Vol.IX No.VIII Pg.5
October 1972

Ten Commandments

Robert F. Turner

Can you name the ten commandments? In proper order? With some understanding of their significance? Or have you relied upon the stock reply: "We are under the New Covenant," to excuse your ignorance. Many say, "They are all in the New Testament except the 7th Day Jewish Sabbath," and yet have made no serious effort to find and apply these NT regulations.

We are under the system of Faith, rather than any system of Law; but respect for God and Divine authority is not outmoded. The principles of respect for God and man (MAT.22:35f) are very much needed today, and better understanding of the code given Israel, through Moses, is a very good beginning for every one. (GAL.3:24-f)

All ten commandments focus attention upon God, the author of eternal morals; with the first four directly related to God. THE ONE GOD -- "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." THE SPIRIT NATURE OF GOD -- "Thou shalt not make unto thee (to worship) any graven image." TO HOLINESS OF GOD -- (allowing no secular consideration) "Thou" shalt not take the name of God in vain." GOD IN HIS SAVING CAPACITY -- "Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy."

God "set His hand" to redeem Israel from Egyptian bondage (EXO.15:) and gave them a "sign" for a constant reminder "throughout your generations". (EXO.31:12-17; DEU.5:2,3,15). Isaiah promised (ll:10-f) that God would set His hand "the second time" in offering Jesus Christ (the root of Jesse) for the salvation of "the nations" as well as for the remnant of Israel. Our "rest" is neither a single day nor Canaan, but Heaven. (HEB.4:1-11) The next five commandments focus attention upon man's relationship with man, but we should remember that these are more than social morals. They are "as to the Lord" -- a principle more fully developed in the NT. (see COL.3:17-25) The first of this group demands RESPECT FOR THE CENTER OF LIFE, THE HOME -- "Honor thy father and mother". Then LIFE ITSELF -- "Thou shalt not kill". THE SANCTITY OF THE: MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP -- "Thou shalt not commit adultery". RESPECT FOR PROPERTY -- "Thou shalt not steal". RESPECT FOR NAME AND HONOR -- "Thou shalt not bear false witness".

Then the last commandment is something like a preview of the deeper meaning Christ would one day place upon all of God's laws. It looks inwardly, calling upon man to RESPECT HIMSELF: -- "Thou shalt not covet". One may covet his neighbor's wife, yet never make a perverse move, one may covet his neighbor's property, and never steal a single object. Covetousness is intense desire, a longing for more, a feeling within, that will affect many facets off life. The covetous man sets up idols in his heart (COL.3:5) and thus sins against himself, his fellow-man, and God.

The ten commandments as given in Exodus 20:1-17, DEU.5:1-21, etc., are clearly the central fiber of a covenant which God made with Israel in a dispensation now past. But they are stamped in principle throughout the New Testament, and are sorely needed in this generation.