The Added Law = The Ten Commandments

Taken from “Gospel in Galatians” by EJ waggoner. Some have thought the “added law” refers to the ceremonial system. In actuality it refers to the schoolmaster, the ten commandments.

“But you say that it is not proper to apply the term “added” to the moral law. The Bible itself must decide that matter. In the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy Moses rehearses to the children of Israel the circumstances of the giving of the law.

Verses 5-21 contain the substance of the ten commandments, and of these Moses says in the twenty-second verse:

“These words the Lord spake unto 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 He ADDED no more.”

The term “added,” in this verse, is in the Septuagint exactly the same as that rendered “added” in Galatians 3:19. The Hebrew word is the same that is rendered “add” in Genesis 30:24. That it has unmistakable reference in Deuteronomy 5:22 to the moral law, and to that alone, no one can deny. I care not whether you render it “added,” “spoken,” or “promulgated’‘—it makes no difference.

In Hebrews 12:18, 19 we have unmistakable reference to the voice of God speaking the law from Sinai, and the request of the people that God should not speak to them any more (Exodus 20:18, 19), in the words, “which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more.” Here the word rendered “spoken” is the same as that rendered “added” in Galatians 3:19 and Deuteronomy 5:22.

If we chose we might render it, “they entreated that the word should not be added to them any more,” and then we would have a uniform rendering. Or we might render it uniformly “spoken,” and then we would read in Deuteronomy that the Lord spoke all those words in the mount, out of the midst of the fire, etc., with a great voice, “and He spoke no more;” and this would be the exact truth and a good rendering. And likewise for uniformity we might justly render Galatians 5:19, “it was spoken because of transgressions.”

Or we might take the word in Deuteronomy 5:22 in the same sense in which it is used in Genesis 30:24, and the same idea would appear. When Rachel said, “God shall add to me another son,” it was the same as though she had said, “God will give me another son.” So the meaning in Deuteronomy 5:22 is that after the Lord had given them the commandments recorded in the preceding verses, He gave them no more. It seems to me very reasonable to apply the term “added” to the moral law; and whether it is reasonable or not I have certainly quoted two texts besides Galatians 3:19 which apply it so.

But you cannot find in the Bible a single instance of the use of the word “added,” as applied to the ceremonial law, to substantiate your view on Galatians 3:19. Deuteronomy 5:22 plainly says that the ten commandments were spoken by the Lord, and that nothing but the ten commandments was spoken, or given, or “added.”

Galatians 3:19 tells us why they were spoken. It was because of transgressions; that is, because people were largely ignorant, of the law. We may not play upon the word “added,” and use it in a mathematical sense, but must necessarily use it in the sense of declaring or speaking. There was no more moral law after God spoke it from Sinai than there was before, but it was certainly known a great deal better than it was before, and there was less excuse for sin than there was before.

In the preceding verses the apostle has spoken of the promise to Abraham, and the covenant made to him. The statement that that covenant was confirmed in Christ shows plainly that the covenant to Abraham confirmed the forgiveness of sins through Christ. But the forgiveness of sin necessarily implies a knowledge of sin. Only the righteous can be heirs of the promise, and a knowledge of sin and righteousness can only be obtained through the moral law. Therefore the giving of the law in a more specific manner than ever before was necessary, in order that the people might be partakers of the blessings promised to Abraham.

The very same thing is stated in Romans 5:20, “Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound;” and I never knew any Seventhday Adventist to have any trouble in applying that to the moral law, yet it is certainly as difficult a text as Galatians 3:10. The word rendered “entered” is, literally, “came in.” The revised version has it, “came in beside.”

But the moral law existed before the days of Moses, as is evident from verses 13, 14 of the same chapter, and also from the expression in the same verse, “that the offense might abound,” showing that sin—the transgression of the law—existed before the law came in. Although the law existed in all its force before the exodus, yet it “came in,” “entered,” was spoken or given, or “added” at that time. And why? That the offense might abound, i.e., “that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful;” that what was sin before might the more plainly be seen to be sin. Thus it entered, or was added, “because of transgressions.” If it had not been for transgressions there would have been no necessity for the law to enter at Sinai. Why did it enter because of transgressions? “That the offense might abound;” in order to make sin seem greater than ever before, so that men might be driven to the super-abounding grace of God as manifested in Christ.”(EJ Waggoner Gospel in Galatians)