Church of God, New World Ministries

The Ten Commandments - Part One

This is a lawless age. Crime and violence are increasing at a fearful rate because among millions of people there is practically no respect for law or constituted authority, either that of God, or of man!

On the international scene, nations live in daily fear because they very well know that the so-called “guarantees” and treaties of peace are not worth the paper on which they are written. There is no law, respect for no authority, among the nations of the world.

This is the world in which you live! Men have lost all deep respect for law because they have forgotten the very source of all law and authority! Your Bible says: “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy” (James 4:12). That lawgiver is the Great God.

In their modern search for a man-devised “peace of mind” or a “religion that satisfies,” men have totally forgotten about the great God who Rules this universe! No wonder our young people; the leaders of tomorrow, have such a godless, lawless attitude.

Several years ago, one of the world’s foremost educators warned a group of military leaders of this very problem. He was Dr. Rufus von Klein-Smid, Chancellor of the University of Southern California. He stated: “I have no quarrel with the present emphasis placed of science, but today (approximately 50 years ago) we are paying for support of schools which act from September to June as if there were no God.” Dr. von Klein-Smid noted the absence of moral values in our youth resulting from this attitude. How much worse is it today in our schools and our societies of the 21st century?

When you leave the true God out, there is no real standard of behavior left. The result is spiritual chaos and lawlessness and wretchedness in the human heart.

In nearly all present-day religious denominations, the tendency is to try to “modernize” and “democratize” God, and do away with His authority to Rule His creation, and us, His creatures. There are very few truly “God fearing men” left on earth today!

Having made their imaginative pet “god” in their own image, men certainly do not stand in awe and deep respect of such a “god.” They do not fear their “god.” And they certainly do not obey this creature of their own imagination! Yet the real message of Jesus Christ was about the God who created and has ultimate authority over this earth! His was the God who blessed men for obedience to His law- and who punished for disobedience.

The Jesus Christ of your Bible always preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14; Luke 4:43). In modern language, He preached the happy news of the government of God, the Rule of God. He said: “Repent ye, and believe the gospel” ((Mark 1:15).

Before you can sincerely believe and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, and have His shed blood cover your sins, you must repent. But repent of what? Repent of SIN!

What is sin? Despite the contradictory ideas and generalizations of organized religious denominations, your Bible clearly states: “Sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). Sin is breaking God’s spiritual law, the Ten Commandments. That is definitely and specifically what sin is! Before God will forgive your past sins, you must first repent of breaking His law! You must learn to fear and respect God as the Supreme Ruler of this universe, and as your King and Ruler.

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, was inspired to write: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7).This Godly fear is by no means a personal dread, but a deep respect and reverence for the great Office and Authority of God, for His Divine power and His wisdom His love.

Without faith in such a great and real God, man is incomplete. Cut off from the true God of law and order, man is purposeless, empty, frustrated, confused.

The way out of modern man’s emptiness and confusion may sound trite or simple to some people. But it is real- and it works! It is simply that man must quit worshipping false gods. Man must return to God of the Bible, the God of creation, the God who Rules this universe!

Summarizing His way to the fulfillment of man’s desire for a happy, abundant and purposeful life, God inspired these words at the end of the book of Ecclesiastes: “The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man” (Eccl. 12:13).

Man is frustrated and incomplete without this living, vital contact with God, walking His way, keeping His commandments. Obedience to God’s commandments would bring peace and fulfillment and joy to all the nations and peoples of this earth! It is the answer to all our problems, individually and collectively~ It is the way of life Jesus Christ is going to teach when He returns to rule this world (Micah 4:2).

The prophet David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). He is used as a type of Jesus Christ, and will rule directly under Christ over the entire nation of Israel in the soon-coming millennium (Ezk. 37:24) when Christ will bring peace to this earth.

David wrote: “O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:97). David studied and pondered over God’s law all day long! He learned how to apply it to every situation in life. This gave David wisdom. “Thou through thy commandment hast made me wiser than mine enemies” (v. 98).

God’s law showed David the way to go a way of life.”Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (v. 105). Throughout this 119th Psalm, David declared how he loved God’s law, and used it as his guide in life.

Do you? Probably not. This is because most of you have been taught that God’s law was done away or else you simply have not realized that it is the only real way of life that would bring man happiness and joy. You haven’t realized that God’s law reveals the very nature and character of God Himself. And God commands us: “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Peter 1:16).

Remember that the true Christians, the “little flock” of Jesus Christ, are described as those, “which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev. 12:17). And God gave this description of the character of His saints: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12).

To properly understand and feel the real impact of the Ten Commandments, let us notice the setting in which they were given. Remember that Moses and the Israelites have preserved the knowledge that their God was the Creator of heaven and earth. He was the great Ruler of the earth who had brought about the Flood in the days of Noah their forefather.

After the flood, He had called out their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to serve Him, and through them made promises of national blessings to Israel as a nation as well as spiritual blessings to come through their ultimate seed, the Christ. He was the God who led Joseph down into Egypt to make a way for Israel to live through the seven years of famine over all the earth.

After Joseph’s death, they found themselves under a Pharaoh who had not known Joseph and whose heart was turned against them. They suffered cruelly at the hand of the Egyptian taskmasters who were now set over them and they were treated as slaves (Ex. 1).

But now the true God, the God of Israel, had delivered them from this Egyptian bondage and by tremendous miracles had brought them out of Egypt and through the waters of the Red Sea which rose on either side of them as a mighty wall (Ex. 14).

Since the time they had passed through the Red Sea, God had begun to deal with them and to remind them of His laws which they may have, in part, forgotten. Before they ever reached Mt. Sinai, God erased all doubt about which day was His Sabbath by performing a series of miracles to remind them of this (Ex. 16). In Exodus 18, Moses was already judging the people according to God’s laws and statutes (v. 16).

Now that they were come to Mt. Sinai, God proposed not to give them a new law, but to enter into a covenant or agreement with them so that they would be His special people and He would be their God whose laws and statutes and judgments they would obey.

Since the Ten Commandments were and always will be God’s basic spiritual law (Rom. 7:14), they were made apart of this agreement between God and Israel. Since they were His holy and spiritual laws, He gave them with great Power, and unlike the rest of the covenant, wrote them with His own hand.

Notice the setting in Exodus 19. God commanded the people to clean themselves up and be ready against the third day when He would come down to them (vs. 10-11). “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount. And the voice of the trumpet, exceeding loud; so that all the people that were in the camp trembled” (v. 16).

God was here showing His power as the Creator of this earth as He began to speak with His own voice the Ten Commandments! As the Creator Himself descended upon Mt. Sinai in His glory, “The smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly” (v. 18. In this setting of great glory, and majesty, and power, God spoke the Ten Commandments to the people who were trembling in awe below the mountain. His voice must have literally shaken these people with His power as it boomed across the land like the sound of thunder (Ps. 104:7).

And so God began speaking the Ten Commandments, revealing to His people the laws of life which bring success and happiness and peace with God and with man. In this day of human reason, of agnosticism, and of creeping socialism, it is important to notice that the Almighty spoke first not about the “brotherhood of man,” but about obedience and worship to God, the Creator and Ruler of heaven and earth! “And God spoke all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (ex. 20:1-3).

That is the first, and as we shall later see, the greatest commandment. Study the wording of this commandment carefully, and mediate on it as David did! “I am the Lord thy God,” is a more revealing phrase than at first meets the eye.

The “I” who was speaking with such tremendous power was quite evidently the great Creator of heaven and earth. In His very manner of appearance, He had demonstrated His power as Creator by sending forth the thundering and lightnings and literally shaking Mt. Sinai as it were a wet dishrag!

The word “Lord” comes from the Hebrew “Yaweh” which, it is important to realize, no one knows how to pronounce or speak since the vowels were not preserved in Hebrew text. But the meaning of the word is the “Eternal,” or the “Self-existent One,” or the “Everliving One.” Thus, God was showing that the One who was speaking was the Eternal God who has always existed!

The true God then mentions the fact that it was He who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. These Israelites had just experienced that tremendous deliverance and power which God had shown in saving them out of national slavery!

They had seen God send supernatural plagues on all the land of Egypt. They had seen Him strike dead the first-born throughout that land as His final punishment! They had seen the waters of the Red Sea towering many stories above them as a “wall on either side (Ex. 14:22) as God brought them through this mighty sea to the other side by a supernatural miracle!

They has seen and heard and felt His majesty and power as He appeared to them on Mt. Sinai to speak these very words! They had experienced this divine, supernatural deliverance. They were now free from day after day, month after month of slavery, of persecution and punishment, as bondmen without rights in Egypt. They had seen the true God’s might manifested above the gods of Egypt and the gods of the other heathen nations round about. Now they knew for certain that the God of Moses really was God!

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” they were commanded. They had now seen it demonstrated that there was no appeal to a higher God, to any greater wisdom, understanding, mercy and glory or power!

One thing to note is that the Hebrew word translated “before” can also mean “in place of.” The Israelites, though carnal, should have known not to put anything in place of the true God. As the Source of Life, the Giver of Life and breath, the Creator and Ruler of all, God should be served and worshipped and obeyed above everything in heaven or on earth!

This is the lesson that all the nations and peoples of this earth need desperately to learn! If we would really serve and obey the God of the Bible, then all troubles and wars would come to a screeching halt! But as nations and as individuals, we put not one but many “gods” before the true God of creation, the God revealed in your Bible We need to repent of this and to quit serving false gods!!

Now that we have seen the power and might with which God revealed Himself when He spoke the Ten Commandments from Mt. Sinai, let us see how each one of them, beginning with the first commandment, applies to you, personally. For if you make any claim to being a Christian, remember that Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, said that you shall live by every word of God (Matt. 4:4). And certainly through God’s help you must walk according to the commandments of Almighty God if you would enter into eternal life (Matt. 19:17).

How, then, does the first commandment apply to you? “I am the Eternal thy God,” the Creator states. Is the God of creation, the God of Israel, the God of the Bible, really your God whom you serve and obey? Or have you conjured up your own false “god,” or “gods”? Or are you falsely worshipping according to the “traditions of men,” which Jesus said would cause you to worship God in vain? (Mark 7:7.)

These are things you need to consider! To the Christian, God says that He is the One who has “brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Throughout the Bible, Egypt is used as a type of sin. All unconverted men are held in slavery of this world, and to their own personal lusts.

When a person is really converted, God brings him out of that bondage, and he comes out willingly and gladly! You need to examine whether or not you have ever really come out from the false traditions and ways of this world and have also repented of your own personal lusts and sins.

God commands: “Thou shalt have not other gods before me.” Have you put something else in place of God? Is your time, your interests, your service taken up more with something other than the true God? What idol have you placed between yourself and the true God, studying His word, and living by it?

God says: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1).Throughout its pages, the Bible declares that God is the real Creator of this earth and of the universe. He is the One who gives life and breath to all creatures (Gen. 1).

Do you honestly think of and worship God as your Creator and the One who gives you every breath of air you breathe? You should, for that is part of worshipping the true God and having no false gods before Him!

The greatest deception of all today is not communism or atheism, but the false, pagan doctrines of evolution! Evolution is an attempt to explain the creation without a Creator. It denies the true God and His very nature and office! It is the very basis of most of this world’s education! But the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (I Corth. 1:20).

In the Bible, God is revealed not only as the Creator, but the One who sustains and who rules His creation, intervening in the affairs of His servants to guide and to bless and to deliver them. David said: “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower” (Ps. 18:2). Literally hundreds of times, David called upon God to intervene and deliver him from some trouble or calamity.

Do you go to God with these things, or do you trust in your own strength and in purely human devices? In addition to being Creator, Ruler, and Deliverer, God is also our Healer. In Exodus 15:26, God states: “I am the Lord that heals thee.”

David was inspired to write: “Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgives all thine iniquities; who heals all thy diseases” (Ps. 103:2-3). It’s God’s prerogative to heal! Very few professing Christians today really go to God for healing when they are sick. Instead, they have learned to look up to and practically worship the “men in white” with their knives and drugs and pills.

Although there may be certain things that trained medical specialists can and should do without intervening with the natural workings of the body, the only real healing comes from God, who made the human body, and who can intervene and cut short any sickness or disease if He is asked in faith to do so. The constant teaching and example of Jesus Christ Himself throughout the four gospels was that God is Healer. But most professing Christians deny this God, and make a false “god” out of medical science!

Another growing facet of our modern life which is an abomination to the true God is the wholesale turning away from prayer, from Bible study and from reliance upon the true God in time of trouble, and instead turning to the new “science” of psychology and psychiatry for man-made “relief.” Even our own forefathers in Britain and America would have recognized this for the blatant idolatry that it is!

Modern churchgoers turn to these men instead of to God’s ministers only because most of those very ministers have failed to bring them into living contact with the true God who lives and rules, and who blesses and delivers His children from every type of trial, trouble and calamity! In Matthew 6:9, Jesus Christ tells us when we pray to address God as our Father. Throughout the New Testament, He is revealed as the One to whom we should go with all of our trials and problems. Like a human father, He watches over His children and blesses and protects them. He also chastens every son that He loves (Heb. 12:6).

From the beginning, God has been the ultimate Father of mankind. In creating man, God said” “Let us make man in our image after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea” (Gen. 1:26). Man was made in the physical image of God, the outward form and shape of God. He was given certain responsibilities and prerogatives like God Himself have, given dominion or rule over all the creation on this earth. He was given certain limited powers to make or “create” so to speak new things that had never existed before in that exact form. In this limited way, he has some of the very abilities of God! For God plans and purposes that we shall ultimately be like Him, glorified as He is glorified (I John 3:2)! Man is ultimately to be born of the Spirit, made of Spirit composed of Spirit (John 3:6) He will be part of the spirit-born, ruling family of God.

God the Father is reproducing Himself! He plans that those who overcome human nature in this life and learn through the help of His indwelling Holy Spirit to keep His perfect laws shall be made like Him born into His very family and Kingdom!

Then, after this life of growing and overcoming, after this spiritual rebirth, man will be able to exercise many of the prerogatives of God Himself! He will be qualified as an additional member of the ruling kingdom of God!

Modern science is trying desperately to give man power far in excess of his mental and spiritual capabilities for handling such forces! As the late President Eisenhower said in his first inaugural address: “Science seems ready to confer upon us as its final gift the power to erase human life from this planet.” And now, realizing that what they have already done forebodes destruction of this earth scientists are working feverishly to invade the very heavens!

And, here on earth, our “civilization” continues its paganized teaching that man is the ultimate judge of what is right or wrong and puts man completely in the place of God and His laws! Whether we realize it or not, this carnal attitude, this God-rejecting attitude permeates every phrase and facet of our civilization today!

Most people who just go to church once a week and take their religion for granted actually don’t really know what worship is. They think it is something you do once a week in church, not realizing that it affects every thought, and word and action every day of your life!

In everything you think or say or do you either serve God, or else you serve your own lusts and Satan the Devil! Paul was inspired to explain this: “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16). There is no middle ground! You either delight in God and His law and serve and obey Him all-day long, or else you serve and obey our own lusts!

One key to this situation is how you use your time. For your time is your life! How much time do you actually put in each week studying and meditating on God’s word and law as David did? How much time do you spend in earnest, prevailing prayer to God, praying occasionally many hours at a time or all time as Jesus did? How much time do you spend in discussing the Bible with others, teaching it to your family, writing to others words of spiritual upbuilding as well as purely social intercourse!

It is true that most professing Christians think of their religion as just occupying a “corner” of their lives. But in all fairness and love we say that the day will come when you will realize that that type of religion is false religion and false worship!

Most men think far more about pleasing their wives and families than they do about pleasing and serving God. Very few indeed would actually be willing to forsake their family, if need be in order to serve and obey God.

Many are wrapped up in the ideas, customs, and traditions and way of life of their particular society or profession. More than anything, they want to conform and be accepted by the group, their particular crowd of human individuals that they look up to. In nearly every case, of course, the ideas and practices of this group are at total variance with the laws and ways of God and with living by His every word. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses,” God says, “Know ye not that the friendship of this world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). Many religious “independents” in actual fact make a “god” out of a pet religious idea or theory that they have concocted and which they will not give up to save their eternal lives! Such people often have many points of truth because they have departed from the “rut” into which so many religious denominations have fallen, but they are so filled with spiritual pride and vanity that they are totally unable to see the obvious and in many cases the ridiculous error into which they themselves have fallen!

They have made a veritable “god” out of their pet religious theory and they serve that god zealously and unremittingly!

Jesus said the Great Commandment is to love God with all your heart and soul and mind. You are to worship and serve God with all of your being! This is a foreign concept to this confused modern world where men think of God as way off somewhere and talk in sociological terms about the brotherhood of man while at the same time inventing greater weapons of mass destruction to destroy all life from this earth! Why should we love God? God is your Creator and Maker! He gives you every breath of air you breathe! God gave you every talent, every ability, every bit of strength and gracefulness and good looks, everything you have comes from God. You should worship God because of the beauty and majesty and perfection of His creation, and because He has given you life and everything you have!

The reason why David was a man “after God’s own heart” is understood by reading the Psalms which he wrote. They are simply filled with praise and worship and adoration of God. “I will extol thee, my God, O King; and I will bless thy name forever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name forever and ever” (Ps. 145:1-2). Read the rest of this Psalm and see how David worshipped and praised God in an intimate and loving way.

True Christians ought to love God in a personal way because He first loved us and gave His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (I John 4:10). One of the very persons in the Godhead was willing to empty Himself of His divinity and come down to this world of sin and suffering to die one of the most torturous deaths a God-rejecting age could devise!

Doesn’t that command your respect, your worship, your love?

You should love God because of His perfect and righteous and wonderful law which teaches us the way to peace and happiness. That law reveals God’s nature and character is based on giving and serving, not on the selfish principle of getting, competition or greed. As Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Whenever you find that God commands you in His Word to do something, you should say: “Yes, Lord,” and not argue, “reason” or evade the issue as so many falsely professing Christians do today.

Knowing that He made you and that your life really belongs to Him, you should present your body a living sacrifice as God tells you to do (Rom. 12:1). You should serve and obey God with all your being, with a willing heart, and do all in your power to prepare yourself for and to further the work of reaching others with the message of the soon-coming government of God that will bring real peace finally to this earth.

Your attitude should always be that of Jesus Christ, your example, when He was called upon to give His very life: “Not my will, but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42). This is what true worship really means! This is how to keep the first commandment, the Great Commandment!

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