commandments together with the remaining 603 precepts insufficient as a covenant?
First – There is no mention of Christ’s blood in that covenant. Animal blood as required by the Old Covenant could not remove the sins of men (Heb. 10:4).
Second – There is no mention of the Gospel as being God’s plan of redemption. In John 3:1-7 a man by the name of Nicodemus was told by Jesus of the new birth, “Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God…ye must be born again.”
Third – There is no mention of the church of Christ. Only the New Covenant requires our being added to the church of Christ by God in order to be saved (2 Tim. 2:1, 10; Gal. 3:27). The Old Covenant says nothing about this, nor does it require it.
Fourth – There is no mention of the work of the church. The primary purpose of the Lord’s church is to seek and save the lost (Matt. 28:18-20; Luke 19:10). We must turn to the New Covenant to discover the things necessary to fulfill the heavenly mission of the church.
Fifth – There is no mention of the worship of the church. Where in the books of Exodus to Deuteronomy would we find the things that relate to the worship of the church? Would we find the Lord’s Supper there? Singing of spiritual hymns, or giving of our means every first day of the week? These things are no where to be found in the Old Covenant between God and the children of Israel.
The first reaction when hearing that we are no longer under the Ten Commandments is to say, “then it is alright to kill, steal, commit adultery, worship idols, etc.” Just because we are not bound to obey the Old Covenant given to the Jews of long ago, does not grant anyone the right to live immorally. God has replaced it with a better covenant! All based on a better high priest (Jesus Christ), a better deliverer (Jesus Christ), a better sacrifice (Jesus Christ), a better hope, a better promise, and a better promised land (Heb. 8:6; 9:23; 7:19, 22; 10:34; 11:16, 35, 40; 12:24). Because there has been a change in the Priesthood (Heb. 2:17; 3:1), the Holy Spirit has said that it was necessary to change the law (covenant) (Heb. 7:12).
Jesus summed up the Old Covenant in two commandments, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself” (Mark 12:30-31). If you obey these two, you will not kill, steal, commit adultery, worship idols, etc. We ask you to think about it—honestly. Relocating from one State to another finds a change in the laws we are subject to. It is unreasonable to think we have to obey the laws of both States. The same is true of the Old Testament and New Testament. A change has been made to who the covenant is directed, therefore we must realize we are the subjects of the New Covenant/Testament/Law, which Paul clearly demonstrates in Romans chapter seven, verses 1-4 concerning the law of the spouse. Would you rather live under the Ministration of Death, or the Ministration of Life? May we ever study to show ourselves approved unto God.