Before I begin with this post I want to let you know about an email I received recently. I was told that the SDA church in Japan was largely spared amazingly. It is being used as a sanctuary and shelter. How fitting is that? God's church protecting the people. Just like when Haiti's earthquake hit and the SDA church remained standing (where most buildings came crashing down around it) like a beacon for the world! May many around the world and in Japan look to the one who can save them, amen. In Christendom I would estimate that less than 10% know the 10 Commandments 1 to 10 and 10 to 1. Sure they are familiar with them but ask them to go from 1 to 10 and they are stumped. It truly amazes me how one can call themselves "Christian" and not know the ONLY part of the whole bible HE WROTE HIMSELF! And if He didn't want "anyone" else to write these Commandments, doesn't it stand to reason they are omni-important? Let us look at the "Big 10" and learn some truths.
Number 1 " Thou shall love the Lord they God with all you heart, mind , and soul" Here in the number one spot is an often misunderstood Commandment. The accepted Hebrew belief is that when God began His vocal Commandments to the people He began with "I am the Lord your God"and wrote exactly this on the stone tablet. Here, the common belief was that God, being so pure and loving could not say for Himself "You must love Me with all your heart and mind and soul". For love cannot be forced or commanded. God guides in the first Commandment to come to that decision yourself. If we cannot acknowledge Him and love him first and foremost then all other Commandments cannot be followed.
Number 2 "Thou shall have no other God's before Me" Here in number two, again we have some mis-alignment with traditional understanding. Most put this in number one. But after explaining what number one is, this naturally falls to number two. Also the command to not make graven images and to bow down or serve them, only reinforces the words not to have God's before Him. Again that is what was wrote upon the stone tablet for number two.
Number 3 "Thou shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain" Here is the first Commandment that has been correctly translated through out Christendom. The term "in vain" can actually mean carelessness also. And example would be "Oh my God" in an everyday useless way. While not as demeaning as using God's name in a vulgar or cuss way, it would still be a transgression of the Commandment from God's point of view.
Number 4 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" While it is believed to have that short version on the stone, it is the longest Commandment in the scripture as being "said" by Him. Only one to have "remember" in it. It pointed the people to the past in keeping it holy and it pointed to the future because GOD KNEW many would forget later in time.
The following 6 direct us to the love and respect our fellow human beings. Our Lord, the writer, described a perfect summary in (Matt 22:38-40) by consolidating the 10 into 2. Sadly though some mis-guided souls believe the 10 has been eliminated down to the 2. To use that logic, I guess adultery and stealing no longer apply, try comprehending that one!
Number 5 "Honor thy Father and Mother" Here is the first Commandment that breaks away from the people's responsibility to God.
Number 6 "Thou shall not murder" In this one there has been a subtle error passed on many generations. Many believe it is "Thou shall not kill". But that is not correct. First of all God told His people to kill several times in the Old testament. So if it was "kill" God was telling His people to go ahead and break one of His Commandments. Obviously this could not be. The Hebrew word used in this Commandment is "murder" not "kill". Murder being a killing of a human being without justifiable defense or cause.
Number 7 "Thou shall not commit adultery" Here is a very simple and easily understood Commandment. Perhaps the first "cut and dry" right to the point Commandment.
Number 8 "Thou shall not steal" Another right to the point Commandment. Stealing in ALL forms is meant here. Even when one breaks the Sabbath, in addition to breaking the 4th, he really is stealing God's day away for himself.
Number 9 "Thou shall not bear false witness against they neighbor" Here there is great debate about whether it is describing not to lie to our neighbor or not to bear false witness AGAINST our neighbor. Both sides make good arguments. I personally believe it means exactly as our Lord described "against" our neighbor. In other words actions such as making up a falsehood "against" someone, such as lying in court or to a police officer or such. But don't get the idea lying is ok (Prov. 12:22) "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.."
Number 10 "Thou shall not covet" This one I believe was the downfall of Satan. And it is SO prevalent in today's society it boggles the mind! Hopefully you've gained a more clearer understanding of the "great 10".
For more insight on the original Hebrew teachings go to http://www.levitt.com/ (Christianity through Jewish eyes) I cannot attest to ALL their beliefs, only their views on the 10 Commandments.
Yours in Christ, Rob.