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Most people who study the Bible believe that  the  Law of Moses consists of the Ten Commandments and  the  laws of the sacrificial system, and that this law was canceled  when  Jesus Christ was crucified.

It has been said that the law God gave to the Israelites through Moses was Moses'  law.  But was it? Is there a scripture in the Books of the  Law  that says Moses gave the people his law? No!  No such record  exists in the Books of the Law. However, there are many  scriptures, which show that God gave his law to Moses who  then gave it to the people. Therefore, the law that Moses revealed to the Israelites is actually the law of God.

It is impossible to separate the law that God gave to Israel into the law of God and the law  of Moses, because they are all God's laws.

Just  what were the Laws of Moses?  Did Moses  make or issue  any laws?   And if he did,  are they binding upon  the elect of  God  today? This study will show that the laws of God cannot be separated from each other and that they were given for the benefit of all humanity.

Moreover, this study will explain what is commonly called "The Law of Moses" and reveal how to worship God in a more dynamic and spiritual way. Moreover, this study will prove that God gave his laws as a complete set of interdependent and interrelated laws, and show that the Law of Moses is the Law of God.

Deuteronomy 4:1-8

"Now pay attention, Israel, to the statutes and judgments, that I teach you, do them, that you may live and possess the land  that the  Lord God of your ancestors gives you. You shall not add  to the words that I command you, neither shall you take from it, you shall  keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I  command you.  Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments,  even  as the  Lord my God commanded me, that you should do so in the  land that  you  go to possess it. Keep them and do them; for  this  is your  wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the  nations, that shall  hear all these statutes and say, Surely  this  great nation  is a wise and understanding people. For what  nation  is there so great, who has  God so near to them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?" (vs.1-7 Para.).

"And  what nation is there so great, that has statutes and  judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you   this day" (Deut.4:8 KJV).

When Moses  recited God's words to the nation  of  Israel,   he showed them the will of God concerning  how they were to live their lives individually and as a nation. Moreover, the statutes and judgments that many people today believe were done away with are called righteous by Moses.


Many  believe that God misjudged the character of the  Israelites so badly that, after he gave them the Ten Commandments, he had  to  add   the sacrifices  nine months later  because of the  people's sins. But, is this true?  

We know that God had over two thousand years to deal with humanity  before he presented the Ten Commandments to Israel  at  Mount Sinai.  By this time, God had already discovered how wicked humanity  is  capable of being.  After all, at the end of  nearly  two thousand years of human history, he could only find one righteous man—Noah.                               

The Father knew "from the foundation of  the  world" (Rev.5:6-12; 13:8) that the Creator God would have to offer his life for the salvation of humanity, Therefore it makes sense that, he would have designed the sacrificial system to point to the coming of the Messiah  to redeem humanity.


The first chapter of the Book of Genesis shows that one reason  God created and arranged the stars and planets the way he did was to give humanity a means to calculate when  to  observe his religious festivals and sacred observances:

"Then  God commanded,  Let lights appear in the sky  to  separate the day from night and show the time when days, years, and  religious festivals begin. . ." (Gen.1:14 GNB).

This  record clearly shows that, from the time of his creation of humanity, God intended to have them observe  his festivals and sacred observances. Remember  that the Bible was written for our admonition  and  instruction in God's way of life. If God had  not intended  for humanity to observe these special days,  why  would  he have inspired this to be recorded in the Book of Genesis?  


Not only did Adam and his family understand the laws of God but they also understood his sacrificial system:

"In process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought an  offering  of  the  fruit of the ground to the Lord.   And  Abel  also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the  Lord had respect to Abel and to his offering: But  for  Cain and  to his offering he had no respect. And Cain was very  angry, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said to Cain, Why are  you angry and why is your countenance fallen?  If  you had done well, shall  you not be accepted? and if you do not well, sin  lies  at the door" (Gen.4:3-7 Para.).

God did not accept  Cain's  sacrifice, because in the sacrificial system,  only  a blood  sacrifice can be given for a sin offering. Cain was  disobeying  God by not offering the correct offering. Abel offered one of his animals and  God accepted it, because it was the correct  offering. See Gen.4:7; Lev.chp.4.

The writer to the Hebrews also confirms  the Genesis record:

"By  faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice  than Cain,  by which he obtained witness that he was  righteous,  God testifying  of  his gifts: and by it he being  dead  yet speaks" (Heb.11:4 KJV).   

In  the  first four chapters of the Bible, there is a  very  clear record that shows that God intended his festivals  and sacred observances to be practiced.  The  inspired record also shows that the breaking of the law of God constitutes sin  (1.Jn.3:4). Moreover, this record shows the sacrificial system of God  being  practiced.


The apostle Peter tells us that Noah was a preacher of righteousness  (2.Pet.2:5). And in Genesis 6:9, Noah is said to be a righteous person before God.  Noah could not have been righteous before God if he had  not  understood what God expected of him or what righteousness was.   For the inspired record to show that Noah was righteous, it would  have been  necessary for him to understand and obey God's  laws,  which define what righteousness is.

In the account  of the  great  flood, God gave Noah instructions concerning clean and unclean animals:

"Of every clean beast you shall take to you  by sevens, the  male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female" (Gen.7:2 Para.).

Clean beasts could be eaten by Noah and his family as dictated  by God's dietary laws concerning what is fit and what is unfit for human consumption. See Lev.chp.11.  

Clean beasts were also the only ones that could be offered  in sacrifice  to  God, which is why more clean beasts than unclean ones were needed. See Lev.chps.1-9.

The  record shows that the first thing Noah did upon leaving  the ark  was  to  build  an altar  and offer  a  sacrifice  to  God (Gen.8:20).   Notice that God was very pleased with these  sacrifices and blessed Noah for his obedience (Gen.8:21; 9:1-2).

Noah must have been sacrificing before the flood, because he knew which animal to sacrifice and how to sacrifice it. Adam's family understood God's law and Noah was righteous; therefore, it should be apparent  that God's law was in effect and understood very early in human history.  It is very possible that God's law was transmitted to Noah  by  Adam himself, because Adam was still alive fifty-eight years before the flood.


Abraham is called a righteous man by the apostle James (Jms.2:22-24), but what did Abraham  do to merit this recognition by James?

Abraham gave offerings and tithes to the  priest-king  Melchizedec (Gen.14:18), which shows that he fulfilled his duty  in respect to this aspect of God's law (Gen.14:20). In  Genesis 17:1, God commanded Abraham to be perfect  (upright)  before him. For one to be perfect (upright) before God, one must  obey his laws.

Abraham's test of  obedience to God in Genesis 22 shows that he  understood and practiced the sacrificial system of God. Otherwise,  what  God had asked him to do would not have made any sense. Abraham's  son Isaac  also understood this, which is indicated by his question in verse 7: "Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"  God  did  not allow Isaac to be sacrificed; instead, he provided a clean animal for the sacrifice.

It is evident that Abraham understood and kept all of God's laws. In fact, God promised to bless all nations because of his  obedience:

"And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be  blessed; because you [Abraham] obeyed my voice" (Gen.22:18 Para.).          

In the Bible, there  are so many references to people keeping  the law of God before the time when it was given to the Israelites that there can be no doubt that God's law existed before he revealed it through Moses to the Israelites who had forgotten it during their time of captivity in Egypt.


Some people believe that the law Moses gave at Mont. Sinai, was his law and they use the following scripture to substantiate this belief:

"Only if they will observe to do according to all that I  have commanded  them,  and according to all the law  that  my  servant Moses commanded them" (2.Kgs.21:8 Para.).

In this record concerning the  giving of  the  law, God is the  authority behind the law that Moses commanded the people to keep. Moses was only acting as God's servant in transmitting God's law to God's people.

A  careful  study of the scriptures reveals  that  every law Moses gave to the people was backed up by the authority of God. An  example of this authority is found in Leviticus 11:1-2. See also Lev.16:1-2; 23:1-2.


The account of God transmitting his law to the Israelites begins in Exodus 20:1.   The  Israelites were camped at the base  of  Mount  Sinai where  God spoke  to them out of the cloud and fire and gave them the  Ten Commandments; however, the people were so afraid that they  asked Moses to relay the words of God to them:

"And  they said to Moses, Speak you to us, and we will hear:  but let  not God speak with us, lest we die" (Ex.20:19 Para.).

Deuteronomy 5:4-5, 22-28

The Creator spoke to the people first, not Moses. However, because the people were afraid, Moses' job was to relay the words of God, not his own thoughts or words, but God's words. God proceeded to give the Ten Commandments, which are recorded  in verses 6-21.  Verse  22 says that  God wrote the  commandments on tables of  stone and added no more:

"The  Lord talked with you face to face in the mount out  of  the midst of the fire. I  stood between the Lord and you at that time, to show you  the word of the Lord: for you were afraid by reason of the fire,  and did not go up into the mount" (vs.4-5 Para.).

"These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly in the mount out of  the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the  thick  darkness,  with a great voice; and it went on no more"  (v.22 Jewish Translation).

This  verse  indicates that God quit talking  after  he  had given  them his foundational laws.  In other words, there  was  a break  or a pause in what he wanted them to hear.  And during  this break, the events took place that are described in verses 23-28.

"And  it came to pass, when you heard the voice out of the  midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that  you came  near  to me, even all the heads of your  tribes, and  your elders. And you said, Behold, the Lord our God has shown us  his glory  and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of  the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God does talk  with man, and he lives" (vs.23-24 Para.).

"Now therefore why should we die?  for this great fire will  consume  us: if we hear the voice of the Lord our God anymore,  then we  shall die. For who is there of all flesh, who has  heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?" (vs.25-26 Para.).

"Go  you near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say:  and speak  you  to us all that the Lord our God shall speak  to  you; and we will hear it, and do it. And the Lord heard the voice of your words, when you spoke  to me; and the Lord said to me, I have heard the voice of the  words of this people, which they  have spoken  to you:  they have  well said all that they have spoken" (vs.27-28 KJV).


The  people  who  heard the voice of God from  Mount  Sinai  were afraid for their lives.  So, they asked Moses to be the intermediary  between them and God.  Moses' task was to listen to what God had to  say and report it to the people. Moreover, they agreed to  obey  whatever God told them to do through Moses (Deut.5:27).

God accepted the request of the people: "They have well spoken" (Deut.5:28). Then told  Moses to tell them to return to their tents.

In  Deuteronomy  5:31, God commands Moses to come to him and  he would speak to him and give him  the  commandments, statutes, and judgments that he was to teach the people.  Moses followed God's instructions. Exodus  21 and 22 record that Moses received the judgments; he received the statutes in chapter 23. In Deuteronomy 5:32, God instructs Moses  to  tell the  people to do everything that he instructed them to do, and to not  deviate from what they were told to do.


Moses  went back up the mountain and, while he was there, God gave   him what  is contained in Exodus 21 through 23. Then,  Moses  returned from  the mountain and relayed all the things that God had  told him to the Israelites. He wrote these words in a book  (Ex.24:4). Then, he used the blood of a sacrificial animal to seal the agreement with the people for God. Exodus 20  through  23 contains  the terms and conditions of the  first  agreement  with national  Israel.  At this point the Israelites had been given the Ten Commandments, the Judgments, and the Statutes through Moses.

"And the Lord said to Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there:  and I will give you tables of stone, and a law,  and  commandments  which  I  have  written;  that  you  may teach them" (Ex.24:12).

Here,  God tells Moses to come back up the mountain to receive tables of stone, a law and commandments so that  he could teach the people. Exodus 24:l8 shows that Moses was on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights. See also Deut.chp.5.

While Moses was on the mountain this time, God began to tell  him more  of  what he wanted  the people to do in relation  to  their worship of him.

In chapters 26 through 28, God instructs Moses on  how to build the tabernacle and the various things that were to be contained in it.  

In  chapter 29,  God tells Moses who the priesthood  would be, how they were to be set apart and consecrated to serve him in the tabernacle, how to cleanse the altar of impurity, and how to offer the daily sacrifices.

In  chapter  30:6-10,   God says that he would meet with the priesthood  in  the tabernacle when they made their sacrifices.

An important point to remember is that, while Moses was on the  mountain receiving the tablets of stone, God also gave him  instructions on how and what to offer on the altar.  This proves that God was giving  the law as a whole, and none of it was  an  afterthought. The instructions on the sacrifices were  given right after God spoke the Ten Commandments, during this forty day period on the mountain.


Exodus 32:l5 shows that God gave Moses the two  tables  of stone containing the Ten Commandments and instructions on   how to  build the tabernacle and conduct the  daily  services, during his first forty days on the mountain.

Exodus 32:1-6 shows that the people had made a golden  calf and  were  worshiping it. In verses 15-19, Moses sees  the  people worshiping  the calf, he becomes angry and he breaks the  tablets containing  the law. Moses then returns to the mountain to  make  an atonement  for  the people's sin (probably by a  sacrifice).  See vs.30-31;  Deut.9:9-25.  In Deuteronomy 9:9-25,  we  see  that, on this second trip up the mountain, Moses stayed for another forty days and nights.

While on the mountain the  second time,  Moses receives a second  set of tablets of stone that contain the Ten  Commandments  written  by the finger of God  (Ex.34:1; Deut.10:1).  After this, Moses went up the mountain a third time and stayed  another forty  days and nights (Ex.34:28).

After coming down from his third trip up the mountain, Moses  gave the Israelites the  instructions that  he  had received  from God. These instructions included the Ten  Commandments  on two tables of stone, the instructions on how to  finance and  build the tabernacle that God  would dwell in during  their journey through the wilderness,  and  the instructions on the daily  tabernacle  service, which included  the morning and evening  sacrifices  and  the consecration of Aaron and his sons to perform these services. See Ex.chp.35.


In Exodus 36, we find the Israelites following the instructions of God, which were given to them through Moses.  Collections were made to  build  the tabernacle  and  the things  received were more than  enough  to build  the  tabernacle (Ex.chps.36-39).  In chapter 40,  we  find that  the tabernacle and all the various things contained  in  it were finished and ready to be erected.

After the  tabernacle  was erected as God had instructed, God began to dwell in the tabernacle (Lev.1:1).

The  tabernacle services began after the priests and all the  garments and all of the articles to be used in the tabernacle  service had been purified and consecrated. After all of this, the  tabernacle sacrifices began on a regular basis.  See Lev.chp.9.

God showed that he was pleased with the first service in the tabernacle, because he filled  the tabernacle with his glory and consumed the  burnt  offering (Lev.9:23-24).

Throughout the rest of the Book of Leviticus, God continues  to give his law to Israel.

All  the things spoken of in the Book of Leviticus are  the  commandments that  the Lord gave to Moses for  the  children of Israel:

"These  are the commandments, that the Lord commanded Moses  for the children of Israel on Mount Sinai" (Lev.27:34 Para.).

Again, God gave these commandments (laws); they are  God's laws,  not Moses'. Leviticus 27:34 shows, beyond doubt,  that all  of  the commands spoken by God  from the tabernacle  in  the Book of Leviticus  are indeed his commands, not Moses'.


The biblical record has established that the law Moses gave to the people was the complete law of God; however, why was it necessary for God to give his law to the Israelites in the first place?

The Sacrifices

The following are two reasons that God gave the sacrifices to Israel:


It is important to understand  the difference between God's physical  and  spiritual law.  Obedience or disobedience to his physical law will  bring physical  rewards or punishments.  Obedience  or disobedience  to his  spiritual law will bring spiritual rewards or  punishments. The  Ten Commandments  are both  physical  and   spiritual  laws  (Deut.5:29; 30:15-l9; Matt.19:16-17). Note that the penalty  for breaking  God's  spiritual  law is the  second  death  (Rom.6:23; Rev.21:8).

In Romans chapter 7, the apostle Paul says that he wouldn't   have  known  what sin was except that the commandment says, "You  shall not covet."  This shows that, if someone breaks the  Ten Commandments, he is a sinner. Therefore, the law reveals what sin is.  Paul goes on to say  that the law is holy and spiritual. It is spiritual because it applies to  things  that  are spiritual. In fact,  the  Ten Commandments illustrate the character of God and they are the standard of  love that he has set for all of humanity to live by.  See  Rom.7:7,12,14; 1.Jn.3:4; 5:3.

No Fault with the Covenant

Anyone who makes an honest study of the Bible will discover  the first  agreement with national Israel included the  Ten  Commandments   (Ex.20:1-17), the Judgments (Ex.21-23), and the Statutes (Ex.23:14).   In Hebrews 8:8, the writer tells us that God  found no fault with his agreement with Israel, but the fault was with   the people. Moreover,  God  found  no fault with the conditions of the agreement with national  Israel; the people were at fault, not the agreement.

Another  key to understanding the relationship between God's  law and the  Israelites is the fact that everything God wanted  them to know  after  the event noted in Deuteronomy 5:1-29, he  spoke through  Moses. The things that Moses relayed to the people  were the  will  of God concerning his law. These things  were  not  of Moses,  they were of God.  It is obvious that, if the children  of Israel had not been so frightened of God when he  spoke the Ten Commandments, God would have spoken directly to them instead of through Moses.


This  study has shown that God intended the law to be given as  a whole  and he intended the sacrifices to be a part  of  his law from the beginning. Moreover, as soon as the tabernacle was built, the  sacrifices were offered according to the  instructions  that Moses received from God.  It is evident that the laws of God  are inseparable, and that they were given as a whole for the purpose of creating a pure people, to reveal what sin is,  and to show that humanity would someday have  a Savior  who would sacrifice his life in order to forgive the violation of the Law of God.


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Galatians 3:19 is  the verse that is probably quoted  more often than  any other in an attempt to prove that the laws concerning sacrifices  were not a part of the original law of God:

"What, then, was the purpose of the law?  It was added because of transgressions  until the Seed to whom the promise  referred  had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator" (NIV).

It  has been taught for a long time that the 'added law'  of Galatians is the sacrificial system, and encompasses all of the other laws God instructed Moses to give to the people.  Jeremiah 7:21-22 is often quoted as additional proof of this  teaching.  But, do these scriptures actually say that the sacrificial system was an addition to the original law?  

Both the  New International Version and the King James Version of the Bible have translated the Greek word 'prostithemi' as 'added'. However, is this really the meaning that God inspired the apostle Paul to communicate? This study will show that the  important meaning of Galatians 3:19 has little to do with the exact  translation  of the Greek word 'prostithemi', but it has a lot to do  with the promises  and the covenant that God made with  Abraham  and  his descendants.  A  closer look at Galatians 3:19 will  show  that  the apostle  Paul  intended something quite different from what most translations of the Bible communicate through their use of the word 'added'.


The Good News Bible:   

"What,  then,  was the purpose of the Law?  It  was  added in order to show what wrongdoing is,  and  it  was meant  to last until the coming of Abraham's descendant,  to whom the promise was made.  The Law was handed down by angels,  with a man acting as a go-between."

Williams  translation:  

"Then what about the law?   It was added later on to increase transgressions, until the descendant to whom the promise was made should come,  enacted through the agency  of angels in the person of an intermediary."

Beck translation:  

"Why, then, was the Law given? It was added to arouse transgressions until the Descendant would come to whom the promise  was made.  And it was given through angels in the hands of a mediator."

The Living Bible:  

"Well then,  why were the laws  given?   They were  added after the promise was given,  to show men how  guilty they  are of breaking God's laws.   But this system of law was to last only until the coming of Christ,  the Child to  whom  God's  promise  was made.  (And there is this further  difference.   God gave  his laws to angels to give to Moses,  who then gave them to the people."

After reading the various translations of this verse, it is  apparent that these  laws  were given to make the people aware that  they  were sinners, to show them what sin is,  and to convict them of their sins. As the Beck translation shows, the law was like a stick with  which a  trainer stirs up a sleeping wild animal to show how uncontrollable and dangerous the animal really is.


"The  children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire,  and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of  heaven,  and to pour out drink offerings to other gods, that  they may provoke me to anger . . .. Therefore this says the  Lord  God; Behold, my anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon  man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the  field,  and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched" (Jer.7:18,20 KJV).

Verses 18-20 show that when the people worshiped the queen of heaven and offered sacrifices to her, God became  very angry with them and instructed Jeremiah to warn them that if they would not repent and changes their ways, he would destroy their land.

Jeremiah 7:21 and 30

To  fully  understand the message Paul tries to convey in Galatians 3:19, we must first understand what God says in Jeremiah 7:21 and 30:

"This  is  what the Lord Almighty, the God of  Israel,  says:  Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and  eat the meat yourselves!" (Jer.7:21 NIV).

The  context of Jeremiah chapter seven is one of condemnation  of the Israelites for their departure from worshiping the true  God and  their pollution of his altar with sacrifices to false  gods. God tells the Israelites that the sacrifices they offered were not the  ones he had sanctioned; these offerings to false  gods  were theirs—not his—because he had no part in them.

"For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, says  the Lord:  they  have set their abominations in the  house  which  is called by my name, to pollute it" (Jer.7:30 KJV).

Jeremiah 7:22

Because Jeremiah  7:22 is used to support the  teaching  that  the sacrificial law was added after God became aware  of the Israelite's proclivity to disobey him, it is important to carefully analyze this verse to see if this teaching has any merit:

"For  I spoke not to your fathers, nor commanded them in the  day that  I brought them out of the land of Egypt,  concerning  burnt offerings  or  sacrifices" (Jer.7:22 KJV).

Although God spoke to the Israelites "in the day" he brought them out of Egypt, he did not speak to them concerning the sacrifices at that time.

The  key  to understanding this verse is the Hebrew  word for  'day' in verse 22 which, is 'yom'. It can mean 'a day', 'a year' or 'some indeterminate period of time'.

The biblical record of the Israelite's exodus from Egypt clearly shows that the day (i.e., period of time) that is referred  to in  verse 22 cannot refer to the exact day that the  children  of Israel left Egypt, the day they camped  near the Red Sea, or the day they camped at  Succoth after crossing the Red Sea.

If a specific day is being referred to in verse 22, it is most likely that the  time the Israelites camped at the waters of Marah, which was three days after the crossing of the Red Sea, or the time they arrived at Mount Sinai three months  later (Ex.19:1). It is during these times that God offered the Israelites an agreement that contained the Ten Commandments and the  condition  of obedience to his voice (i.e., obedience to  whatever  he asked them to do):

"But  I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be  your  God and  you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I  command  you, that  it  may  go  well with you. But  they  did not  listen. . ." (Jer.7:23-24 NIV).

"If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord  your God, and will do that which is right in his sight, and will  give ear  to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I  will put none  of these diseases upon you, which I have brought  upon  the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that heals you" (Ex.15:26 KJV).  See also Ex.chps.19-20.

This study has already shown that during Moses' first forty  days  and nights  on  Mount Sinai, he received the  sacrificial  system  of worship.  From what God said from Mount Sinai, it should be very clear  that he has an overall plan for  humanity  that includes his  whole law—the commandments,  judgments, statutes and the sacrificial system. See Lev.chps.1-7.

The law of God does not consist of independent parts; God's law is a system of interdependent laws. Within these laws the  way to  secure  salvation and eternal life is revealed (2.Tim.3:15). It  is this whole body of law that will again be instituted after the  return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God  upon the  earth. See Ezk.chps.42-46 and our study  papers concerning the sacred  observances,  festivals, and  sacrifices  after  the return of Christ.


It is important to remember that one reason the present  belief  concerning Galatians  3:19 came about is that most theologians and  Bible scholars understood  that the Ten Commandments were not canceled when  Christ was crucified. However, they did not clearly  understand the eternal nature of God's law and its prophetic relationship to the Messiah. Moreover, they did not know what the law that was to   last  until the Seed (the Son of God) came was;  therefore, they put forth the theory that the added law must have been the sacrificial system and the other laws that God spoke to Moses.

In order get a better  understanding of  Galatians 3:19 it is necessary to  establish the context in which Paul makes the  statement  about  the law that some feel was added:

"Now  the  promises were made to Abraham and  his  descendants. . . What  I mean is this: the covenant that was confirmed  before  of God  in  Christ, the law, which was introduced four hundred  and thirty  years after this, cannot set aside this covenant. For  if the inheritance depends upon the law, then it no longer  depends upon  the  promise;  but God in his grace  gave  it  to Abraham" (Gal.3:16-18 Para.).

These verses show that the context of Galatians 3:19 is within a review of the promises and covenant that God made with Abraham and his descendants.

While studying the writings of Paul, notice that he  emphatically states that the Ten Commandments are holy, just, and good, and that they are the spiritual part of God's law. See Rom.chp.7.  

It  is also evident from the scriptures that Paul, the  rest  of the  apostles, and Christ kept the Ten Commandments and other laws of God.

Another important thing to keep in mind is  that  the breaking of the Ten Commandments constitutes sin (1.Jn.3:4),  and that  the Ten Commandments are not in question in  the Book  of Galatians. What is in question is the method by which a  person becomes justified or declared righteous in the eyes of God—through grace or the law?

The following are two translations of what Galatians 3:19 states concerning the reason God gave the law:

Both of these translations show that the purpose of the law spoken of here is to show people their sins. Moreover, Paul brings out this point when he says, "By the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom.3:20).

The most important question to be answered surrounding  Galatians chapter three does not concern the exact translation of the Greek word  'prostithemi' ('added' or  'repeated') in verse 3; it concerns the reason  that  the law was added or repeated. However, if the word added is replaced with 'repeated', a huge difference in meaning is revealed.

We  know  that God gave Adam and Eve the   Ten  Commandments  and other  laws after they disobeyed him and ate of the tree  of  the knowledge  of good and evil,  because both Abel  and Cain offered sacrifices (Gen.4:4-7). Moreover,  Cain  sinned (Gen.4:8), and sin is the violation of any law of God (1.Jn.3:4).  Additionally Abraham obeyed God's law (Gen.26:5).

 It  is  very important to understand  that  Israel's  descendants  forgot  God's laws while they sojourned in Egypt.  They had  even forgotten which day was the Sabbath. Therefore, God had to show  them which day it was by a special miracle (Ex.16). The laws that they forgot included laws that dictated how to establish and maintain a harmonious  relationship  with God through the sacrificial system.  Therefore,  at Mount  Sinai, God  repeated his laws to them for the  purpose  of showing  them what sin is. Moreover, he explained how to perform  the sacrificial system in order to remove physical defilement and atone  for their sins so that these sins could be set aside and hidden from his view.

Another  important point is that, in Galatians chapter three,  Paul  refers  to the law that was a part of the  first  covenant with  national Israel, which would last until  Christ came and offered his life as the perfect  sacrifice for those who would accept it as having the power to remove their sins and erase the death penalty that hung over their heads as  a result of the many times they had violated the law of God.

See  our study paper concerning the first and  second  agreements with Israel and the agreement with those who are called to salvation during the gospel age.

In  Galatians  3:19, Paul  says something that is  understood  by very  few people.  He says that the law would last until  Christ  came.  The question is what law would only last until Christ came?

The Ten Commandments are holy  and  spiritual (Rom.7:14)  and cannot be done away with. Moreover, they were never in  question and they  were being practiced by the apostles and the early church; therefore,  logic  should tell us that whatever law would only last  until  Christ came must have been something other  than  the  Ten Commandments.

It can only be assumed that, Because Paul  referred  to  the first agreement God made with national Israel, whatever  law was  to last until Christ came concerns the terms and  conditions of this first agreement.

When the first agreement  with ancient Israel and  the prophecies  about  its cancellation are examined, it can be found that the  only thing  canceled and changed has to do with the method by which a person establishes and maintains a harmonious relationship with God (i.e., how one obtains justification).

"Behold,  the  days come, says the Lord, that I will make  a  new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:  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 broke, although I  was  a husband to them, says the Lord:  But  this shall be the covenant that I will make with the  house of Israel; After those days, says  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" (Jer.31:31-33 KJV).

A new agreement was necessary, because the Israelites broke the first one; moreover, the new agreement would become a part of each individual child of God.


"Wherefore when he comes into the world, he says, Sacrifice  and offering  you would not [don't want], but a body have you prepared  me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have had no pleasure.

"Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of  me,) to do your will, O God. Above when he  said,  Sacrifice and  offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin you  would  not [don't want], neither had pleasure therein; which are  offered  by the law;

"Then said he, Lo, I come to do your will, O God.  He takes  away the  first, that he may establish the second.  By the which  will we  are  sanctified  through the offering of the  body of  Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb.10:5-10 quoted from Psalm 40:6-8).

The writer to the Hebrews tells us that Christ was the perfect sacrifice  and that, through him, the first agreement was  canceled in favor of a far better one. And under this new  agreement,  a person can be set apart for a holy purpose  through  his sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin:

"For  by  one offering he has perfected for ever  them  that  are sanctified" (Heb.10:14 KJV).

By Jesus Christ's perfect sacrifice a person is now able to stand before God the Father as a righteous, sinless individual.

The major difference between the terms and conditions of the  old and  the new agreements with national Israel has to do  with  the method  by which a person becomes justified  before God  the Father.

Why  did  the first agreement with national Israel have  to  end? The first agreement had to end because, in order to  be   declared  righteous  in  God's eyes under the  first  agreement,  a person had to do all of the things contained in the law:

"And  it  shall  be our righteousness,  if we observe to  do  all these  commandments before the Lord our God, as he has  commanded us" (Deut.6:25 Para.).

Speaking  of everyone, except Jesus Christ, Paul said  that  all have  sinned and found to be unworthy of the glory of  being  able  to perfectly  keep  the Law of  God  on  their own. See Rom.3:23.

As we know, the sacrifice of the blood of bulls and goats  cannot take  away  sins  (Heb.10:4). So, the  sacrifices  that  were offered before the advent of Christ could not take away  sins; they were inadequate.


There  were two necessary changes that had to be made in  the agreement  with national Israel in order to fulfill the  promises that God had made with the Patriarchs and to  accomplish the salvation of humanity.

First, in order for a person to remain sinless before God, there needed to be a perfect sacrifice to atone for  sins and  to remove the record of these sins forever.

Second, there needed to be a change made in the hearts, minds, and spirits of people so that they would have the desire to keep the law of God.

Both  of the conditions for these necessary changes were  met  by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Through his sacrifice,  he paid the penalty for the sins of humanity and provided a way  for a person to become totally sinless. Because  God's  spirit-presence  can  only dwell where there is sinlessness, a  person could only become  sinless after the sacrifice  of  Christ, which made it possible for the power of God to transform the sinless person into a new creation,  through  the placing of the law of God into a person's very being, which causes a change in the heart, mind, and spirit.

This  is  why a new agreement was necessary. The  old  method  of justification  by works was only to last until Christ  came, when everyone could be justified (declared righteous) by belief in the perfect atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

The  events of the Passover and the Day of Pentecost in  30  A.D. canceled the first agreement with national Israel and ushered  in a  new agreement with all of humanity. This new agreement is a  part of  the plan of God for the salvation of humanity, which was  conceived  long before the foundation of the earth and the  creation of humanity. See Matt.26:27-28; 1.Cor.11:25.

The  method  by  which people were to be able  to  establish  and maintain  a  harmonious relationship  with  God (justification, through the  performance of physical works)  was only  to  last until  the Creator God himself could come to make  the  necessary change in the agreement with the Patriarchs, Israel, and the rest of  humanity.

GALATIANS 3:21-29 Paraphrased

In verse 21 Paul says that the law is righteous  (Ps.119:137-144), but  the people failed in their attempt to  keep  the law, because they were weak:

"Is the law against the promises that God gave to Abraham that we could  be  justified by our belief in him [Jesus  Christ]?   Paul answers:   God forbid:  for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been  by the law. But the scripture has concluded all under sin, that the  promise by  faith  of Jesus Christ might be given to them  that  believe" (vs.21-22).

Paul  explains  that the scriptures say that all have  failed  in their  own attempts to keep God's law and to be righteous in  his eyes.  And  the reason for this failure is that God  made  humans subject to sin so that no one could ever be justified  by  one's own efforts; therefore, they would have to look to the promise  of becoming righteous through faith in Christ.

"But  before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut  up  to the faith which should afterwards be revealed" (v23).

Paul said that, before Christ came,  we were all held prisoner  by the law and were all awaiting death. We were in prison, because the law requires death  for  the  breaking of God's law.  Because all  people have broken  the  law, all come under the death penalty.   But  Christ came  and revealed a way to be set free.  All a person has to  do is believe in the atoning power of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and one can be set  free from the penalty of eternal death,  because Christ paid the penalty by standing in the place of humanity and accepting their punishment.

"Wherefore  the law was our schoolmaster to bring us  to  Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (v24).

The law taught what was right and wrong.  But, it also held humanity  captive until Christ came so that we could be  justified by his blood; thus, we could be justified by faith.

"But  after faith came, we are no longer under the  schoolmaster" (v25).

After Christ came and revealed how we could be justified by faith in  him, we were no longer under the death penalty that  the  law (the  schoolmaster)  had invoked. We were acquitted  of  our crimes and set free, through the redeeming blood of Christ.

"For  you are all the children of God by faith in  Christ  Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put  on Christ" (vs.26-27).

After baptism into the Family of God, a person is given  the spirit of Christ, which dwells within them; therefore, that person has also been clothed with the life of Christ himself.

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, . . . bond nor free, . . . male  nor female:  for  you  are all one in Christ Jesus.  And  if  you  be Christ's [accept  him], then you are Abraham's seed,  and heirs according  to  the promise [the promises that God gave to Abraham]" (vs.28-29).


This  study  has shown that the sacrifices and the laws that  God gave  to Moses are the Laws of God, and these laws did not originate from Moses.  Moreover, they are not an added law, as the King James  Version  and several other modern versions of Galatians 3:19  seem to  indicate. However, these laws were all given as a  whole, each one is dependent on the other, and each one has its place in  the plan that God has for the benefit and salvation  of  mankind.