The Ten Commandments
All of us know there is something terribly wrong with our world.
Only an unthinking, uncaring person could fail to be concerned over the rising tide of crime, political assassinations and international terrorism that makes up much of our news today.
Despite the attempts of former President Jimmy Carter to make human rights a cornerstone of his foreign policy, flagrant abuse of human rights goes on apace throughout the world.
The communization of the nations of Indochina, oppressive dictatorships in Africa, Central and South America, civil or guerrilla warfare in El Salvador, Cambodia, Northern Ireland and open warfare between Iraq and Iran are outstanding examples.
Bombings, kidnappings, arson, murders, attempted or successful political assassinations and attempted coups have rocked nations all over the world in recent months, including Italy, West Germany, Spain and the United States.
Despite their own significant crime rates, many third world countries point a finger of accusation at the United States, claiming we are the most violence-prone people on the face of the earth.
When news of the attempted assassination of President Reagan reached foreign capitals, it was met with a not so surprising “ho-hum” attitude on the part of many foreign governments which have come to associate violence, especially violence involving handguns, as peculiarly American.
While the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II by Mehmet Adca in Rome may have proved that political assassinations are most certainly not confined to the United States, it is nevertheless painfully obvious that the United States leads the world in violence.
In this time of skyrocketing crime and the escalation of violence on an international scale, even the term “law and order” has become suspect.
Usually, “law and order” conjures up visions of beefy, red-necked cowboy-attired county sheriffs pistol-whipping itinerant blacks in sleazy jails in the American South.
In a wave of antirepressive outrage in the 1960s, legislators wrote a host of new laws aimed at the protection of the rights of criminals which effectively handcuffed the police and rendered the criminal justice system almost totally ineffective.
Today, police suspect that only about 50 percent of some crimes are ever reported. Of those reported, only a small percentage are cleared from police blotters by arrests. Of the arrests made, only a small percentage ever go to trial. Of those who come to trial, only a small percentage are convicted. Of the convictions, only a small percentage are sentenced. Of those who are sentenced, only a small percentage actually serve time for their crimes, and of those who serve time, only a small percentage serve the maximum time prescribed by law.
Our news media are replete with stories of convicted felons out on the streets on parole, or awaiting trial on bond, who commit vicious crimes.
In some of the larger urban areas, police maintain that massive percentages of crime are committed by a comparatively small group of repeaters. Police bemoan the fact that a weakened criminal justice system, hamstrung by insipid, toothless laws, provides no real deterrent to crime; that most criminals are back on the streets almost before police can complete the paperwork required to document their arrests.
The United States wrestles with a gargantuan drug-smuggling problem, knowing full well that only tiny percentages of drugs flowing into the United States for resale in the illicit markets are apprehended by customs officials and other law enforcement agencies.
Consider your own environment.
How many people do you know in your own neighborhood, among your family, friends or distant relatives, who have been victims of crime in the last few years?
What about your home, your place of business, or your car? Can you think of any acts of violence you have witnessed in the past year or so? What about children in school?
Consider the incredible picture of the American public school systems, with an outcry from teachers for more discipline, uniformed officers patrolling the halls and rooms, and gangland-style violence. Youngsters in the very earliest grades extort “protection money” from other children under the threat of physical violence.
Consider the incredible number of private schools springing up all over the United States, and the flight away from the public school systems to parochial schools by frightened parents who believe drug-related violence has escalated so alarmingly they are afraid to leave their children in the public school system.
All of us know something is deeply wrong with the very fabric of life in our beloved countries.
It is as if the whole Western world suffers from a deep-seated malaise, an all-pervasive attitude of resentment of authority, suspicion of “law and order” and the suspicion that all public officials are cheats, thieves, hypocrites and fools.
From time to time, neighborhood organizations spring up. forming vigilante-type anticrime groups to patrol their own areas in an attempt to protect themselves from a rising and already enormous number of neighborhood-type felonies such as automobile theft, rape, arson and burglary.
One of the grisliest chapters of crime to be written recently was the ongoing series of murders of youthful black persons in Atlanta.
Meanwhile, church groups, citizens’ committees, service clubs, law enforcement officials and politicians call for more protection, sterner penalties, harsher laws and swifter justice.
Strangely, some of the same church groups who wring
their hands in despair at the spectacle of unbridled violence in our society preach a doctrine of nonobedience to the laws of God!
They call it “grace” which many seem to believe is a condition of a Christian, rather than a quality of the nature of God. To millions, “grace” means there is no requirement on Christians to keep the Ten Commandments!
Is there any connection?
Any child taught to obey the laws of God will have little difficulty learning to obey the laws of man. Any family believing in the laws of God-living a life of obedience to the Commandments in the Spirit as well as in the letter-will simply be unable to rear lawless, rebellious children.
Make no mistake about it!
The root cause of all the crime and violence can be traced squarely to the doorstep of the home.
Today, divorce rips apart more than a third of all homes. In the large megalopolises, the divorce rate soars above the marriage rate. More than half the babies born to black women in large urban areas are illegitimate, and about half of all teenage marriages are because of premarital pregnancies. Major percentages of these easy, hasty marriages break up in divorce in the first year. Most survive less than five years. A major portion of the female labor force are divorcees, working to support children they have placed in day care centers and schools.
Major criminal activity has moved inside the home, with enormous numbers of murder-suicides between spouses each year, murders among estranged mates, wife beatings (and the increase in “battered wives” homes in many cities), child beatings and abuse, runaways (a mammoth problem each year), estranged mates kidnapping their own children, and the run-of-the-mill unhappy, barely-making-it, just-don’t-care home where two struggling strangers “live” together in a motel-like environment staring each night at the greatest conversation killer in history, television.
What has all this done to the most precious national resource, our children?
Practically destroyed a whole generation!
Today’s teenage killers were yesterday’s toddlers.
Killers are made, not born.
Believe it or not, like it or not. there is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the godless lack of respect for authority and the monstrous wave of crime and violence sweeping through society.
In this age of “situation ethics,” “no absolutes,” “anything goes,” and “if it feels good do it,” the main “commandment” seems to be: “Do it to everybody else before they have a chance to do it to you”!
Millions believe in the “Ten Suggestions,” perhaps, but those same millions curse the air blue, violate the commands protecting marriage and the home, covet and lust, lie and cheat-and then look around in amazement and wonder why the good life is denied them!
They simply do not know the commandments of God are designed to produce the really good things in life, that they are designed to protect society, protect life, protect our children!
Why do they not know?
Because their churches have not taught them! There is no teaching in the vast majority of churches or schools that God’s laws are to be obeyed!
The churches do not teach what sin is. Thousands of pastors of churches would fail a simple Bible test, asking them to list just one scripture that says, plainly, what sin is! While many of them may know that scripture, they would refuse to list it as an answer.
In this booklet, you will see proved, from the pages of your own Bible, that it is an absolute requirement for every Christian person to observe the Ten Commandments!
What Is Law?
Consider the word law.
What is a “law”? Look up the definition in your own dictionary. Probably you will discover the lengthiest explanation following any other word in the English language, with up to 12 or more separate categories of meaning.
While it is usually not listed first, law can be “a sequence of events in nature or in human activity that has been observed to occur with unvarying uniformity under the same conditions: often law of nature.”
In this application, the known laws regulating our universe, solar system, the earth and all life upon it are contained. The exact placement of the earth in the solar system, gravity, the two magnetic poles, the two laws of thermodynamics, laws involving geology, mineralogy, biology and all of the physical sciences are immutable.
The origin of the word “law” seems to be something that is laid down, or settled.
It is as if it is something which is, in the sense that it is imperturbable. unshakable, implacable, immovable, irresistible, unchangeable, permanent.
Actually, “law,” in this sense. seems to be closely interrelated with the very nature of God.
When Moses wanted to know who it was with whom he spoke, and who was commissioning him to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, the Creator said His name was “I AM”! The force of immutability, unchangeability and permanence is conveyed by that name. It is as if God was saying He is the One who simply is! He is there. He is from everlasting to everlasting, permanent, and, if our limited human minds can come to understand it, of all “things,” including laws, forces, energy or matter that we can come to know or understand with our physical senses, He alone truly IS, in the sense that, while all material elements may be changed, altered. or in some way “destroyed,” God alone remains absolutely fixed and PERMANENT.
The Bible tells us we can come to understand a little of the invisible Godhead by looking at the things which are. Paul wrote “. . . that which may be known of God is [evident] to them, for God has shown it unto them. For the invisible things of Him are clearly seen by looking at the creation of the world – by understanding all about the things that are made, including His eternal power and
Godhead – so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19, 20, paraphrased).
The laws governing the physical sciences, such as the properties of minerals, laws governing chemical substances, and the laws that govern all created material, are therefore an expression of the very nature and divinity of God.
His laws are immutable.
Newton did not “invent” gravity; he only defined it. Science cannot take credit for setting the laws in motion which govern our material universe, it can only attempt to define them, and then work and live within them.
The proverbial old professor, working with his smoking test tubes in his littered laboratory, knows he must unerringly obey the physical laws governing the properties of various chemicals, or, should he pour one volatile substance into another, he and his laboratory would disappear in a multicolored cloud of flame and smoke, accompanied by a thunderclap of an explosion!
We tend to take all of these physical laws for granted. Does one person on the earth awaken each morning to realize he has taken a journey during his night’s sleep of more than 8,000 miles? Does more than one person out of whole populations ponder, even once in his life, the phenomenal fact that straight through from his feet, about 8,000 miles distant, are other human beings completely upside down from him? Academically, he may have taken notes, observed educational motion pictures and written reports on the subject of astronomy as he obtained a smattering of information concerning the physical sciences in a smorgasbord of courses. But does he realize?
The average layman has received only the briefest introduction to the physical sciences, and the average housewife could not explain what causes bubbles to appear in the bottom of her Silex coffee maker when heat is applied.
Think about all the laws governing our environment for a few moments. Is there anything about them which makes you uncomfortable?
Are we upset, nervous, unhappy or in some way constrained by such laws?
Perhaps golfers might wish God would suspend the laws governing the flight of a golf ball through the air, allowing them to hit the longest drive in the world just once; perhaps speedsters would like to see the laws governing the motion of awkwardly designed machinery suspended for just a few moments, thus setting new records; perhaps pole vaulters, high jumpers, sprinters, swimmers and other athletes would like to see the suspension of the laws with which they work each time they strive to vault higher, jump farther or swim faster – but, alas, such is not to be.
However, none of us feel imprisoned by the laws which work upon us every single day.
We say we “weigh” so much, meaning we are measuring the pull of gravity upon our bodies. We do not think of ourselves as being pulled down upon the earth by a magnetic like force, an actual field of energy which acts upon all physical bodies in our known universe, and so we reverse our understanding of the procedure, and speak of ourselves as having such and such a “weight.” We do not say my “gravitational pull” is so many pounds per square foot; we say, rather, I “weigh” so many pounds.
Our language expresses our inability to go beyond our known physical spheres of knowledge. We invent words like “all,” “something,” “nothing,” “never,” “ever,” “out,” “away” and “up,” But “up” is not “up,” but “away.” “Down” is not “down,” but “through.” The word “all” is impossible for us to understand for we do not understand our own universe, including the theories of the now famous “black holes” or the concept of an endless universe.
Usually, it is difficult for us to think of ourselves as the merest spark of life in the blackness of an infinite universe, having a certain physical form and shape, designed as human creatures for a great purpose which is so awesome it is difficult for us to comprehend.
Our mundane knowledge, carnal associations, limited perceptions, temporal goals, vain ambitions, shortsighted hopes and earthly desires constantly encircle us with self-imposed barriers in which we live and move like so many larvae in cocoons.
We are notoriously shortsighted.
Because, believe it or not, most of mankind is utterly deceived about the very purpose for human existence; because the majority of all religions are likewise blinded to the real truth of man’s ultimate destiny, most of us have never seen even a passing glimmer of what truly lies beyond our brief life span on the good green earth.
A deeper awareness of our own physical surroundings; intense study into any of the life sciences and all of the physical laws governing living creatures, could lead anyone, even as God says in Romans the first chapter, into a greater understanding of the immutable, invisible Godhead.
In short, we can come to know a great deal about the mind, purpose and nature of God by studying His handiwork.
So far, we have been speaking of “law” in the sense that it governs the universe, our earth, and all life upon it. However, you will usually find the first category of “law” in the dictionary as being “all the rules of conduct established and enforced by the authority, legislation, or custom of a given community, state or other group.” Strangely, most dictionaries never include any reference to the Ten Commandments, the first known laws handed down to man.
There will usually follow a lengthy description of the meaning of the word “law,” as it is applied to the legislative bodies of our communities, jurisprudence, the legal practice, common law and many other aspects of the subject.
Consider, for a moment, the entire body of “law” governing your nation.
The average citizen (with the possible exception of con men, With the exception of people’s complaints about high taxes, military conscription or other real or imagined abuses of government, it is fairly safe to say most citizens recognize the laws regulating our societies are placed there for the greater good of the greater number.cheats, thieves, arsonists, rapists, burglars, murderers, drug smugglers, members of the Mafiosi and teenage vandals) are comfortable with the laws of the land.
We may resent the 55 mile per hour speed limit, but we do not resent the fact that the federal government was not only concerned with conserving energy, but with saving human lives.
The average citizen does not spend his time resenting the laws which govern society. That it is a crime to murder, steal, rape or burn is not something against which John Q. Public generally protests.
Even in the most primitive societies on earth, one will discover basic ingredients of similar laws. Among stone-age tribes in the upper Amazon, the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, New Guinea and Australia, one will still find “laws” governing these primitive societies which prohibit stealing, trespassing, assault or wife beating.
One cannot help but notice an all-pervasive theme of law found universally among all societies.
That theme is the notion that various rules must be laid down by which any society is regulated. Loosely stated, that recurrent theme says one is basically free to conduct oneself in such a manner so as not to infringe upon the rights of his fellow members of society.
Thus, while stone-age societies such as the head hunters of the Amazon may cheerfully wage war against other tribes, it is against the law to commit murder within their own community. That same concept of law holds true for the space-age societies of the Soviet Union and the United States.
But from whence came law?
At the root of the question is an even greater question:
Does God exist?
In other words, did the immutable laws governing the physical universe just “happen” by accident, or were they set in motion by a great Being who had the power to establish such immutable laws?
Can we safely say the orbital patterns of the planets, the myriad laws governing our ecosystem, including our own bodies, are the result of aeons of blind chance, whimsical change, capricious accident and randomness?
But this is contrary to everything we observe in our lawful surroundings which we call “nature.”
Randomness never produces order. Just as explosions in print shops do not produce encyclopedias, neither does accident produce beautiful design.
There are seven irrefutable proofs that Almighty God does exist.
While these proofs belong appropriately in a separate volume, the first of these major proofs must be dealt with here.
Law Requires a Lawgiver
The existence of law – law in all its forms as we observe it acting upon the material universe, giving the law-abiding “properties” to matter itself – loudly cries out there had to be a Lawgiver.
God’s Word says, “There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy” (James 4:12). The late Dr. Wernher Von Braun, world-renowned inventor of Hitler’s V-1 and V-2 rockets, and later head of the U.S. manned space program, said, “Why do I believe in God? Simply stated, the main reason is this: Anything so well ordered and perfectly created as is our earth and universe must have a Maker, a Master Designer. Anything so orderly, so perfect, so precisely balanced, so majestic as this creation can only be the product of a Divine Idea.
“There must be a Maker; there can be no other way.”
Von Braun was not alone. Thousands of astronomers, geophysicists, geologists, biologists, medical doctors and other professionals in scientific fields have issued statements filled with awe about the intricately interdependent, delicately balanced arrangement of our material creation, and thousands of such professionals believe in a divine Being.
Our physical universe has been likened to a superbly engineered, flawlessly designed, perfectly made Swiss watch.
The two laws of thermodynamics, the process of erosion, the diminution of natural resources, together with other phenomena, prove our earth is gradually “running down.”
It is obvious no new energy supplies in the form of fossil fuels are being buried beneath the surface of the rocks today. While a chance emergence of volcanic cones such as Surtsey or Paracutin might occur from time to time, no new mountain building is going on today as it obviously did in the past, when the soaring Andes, Alps, Rockies, Hindu Kush, Himalayas and Cascades were shoved into the sky.
Erosion causes the mountains to gradually wear down. The rivers, bays, estuaries and ocean bottoms gradually fill with silt, and the physical surface of our earth gradually moves toward a mean level.
It is obvious that our material creation was designed to last for a certain, finite period of time.
Consider an appropriate analogy: When America’s astronauts are blasted off the launching pad at Cape Canaveral, they are in a comparatively small cocoon, supported by the same physical substances that sustain life on earth.
Hurtled into a hostile environment where there is neither discernible gravitational pull on their bodies, food, air or water, they must endure in a pressurized capsule, carrying aboard the required nourishment and elements for survival.
Their food, water and air are only going to last for a certain period of time. That period of time is carefully measured.
Through telemetry, the space center at Houston can keep track of every ounce of materials aboard this tiny earth like capsule, including even the recycling of bodily waste.
Just as the fuel cells aboard the space shuttle had a certain measurable number of gallons; just as there were only so many ounces of food, water or oxygen aboard, so that the mission had a certain specified design limit, beyond which the two astronauts would have died, failing the infusion of new life-support systems, so our earth is finite.
Our earth contains just so much fossil fuel, just so many tons of various vital and strategic metals and minerals, and can produce just so much food.
The “master clock” observation is a fairly common one. While our earth seems so big and virtually limitless, it has been with a profound shock that scientists have learned in the last two decades how rapidly man has polluted his own environment, to the point that the very oceans themselves and the mantle of air surrounding our beautiful planet are threatened.
Not only are the great blue whales threatened with extinction; man himself stands in deadly peril.
Not only does man face the threat of extinction through the engines of destruction created by science, such as atomic and hydrogen bombs, chemical and biological warfare or other military means, but the threat of massive starvation through widespread drought and famine, the dread specter of global disease epidemics brought about by malnutrition, and the beginning of a new dark age looms frighteningly on the horizon.
We are seemingly determined to destroy our life-support systems on our beautiful space capsule, planet earth.
The point behind all this is that man utterly fails to understand he is on a trip.
We do not see ourselves as a precious spark of life aboard the most hospitable and beautiful spaceship that has ever been devised. Hurtling through the blackness of nothingness at an incredible speed, turning on our axis once daily, the moon making its monthly journey around our oceans and land masses, our spaceship earth, with its accompanying moon like a fellow traveler, makes an annual journey around the sun.
We do not think of ourselves as space beings, walking freely about underneath the envelope of air that is held fixed firmly to the surface of our earth because even air has “weight,” and is subject to gravity, but instead insist on thinking of ourselves as the most permanent fixture about, the while wondering whether or not there really could be any Being worthy of the name of “God.”
We can come to understand the existence of God; come to understand His divine nature, by looking at the physical creation His own hands have produced.
One of the greatest proofs of the existence of a divine Being is the fact of LAW! Law requires a Lawgiver!
So far, we have been dealing mostly with those immutable laws which govern the universe, the solar system, our earth and all life upon it. Now it’s time to look at the very source of all law, Almighty God Himself, His first communication with man, and the events leading to the delivery of the greatest, fairest, most sensible and practical code of law ever devised.
To begin – let us start at the beginning.
There are two places in the Bible where the phrase “in the beginning” is used. Believe it or not, Genesis 1:1 is not the most ancient, the truest “beginning” in the sense of the beginning of all things, of the two.
The phrase which takes us even further back in the distant past than Genesis 1:1 is found in the Gospel of John, chapter 1, verse 1.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
“The same was in the beginning with God.
“All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made . . . He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.
“He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.
“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: . . . and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-14).
This passage, dealing with the dimmest beginnings of creation as we know it, is an obvious reference to Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The statement about the Word being “made flesh” as the “only begotten of the Father” is unmistakable.
One of Dr. Billy Graham’s favorite passages is also found here: “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).
It is obvious this scripture deals with the preincarnate state of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
The Greek word for “word” is “logos.”
The Greek word conveys the thought of “Spokesman,” as if an executive administrator; the One who did the speaking, through which, by divine fiat, “all things were made.”
Few of the organized religions of the world believe this simple truth found in the first chapter of John; that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is, in fact, the very person of the Godhead who did the creating, and who therefore was the ancient Lawgiver!
If the churches of this world understood this beautiful and simple truth, it would utterly change their approach toward the Ten Commandments.
The popular misconception is that the Ten Commandments are purely of the “Old Testament,” and are allegedly the harsh, stern laws handed down by the antiquated “Old Testament” God, who most people seem to think was God the Father.
The popular conception is that Jesus Christ abrogated His Father’s harsh, stern law, replacing it with a law which contains “love, mercy and forgiveness.”
Thus, the churches of this world have portrayed to millions of believers the false concept that harshness and sternness, a law which was a veritable “yoke of bondage,” was saddled upon hapless human beings by the Father, but that, through His crucifixion and resurrection, the Son, Jesus Christ, lifted the requirements of law-keeping from Christians, thus bringing them out of “bondage.”
Just how utterly ludicrous, misleading and false is this ridiculous concept will become eminently clear as we proceed.
For the moment, notice the first chapter of John again. The “Word” (Logos, or the One who became Jesus Christ) was said to have been “with God, and the Word was God.”
But who was this?
Simple. Next turn to Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
In the first chapter of Genesis the Hebrew word for “God” is “Elohim.” Elohim has a plural ending, and is analogous to seraph (one seraph) and seraphim (meaning two or more).
Most of us commonly speak of “God,” meaning only one person. However, the Hebrew word conveys the clearest meaning of a plurality of persons – more than one!
Notice Genesis 1.26: “And God said, let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness . . .”
The first chapter of John has already told us that the One member of the plural Godhead who did the speaking was the “Logos,” the One who “became flesh and dwelled among us.”
You are reading the clearest biblical proof that the personality of the Godhead who was born of the virgin Mary to become Jesus Christ of Nazareth and the Savior of all mankind was the CREATOR of the heavens and the earth, and the very Designer and Creator of all LAW!
When God called His people Israel out of Egypt and commissioned Moses to lead them, Moses said unto God, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? . . .
Behold when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, the God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say unto them?
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”
This is the first place in the Bible where such an expression is used. As we covered earlier, it carries the connotation of immutability, permanence, He Who is.
When His Jewish antagonists disdained Christ, claiming He was making Himself “greater than our father Abraham, which is dead,” Jesus answered, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad.
“Then said the Jews unto Him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham?
“Jesus said unto them, verily verily I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM”! (John 8:53-58).
Jesus directly referred to His preincarnate state long before Abraham, and used the same name He had when He spoke to Moses: “I AM!”
There are many more proofs of this simple biblical truth, which make it all the more surprising that the major church denominations know nothing of it.
Christ is called the ROCK that followed the Israelites in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:4) It is perfectly clear that the Being of the divine Godhead who literally wrote the Ten Commandments with His own finger was the Person of the Deity who later became Jesus Christ!
It would require a whole book, at the very least, to cover all of the various arguments mounted by the churches against the requirements to keep God’s Ten Commandments!
The subjects would include a thorough exposition of “law and grace”; “Old and New Covenants”; “the dispensation of grace”; the meaning of the sacrifice of Christ; what is sin; and a host of others.
Briefly, however, notice what Paul said was the true function of the law. “. . . I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, thou shalt not covet” (Romans 7:7).
The apostle Paul pointed out that the Ten Commandments clearly identify what is sin!
In this important seventh chapter of Romans, read for yourself whether or not the apostle Paul seemed to be “doing away” with the law (which he could not have done, for he had no such authority, anyway) or whether he is upholding the Ten Commandments of God.
“Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good” (Romans 7:12).
“For I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Romans 7:22).
Remember, the law merely points out what sin is!
The scripture many pastors would refuse to quote in answer to the question, “What is sin?” is found in 1 John 3:4.
It says, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
There exists abundant proof which we shall reveal later which shows it is absolutely required for Christians to observe the laws of God, not only in the letter, but in the Spirit! There exists abundant proof that Jesus Christ magnified the Ten Commandments of God, making them infinitely more binding.
Much more on this later. But now it’s time to take a look at the Ten Commandments.
What, after all, is so wrong with the Ten Commandments? Why is there such bias and resentment against them? Why do the churches of this world go to such extremes in attempting to ridicule anyone who believes in keeping them? Why do so many millions believe it is not incumbent upon Christians to observe God’s laws?
There are only two places in the Bible where the complete Decalogue is found. You may find the Ten Commandments listed in both Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5.
Now, for the purposes of answering our question, “Just what is so wrong with the law?” let’s take each commandment, one by one, and, using plain common sense, find out what would happen if the whole world kept just that one commandment. Let’s see the practical application of each of the 10.
The First Commandment
“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3)
Is there anyone “wrong” or distasteful to a Christian to engage only in monotheism; to avoid bowing down before pagan deities, grotesque idols, figments of the imagination of demented and perverted pagans who “imagined,” in their ignorance, all sorts of “gods” to whom they ascribed carnal human lusts?
Since God is the divine Creator, since He made the universe, the heavens and the earth, and since He made man; since He is the Designer, Creator, Sustainer and Ruler of our whole universe, is it somehow “wrong” of Him to demand that we recognize Him, and Him ONLY?
This is a rather logical commandment, wouldn’t you think?
What would the whole world be like if it acknowledged only the one true God?
First, the religions of India, most of Africa, most of Asia and, for that matter, the false religions of much of the Western professing Christian world, would be totally altered if they understood the truth about the one true God!
If they understood who God is, what is His nature and character, why He has created man and placed him upon this earth, and where humanity is headed, they would be living their lives according to the divinely revealed Word of that God in awe and fear of Him, instead of living their lives in abject ignorance of the true God, worshipping demons, the “host of the heavens” or Satan the devil himself.
Consider the nation of India. Here, polytheism, the belief in “Vishnu,” and the spirit worship of the Hindu religion holds one of the largest nations on the face of this earth in its superstitious grip!
Here is a protein-deficient nation, a poverty-stricken, squalid, disease-ridden, overpopulated, undernourished land of disease, starvation and death!
It is asserted there are more cattle in India than the United States. But, because of their religion, revering the cow as “sacred,” the Indians will not eat their cattle, which the one God placed on this earth as food and to provide clothing and even shelter for mankind, thus bringing upon themselves the horrifying curse of malnutrition, disease and death.
Ponder what you know of the world’s so-called “great” religions for a few moments. What have the religions of the major nations really done for them? It seems almost axiomatic that, when one finds the most degenerate, squalid, disease-ridden areas on earth, one will also find pagan, polytheistic religions.
Even though the so-called professing “Christian” world, divided up into more than 400 differing denominations, does not really know the true God as they should, it seems that the mere fact that at the very least they are monotheistic, believing in one God, has produced comparatively greater prosperity and physical health.
In many ways, the First Commandment is the greatest commandment of them all!
In summarizing the Ten Commandments, Jesus Christ said man is to love the Eternal our God with all our hearts, all our minds and all our being, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Thus, Jesus summarized the first four commandments, showing they tell us how to love God, and summarized the last six by showing us how to love our neighbors.
Remember what you read in Romans the first chapter?
We may come to understand much more of the “invisible things” of the great Creator God by looking at the things which He has made.
Whether you study the incredible complexity of the tiniest of our insects, or learn about the marvelous symbiotic relationship between the great whales and plankton; whether you study the migratory patterns of the arctic tern, or learn of the marvelously intricate and law-abiding properties of minerals, you are studying only the tiniest portion of the marvels the great mind of God has thought out, planned, designed and then produced.
From the vastness of our limitless universe to our own solar system, and to all of the beautifully harmonious, intricately complex, interdependent and symbiotic life forms in our ecosystem, you are looking at the handiwork of God.
The greatest possible intelligence you can come to know through the five senses; the most superb collection of sensory perceptions, knowledge, wisdom and understanding in our material universe of which you can come to know through the sense of smell, touch, feel, sight and hearing is yourself that of man.
Man stands at the very top of the “food chain.” Man reigns supreme on the physical earth, able to force all other creatures, including huge elephants and giant whales, to do his bidding.
Consider man. Consider yourself. Who gave mankind the capacity for love? What is a laugh? What is a sneeze? What is “feeling”? Since our bodies desperately need salt to survive, what mindless selection process determined that salt tastes good to us?
Why are sunsets beautiful? Why is beautiful music pleasing to our senses? Why, when we are hungry, is a beautifully prepared, nutritious meal so savory, tasteful and enjoyable?
While the nations of mankind are utterly ignorant of the fact, and while most professing Christians go about their daily lives seldom confessing it, even your ability to touch, taste, feel, experience comes from your Creator – comes from God!
The First Commandment is a most logical, simple, easy-to-understand commandment.
Since the very divine Creator, who gives us every beat of our hearts, every breath we breathe, and the very abilities to experience lift, EXISTS; since our life is in practical fact the tiniest extension of His life, in that He is our Designer, Beginner, Lifegiver and Sustainer, isn’t it the most logical commandment you could ever imagine that this great Supreme Being commands we place no other “gods” in front of Him?
What are “other gods”?
The most obvious infraction of this First Commandment seems to be, at first glance, pagans bowing before man-made idols of wood and stone. The Bible contains veritable chapters condemning this heathen practice.
But the apostle Paul reveals that “covetousness is idolatry.” Many of the Ten Commandments overlap. All of them are interdependent, each one an integral part of the other. However, in a unique way, the first and the last commandments are closely intertwined.
Anything you so lust for, anything you covet, is something which gets between you and the true God!
And what do people truly covet today?
First, look at the greedy materialism in the world today.
Millions spend their lives on the altar of covetousness; frantically pursuing such will-o’-the-wisp goals as more money, fame, importance, useless ego trips, the approbation and approval of others, homes, automobiles, electronic toys, glamorous trips and a dizzying array of manufactured commodities which represent the sole purpose in living to millions of human beings!
Thus, millions of professing “Christians,” as they pursue daily after more of everything, are indeed guilty of covetousness.
False goals can become false gods.
If you are yearning, wishing, hoping, desperately craving for some particular goal in life other then the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then you have placed this temporal goal between you and your God, and are unknowingly guilty of the sin of idolatry!
What “drives” you? What “motivates” you? What is it you are really working for? What are your personal hopes, aspirations and dreams? If everything could break your way, if your fondest hopes, dreams and desires could somehow “come true,” what would the fulfillment of these dreams represent?
The answer to these questions may, in fact, be describing your idol.
Without consciously realizing it, millions of professing Christians worship other people. The most blatant form of this is the obvious adoration heaped upon motion picture stars, television personalities, political figures, beauty queens or even religious leaders.
There is perhaps only a subtle difference between the feelings many people express toward such famous personalities and actual worship.
Carried to its ultimate extremes, such forms of idolatry can become a true sickness of the mind, leading to an amazing number of mental and emotional problems.
Countless numbers of human beings gobble up every bit of gossipy, juicy information they can find about motion picture and television stars, desiring to learn the most intimate things of their private lives, wanting to be like them, to mimic, imitate and emulate them, and, above all, to see them in the flesh, to touch them, be with them, talk to them and get to know them on a personal basis!
The sick young man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan is only one case in point out of millions of people who form various fixations and vicarious “love affairs” with popular personalities they see in the media.
The would-be assassin thought he was “in love” with a teenaged movie actress he had never met, and, as he fantasized, dreamed, lusted and hoped for this young girl, living all kinds of vicarious, unreal situations in his mind, he became an absolutely dangerous human being, intent on impressing the “idol” of his dreams by murdering the president!
Strangely, perhaps one of the most common forms of idolatry of all is self-worship! Millions of professing Christian human beings do not recognize the fact, but they worship themselves. When you put self ahead of everyone and everything else; when self-pursuits, self-goals, self-interests, self-desires, self-gratification and self-fulfillment are placed before Almighty God; put first before Bible study, prayer and deep thought about the Creator God, His soon-coming Kingdom and His great purpose in human life, then, believe it or not, even the SELF can become an idol!
In every way, we can easily see why Almighty God placed the First Commandment FIRST!
It is the most common of all sins It is the most “natural” for human beings to commit, one of the easiest to commit, almost as if it is an innate part of human nature, and is the most rampant and widespread sin of all!
As we have seen, however, the whole world would be a dramatically different place if everyone kept the First Commandment!
Think about it for a moment!
What do you really have to give up by keeping the First Commandment? Do you have to move, change jobs, go back to school, give away all your material goods, go through rigorous training, deprive yourself of food, shelter or clothing, or “do” anything else which is harsh, unreasoning, rigorous or which places you in bondage?
All you have to do is recognize the greatness of your Creator! You must learn to love, honor and worship Him; to stand in deep awe and respect of Him, and to place your Creator first in your life!
This removes from you an enormous number of curses, and brings with it an automatic number of blessings.
The Second Commandment
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
“Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Eternal thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me;
“And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6)
Obviously, the First and Second Commandments directly overlap.
The most blatant method of breaking the First Commandment is by also breaking the second! Pagan races down through history have done precisely that.
From the ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek and Roman monuments comes a “wealth” of pagan idolatry in the form of obelisks, temples, bas-reliefs, icons, statuaries and idols in an amazing number of forms.
Not only did these ancient pagans make representations of everything they could imagine from “the heavens above,” “the earth beneath” and the “waters under the earth,” but they ascribed enormous human, physical appetites to their “gods.” and wallowed in a veritable sea of ignorance, blind superstition and fear as they “served” their imaginary “gods.”
Ancient temples and idols depicted the “host of the heavens,” which God directly commands is not to be worshipped, as the “gods” of the ancient Babylonians, Assyrians and other nations.
Frequently, the appearance of cherubim was graven by the hand of man on the walls and entrances of palaces of kings.
The famed “winged bulls of Bashan” and the man-headed, eagle-winged, lionlike bodies with oxen’s feet that decorated the entrance to Sargon’s palace and the palaces of Asshur-bannipal and Asher-nasirpal are cases in point.
The eagle-headed men’s bodies, the lion’s body with a man’s head (the Sphinx) of Egyptian monuments and many of those in Greece and Rome are further evidence of the blatant worship of “graven images” which represented the “host of heaven.”
Satan the devil is called “the cherub that covereth.” Cherubim are clearly defined in Ezekiel 1 and Ezekiel 10 as having four appearances; that of a man, a lion, an eagle and an ox.
Pagan races have tended to idolize these four, and even to mix them together!
Even today, the national symbols of many nations include eagles (Imperial Germany, the United States, Mexico, etc.) or lions (Great Britain). And even civic clubs, sports teams and other associations call themselves by the names of the principal types of animals and birds.
By applying your mind to it for a few moments, you can see dozens of other areas where nations of the world have flagrantly broken the Second Commandment.
Of course, some who profess to be “Christian,” and who nevertheless have little idols about the house, on the dashboard of their automobile, or look to various figurines in their churches and cathedrals, will argue it is not the statue or the figurine to which they look, but what it represents!
This is the flimsiest of all possible excuses, however, for it is the very purpose for which the idol is made!
Even the pagan Babylonians, Egyptians and Greeks had sense enough to know that the idol itself was not the “god” they were worshipping, but that the idol merely represented that “god.”
One of the greatest controversies of all history, which split the ancient Roman Catholic Church right down the middle, and formed the Greek Orthodox Church, was the argument over the efficacy of idols, meaning a separate statuary and sculptures of “saints,” as opposed to icons, which are partially raised figures in bas-relief.
The famous “iconoclastic controversy” of history is easily researched, and when one is spoken of as breaking with tradition he is called “iconoclastic.” (“Clas” means to cleave, to rupture, shatter or to break; thus to break an icon was “an iconoclast.”)
The obvious thrust of the Second Commandment is that “images” were not to be made for the purpose of worship!
However, a simple amount of research will prove that Almighty God Himself approved the use of various figures and representations of cherubim as a part of the tabernacle in the wilderness, and the temple of God!
The great difference is that wherein God allowed Moses and the children of Israel to decorate the tabernacle in the wilderness with the figures of cherubim, and ordered Moses to hold a brazen serpent aloft to stop a plague of snakes, it was authorized of God, and done for the purposes of God, and not as a representation of “God” or something to be worshipped.
Some modern cults have even eschewed photographs, and many a pagan tribe believes there is something of “magic” or “witchcraft” in the taking of pictures!
But a picture is not a “graven image” for the purpose of worship, and is certainly not a breaking of the Second Commandment!
All that I have said concerning pagan nations of the world in relationship to the First Commandment applies equally to the second. The two are closely intertwined.
If the ancient races of Babylon, Egypt, Greece and Rome had accepted the knowledge of the true God, and had not bowed before their hundreds of variations of “graven images,” all of world history would have been dramatically different.
Even today, major oriental religions bow before graven images. Buddhists have their various forms of Buddha, and the religions of Nepal, Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Japan and China, many nations in Africa and the whole Catholic world regularly go through rituals in various forms of church services beneath the statuary of their various prophets, “gods” and saints.
God wants His children to look at our beautiful earth, all of the fabulously lovely things upon it, such as the breathtaking beauty of verdant pastures and forest lands, awesome sunsets, lovely carpets of wild flowers in the spring, inspiring living creatures such as the great whales, the beautiful animals of earth (and what is more beautiful than a herd of Thompson’s gazelles leaping gracefully in flight?) and to see in all of these things the handiwork of God!
To the Eternal Creator, it is the utterest and most abysmal form of gross stupidity for mankind to turn his back on the breathtaking and awesome beauty all around him, chisel out a leering, ugly face from a block of stone and then bow down before it and call it “god.”
The Creator God, who gave man the mind, the ability to use his muscles in forming and shaping that stone, and who made the rock itself asks a simple and yet a profound question: “Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? For to thee doth it appertain: for as much as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.
“But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities [‘stock’ means idol].
“Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are the work of cunning men.
“But the Eternal is the true God, He is the Living God, and an everlasting King: at His wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide His indignation.
“Thus shall ye say unto them, the gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.
“He hath made the earth by His power, He hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by His discretion.
“When He utters His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and He causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of His treasures.
“Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder [worker in metals] is confounded by the graven image:
for his molten image is falsehood. and there is no breath in them.
“They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.
“The portion of Jacob [God] is not like them: for He is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of His inheritance: the Eternal of Hosts is His name”! (Jeremiah 10:7-16).
Again, what is wrong with this beautiful Second Commandment? What is so burdensome, so harsh and “legalistic” about the Eternal God who designed our very bodies, gives us every breath and every beat of our hearts, saying we should worship Him and Him alone, instead of forming an ugly image with our own hands, turning around and prostrating ourselves before it and saying “that is god”?
Perhaps most churchgoing professing Christians would say they are not guilty of worshipping “graven images,” and, hopefully, this is so. However, remember how the two commandments overlap – and remember that worshipping the things which our hands manufacture, meaning materialism, can come very close to worshipping “graven images.”
It is not “difficult,” or in any way rigorous or harsh, to KEEP the Second Commandment of God!
The Third Commandment
“Thou shalt not take the name of the Eternal thy God in vain; for the Eternal will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)
This is one of the most flagrantly and commonly violated of the Ten Commandments of God!
What is more commonplace than one hearing public figures, entertainers, people on the street and one’s friends and neighbors freely using the names of God and Jesus Christ in profanity and swearing?
Million of human beings break this commandment by using the name “God” or “Jesus Christ” as an oath.
Why do they do it?
There is a deep-seated psychological reason behind much of the cursing and swearing you hear around you; one element is the constant attempt to reinforce one’s rejection of the real power of God; the immediate presence of the Eternal Creator God by deliberately and flagrantly breaking this commandment as if daring God to do anything about it!
How many bawdy and tawdry jokes are there about the Deity? How many “pearly gates” and “St. Peter’s” jokes are there? How many Jewish jokes are there about Jesus Christ? In literally scores of bizarre and differing methods, millions of human beings brazenly shatter this commandment of God every single day!
Where, many years ago, it was against the law of the land to use profanity in public places, it is so commonplace today that one may hear motion picture stars and television personalities freely using the name of God and of Jesus Christ in a jocular manner to punctuate their conversations.
The motion pictures are filled with filthy references to the baser appetites of human beings, the well-known “four-letter words found scribbled in graffiti on the walls of rest rooms are now finding their way directly into millions of American homes over cable television, and before countless millions of Americans in motion picture theaters.
Now it is “no holds barred” – all of this allowed by the Supreme Court of the United States in their failure to invoke antiobscenity laws.
But the Third Commandment goes far deeper than this most obvious and flagrant violation.
As we have already seen, when Moses was called of God, the Eternal Creator said His name was “I AM!” Jesus later referred to Himself as that personality by saying, “Before Abraham was, I AM!” to the Jews.
As you have already seen, this name or title of God carries the sense of immutability, permanence, He who is! But this is only one of the divine names. There are many Hebrew titles or names for God revealed in the Bible.
In the first instance (Genesis 1:1) the word “God” is translated from the Hebrew “Elohim.” “El” means “God” in the Hebrew, but the latter portion of the word is a plural ending, as you have already seen, which means more than one!
The Hebrew characters for “the Eternal” (always printed in capital letters as “LORD” in the King James Bible) are YHVH, or YHWH.
Some pronounce His Hebrew name “YAWVEH,” while others say it should be pronounced “JEHOVAH,” and still others “YAWE.” But many other titles and names of God are revealed in the Bible. He is called “YAWVEH-ROPHEKA” in the Hebrew, meaning “God our Healer.” He is called “EL-SHADDAI,” “YAWEH-NISSI,” or “The Lord of Hosts” or “God Our Shield,” or “Our Banner.”
Unfortunately, the exact pronunciation of “YHWH” has been lost. However, there are various groups who believe they must only pronounce the Hebrew names for God the Father and Jesus Christ (which they insist should be pronounced “YAHSHUAH”), or one is not using the authorized “sacred name.”
This is a large subject, and more appropriately belongs in a separate booklet, but suffice it to say that there are many names and titles of God revealed in both the Old and New Testaments of your Bible; that Jesus spoke in at least three languages, and the disciples spoke in many languages on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit inspired them to speak to dozens of different dialects “in their tongues” concerning the “mighty works of God.”
The one English expression which more clearly connotes the name of God is probably “the Eternal,” or “the Creator God.” Jesus, when instructing Christians in how to pray, said when you pray, say “our Father, which art in heaven,” Here, Jesus used the Greek word for “Father,” showing that if we acknowledge God the Father as our true Lifegiver, the Author and Originator of all things, and our “Father in heaven,” we are showing the deep love, respect and awe deserving of our great God in heaven above who gives us every breath we breathe. And what, after all, is in a name?
A name serves to identify the one to whom, or of whom, you are speaking. Ideally, names should convey meaning.
Today, few mothers and fathers name their little children according to some deep meaning. Usually, names are selected even before birth, not uncommonly by thumbing through a book of names and simply selecting something which is phonetically pleasing. Oftentimes, a middle name includes the name of the father or mother, a relative or close friend. However, in most cases the “names” placed on birth certificates are nothing more than a phonetically pleasing sound to the parents, or a name reminiscent of themselves, a close relative or friend.
It was not always so.
When God named Adam, He chose a name which explained what Adam was. Did you know the name “Adam” appropriately means “red clay”? God explained to Adam that he came from the ground, that he was temporal, earthly, and that he possessed only a limited life span. “Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return,” said the Eternal.
“Eve” means the mother of all living.
The subject of names in the Bible is a vast one, as well as a fascinating one.
It is very important that we attach names to everything around us, for we must exist in an intelligible environment; one in which we human beings can move about in comfort and familiarity.
You will notice in the opening chapters of Genesis that, when God created the animals, he led them by Adam to see what Adam would name them.
There are many usages of names. Some are “titles,” conveying the meaning of ownership, rulership, responsibility or honor, while others are appellatives attached at birth, which should convey the meaning of personality.
Thus, the name “Jesus” (Yashua or Joshua in the Hebrew) was the name of the baby born to Mary, while “Christ” is a title which means “the anointed one.”
The name “Christ” is the Greek form of the Hebrew “Messiah.”
Jesus Christ referred to Himself as “the Son of God,” the “Son of Man” and as the “Master” or “Teacher.”
Some of His other names and titles are “Emmanuel” (meaning “God with us”) “Savior,” “the Word,” “the Lamb of God,” “the Mediator,” “Lord of Lords,” “King of Kings,” “Prophet, Priest and King” and “Alpha and Omega” (the Beginning and the End).
The names of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son are intended to convey the awesomeness of Their power; Their ever-living state of eternal being; Their character and personalities; Their purpose and will; Their great glory and power; Their total identity and personality.
When ancient Israel was lost in slavery in Egypt, they knew of no ever-living Creator Being who was God. They knew only of the polytheistic heathenism of the Egyptians. When Moses heard the voice of God speak from the burning bush, he said unto God, “Behold when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, the God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, what is His name? what shall I say unto them?
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
“And God said moreover unto Moses, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Eternal God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is My name forever, and this is My memorial unto all generations” (Exodus 3:13-15).
Later, when God gave Moses charge to go before Pharaoh, He said, “I am the YHWH [Eternal].
“And I appeared unto Abraham, and Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by My name JEHOVAH [YHVH -the translators added the vowels] was I not known to them.”
Here is clear biblical proof of several important points:
(l) The Eternal Creator God has many different names.
(2) He concealed His name “YHVH” (JEHOVAH) from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
(3) It is obvious, then, that there are several “authorized” names of God which may be used in addressing the Deity, and not one “sacred” name only.
There are dozens of references concerning God’s name in the Psalms, and many other books of the Bible. Again and again we read of praises to God’s name, of David, who meditated on the name of God; and of people in distress and trouble who called upon God by name.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth showed that religious people oftentimes profane the name of God by vain repetition.
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you ,they have their reward.
“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:5-7).
You see, then, that there are two extremes human beings use in breaking the Third Commandment.
The first and most common extreme is that of cursing, using the names and titles of God as a byword, or in profanity. The second is using the names of God for religious purposes; as in orations, sermons or prayer, but using His name too much, which becomes vain repetition!
Even this scripture, by itself, should warn professing Christian people against the kind of prayer which becomes a formal kind of chant or repetitious saying, and which commits the sin of “vain repetition” of God’s name!
Then followed the sample prayer of Jesus, misnamed the “Lord’s Prayer.” (The real “Lord’s Prayer” is the prayer Jesus prayed just prior to His crucifixion, and is found in the 17th chapter of John.)
Jesus said, “After this manner therefore pray ye: ‘Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name'” (Matthew 6:9).
You probably know the rest of the famous “Lord’s prayer.” However, you may not have noticed, previously, that Jesus tells us to address God as “our Father,” not specifying a certain Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Latin or English name at this point, but using a common appellation which acknowledges God as our FATHER.
Immediately following this statement, Jesus said we should pray “hallowed [most holy, sanctified and to be held in honor is Thy name.”
If people understood the mighty power which can be unleashed by the correct, humble, prayerful and faithful use of God’s name, they would be astounded!
When Peter and John were used as instruments of God to heal a cripple at the “beautiful gate,” Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none: but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk”! (Acts 3:6).
Later, when the crowds gathered in wonderment at this great miracle, Peter denied it was through his own power that the man had been healed and said, “. . . His name through faith in His name hath made this man sound, which you see and know: yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all” Acts 3:16).
It was the prayerful use of the powerful name of Jesus Christ that caused this great miracle.
Repeatedly, Jesus instructed His disciples to command demons to depart in the name of Jesus Christ. It is through and by the authority of this powerful name that people are converted, convicted of sins, baptized in water, and receive the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands!
When we pray, we are commanded to pray “in Jesus’ name.”
Throughout the New Testament, we see instruction in the awestricken, fearful, cautious, faithful and prayerful use of the name of Jesus Christ!
By breaking the Third Commandment, millions of human beings are not only bringing upon themselves the automatic penalty of death – death by Gehenna fire unless they REPENT of this enormous sin – they are also depriving themselves of the wonderful knowledge of the Eternal God; the knowledge and understanding of His great purpose and plan, and depriving themselves of the fabulous gifts of God’s Holy Spirit, including repentance, conversion, the receiving of God’s Holy Spirit, and healing.
Again, what would the world be like if the whole world knew only the one true God, never cursed, used His name as a useless “byword,” or chanted in endless and vain repetitious prayers the names of God until they became meaningless, but instead spoke of the Eternal Creator in humility, fear, awe, honor and in love?
The whole world would be a very different place, indeed. if mankind KEPT the Third Commandment! Is it harsh? Is it unreasonable, restrictive or “unfair” that the Eternal Creator God who gives you every beat of your heart and every breath of your lungs should command you to speak of Him in reverence – NOT to use His name in vain repetition, but call upon Him in humility and love as your divine Father?
If you are one who has flagrantly or “innocently” been breaking the Third Commandment either by commission or omission, then it is time to repent of breaking this powerful law of God, and start receiving the countless blessings God has in store for you when you keep the Third Commandment!
The Fourth Commandment
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: “But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates: “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11)
For over 27 years I have asked millions over radio and television, “Just what is wrong with the Ten Commandments?” I always meant the question facetiously, of course, for I knew that the Fourth Commandment was the “great stumbling block” of the law of God in a Sunday-professing world.
Is there any church or organized religion that flagrantly teaches one may BREAK the Ten Commandments and still be saved? Naturally not. The teaching that “the law is done away” is infinitely more subtle.
There are seemingly endless arguments against the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath.
Among them are the concepts that Christ died to free us from the requirements of the law; that the “dispensation of grace” does away with the responsibility to keep God’s laws; that being “under grace” means we do not have to obey the law; that Christians observe Sunday in honor of Christ’s resurrection; that the Sabbath was purely a “Jewish” and a “ceremonial” requirement imposed upon ancient Israelites and is not of “New Testament origin”; that Sabbath-keeping is part of a “Mosaic yoke of bondage” which Christ came to break; that Sabbath-keeping represents “legalism”; and a host of others.
There exists bountiful proof that the seventh-day Sabbath is, nevertheless, to he observed by Christians, and that the Fourth Commandment is still a part of the original 10 – is just as efficacious, viable, binding and alive as the first, third, fifth, seventh or any other – and that the breaking of the Fourth Commandment carries with it the death penalty.
One of the most thoroughly researched and scholarly books on the subject of the seventh-day Sabbath was published recently by The Pontifical Gregorian University Press, Rome. From Sabbath to Sunday’ was written by Dr. Samuel Bacchiocchi and is available in the United States from the author at 230 Lisa Lane, Berrien Springs, Mich. 49103, at $10 per copy. (Write the author for quantity discounts.)
For each of the tiresome arguments against the seventh-day Sabbath, there are powerful, biblical PROOFS that Christians ought to keep this commandment of God!
Take a look at the original wording of the Fourth Commandment again.
It says “remember the Sabbath day, to KEEP it holy”!
The Ten Commandments did not come into existence at Moses’ time. There exists abundant proof from Genesis 1 to Exodus the 19th chapter, prior to the giving of the Decalogue, that the Ten Commandments were in full force and effect long before Moses!
You read of the creation of the Sabbath day in Genesis 2:1-3. God says, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
“And on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which he had made.
“And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it:
because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.”
Almighty God created the seventh day Sabbath by resting. Even though He rested from “all His work,” He was still creating -creating a period of rest, which He blessed with His very holy and eternal presence, and “sanctified,” meaning He set that seventh day apart for a specific holy use and purpose!
Never forget, as you ponder each of the Ten Commandments of God, what sin is! Let the Bible tell you what sin truly is.
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for SIN IS the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4).
Notice, too, ‘. . . for where no law is, there is no transgression” (Romans 4:15).
In order for there to be such a thing as “sin,” there had to be a law in existence which was being broken.
Notice Genesis 13:13, “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Eternal exceedingly.”
Here, long before the birth of Moses, long before there was any such person on earth as an “Israelite,” the Ten Commandments of God were being broken by the evil inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.
A full booklet could be devoted to the proofs that the Ten Commandments were in full force and effect prior to Moses!
Read Genesis 26:5 which shows the real reason for the great blessings God gave Abraham: “Because that Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My COMMANDMENTS, My statutes, and My laws”!
Believe it or not, the Fourth Commandment is the great TEST commandment of all 10! That is the real reason why it is the one of the 10 over which people tend to stumble; the one they resent, argue against and use every conceivable form of human reason to “get around.”
Almighty God tested the people of Israel before the giving of the Decalogue on Mount Sinai by introducing His Sabbath day to the Israelites.
Read Exodus 16!
“Then said the Eternal unto Moses, behold I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I mayprove them [test them] whether they will walk in My law or not.
“And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily . . . and it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
“And he said unto them, this is that which the Eternal hath said, tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the
Eternal: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that which ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning” (Exodus 16:4-23).
Moses pointed out the seventh-day Sabbath before another lengthy journey to a place called “Rephidim,” a battle with the Amalakites, and other great events – all prior to the giving of the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai!
In instructing the people about the Sabbath, Moses said, “. . . Eat that today; for today is a Sabbath unto the Eternal: today you shall not find it in the field.
“Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none.
“And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.
“And the Eternal said unto Moses, how long refuse ye to KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS and My laws?
“See, for that the Eternal hath given you the Sabbath, therefore He giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide you every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
“So the people rested on the seventh day” (Exodus 16:25-30).
God’s laws were known by the ancient patriarchs. Abraham was obedient to God’s commandments, as well as certain “statutes,” and other laws. One can find that the knowledge of “clean and unclean meats” was known by Noah at the loading of the ark.
The point is that the laws and commandments of God did not come into existence when God wrote the Ten Commandments with His finger on stone!
They are, after all, an expression of the divine character, will and purpose of Almighty God, an expression of His master plan for the creation of righteous, perfect character in the supreme example of His creative handiwork, mankind.
The first four commandments tell us how we are to love the Eternal our God. And, as we shall see, the last six show us how we are to love “our neighbor as ourselves.”
It is utterly fallacious to think of the Ten Commandments as nonexistent prior to Moses’ delivery of the tables of stone to the Israelites.
The Ten Commandments did not come into existence at the giving of the Decalogue; they were codified in stone, the most permanent writing material existent. But they had been in full force and effect from the moment of creation, when God MADE the holy Sabbath day!
Turn to and read Exodus 31:12-17. You will see that Almighty God intended the Sabbath to be a perpetual covenant, a perpetual SIGN, between the Eternal Creator God and His people forever, and that the seventh day Sabbath was a permanent part of the creation itself, and not a temporary “ritual” enforced upon man for a certain “dispensation” meant to be abrogated at a later date.
Obviously, there are no scholars who argue against the seventh-day Sabbath in the Old Testament. They all know that the patriarchs observed the seventh-day Sabbath; that God enjoined the Sabbath upon the Israelites; that righteous kings and prophets kept the Sabbath; that God promises eternal life to “strangers” (a type of all gentile peoples, or those who are not of Israel) for the keeping of His seventh-day Sabbath – and that Almighty God insists not only His weekly Sabbath but His annual Sabbaths as well are going to be kept in the millennium!
Read Zechariah 14:16-19.
The first great command the returning, conquering Christ will send to the remnants of mankind is that they are required to go to the new world capital, Jerusalem, “from year to year to worship the king, the Eternal of Hosts and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” In Isaiah’s vision of the new heavens and new earth, the time of the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth, he sees that the seasons, monthly cycles and weekly Sabbaths are in full force and effect!
“And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another (from month to month, as God counts time!) and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, says the Eternal”! (Isaiah 66:23).
But what about the Sabbath in the New Testament?
This is a vast subject, and requires much more space than permitted in this booklet to explain. However, ample proof concerning the Sabbath in the New Testament exists in many reference works, among them Dr. Bacchiocchi’s new book.
A few brief proof texts are important:
“And He said unto them, the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath:
“Therefore the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath”! (Mark 2:27).
Does this say the Sabbath was “made for the JEWS”? Absolutely not! It says the Sabbath was made for man – for all mankind, in all our races, colors, geographical locations and languages!
The Sabbath day was not given to only one race of people, nor given for only a limited period of time! It is a part of creation, a divinely set, God-ordained unit of time, which Almighty God has made holy!
Notice that the Sabbath is something that was made. It was made when man was made-at creation!
It was made FOR man, intended to be a great blessing; a day of complete rest and relaxation from the six days of laboring to earn our livings; a day of restful and peaceful worship of the Eternal God; a day which looks back to God as Creator – and a day which looks forward, as a “shadow of things to come,” to the millennial reign of Christ!
Mankind could never have discovered the weekly cycle by himself.
There are no astronomical observations which would point out which day of the week it is! The months are discernible by the cycles of the moon, but nowhere in the heavens is there anything which points out to us the days of the week!
The Sabbath day is the ONLY day of the week dignified by a name in God’s Word! All the others were merely numbered. from the first through the sixth. The seventh day Sabbath alone was given a name.
Almighty God began the weekly cycle at creation, and has always revealed to His righteous patriarchs, prophets and the leaders of His New Testament church from the time of Pentecost until today which day is the Sabbath.
God gave the keeping of the “oracles” to the Jews. Never has that race lost track of the weekly cycle.
From the time of creation until today, mankind has easily kept track of the week.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth is never called the Lord of “Sunday,” but is called “Lord also of the SABBATH”!
If one were to ask, then, “Which day – in the Bible – is the true ‘Lord’s day’?” the only answer is “The Sabbath!”
Again, you need to ask yourself the question, “What is so bad about the Fourth Commandment?”
The response from most people would be that the world is geared to “Sunday observance”!
As a result of imperial edicts handed down by a sun worshiper named Constantine, early Christians were commanded not to “Judaize” by retaining their observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, or their keeping of the Passover on the 14th of Nisan!
At the councils of Nicea and Laodicea, in the 300s A.D., the growing universal church laid down laws to its adherents that they were to no longer “Judaize” by observing the seventh-day Sabbath.
Since countless numbers of pagans had brought their observance of the day of the SUN along with them into the “Christian” church (the great visible church which was now apostate!), it was decided to settle the controversy that was raging among the membership in the Eastern Mediterranean and settle upon one day each week for religious observance.
Actually, the early New Testament church never questioned the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath! For nearly two and one-half centuries that observance continued!
Think of it. For longer than the United States has been a nation, true Christians continued to observe the seventh day Sabbath, just as had their Savior, Jesus Christ, and the early apostles. It was not until about 325 and 331 A.D. that imperial edicts began to be imposed upon some who insisted on obeying God by observing the Sabbath day!
Finally, even by force of arms, when necessary, much (but never all) of Sabbath observance was stamped out!
The Roman Catholic hierarchy freely admits that Sunday, as a day of worship for modern Christians, was a day determined by the pope at Rome!
Catholics smile knowingly at feeble Protestant attempts to “prove” their Sunday observance from the Bible!
After all, Catholics do not hold, as most Protestants seem to do, that the Bible alone is their authority.
The Catholics Took upon the pope when he speaks from his throne in the Vatican as equal or even superior to Scripture – for they claim he is infallible!
Also, Catholics appeal to the tradition of their “fathers” (meaning early Catholic writers, the “pioneers” of the universal church) and give it the same weight as Scripture.
There is no justification for “Sunday observance” in the New Testament of your Bible!
Rather, both the weekly Sabbath and the annual Sabbaths are found in the New Testament. The letters of the apostle Paul and the chronological record of Luke in the Acts bear ample testimony to the observance by the early church of the Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Pentecost (the very birthday of the church itself!), the Day of Atonement, etc.
In Hebrews the fourth chapter, we see an obvious rejoinder upon Christians to “keep the Sabbath”!
Read Hebrews 4 in its entirety!
You will see the entire subject is “rest,” and that God “spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, and God did rest the seventh day from all His works” (verse 4).
Here, the Sabbath day “rest” is being pictured as a type of the millennium, as a shadow of that which is to come as well as a remembrance of creation.
Verses 8 and 9 should read as follows: “For if Joshua had given them rest [the permanent, millennial rest], then would he not afterward have spoken ofanother day. Therefore there remaineth a keeping of the Sabbath to the people of God”!
The word “sabbatismos” for “rest” in verse 9, as a marginal reference will show, should read “a keeping of the Sabbath.”
While ancient translators all but succeeded in completely obscuring this vital verse as they rendered the Bible in English from its Latin versions, true scholarship has preserved the meaning of Hebrews 4 and verse 9!
The sense of the two verses is that, since the Kingdom of God, the millennial reign of Christ, is not here yet, there remains a weekly “keeping of the Sabbath” to the people of God!
Remember, the Ten Commandments stand or fall on any one of the 10! James said, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all!
“For he that said, do not commit adultery, said also, do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
“So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty” (James 2:10-12).
The Fourth Commandment has never “passed away.” It was never altered or done away by Jesus Christ. It was obeyed and observed by Christ, the early apostles, and generations of true Christians until most of such faithful observance of God’s Fourth Commandment was forcibly stamped out in the Eastern Mediterranean regions by the middle of the third century after Christ!
However, there have always been small bodies of Sabbath-keeping believers who retained the true sign of God’s true church, and who have understood the basic truths of the Bible, and who represented the scattered, weak “little flock” which is the true body of Christ!
The end-time remnant of the Church of God, terribly persecuted of Satan the devil, almost wiped off the face of the earth, yet preserved and protected of God, is described as “. . . the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).
In the very last chapter of the Bible, God says, “Blessed are they that do His commandments,” and warns, “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life . . .”(Revelation 22:14-19).
No amount of human argument, dishonest scholarship, vague human reasonings or excuses is going to do away with the Fourth Commandment of God! The holy Sabbath of God exists. It is.
Inexorably, every single week, at Friday sunset, a 24-hour period of holy time commences. That period of holy time continues until Saturday at sunset, which begins the first day of the week.
God commands mankind to keep His holy Sabbath day! God says, “Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil” (Isaiah 56:2).
God shows that those who are keeping His Ten Commandments in the spirit, as well as in the letter, are meeting the basic requirements of God’s Kingdom! God will induct no person into His kingdom who will not OBEY Him! While obedience does not earn salvation – it is God’s loving GIFT – the keeping of God’s law is the opposite of SIN! One must repent of SIN, of having flagrantly broken God’s laws, receive God’s loving grace, which is forgiveness by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and then quit sinning, which means begin keeping the laws that have been broken!
God says, “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure [your own will; desires, ‘business’ or pursuits] on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a DELIGHT, the holy of the lord, honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing thine own way, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
“Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Eternal; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Eternal hath spoken it” (Isaiah 58:13, 14).
The Sabbath day of rest from our work: of worshipping God in song, Bible study, hearing inspiring sermons and in fellowship with beloved brethren and sisters in Christ, is a delight, a joyous, happy experience. Not a “yoke” of bondage!
God commands us to keep it.
The Fifth Commandment
“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20:12)
Beginning with the Fifth Commandment, we commence dealing with the last six of the Ten Commandments. As Jesus Christ characterized them, it is obvious the “great commandment” is to “love the Eternal thy God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself.”
By summarizing the Ten Commandments, Jesus tells us the first four show us how to love God, and the last six show us how to love our neighbor – how to love mankind!
The last six might be characterized as the “family oriented” commandments; the laws of God that have to do with our interpersonal, familial and communal relationships.
There is a cause for every effect! Today we experience the enormous effects of murder and violence, crime, drug abuse, alcoholism, wife beating, child abuse, homosexuality, sadism, abandonments, desertions, divorce, illegitimacy, venereal disease, and an incalculable amount of human woe and misery – all of which can be traced directly to the family!
“Homicide” has become “home-icide,” for much of the murder of which you hear in the news occurs in the home, among and between family members, often between husbands and wives!
A few years ago, in the church organization with which I was then affiliated, a young minister intercepted his wife in the corridor outside an attorney’s office where she was attempting to obtain a divorce, pulled out a pistol and shot his wife, then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide!
No class, no racial group, no segment of society is immune from the massive blight of marital unhappiness, and the general decay and disintegration of the home.
Consider the words of the Fifth Commandment carefully.
First, every human being of whatever age is commanded to honor his parents! This command is not restricted to children. What is “honor”? It is “high regard or great respect given, received or enjoyed.
One of the great curses upon our peoples today is that too many parents do not strive to deserve or to retain the “honor” appropriately due them from their children!
Make no mistake! Two wrongs do not make a right. Dishonorable parents – parents who mistreat and abuse their children, who do not properly provide for them, teach and educate them, give them the love, attention and affection they need – are acting dishonorably. Nevertheless, even though the parents may be breaking God’s laws toward their children, even disreputable conduct does not give the children “license” or “permission” to dishonor their parents!
The word “honor” does not connote servile obedience! It does not carry with it the requirement for children, especially when grown up to adulthood, to blindly and docily be subject to the authority of their parents for their entire adult life!
Almighty God explains this when He says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall become one flesh.”
Naturally, at the point of marriage Almighty God intended that a new and separate family unit be established. The head of this new household is no longer dependent upon his parents; no longer under their tutelage and instruction; but is now the head of his own household, and his own family.
Yet, even though he is not now required to render servile obedience to every suggestion or desire of his parents, he is under the lifelong obligation to show them honor!
Can one show one’s parents honor even if they are in disagreement?
Consider this in the light of Jesus’ prophecy concerning families. “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
“For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
“And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
“He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:34-37).
But is Jesus advocating that such individuals show their parents dishonor?
This scripture proves that a son and a father can be completely “at variance,” and even “against” each other for the sake of the work of Almighty God and the gospel of Jesus Christ, yet the command to “honour thy father and thy mother” still remains!
Jesus said such “variance” would reach into other, more distant family members, such as “daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
Later, Jesus said, “And everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
“But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first” (Matthew 19:29, 30).
Interestingly enough, only a few verses earlier in the same chapter, Jesus repeated the Fifth Commandment to the young man who asked Him of the key to eternal life.
He said, “. . . If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
“He saith unto Him, which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness,
“Honor thy father and thy mother: and, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 19:16-19).
Even though one may have to forsake brothers and sisters, father or mother, or even one’s own spouse, for the sake of the Kingdom of God and the gospel, Jesus still says one must honor his father and mother!
Thus, it becomes obvious “honor” is seen as distinctly separate from servile obedience, agreement in all things, or “being in subjection” for an entire lifetime.
The apostle Paul, writing of these family commandments, says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right.
“Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
“That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3).
Notice Paul urges children to obey their parents “in the Lord.” An obvious exception would be when parents are not “in the Lord.” Many young people have had to face this bitter choice. Any number of young people have been called into the precious knowledge of God’s truth while their parents were not.
Immediately, a major family conflict occurs. The parents believe the son or daughter may have taken up with some “strange religion,” and use every parental influence possible to dissuade their youngster from studying God’s Word, coming to “strange,” new conclusions which seem to unsettle and disturb the parents.
Many cases of record show parents have attempted to order their children to quit listening to God’s truth, quit reading articles or booklets published by God’s work, and obey the parents by discontinuing all contact with a church organization the parents feel is wrong.
In such cases, the admonition of the apostle Peter that we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) applies. Though the children may (lamentably) find themselves in disagreement with their own parents, and be forced into an adversary situation because of parental insistence they abandon their newfound beliefs, the children are always required to honor their parents!
Obviously, then, the requirement to obey the Fifth Commandment; that each living human being must always HONOR his father and his mother – honor them throughout his youth, through his adult life, and even honor their memory after they are gone – does not mean that every parent is due complete agreement, servile obedience or slavish acquiescence from the child throughout that child’s life, even up into middle age!
Consider a few extreme cases: Many of the criminals in society are, of course, parents! What if the murderers of whom you read have families? If a man who is a parent kills, robs, cheats, lies or steals, is the child to honor those acts? Of course not!
Yet, no matter what evil or illegal acts a human being may commit, God’s laws make no provision for the child to dishonor the parent!
A parent may act in the most dishonorable manner imaginable, and it is always the responsibility of the child to honor his father and his mother! It becomes plain, then, that there are occasions when a person must show that honor to a parent in spite of what the parent has done or what the parent stands for, not necessarily because of parental acts or deeds.
But do the parents have any responsibility toward their children?
Are parents required to be honorable?
Yes, they are! However, even if they do not measure up to God’s commands, even if they are acting dishonorably, the child is still required to show them honor.
God says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
Naturally, God’s laws are not suddenly “suspended” because one party or the other breaks one of the commandments!
The Fifth Commandment is a multifaceted, multilateral commandment! It embodies a broad command having to do with the relationship between parents and children, therefore including a minimum of three parties! It includes both parents and at least one child! Looking at the broad principles of God’s Word, the spirit of the Fifth Commandment and not just the letter, we can see that this commandment, like all the Word of God, is a “two-edged sword.” It is not a command aimed only at children – commanding children to be in slavish subjection to parents no matter what! It is a command to all parties; commanding parents to be honorable, and commanding children to honor their parents.
Two wrongs do not make a right. If parents are not honorable, their children are nevertheless required to honor them!
If children refuse to honor their parents, parents have no license to act dishonorably!
Again, however, what is “wrong” with this Fifth Commandment?
Why should any church organization assume this great law of God is “done away”?
A family relationship is the very essence of the Kingdom of God. God is a family of persons; the Father and the Son, a governing, ruling family, or KINGDOM, into which we must be born!
This great Fifth Commandment carries with it the obvious analogy of the requirement of all of mankind to love their heavenly Father, and to highly honor Him!
Think what the world would be like if mankind obeyed this commandment!
There would be no such thing as divorce. Honorable parents, teaching their children God’s ways and God’s laws, and in return being honored by their children, would mean tight-knit family groups, God-defined family roles, a warm, loving, mutually supportive and firmly grounded family and home environment in which children could grow up, be nurtured and taught.
Since the family is the very building block of civilization, the cornerstone of society, obedience to this commandment would virtually eradicate a monstrous amount of evil! Divorce, abandonments, desertions, family feuds and fights, parents murdering their children, children murdering their parents, husbands and wives engaged in stabbings and shoot-outs, juvenile delinquency and violence, teenage drug abuse, venereal disease, illegitimacy, runaways, the incalculable, multibillion-dollar waste and the tragedy of millions of shattered lives as a direct result of breaking the Fifth Commandment would be gone – erased – from the face of our nations!
The Fifth Commandment, if obeyed, would bring fabulous economic blessings; a stable, God-fearing, virtually crime-free society, and incalculable blessings from Almighty God!
The flagrant breaking of this commandment has virtually destroyed family life among many peoples.
The Sixth Commandment
“Thou shalt not kill.” (Exodus 20:13)
The Hebrew word used for “kill” is “rawtsach,” which means “murder.” Actually, the command should read,
“Thou shalt do no murder”!
At the giving of the Decalogue on Mount Sinai, God was dealing with the physical nation of Israel; carnal-minded, sinning human beings who were selected for His chosen nation for a great purpose they were to fulfill. He continually spoke of how they were stiff-necked and hard-hearted, rebellious, and refusing to obey His laws!
Some of the tasks God set before Israel were most unpleasant! Because of the bloody sins of the degenerate races inhabiting the lands of Palestine and its environs, God gave ancient Israel charge to utterly exterminate various of the tribal groups inhabiting these countries, such as the Hivites, Jebusites, Perizzites, the Philistines and others.
Because these degenerate, evil people were guilty of human sacrifice, perversion of every kind, idolatry, and were the carriers of terrible and dreaded scourges and diseases. Blindness, deafness, dumbness, venereal disease, leprosy – every hideous disease imaginable – was rampant among them as a result of their utter disregard for the simplest principles of cleanliness, chastity or obedience to the laws of God.
Some have wondered whether there was not a contradiction between the Sixth Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” and God’s command to Israel to utterly destroy these evil peoples.
No contradiction whatever!
In the United States of America, it is against the law to murder: However, it is not against the law for young American men and women to volunteer for service in one of the military organizations, to don a military uniform and, if called upon, to kill the enemies of the nation.
Killing, when done by constituted authority as a result of an act of Congress, is most definitely not “murder.”
By the same token, God was not prohibiting the taking of human life under certain circumstances.
As a part of the book of the law, Almighty God instituted death by stoning as the penalty for breaking any one of the Ten Commandments! Therefore, constituted authority of the nation could put to death lawbreakers – and, while this was most certainly “killing,” it was not “murder”!
The meaning of the command is clear. It is a prohibition against the taking of human life among the citizens of a physical, carnal nation, except by constituted authority.
However, notice how Jesus Christ of Nazareth makes the “letter of the law” obsolete, and defines the spiritual intent of the heart, making this commandment of God infinitely more binding!
Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, thou shalt not kill [murder]; and whosoever shall kill [murder] shall be in danger of the judgment;
“But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, raca [you vain, mindless person!] shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, thou fool, shall be in danger of Gehenna fire” (Matthew 5:21,22).
On another occasion, speaking of the Pharisees’ charge against the disciples that they ate with “ceremonially defiled hands,” Jesus explained it was not the honest “peck of dirt” one may ingest in his lifetime which “defiles the man,” but the inward thoughts of the heart.
He said, “Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
“These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man” (Matthew 15:17-20).
Notice how many of the Ten Commandments Jesus listed!
Yet, Jesus is explaining that the sin is committed when the thought forms in the mind, long before the actual deed!
Out of hatred toward a fellow human being can proceed the final act of murder!
However, both the hatred of the human heart and the terrible deed of murder break the commandment of God.
Today, murder – that ultimate, irreversible and horrifying crime of all crimes – is being committed at record-breaking, imagination-defying rates.
There are more murders in many big American cities in one year, for example, than there are in all of the United Kingdom and Scandinavia put together.
Since 1974 any male child born in the United States faces a greater likelihood of dying as the victim of a gunshot wound than did the average soldier in uniform during World War II!
The statistics on murder and attempted murder are simply mind-boggling!
And, as mentioned previously, it is doubly horrifying to see that much of the bloody toll of murder in our nations occurs within the family!
Horrifying, unbelievable examples are cited to you in your newspapers and over television news every single day!
God’s indictments against our sin-sick, rebellious, kill-crazy world are a scathing, blisteringly accurate portrayal of life exactly as it is being lived in the ’80s!
God says, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
“For men shall be lovers of their ownselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof, from such turn away”! (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
Those “perilous times” are here, now!
Violence is part and parcel of our daily way of life.
Millions of Americans live in constant fear of crime! Multimillion-dollar new businesses have sprung up providing people with a vast array of home and self-protection devices. Decorative iron grillwork, blazing outdoor lights, peepholes, special door locks, computerized light systems to turn lights on and off while a person is away on vacation, sirens, tear gas, cans of mace, handguns – the list is seemingly endless.
Thousands of home and apartment complexes have sprung up featuring armed guards at lighted security gates, and even moats, where residents can live in retirement communities with a somewhat greater feeling of security. All of this shows what perilous times these are.
Surveys have proven our peoples have a seemingly insatiable desire to fantasize about murder. Can any TV series, motion picture or novel be truly “successful” in sales unless it includes plenty of sex and violent, grisly, blood-spattered murder?
The first toy millions of Americans provide their children is a toy gun. When I was a boy, the favorite neighborhood game was “cowboys and Indians.” Then we whittled our own little toy guns out of soft pine or fir, and galloped about the neighborhood on our hobby horses, claiming to be one of our cowboy favorites we saw in the movies.
Today, however, children may be equipped with camouflage uniforms, realistic-looking helmets and other military paraphernalia, and plastic submachine guns and rifles which appear so realistic some of them have been successfully used by bank robbers in the conduct of a crime!
Not only is traffic in real weapons at an all-time high, millions of American children continue to be brought up with the notion that the ultimate solution to one’s problems is to simply “blow them away” in a hail of gunfire!
Whole books could be written about this tidal wave of crime and violence, and the direct cause and effect relationship between violence on television, in the motion pictures and other forms of entertainment, and real violence on the streets!
Perhaps one of the sickest commentaries on this whole scene was the account of an elderly lady in Las Vegas, Nevada, who sat inside her house while she heard screams and the terrible roar of gunfire just outside her door.
Later, when investigating officers knocked on the door to ask if she had witnessed the brutal gangland-type slaying which took place at her curb side, they were amazed to hear her say she had not gone to the window to look out because her favorite television show was on and she didn’t want to miss it. The show? Gunsmoke!
In describing the time of “great tribulation” which is even now developing among nations, Jesus said, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you:
and you shall be hated of all nations for My name’s sake.
“And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another”! (Matthew 24:9, 10).
In direct and flagrant defiance of Jesus Christ and His powerful Sermon on the Mount, countless numbers of professing, churchgoing “Christians” possess hatred in their hearts toward others!
The pitiful spectacle of Northern Ireland is a brutal, bloody case in point. Here, the professing “Christian” religions of Catholicism and Protestantism battle it out with arson, riotous demonstrations, screams of profanity and blasphemy, guns, knives and bombs.
The heartrending spectacle of dazed and bleeding survivors groping their way out of pubs and shops and the mangled, torn and blood-spattered bodies lying amidst the twisted rubble and broken glass are grotesque testimony to the unbridled ferocity with which so-called “Christians” can HATE!
Jesus knew no one could hate quite like a self-righteous, posturing Pharisee.
Read His scathing indictment of their self-righteous religion in Matthew 23! He called them murderers (verses 34, 35) and showed that their true attitude of heart made them hypocrites!
The apostle John was the closest of the disciples to Jesus. He was called that disciple “whom Jesus loved.”
John is shown as the one closest to Jesus Christ during the famous last supper, and it was for John to give us some of the greatest biblical instruction about love.
The theme of his letters (particularly 1 John) is love.
Notice: “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
“Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous” (1 John 3:11, 12).
John shows the motive for the world’s first murder was resentment ,jealousy and hatred. Cain actually hated himself, just as most murderers do! Yet, because of his impossible guilt feelings in the light of the righteousness of his own brother, Cain rose up and killed his brother to rid himself of the constant reminder of Cain’s own evil.
Notice! “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
“Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:14, 15).
Is the command against murder “done away”?
Every government on the earth, including primitive and savage tribes of New Guinea, the “outback” of Australia, or the darkest parts of Africa, acknowledge that murder, within the community, is a sin!
Not only is the letter of the law alive and active today, but the far more binding spiritual application of the command against killing is binding!
Believe it or not, if you hate any other human being in your heart, you are a murderer!
Shockingly, the label “murderer” applies to many Christ-professing so-called “Christian” people!
I have said for years no one quite knows how to hate like “religious” people!
This is not an indictment of all “religious” people, but the bloodstained history of major church organizations, the hideous spectacle of Jim Jones and his blind followers in Guyana, and the strife, bickering, politics, infighting, rancor, vituperation, vilifications, name-calling, blame placing, fighting, arguing of “religious” groups here and there throughout society are vivid testimony to the alacrity with which many so-called “Christians” BREAK the Sixth Commandment!
And what would the world be like if even one nation KEPT this commandment?
Almost unimaginable peace would settle over such a nation!
If there were no such thing as hatred, there would only be love!
In any society where people genuinely loved one another, there simply could BE no crime!
Workers could not make unsafe machinery, there could be no divorce, no wife beating, no desertions, abandonments, child abuse, no burglary, arson, robbery or murder!
Remember, the Sixth Commandment is a thundering command from God against the emotion of hatred toward any other human being!
What a marvelous, utopian world it would be if hatred were eradicated! What if everyone loved everyone?
Eventually, in the Kingdom of God, they will!
The Seventh Commandment
“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14)
Today, divorce outpaces marriage in many large cities! When I first began preaching on this subject over 27 years ago, I was saying, “Divorce threatens to break up every third American home!”
In spite of constant preaching on the part of many church organizations, the tidal wave of desertions, abandonments, broken homes and divorce has surged ever upward until there are more divorce decrees issued in some big cities than marriage licenses!
Is there any subject more talked of, written about, portrayed in television and the motion pictures than sex?
One may browse through any bookstore and see literally dozens of novels, documentaries, sensational revelations and other “sex-ploitation”-type books.
Hollywood personalities are unveiled as voyeurs and homosexuals, and the lurid details of their incredible number of sexual escapades are eagerly gobbled up by the readers of prurient filth by the millions!
Autobiographies sell like proverbial “hotcakes” as millions read of the dozens of trysts between this or that Hollywood actor or actress, who, it seemed, was in bed with most of the population of the town, with the conceivable exception of the mayor and chief of police!
And what of the movies? Is there any motion picture produced today which does not portray fornication, lesbianism, homosexuality, transvestitism, voyeurism, sadism and every conceivable form of sex-related crime and violence?
As in the case of every other one of the Ten Commandments, Jesus Christ of Nazareth showed the command against adultery reaches out to embrace every aspect of human sexuality – that it is a command which may be broken in the human heart, and not, alone, by the deed.
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, thou shalt not commit adultery:
“But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:27, 28).
Even this command is the subject of ribaldry, buffoonery and jesting. A recent country-and-western song, for example, features the usual lonesome “cowboy” nasally intoning that he and his would-be lover are not “really strangers” for he has already “loved her in his mind”!
The Seventh Commandment is a clear command against lust.
But lust – the blatant, unbridled, hedonistic and insatiable desire for sensual gratification which is a perverted, self-centered, incoming feeling – is one of the most commonly expressed of all human appetites!
It is fair to say that practically all advertising is skillfully designed to appeal to lust! Whether it is the shiny new car, diet pills to give you a slimmer body, juicy, mouth-watering views of attractive foods, beverages, holiday resorts or sensuous nightwear, the emphasis is always on sexuality and lust!
It is proverbial that seminudity is used to sell monkey wrenches!
Just what the sexy, sensuous girl scantily clad in a filmy negligee, slithering over the windshield and hood of the imported sports model has to do with the engineering, comfort, safety, mileage or durability of the automobile is obscure.
However, advertisers are not in the business of selling products; they are in the business of selling lust FOR the product!
As was mentioned earlier, all of the Ten Commandments “overlap.”
Thus, the command against adultery overlaps directly with the final commandment, which says, in part, “Thou shalt not covet . . . thy neighbor’s wife.” Both of these overlap with the command against idolatry (having another “god” in front of the true God), for the apostle Paul said, “Covetousness, which is idolatry”! (Colossians 3:5).
Human nature is a collection of vanity, jealousy, lust and greed!
The baser human appetites are common to human sensuality.
We are sensual, physical, carnal, flesh-and-blood human creatures who, apart from the knowledge and truth of God, would be restrained in our desire for self-gratification only by the shifting and changing mores and “rules” of a godless, lawless, nihilistic society.
Actually, the vast majority in our nations today are living in precisely that fashion! Their sexual codes are dictated only by “what is happening,” by what “everybody else is doing” and by the catch phrase “If it feels good, do it!”
But the command against adultery was God’s law to preserve marriage!
Almighty God chose marriage as a microcosm of the Kingdom of God!
When God says the partners in marriage “shall become one flesh,” He refers directly to sexual intercourse in marriage.
Almighty God designed them “male and female,” and then established lows for the sanctity and protection of that vital and foundational unit. To commit acts which destroy this basic building block of any society – which rend and tear at the very fabric of marriage – is to commit acts and deeds which are tearing down society itself!
Since World War II, moral standards have changed dramatically in the United States.
There are many causes for the morals toboggan slide of our societies; socio-economic pressures, the “future shock” syndrome, the subtle and insistent voice of entertainment, the liberalizing of religion and social standards, drug abuse – all these and many other causes could be listed for the incredible effects with which we presently must live.
Look at our nations from God’s perspective.
Rampant homosexuality and “gay rights” activists have burst upon the scene with torchlight marches, demonstrations, rallies and proven political clout.
In many big cities the so-called “closet queens” wield real political power.
How like ancient Sodom and Gomorrah, which Almighty God destroyed by fire and brimstone from heaven!
Make no mistake! The Seventh Commandment is a very broad command applying to any form of sexual sins, whether in or out of marriage. Of homosexuality, God says, “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
“Who changed [exchanged] the truth of God into [for] a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections:
For even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
“Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
“Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
“Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful,
“Who knowing the judgment of God [ordinance, or laws of God], that they which commit such things ARE WORTHY OF DEATH, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”!
Notice! Here is a vast list of human sins, including many direct and flagrant violations of the Ten Commandments! However, notice such things as envy, deceit, “whispering,” and being implacable and unmerciful are placed in the same categories!
The penalty for these things? Death!
Perversion, homosexuality and deviate sexual practices are soundly condemned of God in the Bible! No amount of political activism, gay rights demonstrations, political power, legislation, or a never-ending stream of thousands of books sanctioned by the courts of our land is ever going to change the divine decree of God!
Consider our society the way it really is:
- Every sixth American male has homosexual tendencies.
- Approximately 30 percent of all men will experience sexual impotency at some time; the causes are manifold, but only a tiny percent is truly physical.
- Only a small percentage of marriages are truly “happy,” and yet even these will experience some sexual dysfunction now and then.
- Sexual experimentation reaches into the early elementary grades, and at least 20 percent of those barely reaching teenage have sexual experience.
- About half of all those in the upper years of high school are actively committing fornication and other sex acts.
- Ten percent of all teenage girls between the ages of 15 and 19 become pregnant, and over half of all teenage marriages are the result of premarital pregnancies.
- About eight out of 10 of these hasty marriages break up within only a few years, and of all teenage marriages about half are torn apart by divorce within five years.
- The unwanted children from these illicit situations are likely to end up as antisocial, hostile, suffering every conceivable physical, mental and social disorder. Often they are physically abused by young, untrained and uncaring parents.
- Tremendous numbers of children are sexually abused, either by a relative, by parents themselves or friends of the family.
- Venereal disease is second only behind communicable colds and flus among teenagers! New, virulent strains of VD similar to “shingles,” and called a form of “herpes,” are now become epidemic among youths. And it is said to be completely incurable!
Yet, only small percentages of those with VD among teenagers have real comprehension of the disease.
All of the foregoing represents a monumental attack against the institution of marriage!
The Seventh Commandment is the “marriage protecting” commandment.
If it were obeyed, in the spiritual application as it applies to all sexual promiscuity, our nations would be rid of an incalculable amount of suffering, disease and death!
Again, what’s “wrong” with this commandment?
True, it flies in the face of human sensual appetites. True, it is largely ignored and rejected by society in general.
However, Jesus Christ magnified the Seventh Commandment, making it far more binding by saying that the thought of adultery is sin!
Ponder the question: “What would our Western civilizations be like if everyone kept this Seventh Commandment?”
First, no divorce! No desertions, runaways or abandonments. No wife abuse. Families would be held together as tight-knit social units, the very building blocks of civilization.
With such solid family units, all of society would greatly benefit! Productivity, physical and mental health, vibrant economies, an absence of sickness, disease and death; the list would go on and on.
The great blessings which would come upon any nation keeping even one of the Ten Commandments of God are incalculable.
Almighty God intends that marriages be lifted to a “God-plane” level! The apostle Paul had much to say about the state of marriage, showing it was analogous to the relationship between Christ and the church! (Ephesians 5:21-33).
Therefore, Almighty God called unfaithfulness toward Him on the part of His nation Israel “adultery,” or fornication!
Read Ezekiel 16! In this chapter you see the picture of a beautiful young woman (Israel) who committed “whoredoms,” which God uses as an analogy to show how His people had depended upon political and military alliances, instead of depending upon God. Read Ezekiel 23! Here are two sisters, “Aholah and Aholibah,” portrayed as Samaria and Jerusalem, meaning the northern l0-tribed house of Israel and the southern House of Judah.
God says, “And Aholah played the harlot when she was Mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbours . . .” (Ezekiel 23:5).
The entire chapter is given over to God’s judgments on the sins of these two nations, which are portrayed as young wives who left their legitimate husband and sold themselves to their “lovers.”
God said, “Then said I unto her that was old in adulteries, Will they now commit whoredoms with her, and she with them?
“Yet they went in unto her, as they go in unto a woman that playeth the harlot; so they went in unto Aholah and Aholibah, the lewd women.
“And the righteous men, they shall judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women that shed blood; because they are adulteresses, and blood is in their hands . . .” (Ezekiel 23:43-45).
God had said, “I became an husband unto them,” showing that the covenant God made with Israelis analogous to a marriage.
It is obvious the Seventh Commandment is strongly supported throughout Scripture! Obviously, it is not “done away.” Again, “what is wrong” with the Seventh Commandment? Absolutely nothing! It is given for the good of all mankind – from a loving God!
It is for the preservation of marriage; for the good of all mankind, and for the sanctity and protection of the family unit.
It is actively binding upon mankind today!
The Eighth Commandment
“Thou shalt not steal.” (Exodus 20:15)
Thievery, cheating, stealing, burglary, robbery, purse snatchings, muggings – all are commonplace in our increasingly violence-prone society!
Most stealing comes from lust.
Consider your own home environment. What about that bulging wad of keys you carry in your pocket or purse? What about the locks you must keep on your home, sheds and garages, your automobile, bicycles, motorcycles and practically everything else?
When you go to the neighborhood supermarket, you may be unaware of the little television cameras slowly rotating throughout the store, the rounded mirrors giving the clerk a bird’s-eye view of all the aisles and corners, and other antishoplifting devices. They are there because shoplifting – meaning the breaking of the Eighth Commandment, which brings the death penalty – is engaged in like a “sport” by millions today!
Losses by supermarkets and big department stores soar up into the hundreds of millions, and the total loss in the United States through theft alone soars into the billions of dollars each year!
The greatest season during which shoplifting causes enormous losses to retailers is the greatest “Christian” holiday of the year, Christmastime!
During the season of “the spirit of giving,” it seems hundreds of thousands of shoppers, and tens of thousands of clerks, are more interested in the spirit of getting! Getting illegally, by stealing!
Police statistics on the amount of “petty theft,” pilferage and shoplifting are simply staggering.
Look at the various categories of crime, and see how the Eighth Commandment is broken so flagrantly.
Automobile theft ranks as one of the largest crimes in our society. Crime rings have been revealed wherein professional crooks steal automobiles, drive them to another state where they are repainted, serial numbers changed or altered, new license plates installed, and then the cars are resold.
Theft of aircraft, boats, motorcycles, trailers, practically anything that isn’t anchored down is enormous.
And why this avalanche of stealing?
It is traceable to unbridled human lust, a desire to have what a person has not earned, not worked for, not produced and cannot (or will not) pay for!
Even in corporate business, executives at the management level have admitted in surveys that more than 90 percent of them got where they were “dishonestly.”
Stealing is an ugly sin. Reaching out one’s hand to take something which does not belong to that person is an embarrassing, shocking, ugly deed!
Have you ever stolen? Have you ever had something stolen from you? Probably, if you are completely honest, the answer is yes in both cases!
What teenager did not, at one time or another, try to “swipe some marbles” from the five-and-dime? How many have never stolen a hubcap? How many have never chortled at their escapades in the neighbor’s watermelon patch, laughed at their expertise in eluding the “cops” after they siphoned someone’s gas, or gleefully recounted how the clerk gave them more change than they deserved?
Thieving takes many forms. How many employees freely and cheerfully use equipment, machinery, gasoline, paper clips, envelopes, stationery, stamps or other materials on their job sites?
How many people attempt to “cut corners” on their federal income tax returns, cheerfully (because they feel they “have it coming”) stealing from Uncle Sam?
There are millions of Americans who would not think of sitting down with a known burglar for dinner. Yet, those same millions will cheerfully recount how they got the better of their neighbor in a deal, sold a practically worthless item for great price as if it were a priceless antique, cheated on their income tax or managed to get the better of someone in a financial deal.
Let’s face it – we all know we are living in a civilization where practically anyone including our closest friends and even our own children may be given to stealing!
But reaching out the hand to take that which you have not earned and does not belong to you is a capital SIN, punishable by death!
God inspired Paul to say, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth”!
Stealing, like any other sin, can he repented of! Just as Jesus said to the woman caught in the very act of adultery, “Go and sin no more,” so the apostle Paul instructs, “Steal no more”!
In our society of an endless array of glittering gadgets, devices, manufactured commodities, toys and attractive products, it is easy for people to begin to lust after hundreds of items they don’t need and can’t afford.
Is there a day in our lives when the constant flow of all these goods around us – the shop windows filled with beautiful things, the TV commercials blaring at us that we should “save” by spending our money for this or that – does not, subtly, tug at the back of your mind and cause you to say, “1 wish I had that”?
One of the best portrayals of this I have ever seen was in an issue of Mad magazine one of my sons showed me. There were several pages of illustrations which showed a typical American family of four, with father, mother, son and daughter standing before the endless array of manufactured goods, screaming at the top of their lungs, “I WANT!”
Typical of this attitude is what you see on some of the television game shows.
As the voice of the off-camera announcer soars up, excitedly talking of the prizes to be won on this particular game show, the drapes are whisked back and there, shining in its new coat of paint, is the latest imported sports model automobile! When the announcer says, at the top of his lungs. the contestant has won this “NEW CAR!” the person who has won the prize almost faints with excitement! People jump up and down, clap their hands in glee, utter incomprehensible monosyllabic sounds, scream, cry, whirl about, clap their hands over their faces, roll their eyes wildly, gasp in amazement and in other ways act just about like Fido on a leash confronted with a two-pound New York steak after a three-day fast!
This example of the unbridled lust for the possession of things is shown, every day, on various of the TV game shows.
Remember, human nature is vanity, jealousy, lust and greed! GREED, the insatiable desire for more of everything, is a driving force in the hearts and minds of many individuals.
It is found in every stratum of society.
The “Abscam” revelations of congressmen taking kickbacks certainly prove that!
Unfortunately, this flagrant double standard practiced by public officials leads to the practice of excusing crime on the part of the layman.
The average person seems convinced no one is honest, that everyone is “on the take.” And millions justify themselves in dishonest acts by saying they are only doing what everyone else is doing.
Many cynics say the only difference between crooks and “honest” people is that the crooks were the ones who got caught.
While two wrongs do not make a right and one evil deed does not justify or excuse another, one can understand how powerful an influence it is – and when vaunted public officials are found taking kickbacks, embezzling and lying – for average citizens to justify their own illegal behavior, saying, “Even members of Congress do it!”
A comment on the crookedness of society is found in the example of the two burglars who, upon returning to their car with their stolen TV set, discovered “some dirty crook” had stolen their tires!
The breaking of the commandment against stealing is one of the most common of all crimes – indulged in by millions. But it is not merely a “crime” against neighbor or society; it is sin, and the penalty is death!
What is “wrong” with a law commanding mankind not to steal? Obviously nothing. Is it “done away”? Obviously not. The Ten Commandments are in living force and effect today.
Again, let your mind imagine what the world would be like if everyone were perfectly honest. What if there were no locks, keys, security devices, armed guards?
Why, the nations could do away with prisons and jails, reform schools and detention homes; all police and law enforcement agencies could be disbanded. Countless billions of dollars in lost labor, goods and services could be saved. Society would be a happy, safe place to live!
What a righteous command! “Thou shalt not steal!”
The Ninth Commandment
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” (Exodus 20:16)
This is a broad, all-encompassing commandment against the capital sin of lying! The commandment could well read, “”Thou shalt not carry false tales, minimize, distort, exaggerate or speak anything but the truth.”
Lying is part and parcel of our modern civilization. In many societies, lying is considered an art, and millions engage in it with skillful alacrity.
Jesus addressed the principle covered by this commandment in the Sermon on the Mount.
He said, “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
“But I say unto you, swear not at all: neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:
“Nor by the earth; for it is His footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great king.
“Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
“But let your communication be, yea, yea; nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of the evil one [margin]” (Matthew 5:33-37).
Actually, this command overlaps two of the Ten Commandments. It refers more directly to “taking the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (swearing by heaven, or by God’s throne) than it does in carrying false tales or bearing false witness against one’s neighbor, but Jesus makes it clear that anything other than the simple truth – a straightforward and simple “yes” or “no” in response to an honest question – comes “from the evil one,” from Satan the devil!
Is there any biblical principle any more firmly emphasized, repetitiously urged, sternly taught or constantly upheld than the principle of truth?
Jesus said, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Part of the very character of the Eternal God Almighty is “faithfulness and truth.” See Numbers 23:19; Joshua 21:45; 1Kings 8:56; Psalm 19:9, 105:8; Matthew 24:35; and especially Hebrews 6:18!
God’s Word says it is impossible for God to lie! When God gave His righteous and holy laws to ancient Israel, He was establishing the fundamental guidelines for the conduct of a godly, wholesome, healthy and happy society.
If Israel would obey even the physical letter of those righteous and holy laws, God’s nation would receive untold and unimaginable blessings!
God’s law was the veritable charter of the nation! From its broad principles every conceivable aspect of human behavior, societal relations and interpersonal exchanges could be lawfully and peacefully regulated.
In many ways, the Ninth Commandment is a linchpin to many of the other commandments. For example, within the community of Israel, if one had broken the command against stealing, against murder, against adultery or against idolatry, the punishment was death by stoning!
Almighty God caused Moses to set a group of “judges” in place to hear the grievances of the people, and to render judgment.
God said, “Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the Eternal thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.
“Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift [bribe]: for a gift [bribe] doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words [cause] of the righteous.
“That which is altogether just [honest] shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the Eternal thy God giveth thee” (Deuteronomy 16:18, 19).
When individuals within the community observed a crime, meaning the breaking of one of the points of the Ten Commandments or one of the written or oral “judgments” (having to do with everything from inheritances, landmarks, dangerous cattle or safety measures around a man’s property), the only way the judges could determine the truth was by questioning witnesses.
Read Deuteronomy 17!
God showed that, in the case of the discovery of idolatry, “then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which has committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shall stone them with stones, till they die.
“At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
“The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you” (Deuteronomy 17:5-7).
Being a witness, even by accident, to a capital sin meant the individual who had witnessed such acts would not only be the key “material witness” causing the punishment of death for the individual who had so sinned, but the witness had to be the first to cast the stones that would kill the person judged as guilty.
Thus, if two or three conspired to deliberately become “false witnesses” to illegally put a neighbor to death, they would not only be breaking the commandment against “false witness,” but would be forced through the legal system under Moses to directly commit the act of murder!
Probably, God insisted the witnesses themselves throw the first stones as a deterrent to false witnessing! It might have been one thing to lie about a neighbor, but quite another thing to pick up a rock and kill him.
Because of the enormity of responsibility upon a witness, God placed the sin of deliberately lying on a par with murder, or any other capital crime!
Remember, a human being is only as good as his word. If a man’s word is no good, the man is no good! The Proverbs are laden with dozens of examples of tattling, gossip, exaggeration, lies, whisperings, slander, falsehood, false witnessing and sins involving word of mouth.
Some examples: “A tale bearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter” (Proverbs 11:13).
“The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.
“The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood:
but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them” (Proverbs 12:5, 6).
“He that speaketh truth showeth forth righteousness:
but a false witness deceit.
“There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword:
but the tongue of the wise is health.
“The lip of truth shall be established forever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment . . . Lying lips are an abomination to the Eternal: hut they that deal truly are His delight” (Proverbs 12:17-22).
“A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies” (Proverbs 14:5).
“A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies” (Proverbs 14:25).
“A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue” (Proverbs 17:4).
“The words of a tale bearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body” (Proverbs 18:8).
“A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly” (Proverbs 21:28).
This is but a sampling of the many admonitions in the Word of God concerning truthfulness.
The sin of hypocrisy is breaking the broad principle of the Ninth Commandment.
Jesus continually took issue with the self-righteous Pharisees, urging His disciples to “beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy”! (Luke 12:1).
When Jesus answered the outraged Jews who sought to kill Him, He said, “Why do you not understand My speech? Even because ye cannot hear My word.
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, be speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
“And because I tell you the truth, ye believe Me not.
“Which of you convinceth Me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe Me?” (John 8:34-35).
Jesus Christ was truth personified! On trial for His life before Pilate, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world:
if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is My kingdom not from hence.”
“Pilate therefore said unto Him, art thou a king then? Jesus answered, thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I unto the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth My voice.
“Pilate said unto Him, what is truth?” (John 18:36-38). Notice! Pilate did not ask, “What is the truth?” meaning what was the truth about the current situation. His helpless utterance was the direct result of the pagan teachings received at the feet of his pagan Roman teachers.
The great philosophers of the time, whose works are still the vaunted building blocks of much of this world’s “education” (Socrates, Plato, Epictetus, etc.), had led this exalted Roman officer to the futile question, “What is truth?”
Look at this world of lies.
History is largely lies. History is grossly different from country to country, and, it is admitted among educators, history is “largely interpretive.” That is, historians tend to interpret various aspects of history according to their own national self-interest.
Thus, the history books of Japan, Germany, England and the United States are graphically different when it comes to World War II!
You live in a world of lies. Most advertising is outright lying, gross exaggeration, minimization, distortion, half-truths, insinuations and falsehoods.
How much of what you feel you “know” – that sum total of “knowledge” that has come into your mind since you were born – is really truth?
Many are shocked to look into the inspired Word of God and find they have a good deal of unlearning ahead of them. How surprised are thousands to find they have been lied to by religious teachers throughout their lives!
How utterly confounded many are when they discover the Bible teaches almost the exact opposite of what they had been told in their earlier religious experience!
Is there any profession wherein lies can be more abundantly found than that of the clergy?
Why should there be so many religions, and more than 400 bickering, arguing, disagreeing Protestant churches, denominations and sects?
Look at government – and you are seeing classic examples of glossing over the facts, distorting the truth, telling only part of the story, or just outright lying.
Take a look at the world around you, if you can, from God’s perspective!
Advertising is mostly lies. Entertainment is mostly lies. Much of literature is filled with lies. A lot of your education consisted of lies. Is it any wonder millions of people are practiced, skillful, accomplished, dedicated, determined, self-willed liars?
You’ve heard the old expression “He/she would tell a lie when the truth would do better”?
Believe it or not, there are those who are such habitual liars they probably would not know the truth if it walked up to them and knocked them down!
One of the cleverest illustrations which serves to emphasize our society of lies was found in the “Li’l Abner” comic strip some years ago. The creator of the strip, Al Capp, invented the “bald iggle” (bald eagle).
This baleful, bald-domed little creature would suddenly appear before people. fixing them with his doleful eyes, and the effect of his stare was to cause them to immediately tell the truth!
In one hilarious scene after another Al Capp’s imaginative pen skillfully performed cutting surgery into the heart of much of the pretense that makes up society.
A cluster of women would be animatedly discussing the upcoming cocktail party when the “bald iggle” would suddenly appear among them. Instantly, each one began saying what she really thought of the other’s dress, hair style, makeup or general character. As you might imagine, after the first few salvos what had been a pleasant tea party degenerated into a squalling, hair-pulling, knock-down-drag-out cat fight!
Pompous businessmen, clapping one another on the back and speaking lying inanities, would suddenly be confronted with the “bald iggle,” only to begin speaking the truth, what they really felt about each other, or their discussion, and a fist fight would ensue!
Al Capp’s point was that the truth is rarely spoken in our lying society; and, further, that when it is, it is almost certainly sure to cause trouble!
Read the third chapter of James! This resounding chapter of God’s Word is an enormous indictment against the sin-sick human tongue.
It shows how the very course of nature is “set on fire” by the lying ,words of a foul, false, sinful mouth!
Study that third chapter of James! It is New Testament teaching about how truthful every human being ought to be!
The apostle Paul said, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another . . . Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers . . .
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:25-32).
In one of the most powerful indictments in all the Bible, the apostle John was inspired to write, in the very last chapter of the Bible, “For without [outside the Kingdom of God, as depicted by the holy city] are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolators, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie”! (Revelation 22:15).
Many people are habitual liars! Embellishing stories, exaggerations, minimizations, colorful additions which didn’t really take place, are the “salt and pepper” that flavor their conversation! Many people are such habitual liars they do so unconsciously. Lying – “stretching the truth,” or telling what people refer to as “little white lies” – is such a part of their very character they are oblivious to the fact they are doing it!
However, they are committing sin, and a sin which is punishable by death unless they repent of breaking this commandment of God!
Again, what’s “wrong” with the Ninth Commandment?
Obviously, nothing! There is everything right with each man “speaking the truth with his neighbor.”
Can your mind envision what a world it would be if only the truth were spoken by government, industry, business, the medical profession, the military, among and between nations, races and most especially by religion?
Obedience to this one command only would revolutionize all of civilization as we know it!
While it is hard to imagine in our lying, distorted world, the time is coming, probably in our lifetimes, when God establishes His Kingdom on this earth, and when only the truth will be spoken!
The Tenth Commandment
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour’s.” (Exodus 20:17)
Human nature is vanity, jealousy, lust and greed. Human nature is egocentric, self-centered and solely concerned with pleasing the self.
As sensory human beings, we are creatures endowed with five senses. Each one of those senses, whether sight, hearing, taste, smell or the ability to feel, is completely physical.
It is only through the channels of those five senses that knowledge enters our brain.
By inducting information into the brain through the senses, we accumulate what we call “knowledge” and “experience.”
However, all of this “knowledge” is carnal knowledge.
That is, it is knowledge which is obtained through human sensory perceptions, and is utterly devoid of spiritual quality.
God says “the heart [the human mind] is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked [sick]; who can know it?
“I the Eternal search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:9,10).
Most of us do not like to admit the real truth about human nature!
Mankind tries to see “good” in human nature. Philosophers, sociologists and clergymen speak of the “goodness” of humankind.
But the Word of God makes it very clear that, while man wants to appear “good,” and he wants to BE “good,” he does not want to do good!
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).
What? What does this mean? Why does God say “neither indeed can be”? This scripture tells us that man cannot be truly subject to the laws and commandments of God on his own.
Human nature wants to “appear” right – wants to put the best foot forward and act as if it is good; God’s Word says it is evil, “desperately wicked,” and cannot be subject to the laws of God!
It is only through repentance (Acts 2:38) and the process of conversion (Acts 3:19, Romans 12:1, 2) that one can truly become subject to the laws of God.
The Tenth Commandment is the commandment against human nature, as it were. Since one of the very attributes of human nature is coveting – an incoming, ego-centric, self-seeking desire to have – the Tenth Commandment strikes directly at the very heart of human carnality!
Notice again how detailed Almighty God makes this command against coveting.
He lists such things as our neighbors’ homes, wives, servants (or employees), cattle – or any other possessions!
God’s Word makes it dear that “thy neighbor” is not restricted to the individual living next door, or just across the street. “Thy neighbor” means any other fellow human being on the face of the whole earth.
What are the motives which drive most human beings?
They are the motives of success, importance, money, fame and a desire to have.
Coveting comes as naturally to human beings as breathing. The profiteering, competitive motive of “keeping up with the Joneses,” or “getting ahead,” is what drives humankind. No single word better describes our sin-sick modern space-age world than the word “materialism.” While the disparity between “have” and “have-not” nations is wide and growing wider, it is nevertheless true that, in our Western societies, millions of human beings have never had it so good. Millions live amidst an outpouring of manufactured goods and commodities such as has never been seen from creation until now.
The status symbols of success are beautiful homes, expensive clothing, personal jewelry, exotic travel, expensive automobiles, exclusive club membership, and the possession of things.
Millions exhaust themselves, often sacrificing peace of mind, successful marriages, good physical health and a wholesome life on the altar of covetousness; striving frantically to achieve the status they crave in this world’s society! That “status” is based largely on what other human beings think. Craving the approbation and approval of people is one of the most important motivating forces which drive men and women to “success.” Ego, vanity, a desperate desire to be “well thought of” is the real driving force behind many a “successful” person. Oftentimes, such egocentric drives are the direct result of deep-seated feelings of inferiority. Many “successful” men have felt, in their heart of hearts. totally inadequate. deeply inferior failures! Fear of ridicule, fear of failure, has been a driving force which has catapulted any number to the “success” they coveted.
The Tenth Commandment brings the laws of God full circle. for the Tenth Commandment directly overlaps the first! Notice! “Mortify [put to death] therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, WHICH IS IDOLATRY”! (Colossians 3:5).
The all-encompassing lust for things, for material success, or for fame, becomes a god! Anything which comes between you and the true God is an idol. That idol can be beautiful homes, double ovens, sleek automobiles, fine clothing, fabulous vacations arid exotic trips, or, in short, anything of a material nature which demands your attention, absorbs your interest and occupies your mind!
You live in a wholly materialistic society. The pursuit of materialistic values is idolatry! Men have placed “things” above God!
Thus, it is not only petty cheats, crooks and thieves who lust longingly for the possessions of their neighbors who break the Tenth Commandment, but all of society which is continually breaking this law, for human nature tends toward covetousness!
Is there anything “wrong” with this commandment? Is there anything illegal, “ceremonial” or “Mosaic” about such a law? Jesus Christ magnified this final commandment when He said, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, 0 ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:25-34).
Notice Jesus says our first goal should be the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all these “things” shall be added!
And what would the world be like if the Tenth Commandment were observed? Without coveting, there could be no stealing. There would be no such thing as adultery, for “coveting thy neighbor’s wife” would necessarily precede adultery. The entirety of society would be changed. The entire economic structure of the world would be different. The profit motive, self-seeking, struggling to “succeed,” striving for advantage, trying to “get ahead,” would no longer be the all-consuming, driving force which fuels “ambition” in millions of minds.
Rather, the avaricious cunning, swelling desire, lustful greed and covetousness of the human heart would be replaced with an outgoing feeling of concern for others; a desire to serve, give, share, help; an outgoing motive of love!
Can We Earn Salvation?
Think about what you have read. The Ten Commandments were in full force and effect long prior to Moses. They were written with the very finger of God; the member of the God family who became Jesus Christ of Nazareth (John 1; Hebrews 1), and they were most certainly not “nailed to the cross.”
Jesus said if you will enter into life “keep the commandments”! (Matthew 19:17). The apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good”! (Romans 7:12). John wrote, “And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments”!
“He that saith, I know Him and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not him him” (1 John 2:3,4).
“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22).
“And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He has given us” (1 John 3:24).
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous”! (1 John 5:2, 3).
From Genesis to Revelation, Almighty God enjoins His commandments upon mankind (see Genesis 26:5, Revelation 22:14).
The end-time church – the remnant of God’s own people still doing the work of God right up until the time of the second coming of Jesus Christ – are described, in the book of Revelation, as “. . . the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ”! (Revelation 12:17).
In the very last chapter of the Bible, God says, “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).
Remember, sin is the transgression of the law (the Ten Commandments)! (1 John 3:4). All have sinned, meaning all, including you and me, have broken the Ten Commandments!
When we repent of sin (Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19), we are deeply broken up and sorry over having broken God’s law!
With the heart, we render contrition and sorrow before God, and with the mind, we determine never to sin (break the Ten Commandments) any more!
Can keeping the Ten Commandments of God “earn” salvation?
No! A thousand times no! Keeping the Ten Commandments perfectly (which you cannot do) for 100 lifetimes of 100 years each could never “earn” salvation!
Salvation is the free, loving gift of God! It is because ‘we have sinned that Christ died!
“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners [breakers of the Ten Commandments!] Christ died for us.”
After we accept the blood of Jesus Christ on behalf of our sins (infractions against God’s Ten Commandments), we are “justified”! Justification has to do with the removal of past guilt. It means we are “made right” in God’s sight; “brought back,” “redeemed” from sin!
Notice! “Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him”! (Romans 5:8, 9).
The blood of Jesus Christ forgives our past transgressions! Now we are not to sin any more. meaning we are no longer to break the Ten Commandments!
“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life”! (Romans 5:10).
The keeping of God’s righteous, holy, sacred law is required of all mankind. It is the starting place.
While we might experience the automatic blessings that come with obedience, we can never, in any number of lifetimes of any number of years, “earn” salvation. But God’s free, loving grace; His forgiveness for past sins, does not remove from us the obligation to quit sinning – meaning quit breaking the Ten Commandments, and start keeping them!
Usually, churches of this world have no special quarrel with any of the Ten Commandments except the fourth! They bridle in anger, argue, write endless articles and books, preach endless sermons and struggle frantically to find any excuse to keep from observing God’s holy Sabbath day!
Just as in the case of ancient Israel, the Sabbath day is God’s great TEST commandment! It is not all that “difficult” for most Christians to avoid stealing, lying and bearing false witness, or bowing down before an idol. It is very difficult for those having jobs (such as civil service jobs, or working for federal agencies) which require them to work on “Saturday,” which is God’s Sabbath.
You have read the words of this booklet. You are now responsible for what you have read. You have read the very words of God, from your own Bible! You have seen proved, with your own eyes, that the Ten Commandments of God are to be kept!
Are you – yes, You – now willing to keep them?
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This publication is intended to be used as a personal study tool. Please know it is not wise to take any man’s word for anything, so prove all things for yourself from the pages of your own Bible.
The activities of the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association are paid for by tithes, offerings and donations freely given by Christians and co-workers who are dedicated to preaching the gospel according to Jesus Christ.