Commandments, Statutes and Laws

By: Bill Bratt 

From one end of the Bible to the other God commands us to keep His Commandments. (Exodus 15:26, Revelation 14:12).

What is sin? 1 John 3:4 says: "Sin is the transgression of the law." "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23) .

What is righteousness? Psalms 119:172 "All thy commandments are righteousness."

Paul said: "By the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20).

How did Paul feel about God’s Law? "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Romans 7:12).

What did Jesus tell the Rich Young Ruler? Matthew 19:16-17, "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? {17} And Jesus said unto him, Why do you call me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments."

Jesus gave us the ultimate Biblical verse: John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Jesus said in John 14 verse 15, "If you love Me, keep My commandments."

Notice the reward if we keep His Commandments, "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love" (John 15:10) .

Our ultimate reward is to have eternal life, but God requires that we Keep His Commandments.

You may hear someone say that God’s Law has been done away with, but the apostle John said, "He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:4).


The word ‘Commandments’ in Strong’s Concordance is Mitsvah #4687. Mitsvah, mits-vaw'; from H6680; a command, law, ordinance, precept."

The root word is H6680 Tsavah, tsaw-vaw'; a prim. root; to constitute, enjoin:--apppoint, charge, command, give an order.

Exodus 34 verse 28. "Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And the LORD wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments."

The LORD wrote the Ten Commandments on two tables of stone and put them in the ark (Exodus 40:20).

The Ten Commandments were given at Mount Sinai and are listed in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. I briefly list them here in a condensed version: 1. You shall have no other gods before Me. 2. You shall not make any image nor bow down to them nor serve them. 3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain. 4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 5. Honor your father and your mother. 6. You shall not murder. 7. You shall not commit adultery. 8. You shall not steal. 9. You shall not bear false witness. 10. You shall not covet.

Now let’s go back to the time of Abraham. The LORD is talking to Isaac, Abraham’s son, and He says in Genesis 26 verse 4, "I 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; {5} "because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.""

The first thing to notice is that Abraham obeyed God’s voice and kept His charge. Notice Abraham’s obedience to God’s voice and His charge. When God speaks we need to listen.

Notice what Jesus said in Matthew 4 verse 4, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"

One of the charges that God gave Abraham was, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you" (Genesis 22:2).

This was a supreme test for Abraham where God was testing his loyalty and obedience to Him. Abraham obeyed God

Genesis 22 verse 12, "The Angel of the LORD said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.""

God tested Abraham and notice what was said, "For now I know that you fear God!"

Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 12 verse 13, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."

Do you fear God and keep His Commandments?

Let’s take a look at the last verse in the Bible that tells us to keep the Commandments.

Revelation 14 verse 12, "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."


Webster' Dictionary’s definition of Statutes:

1 : a law enacted by the legislative branch of a government

2 : an act of a corporation or of its founder intended as a permanent rule

3 : an international instrument setting up an agency and regulating its scope or authority.

The word Statutes in Strong’s Concordance is Choq #2706 choq, khoke; from H2710; an enactment; hence an appointment (of time, space, quantity, labor or usage):--appointed, bound, commandment, convenient, custom, decree (-d), due, law, measure, X necessary, ordinance (-nary), portion, set time, statute, task.

The word ‘statute’ really means it is a law, a decree, an enactment passed by authoritative bodies. There’s only one Hebrew word for statute: ‘choq.’ Only one root letter. Every time you see the word ‘statute’ it comes from the root of that one word.

Let’s look at some passages that refer to statutes. Exodus 12 is about the Passover.

Exodus 12 verse 14, "'So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance." The word ordinance should be translated as statute.

Continuing in verse 17, "'So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance."

The word ‘ordinance’ should be translated as statute. Same in verse 24.

It is interesting that the translators of the different translations did not hold to a stricter translation of these Hebrew words. So sometimes if we have a question on how a word is translated into English, we will have to look into an exhaustive concordance or Bible concordance software to find the meanings of the Hebrew words, or the Greek words in case you are dealing with the New Testament.

Leviticus 23 is God’s Holy Day Festival chapter and it is important to notice that the word ‘statute’ is mentioned four times in Leviticus 23: 14, 21, 31 and 41 with the following phrase: "it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings." It is specifically mentioned for the feasts of Firstfruits, Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles and is a statute forever.

Beginning in Deuteronomy 6:1 clear through Deuteronomy 28 is a covenant of statutes that God made with Israel. This is called the Book of the Law of Statutes.

Lets notice verse 1:""Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess."

Now lets notice the closing verse of this covenant. Deuteronomy 29:1 "These are the words of the covenant which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which He made with them in Horeb."

Deuteronomy 30:10 ""If you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul." ... {16} ""in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess."


Judgment in the Hebrew is ‘mishpat’. These are judicial decrees and verdicts. Judges throughout the Old Testament gave verdicts. A judgment is a decision rendered by a judge in how a statute is to be carried out. These are not laws they are judgments.

Exodus 21 through 23 are the judgments and judicial decrees of God.

If a Hebrew man becomes poor and sells himself, this is how he shall do it. If this happens then you do this. If that happens you do that. God is giving judgments and verdicts in advance.

See our feature article on ‘Judgments’, a sermon by Ronald L. Dart.


There is no Hebrew word for ordinance. When you see the word ordinance, ‘God’s statutes and His ordinances’, the word ordinance comes either from the word for statute or the word for judgment. This is how the translators of the K.J.V. and other translations did it.

In the Bible, statutes and ordinances, are the same, there is no difference.


Webster' Dictionary’s definition of Laws:

1 a (1) : a binding custom or practice of a community : a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority

(3) : COMMON LAW b (1) : the control brought about by the existence or enforcement of such law.

There are many other definitions, but I will just list two. There are several synonyms: law, rule, regulation, precept, statute, ordinance, canon.

The word Commandments in Strong’s Concordance is Towrah or Torah #H8451 towrah, to-raw'; or torah, to-raw'; from H3384; a precept or statute, espec. the Decalogue or Pentateuch:--law.

There are three Hebrew words that are translated law. The most common is ‘torah.’

Torah is an encompassing word for law and means: law, statutes, teaching and instruction.

Torah usually refers to the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

The Law: 613 Commandments

The Jews have what they call the 613 Commandments. There are 248 Positive Commandments and 365 Negative Commandments. They associate the number 248 with the number of bones in the body and number 365 with the number of days in the year.

All of these commandments or laws are based on scriptures from the Torah, the Old Testament. These are actually laws but the Ten Commandments are listed with them.

You can get on line on the internet and go to and view all of these laws. Look these laws over and see how you are doing in obeying God’s Laws? Most people would probably not know that these laws are in the Bible or that they exist..

Keep in mind that all of the laws of God are eternal but some of them are not applicable today. For instance, the laws pertaining to the priesthood and the Temple are not applicable today because there is no priesthood or Temple and no sacrifices are being offered. But when the end-time Temple is built then the laws would be applicable.

In Conclusion:

""The LORD your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the LORD will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, {10} "if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 30:9-10).

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