THE KEEPING OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, WRITTEN BY GOD’S OWN FINGER
The Ten Commandments
All scripture is given by inspiration of God (2Tim. 3:16), however, the Ten Commandments alone holds the distinction of being written and spoken by God (Ex. 31:18, Ex. 32:16). The Ten Commandments were not only written by God and delivered to Moses (Dt. 9:10), they were also spoken by God in the hearing of all the people (Ex. 20:1-17, Dt. 5:6-22). We see the importance of this in the words of Jesus as he rebukes the devil, saying, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”(Mt. 4:4). When God finished speaking to the people he gave no other commandment (Dt.5:22). We see then that the Ten Commandments are not Moses Law as some men teach but the Law of God spoken and written by God.
The Law of Moses
Many people confuse Moses Law with God’s Law, the Ten Commandments, but they are very different. The Ten Commandments were revealed by God to Moses (Ex. 20:1-17) on Mount Sinai (or Horeb). While in the mountain God also gave him instruction concerning the building of the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Mercy Seat. He also set the Order of the Priesthood at that time. After the events of the golden calf (Dt. 9:10—21) Moses returns to the mountain for a second set of Commandments. Upon his return from his second trip to the mountain he placed the Ten Commandments inside the ark (Ex. 25:16, 21, 40:19 & 20; Dt. 10:1-5). God had also instructed him to build a mercy seat and put it upon the ark (Ex. 25:17, 26:34), from the cloud, the tabernacle and the seat of mercy were all other commandments given to Moses for Israel (Ex. 25:22, 30:6; Num. 7:89).
Throughout the journeys of the children of Israel God gave Moses instructions to give his people (Ex. 25:2, 30:31, 31:13; Lev. 1:1, 7:23, 19:22; Num. 6:23, 35:10). At the very end of the journey in the wilderness Moses wrote the Book of the Law (Dt. 31: 7-14) and placed it in the side of the Ark of the Covenant (Dt.31:24-26). This is the beginning of the Law of Moses. In summary God’s Law was written on two tables of stone by God with his own finger and given to Moses on Mount Sinai, after which Moses placed it in the ark. Moses Law was given to him throughout the sojourning of Israel and written in a book and the Levites placed it in the side of the ark to be a witness against the people.
After the death of Moses, Israel was placed under the leadership of Joshua, God then instructed him concerning the book of the law (Jos.1:7 & 8). On Mount Ebal Joshua commanded the children of Israel to build and altar of stone, as it is written in the book of the Law of Moses (Jos. 8:31). He then wrote a copy of the Law of Moses in stone (Jos. 8:32). After he had written the copy in stone he then read all the words of the law, that was written in the book of the law (Jos. 8:34). In these verses we see the terms book of the Law of Moses, Law of Moses, the law, and the book of the law all used in reference to the same writings of Moses. Throughout the Bible this book of the law is often referred to as the Law of Moses (Dt. 4:44; Jos. 23:6; 1Ki. 2:3; 2Ki. 14:6, 23:25; 2Ch. 23:18, 24:5, 30:16; Jn. 7:23; Acts 13:39, 15:5, 28:23; 1Cor. 9:9).
Blessings and Curses
Blessings and curses alike were written into the book of the law (Dt.11:26-30) and Israel was told to choose. God promised to bless those who hearken diligently to his commandments to keep them (Dt. 7:9-13). When Israel crossed Jordan, from Mount Gerizim was proclaimed the blessings and Mount Ebal the curses (Dt. 27:1-26). Obedience to the voice of the Lord brought blessings (Dt. 28:1-14) any deviation from the commandments of the Lord would trigger the curses (Dt. 15-68). In Moab God commanded Moses to make a covenant with Israel (Dt. 29:1- 29) this covenant was not the one given on Horeb (The Ten Commandments). Even in their captivities God set before Israel blessings and curses (Dt. 30:1-20). Obedience to his commandments, statutes and judgments brought blessings, disobedience curses.
Christ Our Redeemer
The curses of the law was written into the Law of Moses, which is the book of the law (Jos. 8:34). We who have the faith of Jesus have been redeemed from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13, 4:5).
Ordinances That Were Against Us
The ordinances which God commanded Israel to keep were by the hand of Moses (2Chr. 33:8). These writings were placed in the side of the ark as a witness against the people (Dt. 31:26). Christ blotted out those things that were against us nailing them to the cross (Col. 2:14). Cursed was he who did not keep all the words of the law (Dt. 27:26, 28:58-61, 29:21-29; Jer.11:3-5; Gal. 3:10). This strict adherence to the letter of the law worked against us because we could not keep every little nuance of the law. Paul looking at this writes that the letter kills but the spirit brings life (2Cor. 3:6). We then who are in Christ do not take extreme measure to ensure we keep the letter of the law (Mat.23:1- 5), thereby, violating the true intent of the law which is to promote righteousness. The righteousness of the law can only be fulfilled in those who walk after the spirit (Rom. 7:6 – 25, 8:1 – 7). So it is the spirit of the law which is the righteousness of the law through the mind of Christ.
Jesus And The Law
Jesus believed and taught that eternal life was obtained by keeping the Ten Commandments. (Mat. 19:16-26). In verse seventeen (17) Jesus clearly states that we should keep the commandments. In verse eighteen and nineteen (18 & 19) he further clarifies his statement by giving examples from the Ten Commandments. It is further evidenced that Jesus believed and taught the keeping of the Ten Commandment when he answered the lawyer’s question concerning eternal life (Lk. 10:25 – 29). Jesus asked, “What is written in the law? How readest thou?” Here Jesus has an opportunity to establish another law but he doesn’t. But rather when the lawyer quotes the law (verse 27) Jesus said unto him, “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” In verse twenty nine (29) the lawyer tries to justify himself by feigning confusion. That great noise you hear coming from those who say keeping the commandments, laws, statues and judgments of God is legalistic is that same attempt of justification. Because Jesus answer is not the one they would like they justify themselves with theological babble. What Jesus was against was the tradition of men, those things added to the law that made it a burden (Mt. 15:1-9; Mk. 7:1-13). The final word on this is Jesus stating very clear that he did not come to destroy the law (Mt. 5:17 – 20). He further state that we should not break the least of the commandment nor teach men to do so. Rather yet we should do them and teach other to do the same.
In conclusion the Ten Commandments were not done away with. They are God’s established way for man to obtain eternal life. The Law of Moses is not the same as the Ten Commandments. There are portions of the Law of Moses that were against us. These were nullified at the cross of Jesus namely the curse of the law and ritualistic ordinances and sacrifices that could not make us perfect. We must also so conclude that Jesus kept the law and taught others to do so. Therefore we believe and teach others to keep the Ten Commandments written by God’s own finger.