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Author: Ron Graham

Old Testament

The Ten Commandments
—They belong to the Old Testament

This lesson is about the ten commandments. We see that the ten commandments written on stones belong to the law of Moses (the old testament), not to the law of Christ (the new Testament).

Translation of lesson originally written in Bislama.

The Ten Commandments Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5.

  1 — I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods
  2 — You shall not make or worship an idol
  3 — You shall not take in vain the name of the Lord your God
  4 — Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy
  5 — Honour your father and your mother
  6 — You shall not murder
  7 — You shall not commit adultery
  8 — You shall not steal
  9 — You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour
10 — You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife or possessions

Note:— Arrangement of the Ten Commandments. There are differences in the manner of numbering the ten commandments. The scripture says there were ten commandments on the tablets of stone. However in quoting them, it joins them all together and does not insert numbers to separate the commandments. There is guesswork in summarising and numbering the commandments as I have done, and there is room for some difference.

1 A Law For Israel Only

God gave the ten commandments to the descendants of Israel who had been slaves of the Egyptians. God delivered them and set them free. God saved them. God gave them the ten commandments (Deuteronomy 5:1).

Now notice that God did not say the ten commandments were for you and me. You and I should not steal the law belonging to Israel. Jesus has given us a different and excellent law of the new covenant (Hebrews 8:6)

"Christ has obtained a ministry that is much more excellent than the old, since the covenant he mediates is better —because it is enacted on better promises" (Hebrews 8:6).

The New Testament in the Bible teaches us everything about the law and covenant of Jesus. Yet in the New Testament there is not one word that says the ten commandments of Moses are in the law of Jesus.

Also there is no word in the New Testament that says you and I must remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. The law of the Sabbath day is in the covenant that Moses taught the Israelites only. It is not correct if we lay that law beside the covenant of Jesus in the New Testament.

"Anyone who goes ahead without remaining in the teaching of Christ [who adds more to it as he thinks fit] does not have God in his life. Whoever remains in His teaching has both the Father and the Son in his life" (2John 1:9).

God has not granted you or me the authority to add the Sabbath law to the doctrine of Christ.

2 A Law that Could Not Give Life

The Ten Commandments are a law that has no way to take away sin and give life eternal. Why should we follow a law that makes us dead?

The Ten Commandments Kill

2Corinthians 3:6-9

¶“6And He has qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7Now if the ministry of death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at the face of Moses because of its fleeting glory, 8will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry of righteousness!” (2Corinthians 3:6-9 BSB).

The ten commandments, that were on two stones, were a “ministry of death” alone, and their light faded away. But the teaching of Christ has the power of the life of the Holy Spirit, and its light shines brightly.

3 Divide God’s Word Straightly

Paul told Timothy, "Try hard in every way to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, straightly dividing the word of truth." (2Timothy 2:15)

If we teach from the Bible, we must recognize what is the word of Moses, and what is the word of Jesus Christ and his apostles. We must divide the word of God along one straight line between Moses and Jesus. On one side is the Law of Moses, on the other is the true word of Jesus (John 1:17).

"For the law was given through Moses, but grace [loving kindness] and truth came only through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known" (John 1:17-18).

"Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created [all that is in] the world" (Hebrews 1:1-2).

"He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus has greater power than Moses, because Jesus is the Son of God whereas Moses is only a prophet. God used Moses to give God’s word to Israel. But now he uses Jesus as his spokesperson, to speak to all people of this world.

If we are preaching Moses, and joining his word to that of Jisas and his apostles, well then we no longer are preaching God’s word correctly.

Nailed to the Cross

When Jesus made the sacrifice for purification of sins, he did what the law given by Moses could not do. So what did Jesus do with that law?

Paul tells Christians that God forgave us all our sin. He rubbed out the handwriting of law that bound us to account but whose rules could not set us free. Jesus took all this away and nailed it once for all to his cross.

"Having cancelled the handwriting of ordinances against us, which was hostile to us, Christ has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to his cross" (Colossians 2:14).

The things written before Jesus died on the cross "were written for our learning" (Romans 15:4). They show us God’s unfolding plan. However they are not the law we are to obey. They point us to Jesus and his cross. He is the one, the only one, we should obey.

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