Law of Moses

Paul taught that the Law of Moses was a temporarily adopted schoolmaster intended to let those under the law recognize the Messiah when He came. As Paul put it: “the law was added because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom the promise was made in the law given to Moses, [meaning until the Messiah came, for the law pointed to the need for a redeeming sacrifice which the Messiah would provide]…”

“…who [Moses] was ordained by the hand of angels to be a mediator of this first covenant (the law). Now this mediator was not a mediator of the new covenant, but there is one mediator of the new covenant, who is Christ, as it is written in the law concerning the promises made to Abraham and his seed. Now Christ is the mediator of life, for this is the promise which God made unto Abraham. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid. For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture has consigned all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” NC Gal. 1:10-11 That law merely made all ‘sinful’ as part of its purpose.

Paul then clarifies, “Wherefore, the law was our schoolmaster until Christ, that we might be justified by faith; but after faith has come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Id.

The purposes of the law included condemning, and convicting all of their sin, so they would feel the need for a Savior. Being unable to measure up, they should then appreciate having a Divine Sacrifice for sin to redeem them. Today the Law of Moses cannot even be attempted, for there is no temple, and there are no daily sacrifices to be performed. How much more, then, does the law condemn those who look to it as the means for obeying God when they cannot obey its rituals and sacrifices?

Paul is not alone in saying the Law of Moses was temporary and would end. Nephi also said it would end following Christ, and we should, “look forward unto that life which is in Christ, and know for what end the law was given; and after the law is fulfilled in Christ, that they need not harden their hearts against him when the law ought to be done away.” NC 2 Ne. 11:8 Continuing it following Christ is to harden the heart against Him.

As Abinadi also prophesied, “I say unto you that it is expedient that ye should keep the law of Moses as yet; but I say unto you that the time shall come when it shall no more be expedient to keep the law of Moses.” NC Mos. 8:1 He explained, “I say unto you that salvation doth not come by the law alone; and were it not for the atonement which God himself shall make for the sins and iniquities of his people, that they must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses.” Id.

Christ visited the Nephites and declared to them: “Behold, I say unto you that the law is fulfilled that was given unto Moses. Behold, I am he that gave the law, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel. Therefore, the law in me is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfill the law; therefore, it hath an end. Behold, I do not destroy the prophets, for as many as have not been fulfilled in me, verily I say unto you, shall all be fulfilled. And because I said unto you that old things hath passed away, I do not destroy that which hath been spoken concerning things which are to come. For behold, the covenant which I have made with my people is not all fulfilled, but the law which was given unto Moses hath an end in me.” NC 3 Ne. 7:2 Meaning that future, unfulfilled prophecies would still be kept, but the law was completed and now done away with, and was no longer to be observed because it had ended.

If that were not clear enough, the Book of Mormon then clarified that following the Lord’s appearance and teaching of a new standard, freeing them from the Law of Moses, “they did not walk anymore after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses[.]” NC 4 Ne. 1:2

From time to time there are those who still think the Law of Moses is to be observed. That, of course, is both untrue and unscriptural. Whatever value there is in understanding the Law of Moses, and there is some tremendous value in comprehending the underlying lessons that law intended to teach, the law itself is done, finished, and no longer to be observed. It was because of the fulfillment of the Law of Moses that God had the Temple at Jerusalem destroyed. The daily sacrifices and observances could not continue. Jesus told His disciples, “Truly I say unto you, there shall not be left here upon this temple one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.” NC Matt. 11:1 When Titus burned the Temple and tore it down in 70 ad, he acted in fulfillment of God’s purpose to end the practice of the Law of Moses.

There will not be a revival of that law. As Joseph Smith prophesied, “It is not to be understood that the Law of Moses will be established again, with all its rites and variety of ceremonies. This has never been spoken of by the prophets, but those things which existed prior to Moses’ day, namely sacrifice, will be continued.” T&C 140:21

Joseph commented further, “It may be asked by some, What necessity for sacrifice, since the great sacrifice was offered? In answer to which, If repentance, baptism, and faith existed prior to the days of Christ, what necessity for them since that time?” Id. I would add, if a temple were built and animal sacrifice were continued, the reasons for continuing it would be well understood by those involved.