The Ten Commandments: Nothing New
by Joseph Franks
God has predestined his holy nation. Without input from anyone else, regardless of their future unrighteous idolatry, God looked down the corridors of time and determined to specially love the Israelites. Despite themselves and their wicked wills, they were chosen to be his bride and treasured possession. They were God’s elect people.
God then saved his holy nation. Before they loved him, he loved them and sent them a mediator. Moses was called, sent, empowered and rejected. However, God’s love won the day. Ultimately, Moses was thoroughly successful in rescuing God’s elect people from their bondage to themselves and the evil one.
Then God continued to love those he saved by providing for their daily needs. Clothing, jewelry and animals were provided for them before leaving Egypt. When in the wilderness, God gave them manna, quail, and fresh water. When opposed and in great danger, God came to their rescue and defended his nation. He even provided a sustainable form of government that promoted the peace and welfare of their state.
However, God was not finished loving them. He desired to not only save, clothe, feed, direct, order and protect his people, but also to improve their walk. He would have them mature as God-honoring, Christ-like worshipers, and in order for this to happen, they needed fresh revelation. So with this in mind, God led them to Mt. Sinai where he thundered forth his sermon. There, on the mountain of God, Israel worshiped and heard the Ten Commandments.
The presentation was new, but the revelation was not. Prior to this worship service, the Ten Commandments and many of the Civil and Ceremonial Ordinances were known, kept by some, and violated by all. They all had God’s Law. They all understood God’s Law. Additionally, they all understood when they had broken his holy will. For example:
- Regarding the First Commandment: Adam and Eve were encouraged to see themselves as equals to God. They were promised deification by the serpent. Later, Jacob would command all those within his household to remove their idols which were greatly displeasing to the LORD.
- Regarding the Second Commandment: Cain and the citizens of Babel sought to worship God in an unacceptable manner. Somehow, Abel, Noah, Job and Abraham learned to acceptably worship the one true God by means of priests, sacrifices, offerings, ceremonial meals and washings.
- Regarding the Third Commandment: Pharaoh remained unimpressed by the name of the LORD.
- Regarding the Fourth Commandment: God sabbathed, and there is every reason to believe Adam and Eve holidayed with him. After leaving Egypt, but prior to the worship service at Sinai, Israel collected no food on the seventh day of each week.
- Regarding the Fifth Commandment: Ham did not honor his father. The same could be said of both Jacob and Esau.
- Regarding the Sixth Commandment: Cain murdered his brother. Lamech gloried in his vengeful accomplishments. Simeon and Levi unjustly took out an entire city. Pharaoh was ready to take out the next generation of Hebrew men.
- Regarding the Seventh Commandment: The list of adulterers and fornicators was very long; perhaps the most notorious were Judah, Tamar, Simeon, Shechem, Potiphar’s wife, Lot’s daughters, and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.
- Regarding the Eighth Commandment: Laban had his idols stolen. Joseph had his liberty taken away, and so too did all of Israel under the Egyptian Pharaoh.
- Regarding the Ninth Commandment: The lies in Genesis and Exodus are numerous; they include dishonest statements and actions by Satan, Laban, Jacob, Potiphar’s wife, and Joseph’s brothers.
- Regarding the Tenth Commandment: Adam and Eve coveted the fruit and the supposed benefits of eating. Cain coveted the approval given to Abel. Sodom wanted the angelic visitors. Leah lusted after Jacob’s affection. Rachel could not be content without bearing children. Pharaoh wanted “God’s People” to be “his people.”
Before Moses, Abraham was noted as one who kept God’s commandments, statutes and laws. (Genesis 26;4-5) After Moses, Jesus Christ made it clear that anyone who did not keep his Law, or anyone who taught others to break God’s Law, was least in the kingdom. (Matthew 5:17-19)
Therefore, let us discern the difference between the permanent and the temporary laws of God, and let us strive to keep God’s universal and permanent commandments. They are good, pleasant, wise, true and mandatory; even if Moses had the privilege of hearing them, holding them, and presenting them afresh to his people.