Bible ClinicJ One

A journey into the life, times, and teachings of the Bible.

by Gary D. Strunk

Lesson 6 - The Ten Commandments

This lesson is about a very important event in the history of God=s people, the giving of the TEN COMMANDMENTS from Mt. Sinai. But first the people must make preparation.

READ Exodus 19.

The Covenant or Agreement between God and Israel.

1. God reminded the people of what three things? Ex. 19:4 (cf. Dt. 32:11,12) _________________________

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2. What three things were the Israelites to be to all the earth? vs. 5,6 __________________________________

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3. In the words of the text, what did the people answer? v. 8 A________________________________________

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4. When Moses sanctified (consecrated, set apart) the people, what two things were they to do? vs. 10, 15 ____ ________________________________________________________________________________________

Note: Sexual relations are not sinful. God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply before sin entered. But sexual activity draws tremendous nerve energy from the brain leaving some people exhausted just like eating a big meal makes some people sleepy. People are often advised to eat sparingly or to fast from food entirely for a short period in order to free more brain-nerve energy to Ahear@ God=s voice in prayer. At Mt. Sinai they were told to fast from sexual activity in order to clear their minds and hearts for the solemn event of meeting God and receiving His law.

 

5. List at least 6 ways God manifested His presence on Mt. Sinai? vs. 16-19 ___________________________

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The Code of Hammurabi: In the winter of 1901-1902 French excavators in Susa of Iran discovered a stone, a stele of black diorite some 7 feet high, bearing at the top a sculpture showing a Mesopotamian king (Hammurabi) receiving the insignia of his office from the sun-god Shamash. Hammurabi was a king of Babylon from 1728-1686 B.C., about 200 years before Moses. The stele had 282 sections of laws which were all civil in nature.

 


This discovery caused an immediate sensation because the inscription contained the first collection of laws known to antedate those of the Bible. Prior to this find Ahigher critical@ scholars of the Bible claimed that law codes didn=t exist before the first millennium B.C., therefore Moses could not be the author of the Ten Commandment Laws. After this find the scholars then accused Moses of having borrowed Ahis@ laws from Hammurabi.

However, it is now known that this ACode of Hammurabi@ is not the earliest such document. At least three collections of legal prescriptions in the Sumerian language preceding Hammurabi=s are known: (1) a narrative account of reforms undertaken by Urukagina, ruler of Lagash in Sumer about 2400 B.C.; (2) a collection of laws of Ur-Nammu founder of the third dynasty of Ur, about 2100 B.C.; and (3) a Acode@ of Lipit-Ishtar, King of Isin, about 1800 B.C. The only Akkadian Acode@ antedating Hammurabi=s is that of an unknown king of Eshnunna, northeast of Babylon, and it probably was not much earlier.

Richard Ellis of Yale University concludes, ?Now that other sources are known, it seems more accurate to say that there existed a body of traditional Acommon law= in ancient western Asia, from which were drawn the written laws of Babylonia and of Israel, with variations due to different circumstances.@

The accusations that Moses copied from someone else because similar laws existed before should raise two red flags. First they are accusing Moses of lying, for Moses claims to have received the Law directly from God, not from someone else, especially the Ten Commandments. If Moses were lying then we need no longer search for truth from the Bible because it would be a hoax since the whole thing claims to come from the God of truth. Second, those who make these accusations show that they don=t understand how inspiration works. Writings inspired by God need not be the first to unveil knowledge about a subject. It was a sin for Cain to kill Able long before the Ten Commandments said, AThou Shalt not kill@ A.V. Murder, and theft, and adultery, were crimes in other nations long before the Ten Commandments were codified. But the laws of other nations contained serious flaws of justice and social relations, and dangerous health practices, and loyalties to false gods. The genius of writings inspired by God is not that they are the first to be uttered, but that they are good laws free from errors commonly held by non-Biblical philosophies and religions.

 

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS; Exodus 20.

 

The first Commandment: READ verses 2 & 3.

6. Of all the gods people worshiped, which God proclaimed the 10 Commandments from Mt. Sinai? Ex. 20:2 __________________________________________________________________________

Note: This is not an admission that other gods exist except in the minds of men, as the apostle Paul writes in Galatians 4:8, ?When you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.@

The first commandment says, AYou shall have no other gods before Me.@ God is to be first above all other loyalties including family, governments, clubs, or job.


The Second Commandment: READ verses 4-6.

No images are allowed because no image is adequate to represent God. God wanted them to remember Him by what He had done for them in Egypt, the Red Sea crossing, food and water in the desert, etc., and by His power displayed on Mt. Sinai.

 

The second commandment does not forbid pictures unless they become objects of worship. This command refers to statues and icons which men and women pray to, bow down before, or cannot pass by without acknowledging their presence. Our mental picture of God is not to be pulled down to earthly images. He is the Creator of heaven and earth.

The Ten Commandments are not made-up, arbitrary rules. They express the laws of our moral nature. We are designed to live in harmony with them. If we break even one, we suffer in some way. Thus when the second commandment says, Avisiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,@ it includes the laws of heredity and environmental influence. When Athose who hate Me,@ that is, people who deliberately turn away from God, they usually indulge in licentious behavior to express their defiance. Their children suffer from their sins by fetal alcohol syndrome, by sexually transmitted diseases, by under-developed babies in smoking mothers, from abuse or from poor parenting which drives kids into the streets. These anomalies are often felt for several generations. Not all genetic accidents are the fault of the parents of course, nor are parents to blame for all rebellious children. We=re all suffering the effects of a wayward race on a dying planet.

While God lets sin takes its course in Athose who hate me,@ He jumps in quickly to show mercy to those ?who love Me and keep My commandments.@

Some churches combine the second commandment with the first which masks the second commandment. And sure enough, they are the very ones which have images in their churches and homes. They then split verse 17 into two commands in order to get ten commandments.

 

The third commandment READ verse 7.

The third commandment condemns the sin kids hate most, the sin of hypocrisy; claiming to be true when false; professing to worship God while deliberately disobeying Him. That=s taking the Lord=s name in vain. This commandment condemns taking oaths in God=s name and then lying. It also condemns profanity - Ausing the Lord=s name in vain.@ Profanity is vulgar and shows a lack of respect for present company, as well as for God..

 

 


The fourth commandment: READ verses 8-11.

7. What four reasons are given in the fourth commandment for why the Sabbath is to be kept holy? v. 11

1) _________________________________________________________________________________

2) ___________________________________________________________________

3) __________________________________________

4) __________________________________________

 

It=s easy to see the need of laws against murder and stealing, but a law against working every day? A law forcing people to take a day off every week? A law forcing us to observe 52 holidays a year besides annual vacations? How restrictive! Yes, the Sabbath protects people from overwork and burnout. More importantly the Sabbath properly observed is essential to developing the kind of religious experience Heaven awaits to give. Just as husband and wife must find time to be together to make their relationship flourish, so God insures time for us to be with Him so our relationship with Him can flourish. Why would people want to break the Sabbath?

 

The fifth Commandment: READ v. 12.

8. God was going to give the land He had promised to Abraham to his descendants, the Israelites. Upon what condition would they remain in the land? _______________________________________________________

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Disgracing Godly parents or turning against them causes a person to lose out on God=s blessings, one of which was to Ainherit the land.@ That phrase is later broadened to Ainherit the earth@ and applies to the New Earth. So there are great consequences, even eternal consequences, for obeying or disobeying the fifth commandment, as there are for all His commandments.

Years later Jesus said, ADo not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man=s enemies will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.@ Mt. 10:34-37. Jesus was not contradicting the fifth commandment. When a person becomes a follower of Christ, he becomes a friend to all and enemy to none, but many persons may become enemy to him because of his stand for right. Jesus is saying that when a father accepts Christ, the son may turn against his father etc.

 

The sixth commandment: READ v. 13.


Many persons have misunderstood this command, thinking it forbids killing flies, or spiders, or criminals by capitol punishment because in the King James Bible, published in 1611, the verse reads, AThou shalt not kill.@ It is true that the word Akill@ in the Hebrew is the simple verb to Akill.@ However, even before Mt. Sinai, God promised that He (through Israel) would have war with Amalek from generation to generation, Ex. 17:16, so God expected them to kill without breaking His law. Furthermore, at the very time God gave the Ten Commandments, He also prescribed animal sacrifices, and capitol punishment. Now the law says, AYou shall not kill,@ and it is a sin to transgression of God=s law. But God would not tell us not to sin and then make us sin by telling us to kill animals or criminals. Jesus quoted the commandment the way the Hebrews understood it and the way God intended it to be understood when He said, AYou shall not murder,@ Mt. 5:21.

However there is a purpose for using the simple verb Akill@ in, ?You shall not kill.@ The Ten Commands express God=s universal and eternal moral law for all beings in the universes. It expresses the broader application of the law as it is obeyed in heaven and as it will be obeyed in the New Earth where there will be no death at all. For AGod shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.@ Rev. 21:4 AThe wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw (grass, hay) like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent=s food [like an earthworm]. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, says the Lord. Isaiah 65:25

 

The seventh commandment: READ v. 14.

The Ten Commandments express the bare minimum of moral responsibility. Jesus shows the far reaching intent of the law when commenting on the seventh commandment making it obvious that a person=s heart must be in it in order to fulfill the law=s demands.

9. In what way can a longing look be guilty of adultery? Matthew 5:27,28 _____________________________

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It is possible to let the mind run in an adulterous channel. It is also possible to learn how to change channels. All persons, not just married persons, are responsible to conduct themselves with modesty and purity.

 

The eighth commandment: READ v.15

Stealing is seldom justified, not even Robin-hood style (steal from the rich to give to the poor). Poverty provides an opportunity to discover God=s loving care. The poor who walk with God can tell you how Mt. 6:33 works.

 

10. What is promised if one truly seeks FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness?

Mt. 6:33 ________________________________________________________________________________

The ninth commandment: READ v. 16

While this command calls for honesty in all human relations, it applies especially to a person called as a witness before the court.


The tenth commandment: READ v.17

Most people do not consider themselves covetous. But those who break another command in order to get more and more are covetous. Many people lie, cheat, steal, break the Sabbath, and sacrifice their health and their families in order to beat the competition, get a promotion, or get more money or more power,. That=s covetousness. Some may not wantonly break the law, but they are still covetous in trying to keep up with the latest fads and fashions, or grieve over what others have and they don=t.

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11. READ again Deuteronomy 4:32-35 What was the purpose of that great demonstration?

v. 35 _______________________________________________________________________________

Note: You will notice that no one questioned Moses by saying, AWhat are you talking about?@ Moses was not writing fiction. Those in his audience were eye witnesses of what God did in Egypt or at Mt. Sinai, or they were immediate descendants of those who were. They didn=t have to be convinced of God=s existence. Over the next many years, these eye witnesses staked their lives on the promise of God to drive out the Canaanites ahead of them. They were not entertaining a myth, but were exercising faith in the God who had shown Himself powerful to save. We can trust the historic integrity of Scriptures.

 

It was while at Mt. Sinai ca. 1485 B.C. that the command came to begin writing the books that would eventually become the Bible. That=s the subject of the next lesson.

 

Answers:

1. What I did to the Egyptians, How I bore you on eagles wings, brought you to myself

2. A special treasure to me above all people, kingdom of priests, a holy nation

3. AAll that the Lord has spoken we will do@

4. Wash you clothes, do not come at your wives

5. 1. Thunderings 5. Smoke

2. Lightnings 6. Fire

3. Thick cloud 7. Mountain quaked

4. Sound of a trumpet 8. God spoke

6. The One who brought them out of the land of Egypt . . . .

7. 1) In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and all that is in them

2) Rested the seventh day

3) Blessed the Sabbath day

4) Hallowed it

8. If they honored their fathers and mothers

9. When one looks at another with lust in his/her heart

10. All needs supplied

11. That they might know that the Lord Himself is God, . . . .

 

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