Were the Ten Commandments "Nailed to the Cross"?

By COGwriter

Should you keep the Ten Commandments?

Well, according to the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church you should.

Even the Protestant reformer Martin Luther taught that they were to be kept:

God threatens to punish all who break these commandments ... Therefore, we should also love and trust in Him and gladly do what He commands" (Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation. Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 1986, p.12).

The fruits of this sin are afterwards the evil deeds which are forbidden in the Ten Commandments...we hold that the Law was given by God, first, to restrain sin by threats and the dread of punishment, and by the promise and offer of grace and benefit (Luther Martin. The Smallclad Papers. 1537. Translated by F. Bente and W. H. T. Dau Published in: _Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Ev. Lutheran Church_. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921), pp. 453-529).

. . . teach them first of all these articles, namely the ten commandments . . . But as for those that will not learn, let them be told that they deny Christ and are no Christians . . . (Luther M.  The Short Catechism, 1529.  Cited in  Bettenson H, ed., Documents of the Christian Church. London: Oxford University Press, 1943, p. 225).

Although Martin Luther endorsed his idea of the Ten Commandments, various Protestant leaders (as well as the group calling itself Jehovah’s Witnesses) have claimed that the Ten Commandments were done away, mainly based upon misunderstanding writings from the Apostle Paul.

Some try to ignore the Bible's teachings on the ten commandments by saying they were done away at the crucifixion. Some try to teach that the ten commandments were "nailed to the cross." Is that what the Bible teaches? (Note: Paul's words are in green; those of Jesus are in red).

The Apostle Peter warned, even in his day, that people were twisting the Apostle’s Paul’s writings:

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation -- as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; (2 Peter 3:14-17)

Peter was warning that there are those that will be misled by people who claim to believe the Bible. He also warned that true Christians need to be blameless. Those that keep God’s commandments are ‘blameless’ (Philippians 3:6; Job 1:1, 23:12). Those who do not, are not.

The twisting of Paul’s writings occurs today as many claim that his writings somehow prove that the Ten Commandments are not in effect for Christians.

The basic arguments against the Ten Commandments are that they are burdensome (though the Bible teaches otherwise in 1 John 5:3), they were nailed to the cross, and that Christians are to love which fulfills all the commandments.

Yet, these people which rely on distorted understandings of scriptures that have been normally translated by others fail to consider that the apostles and their early followers did NOT believe that the Ten Commandments were done away. Hence, anyone who tries to tell you the opposite is ignoring the “faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). The Bible teaches that “saints . . . are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12).

Here is a link to a related sermon: Were the Ten Commandments 'Nailed to the Cross'?

Nailed to the Cross?

Notice some quotes from Protestants who teach that the Ten Commandments have been nailed to the cross:

The Ten Commandments: Christ Nailed to the Cross (Worley W. The Ten Commandments: Christ Nailed to the Cross. 1959).

The Ten Commandments were given to the Jews; and when Christ came and died they were all nailed to the cross (Taylor CL. The marked Bible. 1922, p. 53).

The keeping of the Sabbath as commanded on the tables of stone was nailed to the cross ... The Sabbath of the ten commandments had its mission (Orr C. The Gospel Day: Or, the Light of Christianity. 1904, pp. 336-337).

Colossians 2:14-16 says the 10 commandments are abolished! Colossians 2:14-16 so clearly states the weekly Sabbath was nailed to cross and abolished that Sabbatarians are at a loss to know what to do with it!(Sabbath Keepers Refuted. http://www.bible.ca/7-Col2-14-16.htm accessed 02/08/18)

While this article will get to verses 15 and 16 later, there is only one only scripture that uses the "nailed it to the cross" expression (AV/NKJ), it is Colosians 2:13-14, in which Paul states:

13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, 14 having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Were the ten commandments the "requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us"?

That is not what Paul wrote. He wrote it was the handwriting of requirements that were "nailed to the cross."

Which requirements were wiped out?

It appears that two ‘requirements’ were wiped out. One would be the requirements of the Levitical priesthood (Hebrews 9:1,6-10).

And why?

4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins ... 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all. (Hebrews 10:4,10; note: while Paul probably dictated Hebrews, though scholars have major disagreement on that point, so quotes from Hebrews are in the color green)

The other (which is related) would be the death penalty, as “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23) or other specific ceremonial penalties associated with the Old Testament statutes (such as making a sin offering or washing).

Please understand that the expression "the handwriting of requirements" (cheirografon  tois  dogmasin) is a Greek legal expression that signifies the penalty which a lawbreaker had to pay--it does not signify the laws that are to be obeyed--only the penalty.

It is only through the acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that the penalty was wiped out ("the handwriting of requirements"). But only the penalty, not the law! It is sort of like if a judge tells someone they do not have to pay a fine for running a traffic signal. That does not mean to go out and ignore traffic circles--it means that the legal penalty for doing so was forgiven.

Even Protestant commentators realize this. Notice what Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible states about Colossians 2:14:

Whatever was in force against us is taken out of the way. He has obtained for us a legal discharge from the hand-writing of requirements which was against us (v. 14), which may be understood,

1. Of that obligation to punishment in which consists the guilt of sin. The curse of the law is the hand-writing against us, like the hand-writing on Belshazzar's wall. Cursed is every one who continues not in every thing. This was a hand-writing which was against us, and contrary to us; for it threatened our eternal ruin. This was removed when he redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, Gal 3:13. (Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, 1991)

Some will argue that you still cannot keep the Ten Commandments (for “all have sinned”), even if they are all mentioned as being in effect after the crucifixion. Does this mean one should not try?

Furthermore, let's look at another translation:

14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross (Colossians 2:14, NASB)

The handwriting of requirements (often also called the hand-writing of ordinances) or certificate of debt was wiped away and nailed to the cross.

16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them. (Hebrews 10:16).

God’s laws should be a way of life written on our hearts.

If Christians were not to keep the Ten Commandments, the Apostle Paul would not, for example, have been inspired to write the following:

11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner -- not even to eat with such a person. (1 Corinthians 5:11)

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

Christians are to keep the Ten Commandments and not accept someone as a real Christian who does not.

Colossians 2:16-17

Possibly, the most common portion of the Bible that is often cited as “proof” that the Sabbath and the biblical Holy Days are done away is Colossians 2:16-17.

Notice:

Colossians 2:14-16 says the 10 commandments are abolished! Colossians 2:14-16 so clearly states the weekly Sabbath was nailed to cross and abolished that Sabbatarians are at a loss to know what to do with it! ... All Sabbatarians are taught by their pastors, the false argument that the Plural "sabbaton" in Col 2:16 cannot refer to weekly Sabbath day. (Sabbath Keepers Refuted. http://www.bible.ca/7-Col2-14-16.htm accessed 02/08/18)

Now, before going further, let me state that I have never heard it explained by any pastor that 'sabbaton' in Colossians 2:16 cannot refer to the weekly Sabbath. All pastors I have heard say it is related to the weekly Sabbath.

So, that assertion is clearly false.

So, let's examine one slight mistranslation of it and the preceding verse:

15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ (Colossians 2:16-17, KJV).

The above translation for verse 16 is close, however, it added a word “is” (which is why the KJV translators put is in italics) that is not in the original Greek.

A truly literal translation would leave it out as it is not in there. Notice the Strong's Concordance numbers and related words for verse 17:

3739. 2076 4639................. 3588.. 3195...3588 1161 4983 9999 3588 5547
Which are a shadow of.... things to come; the . . but. body .......... of.. Christ.

It should be noted that 9999 means that there was no word in the biblical text—the word “is” is not in this scripture.

Because the same three Strong's words (#4983, 3588, & 5547) are used four other times in the New Testament and in those times the KJV translates them as "body of Christ" (Romans 7:4; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:12)--as does the NKJV--so should have the KJV.

Therefore, if those translators were simply consistent with themselves, they would have translated Colossians 2:16-17 to state (and included parentheses or commas):

16 Therefore let no man judge YOU in eating and drinking or in respect of a festival or of an observance of the new moon or of a sabbath 17 (for those things are a shadow of the things to come), but the body of Christ.

Or in other words, do not let those outside the ‘body of Christ’ (the church, Colossians 1:18) judge you regarding Holy Days, but only the true Church of God itself. Colossians 2:16-17 is not saying that the Sabbath and Holy Days are done away (more on the Holy Days can be found in the online booklet, Should You Observe God's Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?).

It is sad that modern translators of the Greek have often ignored what the expression really meant. Christians who lived in the first and second centuries and understood koine Greek did NOT believe that the Sabbath was done away!

It is poor exegesis (biblical interpretation) to rely on a mistranslation to claim that the Sabbath and holy days are done away with.

Those who claim that the Bible does away with the Sabbath have chosen to love a lie.

Consider the following:

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (Revelation 22:14-15)

Galatians 4:8-10

Another objection to keeping the Sabbath is Galatians 4:8-10. Some Protestants tend to use this to say that no biblical dates are to be observed. So let's look at what those scriptures actually teach:

8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. 9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years.

There are several problems with the anti-Holy Day argument here.

One is that the Galatians were Gentiles (although there were apparently some Jews addressed in later verses) and were NOT keeping the biblical Holy Days or Sabbath prior to conversion.

Plus, there is no way that the Bible would call biblical requirements as “beggarly elements.” Paul was clearly warning against pagan observances as the Galatians had “served those which by nature are not gods.”

Another is that Catholics/Protestants/Eastern Orthodox should consider that they often do observe various days and years (Sunday, Easter, Christmas, New Year’s), so they should not observe anything if they feel that no religious days are to be observed.

Galatians 4:8-10 is not doing away with the biblical Holy Days, but instead is a warning against clinging to non-biblical observances.

More Verses

There are other verses some point to as ‘proof’ that Christians do not need to keep the Ten Commandments that we will look at.

Notice the following:

4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. (2 Corinthians 3:4-9)

Someone referring to that claimed:

Reference is made here to a code that was “engraved in letters in stones” and it is said that “the sons of Israel could not gaze intently at the face of Moses” on the occasion when it was delivered to them. What is this describing? Exodus 34:1 shows that it is the giving of the Ten Commandments; these were the commandments engraved on stone. Obviously these are included in what the scripture here says “was to be done away with.”

Two points: First, there was a change from the Levitical ministry and its animal sacrifices. Second, the ministry of death included the written death penalty, which was NOT listed on the tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments. The administration of death was inscribed on large stones after crossing the Jordan (Deuteronomy 27:2-8). As far as engraving or inscribing the laws, commandments, statutes, and judgments goes (Deuteronomy 26:16-18), this was basically done on large stones that had a type of white plaster on them (cf. Deuteronomy 27:2, KJV).

In the Church of God, we do not administer the death penalty to people nor sacrifice animals for sin. Christians are supposed to forgive men of their trespasses (Matthew 6:14-15). We are not to take revenge (Romans 12:19), but are to rely on God to deal with those who violate His laws or harm us (Romans 12:18-21).

Notice what the Bible teaches, followed by how someone improperly interpreted it:

6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. 7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet." 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. (Romans 7:6-12)

Here, immediately after writing that Jewish Christians had been “discharged from the Law,” what example from the Law does Paul cite? The Tenth Commandment, thus showing that it was included in the Law from which they had been discharged.

No Christian really feels that Paul was teaching that covetousness was fine for Christians. Paul was saying that Christians are to better serve the law (in the spirit, like Jesus taught with the beatitudes in Matthew 5-6), and that the law defined sins, like covetousness, that he would not naturally have considered to be sin.

Here is a supposed anti-Sabbath verse according to some Protestants:

5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. (Romans 14:5)

But the above is a reference to personally-chosen fasting days (Romans 14:6) and is not related to the Sabbath, which God said was to be kept.

Notice:

11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. (Hebrews 7:11-12)

The Levitical priesthood with its sacrifices and washings are gone (Hebrews 9:6-18). But not the Ten Commandments.

Strangely, the following was actually sent to this author as supposed “proof” that the Ten Commandments were done away:

8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)

The above says that the Ten Commandments show love, not that they are not in place. One does not fulfill the law of love by murdering, committing adultery, stealing, bearing false witness, and coveting.

While the above only had the last five commandments, consider the following:

20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (1 John 4:20-21)

We show love towards God by keeping the first five commandments as well.

Oddly, after bringing up many of these ‘objection to the Ten Commandments scriptures,’ which I addressed, a Jehovah’s Witness supporter said that the other commandments were in force, but he would not keep the Sabbath command. Many Protestants make similar statements.

But that is contrary to the practices of Jesus and the Apostles, including Paul.

Let us examine the scriptures to see.

First let's look at what the Apostle Paul wrote:

Commandment 1: Paul said, "God, who made the world and everything in it...they should seek the Lord" (Acts 17:24,27). Paul also said, "I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law" (Acts 24:14). "And what agreement has the temple of God have with idols?" (2 Corinthians 6:16). "you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God" (1 Thessalonians 1:9). "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

Commandment 2: "we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols" (Acts 15:20). "Now while Paul waited for them in Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols...Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said...'God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshipped with men's hands, as though He needed anything'" (Acts 17:16,22,24-25). "Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four footed animals and creeping things" (Romans 1:22-23). "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is...an idolater" (1 Corinthians 5:11). "Neither... idolators...will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). "And do not become idolaters as were some of them...Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry" (1 Corinthians 10:7,14). "And what agreement has the temple of God have with idols?" (2 Corinthians 6:16). "Now the works of the flesh are evident...idolatry" (Galatians 5:19,20). "For this you know that no...idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Ephesians 5:5). "Therefore put to death...covetousness, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5). "you turned to God from idols" (1 Thessalonians 1:9).

Commandment 3: "they are all under sin...Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness" (Romans 3:9,14). "Let all...evil speaking be put away from you" (Ephesians 4:31). "But now you yourselves are to put off all these:...blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth" (Colossians 3:8). "they may learn not to blaspheme" (1 Timothy 1:20). But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be...blasphemers" (2 Timothy 3:1,2).

Commandment 4: "Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures...And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks" (Acts 17:2;18:4 see also 13:14,27,42,44). "let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need" (Ephesians 4:28) and "For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: 'If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat'" (2 Thessalonians 3:10); (recall that the requirement to work is also part of the Sabbath command, thus even that portion of the commandment is repeated in the New Testament.) "And to whom did He swear they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?" (Hebrews 3:18). "For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: 'And God rested on the seventh day from all His works'" (Hebrews 4:4). "There remains therefore a rest (literally sabbatismos, 'Sabbath rest') for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His works. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience" (Hebrews 4:9-11).

Before going further, the La Vista Church of Christ posted an article by Clem Thurman via Gospel Minutes, Vol. 56, No. 20, May 18, 2008 titled "Were the Ten Commandments Nailed to the Cross." The article has a chart that shows some New Testament Passages related to nine of the commandments, but next to the Sabbath commandment it claims "None." That is bearing false witness.

Commandment 5: "being filled with all unrighteousness...disobediant to parents" (Romans 1:29,30). "Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother', which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth" (Ephesians 6:1-3). "the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience" (Colosians 3:6). "Children obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord" (Colossians 3:20). "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be...disobediant to parents" (2 Timothy 3:1,2).

Commandment 6: "being filled with all unrighteousness...murder" (Romans 1:29). "You shall not murder" (Romans 13:9). "Now the works of the flesh are evident...murders" (Galatians 5:19,21). "the lawless and insubordinate...murders...manslayers" (1 Timothy 1:9).

Commandment 7: "being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality" (Romans 1:29). "So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress" (Romans 7:3). "You shall not commit adultery" (Romans 13:9). "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral" (1 Corinthians 5:11). "Neither... adulterers, nor homosexuals...will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)."Nor let us commit sexual immorality as some of them did" (1 Corinthians 10:8). "Now the works of the flesh are evident...adultery, fornication" (Galatians 5:19). "For this you know that no fornicator...has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Ephesians 5:5). "the lawless and insubordinate...fornicators...sodomites" (1 Timothy 1:9,10). "fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).

Commandment 8: "You shall not steal" (Romans 13:9). "nor thieves...will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:10). "I have been...in perils of robbers" (2 Corinthians 11:25-26). "Let him who stole, steal no longer" (Ephesians 4:28).

Commandment 9: "You shall not bear false witness" (Romans 13:9). "Therefore, putting away lying" (Ephesians 4:25). "Do not lie to one another" (Colossians 3:9). "the lawless and insubordinate...liars...perjurers" (1 Timothy 1:9,10). "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy" (1 Timothy 4:1-2). "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be...slanderers" (2 Timothy 3:1,3). "God, who cannot lie" (Titus 1:2). "it is impossible for God to lie" (Hebrews 6:18).

Commandment 10: "being filled with all unrighteousness...covetousness" (Romans 1:29)."You shall not covet" (Romans 7:7). "You shall not covet" (Romans 13:9). "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is...covetous" (1 Corinthians 5:11). "nor covetous...will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:10). "we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted" (1 Corinthians 10:6). "you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16). "For this you know that no fornicator...nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Ephesians 5:5). "Therefore put to death...covetousness, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5). "For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness" (1 Thessalonians 2:5). "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have" (Hebrews 13:5).

"Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city" (Revelation 22:14). Since "those who do His commandments...have the right to enter...the city" (Revelation 22:14), the ten commandments could not be "contrary to us". So then, if the ten commandments were not "nailed to the cross", what was? What does the Bible say? "having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" (Colossians 2:14). It was the handwriting of requirements. Which requirements were wiped out?

It appears that two things were wiped out. One would be the requirements of the Levitical priesthood (Hebrews 9:1,6-10).

And why?

"For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins...By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all" (Hebrews 10:4,10).

The other (which is related) would be the death penalty, as "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23) or other specific ceremonial penalites associated with the Old Testament statutes (such as making a sin offering or washing).

Paul's Other Writings

Paul wrote "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins" (Hebrews 10:26). He also warned that those who break various of the ten commandments will not inherit the kingdom of God (Ephesians 5:4-5) and then said, "Let no man deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them" (Ephesians 5:6-7).

Some have been confused about Paul's writings (2 Peter 3:15-16).

Perhaps the most confusing to some is, "For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle the wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity" (Ephesians 2:14-16).

It is clear that Paul could not be talking about the ten commandments as he mentions parts of at least eight of them as still being in existence in the same book (see above, the other two are alluded to as well, Ephesians 5:31--anger, which is like murder according to Jesus; plus the comment about being a prisoner of the Lord also would show the first commandment, Ephesians 4:1). It needs to be remembered is that the wall of separation that was broken down the middle, was the large veil in the temple that split when Jesus died (Matthew 27:50:51). Thus it was the ordinances of the Levitical priesthood which were abolished. This is what Paul also wrote elsewhere (Hebrews 9:1,6-10).

The entire book of Galations is confusing to many. Suffice it to say here that at least four of the commandments are mentioned in that book, and for violating some of them Paul wrote, "those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:21). Paul is telling people that they cannot earn their salvation through works (Galatians 5:4-5) which of course is true. He never tells anyone to violate any commandment (not in Galations nor any other book) and reminds people that they will reap what they sow (Galatians 6:7). Actually, he commended Christians who obey (Philippians 2:12). (We have a sermon series covering each and every verse in Galatians: Comments on Galatians Did the Apostle Paul do away with God's law as some claim the Book of Galatians teaches? What is the false gospel? Related sermon videos related to Galatians are available: Galatians 1 and the False Gospel and Galatians 2 & 3: What Law was Added? What was Abolished? and Galatians 4 & 5: Who Does Not Inherit the Kingdom? and Galatians 5 & 6: The Gifts of the Spirit).

Paul himself said, after his conversion to the leaders of the Jews, "Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans" (Acts 28:17). If Paul had intentionally violated any of the ten commandments (or advocated this of others) he could not have said this. Paul also said, "Therefore I urge you, imitate me" (1 Corinthians 4:16) and "Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1); Jesus, as we saw earlier, both kept and taught observance of the Ten Commandments.

Paul wrote, "for by the law is the knowledge of sin...I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, 'You shall not covet'...Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good" (Romans 3:20;7:7,12). Paul taught each of the ten commandments after the crucifixion (please see the commandments quoted above). Regarding faith and the law, Paul specifically wrote, "Do we make the void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary we establish the law" (Romans 3:31). Even after his conversion Paul state that he was, "concerning righteousness which is in the law, blameless" (Philippians 3:6).

Paul warned:

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. ... 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, (2 Timothy 3:1-9,13-14)

The gullible tend to believe what they want to believe. They are unwilling to do something else that the Apostle Paul wrote:

21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

Paul warned, "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8).

Jesus kept the ten commandments! Paul also warns that "For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work" (2 Thessalonians 2:7).

Lawlessness is breaking the law.

Why would Paul warn about lawlessness if he felt all the law was done away and nailed to the cross?

Other New Testaments Writers

Did the other New Testament writers teach the ten commandments were to be followed after the crucifixion. In this section, the portions of the New Testament that Paul did not write, but which discuss the ten commandments individually will after the crucifixion will be quoted.

Commandment 1 "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15); which is another way of saying, put nothing in the world before God. "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God" (Revelation 14:9). "Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image" (Revelation 20:4). "But the...unbelieving...shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).

Commandment 2 "we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols" (Acts 15: 20); "abominable idolatries" (1 Peter 4:3). "Little children, keep yourselves from idols" (1 John 5:21). "But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam...to eat things sacrificed to idols" (Revelation 2:14). "Nevertheless, I have a few things against you, because you allow...My servants to...eat things sacrificed to idols" (Revelation 2:20). "But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk" (Revelation 9:20). "But ...idolaters...shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8). "But outside are...idolaters" (Revelation 22:15).

Commandment 3 "Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so" (James 3:10). "He is the antichrist who denies the Father and the Son" (1 John 2:22).

Commandment 4 "That day was the Preparation and the Sabbath drew near...And they rested on the Sabbath in accordance with the commandment" (Luke 23:54,56). "But when they departed from Pegra, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down" (Acts 13:14), they seemed to be following this admonition from John, "He who says he abides in Him ought also to walk just as He walked" (I Joh 2:6), since Jesus always went to the synagogues on the Sabbath (Luke 4:16). "And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world" (Matthew 24:20-21)--notice that Jesus is prophesying that the Sabbath would be kept at least until the time of the great tribulation.

Commandment 5 "They have a heart trained in covetous practices and are accursed children" (2 Peter 2:14). "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God" (1 John 3:1).

Commandment 6 "But let none of you suffer as a murderer" (1 Peter 4:15). "For He who said, 'Do not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not murder'. Now if you do no commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law" (James 2:11-12). "You lust...You murder" (James 4:2)."Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and we know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him" (1 John 3:15). "And they did not repent of their murders" (Revelation 9:21). "he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword" (Revelation 13:10). "But ...murderers...shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8). "But outside are...murderers" (Revelation 22:15).

Commandment 7 "Do not commit adultery" (James 2:11). "You lust...Adulterers and adulteresses!" (James 4:2,4). "having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin" (2 Peter 2:14). "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes...is not of the Father but is of the world" (1 John 2:16). "Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation" (Revelation 2:22). "And they did not repent of ...their sexual immoralities" (Revelation 9:21). "But the...sexual immoral...shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8). "But outside are...sexually immoral" (Revelation 22:15).

Commandment 8 "But let none of you suffer as...a thief" (1 Peter 4:15). John seems to have expanded on the theme of this commandment when he wrote, "whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him" (1 John 3:17). "And they did not repent of ...their thefts" (Revelation 9:21).

Commandment 9 "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie...You have not lied to men but to God" (Acts 5:3,4). "They also set up false witnesses" (Acts 6:13). "having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who defile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed" (1 Peter 3:16). "By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not stumble" (2 Peter 2:3). He who says 'I know Him', and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:4). "I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth" (1 John 2:21). "And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars" (Revelation 2:22). "But ...liars...shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Rev 21:8). "But outside are...whoever loves and practices a lie" (Revelation 22:15).

Commandment 10 "By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not stumble" (2 Peter 2:3). "You lust...and covet" (James 4:2)."They have a heart trained in covetous practices and are accursed children" (2 Peter 2:14). "For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world" (1 John 2:16).

Before going further, notice what Jesus taught:

10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. (John 15:10)

The Apostle Paul taught:

1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Both Paul and Jesus kept the Ten Commandments--and Paul did so after Jesus was executed and resurrected. He, obviously then, did not believe they had been 'nailed to the cross.'

It is of incidental note, but most of the other New Testament writers wrote after Paul and seem to mention the commandments as a matter of obvious fact. James wrote, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (James 1:22); similarly he warned, "But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and destroy" (James 4:11-12). James even emphasized that you must keep all of the commandments, "If you really fulfill the royal law according to scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, 'Do not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not murder'. Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law" (James 2:8-11). John similarly wrote, "Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness" (1 John 3:4).

John also wrote, "Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil...In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother" (1 John 3:7,8,10). What does the Bible teach is righteousness? "For all Your commandments are righteousness" (Ps 119:172).

After the crucifixion, the Bible shows that all ten commandments are still to be followed. And it does this several times for each.

By the way, it should be noticed that not only did Jesus prophecy that the Sabbath would still be observed by His followers, the Prophet Malachi was inspired to write the following:

4"Remember the Law of Moses, My servant,
Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel,
With the statutes and judgments.
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. (Malachi 4:4-5)

This is an end-time prophesy, and there would be no reason to write the above if the law was "nailed to the cross."

(Of course, Jesus the Bible itself does not teach that He was actually killed on a cross. For details read What is the Origin of the Cross as a 'Christian' Symbol? and/or watch a related YouTube video Origin of the Cross.)

The Bible teaches that Jesus was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Certain Protestants feel that since they cannot do that, they are relying on Jesus when they do not even try to keep God’s commandments--that is lawlessness. In the Church of God, we believe we are to imitate Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1) and strive for perfection as He taught (Matthew 5:48)--this is NOT salvation by works, but understanding the wisdom of God’s plan and the value of His laws.

In the view of the Continuing Church of God, the cause of many of the problems people now experience is because they have rejected God's governance over their lives, including keeping His laws.
A major rotestant view seems to be that most of the problems people have are because they live on the Earth, and that for some reason other than obeying God's commandments, paradise--which they define as being in heaven--will be better than Earth.But it is the obedience to the loving laws of God that will be paradise. It is not floating away on some cloud. All will be able to see that in the millennium (Revelation 20:4-6; Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-4).

God’s Commandments are Important and Holy

Keeping God’s commandments is important:

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13, KJV)

Keeping the commandments should be done by all people! Not just ancient Jews.

After seeing certain of the arguments against the Ten Commandments, what tends to happen is that some of those arguing against them tend to feel that nine are still in effect (though they do not normally keep those properly) and that the Sabbath commandment is either done away or has somehow been changed.

Because of that, the chapter on the Sabbath commandment was longer than the others. The bottom line is that the New Testament does enjoin the seventh-day Sabbath and it was not ‘nailed to the cross’ and is shown again after Jesus’ execution to be in force.

Some have argued that because of the council in Acts chapter 15, that God’s laws are done away. Yet, that council was mainly convened to deal with circumcision and other physical matters.

The Apostle Paul, who attended that council, did not believe that the Ten Commandments were done away by it as he was inspired to write:

19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. (1 Corinthians 7:19)

Christians are to keep God’s holy law.

Some claim that it is ‘pharisaical’ to keep the Ten Commandments and that is supposedly why Jesus condemned them.

Yet, the Pharisees were condemned for their hypocrisy and because they did not properly keep the Ten Commandments (cf. Matthew 15:3-9; 23:13-29).

Furthermore, the New Testament shows that they broke/reasoned around all the Ten Commandments. Details are in the article Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it? A related sermon is titled Jesus, Pharisees, and the Ten Commandments.

Church History and the Ten Commandments

Jude wrote that Christians were "to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

Let's look at that and the next verse in another translation:

3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people. 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. (Jude 3-4, NIV)

Was it immoral, denying Jesus, and not the original faith to teach that the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross?

Yes.

Now, early Christians, like those in the second century A.D. often had contact with people who had contact with the the original apostles, plus they understood what the words in the original language of the New Testament (koine Greek) meant--they knew that better that modern scholars who did not live then.

Did they think that the Ten Commandments were "nailed to the cross'?

No.

If they did, they would not have advocated still keeping them--they contended that they still needed to be kept.

Instead, it was only immoral apostates like Simon Magus and Marcion that advocated that the Ten Commandments were somehow done away.

Simon Magus and Marcion

The apostate and false apostle Simon Magus (Acts 8:13-23) is believed to have taught against the Ten Commandments (Against Heresies. Book III, Chapter 12, Verses 11-12; cf. Acts 8:23).

A major second century apostate known to have taught against the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath was Marcion of Pontus, who later went to Rome.

Marcion taught “his disciples to believe in some other god greater than the Creator” (Justin. First Apology, Chapter XXVI). He also did away with three of the gospels and other parts of the New Testament.

Polycarp of Smyrna, who is considered a saint by the Greco-Roman-Protestants and the Continuing Church of God, contended for the original faith and denounced Marcion:

And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, "Dost thou know me?" "I do know thee, the first-born of Satan."(Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses. Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4.

Despite being a major apostate, Marcion has been called ‘the first Protestant’ (Harnack A. Marcion and his impact on church history Volume 150 of Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literature; see also Marcion: The First Protestant?).

It should be noted that there was no faith like the type of Protestantism currently seen in many parts of the world in the beginning of the Christian church (check out also the online booklet, Continuing History of the Church of God). All early true Christians believed in keeping the Ten Commandments.

Those, like, Marcion and Simon Magus would be in categories that the Apostle Paul warned against:

17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:17-18)

Christians were not lawless like Marcion and Simon Magus (2 Thessalonians 2:7), but obedient (Romans 16:19). Sadly, many have followed their ways.

Church of God Leaders Taught the Ten Commandments

Polycarp of Smyrna was appointed bishop/pastor by the original apostles (Against Heresies. Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4).

“Polycarp related all things in harmony with the Scriptures” (Eusebius. The History of the Church. Book V, Chapter XX, verse 5).

Like the Apostle Paul (Acts 17:2; 18:4 see also 13:14,27,42,44), Polycarp’s custom was to preach the word of God on the Sabbath (Pionius. Life of Polycarp, Chapter 22). Unlike the Apostle Paul (Acts 21:39), Polycarp was a Gentile.

In his Letter to the Philippians, Polycarp repeatedly taught that Christians should keep the commandments (chapters 2,4,5, & 11). He also warned about following the “vanity of many and their false doctrines” (chapter 7), who were following false forms of Christianity.

This is consistent with what the Gentile Ignatius of Antioch wrote as he warned against false Christians that would not respond to the “law of Moses” (Ignatius. Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Chapters IV-V). Let it be understood that Ignatius did NOT replace the Sabbath with Sunday as people who have relied on mistranslations of one of his writings have claimed—the Greek basically teaches that Christians are to keep the Sabbath the way Jesus did, and not follow the way of the Pharisaical (Thiel B. Ignatius and the Sabbath. Sabbath Sentinel, May-June 2016; Thiel B. More on Ignatius and the Sabbath. The Sabbath Sentinel, Volume 70 (2): 15-17, 2017).

Bishop/Pastor Melito of Sardis was also a Gentile. In his Discourse Which Was in the Presence of Antoninus Caesar, he taught the commandments and mentioned that it was a sin to break them.

Bishop/Pastor Theophilus of Antioch taught that the seventh-day Sabbath was still in effect (To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapters XI, XII, XIX). Regarding the Ten Commandments, which he called “ten heads,” he also wrote:

Of this great and wonderful law, which tends to all righteousness, the ten heads are such as we have already rehearsed. (To Autolycus, Book III, Chapter IX)

Like Polycarp, Theophilus also denounced the lawless Marcion.

Thus, it should be clear that Church of God leaders, who spoke and wrote in Greek, did not believe that the New Testament somehow did away with the Ten Commandments.

An anonymous 2nd century document that has been called “the oldest complete Christian sermon that has survived” (Holmes M. Apostolic Fathers, p. 102) repeatedly teaches that Christians must keep the commandments to be God’s people (2 Clement 3:4, 4:2-5, 6:7, 8:4, 17:3-7).

Early Christians did NOT teach that the Ten Commandments were done away or were "nailed to the cross."

Other Leaders

Leaders outside the Church of God, that various Greco-Roman-Protestants consider to be saints, also taught the Ten Commandments.

Bishop Irenaeus of Lyon, taught “all . . . the words of the Decalogue . . . remain permanently with us” and that since Jesus came, they were increased and extended and not abrogated (Against Heresies. Book IV, Chapter 16, Verse 4).

In the early third century, Clement of Alexandria listed most of the Ten Commandments (note, he left out two commandments-- 3. cursing and 9. false witness):

The first commandment of the Decalogue shows that there is one only Sovereign God...

The second word intimated that men ought not to take and confer the august power of God (which is the name, for this alone were many even yet capable of learning), and transfer His title to things created and vain, which human artificers have made...

And the fourth word is that which intimates that the world was created by God, and that He gave us the seventh day as a rest, on account of the trouble that there is in life. For God is incapable of weariness, and suffering, and want. But we who bear flesh need rest. The seventh day, therefore, is proclaimed a rest...

Now the fifth in order is the command on the honour of father and mother... Then follows the command about murder... This is followed by the command respecting adultery... And after this is the command respecting theft... And the tenth is the command respecting all lusts (Clement of Alexandria. Stromata, Book VI, Chapter 16).

It should be noted that Clement did not mention coveting your neighbor’s wife within the tenth nor did he give any indication that it could be a separate commandment from other lusts. Hence, Clement endorsed the same order of the Ten Commandments that the Continuing Church of God still endorses--this is different from the order of the Roman Church which came up with its current order in the fifth century mainly because of the influence of Augustine of Hippo (a man who abandoned the mother of his child and then hoped to marry a ten-year old girl, then did not).

The so-called Apostolic Constitutions, written in Syria around A.D. 250 states:

XXXVI. Have before thine eyes the fear of God, and always remember the ten commandments of God,--to love the one and only Lord God with all thy strength; to give no heed to idols, or any other beings, as being lifeless gods, or irrational beings or daemons. Consider the manifold workmanship of God, which received its beginning through Christ. Thou shalt observe the Sabbath, on account of Him who ceased from His work of creation, but ceased not from His work of providence: it is a rest for meditation of the law, not for idleness of the hands (Apostolic Constitutions - Didascalia Apostolorum Book II, Section IV).

Certainly, leaders who professed Christ taught the observance of the Ten Commandments during and after the time of Jesus and Paul.

Despite the views of certain Protestants and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, these ancient people who knew Greek did not believe that the Ten Commandments  were done away.

We in the Continuing Church of God are NOT Protestant as our spiritual ancestors formed the original New Testament Church of God in Acts 2 and we advocate keeping the Ten Commandments. More on the history of the true church can be found in the free online booklet, Continuing History of the Church of God, at www.ccog.org.

From the 20th Century

Notice the following article in the 20th century by the late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong:

Were the Ten Commandments Nailed to the Cross?

Are Christians saved by faith without obedience to God's law? Does grace do away with the law? Are the Ten Commandments the "law of Moses"? Here's the truth about this pivotal question!

JOHN DOE is a Canadian subject. He was born, let us say, in Canada, and has resided since boyhood in Vancouver, B.C.

But now, because of a recent marriage to an American, John Doe wishes to become a citizen of the United States. He has been impressed with the country.

Mr. Doe, we will say, endeavors to attain this new citizenship by studying the laws of our country, and rigidly setting himself to obey them.

Our point is this: Can John Doe, merely by observing the LAWS of our land, become a citizen here? The question seems foolish. The answer is obvious. He cannot.

But it illustrates the point. A man does not become an accepted citizen in Christ's Kingdom merely because that man lives within the law and rigidly observes it.

Does grace abolish the LAW?

The law, in other words, is not the means through which sinners of the worldly kingdom of Satan become converted into citizens of the spiritual Kingdom of Christ.

If John Doe is to become a U.S. citizen, he must undergo a certain prescribed process. This will include laying aside his allegiance to Canada, pledging his allegiance to the government of the United States, accepting ours as HIS government and taking out certain papers. And that is the manner in which a person must become a Christian.

Before he becomes a Christian, he is a subject of a different kingdom -- the kingdom of this world -- ruled over by Satan, who is described in the Scriptures as "ruler of this world" (John 14:30). If a man, born of the flesh and a part of this world and of Satan's rule, desires to attach himself to Christ's Kingdom -- the Kingdom of the spirit, and of the world to come -- he must undergo a certain prescribed process. We call that process CONVERSION.

It includes acknowledgment and repentance of sins, acceptance of Jesus Christ as his new ruler or Savior, renouncing his allegiance to Satan's kingdom and pledging allegiance to Christ's Kingdom. Since he was begotten and born of the flesh and of this world, he is thus now "begotten again" of the spirit and of the world to come -- to be born again at the resurrection.

Now let us suppose John Doe has moved down to California, fulfilled the required process and has become a citizen of the United States. Does that mean that Mr. Doe is exempt from obeying the laws of our land, merely because he has become a citizen?

Not at all! If the man is going to live here, be one of us and enjoy the BENEFITS of United States citizenship, he must obey our laws! And unless he does, he will find himself before a judge, who will pronounce his fate!

Conversion means obedience

When a man becomes a Christian, he receives great BENEFITS thereby, including everlasting life in the world to come. And now the question is: Can a man remain a Christian, and receive the blessings and benefits of Christian citizenship, while he disobeys the laws of the Kingdom?

Just a moment, some will say. Christ's Kingdom has no laws. Christ abolished the law, nailing it to the cross. We are now "under grace," and not "under the law." But let's examine that point very carefully.

Did you ever hear of a government being run without laws? Does it sound reasonable that the government Christ came to set up would be run in hit-and-miss fashion, WITHOUT ANY RULES OR LAWS? The Bible emphatically tells us that Christ's Kingdom has its laws, just as every civil government has its laws. It is time we understood what was nailed to the cross, and what is still binding upon us today.

God's basic LAW

The laws of Christ's Kingdom are 10 simple, fundamental, universal Commandments, written by the very finger of God upon tablets of stone!

And what a contrast the divinely written code is from our woefully inefficient man-made codes! A hopeless mess indeed has man made of his lawmaking efforts.

Contrast it to God's ability as a lawgiver. In 10 brief Commandments, so simple, so direct that a small child can understand and memorize the whole code, God gave all mankind a COMPLETE law that covers the whole duty of man toward, first, his Creator, and second, his fellowman.

So fundamental and universal -- God's laws apply alike to the most sophisticated metropolitan civilization, and the most wild and barbarous jungle civilization.

They are, by their very nature, eternal, and never could become obsolete or out-of-date. No MAN COULD WRITE SUCH A LAW. This law is NOT the law of Moses, but the law of God.

Most assuredly, as we shall see presently from the Scriptures, Christ's Kingdom has its laws. And unless Christians, the begotten citizens of His Kingdom, are willing to obey the laws of the Kingdom they have professed to enter, they, like our friend John Doe, will find themselves before the Judge, who, at the judgment day, will pronounce their fate! Remember, then:

The law is not in any sense the means through which a man obtains salvation. We do not obtain salvation through the law -- we observe the law through the process of conversion. It is failure to understand this important distinction that is the cause of much misunderstanding upon the whole question.

The facts are these: Both those who maintain the Ten Commandments, God's law, are immutable and still binding upon Christians today, and those who assert this law was nailed to the cross, can quote much Scripture in an effort to prove their different contentions. Why this apparent contradiction in the Bible?

The Scriptures do not contradict in any instance. The Mosaic law WAS nailed to the cross!

Faith, the atonement, the gift of the Holy Spirit, DID take the place of, and therefore abolish, the old Mosaic law. That law was a law of physical ordinances, ceremonies and sacrifices that were "added" because of sin and as a reminder of sin (Gal. 3:19).

But the Ten Commandments are an entirely different, separate and distinct law.

The Commandments are spiritual principles that define sin. Moses' laws were sacrificial and ceremonial. Both laws were given by God, but they were given in entirely different manners, and for entirely different purposes.

The Ten Commandments were God's basic spiritual law from the beginning It was sin to transgress its points from Adam to Moses. Death is the penalty of sin and "death reigned from Adam to Moses" (Rom. 5:14, 6:23).

The law of Moses was not added until the days of Moses. In his day the Ten Commandments were merely repeated because the children of Israel had forgotten God's spiritual law just as the world today has forgotten it. Let us now examine briefly the history of the law and of the real meaning of salvation.

Let us stand off and visualize the subject from a distance, in its entirety, rather than having our viewpoint muddled by a too close familiarity with any one point or passage.

Salvation NOT offered under Old Covenant

It may come as a surprise to you, but spiritual and eternal salvation was never offered under the Old Covenant to the nation Israel as a whole. The only promises were material and fleshly for the present age. They were promised national dominance, power and wealth. But they were not promised eternal life.

The law of physical works -- the law of Moses -- was not given as a means of salvation, BUT AS A REMINDER THAT THEY NEEDED SALVATION. There has been one and only one means of salvation -- through faith. No one has ever been or can ever be saved through the works or rituals and ceremonies of the law. During Old Testament times only the prophets and a faithful few obtained a promise of eternal salvation. They looked forward to the shed blood of Christ, just as we look back to it. But the people as a nation were given the rituals of Moses to begin to develop within them a habit of obedience to God's spiritual law -- the Ten Commandments.

The shedding of the blood of a lamb was a reminder that Christ would come to shed His blood to pay for our sins. Notice Hebrews 10:1-4: "For the law" -- of Moses -- "... can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? ... But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. FOR IT IS NOT POSSIBLE THAT THE BLOOD OF BULLS AND GOATS COULD TAKE AWAY SINS." How plain! Salvation was not through the works of the law. Paul's whole argument throughout the New Testament was against the teaching of Judaism that salvation could be gained without faith in Christ, but through the works -- the hard physical labor of offering sacrifices -- of the law of Moses. The Ten Commandments never contained ordinances prescribing sacrifices. They are an entirely separate and distinct law. The Mosaic ordinances were, in other words, substitutes and shadows for the reality of Christ's atonement and the Holy Spirit. They were wholly subordinate to the spiritual law of God. Paul warned the Galatians that whoever sought to be justified by the works of the law -- whoever sought salvation through animal sacrifices -- was rejecting the sacrifice of Christ.

It is important that we understand here that Judaism is not the teaching of the Old Testament but an interpretation of it. Judaism is a mixture of the ordinances of the Old Testament with the false doctrines of the Jewish elders. While in Persian and Greek captivity, the Jews were influenced by the pagan idea that salvation could be gained through penance -- through giving a physical sacrifice to pay for sins, through enduring the hard physical labor of offering animal sacrifices. The pagans thought that God would be pleased by human suffering -- that salvation came through denying ourselves the right and honorable pleasures of life. The Jews took over this idea and applied it to the sacrifices that Moses had commanded merely as a reminder of sin.

The Ten Commandments define RIGHT from WRONG

Let us, first, clearly understand just what the law of God is, and what it means. No one will say that Christians today are to continue in sin. But how can sin be avoided, unless defined?

WHAT IS SIN? John tells us -- and John wrote this definition of sin about A.D. 90, in the very closing days of apostolic times. Turn to I John 3:4, and you will read that "SIN IS THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW." WHAT law? It could not be the Mosaic sacrificial and ordinance law. That could never define sin.

It is, of necessity, God's law -- the spiritual law. Thus, about A.D. 90, the apostle John established the fact that God's law was not, in that late day, abolished -- for an abolished law could never be the definition of sin!

In A.D. 56, Paul made it clear that the definition of sin is the transgression of the law. In Romans 4:15, he says, "Where there is no law there is no transgression," and he amplified this in the seventh chapter, seventh verse: "I would not have known sin, except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, `You shall not covet.'"

Here Paul makes clear WHICH law defines sin. It is the Ten Commandments -- the law that includes "You shall not covet."

Paul could not have written that, had the law been abolished.

And certainly he did not consider it abolished when he wrote, in the 12th verse of chapter 7,"Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good." And the idea that the Ten Commandments were abolished is emphatically rejected in Romans 3:31 -- written in A.D. 56, long after the crucifixion! -- "DO WE THEN MAKE VOID THE LAW THROUGH FAITH? CERTAINLY NOT! On the contrary, WE ESTABLISH THE LAW."

In Romans 8:4, Paul, in making it plain that the New Testament Church is to fulfill the righteousness of the law -- that is, right doing ordained by the law -- says: "That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." It is THROUGH the Spirit that Christians are to observe the law, and not through Mosaic ordinances, which were abolished.

Still later, in A.D. 60, writing to the Ephesians, Paul said: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. `Honor your father and mother,' which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth" (Eph. 6:1-3).

Thus another of the Commandments is named, preached and represented as offering a promise if observed, by the apostle Paul in A.D. 60. Paul could not have written that had the law been abolished.

That ought to establish the fact that the apostles did not abolish the Ten Commandments, or understand them to be abolished. But, on the other hand, the apostles did understand that the typical rituals -- the physical "works" of the law of Moses -- were nailed to the cross!

Now let us examine one special passage, to see whether it contradicts those already quoted.

We will examine Acts 15:23-24. It says: "The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, to the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings. Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, `You must be circumcised and keep the law' -- to whom we gave no such commandment."

Certainly here is one law that was not in effect. But WHICH law? Why, as the passage says, the law of physical ordinances -- the law that included circumcision! The 22nd verse indicates the message quoted was written by Paul and Barnabas, and it was written in A.D. 49 -- years before its coauthor, Paul, distinctly wrote that the Ten Commandment law was NOT void.

Certainly the Mosaic laws of ordinances and sacrifices were nailed to the cross and abolished. The reason for this is quite evident. Christ's example, faith and sacrifice and the Holy Spirit gave us a far superior aid and help and atonement. There could be no further possible need of that law of ordinances and sacrifices. That is REASONABLE.

But can you think of any REASON under the sun for doing away with the law that defines sin -- the law that establishes our relation to God and to our fellowmen? Can you think of any sane reason for abolishing the law that says "You shall have no other gods before me" -- "You shall not kill" -- "You shall not commit adultery" -- "You shall not steal" -- "You shall not covet"? Are THOSE laws out-of-date, obsolete, unnecessary?

No, there is no sane REASON for abolishing them, and there is nowhere in the Bible a passage of Scripture that says THOSE laws were abolished.

The laws abolished were the carnal, physical laws associated with sacrifices and offerings, which were reminders of sin to teach the habit of obedience. Now we have the Spirit of God to enable us to form the habit of obedience. As Paul said, "For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the DOERS OF THE LAW will be justified". (Rom. 2:13).

Salvation, like national citizenship, is a free gift, BUT IT GOES ONLY TO THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO BE LAW-ABIDING MEMBERS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. (Armstrong HW. Were the Ten Commandments Nailed to the Cross? Good News, January 1983)

God gave laws for our good. Why would He take away the Ten Commandments?

Well, He wouldn't and didn't.

To Summarize

The Ten Commandments were not nailed to the cross. What was nailed was "the handwriting of requirements" (cheirógrafon  toís  dógmasin), which is a Greek legal expression that signifies the penalty which a lawbreaker had to pay--it does not signify the laws that are to be obeyed--only the penalty.

Christians should accept what the New Testament teaches. Decades after Jesus resurrection, the Apostle John wrote:

"Now by this we know we know Him if we keep His commandments. He who says 'I know Him', and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk just as He walked...These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you" (1 John 2:3-6,26).

Interestingly, Jesus praised those at Ephesus for doing this same thing, "And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars" (Revelation 2:22).

Remember, the Apostle Peter warned that people were twisting the Apostle’s Paul’s writings:

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation -- as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; (2 Peter 3:14-17)

Peter was warning that there are those that will be misled by people who claim to believe the Bible. He also warned that true Christians need to be blameless. Those that keep God’s commandments are ‘blameless’ (Philippians 3:6; Job 1:1, 23:12). Those who do not, are not.

Early church history shows that apostates were the ones who claimed that the Ten Commandments were done away for Christians. Sadly, many teachers today have pushed views of apostates.

Jesus came to free Christians from the penalty of violating the law, not to eliminate the Ten Commandments. The Bible shows that Christ's followers would keep the Sabbath and the rest of the commandments.

Who are true Christians?

Let's see what the last book of the Bible says:

"And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:17).

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

All of the ten commandments are mentioned as being in effect before Mount Sinai, Jesus taught all ten of them, Paul taught all ten of them, they were all in effect after the crucifixion, Paul specifically taught they were not done away (Romans 3:31), and all of them are mentioned by the other New Testament writers. (You can find proof of that in our free online booklet: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast.)

The opinions that state otherwise seem to be "traditions of men" which Jesus warned against (Matthew 15:6).

The last chapter of the Bible states,

"Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city" (Revelation 22:14).

Therefore, it would not appear wise from a biblical standpoint to teach that the ten commandments are not in effect. The Ten Commandments were not nailed to the cross.

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all" (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Those of the Church that Jesus Christ founded, like those of us in the Continuing Church of God, still keep them.

Here is a link to a related sermon: Were the Ten Commandments 'Nailed to the Cross'?

P.S. All ten commandments are mentioned in the Bible prior to Exodus 20. Please read the article Were the Ten Commandments in Effect Prior to Mount Sinai? for more information. Jesus Taught Each of the Ten Commandments too!

P.P.S. But what about the other obligations of the Old Testament? They are discussed in the article Which Laws Are Done Away? Which Remain?

P.P.P.S. To learn more about the Ten Commandments and their ramifications, check out our free online book The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast.

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