Moses and God & Was Mosaic Law valid?


#1

Moses had a very close relationship with God, we see this very clearly when we read the Old Testament. Moses and God spoke to eachother. God gave Moses directions many times. God told Moses what to do many times. Before Jesus, we had what is called Mosaic Law, and these rules (or laws) must have came from God, right?

Below is one example that I noticed in the Book of Matthew that confused me:

Matthew 19 : 7-9
"They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss [her]?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”

So now, if God gave us Mosaic Law in the OT, why does Jesus tell us “but from the beginning it was not so”? Was Moses “Cherry picking?”

And since God and Moses had such a close relationship (they spoke with eachother even) why would God not step-in and say to Moses “Hey hold on a minute, but from the beginning it was not so” and correct him right then and there?

I’m sure there’s a good explanation that can help me out. I love to learn and understand my faith more and more. Please help.

God Bless


#2

AG,

Divorce pre-existed Mosaic Law. So, what we see (in Deuteronomy 22 and 24, for example) are provisions in the Mosaic law that deal with divorce – not abolishing it, but regulating it. We see in various places in the OT that God hates divorce (e.g., Malachi 2:16).

Notice that Mosaic law wasn’t perfect, but it was good. For instance, in the time of the Mosaic law, justice wasn’t equally applied across all people: royalty, for instance, were largely exempt from punishment. Yet, what the Mosaic law did was to decree that justice was to be applied equally, to all people (“an eye for an eye”, right? :wink: ). Does that mean that “an eye for an eye” is the end-all and be-all of justice? No, of course not – Jesus himself teaches that His law goes above and beyond Mosaic justice. After all, just because it was good in Moses’ day, it doesn’t mean that it’s the appropriate standard for all time. God made law that ‘fit’ for the Jews as they approached the Promised Land; and Jesus made law that ‘fits’ for us now. Moses wasn’t “cherry-picking” so much as he was listening to what God was decreeing for His people in that time and place. Moses wasn’t contravening God; he was passing along what God’s wishes were.


#3

Hi, ag!

This is difficult to follow… God Gives Moses the Law, then Moses circumvents God, then God lets Moses get away with it, then Jesus calls on Moses and stops his practice…

…this brings to mind the fact that Moses did all this work and was kept from entering the Promised Land…

There are things that seem confounding… here’s an explanation to the latter: Moses, as you’ve pointed out, was God’s close servant… but he was human… on this one occasion Moses allowed the pressures of leading Israel to take the best of him and he demanded of God:

**51 Because, with the other Israelites, you broke faith with me at the Waters of Meribah-Kadesh in the desert of Zin, because you did not make my holiness clear to the Israelites; 52 you may only see the country from outside; you cannot enter it – the country which I am giving to the Israelites.’ **(Deuteronomy 32:51-52)

This passage could also give us a hint of what Jesus meant when He basically stated that Moses gave into the people…

But this should not be so confounding as God’s Mercy Gives into us time and again… allowing that we come to the fullness of Righteousness:

**6 Samuel thought that it was wrong of them to say, ‘Let us have a king to judge us,’ so he prayed to Yahweh. 7 But Yahweh said to Samuel, 'Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you: it is not you they have rejected 8 but me, not wishing me to reign over them any more. They are now doing to you exactly what they have done to me since the day I brought them out of Egypt until now, deserting me and serving other gods. ** (1 Samuel 8:6-8)

**25 I want you to be quite certain, brothers, of this mystery, to save you from congratulating yourselves on your own good sense: part of Israel had its mind hardened, but only until the gentiles have wholly come in; 26 and this is how all Israel will be saved. As scripture says: From Zion will come the Redeemer, he will remove godlessness from Jacob. 27 And this will be my covenant with them, when I take their sins away. 28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies, but for your sake; but as regards those who are God’s choice, they are still well loved for the sake of their ancestors. 29 There is no change of mind on God’s part about the gifts he has made or of his choice. 30 Just as you were in the past disobedient to God but now you have been shown mercy, through their disobedience; 31 so in the same way they are disobedient now, so that through the mercy shown to you they too will receive mercy. 32 God has imprisoned all human beings in their own disobedience only to show mercy to them all. 33 How rich and deep are the wisdom and the knowledge of God! We cannot reach to the root of his decisions or his ways. ** (Romans 11:25-33)

I hope this helps!

Maran atha!

Angel


#4

I don’t know that it’s reasonable to suggest that “Moses circumvents God”. Even if this isn’t what God had in mind, He did put Moses in charge of the people, and part of that responsibility including law-giving.

…this brings to mind the fact that Moses did all this work and was kept from entering the Promised Land…

But that’s for a completely different reason! It wasn’t “Hey Moses, you’ve ruined My covenant law, so I’m not letting you enter the Promised Land”, but rather, “Hey Moses, you disobeyed me at Kadesh, so you can’t enter the Promised Land”!

Take a look at Numbers 20: when the Israelites cried out for water, just as they had done earlier (see Exodus 17), God told Moses to command the rock to give up its water. Doing so would have demonstrated to the Israelites that it was God who provided the water. But, Moses did something else – he struck the rock and it gave forth water. In other words, what Moses did was make it seem like he, not God, was the force that made the water come forth. In other words, as we see in Deut 32, Moses prevented God’s holiness from being manifest among the people. That was the reason that God did not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land.

on this one occasion Moses allowed the pressures of leading Israel to take the best of him and he demanded of God:

**51 Because, with the other Israelites, you broke faith with me at the Waters of Meribah-Kadesh in the desert of Zin, because you did not make my holiness clear to the Israelites; 52 you may only see the country from outside; you cannot enter it – the country which I am giving to the Israelites.’ **(Deuteronomy 32:51-52)

Umm… no? In this passage, it’s God talking, not Moses. Moses isn’t “demanding of God” anything; rather, God is telling Moses, “sorry, dude…”! :wink:

This passage could also give us a hint of what Jesus meant when He basically stated that Moses gave into the people…

I think I would argue that none of them – Jesus or the Pharisees – who were talking in Mt 19, were making the suggestion that Moses was disobeying God. (Although, I’d bet, the Pharisees would have loved it if Jesus had said, “Oh, yeah; Moses was wrong” or “Moses disobeyed God when he gave the Law”!) Rather, they were all on the same page – Moses spoke on behalf of God and gave God’s direction to the Israelites. In other words, by saying “Moses”, they really meant “God”, but were piously avoiding saying His name. Therefore, since the Pharisees said “Moses”, Jesus replied “Moses”. The net effect, though, is that there was a concession made in the Mosaic Law – and Jesus removes that concession in His New Covenant law.


#5

Thanks for the replies. I was just wondering the following 2 things while reading this part of Sacred Scripture:

  1. **Why did Moses permit divorce if God never permitted it? ** God and Moses did have a close relationship afterall…

AND

  1. Was Mosaic Law flawed as a result? This was God’s Law afterall. At that particular time in human history there was no greater law I would think

#6

Beautiful Moses and Elijah, who appeared with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration! Moses was so legalistic, not sinfully but carefully, that he crashed the Ten Commandments rather than condemn his own people. No law, no sin. Mosaic law, apart from the immutable Ten Commandments, is disciplinary; that is, can be modified to allay condemnation as he, with God-given authority, sees fit. Moses eased divorce laws in a statutory fashion to prevent damnation. It’s not God’s perfect vision for us. Christ says those who reject Him on the basis of Moses’ Torah will be condemned by Moses. Moses is still on his seat of authority for the old covenant.


#7

Hi, Gorgias!

…perhaps I was overly flamboyant in my descriptions…

Moses did err by offering the act of divorce (“it was not so from the beginning”); but, as you pointed out, God did allow some leeway in how His prophets would perform (Jonah is an excellent example and Abraham’s plea “Sir… but if only ten…”] is another). The fact that Israel strayed so many times from Yahweh God and God still calls it His firstborn (Exodus 4:22–compare with Romans 11:17-32) shows that God’s Mercy is beyond our understanding. The fact that we fail over and over again and we still have Christ as our High Priest Mediating on our behalf (1 St. John 2:1-2; Hebrews 4:14-16) demonstrates Mercy unbound!

If I were to say that God provided the clause of divorce I would be inferring that God was mandating the insolubility of the Sacrament of Marriage against His Own allowance. Indeed, if that were so, then Jesus would be appealing to something that is ineffectual: “it was not so from the Beginning…”

So you see, Moses did actually take some liberties (as we all do); but it is God Who allows our failure so that His Mercy is made more prominent:

14 What should we say, then? That God is unjust? Out of the question! 15 For speaking to Moses, he said: I am gracious to those to whom I am gracious and I take pity on those on whom I take pity. 16 So it is not a matter of what any person wants or what any person does, but only of God having mercy. (Romans 9:14-16)

The point being made is that that which confounds us is made clear by God’s Mercy: He dispenses His Mercy on all and requires that we act in accordance to His Mercy.

Maran atha!

Angel


#8

Hi, ag!

…Jesus explained that it was because of the stubbornness of Israel’s heart.

and

  1. was mosaic law flawed as a result? this was god’s law afterall. At that particular time in human history there was no greater law i would think

…Jesus explains that He did not come to abolish the Law but to Fulfill it (perfect it).

Jesus is Divine–He’s the ultimate “Can Do” guy. Moses, as the rest of us, isn’t–he tried, as we all do, to keep the Commandments… here’s St. Paul’s take:

22 In my inmost self I dearly love God’s law, 23 but I see that acting on my body there is a different law which battles against the law in my mind. So I am brought to be a prisoner of that law of sin which lives inside my body. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death? 25 God – thanks be to him – through Jesus Christ our Lord. So it is that I myself with my mind obey the law of God, but in my disordered nature I obey the law of sin. (Romans 7:22:25)

We can wonder why things do not seem perfect… but, ultimately, Perfection is not found in the flesh but in the Spirit:

**51 Now I am going to tell you a mystery: we are not all going to fall asleep, 52 but we are all going to be changed, instantly, in the twinkling of an eye, when the last trumpet sounds. The trumpet is going to sound, and then the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed, 53 because this perishable nature of ours must put on imperishability, this mortal nature must put on immortality. ** (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)

Until then we abound in the flesh and are vulnerable to its influence; however, our errors do not make God’s Commandments void and null!

Maran atha!

Angel


#9

LOL! Yeah, that can be difficult to sniff out, in an online forum! :wink:

Moses did err by offering the act of divorce

And yet, Jesus didn’t say that, either! It wasn’t that Moses erred – it was that Jesus took Moses’ concession to the hardness of Israelite hearts and instead demanded that now, they make it as “it was from the beginning”! If you have any Church sources that back up your assertion that “Moses made a mistake,” I’d love to see them!

If I were to say that God provided the clause of divorce I would be inferring that God was mandating the insolubility of the Sacrament of Marriage against His Own allowance.

No, it wouldn’t be inferring what you suggest… God allowed it; He was not its provider. It’s the same situation as when we look at sin in the world: is there sin and evil in the world? (Yes.) Does God allow it? (Yes.) Does this mean that God is the author of sin and evil? (No.)

Indeed, if that were so, then Jesus would be appealing to something that is ineffectual: “it was not so from the Beginning…”

No… after all, is God’s grace ineffectual? (Of course not!) But some do not take advantage of His grace… and that doesn’t make His grace ‘ineffectual’, just ‘unused’! :wink:

So you see, Moses did actually take some liberties (as we all do)

Oh, Moses did disobey God and take liberties with God’s command – but he was punished for them! Yet, we never see God punishing Moses for his proclamations on marriage – just for his failure at Kadesh. :wink:

The point being made is that that which confounds us is made clear by God’s Mercy: He dispenses His Mercy on all and requires that we act in accordance to His Mercy.

:thumbsup:


#10

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