Hebrew Roots/The Law/Sinaitic Law
THE LAW AT SINAI[edit | edit source]
Daniel was given a vision wherein he saw the throne of Yahweh God. In describing it, he said, "His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him" (Daniel 7:9b-10) Literally, that reads, ' His throne was like flames of fire, its wheels were burning fire; a river of fire ran and issued from before Him' [Strongs gives the meaning of flames 'as split into tongues' - i.e. tongues of fire]
We are told that, "Our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29). He appeared to Moses in the burning bush as a flame of fire (Exodus 3:2). This is the essence of His Being which manifests in Light/Truth and Love which are the two things which are generated from fire - light and warmth (1 John 1:5; 4:8).
On many occasions of divine manifestations, prior to The Word manifesting in human flesh, He came in the form of angelic Beings which veiled His glory to a measure and which was tolerable to man's perceptions. However, at Sinai, it was the very essence of Yahweh God which came forth from the throne room of heaven and broke forth into this earth's physical dimensions. In the process of this, the mountain quaked and the rocks rent, as His fiery essence was transmitted through His Word (John 1:1-3), to the people.
"Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the fire of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly" (Exodus19:18); and, "The earth shook; the heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; Sinai itself was moved at the Presence of God, the God of Israel" (Psalm 68:8; Judges 5:5).
This is confirmed by Moses in a later account, where he says, "The Lord came forth from Sinai, .... .. And He came with ten thousand of saints; from His right hand came a fiery law for them" (Deuteronomy 33:2) Literally this reads, 'from His right hand went a fire (fiery substance) to them' [Strongs 784 - fire, not fiery law]
It was the essence of His own nature that appeared as fire and was transferred through the agency of The Word into sound as He, The Word, expressed the essence of God's nature to the people in words they could understand and it was delivered to them through the instrumentality of the angelic hosts (Gal. 3:19; Acts 7:35).
THE SPOKEN AND THE WRITTEN WORD[edit | edit source]
The people at Sinai had The Word Himself speak to them and what He spoke to them was the expression of the essential qualities of God, proceeding from His very nature, the principles of His own Being and therefore it is called the "Law" of God or the principles of God as it pertains to humans who are made in His image.
It came to them in a Spiritual form and it is therefore spiritual (Romans 7:14) and not carnal or natural, therefore not what is referred to as "the law of a fleshly commandment" (Hebrews 7:16); it was according to His own nature, therefore it is holy and good, or beneficial (Romans 7:12).
It was the spoken Word, the words from the mouth of God, and what was expressed was the whole essence of Yahweh God's Law for man. Within those ten commands, are the basic principles for the rest of the laws which were later given as a breakdown and application of these principles for daily life. The Spoken words of the ten commands were written by the Finger of God on tablets of stone also (Ex.24;12) so that they would have a written witness to what He had spoken to them and these were placed within the Ark of the Covenant and this was called the "Testimony" (Exodus 40:20).
Then Moses went up the mountain with God and Yahweh spoke to him the remainder of what was to be the commandments that they were to obey, as part of the covenant which He was making with them (Ex.21-23). This eventually was written in a book and placed by the side of, but outside of the Ark of the Covenant. This was called the "Book of the Covenant" (Exodus 24:7; Deuteronomy 30:10; 31:26)
So we have the spoken Word of God inside the Ark of His Presence, and the written Word outside, but attached to, the Ark of His Presence. This was meant to portray the fact that the ten commands, the Living Word was an integral part of the nature of God, whereas the written Word was an application of that Word.
Just as in the New Covenant, He spoke His Word into their hearts and gave them also a written manual of reference. And so, they had the Spirit of the Word and the Letter of the Word, two witnesses to His truth. He spoke His Word into their hearts, but because it was not mixed with faith, it did not profit them. We also in the new covenant have the Spirit of His Word within us (1 Peter 1:23), and the Written Word (2 Timothy 3:16).
THE APPLICATION OF THE LAW[edit | edit source]
That which was spoken from the mouth of God is eternal and as unalterable as the nature of Yahweh Himself. Therefore, those ten precepts spoken directly from Him by His Spirit is the unchanging Law of God.
Yeshua said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God"; and, "It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life." (Matthew 4:4; John 6:63). Here Yeshua refers to the Decalogue as that which proceeded from the mouth of God and used it as the living Word of God. He always only spoke those words that came from the Father.
The Words that He spoke through the Spirit then, were the living and powerful Word of God spoken from the mouth of God in the ten commands. (John 8:28, 12:49; 1 Corinthians 10:3-4; Hebrews 4:12).
The Decalogue can be further summarised as Yeshua did into those laws which pertain to walking in love and truth toward God and those which apply to our neighbour (Luke 10:27). The first four concern our relationship with Yahweh God and the last six our relationship with our fellow man which is a reflection of our love for Him.
In the new covenant it is termed the "Royal Law" ([basikilos - Kingly]; James 2:8) because of the elevated status it is given through the royal priesthood ([Basileios - belonging to the king]; 2 Peter 2:9) of the Melchizedek order which is kingdom of priests functioning in the freedom of the Spirit under their King.
These commands are differentiated from the words Moses received which were the application of the Decalogue. The Decalogue was called the "Law of God", whereas the words Moses received were called the "Law of Moses". The Law of Moses contained all the ceremonial laws and ordinances which were subject to that covenant.
These laws and ordinances applied to terms of the covenant, social aspects of their society, regulations for sacrifices and offerings as well as the ordinances for the functioning of the Levitical priesthood. All of these were limited to that covenant and were subject to changes being made in the covenant or the priesthood.
"You came down also on Mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them just ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments. You made known to them Your holy Sabbath, and commanded them precepts, statutes and laws, by the hand of Moses Your servant" (Nehemiah 9:13-14)
Out of the Law of Moses, we get a further breakdown into these categories of 'ordinances', 'laws', 'statutes' and 'commandments' which defined the various by-laws into their classifications.
Ordinances: mishpat S4941 -- Judgments for the administration of justice in social life
Laws: torah S8451 -- Direction, teaching and principles thereof regarding moral issues
Statutes: chukkim S2706 -- Decreed limit of a requirement, or a regulation as in food laws, health regulations
Commands: tsavah S4687 -- Precept or the terms of a contract, as in a covenant
All of these are only an interpretive commentary in an expanded form of the principles in the Decalogue. For if we break it down into the two Great Commandments of loving God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength and our neighbour as ourself; then we will do no ill to our neighbour and those those principles will regulate all of our lifestyle. If His Law is in our heart, then His love will direct us in the interpretation of His Law in the situations of life. Because their heart was hardened, the by-laws spelt it out for them.