Today: The law that was nailed to the cross. (Part 2)
Last week we discussed the five laws in effect during Christ’s life, of which four were disqualified as laws that had been nailed to the cross. Those four included natural laws, civil laws, dietary laws and the moral law of God, the Ten Commandments. So what did Jesus nail to the cross? The only choice left would be the Ceremonial Law, also called the Law of Moses.
First let’s take a look at two scriptures that pinpoint this fact. First Colossians 2:14 “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” And then Ephesians 2:15 “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances;” (Underline emphasis added)
The Bible interprets itself and should never be explained with faulty human reasoning. We will now look closely at the wording and explanation of these verses in the light of scripture. First the word ordinances. Both of these scriptures refer to the commandments that were contained in ordinances. Ordinances, as applied in scripture, are requirements regarding religious festivals, feasts and sacrificial offerings. There are no such ordinances in the Ten Commandments which were written with the finger of God on stone.
Now as to the word “handwriting”. The Law of Moses was handwritten by Moses. Deut. 31:9,24 “And Moses wrote this law,” “And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book” See also 2 Chronicles 33:8.
The words “ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us,” There is nothing in the Ten Commandments that was either against us or contrary to us.
Last week we discovered the Ten Commandments were not only written in stone by Jesus on Mt. Sinai, but in Mat. 5:18, He said they would remain in force until heaven and earth pass. So what was against us? Deut 31:26 “Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.” It was the handwritten book of the law of Moses placed in the side of the ark, showing its temporary nature, where as God’s moral law, the Ten Commandments, were placed in the ark, showing its permanence. Deut. 10:1-5.
Looking at Colossians 2:16,17 we read, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”
There were Jewish Christians that were always trying to get the Gentile converts to keep the ceremonial laws. Paul was constantly trying to repair the damage. In Galatians it was primarily over circumcision. But here it was regarding the meat and drink offerings as well as trying to get them to keep the seven yearly ceremonial sabbath days found in Leviticus 23:4-34, which include Passover, the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of first fruits, the feast of weeks (Pentecost), the feast of trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), the day of atonement (Yom Kippur) and the feast of tabernacles. The meat and drink offering is found in Leviticus 23:13.
Paul’s message was two-fold. To the Jewish Christians: If you want to continue keeping the law that was nailed to the cross, stop judging the Gentile Christians, who know it was done away with. And to the Gentiles: Stop judging those who persist in keeping the old ceremonial law. The fact is, judging is not the work of a Christian, then or even now.
And finally verse 17. “…shadow of things to come…” Just about everything found in the ceremonial law of Moses pointed to Jesus and His ministry, the cross and the resurrection. They were the shadow of things to come. Jesus was the substance and when He came and finished His work on earth, the shadow ended.
But praise God, His moral law the Ten Commandments, are still with us. Jesus who wrote those commandments in stone says in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”