There was no law prior to Mount Sinai - Really?
Most believers have this belief that God's law, His instructions for life and blessing was given on Mount Sinai. We have talked to lots of believers and pastors who support this belief but have we searched the scriptures to see if this is actually the case? When we look at the passages dealing with God's law on Mount Sinai we see terms like "commandments", "statutes", "charge" etc in Exodus 20. Bible scholars agree the giving of the law happened around 1513 B.C.E. So the question we need to ask is this...
Are there any examples or instances of God's law or the words "commandments" or "statutes" prior to Exodus 20? Lets look at the scriptures and find the truth.
When we do a search for "commandments" we find a very interesting passage where God Himself talked to Isaac...
"And I (God) will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws. So Isaac dwelt in Gerar." Genesis 26:4-6
If we look at the time of Abram/Abraham we find God indeed gave him His commandments, statutes and laws and this occured around 1940 B.C.E. Now this is just one example of where God's law is seen prior to Mount Sinai, so are there any others? Again lets look at scripture...
"because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression." Romans 4:15
For God's judgment and wrath to come there must first be a law given; a law &/or commandment must have been given then transgressed for His punishment to come about. So we need to search and see if any judgment &/or punishment was given by God prior to Mount Sinai. If we see any examples then we have to conclude God did indeed give His law, commandments prior to Mount Sinai. So are there any examples?
God's law on Mount Sinai included offerings - and in Genesis Cain and Abel gave offerings to God... "... Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground of to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering." Genesis 4:2-4
Our God is not unfair and why would our loving Father not give Cain and Abel what was required for an acceptable offering? Interesting eh? The next thing we see is Cain eventually killing Abel because he did not meet God's standards and what was the result of that? God punished Cain. Why did He punish Cain? Because he sinned...
"So the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has yoru countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, SIN lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it." Genesis 4:6-8
Notice the word SIN - this clearly shows that prior to that God must have given a law &/or commandment prior to this point. When did He do this? God walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the garden. We also see where God talked to Cain and we can safely conclude He probably talked with Abel too. If we continue to search the scriptures we see many instances where God spoke with people and examples of those people walking in obedience and when they disobey. We even see where those who followed God in the Old Testament were priests and instructed others in the ways of God. These ways included God's laws, His commandments, etc.
Now if we remember Romans 4:15 we have to conclude that God only punishes when a commandment is transgressed; in this being the case we know that His law, commandments, statues, etc were given prior to Mount Sinai. Other examples of God's punishment is the flood.
"Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of
the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Genesis 6:5
Wickedness is defined by Strong's concordance as H7451 רַע ra meaning bad or evil. When we look at the root word its H7489 רָעַע ra-ah meaning to be wicked, be ethically evil; it also means to break or shatter. When people break God's laws or live their lives as if no commandments were given that is wickedness; in the New Testament also refers this as lawlessness. So the result of mankind breaking His commandments,laws & statutes was the flood. Again we see where God gave His commandments prior to Mount Sinai. Other examples of God's commandments being broken prior to Sinai include idolatry, blasphemey , breaking the sabbath, dishonoring parents, murder, stealing, lying, coveting and much worse. Interesting to note these are the same laws that God gave at Mount Sinai. We see throughtout scripture God is the same yesterday, today and forever; and how God defines sin is the same too.
So when people say God's commandments have been done away with and/or that they were first given on Mount Sinai remind them of the truth of scripture.