The Old Testament Law is there to establish that all have sinned and come short… Even more than that they (the law) gives order to chaos. Remember that when Israel was set apart they were, by definition, the same as everyone else.. heathen. It was the establishment of this law and order that set them apart from every other society during that time.
The Old Testament law is divided into three main areas: Civil, Ceremonial and Moral.
Remember God’s plan was to always bring man back to the one on one fellowship seen in the Garden.
- Civil = Laws that help people deal with other people.
- Cattle of neighbor (Deut. 22:1-4)
- Bad kids (Deut. 21:18-21)
- Debt (Lev. 23:34-43; Deut. 31:10)
- Divorce (Deut. 22:19)
- What to wear (Deut. 22:5)
- Inheritance (Num. 18:26; 26:53-56; 36:8-12)
- Justice practices (Lev. 24:17-23)
- Landmarks (Deuteronomy 19:14)
- Property redemption (Lev. 25)
- Murder and killing (Deut. 21:1-4)
- Retain just scales in commerce (Lev. 19:35f)
- Robbery, extortion, false witness, and restitution (Lev. 6:1-7)
- Sabbath breaking punishment (Num. 15:32-36)
- Theft (Deut. 5:19; Lev. 19:11)
- Warfare (Deut. 20:1-20)
Today we see something like this in our civil law and court system. Just as then, these laws are in effect when the government can enforce them. When the authority of the Jewish Government ended… so did the enforcement of these laws. They then, by default, became moral laws.
- Ceremonial – These laws dealt with the details of worship. Many of these laws become as non-effect with the removal of the law to grace and the replacement of the priestly mediator being a man to Jesus.
- Sterilization of the house of leper (Lev. 14:33-57; Num. 5:2)
- Festivals (Lev. 23:1-25; Nu. 29:39)
- Laws on animals for food (Lev. 11:1-47)
- Law of Atonement (Lev. 16:1-28;17:1-16)
- Offerings (Num. 29:39)
- Priest, consecration of (Ex. 29:1-46)
- Priestly duties (Lev. 7:1-37)
- Regulations for Priests (Lev. 21,22)
- Various sacrificial offerings for sin (Lev. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
These are no longer in effect after the finished work of Christ (Matt. 3:15).
- Moral – These laws have no time limit and are seen all the way from the Garden of Eden to the Great White throne Judgment. They are a “condition of the heart”.
“You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy,” (Lev. 19:2).
- Idolatry (Lev. 26:1-13)
- Love God (Deut. 6:4)
- Love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18)
- Oppress your neighbor (Lev. 19:13)
- Stealing or lying (Lev. 19:11)
- Sexual sins: adultery, incest, bestiality, homosexuality, etc. (Lev. 18:20; 20:9-21; Num. 5:12-15)
The 10 Commandments
By definition the 10 commandments are moral. In fact the particular nature of the 10 could even be seen as 10 categories; where any trespass can categorized under each of these. The 10 commandments are also see as the law that is written in their heart.
Romans 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
In fact in the new testament the Civil and Ceremonial laws may have been set aside due to the new covenant; but the moral laws are still in effect and written in our heart… sometimes called “the conscious”. This is in part of the new coventant that Christ brings:
Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.