ESV - 1 And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel.
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The moral portion of the Law (such as the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17)) that lays out God's requirements for human conduct toward God and other people is still a valid indicator of God's standard as to how we are to act. (As Jesus said in Matthew 22:35-40, all the Law and the teaching of the prophets can be summed up in the two commandments, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind," (Deuteronomy 6:5) and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Leviticus 19:18).) However, obedience to the Law is not the means by which humans receive salvation and eternal life. That is done solely through faith in Christ and the redemption that He accomplished through His sinless life, atoning death, and resurrection (Ephesians 2:8-9). (As Paul points out in Romans 1 and Romans 4, even in the Old Testament (in passages such as Habakkuk 2:4 and Genesis 15:6) it was actually faith in God and His promises that saved people and made them righteous or acceptable in God's sight, rather than their obedience to the Law, which no one has ever kept (or has even been capable of keeping) perfectly (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16).) Even though Christians are saved entirely by God's grace (undeserved love and favor) through this faith, they should still strive to conform to the moral portion of the Law -- not as a means of being saved, but out of love and gratitude to God for the salvation that He has already made possible for them through Christ. The ceremonial or worship-related portion of the Law (as distinct from the Law's moral provisions) was intended solely as a guide for the nation of Israel, as a foreshadowing of the manner in which the Messiah whom God had promised would come from the nation of Israel, and would provide the means of spiritual redemption and eternal life for Israel (and for the whole world, as well) by the sacrificial shedding of His blood. These provisions no longer apply to Christians today, since they were completely and finally fulfilled by Christ.
First, we should notice the distinction between the Moral Law of God – the Ten Commandments (TC), and Law of Moses, the Ceremonial Law (CL). On Mount Sinai, God gave Moses both laws – the TC which defines what sin is and the CL containing the solution to the sin problem. The Law of God, the TC, was written by God’s finger on two tablets of stone (Ex 31:18; 32:16) – while the CL was written by Moses in a book (Deut 31:24-26; 2 Chronicles 35:12) The TC were placed in the Ark (Ex 40:20), while the CL were placed in the side of the Ark (Deut 31:26). The TC are comprised of 10 Commandments, while the CL contained over 100 “ordinances,” specific rules and regulations. These two sets of laws, the one moral and the other ceremonial, were thus entirely different and served different purposes: the CL pointed forward to Christ while the TC, which are eternal, were written by the finger of God. God explain to Moses the distinction between the two laws and Moses explained it to the people: “And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might do them in the land whither you go over to possess it” (Deut 4:13, 14). The CL had seven feasts representing important events in the plan of salvation. The first 3 feasts represented events during Christ’s First Coming: the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of Firstfruits. The Feast of Weeks represented Pentecost which occurred after Christ’s ascension. The last 3 feasts pointed to the Second Coming of Christ: the Feast of Trumpets, the Feast of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles. When Christ died, the temple curtain was ripped in two from top to bottom (Matt 27:50-51) symbolizing that the sacrificial system had ended. Atonement for sins was available only through Christ, and the symbolic practices had been fulfilled through Christ. Instead of the Jewish sacrificial system, Christians today celebrate Lord's Supper. Paul makes is abundantly clear that the ordinances contained in the CL were nailed to the cross and circumcision, feast and sacrificial system is no longer required for salvation.. (Col 2:14-17; Eph 2:15; Gal 5:2; 1 Cor 7:19). It is also clear that Paul is talking only about the CL and not the TC because: 1. none of the TC addresses circumcision, food, drink or festivals, and 2. the TC were written by God while the CL were handwritten by Moses. God's Moral Law, the Ten Commandments are still binding and will last for eternity! (Psalm 119:89; 111:7,8).
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