Editor's note: We are continually seeking the truth in God's word. All content has suggestive conclusions. We recommend that all readers of this website search the scriptures for themselves and pray for understanding to prove or disprove all content.
Laws of God
Laws, oh how we despise them! Nobody likes to be told what he or she can or can't do, we all would like to decide which laws are good and which ones are bad. But, what type of society would we have then? Well, just watch a news station for a day. Today, most humans do just about what they want and feel it is their right to do so, but is it?
This type of problem first came to light when humans were first created. God instructed Adam that he could eat from all the trees in the garden, except the tree of the knowledge of "Good and Evil" and if he did, he would die. Here seems to be the first law (for humans) and the penalty for disobeying it!
Many would like us to believe that God didn't have a need for laws (or a system of order) before humans where created, that when Satan lied to Eve, this was when rebellion began.... If this is true, then why did God instruct Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of "Good and Evil"? It seems clear that evil was in existence before Adam and Eve were created or deceived. There isn't a great deal of information about the events before humans were created, but there is enough for us to understand that a large percentage of the spirit beings rebelled against God's rule and the resulting consequences. So, like it or not, God has given humans a system of order, (laws) we can obey God and reap the benefits or rebel and reap the consequences, the choice is ours!
Unfortunately, the choice Adam and Eve made was the wrong one. They were expelled from the garden and troubles followed them all their days. The first few chapters of Genesis outlines some of the troubles that humans where having, but there doesn't seem to be any additional laws or penalties within these opening chapters, but in chapter 6, God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent (thought) of his heart was to do evil all day long. And God was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So God said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping things and birds of the air, for God was sorry He made them. (Genesis 6:5-7)
The evils that men were committing must have been extremely horrible!
But Noah found grace in the eyes of God. Noah was a just man, Noah walked with God. Still, there is no mention of any laws...We need to be honest with ourselves at this point, God must have instructed humans (at some point) how He expected them to act. They disappointed God so much, that they were to be completely destroyed. (except for eight people)
After the great flood, God speaks to Noah and his family:
Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all the fish of the sea. ‘All living and slithering animals can serve as meat for you. I have given them all to you as though they were green vegetation. But you must not eat flesh with its blood of life. Otherwise, I will require your blood at the hand of all the wild animals. I will also require a man's life at the hands of his brothers. For, whoever spills the blood of men will also have their blood spilled, because I made man in the image of God. So, reproduce and multiply... fill the earth and rule over it!.' (Genesis 9:1-7)
Here, God makes known a new law and the penalty for disobeying it!
Again, the human race begins to multiply.
[At the time], the whole earth shared the same lips, because they all spoke the same language. And as they migrated from the east, they found a flat area of land in Shinar, and they started living there. Then one man said to his neighbor, ‘Come on, let's make some bricks and bake them in an oven.' So, bricks became their stone, and tar served as their mortar. Then they said, ‘Come on; let's build ourselves a city with a tower that reaches into the sky. And let's create a name for ourselves, before we end up being scattered all over the face of the earth.' Then the Lord came down to see this city and its tower, which the sons of men had built. And God said, ‘Look; they are all the same race and they share the same lips, and now they've started doing this. [Before long], they will be able to accomplish anything they set out to do. So, let's go down there and change their language so none of them will be able to understand the voice of his neighbor.' And God scattered them from there over the entire face of the earth, so they stopped building the city and its tower. That is why [the city] is named Confusion (Babylon), because, that's where God confused all the languages of the earth and scattered them over all the face of the earth. (Genesis 11:1-9)
God's system of order was being rebuked again by man, but no law seems to be given, just an action by God! Something had to be done... We must understand that about 2000 years have passed by since Adam and Eve and man is still deciding for himself what is good and what is evil!
God chooses a man called Abram (Abraham) to build a new nation. God begins the process of restoring the proper system of order (laws) to mankind. This new nation is intended to be an example to the whole world how God expects mankind to act.
Editor's note: There was a human activity that seems to be in rebellion to God's system of order: Adultery. There is no command or law recorded in Genesis about this sin, but the stories of Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 12:10-20, Genesis 20 ) and Joseph and Potiphar's wife (Genesis 39) makes it clear that God considered adultery a serious sin.
Well, let's fast forward to the time this nation is being rescued from slavery. God brings these people to a place in the desert and begins to give them His system of order through His servant Moses .
Then the Almighty said all of this:
‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt and out of the house of slavery. So you must have no gods other than Me.
‘You must not make images for yourselves of anything in the skies above, on the earth below, or of things that live in the water under the earth. You must not bow before them or serve them, for I Lord your God am a zealous God, and I bring the sins of the ancestors upon the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of those who hate Me. But I am merciful to the thousands who love Me and keep My Commandments.
‘You must not misuse the Name of your God Almighty, for the Lord your God will not forgive those who misuse His Name.
‘Keep the Sabbath day and make it holy. You may work and get everything done in six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of your God, and you must do no work... not you, your son, your daughter, your male servant, your female servant, your ox, your burro, any of your cattle, or any strangers that are visiting among you. Because, God made the sky, the ground, the seas and everything in them, then He rested on the seventh day. So God blest the seventh day and made it holy.
‘Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, so that things may go well for you and that you may live a long time in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
‘You must not commit adultery.
‘You must not steal.
‘You must not commit murder.
‘You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.
‘You must not desire your neighbor's wife, his house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his burro, any other animal, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.' (Exodus 20:1-17)
Here, God gives the basic outline of His system of order, but God's laws are divided into three categories:
Commandments: these governed their personal lives particularly as related to God
Judgments: these governed their social lives as related to one another
Ordinances: these governed their religious lives, so that the people would know how to approach God on the terms that He dictates
And after the Pharisees heard how he had muzzled the Sadducees, they came to him as a group. And one of them (who was well versed in the Law) asked (to test him), ‘Teacher, which is the greatest Commandment in the Law?' And he replied: You must love the Lord your God with your whole heart, life,and mind. This is the first and the greatest Commandment. The second, like it, is: You must love your neighbor as yourself. These two commandments are the basis of the whole Law and the Prophets.' (Matthew 22:34-40)
Editor's note: the term neighbor does not only mean the people who live near you, it also means: friend, Christian, countryman and man (male and female)
A new commandment I (Jesus) give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, (students) if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35) also see: 1 John 2:7-11, 2 John 5, Matthew 5
The first four commandments are related to God and are given to honor and worship our Great Creator! (The first and greatest Commandment)
God's last six commandments (given to the nation of Israel) relate to our interaction with our fellow man and how God expects all humans to treat one another. (not just Israel) We obey these commandments because we want to honor God and His system of order.The societies that we all live in (mostly) apply these six commandments into their social order. (The second greatest Commandment)
Jesus the Anointed reaffirms that the commandments given to Israel applies to all nations not just one
The books of Exodus (chapters 21-23), Deuteronomy (chapters 4-26), Numbers (chapters 26-27) and Joshua (parts) outlines most of the judgments given to the Israelites. These instructions were only given to the nation of Israel, but they were to be an example to the rest of the nations so that they would see the blessings that Israel could received for applying them in their lives.
The books of Exodus (chapters 24-31), Leviticus, and Numbers (chapters 28-30) outlines the ordinances given to the nation of Israel on how they should approach God. These were only given to the nation of Israel, mostly because the other nations did not recognize the One True God as their God and only God.
The sad true is that the nation of Israel did not obey the instructions given and they experienced many hardships and failures. They continued one of the major weakness of human beings, " wanting to decide for ourselves, what is good and what is evil.
Today, many religious organizations claim that the laws of God are done away with and quote the Apostle Paul as proof. It is true that Paul talked about the old being replaced with the new, but what he was talking about was the path to God. The ordinances of Israel with its rituals and sacrifices were only a temporary means of pleasing God, and pointed to a lasting forgiveness through Jesus the Anointed One. The ordinances of old were replaced with faith in the shed blood of the Anointed One for the forgiveness of sin. These seem to be the laws that Paul was talking about being replaced (ordinances)
The book of James talks about faith and the relationship it has with deeds:
What good does it do, my brothers, if someone says he has faith, but isn't moved to do anything about it? Can such faith save him? If a brother or sister doesn't have clothing or enough food for each day, yet one of you were to tell him, ‘Go in peace, be warm and well fed,' and you don't give him what he needs to survive, what good is it? So, faith that doesn't do anything is dead.
Now, someone can say, ‘You have faith and I have deeds.' But you show me your faith without deeds and I'll show you my faith by the things that I do. So, you have faith that there's just one God, do you? That's good. So, do the demons!They believe and it frightens them! Do you care to know, O empty man, that faith that doesn't do anything is useless? Wasn't our father Abraham called righteous because of the things he did, such as when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? As you can see, [Abraham's] faith and actions worked together, and [his] actions are what made his faith perfect. Then the scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham put faith in God, which was considered to be righteousness,' and he was called ‘God's friend.' So you see, a man is called righteous by the things he does, not just by his faith. (James 2:14-24)
We are not saved by deeds (obeying laws and good works), we are saved by grace, but without deeds we can not have faith as James explains.
The laws (system of order) of God are intended to improve the quality of life for all humans. Studying the instructions God gave to the nation of Israel, in the Ancient Scriptures of Israel (O.T.), helps us to understand the proper system of order we all should live by.