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  • Writer's pictureSusan

Two Sets of 10 Commandments

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

Now just to add to the confusion, there are two sets of commandments. The first commandments were engraved with God's finger on sapphire tablets that came from the foundation of God's throne. Ezekiel 10:1, 1:26, Exodus 24:9-11. This signified that the foundation of God's government was His law of love. Below are the original commandments from Young's Literal Translation. This seems to be the most accurate version considering that the law is a transcript of God's character.

The two commandments of love are at the top as headings, because the Bible says that all the law and prophets hang on these two commandments. If you don't see the ten commandments through the lenses of love, you are missing the point, just like the rich young ruler in Matthew 19, who had done all of these things since he was a child, but couldn't give up his wealth to feed the poor. His heart just wasn't in it. He followed the rules, but missed the point.

If you have compared these commandments with other Bible versions, you will notice that in the second commandment most versions substitute jealous for zealous and punish for charge iniquity. There is a big difference in meaning. Since the 10 commandments are supposed to be a transcript of God's character and Gods character is love, we need to understand what this means.

The word Zealous, can be translated as enthusiastic and devoted. Charging iniquity means to state or declare that your actions are leading you down a path that leads to destruction. If I see you jump out into traffic, I'm going to scream, "hey, you're going to get hit by a car!" I am stating what is going to happen, and warning you of the danger! Since we know from Deuteronomy 24:16 and Ezekiel 18:20 that children are not held accountable for the sins of their fathers, it looks like there is a contradiction in some translations. However, if we understand that God is devoted to us and loves us, we understand that this is a warning. If we turn away from God and worship idols we teach our children and grandchildren to follow in our footsteps perpetuating hatred toward Him?

Whenever there is confusion in a text, it is best to go back to the literal translations to get clarity. Whenever there is a contradiction, make sure you:

  1. Pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit.

  2. Read the whole chapter or book to get an idea of who the audience is and what the main message is.

  3. Look up other verses to understand what the Bible teaches.

  4. Look at other versions. Especially helpful are the literal translations. They aren't easy reading, but they often give clarity when something doesn't seem right.

  5. Ask yourself if you are reading a parable, which is a story that gives you insight to a spiritual matter, but didn't really happen.

  6. Ask yourself who is being quoted and make sure they aren't being rebuked later for their mistaken understanding. Remember Job's friends? They totally misunderstood the character of God. If you quote them, you could really be confused about God's character.

Were the Ten Commandments Done Away With at the Cross?

You will notice that each of the verses below are references to the commandments taken from the new testament. These are just a few. Jesus also references these commandments in Matthew 19:18-19. He doesn't go through the entire 10, but picks out a few. Does this mean the ones He doesn't mention are no longer valid? That would be a bit of a stretch to say that.

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:15 NKJV
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3 NKJV
Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Revelation 14:12 NKJV

Does Obeying the Commandments Save You?

No! Imagine you crash your bike and you're a bit of a mess. You look in the mirror and you see the dirt and wounds. Does the mirror clean your face and heal you? Of course not. But you can see where you need cleansing and healing. That reflection, does not look like, what the healthy you should look like. When we look at the commandments, we see where our character does not reflect Christ's character. There is some cleansing and healing that needs to happen. There are areas of our lives that need to be surrendered to the Holy Spirit so we can get back to right living or righteousness. This is only accomplished by drawing near to Jesus by learning about Him through His word, talking to Him in prayer and allowing the Holy Spirit to live within you. No amount of trying can heal you. It's all in the relationship!

So, Nine Commandments Make Sense, What About the Sabbath Command?

The original law contains God's seal within the fourth commandment. Whenever you have a law or legal document, there is a seal placed upon it with the name, title and office, domain, jurisdiction or authority of the lawgiver. The Sabbath command contains all three.

  • Name: Jehovah God

  • Title: Creator

  • Domain: Heaven and Earth.

Not only that, but this command reveals the character of God and how His government operates. God, with all of His power and majesty, created the heavens and earth in six days, basically breathing everything into existence. Then on the seventh day, God carved out a space in time to demonstrate that His highest priority, was a relationship with mankind. He would not use power or force to coerce a relationship or cause us to obey His law. He would spend one-on-one time with Adam and Eve, revealing Himself and building a relationship based on love and trust. The day was set aside as a memorial of creation and to show his loving care over mankind. Today, it continues as a memorial of creation, a reminder of our ability to cast all of our cares on Him and the promise of redemption when we will finally enter into His kingdom.

Does God Punish Us For Breaking His Law?

God's law was designed to be written on our hearts. When we accept His law of love and surrender or enter His rest, we become transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit. This law is a transcript of God's character, and when this law is written on our hearts, we reflect His glory. Deviation from this law damages our relationship with God and others. When we don't follow God's law it warps our character and sears our conscience leading to the natural consequence of separation from God. God is love, and if we reject love, we reject Him. God is also the creator and life-giver; there is no life apart from God.

Think about the law of respiration; humans must breath oxygen to survive. If you choose to put a bag over your head and cut off your ability to breathe, you are going to die. If I tell you the law and try to help you, am I responsible for your death. No! I just told you the truth of what would happen. God's law operates in the same manner! God tells us what is good for us and He should know; He is our designer and creator! If we choose to reject the law, we destroy ourselves. Sin is the cause of death, not God.

Wickedness will be destroyed in the end, but it will be the result of choosing to hold onto selfishness. God will remove His protection and sin cannot exist in His presence. God is an everlasting and eternal fire that will cleanse the whole earth. In Revelation 20, John had a vision of people who were not found written in the book of life to being cast into the lake of fire. We must remember that this is a vision and John was interpreting scenes and trying to capture the essence of what he was seeing. Since it is inconsistent with God's character to torture or use force, we need to use reason to re-think that scene in the light of what we know about God. Sin and wickedness will be consumed, but it is by the fire of His presence that they will not be able to stand.

“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderers’ soap." Malachi 3:2 NKJV
"for Jehovah thy God is a fire consuming -- a zealous God." Deuteronomy 4:24 YLT
"Therefore understand today that the LORD your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire." Deuteronomy 9:3 NKJV
"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:28-29 NKJV

The Second Set of Commandments

The second set of commandments were established by Saint Augustine in the fourth century AD. These commands were changed by: removing the second commandment concerning graven images, removing the Seal of God from the Sabbath command, changing the day from Sabbath to Sunday, and splitting the tenth commandment into two to make up ten.

  1. I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.

  2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

  3. Remember to keep holy the Lord's day. (Sunday)

  4. Honor your father and your mother.

  5. You shall not kill.

  6. You shall not commit adultery.

  7. You shall not steal.

  8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

  9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.

  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.

Is It Okay to Change God's Law?

Understanding how God's law operates and what it reveals, do you think it is okay to change it? If the seal of God is now missing from this law, who claims to have the authority?

"And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” Matthew 15:9
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:17-19

How Does the Change Affect the Law?

When you believe this law is changeable, then your understanding of God's character shifts. The law no longer reflects God's character. The following are now assumptions about God that most Christians believe.

  1. God is arbitrary and His law can be changed or it was nailed to the cross.

  2. There are no natural consequences so the church must use Hell to coerce compliance.

  3. The goal is forgiveness, not transformation of character.

  4. God needed to be appeased by the sacrifice of Jesus instead of understanding that Jesus' purpose was to reveal the heart of the Father.

  5. God is judging our actions and keeping a record for Judgement Day.

  6. Jesus has to defend us before the Father.

  7. The Catholic church has authority above God and above the Bible as she claims.

  8. Sin doesn't bring us harm, God does.

Many claim that the changes are small and insignificant, however, the shift in understanding God's character of love is incredibly significant. This law removes freedom to choose, it causes you to fear God and to loose your trust in a loving Savior. Love does not exist without freedom and perfect love casts out fear. If this law does not reflect the character of God, who's character is being reflected here. Make sure you know WHO you worship and WHO has authority in your life. WHO is your God? Is it the God of forces who has worked to destroy our understanding of God from the beginning, or is it the creator God who seeks to reveal His character of love in us?

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