"And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. And when Moses' father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God: When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws." Exodus 18:13-16
We read here in Exodus before Moses and the Israelites enter the wilderness of Sinai a very strange happening. I say strange because according to majority of modern day theology the Law wasn't given until the covenant with Moses on Mt. Sinai. Yet here we see Moses executing Judgment of Law, God's Law as Moses states very clearly, weeks before it was even given yet. This belief is held in tandem with and usually a main pillar of the doctrine that the whole Law of God has been done away with through the advent of Christ.
Many who hold dear the doctrines they have been raised and trained with will immediately reject this and rationalize it out of existence saying "It is still Moses who is giving the Law..." Fair enough. We can go with that, except Scripture suggests otherwise:
"Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." Genesis 26:3-5
We read as a second witness that Abraham also followed the Law(s) of God, thus establishing full witness of this matter. How is this even possible 500+ years prior to Moses if Moses was the one who gave the Law, or was given the Law? The idea that the Law didn't exist before Moses is a peculiar position for anyone to take, which we immediately find is very contrary to the Bible itself. Yet here we are, the whole modern church system rooted in such doctrines.
To be fair, this study alone may make no difference on behalf of the teaching that the Law is done away with through Christ. What this study is going to demonstrate is that there is many who think they teach sound doctrine on Law, yet cant even affirm it nor understand it with such false pretenses. If the final result whittles away its existence, we will not only have to question the motives of such teachers and believers, for the Law is good and exposes our sin for repentance, but most certainly we will have to question all of the doctrines we were taught that uses such faulty doctrines as sand foundations.
"Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;" 1 Timothy 1:2-8
The main problem at hand is that most don't understand the divisions of God's Law. And why would they when most shepherds have convinced the flock that all of that old stuff isn't worth knowing or studying because its been done away. The Law is divided into the commandments, statutes, judgments and ordinances; and referred to as such throughout all of scripture. As we see with the scenario with Jethro and Moses, Moses is passing the judgments and teaching the statutes of God's Law. It would be easy to assume that God's statutes are his 10 commandments, except when we compare the witness of Abraham's knowledge of God's Law before Moses, we see a distinction between the commandments and statutes. If we continue on in Exodus 18, we will also see Jethro refer to a distinction between the ordinances and the laws, whatever all of this means.
"Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do." Exodus 18:19-23
The 10 commandments are universally accepted by most Christians as being relevant, although most couldn't spontaneously list them all and many more won’t follow them in their entirety. We see still even a few weeks before Moses met with his father in law (we will ignore this very interesting title of Jethro for now, since the Law doesn't exist yet), we read Moses again mentioning separate categories of Law, adding yet more time until he got to Mt. Sinai and received the written Law in stone.
"And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee." Exodus 15:24-26
We read not only about a statute added to (ordained/ordinance) here in the early half of the exodus from Egypt, a Law given before the Law is given mind you, but a charge to the people to keep the commandments and ALL of the statutes with a promise of health as their reward. We read the same blessings reiterated again in greater detail in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, along with the curses for not following God's Law:
"If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed." Deuteronomy 28:58-61
So what are all of these Laws, commandments, statutes, judgments, ordinances and blessings of Law the Bible speaks of if the Law hasn't been given yet? Is it a coincidence that at least from Abraham all the way until the Mosaic Covenant that not only do we find references to God's Law, but even more specifically the commandments, statutes, judgments AND ordinances of his Law? Just how comprehensive was this thing no one believes existed that it completely mirrors the Law to come? According to such a doctrine we shouldn't find any Law in effect before Moses.
"And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." Genesis 2:2-3
We clearly see the making of the Sabbath here in chapter 2 of Genesis. While many who are anxious to just disregard this will point out that it wasn't commanded yet, The Lord certainly rested (shabbath) and he sanctified it (set it apart; to make hallow; to keep holy). I find it intriguing that it’s the only commandment that required us to remember it like we already knew it:
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." Exodus 20:8-11
So which is it, did he hallow it and set it apart on the seventh day of creation, or did he do that on the mount? Well if you believe that it happened on the mount, I have a timeline for you to consider:
"And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?" Exodus 16:23-28
We clearly see from this passage, a whole month earlier then when Moses entered the mount and made the covenant which contained the Law that the Sabbath was already in effect. It certainly makes the case that this command was pre covenant. Also a point to be made here is why is God accusing people of refusing to keep his commandments and laws? What Laws?
"And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife. But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine. Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid. Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done." Genesis 20:2-9
Although it’s not a declaration of Law, we do read that taking another man’s wife is a sin, sin of course being the transgression of God's Law. Why such a concern if this Law has not been given yet? Apparently taking another man’s wife was so bad that it must have been more justifiable to kill the husband first as Abram fearfully lied to avoid. For the sake of time, this situation occurred in Genesis 12 and again in chapter 26 with Isaac, but it really drives home with Joseph and Pharaohs wife:
"And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" Genesis 39:7-9
To anyone reading these scriptures without the intent to deny the Law before Moses, we clearly find that Joseph felt it was a transgression against God to commit such an act of evil. Where did he derive such knowledge of good and evil? The answer may lie in the question. I also might suggest that if taking another man’s wife is wrong, it might also suggest that coveting another man’s wife is just as wrong, just as Christ pointed out still applies in the New Covenant:
"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Matthew 5:26-28
What about murder? I am sure that most wouldn't argue that it has always been wrong to murder, even when it completely contradicts their stance that the Law wasn't given yet (for such prohibition is the sixth commandment). But what about the eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth judgments issued in Mt. Sinai? Certainly they weren't issued before that were they?
"Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." Genesis 9:6
We see very early on that murder is forbidden by God, even as Cain murdered his brother Able. We also can find with Cain’s wickedness that the New Covenant believers understood one of the greatest commands, as mentioned by Christ, was instituted in the beginning, as Cain’s transgression was a noted violation in Johns letter:
"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous." 1 John 3:9-12
I guess the supposition that the Law was not before Moses can get really confusing when coupled with this advice from John:
"I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it." 2 John 1:3-6
Makes me wonder how John would have advised Cain to love his brother. Would he have told him to walk after the commandments and love his brother? Was the beginning before or after Cain? Does it matter either way? John’s advice still stands that we should walk in God's commandments. Nonetheless, it’s easy to see that murdering, stealing, committing adultery, bearing a false witness and coveting from each other is in no way loving one another as Paul makes quite clear that we will perform the Law when loving each other:
"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." Romans 13:8-10
So maybe Cain didn’t have the tools to fulfill his love for his brother like John and Paul suggests. Many will argue though that this is all moral law and that has always existed from the beginning. This I would agree with, although that is not how John and Paul put it, quoting God's Law and all.
"Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another...Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him...neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him...but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD." Leviticus 19:11-18
Morality does suggest knowing the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Again I ask, where did that knowledge come from? The knowledge of good and evil came long before Moses. Moses just had the first printed copy. So what about more obscure Laws existing pre-covenant that couldn't be argued as innate moral codes? (Or maybe they could, I suppose that's what the real debate boils down to.) Nonetheless we shouldn't see any signs that this supposed "non-moral law" existed before Moses according to all of this modern doctrine, should we?
"And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him." Genesis 7:1-5
We read here that God commanded Noah to load the arc with 7 of every clean beast and 2 of unclean beast. Note that this categorization, which was given for food on Mt. Sinai, was never spoken into existence before Leviticus 11 in regards to the separation of clean and unclean animals, post covenant. Yet hear we are, Noah having a knowledge not yet given by Moses. We read also in chapter 8 that Noah took some clean beasts and made offerings, a prescription of offerings not yet received until Leviticus chapters 1-7.
This was not the only account of offerings given before Moses either. Who told people to offer "clean" animals to God, let alone offer animals period? Able hit the mark, as did Noah, Abraham, Jacob and a few others. How peculiar that God's Law post Moses would prescribe "clean" animal offerings exactly the way people did it with no instruction prior to. This wasn't the only coincidence on behalf of clean/uncleanness in regards to the non-existent prescriptions yet to come.
"Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel's furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not. And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images." Genesis 31:34-35
What is it about a woman who is menstruating that could dissuade Laban to disregard searching the box under Rachel? Maybe I am grasping at straws here, but:
"And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. And every thing that she lieth upon and every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. And whosoever toucheth her bed or toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even." Leviticus 15:19-22
Like I said, I could be grasping at straws here, but either clean/uncleanness/hygiene is a moral law innately understood, or man’s hygiene pre covenant was Godlike. I side that all of God's Law is moral, but most disagree. Maybe one more witness to clean and unclean is enough to get those who disagree to start paying attention:
"And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:" Genesis 35:1-2
I will skip this specific inciting of the first and second commandments just for time, but it could be said that this proclamation by Jacob to his company was a simple "put away your uncommanded idols, go jump in the river and change your clothes". I could even overlook it altogether due to its lack of clarity... in the English.
The word used here for clean is H2891 meaning: to be pure, physically sound, clear, unadulterated, Levitically uncontaminated; morally innocent or holy. Curious as to why the Hebrew word for bathe wasn't used: H7364-to lave, to bathe oneself, to wash oneself? Why would a word regarding Levitical contamination even exist before Law let alone the Levites?
Another very curious circumstance pre covenant happened to Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar (Again I will ignore the many references to the Law in regards to marriage). This specific situation is extremely odd because by our Christian standards today this would be heavily frowned upon.
"And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him. And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also. Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father's house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father's house." Genesis 38:6-11
It would be easy to say that this situation was some ancient tradition. Most believe this because they don't know God's Law. It worth noting here that when Onan did not perform his duty to his late brothers’ wife God struck him down personally. I wonder why?
"If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel." Deuteronomy 25:5-6
We read in the story of Tamar that Onan knew the child would not be his. I suggest God 's judgment on Onan wasn't so much that he violated some ancient tradition, but his own Law rather. I suppose defiling his brother’s wife like that carried a worthy wage of death. When we continue in the story of Tamar we find that Judah wasn't keeping his end of the deal with his youngest son Shelah. So Tamar dressed as a prostitute and secretly seduced Judah on the roadside. When it came to Judah’s attention that Tamar was pregnant he was quickly put in his place:
"And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff. And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more." Genesis 38:24-26
These are some amazing coincidences we find in scripture that suggest the Law of God was in fact in full effect before Moses. There are a dozen more examples I could give to continue this already lengthy discussion. From the sin of the pre-flood world to the fornication and wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah, we see Adamic man continually falling below the standards set by God and inciting his full wrath as he promises all throughout scripture to those who won’t follow his Law. But instead of rejecting sin, the modern Church rejects God's Law. They think it a burden and develop doctrine to eliminate the keeping of it.
"What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." Romans 7:7
Unfortunately our rejection of the Law allows us to not know our sin, which in turn allows sin to reign in the church body and the core requisite of grace, repentance, goes unmet by the workers of iniquity who refuse to acknowledge that they are even sinners.
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." 1 John 1:8-10