Bible Study

Commandments

bible study
Written by IvanS

There is much debate about the commandments and whether they were done away with.  But what is the purpose of the Law?  To understand why we have the law of God, or why we had it, may help us to understand why it would be done away with if it was done away with at all.

God says in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”  Could this mean that this is how we show love for God is by keeping his law?  And if so, was this demonstration of our love for God nullified at the cross.

1 John 2:3, “We know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commandments.”   and 2 John 1:6 says, “And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.”

We have heard these commandments from the beginning, yes even before Moses received the law at Sinai, we knew the law of God.  But if it was done away with, then we should see in the Bible that the commandments would play no part in prophecy, that is, looking toward the last days of earths history.   But the Bible does declare it in the book of Revelations that keeping the commandments of God will be an identifier of Gods remnant people.  Revelation 14:12, “Here is the patience of the saints: here arethey that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. ”

Sin caused separation between mankind and God.  (Isaiah 59:2) We have the Law so that we know what sin is.  Without the Law of God, their is no sin against God.  1 John 3:4, :Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Lucifer warred against the law of God and sinned, and for this was cast out of heaven, him and one third of the angels in heaven that sinned with him.  Did Jesus come to to make void sin by doing away with the Law of God, the goal that Lucifer (Satan) originally sought to do in heaven?

Often, when claiming that the law is done away with, Matthew 22: 36-40 is mentioned.  Jesus they claim does not list any commandment found in the Law of God.  He doesn’t say thou shalt notchrist-teaches-the-will-of-the-father kill, or thou shalt not bow down to idols, or any other commandment found in the 10 Commandments.  

Matthew 22:36-40, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  

To get the whole picture, you have to back up to Matthew 21 and from verse 23 all the way to Matthew 22:36-40.  After doing many miracles including the withering of the fig tree, Jesus came to the temple and the chief priests came to him asking questions. Matthew 21:23, “And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?”  Jesus knowing their intentions engages them in an intellectual back and forth.

In Matthew 22:15, you can see that the Pharisees are getting frustrated with him and even convene a council to see how they could entangle Jesus in His talk.  The Bible records that they sent out disciples of the Herodians to ask another question about paying tribute to Caesar, and whether it is lawful or not.  Matthew 22:22 says, that when they heard the reply of Jesus, they marveled and walked away.  The scene plays out as one opponent after another are silenced by Jesus.  I imagine the scene where there is a group of people gathered to hear the words of Jesus and the chief priests, the Sadducees, and others come at Jesus to publicly get Him to say something to incriminate Himself so they could destroy Him.  So again the Sadducees come to Jesus asking a question about whose wife a woman would be in heaven.  The Bible records the reaction to Jesus’s answer.  Matthew 22:33-34, “And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.  But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.”  Jesus put the Sadducees to silence publicly.

This is where we get to the question, Which is the greatest commandment.  In the same spirit, the Pharisees were trying to entangle Jesus in his talk.  These are Pharasees, set apart and knowledgeable in the Bible.

Matthew 22:36-40, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  

We do not want to be Pharisees.  Matthew 5:17-20, Jesus clearly says that He did not come to destroy the law or the prophets and later in Matthew 22:36-40 Jesus binds the law and the prophets together.  In essence saying that the law is about love.  Love for God (commandment 1-4) and love for your neighbour (commandment 5-10).  How do I show love for God?  Have no other Gods before Him, do not make images and bow down to them, do not take His name in vain and keep the Sabbath day holy.  This is how we show love for God and we do it because of our love for God.

Matthew 5:17-20, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

If my righteousness to the law must exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees in order for me to get to heaven, what was the issue with the Pharisees?  Their motivation was not love.   Their adherence to the law was selfish and it was demonstrated in how they viewed God and their neighbour.

He have heard… But I say.

I took another look at what Jesus said about the law.  In the sermon on the mount, Jesus references two laws, Thou shalt not kill, and thou shalt not commit adultery.  Let’s see what Jesus said about these laws.

Matthew 5:21-24, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.  Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

This does not sound to me that Jesus is abolishing the law?  He is not only saying not to kill, but he is striking at the root of hate.  He is asking us to do even more.  Notice that Jesus doesn’t say if you bring your gift to the alter and remember that you are angry or have something against your brother to go and reconcile.  He says that if you remember that your brother has an issue with you to go first and reconcile.  This is a powerful requirement completely expanding on the commandment.   Thou shalt not kill is easy because most have not committed murder, however what Jesus is saying here impacts everyone at some point.

Matthew 5:27-30, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.  And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.  And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”

Again, does this sound like Jesus has done away with the law?  Simply do not commit adultery is much easier than to say that whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already in his heart.  Adultery here is not simply the act.  Jesus expends our understanding to include looking at a woman to lust after her.  Jesus in no way says that the law is to be done away with, but he expands on the law bringing a fuller meaning to it.

James 1:14-15, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

So what might the 10 commandments look like then based on how Jesus expanded the other two.  There are some commands that are close to other commands that require little expanding.

  1. Thou shall have no other gods before me.  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.  He who loves money or position or worldly possessions more than me is not worthy of me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.  Remember that the Sabbath is to be a sign between me and you, that you might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.  I give you this gift of the Sabbath so that you will remember through all your generations that I created the world and all that is in it in six days and rested with you on the Sabbath day.  Remember the Sabbath day so you will not forget that I am the Lord your God who sanctifies you.
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.  Be always respectful in what you say and how you behave toward them and have an inward attitude of esteem for their position. (got questions.org)
  6. Thou shalt not kill.  Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.  Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.  Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.  Do not partner with a thief for he who is a partner with a thief hates his own life.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.  Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  Do not mingle truth with fiction.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.  Be content with what you have.

 

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IvanS

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