Background information: (God gave the 10 Commandments) Three times!!
Exodus 20: God spoke them directly! Exodus 34: He wrote them
In Exodus 32 God hewn the tablets (wrote).... In Exodus 34: Moses hewn the tablets
The 10 Commandments are also known by other names: : Exodus 24:12 (“The Law or The Commandments”), Exodus 34:28 (“The Words of the Covenant”), Deut 9:9 (“The Table of the Covenant”) Deut 4:13 (“The Covenant”) Deut 9:10, 17 (“The two tables”), Exodus 16:34, 25:16 (“The Testimony”) Matthew 19:7 (“The Commandments”)
A. The Law is one, and the whole Law is spiritual! The dividing of the Law into Moral Law, Social or Civil Law and Ceremonial or Religious Laws, while is convenient, is misleading. whether dealing with crops or criminals or worship. This is why Jesus Said if you break one of the laws, you are guilty of violating all of the Law
Important to know: The Law was not given as "a means to salvation". It was given to a people already saved (Exodus 19:4; 20:2) in order to "instruct them" in the manner of obeying the will of the Lord so that they might fulfill God's purpose for them as "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (19:6).
The 10 commandments were given not to "give life", but to "guide life" The Jews were chosen to convey the oracles of God to the Gentile (heathen) world.
The Ten Commandments were divided into 2 categories:
1. The first 4 commandments concern the believer’s direct relationship with God
2. The last 6 commandments concern the believer’s direct relationship with other people as a reflection of their obedience to God.
3. Christians obey the law by loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and might, and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. (We are under the law from it’s highest point) : "LOVE"
4. All of the Old Testament Law" hang" on Loving God and loving our neighbor!
I. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (literal meaning: 10 WORDS) Exodus 20:1-17
God spoke: Exodus 20:1-2
1. ( Audibly and with authority) “I am the Lord, YOUR GOD which brought YOU out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (vs. 2)
The basis of God's commandments and people's obligation to obey the 10 commandments were based on the fact that Jehovah was their Lord and God who had redeemed them.
God had already proven that he was God, a “salvation” God and “their”(the Hebrews’) God. These commandments are given to a "saved people" (perserved) to teach them how to walk in God's way. The reason many of these commandments are written as “thou shall not’shall and shall not's” is because they presuppose the existence of sin and the evil desires in the human heart".
a. Thou shall have no other god before me. (vs.3)
It prohibits worshiping or honoring anything before God, in thought, word or deed: God is to have preeminence in all things in the life of the believer. (Colossians 1:18). A person, a nation, a church must be “Monotheistic” in their belief about God.
Translation: That there is only one God and Jehovah or (Yahweh) is HIS name!
b. Thou shall not make unto thee any graven images, 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. (vs. 4- 6)
c. Thou shall not bow down to them, nor serve them…I the Lord your God am a jealous God
This prohibits the creation and use of graven images as objects of worship. But more importantly, it is a strong reminder that God is a Spirit, and is not to be conceived of as made in any of man's handmade images, in the image of man, or in the form of any other created being.
Note: this law comes with a definite punishment that will effect at least 4 generations
The next generation and remote descendants include sons, grandsons, great-grandsons and daughters. Some or all in the next generation inherit the consequences of their fathers' sins, in disease, poverty, captivity, with all the influences of bad example and evil communications. According to Levticus 26:39 and Lamentations 5:7 The "inherited curse" seems to fall often most heavily on the least guilty persons; but such suffering must always be free from the sting of conscience, but God shows mercy to those who keep this law and to those who love him.
d. Thou shall not take the Lord your God’s name in vain.(vs.7)
This prohibits the use of God's name "in the service of unbelief and lying". To substantiate our falsehood by an appeal to God will bring certain judgment. God will make you give account of taking his name in vain. Here also may be found force for the injunction to Christians to "walk worthy of the calling wherewith ye were called" (Ephesians 4:1), bear not the name of Christ in vain.
e. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy (vs. 8-11)
The word "sabbath" means, not rest or relaxation, but cessation from labor (no working). The reason for the Sabbath is given objectively here as found in the fact that God (stopped working) ceased from the work of creation on the seventh day. Subjectively, in Deuteronomy 5:14-15, there is a reason given in the fact that men need rest. Also the Israelites were reminded thereby that God had redeemed them from the bondage of Egypt to enjoy his rest. The keeping of the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath is not abrogated in the NT, but the Sabbath of the New Creation is most naturally to be celebrated on that day when Christ, having ceased from his finished work, rose from the dead. (Sunday)
f. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God gives thee. (vs.12)
This command marks a division between the commandments that deal with man's relation to God and those that relate to his fellow man. A man is obligated to honor his parents as he does God, and to assume responsibility for them as he does for his fellow men. That your days may be long. This may be understood as referring both to Israel's sojourn in the land of promise, and also to the life of the individual. Not only in Israel, but in all nations and individual lives, the destruction of the home marks the beginning of the end.
g. Thou shall not kill. (vs.13)
.The "sanctity" of human life is upheld, and murder, for any reason,is forbidden. You shall not do anything hurtful or injurious to the health, ease, and life, of thy own body, or any other person's unjustly." This is one of the laws of nature, and was strongly enforced by the precepts given to Noah and his sons, Genesis 9:5,6. It does not forbid killing in lawful war, or in our own necessary self-defense, nor the magistrate's putting offenders to death, for those things tend to the preserving of life; but it forbids all malice and hatred to the person of any (for he that hates his brother is a murderer), and all personal revenge arising from hatred; also all rash anger upon sudden provocations, and hurt said or done, or aimed to be done, in passion: of this our Savior expounds this commandment, Matthew5:22. And, as that which is worst of all, it forbids persecution, laying wait for the blood of the innocent and excellent ones of the earth.
h. Thou shall not commit adultery. (vs. 14)
While this is directed specifically to maintain the purity and sanctity of marriage, it is also applied by Jesus to all sexual immorality of thought as well as deed (Matthew 5:27-28). Our chastity should be as dear to us as our lives, and we should be as much afraid of that which defiles the body as of that which destroys it. This commandment forbids all acts of uncleanness, with all those fleshly lusts which produce those acts and war against the soul, and all those practices which cherish and excite those fleshly lusts, as looking, in order to lust, which, Christ tells us, is forbidden in this commandment, (Matthew 5:28).
i. Thou shall not steal. (vs.15)
The rights of private property are to be respected. Personal property, especially, the stealing of their identity. This command forbids us to rob ourselves of what we have by sinful spending, or of the use and comfort of it by sinful sparing, and to rob others by removing the ancient landmarks, invading our neighbor's rights, taking his goods from his person, or house, or field, forcibly or clandestinely, over-reaching in bargains, nor restoring what is borrowed or found, withholding just debts, rents, or wages, and (which is worst of all) to rob the public in the coin or revenue, or that which is dedicated to the service of religion.
j. Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (vs.16)
False Witnessing is....
1. Speaking falsely in any matter, lying, equivocating, and any way devising and designing to deceive our neighbor.
2. Speaking unjustly against our neighbor, to the prejudice of his reputation; and (which involves the guilty of both),
3. Bearing false witness against him, laying to his charge things that he knows not, either judicially, upon oath (by which the third commandment, and the sixth of eighth, as well as this, are broken), or extra judicially, in common converse, slandering, backbiting, tale-bearing, aggravating what is done amiss and making it worse than it is, and any way endeavoring to raise our own reputation upon the ruin of our neighbor's.
k. Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s house, thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox nor his ass (donkey, mule,) nor anything that is your neighbor.
Covetousness is "the inordinate desire to possess what belongs to someone else. (Chadwick, Exodus in Expositor's Bible). "The most inward of all the commandments, forbidding not an external act, but a hidden mental state, a state, however, which is the root of nearly every sin against a neighbor" (Cambridge Bible). It is basically the sin of Adam and Eve, to desire that which it is not God's will that we have.
II. Israel’s fear of God’s Presence Exodus 20:18- 21
A. The people trembled in fear at God’s majesty (vs. 18)
(thunder, lightning, trumpet noise, dark smoke from on top of the mountain)
Never was anything ever delivered with such awful pomp; every word was accented, and every sentence paused, with thunder and lightning, much louder and brighter, no doubt, than ordinary. Why did God give them the law in this dreadful manner, and with all this tremendous ceremony?
1. It was designed (once for all) to give a sensible discovery of the glorious majesty of God, for the assistance of our faith , They needed to know the terror of the Lord and that God is not to be played with!, They would be persuaded to live in his fear. (reference)
2. It was a specimen of the terrors of the judgment, in which sinners will be called to an account for the breach of this law: the archangel's trumpet will then sound an alarm, to give notice of the Judge's coming, and a fire shall devour before him. (a eluding to Second coming to Christ)
3. It was an indication of the terror of those convictions which the law brings into conscience, to prepare the soul for the comforts of the gospel. Thus was the law given by Moses in such a way it might startle, affright, and humble men, that the Christ might be the more welcome. Paul largely describes this instance of the terror of that dispensation, foil to set off our privileges, as Christians, in the light, liberty, and joy, of the New-Testament dispensation, Heb 12:18,
B. The people told Moses: You speak to us: Whatever God says to you, if you tell us, we will hear it (listen) (vs.19)
C. Don’t let God speak to us (directly), we might die
D. Moses said: God is testing you for 2 reasons: (vs.20)
1. So you will have fear (reverence) of him.
2. That you may not sin
E. The people stood far off, Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was. (vs. 21)
III. Law Concerning the Altar Exodus 20:22- 26
A. God ‘s reminder: I spoke to you from heaven (vs. 22)
B. God’s warning: Make no companions , Make no Idols (vs.23)
(repeating the 2nd commandment)
C. God’s command: (vs. 25)
D. God’s special instructions (altar):
1. No hewn stone. Don’t use personal tools. (Profanes the altar)
2. Don’t go up the steps to God’s altar (exposes your nakedness)