Exodus 20: The Ten Commandments

By COGwriter

This article is part of a series covering the entire Book of Exodus,

We have three articles covering earlier chapters in the Book of Exodus.

Exodus and the Days of Unleavened Bread covers chapters 1-6, and parts of others.

Reasons, Proofs, and Ramifications of the Ten Plagues of Exodus covers chapters to 7-15 and parts of others.

Exodus 16-19 which covers all of those verses--here is a link to a related sermon: Exodus 16-19: Manna, Governance, and End Time Protection.

And here is one on this chapter: A related sermon is available: Exodus 20: The Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20

Exodus 20 includes the decalogue, the ten words, also known and the Ten Commandments.

Here is a Jewish view related to when this occurred:

Jewish tradition identified Shavuot as “the time of the giving of the Torah”, the anniversary of the Divine revelation at Sinai when the Israelites heard the voice of God and made a covenant with Him. But that connection is not made in the Torah itself. To be sure, the Torah says that “In the third month after the Israelites had gone forth from the land of Egypt, on that very day, they entered the wilderness of Sinai” (Ex. 19: 1), and Shavuot is the only festival in the third month. So the connection is implicit; but it is not explicit. (Sacks L. Judaism: A Thought for Shavuot. Arutz Sheva, June 3, 2014. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/15107#.U5M8P5tOVMw viewed 06/07/14)

The traditional festival of Pentecost as the birthday of the Torah (djd = "the time our Law was given"), when Israel became a constitutional body and "a distinguished people," remained the sole celebration after the Exile. The Shabu'ot prayers and Mahzor have references to this and particularly to the precepts deduced from the Pentateuch. (Pentecost. Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906. viewed 06/07/14)

It may very well be that the Ten Commandments were brought down from Mount Sinai on Pentecost.

The Old Radio Church of God taught:

Pentecost at Sinai!

To Jewish people today, the Feast of Pentecost or Firstfruits always brings to mind God's Law — the Ten Commandments. ...

12. ... Moses went up the mountain (verse 3) and God gave him a message to relay to the people. ...

On the Sabbath — the SEVENTH DAY — did God give another message to Moses to speak to ALL the people? Verse 10.

COMMENT: Notice that this Sabbath was the seventh weekly Sabbath since Israel left Egypt.

13. What was the message God revealed to Moses on this seventh Sabbath? Ex. 19:11. Was it not that the people should make themselves ready for the coming MONDAY — the third day — when GOD ALMIGHTY HIMSELF WOULD DO THE PREACHING? Same verse and Ex. 20:1.

COMMENT: This Monday was PENTECOST — 1487 B.C.!

The impact on Israel that morning (Ex. 19:18, 19; and 20:18-21) is a type of the impact of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost in A.D. 31.

Notice carefully and copy into your notes Hebrews 12:18-21 and meditate over the instruction the apostle Paul has written for our admonition upon whom the ENDS OF THIS AGE HAVE COME! (Lesson 35 - Day of Pentecost. 58 Lesson: Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, 1965.)

Now, there is at least one error in the above as Pentecost is on a Sunday, not Monday (the Radio/Worldwide Church of God ultimately realized that).

Presuming this is the case, it makes no sense that the Ten Commandments were done away by the Day of Pentecost for Christians. The Ten Commandments existed prior to Mt. Sinai (see Were the Ten Commandments in Effect Before Mount Sinai?), but were penned by God's finger on Mt. Sinai. They also were not 'nailed to the cross (see also Were the Ten Commandments Nailed to the Cross?).

First Commandment

Now to Exodus 20 and the Ten Commandments:

1 And God spoke all these words, saying:
2 "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 "You shall have no other gods before Me.

This is known as the first commandment. And it is the commandment that is the most commonly violated (watch also The Most Violated Commandment and Priorities).

Related to it, Jesus said:

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33)

It essentially is the greatest commandment:

35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:35-37)

Before going further, it should be mentioned that we have a free online book available titled: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast. This book shows where this (and every other of the Ten Commandments) was mentioned prior to God speaking here on Mount Sinai as well as what Jesus and Christian writers in the New Testament cited each one. It also touches on prophetic ramifications of the Ten Commandments.

Second Commandment

Back to Exodus 20:

4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image — any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

This is the second commandment. Although the Church of Rome combines this with the first one, as did Protestant Reformer Martin Luther, early professors of Christ kept the two separately as have the Jews.

Even Clement of Alexandria did in the late second/early third century:

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... (Clement of Alexandria. Stromata, Book VI, Chapter 16)

It should be noted that early Christian writers warned against having idols and icons like are in so many of the world's churches today (see What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? and/or watch: The Second Commandment, Idols, and Icons).

Furthermore, notice an accusation against those who professed Christ in the second/third century (date uncertain):

Why have they no altars, no temples, no acknowledged images? (Minucius. Octavius. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 4, Chapter 10. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

It should be noted that no Christian prior to the late second or early third century is ever described as carrying an idol, having images in any worship services, or even wearing a cross (though some apostates started to advocate crosses in the second and third centuries).

The New Testament does not actually mention not to bow down to graven images nor does it use the terms "graven image" or carved image." But since it repeatedly forbids idolatry, and that was understood by Christians to mean not to violate the second commandment.

For example, Theophilus of Antioch quoted Exodus 20:4:

You shall not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I am the Lord your God. Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book III, Chapter IX. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

And then referred to this as part of the "ten heads" (ibid)--meaning Ten Commandments.

Third Commandment

Back to Exodus we see the third commandment:

7 "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

This commandment is violated many ways.

Many act like words should not matter, but Jesus taught:

34 … For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.

37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:34-37)

What you speak does matter, and that is more than not bearing false witness.

We see much vulgarity in the world today.

The United States has long been the world leader in producing movies. Yet, because some believe that those having a ‘G’ (General Audience) rating could harm their marketing efforts, vulgar and lust-provoking language is often included in movies.

Such things should not be done (cf. 1 Timothy 6:9-10).

Jesus taught:

20 What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts ... blasphemy, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7:20-22).

When people curse to have God condemn someone, in their pride, they act like that they have that type authority, which they do not. For:

10 … those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries (2 Peter 2:10)

Many claim that God has done this or that for them, when He has not. Various ones claim many things are God’s will, even their bad choices, when that is not the will of God.

We are not to be presumptuous:

13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; (Psalm 19:13)

So be careful before you declare something is God’s will.

Christians should further see what the Apostle Paul wrote:

8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. (Colossians 3:8)

So, we see that the New Testament prohibits both blasphemy, which is speaking improperly about God, as well as filthy language, which can also include speaking against God.

Notice also Christians are to even control their thoughts:

5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Furthermore, Christians are admonished to:

29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)

So, more than just not taking God’s name in vain and not thinking bad, Christians are to speak that which is good.

Because “holy and reverend is his {God’s} name” (Psalm 111:9, KJV), we do not refer to ministers or others with titles like “reverend.” And because Jesus said, “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9), we do not refer to religious leaders as “father” (that title is basically reserved for our physical fathers and our Father in heaven).

Please also consider that those who are not truly Christians are taking God’s name in vain if they call themselves Christians as are those who curse with God’s name.

(It should be noted that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit—Matthew 12:31-32 and Hebrews 6:4-6–involves turning against the truth by the truly converted as well as the ways of God, and is not a result of inadvertently cursing.)

Some believe that it is wrong for Christians to use terms like God, Jesus, or Lord. They believe that this is using God’s name in vain.

Typically, because of what is called the ‘Tetragrammaton,’ YHVH (translated as ‘LORD’ or ‘Lord’ in many Protestant and Catholic Bibles), these people believe that the Father must be called Jehovah, Yahveh, or Yahweh. They normally prefer some version of the term Yeshua to refer to Jesus.

While it can be proper to use terms like Yahveh or Y’eshua, many fail to realize that the New Testament was basically written in Greek. Though some claim that the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic, scholars have concluded that the Greek New Testament does NOT show signs of being translated (other than obviously various statements of Jesus made in Aramaic, etc.). Plus, at least one Aramaic linguist has declared that the type of Aramaic that the ‘Aramaic New Testament’ has been translated from did not exist in Jesus’ area during his time. Therefore totally disproving the position that the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic.

The reality is that the inspired New Testament does use words properly translated into English as God, Jesus, or Lord and does not use words like Yahweh or Y’shua.

What are commonly referred to as ‘sacred names’ simply were not preserved in the Greek New Testament, hence they are not a Christian requirement.

Ignoring what language the New Testament was originally written in, consider that when Jesus was dying and prayed, He did NOT refer to His Father as Yahveh or Yahweh:

46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46)

Notice that the biblical translation was that Jesus was calling out to God. In the entire New Testament, Jesus is NEVER quoted using any of the ‘sacred names’ that many claim is necessary.

This clearly demonstrates that Jesus did NOT feel He had to refer to God the Father with any so-called ‘sacred name.’ While Christians are to be respectful, it is not biblically correct to insist on ‘sacred names.’

Furthermore, since there are no vowels in ancient Hebrew nor Aramaic, no one is 100% certain as to how various names in the Old Testament were pronounced. And in the New Testament Greek, Jesus’ name is not written as Y’eshua—it is closer to Ieesous.

It should also be understood that Jesus told His followers to refer to His Father as ‘Father’ when praying (Matthew 6:9)—not any version of YHVH.

The New Testament most certainly DOES NOT require sacred names, and not using them is NOT a violation of the third commandment.

Jesus taught:

33 Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’  34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne;  35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.  36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.  37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. (Matthew 5:33-37)

James taught:

12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment. (James 5:12)

Swearing implies a certainty that one can make something come to pass. But only God can do that.

Therefore, traditionally, true Christians have not sworn oaths or done similar things.

From a legal perspective, many societies allow one to affirm that they are being truthful when providing testimony or signing documents. And providing affirmation is what we in the Continuing Church of God advise Christians to do when asked to swear.

Satan has influenced society (Ephesians 2:2) and many people curse using God’s name in vain.

Satan has deceived the whole world (Revelation 12:9). Many believe that they can say versions of these curses with semi-substitutes.

The common abuses of God’s name are obvious to any true Christian, and real Christians will zealously avoid using or thinking them. But other, more subtle, vain uses of God’s name can creep into our language, and we should just as diligently guard against them. These wrong words and phrases are euphemisms substituted for blatant misuses of God’s name, but are also wrong.

Various ones vainly make statements like, ‘Oh, my God!’ when they are not praying to God. Many use statements, like, ‘Oh, my gosh!’ or ‘good gracious’ or ‘good grief’ or ‘Oh, my goodness!’ which are essentially euphemistic ways to say the same thing. In electronic communications, “OMG” is also used a lot. Such should not be done. Those may sound innocent enough at first, but think about them a moment and it’s obvious that they really are slang expressions for God’s name. As a parent, be sure your children are aware of the double meaning of these common words.

Many, when upset, scream, ‘Jesus!,’ again not in prayer. Others, do the same basic thing when they cry out, ‘Geez’ or ‘Gee whiz!’ Terms like crud (when used as a substitute for the word Christ), egad, and golly also fall into this category.

There are also other improper statements.

Now, we are not trying to teach that making unintended misstatements is something we should judge others on—but as Christians it is something that we should strive not to do.

Do not euphemistically use God’s name in vain.

Do not call yourself Christian if you will not be willing to live as Jesus wanted you to (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 John 2:6).

Perhaps it should be mentioned that the reason we in the Continuing Church of God do not say, ‘God bless you’ after someone sneezes is because that tradition is based on the unbiblical notion that an evil spirit may enter someone who sneezes and must be warded off with some type of a spell.

If someone is truly ill they can pray and others can also pray for them (James 5:13-14).

The Bible shows the third commandment was in place before Mt. Sinai:

“nor shall you profane the name of your God...for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled” (Leviticus 18:21,27).

“It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts” (Job 1:5).

“Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9).

Interestingly, those called of God are not to be cursed either, “And I will curse him who curses you” (Genesis 12:3).

Jesus taught and expanded the third commandment:

“pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9).

“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men” (Matthew 12:31).

“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, ...blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man” (Matthew 15:19-20).

“What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts ... blasphemy, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7:20-22).

After Jesus was resurrected, the New Testament taught the third commandment:

“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).

“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).

Do not take God’s name in vain.

Fourth Commandment

Back to Exodus 20:

8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

The Sabbath falls on the day we typically refer to as Saturday in English.

Roman Catholics realize that the seventh day is the Sabbath:

The sabbath...The sacred text says that "on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done"...and that God "rested on this day and sanctified and blessed it"(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 345. Imprimi Potest + Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, New York, 1994, p. 100).

The Sabbath was created in Genesis 2, and as the matter of manna shows (Exodus 16:27-30), it was in place before the Ten Commandments were stated from Mount Sinai.

Some have false argued that the Sabbath is the only one of the Ten Commandments not repeated in the New Testament and is thus done away.

There are at least three problems with that logic.

The first is that the second commandment, while alluded to, is not directly quoted in the New Testament: idols are condemned but the statement about bowing before graven images is not directly mentioned.

The second is that there are two parts to the Sabbath command, and both parts are in the New Testament.

Related to the portion of the command to work, the New Testament teaches:

10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread. (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12)

So, there is a command in the New Testament to work.

There is also a specific command in the New Testament related to the Sabbath rest. Notice what the New Testament Book of Hebrews teaches using two Protestant, one Eastern Orthodox, and three Catholic translations:

3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'" And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." 5 And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest." 6 It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience...9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience (Hebrews 4:3-6,9-11, NIV).

3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”; 5 and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.” 6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience,.. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:3-6,9-11, NASB)

3 However, we who have faith are entering into that rest, even as God said: As I swore in my wrath, they will not enter into my rest. And yet, the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 Somewhere [else], God said this about the seventh day: God rested on the seventh day from all his works. ... 9 There must still be, then, a Sabbath rest for God’s people, 10 and anyone who has entered into his rest has also rested from his [own] works, just as God did. 11 Therefore, let us do our utmost to enter into that rest, for fear that anyone should fall according to the same pattern of disobedience. ((Hebrews 4:3-4, 9-11. THE EASTERN / GREEK ORTHODOX BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT. The EOB New Testament is presented in memory of Archbishop Vsevolod of Scopelos  † 2007 https://azbyka.ru/otechnik/assets/uploads/books/18204/Eastern_Orthodox_Bible-New_Testament.pdf)

3 We, however, who have faith, are entering a place of rest, as in the text: And then in my anger I swore that they would never enter my place of rest. Now God's work was all finished at the beginning of the world; 4 as one text says, referring to the seventh day: And God rested on the seventh day after all the work he had been doing. 5 And, again, the passage above says: They will never reach my place of rest. 6 It remains the case, then, that there would be some people who would reach it, and since those who first heard the good news were prevented from entering by their refusal to believe…9 There must still be, therefore, a seventh-day rest reserved for God's people,  10 since to enter the place of rest is to rest after your work, as God did after his.  11 Let us, then, press forward to enter this place of rest, or some of you might copy this example of refusal to believe and be lost. (Hebrews 4:3-6,9-11, NJB)

3 For we, that have believed, shall enter into their rest; as he said: As I sware in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: and truly the works from the foundation of the world being perfected. 4 For he said in a certain place of the seventh day thus: And God rested the seventh day from all his works…9 Therefore there is left a sabbatisme for the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, the same also hath rested from his works, as God did from his.  11 Let us hasten therefore to enter into that rest; lest any man fall into the same example of incredulity. (Hebrews 4:3-6,9-11, The Original and True Rheims New Testament of Anno Domini 1582)

3 For we who believed enter into [that] rest, just as he has said: “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter into my rest,’” and yet his works were accomplished at the foundation of the world. 4For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this manner, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works”; 5 and again, in the previously mentioned place, “They shall not enter into my rest.” 6 Therefore, since it remains that some will enter into it, and those who formerly received the good news did not enter because of disobedience,... 9 Therefore, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God. 10 And whoever enters into God’s rest, rests from his own works as God did from his. 11 Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest, so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience.(Hebrews 4:3-6,9-11, New American Bible)

Thus, the New Testament clearly shows that the command to keep the seventh day Sabbath is in the New Testament. It also shows that only those who will not observe it because of their disobedience argue otherwise. And that is why Paul observed it.

Even Origen of Alexandria (late 2nd/early 3rd century) understood some of this as he wrote:

But what is the feast of the Sabbath except that which the apostle speaks, "There remaineth therefore a Sabbatism," that is, the observance of the Sabbath, by the people of God ... let us see how the Sabbath ought to be observed by a Christian. On the Sabbath-day all worldly labors ought to be abstained from ... give yourselves up to spiritual exercises, repairing to church, attending to sacred reading and instruction ... this is the observance of the Christian Sabbath (Translated from Origen's Opera 2, Paris, 1733, Andrews J.N. in History of the Sabbath, 3rd edition, 1887. Reprint Teach Services, Brushton (NY), 1998, pp. 324-325).

The Sabbath was not done away when Jesus was put to death.

One reason that many today do not understand this is that certain translators have intentionally mistranslated the Greek term sabbatismos (ςαββατισμóς) which is actually found in Hebrews 4:9 (Green JP. The Interlinear Bible, 2nd edition. Hendrickson Publishers, 1986, p. 930).

The Protestant KJV and NKJV mistranslate it as does the CHANGED version of the Rheims New Testament, also known as the Challoner version (changes in the 18th century)--all three mistranslate the word as 'rest,' whereas there is a different Greek term (katapausin), translated as 'rest' in the New Testament. Sabbatismos clearly refers to a 'sabbath-rest' and honest scholars will all admit that. Because of the mistranslations, most today do not realize that the seventh-day Sabbath was specifically enjoined for Christians in the New Testament.

If you are Roman Catholic, consider the following:

Codex Amiatinus The most celebrated manuscript of the Latin Vulgate Bible, remarkable as the best witness to the true text of St. Jerome...(Fenlon, John Francis. "Codex Amiatinus." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 21 Apr. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04081a.htm>)

Here is the Latin from the Codex Amiatinus:

9 itaque relinquitur sabbatismus populo Dei (Hebrews 4:9, Codex Amiatinus. http://www.latinvulgate.com/lv/verse.aspx?t=1&b=19&c=4 accessed 10/22/15)

It is clear, even to non-Latin readers that Hebrews 4:9 is definitely talking about the Sabbath.

Decades ago, a Protestant told me that the reason he did not keep the seventh-day Sabbath was because it was not taught for Christians in the New Testament. I handed him a Bible *RSV) and read him Hebrews 4. He then looked at the verses himself. After doing so, he said because his grandmother was a "good Christian" in his view, and because she did not keep it, he felt that he did not. He failed to truly rely on the Bible, but instead on false tradition (see also Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings). Sadly most who profess Christianity do not keep the seventh-day Sabbath and rely mainly on improper traditions, whether they realize it or not.

Notice something from the Jehovah's Witnesses translation of scripture:

9 So there remains a sabbath-rest for the people of God. (Hebrews 4:9, NWT, 2013)

So, even though they do not keep the Sabbath, even their translation of scripture gets that verse right.

For those interested in another source, here is a translation of Hebrews 4:9 from the, Eastern Peschitta, which is an Aramaic text (Roth AG, Daniel BB. Aramaic English New Testament, 5th edition. Netazari Press, 2012):

9. For there remains a Shabat for the people of Elohim.

Here is a claimed translation from a 'Hebrew' New Testament (which some call the Brit HaHadashah):

9 There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God.

Whether we look at translations from the Greek, the first Latin Vulgate, Aramaic, or Hebrew, it should be clear that the Bible does enjoin Sabbath-keeping for Christians.

In the 20th century, Professor Andrew T. Lincoln stated:

“The use of sabbatismos elsewhere in extant Greek literature gives an indication of its more exact shade of meaning. It is used in Plutarch, De Superstitione 3 (Moralia 166A) of Sabbath observance. There are also four occurrences in post canonical literature that are independent of Hebrews 4:9. They are Justin, Dialogue c. Trypho 23:3; Epiphanius, Panar. haer. 30:2:2; Martyrium Petri et Pauli cap 1; Const Ap. 2:36:2. In each of these places the term denotes the observance or celebration of the Sabbath. This usage corresponds to the Septuagint usage of the cognate verb sabbatizo (cf. Exodus 16:30; Leviticus. 23:32; 26:34; 2 Chronicles. 36:21), which also has reference to Sabbath observance. Thus the writer to the Hebrews is saying that since the time of Joshua an observance of the Sabbath rest has been outstanding” (“Sabbath, Rest and Eschatology in the New Testament,”in From Sabbath to Lord’s Day, Carson DA, editor. Wipf and Sotck, 1982, p. 213).

The so-called Apostolic Constitutions uses it as follows:

You shall 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 2:36:2)

The Greek the above verse translates as "observe the Sabbath" is ςαββατισμóν (Funk F.X. editor/translator. Didascalia et Constitutiones apostolorum. Panderbornae : in libraria Ferdinandi Schoeningh, 1905, p. 121), which in English is transliterated sabbatismon.

Although the Sabbath is refreshing rest, many ignore that and consider it a burden. Notice the following prophecy that seems to apply to those who do not keep the Sabbath:

11 For with stammering lips and another tongue
He will speak to this people,
12 To whom He said, "This is the rest with which
You may cause the weary to rest,"
And, "This is the refreshing";
Yet they would not hear. (Isaiah 28:11-12)

Will you hear?

Many, sadly, seem to prefer mistranslation and traditions to what the Bible teaches.

BTW, it is clear that the Apostle Paul and other early Christians kept the Sabbath (see The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad).

So, the reality is that early Christians did still believe that the Sabbath was a command for them. They not only under the koine Greek better than we do today, they also knew the original apostles, who also kept them.

As far as the Ten Commandments go, did you know that Paul also wrote the following?

5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)

Christians are to be those expressing love from a pure heart with sincere faith. Christians are to keep the ten commandments.

Paul kept the Ten Commandments (here is a link to an article proving so from the New Testament: What Did Paul Actually Teach About the Ten Commandments?).

Fifth Commandment

Now back to Exodus 20 and the fifth commandment:

12 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they also dishonored their only parent.

In the New Testament Adam is called the “son of God” (Luke 3:38). This is because God created him. Adam was the son of God by a direct creation. Adam was not God’s son by regular human begettal or birth. Eve, was fashioned by God out of Adam’s rib (Genesis 2:21-23), and hence was not born the usual way.

Adam not only dishonored God, but he also broke the tenth commandment. There was also lust when the woman felt the forbidden fruit was good for food and desired to make one wise; vanity, egotism and pride entered into her heart (Genesis 3:6) which would violate the ninth commandment. She put the word of the serpent over the word of God and hence violated the first commandment. She made an idol out of worldly wisdom (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:19) and thus violated the second commandment.

Lust is what usually causes a person to have an inordinate desire to have something that is not to be theirs. Lust can cause some to steal, and Adam and Eve broke the eighth commandment by stealing what was not theirs to take.

At least six of the Ten Commandments were broken when Eve partook of the forbidden fruit.

And in other ways every one of the Ten Commandments was actually broken in that first human sin. Improperly disobeying parents can lead to many problems.

The version of the fifth commandment in Deuteronomy is a bit longer:

16 ‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (Deuteronomy 5:16)

Deuteronomy means ‘second law’ and all the Ten Commandments are repeated in the 5th chapter of Deuteronomy.

If children would honor their parents and parents were honorable, it would go well in the physical land.

A disobedient child is a frustrated child as that child’s mind is often plagued with feelings of guilt and rebellion. Children who love, honor, and obey their parents are blessed.

In modern times, it is also realized that those who come from more stable families are less likely to be involved in crime.

Children do not naturally know how to do right and they need to be taught.

One of the biggest ‘secrets’ of being a successful parent is to spend time with your child(ren).

Those that follow what the Bible teaches will teach their children. Notice what the Bible shows God said right after Moses reiterated the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy:

6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

The above indicates that you will be spending a lot of time with your children. And the following shows that

6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6).

Children who learn God’s words and commands will learn about what is right.

When children have proper boundaries and are taught right from wrong as the Bible teaches, they can avoid many pitfalls in the world. They also will tend to be happier (cf. Psalm 144:15; Proverbs 28:14).

The Bible also teaches:

3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. 5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5)

Parents should properly correct their children. The Bible teaches:

13 Don’t fail to discipline your children. They won’t die if you spank them. (Proverbs 23:13, New Living Translation, NLT)

10 Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, And he who hates correction will die. (Proverbs 15:10)

17 Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul. (Proverbs 29:17)

Most children should not need much in the way of “harsh” discipline. And in modern society, be cautious about the wisdom of spanking (legally it is not allowed in various countries). But children should have rules and boundaries and be subject to discipline if they violate those rules and boundaries.

There are many ways to provide discipline to your children. Talking with them, removing or restricting privileges, as well as my favorite, giving children additional work to do. Having children pull weeds was one of this author’s favorite forms of disciplinary punishment. Also, as they get older, properly raised children normally will respond to simply expressing your disappointment in them as sufficient discipline.

Consider also that the Bible teaches, “And the hope of the hypocrite shall perish” (Job 8:13)--if you hope that your children will turn out well, then try not to live as a hypocrite. Not being a hypocrite goes a long way in helping parents to be honorable.

Does the fifth commandment mean that children must obey their parents if they are told to violate God’s law?

No. “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). But honorable parents will not tell their children to disobey God’s laws.

Are children to obey dishonorable parents in other ways? That depends, but overall children are to honor their parents, whether they are honorable or not. Parents are to act honorably whether their children honor them or not.

The Book of Proverbs repeatedly mentions that it is good for children to listen to their parents:

8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; 9 For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.  (Proverbs 1:8-9)

1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding;  2 For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law. 3 When I was my father’s son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, 4 He also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live. (Proverbs 4:1-4)

20 My son, keep your father’s command, And do not forsake the law of your mother. 21 Bind them continually upon your heart; Tie them around your neck. 22 When you roam, they will lead you; When you sleep, they will keep you; And when you awake, they will speak with you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life, 24 To keep you from the evil woman, From the flattering tongue of a seductress. (Proverbs 6:20-24)

The Bible teaches that children should listen to good advice from their parents. Notice also:

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (Ephesians 6:1)

Children are not to obey if parents tell them to violate God’s law.

Adult children should be polite to their parents, when possible, whether or not they are particularly honorable.

Proverbs teaches:

26 He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother Is a son who causes shame and brings reproach.  (Proverbs 19:26)

22 Listen to your father who begot you, And do not despise your mother when she is old. (Proverbs 23:22)

It is normally advisable for adults to attempt to maintain at least some contact with parents—though this does not mean compromising on holy days or the world’s holidays.

In biblical times, adult children were also expected to financially support their parents when they were elderly.

The Pharisees tried to reason around this, but notice what Jesus taught:

9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban” — ‘ (that is, a gift to God), 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” (Mark 7:9-13)

What about today?

Do adult children have any financial obligations to support their parents?

Yes (cf. 1 Timothy 5:8).

However, in the case of many Western societies, it often is unnecessary. Yet, if it is necessary, adult children still have that obligation.

But what about enabling destructive behavior?

If a parent is a drug-addict, an alcoholic, pornography addict, purposely deceitful, or otherwise is participating in harmful behaviors, should adult children enable this?

No (cf. Galatians 6:1-2; Proverbs 23:20-21; 30:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12; Matthew 18:6). Consider also:

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. (Ephesians 5:11)

Hence, while food, clothing, and lodging may need to be provided by adult children, ‘cash-money’ to a parent who would tend to improperly spend on bad behaviors is not something anyone should give.

Furthermore, while you are to honor your parents, understand that Jesus taught against putting family considerations/traditions above following Him (Matthew 10:37; 15:3-9).

37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. (Matthew 10:37)

Jesus knew that family pressures would be factors in many not being willing to truly follow Him.

Sixth Commandment

Back to Exodus 20 we see the sixth commandment:

13 "You shall not murder.

The first physical murder recorded in the Bible is when Cain killed his brother Abel (Genesis 4:8).

But murder began before there were human beings. Notice what Jesus said:

44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44)

Satan’s deceit to Adam and Eve ultimately resulted in their death (cf. Genesis 2:17; 5:5).

It is well documented that early Christians would not voluntarily enter the military. Nor would they watch violent sports.

Even most Greco-Romans who professed Christ held to that view until the 4th century, when most accepted the decrees and influence of the follower of the sun-god Mithras, named Constantine. 

“Mithraism was first and foremost a military cult” (Aiken CF. Mithraism. The Catholic University bulletin, Volume 19, 1913, p. 255). Emperor Constantine attempted to blend his pagan views with what he considered to be Christianity (Herbermann C, Georg G. Constantine the Great. The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908).

Many went along with Emperor Constantine (see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence?).

Even Protestant reformers, including Martin Luther, took militaristic views of Christianity (cf. Luther’s Works, vol. Xx, pp. 2230-2632).

Yet, Jesus taught His servants would not fight in this age (John 18:36). in His Sermon on the Mount, He taught to be angry against one without cause risked judgment (Matthew 5:22). Because of these teachings and the teaching to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39), early Christians would not only not join the military, they would not even watch violent sports (cf. Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book III, Chapter XV).

Wanting someone to be injured or to somehow be intentionally struck by someone else for entertainment does not show ‘Philadelphian love’ and should not be encouraged.

Philadelphia means ‘brotherly love.’ Yet, most who profess Christ do not seem to be bothered by encouraging violence against others.

In the Kingdom of God, “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore” (Micah 4:3).

Jesus warned against improper anger (Matthew 5:22).

Yet some are proud of their tempers. Others blame their anger on their upbringing and/or ethnic origin and are unwilling to change. Although all are affected by their environments, we are not to nurse our anger.

But the Bible says that anger is not to control us in both the Old and New Testaments:

4 Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. (Psalm 4:4)

32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32)

11 The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression. (Proverbs 19:11)

9 Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools. (Ecclesiastes 7:9)

26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Additionally, notice the following:

1 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. (Proverbs 15:1-2)

18 A wrathful man stirs up strife, But he who is slow to anger allays contention. (Proverbs 15:18)

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16)

Not only are we not to be improperly angry, it is wise for God’s people to help others who may be angry towards us if we can.

We are also to pray for them:

44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:44-48)

Jesus set a standard above merely not murdering. We are to love and pray for our enemies and strive for perfection!

Seventh Commandment

Back to Exodus 20:

14 "You shall not commit adultery.

Adultery and other forms of sexual immorality are rampant. Many “have eyes full of adultery” (2 Peter 2:14) and like adulterers in the past do not consider adultery nor fornication to be a sin—they think they “have done no wickedness” (Proverbs 30:20).

With the advent of photography in the 19th century, along with movies in the 20th and 21st centuries, and also the internet, there has been a massive rise in the production and viewing of pornography (see also Pornography: A scourge on society).

Pornography, especially in this internet age, can become addictive. Research shows it distorts one’s view of the opposite sex as it often displays people in terms of sexual response (especially women) unrealistically. Pornography can play a role in sexual infidelities as well as in societal sexual crimes such as rape and child molestation. Christians need to flee pornography and all other forms of illicit sexual experimentation (1 Corinthians 6:18; Matthew 5:28).

Satan has managed to get lust and other false sexual messages to spread far and wide. Satan wants YOU to be unfaithful.

Yet, centuries before Mt. Sinai, Israel’s son Joseph stated he would not sin by committing adultery (Genesis 39:9). Adultery is also called sin in the New Testament (2 Peter 2:14).

The Bible has many admonitions against adultery, and many passages in the Book of Proverbs provide warnings against it (cf. Proverbs 2:10-20; 5:15-23; 6:23-34; 7:1-27; 23:26-28). They warn that words of an adulteress are deceptive. And of course, any married person involved in adultery has also violated their marriage vows.

The only form of sexual relations that the Bible sanctions is between a male married to a female (cf. Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 7:3-5). Bestiality (Leviticus 20:15-16), fornication (Galatians 5:19), homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22), incest (Leviticus 18:6-17), prostitution (Deuteronomy 23:17-18), and lesbianism (Romans 1:26) are all condemned.

Fantasy sex is also condemned (Job 31:1,9-11; Matthew 5:28).

The societal cost for fornication, unwed motherhood, divorce, and sexually-transmitted diseases is high and should never be. There would be less broken homes, less juvenile delinquency, and less disease if people would obey the seventh commandment.

The sexual and reproductive drives that God made can be quite powerful. This drive was at least partially intended to get many people to look for a spouse (Genesis 2:18; Matthew 19:4-5; Proverbs 18:22, 30:19; 1 Corinthians 7:9) as well as to motivate them to improve their situations so that they could properly raise their own families (cf. Malachi 2:15; Genesis 29:18; 1 Timothy 5:8; Titus 2:3-8).

Sexual immorality, such as fornication and masturbation, divert that drive away from God’s intended purposes. For young men, the sexual/reproductive drive should help motivate them to take steps to be able to provide for a family (cf. 1 Timothy 5:8). For young women, this drive should motivate them to be able to properly raise a family (cf. Titus 2:4).

A major point of marriage is love, not lust. Men are to “love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Women are “to love their husbands, to love their children” (Titus 2:4.) But adultery is a hurtful “lust of the flesh” (cf. Galatians 5:16,19) and not love.

Consider also:

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)

A real Christian should not marry one who is not a real Christian nor incorporate paganism into worship practices.

There are clearly spiritual ramifications of marriage.

The Apostle Paul also wrote:

31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:31-32)

So, consider there are not only physical principles involved in the seventh commandment. We are to pursue the truth of God and strive to faithfully be one with God (John 17:11).

The Bible also specifically teaches against spiritual adultery:

4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)

6 And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people. (Leviticus 20:6)

3 … I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 3-7)

The Bible condemns both physical and spiritual adultery, and urges Christians to keep the original faith—a faith which included the observance of the Ten Commandments.

Spiritual adultery includes compromising and adding pagan practices and beliefs to what should be the true faith. This was shown in the New Testament and is also prophesied to be a major problem in the end times (Revelation 17).

The Bible also warns that some who claimed to be Christian would not obey:

12 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. 15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man's voice restrained the madness of the prophet.

17 These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. (2 Peter 2:12-19)

Those who teach ‘liberty’ from the Ten Commandments are really bringing people into “bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:21).

While dating by singles should be fine, be wary of much physical contact.

The Apostle Paul warned:

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18)

One does not flee sexual immorality by seeing how close one can get to it. (More on dating is included in the free online booklet: Dating: A Key to Success in Marriage, a practical dating guide for Christians.)

The Book of Proverbs teaches:

23 For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life, 24 To keep you from the evil woman, From the flattering tongue of a seductress. 25 Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, Nor let her allure you with her eyelids. 26 For by means of a harlot A man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. 27 Can a man take fire to his bosom, And his clothes not be burned? 28 Can one walk on hot coals, And his feet not be seared? 29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her shall not be innocent. (Proverbs 6:23-29)

Consider that Jesus told His followers to pray:

13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew 6:13)

Nor should Christians lead themselves into temptation. Consider also that the Apostle Paul wrote:

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22, KJV)

Therefore, married people should not flirt, be involved in sexting, or other improper behaviors with those that are not their spouses. Unmarried people should never be involved with sexting (and this author is not advising married people to actually do this either) and compromising situations.

Avoiding fornication is good for marriage:

Federal government statistics show that the prospects for an early divorce are minimal among American couples who have never had any sexual partners other than their spouses, and increases with the number of other partners.

Among couples who have not had other partners, 95% of marriages remain intact through at least the first five years. That number drops to 62% if the woman has had any other partner, and to nearly 50% if she has had two other partners. The numbers also drop, although less sharply, if the man has had other partners. (Statistics show marriages more likely to survive if couples had no other lifetime sexual partners. CNS, 02/13/17).

Society would be so much better off if the seventh commandment were truly kept.

The Bible shows that marriage is intended to last a lifetime:

10 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:10-11)

3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?"

4 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,'  5 and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?  6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

7 They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?"

8 He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.  9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery."

10 His disciples said to Him, "If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry."

11 But He said to them, "All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: (Matthew 19:3-11).

The disciples saw the limitation Jesus gave as very difficult. It should motivate people to be careful about marriage. While the Bible endorses marriage, nowhere does the Bible teach that marriage will be easy (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:28). It is intended to help build loving character (cf. Ephesians 5:22-33)—and that is not always easy (John 6:33; 1 Corinthians 7:33-34).

Many people will claim something to the effect that their spouse is ‘impossible,’ not realizing “that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28) and not having faith that God can work things out. Many do not have enough faith to realize that God knew there would be marital difficulties, but that He expects His people to grow and change through the process. Not having sufficient faith in God, etc. many who profess Christianity trust in themselves (cf. Proverbs 3:6-7) and divorce.

Yet, God hates divorce:

15 But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. 16 “For the Lord God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.” (Malachi 2:15-16)

There is a very large church that claims to be the original church, yet it allows its priests to put away their wives so that they can become ‘bishops.’ Priests that do that “deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.” That and other behaviors God hates.

The Bible also speaks of divorce and remarriage as adultery (Matthew 19:9).

We are to keep our marriage vows (Malachi 2:14), even when it is not easy (cf. Psalm 15:4).

While the Bible mentions a couple of exceptions (cf. Matthew 5:32, 19:9; 1 Corinthians 7:13-15,39), most who have divorced in the eyes of their government and/or church and then remarried are considered to be adulterers by the God of the Bible (cf. Matthew 19:9). They are not learning the way of love as they should.

Eighth Commandment

Can you imagine a world in which you never have to worry about anyone stealing anything from you, your family, your business, etc.? A world where no one tries to cheat you?

That is how the world should be.

So, back to Exodus 20:

15 "You shall not steal.

The Bible not only teaches against stealing, notice the following:

28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. (Ephesians 4:28)

Yes, you are to GIVE to others, not just avoiding stealing!

If everyone stole and no one produced, there would be nothing to eat, nothing to wear, etc. Stealing hurts society.

It may be of interest to note that the biblical penalty for stealing was to pay the stolen from 4-5 times as much as the value of what was stolen (cf. Exodus 22:1). And for stealing food, 7 times as much (Proverbs 6:31).

Among other things, this taught people that they would not get rich from stealing and needed to produce their own food.

From a societal perspective, we would almost never need locks or carry keys if people did not steal. Also, if people do not steal, they tend to realize that they need to work to produce what they and their families need.

But there are other ways to steal. Improper representations when buying or selling (false advertising) is wrong (Proverbs 20:10, 14). Not working as one should (cf. Ecclesiastes 9:10; Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-24), is stealing from one’s employer and/or society.  Employers are also to properly pay their employees (cf. James 5:4-6). The Bible also teaches that one who is too lazy to work is covetous (Proverbs 21:25-26). Covetousness leads to stealing.

Committing adultery is stealing from one’s spouse and put’s one’s spouse at risk of disease. Not praising God as we are told to do (e.g. Psalm 22:23; 113:1; Romans 13:7) would be another form of stealing.

Those truly living as Christians are not scheming to try to figure out how much they can take from others.

Many people do not believe that they steal, yet they do not realize that the Bible teaches that not giving tithes and proper offerings is stealing.

Notice what the prophet Malachi was inspired to write:

8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ (Malachi 3:8


In tithes and offerings.

9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts,

“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:9-10)

Many people will not heed God’s admonitions. Most do NOT have the faith to tithe and trust God to bless them (for more on faith, read our free online booklet,Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen).

Jesus taught that tithing was still to be done (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42). And the Book of Hebrews shows that tithing was changed from the Levites to ministry of the church (Hebrews 7:1-2,8-12).

Yes, many reason around this, but those that do are violating the 8th commandment. It takes faith to tithe, not faith to claim it is unnecessary (cf. James 2:14-26).

Some people consider that taxes are ‘legalized’ stealing and should not be paid.

Whether or not they are ‘constitutional’ or 'legalized' forms of stealing can be debated, but taxes are the enforced law of the land of most nations.

Consider that the Jews did not want to be taken over by the Romans and they did not want to fund the Roman Empire.

So, some asked Jesus if the people were to pay taxes:

14 When they had come, they said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15 Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?”

But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.”  16 So they brought it.

And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”

17 And Jesus answered and said to them, ”Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  (Mark 12:14-17)

Jesus knew they wanted Him to say no to get in trouble with the government or yes to look bad before the Jews.

Yet Jesus taught that not paying legitimately due taxes would be stealing (and yes, in countries like the USA, what is legitimate can be debated--but the idea that Christians should pay taxes should not be).

Of course, some couldargue that Jesus was talking to the Jews, the Apostle Paul also wrote that Christians should pay taxes:

1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. (Romans 13:1-7)

Paul was writing to Christians. Christians should pay taxes.

Anyway, we are not only not to steal, but we are to be productive!

Ninth Commandment

Back to Exodus 20 and the ninth commandment:

16 "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Some have said the above does not specify lying, but the following does:

25 Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another. (Ephesians 4:25)

Yet many who claim Christ seem to condone what they call ‘white lies’ as well as other forms of false witness. Christians are to TELL THE TRUTH!

If you are going to speak, always tell the truth. The truth and God’s word sets Christians apart:

16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:16-17)

Years ago, a minister gave an assignment about which commandment was the most important.

And while the first commandment is, from a physical perspective this author concluded that if the ninth commandment was obeyed, the world would be a much better and different place.

If people did not lie, the ‘justice system’ would be overhauled, politicians would have to change mightily, wars could be averted, relationships would be stronger, and less people would get hurt.

Satan is the father of deceit (John 8:44). That, as well as the violation of the first and seventh commandments, is why Christians do not go to fortune tellers, check their horoscopes, or other such things (cf. Leviticus 19:26, 20:6; Deuteronomy 4:19-20; Jeremiah 10:2).

Christians are to worship the “God of truth”:

4 He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He. (Deuteronomy 32:4).

It is because of deceit that Satan gets the world to go in the wrong direction:

9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9).

1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (Ephesians 2:1-3)

Satan broadcasts his deceitful attitude in ways that human beings, sadly, tune into. Christians need to resist Satan and draw closer to God (James 4:7-8).

Satan does not obey the ninth commandment and does not want you to either.

Do not overpromise. Jesus taught:

33 Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. (Matthew 5:33-37)

Some people overpromise. Jesus said not to do that. Christians are not to swear oaths as that, as Jesus alluded to, is a form of false witness. While Christians can confirm/affirm their word is true, they cannot swear that they can make something happen, etc.

It is terrible how easily people these days lie, and how often even Christians do not follow through with their promises!

God’s people keep their word, even when it is difficult:

1 Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? 2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.

3 Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. 4 Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord, and keep their promises even when it hurts. (Psalm 15:1-4, New Living Translation).

Because the leadership of this author’s former church association would not keep various specific promises, even when reminded, it was clear that the Philadelphia work (Revelation 3:7-13; Hebrews 13:1; Psalm 33:4) could not be led by them. Thus, the Continuing Church of God needed to be formed (see also Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God).

Notice also that in Psalm 15 it shows that God’s people are to be careful about gossip. We are not to bear false witness against our neighbor, yet gossips often do that. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves (cf. Matthew 19:19).

There were two trees of import in the Garden of Eden: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9).

It is bad to mix good and evil. The Pharisees did it and were repeatedly called hypocrites by Jesus (Matthew 23:13-29). They were teachers that tried to look good to others, but were actually lawless:

27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:27-28)

But this problem was not limited to the Pharisees of old. Notice also:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. (Romans 1:18-19)

Many false religious leaders have read much or all of the Bible, but refuse to teach it properly. Even the two-horned beast of Revelation 13:11-16 will  apparently be like that. As prophesied, false teachers have affected many (2 Peter 2:1-3).

The Bible warns a lot against pride, haughtiness, and hypocrisy. All are basically forms of false witness against oneself and often others.

Lucifer had pride. Eve had pride. It is a lie to trust oneself above God. Vanity is a lie.

But the “pride of life” (1 John 2:16) affects everyone to one degree or another. Pride puffs up (1 Timothy 3:6). Furthermore, consider that “every man at his best state is altogether vanity” (Psalm 39:5, KJV). Vanity is the quality of being worthless or futile. Pride and haughtiness lead to destruction (Proverbs 16:18). Vanity is a common form of false witness.

Trust God and do not lean to prideful wrong understandings (Proverbs 3:5-7).  

Tenth Commandment

Back to Exodus 20:

17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."

Satan has used covetousness as a temptation since the time of Eve (Genesis 3:6).

Contrary to how the world views it, Jesus said:

15 Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. (Luke 12:15)

Most modern people disagree. There have been articles stating that covetousness is good because it keeps the economy moving and other similar dribble.

Many feel that they need to ‘keep up with the Jones’ or are otherwise entitled to have more than perhaps they earn. Many go into debt as they covet approval of others and will buy items for show as opposed to need.

Christians should try to be content. The Apostle Paul wrote:

6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. (1 Timothy 6:6-9)

Gambling is often a form of covetousness. While ‘gaming’ can have some entertainment value, most who gamble are coveting what they are not entitled to.

What about lottery tickets?

Overall, lotteries are a ‘tax’ on the poor, as they are the ones most likely to purchase lottery tickets. Many of the poor feel that their circumstances cannot be changed, so they may as well buy lottery tickets and hope that winning will solve their problems. This is a tremendous disincentive to the poor. One should work, tithe, and try to improve one’s skills to benefit themselves and others—placing trust in lotteries is not the way people should go.

Many problems are because of covetousness:

1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. (James 4:1-2)

In the above, James was actually writing about spiritual warfare (cf. James 4:3-6), but covetousness often causes physical wars as well.

James actually gives a way to deal with covetousness and other sins:

6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:

“God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:6-10)

If you will humble yourself before God and resist the devil, God will lift you up and you will not need to be a slave to sin (John 8:34-36).

The devil appeals to pride, covetousness, and self-deceit.

Notice something from the Old and New Testaments

31 Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly; (Proverbs 23:31)

28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)

Improper desire leads to sin:

14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)

Do not dwell on things you should not have. Thus, do not view pornography, horoscopes, or alcohol if you have a problem with it, or anything else you should not have.

The Apostle Paul was inspired to write:

16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

Consider that gluttony (Proverbs 23:21), adultery (Proverbs 6:27-29), drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18) and sexual immorality are harmful physically as well as sins against the body (1 Corinthians 6:18). Those who become slaves to lusts of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:16-21).

The People No Longer Wanted to Hear God Directly

Do you think you would have liked to have been there and heard what God said at Mount Sinai?

Well, most of those there did not as Exodus 20 shows:

18 Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. 19 Then they said to Moses, "You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die."

20 And Moses said to the people, "Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin."

21 So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.

Moses tried to tell the people that they did not have to be afraid of God, but they still were afraid.

The Apostle John wrote:

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:18-19)

Christians should strive to have perfect love.

Anyway, back in Exodus, God then gave Moses a few more instructions:

22 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: 'You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. 23 You shall not make anything to be with Me — gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves. 24 An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you. 25 And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it. 26 Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.'

Notice how God wanted no idols to be with Him and asked for unhewn stones.

He did not want the people to get involved with idolatry.

As far as an altar of unhewn stones goes, the reconstituted Sanhedrin and the Temple Institute believe they have one now.

The truth is Christians do not need such an altar now (cf. Hebrews 13:10-16).

But we are to walk in God's commandments.

The Apostle John wrote:

1 The Elder,

To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth, 2 because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever:

3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

4 I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father. 5 And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another. 6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. (2 John 1-6)

In truth, we need to keep God's commandments. Doing so shows love (James 2:8-12).

A related sermon is available: Exodus 20: The Ten Commandments.

More on the Ten Commandments can be found in the free online book: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast.

Thiel B. Exodus 20: The Ten Commandments. COGwriter (c) http://www.cogwriter.com/exodus20.htm 2019 0324

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