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Sunday, February 12, 2012

My studies on the 10 Commandments

(I wrote this a year or two ago)

Can someone please show me where we get the idea that the 10 Commandments are separate from the rest of the laws given to Moses & that they still apply to us? The only difference I can see is that one was written on stone tablets while one was written in a book. They were both specifically given to the children of Israel then placed in/on the side of the ark of the covenant.So why do we pick certain texts that mention "law" and say that these texts refer to Moses' law while these other texts over here refer to the 10 Commandments? I know there must be some Biblical evidence, but I haven't been able to find it yet, so I'm asking you. Do you know where it is?I thought that surely the Hebrew or Greek words for law or commandments showed some difference between them, but from what I found, it groups them all together. For those who are interested -The Greek word for commandments is "entole" or "entalma" or "entollomai" or "paraggelia". (Look it up - don't take my word for it) According to the PC Study Bible, it defines it as this:

entole (en-tol-ay'); from NT:1781; injunction, i.e. an authoritative prescription:

KJV - commandment, precept.

entalma (en'-tal-mah); from NT:1781; an injunction, i.e. religious precept:

KJV - commandment.

entellomai (en-tel'-lom-ahee); from NT:1722 and the base of NT:5056; to enjoin:

KJV - (give) charge, (give) command (-ments), injoin.

paraggelia (par-ang-gel-ee'-ah); from NT:3853; a mandate:

KJV - charge, command.

I'm not into word play or anything like that, but I do believe we should know what the words mean, especially if we base our doctrines & beliefs on it. I don't see a single thing that specifies these are referring to the 10 Commandments in the definitions of the Greek. It is talking about commands given by God. Yes, that included the 10 Commandments, but he commanded so many more things than just that.

Matt. 5:17-19 - Adventists use this to prove the 10 Commandments are God's law, but taking the Greek words I don't see that at all. The "law" it refers to is defined as the whole of Moses' law according to the concordance & definition of the word used. This is a great text to study, by the way. Immediately after these it starts listing some of God's commands. Thou shalt not kill & thou shalt not commit adultery are clearly part of the 10 Commandments. But He then lists divorce & forswearing oaths & "an eye for an eye" & suing, etc. which are clearly not part of the 10 Commandments.

Matt. 15:9 in its context references honoring father & mother which is part of the 10 Commandments.

Matt. 19:17 in its context references most of the 10 Commandments.

Matt. 22:40 in its context references all the law & the prophets (again, the definition of the word is Moses entire laws, not just the 10 Commandments) and summarizes them as love.

I could go on - this is just the beginning, but I think you can see that the references are not only to the 10 Commandments.

John 15:10, 12

10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Mark 12:29 - Greatest commandments = Love God & love your neighbor.

I would love to find a Greek word for the 10 commandments. I'm sure there must be one, but I haven't been able to find it yet. If you are able to find one, please let me know because I do think that would be very helpful in my study!I just looked up using the PC Study Bible again to see "Commandments" in the NT (in Hebrew). Here is what I found: Mitsvah is used in most cases.

mitsvah (mits-vaw'); from OT:6680; a command, whether human or divine (collectively, the Law):

KJV - (which was) commanded (-ment), law, ordinance, precept.

"Dabar" is used in Ex. 34:28 in reference to the 10 commandments & again in Deut. 4:13 & Deut. 10:4. The definition is really vague, though. It mentions "dabar" again in 1 Sam. 15:11, Psalm 103:20.

dabar (daw-baw'); from OT:1696; a word; by implication, a matter (as spoken of) or thing; adverbially, a cause:

KJV - act, advice, affair, answer, any such (thing), because of, book, business, care, case, cause, certain rate, chronicles, commandment, commune (-ication), concern [-ing], confer, counsel, dearth, decree, deed, disease, due, duty, effect, eloquent, errand, [evil favouredness-], glory, harm, hurt, iniquity, judgment, language, lying, manner, matter, message, [no] thing, oracle, ought, parts, pertaining, please, portion, power, promise, provision, purpose, question, rate, reason, report, request, (as hast) said, sake, saying, sentence, sign, so, some [uncleanness], somewhat to say, song, speech, spoken, talk, task, that, there done, thing (concerning), thought, thus, tidings, what [-soever], wherewith, which, word, work.

Psalm 103:18 & Psalm 111:7 uses the word "piqquwd"piqquwd (pik-kood'); or piqqud (pik-kood'); from OT:6485; properly, appointed, i.e. a mandate (of God; plural only, collectively, for the Law):

KJV - commandment, precept, statute.

Amos 2:4 uses "choq" -choq (khoke); from OT:2710; an enactment; hence, an appointment (of time, space, quantity, labor or usage):

KJV - appointed, bound, commandment, convenient, custom, decree (-d), due, law, measure, necessary, ordinance (-nary), portion, set time, statute, task.So that is "commandments". As far as law, here is what I've found.The Greek word forlaw is "nomos"

nomos (nom'-os); from a primary nemo (to parcel out, especially food or grazing to animals); law (through the idea of prescriptive usage), genitive case (regulation), specifically (of Moses [including the volume]; also of the Gospel), or figuratively (a principle):KJV - law.I haven't looked up the "law" in the Old Testament yet, but from what I've found, there is no difference made between the 10 commandments & the rest of the Mosaic law. Again, if you know where it is separated please let me know! Thanks!-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Are the 10 Commandments God's moral laws? How do we decide that they are?

How do we randomly pick texts in the Bible that use the same word for “law” (Torah in Hebrew or nomos in Greek) and say that over here it is referring to the 10 Commandments, but in this other spot it is talking about the rest of the laws given to Moses? I looked for evidence in the Bible where it differentiated between the two, and I could not find it. I challenged you guys to look for it as well, and either no one looked or no one found anything (or no one shared what they found with me). I looked at the original words hoping they would differentiate between the two, but they don't – or at least not that I could find (see previous blogs). So why do we arbitrarily twist them to make them fit our theology?

For example, this is quoted as one of our “proof texts” -

Matt. 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. We twist these passages to fit what we believe. We say that this shows Jesus “fulfilled” (or completed the requirements for) the ceremonial laws of Moses, but then we take the other part of the verse and say it proves that the 10 Commandments are still binding. It's astonishing, really, when you look at it – that we can jump to such conclusions. The word for law used here is “nomos” (see previous blog) and it is talking about the whole law given to Moses (which does include, but is certainly not limited to the 10 Commandments). We have to take them as a whole. Nothing can pass from the WHOLE law until “all be fulfilled”.

Matt. 11:13 - “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.”

At the Mount of Transfiguration mentioned in Matt. 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-8, and Luke 9:28-36, Moses & Elijah left (even Adventists teach they represent the law & the prophets) & only Jesus remained. God said to listen to Him.

Gal. 3:19 - “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, til the seed should come to whom the promise was made...” Who is that seed? Verse 16 - “...And to they seed, which is Christ.”

Galations 3 goes on to give an allegory about the law being our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ & once Jesus came we are no longer in need of the law. Remember – the same word is used here that describes the entire law of Moses – not pulling out the 10 Commandments.

Are they all-encompassing? Some would say “yes”. So by that logic, anything not listed would not be considered a sin. Romans 7:6 says, “I had not known sin, but by the law...” The 10 Commandments leave out many things we would consider sins or morally wrong – bestiality, homosexuality, fornication, child abuse, rape, pornography, pride, slothfulness, gluttony... Romans 1:29-31 put out another list of things (some could potentially be covered, but some aren't) - “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, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful”. How do we place these under one of the 10? Does that make them less wrong?

Are there no “moral” laws in the rest of the laws given to Moses? Leviticus 18 deals with unlawful sexual relations. If “Thou shalt not commit adultery” covered all sexual sins, God wouldn't have had to spell out specific relations that were forbidden – with your mother, mother-in-law, sister, aunt, homosexuality, bestiality, etc. Lev. 19:29 tells us not to make our daughters into prostitutes. Surely it's not considered ok for us to do that now. Lev. 19:31 tells us not to go to mediums or spiritualists. Lev. 19:14 tells us not to curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind. How can we saw that only the 10 Commandments reflect the character of God & the rest were just ceremonial or civil laws that don't apply anymore?

What is it about the Sabbath that makes it moral & not ceremonial? It is by it's very nature ceremonial. It occurs once a week – it's a timed event. It is listed along with New Moons & other feasts & festivals. I'm not going to say any more on that subject right now because it is another hot topic & it will veer off from my original intent.

If the 10 Commandments are God's holy law, then they must apply in heaven as well – right? So they existed long before the human race came into existence. How do the angels honor their father & mother? I guess one would say that honoring God covers that, even though it's not what it says & isn't what it means when it's applied to us. How about not committing adultery? If there is no marriage in heaven & we will be like the angels (Matt. 22:30, Mark 12:25, Luke 20:35) then how do they not commit adultery? How will they keep Sabbath from sundown to sundown if there is no sun or moon (Rev. 21:23, Rev. 22:5)?

What do I believe is God's holy & eternal law? Love. It encompasses everything. And no, I'm not talking about “cheap” love or “easy” love, but Agape love. Unconditional love. It has been around forever & will continue to be around forever. Jesus & his disciples told us time & time again what His commandment (or command, as the Greek translates) is to love. Even in the OT, He spoke of love.

Deuteronomy 6:5 (Whole Chapter) And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Matt. 5:43Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Matthew 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Mark 12:30 (Whole Chapter) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. Mark 12:31 (Whole Chapter) And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Luke 6:27 (Whole Chapter) But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

Luke 10:27 (Whole Chapter) And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 14:15 (Whole Chapter) If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 15:9 (Whole Chapter) As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. John 15:10 (Whole Chapter) If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. John 15:12 (Whole Chapter) This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. John 15:17 (Whole Chapter) These things I command you, that ye love one another.

Romans 13:8 (Whole Chapter) Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:9 (Whole Chapter) For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Romans 13:10 (Whole Chapter) Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

2 Corinthians 6:6 (Whole Chapter) By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

Galatians 5:6 (Whole Chapter) For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Galatians 5:13 (Whole Chapter) For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. Galatians 5:14 (Whole Chapter) For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Galatians 5:22 (Whole Chapter) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Ephesians 1:4 (Whole Chapter) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Eph. 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Ephesians 5:2 (Whole Chapter) And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.

Philippians 1:9 (Whole Chapter) And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; It goes on... How do we miss it? How do we say Jesus is referring to the 10 Commandments when He says, “If you love me keep my commandments.” Jesus commanded us to love. Love covers everything. Love fulfills the law. The word that is translated as commandments doesn't even imply the 10 Commandments. It is simply a command or mandate. Why do we insist on making it the 10 Commandments when there is no Biblical evidence to support that? God will write His laws (His love) in our hearts and we will be led by Him.

What was the point of the 10 Commandments & to whom were they given?

Ex. 34:28 - “...And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.”

Deut. 4:13 - “And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.”

Deut. 9:9 - “When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the Lord made with you...”

Deut. 9:11 - “And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the Lord gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant.”

Deut. 9:15 - “So I turned and come down from the mount and the mount burned with fire: and the two tables of the covenant were in my two hands.”

Heb. 9:4 - “Which had the golden censer, and the ark of covenant overlaid round with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant.”

That was the purpose of the 10 Commandments. It drew out the covenant between God & the children of Israel. The 10 Commandments were clearly the words of the covenant. The Bible says that multiple times.

Deut. 5:2-3 – “The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.”

Deut. 11:1-8 (Too long to type out the whole thing, but part of verse 2 says, “for I speak not with your children which have not known...”)

The covenant was for THEM. It wasn't for their father or their children.

2 Corin. 3:6-8 - “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?”

Not to mention, we completely ignore the fact that Jesus & his disciples gave us other guidelines to follow, but we don't hold those up to such high a standard as the 10 Commandments. Shouldn't we be more focused on what Jesus taught than on God's covenant with the Israelites? Jesus got to the heart of the matter. He said it wasn't enough that you don't kill. No – even though that fulfills one of the 10 Commandments, it wasn't enough. You shouldn't even be angry without a cause (Matt. 5:22). And it's not enough that you don't commit adultery (although that fulfills one of the 10 Commandments). You can't even lust after someone in your heart (5:28). And in the same sermon, immediately after dealing with some of the 10 Commandments, Jesus deals with other parts of the law not listed in the 10 Commandments (is He somehow saying one is still valid but one isn't?). He tells us to let our “yes” mean “yes” and our “no” mean “no” (5:37). In other words – no double talk or trickery. Just say what you mean – be honest. And then he tells us to turn the other cheek & not repay “an eye for an eye” (5:38-39). He goes on in this sermon to list other non-10 Commandment commands. Are they somehow less “holy” or real because they are not part of the 10 Commandments?

There is so much more to see if you study the covenants & law in their entirety. I've just touched on the subject so you can see some of the main points. Please continue studying on your own. My ramblings may not make much sense to you, but I know that other people's writings bother you (if they are non-SDA you assume they are lying, misled, or have an agenda against Adventists) so I have taken much time & effort to put my own thoughts & studies down on paper. It by no means covers everything. I mentioned in a previous blog that there is no difference in the Hebrew or Greek wording that would indicate the 10 Commandments were somehow separated from the rest of the law of Moses. This is not intended to cover everything – just to be a starting point for your own studies. I know it's hard to see a different explanation for things that what you've heard all your life – at least it was for me – but when I honestly studied I couldn't deny the things that I saw & never knew existed. They are conveniently ignored or glossed over in our Bible studies (or at least the ones I've seen).

Based on all this, you cannot conclude that my reasonings aren't Biblical or that I made this up on my own. You still don't have to agree with my conclusions, but they are in fact studied out & Biblically supported. I'm not trying to be difficult or argumentative or rebel against what I was taught. I want to know what the Bible REALLY says. I have to have Biblical proof for what I believe – make sure you do, too!

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