When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he brought with Him the two stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written by the hand of G-d. Here in America, we have the Ten Commandments all over the place. They are in courtrooms all across this country. Many people have them hanging in their homes. They are in churches, businesses, and even in a few colleges (yes, really). You can pick up an artistic copy of them in most department stores. Many Americans are highly offended when some “separation of church and state” group takes legal action to have them removed. If you grew up in church, you know the Ten Commandments. However, the church approaches the commandments from a distance. That is, they don’t really teach them individually. You’ll never see a class or a sermon on any one of the commandments. They are the Ten Commandments and that’s it, almost like a singular thing. This approach is too simplistic.
Of the ten, they only focus on a few. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not commit adultery. They mention the others, but they don’t teach them. They don’t keep the Sabbath, and they really shouldn’t. But that’s a different lesson. You don’t have to be in a church for long to see that it is filled with covetousness. Many overlook it, but it’s there. Typically, the more well-to-do are in leadership positions. The general membership, while looking up to them, covet their positions and their closeness to the pastor.
There is a major contradiction within the church that is overlooked, even denied vehemently. The church teaches that the law of Moses was fulfilled and as such, there is no obligation to adhere to it. So why do they hold the Ten Commandments in such high regard? It is as though they don’t realize that the commandments and the law are the same.
There are six hundred and thirteen commandments in the Torah. The Ten Commandments are something like categories under which the others can all be placed. For example, here is a list of four separate commandments. Each of these can be placed under the category “3You shall not have the gods of others in My presence.” (Exodus 20:3)
- Not to worship idols in the manner they are worshiped
- Not to bow down to idols
- Not to make an idol for yourself
- Not to make an idol for others
All of the other commandments can be placed under one of the ten. For a list of all 613 commandments, follow this link 613 Commandments. As you look through the list, ask yourself how is it that Paul said no one could follow them? They don’t look very difficult. Be honest with yourself. Do you believe they can’t be followed because they look hard or because Paul said so?
It is said that the Ten Commandments are the basis for our laws today. In truth, some of them are similar. The difference is our intention. Most of us will never kill someone. But what is the reason behind it? Do we not kill because we believe it’s wrong, because we might go to jail, or because G-d said not to do it? The last reason is the only acceptable answer if your intention is to keep the commandment. Your personal thoughts about right and wrong are irrelevant. They vary from person to person. G-d’s word does not vary, so this reason is not good enough. If the only reason you do not kill is to avoid going to jail, you have not fulfilled the commandment in any way. You are thinking of yourself and not doing the commandment. It comes down to this. Are you doing it to serve G-d or yourself?
The first commandment is, 2 “I am the Lord, your God, Who took you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” This commandment tells us two things. First, that He is our G-d. Secondly, it is telling us to whom He is speaking. “Who took you out of the land of Egypt“. Whom did G-d take out of Egypt? The children of Israel. So, the commandments are for the Hebrew people. They are not for anyone else. If they were, He would have said so. There are places, such as the commandment to keep Shabbat, where certain parts to apply to others. Here we see that strangers within the city are also to refrain from working. This only applies to them as long as they are within a city in Israel. Once they leave, it does not apply to them. The obligation is really for the Jew to ensure that the stranger does not do any work. He isn’t talking to the stranger but to the Israelites.
The title of this article is, Do You Keep the Ten Commandments. If you are Jewish, I hope you do. If you are not, you should not be saying that you keep them. You actually can’t. For example, do you know how to keep Sabbath? Do you know what constitutes work on Sabbath? If you are like most non-Jewish people, you probably don’t. That’s fine. You can still have a great respect for the Creator and His Commandments. There’s nothing wrong with that. For you, though He did give a list of Commandments. There are only seven and you, most likely, already keep most of them.
These seven laws come from various places in the book of Genesis. Because they were given to Noah, they have come to be called the Noahide Laws. It is understood that G-d gave these laws for all humankind. Just as the Ten Commandments are categories, the Noahide Laws are also categories. They are:
- Do not murder.
- Do not steal.
- Do not worship false gods.
- Do not be sexually immoral.
- Do not eat a limb removed from a live animal.
- Do not curse God.
- Set up courts and bring offenders to justice.
If you look closely at these, you will see that they can be placed into three categories; our relationship with G-d; our relationship with other people; our relationship with animals. This is a basic set of laws by which all humans should live. Other religions place more rules for people to follow. The Bible only places extra laws for Israel. That is because Israel is to be a light to the nations. They are to be the example for the rest of the world. When others see Israel acting as they are supposed to act, they will see it and look for meaning in their own lives. This does not mean everyone must, or even should, convert to Judaism. One can live a good and productive life without conversion.
The biggest problem people have is with the law concerning the worship of false gods. This includes Christianity. Many Christians believe they are following the G-d of Israel but they are not. There are too many reasons to list here to prove this fact but suffice it to say, the G-d of Israel is one and not three, or three parts of a whole. Please see some of the other posts on this blog to confirm this point.
The Ten Commandments are a great list of laws. But they are not for everyone to follow. They are for Israel and Israel only. That’s a good thing for everybody else. You only have to keep seven, and most of them are already well engrained into our society.
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