The Pursuit of God

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Applying the Ten Commandments: Guidance for Christians

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Christians have a bizarre tradition of clinging to the Ten Commandments as if they are the only commandments Yahweh ever gave.  Then we pretend that God was talking to us when He gave these commands—which He wasn’t—and we go on to preach that God is still demanding that Christians obey all of these commands today.  Well, this is an epic misunderstanding, for do you know what would happen to you if you really put heart and soul into obeying the Ten Commandments to the letter?  You’d end up in Hell.  Why?  Because you’d refuse to worship Jesus or the Holy Spirit as the Almighty Gods that They are.  Do you want to end up in Hell?  Of course you don’t, and that means it’s time to take off the blinders and give some serious thought as to which of these commands are still applicable under the New Covenant.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Always our problems begin with our splicing and dicing habits.  The first time Yahweh gives the Ten Commandments is in Exodus 20, and His speech begins with these words:

Then God spoke all these words: “I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.” (Ex. 20:1-2)

Is God talking to you in this passage?  Are you freshly delivered from cruel bondage in ancient Egypt?  No, you’re not.  You didn’t walk through the parted waters of the Red Sea.  You aren’t camped at the base of Mt. Sinai.  God isn’t talking to you in this passage.  Now does that mean that nothing He says applies to you?  Certainly not, because when God speaks, there is always some useful lesson that you can personally learn.  But application is totally different than you being a member of the original audience, and we need to keep these two concepts separated in our minds.  Once you’re not a member of the original audience, then the lessons you’re supposed to be learning will often differ from the lessons that they were supposed to be learning.

Now because the Church is so good at throwing sand in the gears of your spiritual progress, she is going to yank Yahweh’s Name out of the text and replace it with “the LORD.”  Why?  Because she wants you to view every reference to God and Lord in the Bible as a reference to the Triune God who she invented.  Well, no, Yahweh is the only God talking here, and you need to understand that before you can possibly understand what obeying the first commandment means.

#1: RECOGNIZE NO GOD BUT YAHWEH.

Then God spoke all these words: “I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. Do not have other gods besides Me.” (Ex. 20:1-3)

Here’s your ticket to Hell.  If you really do what Yahweh is commanding His followers to do here, then you must reject Jesus and the Holy Spirit. You must have nothing to do with either of Them, because They are not Yahweh.  There is absolutely no wriggle room here.  If you so much as whisper that you’re thinking of worshiping Jesus, Yahweh says that you are to be instantly executed.  This is a critical point that you must grasp: the Old Covenant was a monotheistic or one God religion.  The New Covenant is polytheistic.  Before the revelation of Christ, Yahweh said that He was the only God in existence and that to worship any God but Him was deserving of instant death.  Monotheism is one of the Old Covenant’s defining characteristics.  Yahweh was so adamant about being the only God worshiped, that if any of His people were caught worshiping or even considering worshiping any other god, Yahweh said that not only were such people to be instantly executed, but their cities were to burned to the ground and never rebuilt.  He lays out these commands in Deuteronomy 13.

“Suppose someone secretly entices you—even your brother, your son or daughter, your beloved wife, or your closest friend—and says, ‘Let us go worship other gods’—gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known. They might suggest that you worship the gods of peoples who live nearby or who come from the ends of the earth. But do not give in or listen. Have no pity, and do not spare or protect them. You must put them to death! Strike the first blow yourself, and then all the people must join in. Stone the guilty ones to death because they have tried to draw you away from Yahweh your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of slavery. Then all Israel will hear about it and be afraid, and no one will act so wickedly again.

“When you begin living in the towns Yahweh your God is giving you, you may hear that scoundrels among you are leading their fellow citizens astray by saying, ‘Let us go worship other gods’—gods you have not known before. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find that the report is true and such a detestable act has been committed among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the open square and burn it. Burn the entire town as a burnt offering to Yahweh your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then Yahweh will turn from His fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a large nation, just as He swore to your ancestors.” (Deut. 13:6-17)

Are you understanding what an enormous issue this one God thing is?  You won’t find any baloney about a Triune God anywhere in the Bible.  In the Old Testament, Yahweh claims multiple times to be the only God.  And since He is so very clear about this point, what are you doing worshiping Jesus?  That might sound like an inappropriate question to ask today, but it actually brings up a very important point.  How do you know you are worshiping the right Gods?  How do you know this Jesus Guy is really the God that He claims to be?  Because He did signs and wonders?  Because He came back from the dead?  Because the prophet John the Baptist said Jesus was legit?  Do you know what Yahweh has to say about miracle working prophets who tell you to worship someone other than Him?

“Suppose there are prophets among you or those who dream dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles occur. If they then say, ‘Come, let us worship other gods’—gods you have not known before—do not listen to them. Yahweh your God is testing you to see if you truly love Him with all your heart and soul.   Serve only Yahweh your God and fear Him alone. Obey His commands, listen to His Voice, and cling to Him. The false prophets or visionaries who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against Yahweh your God, who redeemed you from slavery and brought you out of the land of Egypt. Since they try to lead you astray from the way Yahweh your God commanded you to live, you must put them to death. In this way you will purge the evil from among you.” (Deut. 13:1-5)

Today some Christian teachers will try to tell you that the reason you can know for sure that Jesus is God is that He predicted His own death, then came back to life just as He said He would.  Well, whoopee.  It says right here in Deuteronomy 13 that the fulfillment of prophetic words and miracles in no way justifies the worship of any God other than Yahweh. As a Christian, you say that you believe in the Bible, so what on earth are you doing?  Why are you directly defying your God?  How can you possibly say that Jesus is God and that your worship of Him is correct solely because He did some miracles and fulfilled some prophecies?  Are you seeing the problem?

In our material, we tell you over and over again that you cannot know the truth until you seek God directly.  This business of saying Jesus is God simply because He came back to life is baloney.  Sure, that was a big deal for the superstitious Jews of His day, because they were obsessed with miracles.  But Yahweh Himself says that miracles aren’t enough.  Yahweh says that prophecies aren’t enough. So don’t go pointing to all of those Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, because for all you know, those prophets just made that stuff up.  You didn’t write the documents in the Scripture.  You didn’t witness Yahweh speaking to Isaiah.  Until you seek God directly, you are just putting your faith in what other humans are telling you.  Well, what do you think Muslims, Hindus, and Mormons are doing?  This world is filled with false religions and deluded people who are all worshiping gods who don’t even exist.  How are you any different from them?  How do you know anything?

Do you think that the God who made you isn’t willing to talk to you?  Do you think He’s too big or busy or holy to bother with illuminating your personal soul with truth?  Do you think God only talks to pastors and prophets and folks who are better than you in some way?  Well, if this is what you believe, then you’d might as well resign yourself to spending an eternity in Hell right now, because if you are going to close your mind to the idea of God ever talking to you in life, then you will never know the truth.  If you want to play, “I’m just a nobody who God would never speak to” games, then that is the same as you refusing to seek God.  Well, that’s a pretty rotten attitude for you to take, isn’t it?

Where do you get off telling God that He can’t or won’t talk to you?  He made you, didn’t He?  He owns you, and it’s not your place to tell Him what He can or can’t do with you. It’s not your place to tell Him who He can and can’t love.  It’s not your place to decide for God when He has to be fed up with you.  There is only one way that you will ever know who the real Gods are, and that is if you call out in your soul for the real Gods to reveal Themselves to you.  There is only one right answer to the question, “How do you know that Christianity is right?”  That answer is: “Because God told me that it is.”

If you’re not talking to God, then you’re not talking to the only Source of truth that there is.  You’re just putting your faith in humans and some pile of ancient documents.  Those ancient documents are going to give you no end of grief because one minute you’ve got Yahweh saying that there is never any justification for worshiping anyone other than Him, and elsewhere that same Yahweh is telling people to listen to a Man who is claiming to be a second God.  Yahweh is doing some serious doubletalk in the Bible, and this is because when Jesus came, Yahweh changed the rules regarding what is right and wrong.

It is beyond idiotic for Christian leaders to tell you to obey the Ten Commandments when the first commandment alone proves that Christianity is a complete farce and that Jesus was a false prophet who deserved to die.  You cannot possibly come to any other conclusion if all you’re looking at is the Torah, because as we see in Deuteronomy 13, Yahweh leaves no room for the possibility of a second God.  And yet Jesus claimed to be a second God.  Then Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit as a third God.  So if you’re going to say that Yahweh is a true God, then you’d better be darn sure about Yahweh approving of you going polytheistic and only Yahweh Himself can clear up any confusion you might have on this point.

Now if everything we’ve said so far is making you squirm uncomfortably, GOOD.  That discomfort proves that there are some weak points in your faith. You need to realize this now while there is still time to do something about it.  Because you see, most souls who claim to be Christians have never sought confirmation directly from God about what they believe.  Instead, their faith is rooted in the things other people tell them and in some book that other people wrote.  This is no good.  Christianity is not a game.  The eternal fate of your soul is on the line, and there is no room for you to just be following the herd on spiritual matters.  If Jesus is not a God, yet you’re treating Him like one with all of those prayers and worship songs, then you’re on the wrong side of Yahweh’s wrath.  You see, Yahweh is an extremely jealous Being, and He detests His people praying to anyone other than Him.  Mary, saints, angels, your dead loved ones—this all constitutes idolatry under the Old Covenant, and idolatry is enough to land you in Hell.  Yahweh is absolutely not okay with you blurring the lines between the created and the Creator.  He says that only a true God should be worshiped.  Angels and humans are not Gods, yet the Church is encouraging you to pray to them and venerate them and give them your soul adoration. This is how little the Church cares about your spiritual well-being—she shamelessly encourages you to do things which Yahweh says He hates.  So then, do you want to please the Church or do you want to please God?  You can’t please both.

If you seek God, He will talk to you, and He will make it clear to you what truth is.  But the real Gods are the only Ones who can do this, and you don’t even know who the real Gods are until you hear from Them.  So if you can’t say, “I know who the real Gods are,” without then quoting the Bible or some Christian teacher, then you don’t know who the real Gods are.  If you really know Them, then you’ve made some direct contact with Them on a soul level.

If someone asks, “Do you know Ryan?” and you say, “Yes, I met Ryan last week,” that’s the end of the discussion.  Everyone accepts that you know Ryan because they all know what it means when you say that you personally met him.  No one asks you for proof that you actually had a conversation with Ryan.  It’s only when we’re talking about our Gods that we start getting ridiculous like this and acting like it’s somehow impossible to have ever made personal contact with the Beings who created us.  What kind of sense does this make?  Of course it’s possible for you to personally meet the real Gods.  Of course it’s possible for you to have a real conversation with Them, and once that happens, you really don’t have to prove anything to anyone because you know what you know.  Just as someone can say, “I don’t believe you ever really met Ryan,” people will say, “I don’t believe you ever really met the real Gods.”  But who cares?  Your relationship with God is a personal thing—you don’t need other humans to validate your experiences in life.  When the real Gods talk to you, you will know it.  And once you know that you have found the real Gods, you won’t feel some burning need to go around getting the affirmation of humans.  You’re freed up from all of that nonsense.  A real connection with God isn’t something we try to market or sell or flaunt on the street.  A real connection with God brings security and peace to your soul.  So do you have a real connection or not?  If you don’t, then you have some serious praying to do (see God Told Me: The Only Valid Basis for Faith).

#2: DON’T MAKE IDOLS.

“Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands.” (Ex. 20:4-6)

The second command is merely an expansion of the first.  This command is also constantly misapplied by the Church.  Today you’re told that it’s a sin to draw pictures of Jesus or to make any object that makes you think of one of your Gods.  Well, no, this is not at all what Yahweh said.  He is condemning the worship of other gods.  He is not saying it is wrong to create sacred objects which are intended to revere Him.  In fact, Yahweh will soon be instructing Moses to build the Ark of the Covenant—a very sacred object which Yahweh will say represents His very throne.  In Exodus 25, Yahweh gives detailed instructions for how the Ark is to be built, and He instructs Moses to have the statues of two golden angels placed on top of the Ark.  How is this not a violation of the second commandment?  Because the second commandment is a command not to make idol worshiping paraphernalia.  It does not say it is wrong to make things which will encourage the worship of the true God.

Even though the Ark of the Covenant had two statues of angels on it, the angels were not worshiped.  The Ark was designed to encourage the reverential worship of Yahweh.  Today, when Christians create paintings and statutes and stained glass windows of their Gods out of a desire to exalt those Gods and encourage the reverential worship of those Gods, are they violating the second commandment? Of course they are, because the second commandment is a follow up to the first, and these laws are strictly prohibiting the worship of any being other than Yahweh.  But the spirit of the second commandment is to not create things which inspire the worship of false gods.  That is not what we are doing when we create things which inspire the worship of the real Gods.  The bottom line is this: under the current Covenant, our Gods delight in all forms of sincere worship.  They have no problems whatsoever with us lovingly crafting items which celebrate, honor, and exalt Them.  In the Old Testament, we find Yahweh giving special orders for His people to create many material props which were all about encouraging the worship of Him.  It’s who you’re promoting that matters, not what you’re making.

#3: RESPECT THE NAME OF YAHWEH.

“Do not misuse the Name of Yahweh your God, because Yahweh will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses His Name.” (Ex. 20:7)

To understand this commandment properly, we need to understand how superstitious the ancient peoples were.  They were huge believers in the power of the spoken word, and they viewed names quite differently than we do.  Today, if an American man walks into his house and finds that his son left the stove burner on, he might say, “Darn you, Joe!  Are you trying to light the house on fire?”  Joe isn’t even home, and when the man mutters this, he’s just venting his own frustrations.  Well, if an ancient Jew were to say something like this, that person would be trying to use Joe’s name as a way of actually inflicting harm on Joe.  You see, cursing someone was considered to be dangerous and effective in those times.  People fancied themselves to be like potent little sorcerers who could actually control the future through verbal declarations.

You have to understand that Yahweh is talking to people who are obsessed with verbal spell casting to appreciate why He makes such a big deal about misusing His Name.  If you honestly think you can do harm to your neighbor Fred simply by saying something like, “Damn you, Fred!” in the privacy of your own home, then how nasty must your intentions be when you start talking a bunch of smack about Yahweh?

You won’t find any atheists in the Bible.  Everyone worshiped gods, all governments were shaped by religious beliefs, and all wars were god wars.  Calling down curses on gods who you felt threatened by was a common practice. Invoking the names of gods was serious business.  Today we’ve got this flippant practice of saying “OMG” all over the place.  And while this is not respectful, the Christian who says “OMG” is not trying to do verbal harm to his Gods.  The Christian who says an exasperated, “For Christ’s sake!” is not trying to verbally assault Christ.  For the ancient peoples, this was not the case.  Name flinging was intimately related to spell casting, which is why Yahweh takes such a firm line with people misusing His Name. He warns this crowd of spell casting addicts that they’d better be careful how they use His holy title.  If they try to slander His Name or use it in some way that He disapproves of, He’s going to nail them.

#4: KEEP THE SABBATH.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: You are to labor six days and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the foreigner who is within your gates. For Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then He rested on the seventh day. Therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.” (Ex. 20:8-11)

Here in the wilderness, Yahweh is dealing with a crowd of hardcore polytheists.  These folks don’t just worship one god—they worship a whole pantheon of gods which they became very bonded to during their time in Egypt.  As we progress through the Old Testament, we’ll learn that the Jews never let go of their Egyptian gods, nor are they willing to give up their polytheistic ways.  It’s only in the New Testament that we finally see the Jews acting like hardcore monotheists—just in time to flip out over Jesus urging people to switch to the worship of multiple Gods.  It’s really very ironic.  If Jesus had come during the Old Testament, the Jews would have probably welcomed Him as another Deity, because the Jews of the Old Testament gladly worshiped any new god they came across. It was only Yahweh who they were so committed to despising, and the first four of Yahweh’s Ten Commandments are all focused on breaking the Jews out of their polytheistic mindset and getting them to devote themselves to Yahweh alone.

Yahweh will invent several special religious holidays for the Jews, and they will all be designed to turn the community’s focus onto Him.  But we humans need more than a few annual holidays to stay on track, so Yahweh came up with the idea of every seventh day of the week being set aside as a day for honoring Him.  Every Saturday was supposed to be a day when all work stopped and people turned their focus onto God.  The purpose of the Sabbath was twofold.  First, it gave people a needed break from the daily grind of life.  Second, it created a window of time for them to seriously contemplate spiritual matters.

Consider your life today: what gets in the way of you seriously thinking about God?  Modern Americans are extremely driven and we have a very hard time sitting still.  If we’re not producing, we feel like slackers, and sitting around contemplating God doesn’t feel very productive.  Even though spiritual work is the most important work of all, our culture treats it as meaningless.  With something always pulling on us, it’s very hard to feel like we have permission to just sit and think about God. It’s always go, go, go, rush, rush, rush.  Well, workaholism is hardly new to our time.  The ancient peoples also had a hard time kicking up their heels.  With family farms to manage, herds to care for, and marketplaces to run, it was very hard to take a day off.  Stopping the work meant missing out on a chance to make profits, and the Jews didn’t like this at all.  Throughout the Old Testament, we’ll find Yahweh frequently complaining about the fact that the Jews were refusing to shut down their markets on the Sabbath day.  The Jews weren’t about to skip a chance to make money just so they could honor a God who they didn’t even care about.

It’s only when we get to the New Testament that we find the Sabbath day being treated as a big deal, but by then it’s been turned into a ridiculous game of legalism.  The spiritual leaders of New Testament Israel had a grand time cooking up all kinds of nitpicky laws about what “resting” looked like.  For example, they had made up ridiculous laws about how many steps you could take, and how much weight you could physically carry before you were guilty of “working.”  Well, such legalistic rot was just as bad as ignoring the Sabbath altogether, for both practices were driven by rotten soul attitudes.  This is why we see Jesus going around intentionally breaking the manmade Sabbath laws of His time just to start fights with Jewish preachers.  Even though it was “illegal” to carry one’s bed roll on the Sabbath day, Jesus specifically ordered a man to do so just to set the preachers off (see Know Your Bible Lesson 48).  And while He went out of His way to look like He was “working” on the Sabbath, Jesus also enticed His followers to break known Sabbath rules.  For example, it was illegal to process grain on the Sabbath, so Jesus took His boys to a field and encouraged them to rub the husks off of grain kernels with their hands.  Oh look, the disciples are winnowing on the Sabbath, and of course Jesus made sure that there was a crowd of Pharisees watching (see Know Your Bible Lesson 49).  Jesus was not some innocent victim of harassment.  He went out of His way to start fights between Himself and the Jewish preachers of His day, and Sabbath violations were one of His favorite feuding points.

Under the New Covenant, the Sabbath day laws no longer apply.  After exposing the mockery that the Jews had made out of this requirement, Jesus taught His followers to stop concerning themselves with special days and special foods and to focus on soul attitudes instead.

#5: HONOR YOUR PARENTS.

“Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that Yahweh your God is giving you.” (Ex. 20:12)

We like to lop off the “so that” part of this command.  Yet Yahweh directly associated the honoring of one’s parents with having a blessed experience in the Promised Land.  This language reminds us that under the Old Covenant, earthly blessings were promised as a reward for obeying Yahweh’s Laws.  Under the New Covenant, this promise has been thrown out, which is why the whole prosperity theology package is such a crock.

Prosperity teachers who tell you that God has promised to give you health, wealth and happiness in this world if you act like a good little Christian are lying their faces off.  They’re telling you to claim a promise which Yahweh is no longer offering you.  But hey, if we’re going to tell Christians to obey a command that says it’s wrong to worship Jesus as God, then why not continue the idiocy by telling them that they can get a sweet life on earth by chucking money into the offering plate?  While we’re at it, why don’t we quote Malachi 3:10 and say that Yahweh was making a promise to Christians when He was really just chewing out rebellious Old Covenant believers.  Oh that’s right—we do.  Are you getting a feel for why you’re so discouraged from checking context in the Church?  Are you seeing why it’s so advantageous for your leaders to tell you that the Old Testament isn’t relevant to you?  As long as you remain very uneducated about what the Old Testament actually says, they can work all kinds of scams on you.

So how far should we take this business of honoring our parents?  If your parents are Muslims who are telling you to worship Allah, are you supposed to honor them by obeying?  Of course not.  If your father wants to molest you or your mother wants to control every aspect of your life, is God telling you to lie down on the dirt and do whatever your parents say?  Of course He isn’t.  You have to be seeking God directly for wisdom in life.  Don’t just rip off some line that He said to other people thousands of years ago and turn it into some unbreakable command for your life.  There is no law that you can find in the Bible which God promises not to change.  As the Law Makers, our Gods reserve the right to change Their Laws anytime They feel like it.  Sometimes They change the rules across the board, other times They just tell certain individuals to ignore certain rules that They’re still telling everyone else to obey.  We find examples of such things in both the Old and New Testaments, and this just demonstrates how vital it is that you are seeking God directly in life (see Present Convictions vs. Past Commands).

#6: DON’T MURDER.

“Do not murder.” (Ex. 20:13)

Well, here’s a straightforward command, right?  And yet Yahweh is going to tell His people to murder all of the inhabitants of the Promised Land that they are heading towards. So what’s with the doubletalk?  Well, the bottom line is this: you’re not the Creator of life, therefore you have no right to be trying to squelch it.  Now Yahweh will say elsewhere in the Old Testament that He is the One who holds life and death in His hands.  In other words, no one dies before God wants them to.  Yahweh will also address the issue of accidental killings—like when your ox gets out and mows down the neighbor’s kid.  He’ll also say that sometimes it’s okay to murder—like when someone sneaks into your house in the dead of night and you’re acting to defend yourself.  When we don’t read the entire body of Yahweh’s commands, we come away with a false impression of what He actually said.

There are times when God authorizes Christians to kill, and in such cases, He does not accuse them of rebellion.  When the Christian doctor has to choose between saving a mother or saving her baby, he needs to ask God to have His way in the situation and then go with whatever leading God gives him.  When a Christian soldier gets called to a battlefield, he needs to make sure he has God’s Authorization before he starts blasting bullets at people.  Just because we don’t have the power to end lives prematurely doesn’t get us off the hook for submitting to God’s Authority.  This command calls us to respect life as God’s property, not ours, therefore we need to be seeking His input on what to do.  How far should a Christian fireman go to try and save a child from a burning building?  When is it okay to pull life support?  When is it okay for a cop to shoot his assailant?  These are questions that each individual soul needs to take to God as they come up.  For many situations, there is no blanket rule we can lay down because God is a wild card and He has a long history of unexpected moves.

#7: DON’T CHEAT ON YOUR SPOUSE.

“Do not commit adultery.” (Ex. 20:14)

Adultery is when a married person has sex with someone who is not his or her spouse.  Yahweh taught that sex was only supposed to happen within the context of a marital union.  If you commit adultery, you’re blowing off Yahweh’s standards of marriage, and you’re taking something which He says doesn’t belong to you.  Under the New Covenant, marriage is only supposed to occur between one man and one woman, and sex is only supposed to occur within the context of a marital union.  This means that we can’t commit adultery today without disrespecting God’s standards in other areas.

#8: DON’T STEAL.

“Do not steal.” (Ex. 20:15)

Don’t take stuff that belongs to someone else.  Well, this is a no brainer.  Yahweh says we should treat others as we want to be treated.  Do you want someone to steal from you?

#9: DON’T LIE ABOUT OTHERS.

“Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.” (Ex. 20:16)

Under the Old Covenant, it only took the collaborating testimonies of two witnesses to get someone executed.  Yahweh isn’t just talking about spreading gossip here.  He’s talking about lying in court.  He’s talking about saying that you saw Joe bowing down to Baal when Joe did no such thing.  Lies were extremely dangerous things in these times.  Old Covenant justice systems did not have a panel of jurists.  There weren’t lawyers representing clients.  There were no DNA tests.  Many cases were determined solely on the basis of hearsay, and with a couple of liars siding against you, you could meet with an ugly fate.  In 1 Kings 21, Queen Jezebel took advantage of this system when she got a couple of people to swear that they heard a man named Naboth cursing God and the king.  Naboth did no such thing, but Jezebel wanted him to be killed so she could seize his property.  All it took was the testimony of two witnesses, and the rocks started to fly.

Centuries later, we find Jewish leaders struggling to get their false witnesses to synchronize their lies when they’re trying to convict Jesus of blasphemy (see Know Your Bible Lesson 68: God On Trial).

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but they could find none. For many were giving false testimony against Him, but the testimonies did not agree. (Mk. 14:55-56)

It’s a pretty sad showing, but eventually they get Jesus to use the supercharged “I AM” title, and that seals His fate.

Then the high priest stood up before them all and questioned Jesus, “Don’t You have an answer to what these men are testifying against You?” But Jesus kept silent and did not answer anything. Again the high priest questioned Him, “Are You the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

“I AM,” said Jesus, “and all of you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What is your decision?”

And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death. (Mk. 14:60-64)

Giving false testimony was akin to murder in a system which condemned so swiftly.  So Yahweh commands people to not lie about each other.  Well, yeah, that’s pretty basic.

#10: DON’T COVET OTHER PEOPLE’S STUFF.

“Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Ex. 20:17)

Lusting after the things that your neighbor has is a mess.  In the first place, while you’re busy pining after someone’s else’s stuff, you’re not practicing gratitude for what God has given you.  Instead, you’re basically griping at Him for taking rotten care of you.  Second, God’s already told people not to steal, and this coveting business is the first step in that direction.  First you obsess over how much you want it.  Then you take it.  How is that treating others as you want to be treated?

God treats us all differently.  When we don’t like how He’s treating us, we need to talk to Him about it and ask Him to help us get into alignment with His will for us.  Obsessing over the toys God has given someone else is not practicing alignment with God. Instead, we’re falling out of alignment by saying, “I hate what You’re doing and I’m looking for an opportunity to force my will to happen.”  The far better prayer here is to say, “God, I struggle to accept what You’re withholding from me in life.  But I know that You love me, and that You’re a lot wiser than I am.  Help me to appreciate what You give me, and to let go of what You’re saying I can’t have right now.  I want to please You in life, and I can’t get there by constantly resisting what You’re doing with me.”

God wants us to yield to His will in our lives.  When He’s refusing to give us something we want, internally grumbling about it all of the time is not yielding.  Certainly we can’t help wanting certain things, but we can choose to ask God for help in accepting His will.  This is an attitude that pleases Him, for then we are putting Him first instead of putting ourselves first.

CONCLUSION

The Ten Commandments do not stand alone.  Keep reading the chapter, and you’ll find that Yahweh gives more commands right after these.  He then goes on to give many, many more in the books of Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy.  So when we talk as if the Ten Commandments are the only commandments that Yahweh gave to His people, we’re being ridiculous.  When we yank these commandments out of their cultural context, we end up misapplying them. When we say that Christians are supposed to be keeping all of these commands today, well, that’s beyond absurd.  Christians wouldn’t be Christians if they were strictly obeying the Ten Commandments.  Today we live under a New Covenant with new rules.  Certainly there are some principles which God still wants us to abide by, but there are many others which He has thrown out.  Only He can communicate His will for you today, so if you are serious about pleasing Him, you need to be asking Him directly to have His way in your life.

FURTHER READING:
Why God Doesn’t Obey His Own Laws
Jesus vs. the NT Jews: What it Means to Please God
Know Your Bible Lesson 6: The Sacrificial System
Learning from Yahweh: What It Means To Be Holy

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