WAS GOD'S LAW IN FORCE
Did Christ come to DO AWAY with His Father's law? Was one of the major purposes for Christ's sojourn on earth to "nail the law to the cross"? Millions assume Jesus Christ came as a "reformer," to DO AWAY with God's laws! Millions of nominal "Christians" dismiss any requirement to obey God's laws as "legalism," and "law-keeping," and "trying to earn salvation by works!" You will be astonished to learn that God's law did not come into existence at mount Sinai; that it was well-known by the ancient patriarchs and even by pagan kings, centuries before!
by Garner Ted Armstrong [printer-friendly] [pdf format] [Spanish version] [Spanish version pdf] [Japanese version] [Japanese pdf]
There are millions of church-going professing Christians who cannot quote even four of the Ten Commandments! Yet, they have been brain-washed all their lives to believe it is a harsh, rigorous, stern, foreboding, terrible set of "do's and don'ts" which are impossible to observe; a burdensome yoke of bondage which Christ had to come to remove!
Nothing could be farther from the truth!
What is so BAD about the Ten Commandments? Is it a stern, harsh, yoke of bondage to "honor your father and your mother"? Is it a terrible burden to reject heathen polytheism, and come to know the one true God; to "have no other Gods before thee"? Do we writhe in pain and gnash our teeth to obey the command which says "Thou shalt not steal"? Is the commandment against murder the one we hate?
No matter your religious belief, you would LOVE to have all your neighbors diligently keeping the Ten Commandments! If they did, you would live in a wonderful, decent, peaceful, prosperous, law-abiding neighborhood. You would live in a crime free place; a place where, if your four year old daughter became lost, your neighbors would immediately bring her safely back to you; a neighborhood where it is unnecessary to lock your doors, have security alarms, and roving police cars.
If our peoples kept even ONE of the ten, society itself would be utterly different—infinitely more law-abiding.
Is it true that God's law is "done away"? If you could ask Jesus Christ personally whether there is anything one must DO to receive salvation, what do you think He would say, today?
There is no need to wonder, for when a wealthy young man came to Jesus Christ to ask what he needed to do to be saved, notice what Christ responded: "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
"And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
"He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
"Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
"The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
"Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me" (Matthew 19:16-21).
There is no doubt whatsoever WHICH command-ments to which Jesus referred. The only "commandments" containing the points He mentioned are the TEN commandments, codified in stone by the finger of God at Mount Sinai. There are those who "require" that God specifically REPEAT each one of the ten, including the fourth commandment, in the NEW Testament! Since Christ only mentioned certain specific points, they say, that meant He only placed His stamp of approval on those points, and not on the others!
Then did He mean it is alright to worship other gods? He said nothing about the first command-ment! Did He mean it is alright to worship before idols? He said nothing about the second commandment! Did He mean it is alright to break the Sabbath? Did He mean it is alright to lust and covet? Christ articulated HALF of the ten. Did that mean He was picking and choosing which of the ten were still in effect, and which He was discarding?
Christ clearly summarized the last six commandments when He said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," for there is no specific point of the law which includes those words. The first four of the ten tell us how to worship God, and is God's number; the last six tell us how to love our neighbor, and is man's number.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Surveys have proven that millions of church-going, professing "Christians" cannot recite but a few, if any, of the Ten Commandments! Here they are, directly from Exodus 20, with the numbers added:
(1) "Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
(2) "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
(3) "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
(4) "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
(5) "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
(6) "Thou shalt not kill.
(7) "Thou shalt not commit adultery.
(8) "Thou shalt not steal.
(9) "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
(10) "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's" (Exodus 20:3-17).
Which of the ten is so BAD; so EVIL; so HARSH; so IMPOSSIBLE that God had to send His Son to this earth to erase His mistake? When you think about it, there is only ONE of those commandments which is HATED by the world of "churchianity"! Can you guess which one it is? (Hint: It is somewhere between the 3rd and the 5th commandment!)
None of the major mainstream denominations teach that one may kill, steal, commit adultery, lie, worship before idols (one exception here, of course), or curse and abuse ones' parents. But ALL of them, without exception, totally reject the FOURTH commandment!
Because an apostate church adopted purely pagan holidays, replacing God's annual Sabbaths of the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread with "Easter": because they were busily rejecting anything they called "Jewish," they legislated against God's holy Sabbath day, and substituted the pagan "day of the Sun," instead!
By the time of the council of Nicaea in 325 AD (a period of time from Christ's ascension longer than the history of the United States), the apostate church commanded professing Christians not to "Judaize" by keeping the Passover on the fourteenth of Nisan, or to observe the seventh day Sabbath.
For many centuries, professing "Christian" churches have observed SUNDAY as their "Sabbath" completely rejecting the only day God ever made holy!
Read that fourth commandment carefully again. Notice it says we are to REMEMBER the Sabbath day, to KEEP it holy! One cannot "keep" holy what has not been MADE holy!
If someone were to hand you a cool glass of water and say, "Here, KEEP THIS HOT for me," you would think he had gone crazy. You would say "How can I KEEP it hot, when it has not been MADE hot?"
The reason we are commanded to REMEMBER the Seventh day of the week is revealed in the account of creation itself: "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
"And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made" (Genesis 2:2, 3). God had finished His WORK, but He had not finished CREATING!
Notice what Christ said: "And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath:
"Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27, 28). The Sabbath was MADE! It was made when man was made, and made FOR the great blessing and benefit of man! Christ is LORD of the Sabbath! Then WHICH DAY is really "The Lord's Day"? There it is in your own Bible!
Who Was The God
Of The Old Testament?
Now, WHO made the Sabbath? Who wrote the Ten Commandments and delivered them to Moses?
You might answer, "Why, God did." But do you know the original word in the inspired text for "God"? It is ELOHIM, which is a PLURAL word, meaning more than one! It is a word like "group," or "family," or "assembly," and means MORE than one!
Notice the proof: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..." (Genesis 1:26).
God was not like an absent-minded professor who was speaking to himself! There was a Divine Member of Elohim who was the "Spokesman," who did the speaking! Notice further proof, when the One who Spoke, called "JHVH" or "Yahveh" (some pronounce it "Jehovah") divided the nations at Babel: "And the LORD [JHVH] said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
"Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
"So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city" (Genesis 11:6-8).
Now, notice one of the most astonishing chapters in the Bible—the 1st chapter of John's gospel—which, if ANY of the more than 400 denominations would admit to be true would absolutely demolish many of their most cherished doctrines!
You will see WHY very shortly!
John wrote, "In the beginning was the Word [Greek: Logos, meaning "Spokesman"], and the Word was with God [Greek: Theos, meaning more than one; the equivalent of the Hebrew Elohim], and the Word was God [The Logos was Theos—meaning the TWO members of Divine Elohim were both called "God," or Theos].
"The same was in the beginning with God.
"All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:1-3) Do you realize what you are reading? Your Bible is plainly telling you that JESUS CHRIST DID THE CREATING! The One who became Jesus Christ; born of the virgin Mary, of the seed of Abraham; the One who took upon Himself HUMAN flesh and form IS THE GOD who dealt with the patriarchs! He is the One who said "Let there be light!" He is the One who said "Let the dry land appear!" He is the One who said, "Let US make man in OUR image!" He is the One who blessed, sanctified, made holy the SABBATH day!
Unless you are prepared to tear this page from your Bible, and, along with it, many other pages which prove the same thing, you have come face to face with the FACT that the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth was the member of Elohim who created the UNIVERSE; the solar system, this earth, and all life upon it!
Notice further: "In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
"And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
"The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
"He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
"That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not" (John 1:4-11). WHO was "in the world"? Christ! WHO made the world? Christ! WHO came unto His own, the Jews, who "received Him not"? Christ!
Notice the next verse: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12). This was one of Dr. Billy Graham's favorite verses, quoted in many of his evangelistic campaigns as he urged people to "receive Christ." Is there any honest man or woman who does not now KNOW, after reading these astonishing truths from his or her own Bible, that Jesus Christ of the new Testament is the God of the Old Testament—the very Creator? Since He was the Creator, He was also the LAWGIVER; the One who wrote the Ten Commandments and delivered them to Moses!
John continued, "Which were born [Greek: gennao, meaning "begotten"], not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt [Greek: "tabernacled," or dwelt temporarily] among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:13, 14).
Now that you KNOW that the One who wrote the Ten Commandments with His own finger is the SAME person of the Godhead who became Christ, notice these powerful witnesses: "For I am the LORD [Hebrew "JHVH," or "Jehovah," the Member of Elohim in covenant relationship with Israel; the One who became Christ!], I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed" (Malachi 3:6). Then does He, or does He not CHANGE?
If the God of the patriarchs and prophets — the One who became Christ — says He CHANGES NOT, then do you believe He changes?
Only a fool and blasphemer would say yes!
If He does NOT CHANGE, then do you think He issued the Ten Commandments in His pre-human state, and then came down to earth to CHANGE them as Jesus Christ?
Paul wrote, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8).
Because He never CHANGED, Jesus Christ told the wealthy young man, "If you will enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS!"
When Did God's Law First
When did God first inform His creation that He, God, was the RULER? When did He give mankind any commands?
"And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:15-17). By virtue of being his CREATOR, God [ELOHIM: the "Spokesman" Member of the Godhead who did the speaking became Christ!] "commanded" the man! He revealed Himself as the giver of every good gift, by saying the man could "freely eat" of dozens of succulent, beautiful, ripe, tasty, healthful kinds of foodstuffs. There were no doubt many kinds of trees within easy reach; many kinds of palms, with dates and coconuts; fruit trees like peaches, pears, apples, plums, cherries and the like; nut trees with walnuts, filberts, pistachios, almonds, and dozens more; olives were there, as were dozens of kinds of berries. All the green, leafy plants, from shrubs and vines to root crops were at hand.
Adam could partake of any and all of them freely!
But God reserved just ONE tree in the middle of the vast garden (which may have been as large as a very large country) which He commanded the man not to touch!
To touch it brought about the DEATH penalty!
Then, after Eve's creation, came Satan, the world's first liar. He is called a "whispering enchanter" in Genesis. The word "serpent" comes from Nachash in the Hebrew, which says nothing about aspect, but only about character. It means "whispering enchanter," and is definitely not a "snake," even though Satan is likened in scripture to a "serpent."
Notice what happened: "Now the serpent [Nachash] was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
"And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
"But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat" (Genesis 3:1-6).
The Nachash was "SUBTLE." He did not come right out and accuse God of lying. Instead, he couched his question in misleading terms. He IMPLIED that God had told the first two humans that they should STARVE to death! He implied God had said they could not eat anything that was appetizing and attractive for food! He subtly implied that God was cruel; that He had placed them in the midst of all that food, and yet told them not to touch any of it — but to starve to death!
The world's first unsuspecting housewife listened to the dishonest salesman's spiel. She thought she needed to "explain." She said, in effect "Oh, no, you've got it wrong. God said we could eat of any of the trees except the one in the middle of the garden. If we eat of it, He said we would die!"
"Explaining" to Satan is to fall into his trap.
Satan then told the first LIE. It is the "BIG LIE" which he has foisted off on the professing Christian world. He as good as said, "Oh no, you won't surely DIE—why, don't you know you can live forever, just like God? That fruit He doesn't want you to have is `smart fruit,' which will make you wise, like God. Why, God KNOWS that you will not surely die!"
In the Spanish Bible, the expression reads, Mas sabe Dios, which means "God knows more," or "God knows better."
Satan has perpetuated that first lie for thousands of years. Even today, MILLIONS believe they will NOT ever die—they believe they have an "immortal soul" which will remain ALIVE FOREVER, either in heaven or in hell!
But Adam and Eve had now SINNED! How? They broke the first commandment, for they put the forbidden fruit between them and God. They broke the fifth commandment, for they dishonored and disobeyed their only Parent. They broke the eighth commandment, for they stole that which did not belong to them. They broke the tenth commandment, for they lusted after, and coveted the forbidden fruit.
James wrote, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10).
Notice the consequences of the first sin: "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
"And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
"Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:16-19).
God then drove them from Eden: "Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
"So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3:23, 24).
The sentence was a lifetime of grueling work! Instead of easily available succulent fruit, man would have to fight thorns and thistles; he would labor, the sweat pouring off his brow, to raise crops in order to survive. Adam and Eve lost their home with its beauty, its rippling brooks and pleasant climate, with everything to eat close to hand. They lost their innocence. Where they had previously seen only beauty, they now thought that nakedness was shameful, embarrassing. They now felt guilty, and hid from God!
They saw their firstborn commit the first murder — brutally rising up and killing his own younger brother out of jealousy. Their lives had to be miserable; wretched tragedies, horrible memories, brutal work, and, finally, death.
Who was in charge, here? Were there any laws? Any commandments to be kept?
Of course there were! The whole point of the story is to reveal the origin of SIN; to catalogue the FIRST SIN of the first man and woman!
Notice what God said of the sodomites in Sodom and Gomorrah: "But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly" (Genesis 13:13). And what IS sin? The SAME Divine Person of the Godhead who inspired Genesis 13:13 also inspired John to write, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4).
Paul wrote, "Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression" (Romans 4:15). In order for the Sodomites to be sinners there had to be a LAW in force! So says your Bible!
Abraham Kept God's
Abraham is called "the father of the faithful." His example of total TRUST in God; of FAITH that God would fulfill His promises, caused him to become a perpetual example to all mankind. Paul wrote, "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
"And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
"And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness" (Romans 4:20-22).
This is one of the best definitions of faith — being absolutely convinced that whatever God promises He is able to perform!
Never confuse grace with works! Grace means unearned, undeserved forgiveness! It means unmerited pardon! Works, while REQUIRED, do not "earn" one anything!
Are you a natural born citizen of your country? Then you did nothing to "earn" your citizenship—it came as a free gift! Must you OBEY THE LAWS of your country in order to retain your freedom and citizenship? Why, of course! So it is with God's kingdom, and salvation. God's FREE GIFT to us is His merciful PARDON for our sins! And what IS sin? Sin is the BREAKING OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS—the transgression of the law!
Suppose you broke the laws against automobile theft, or bank robbery. You became ashamed; contrite. You went to the authorities, restored the money, and turned yourself in.
Suppose a merciful judge extended GRACE to you. Suppose he considered your heartfelt contrition, and placed you on "probation," allowing you to go free?
Are you then free to BREAK THE LAWS AGAIN? Or are you expected to LIVE WITHIN THEM? If you then begin once again living within the law, are you EARNING the gracious pardon you were given? Of course not!
When God forgives us of having broken His Ten Commandments, He then expects us to live WITHIN them!
God tried Abraham almost to the breaking point—far beyond the breaking point for most normal humans with their doubts and fears. Once Abraham had passed the test of whether or not he would offer his son, Isaac, God [the One who became Christ] said, "By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
"That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
"And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice" (Genesis 22:16-18).
Notice what God [the One who became Christ] said to Isaac: "Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
"And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
"Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws" (Genesis 26:3-5). This was CENTURIES before the codifying of the law at Sinai! It was two generations before anyone called a "Jew" was ever born! It was centuries before Moses!
The Ten Commandments were not "invented" at Moses' time. They had been in full force and effect, and KNOWN by mankind for centuries!
How Abimelech Was Spared From Committing "A GREAT SIN"
Abraham's wife Sarai (Sarah) was apparently very beautiful. She was of fair skin, and probably blond, unusual among some of the swarthy tribes in the lands Abraham traversed. Notice what happened when a local king wanted Sarah for his harem: "And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.
"And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.
"But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife.
"But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? [Abimelech knew that the wages of sin was DEATH].
"Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this.
"And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.
"Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.
"Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid.
"Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done.
"And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?
"And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake.
"And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.
"And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt show unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.
"And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife" (Genesis 20:1-14).
Abimelech knew the commandment against adultery; knew that he would suffer the death penalty if he broke that commandment. In order to preserve Sarah for Abraham, and for the great miracle of Isaac's birth and the lineage that followed, the One who became Christ; the "Spokesman" of the divine Elohim, revealed the truth about Sarah to Abimelech in a dream.
Next, notice how God enforced the Sabbath before the codifying of the law at Sinai.
How God Tested Israel To See If
They Would Keep His Commandments
When the people began griping and complaining about food; lusting after the meat they remembered from slavery in Egypt, God tested them concerning His Sabbath law; the fourth commandment: "Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
"And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily" (Exodus 16:4,5).
God then performed the miracle of raining down "manna" from heaven. Note the account: "And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
"And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
"And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
"And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a Sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.
"Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none.
"And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.
"And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?
"See, for that the LORD hath given you the Sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
"So the people rested on the seventh day" (Exodus 16:22-30). This appears in your Bible FOUR CHAPTERS BEFORE Exodus 20, where you read the account of the handing down of the codified law, written in stone by the finger of the One who became Christ!
Just before Moses went up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, God proposed a covenant; an agreement, between Himself and Israel.
"And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;
"Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself [Note: this is metaphor. "Eagles wings" signified God's protection, but they walked, or rode on animals. See Revelation 12:14].
"Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
"And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
"And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.
"And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do" (Exodus 19:3-8).
The people agreed to obey God! Remember, a covenant is an "agreement" between two parties ABOUT something. The proposal from God is likened unto a marriage covenant. God said, "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
"Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD" (Jeremiah 31:31, 32).
Who broke the agreement? THEY did! Like the proverbial wife who ran off with the traveling salesman, Israel went after her "lovers"; the pagan nations around them. God likens Himself to a young suitor who said to Israel: "If you will `marry' me; if you will be faithful unto me and be my wife, then I will love and protect you. I will give you rain in due season, bountiful crops, good health and long life, successful marriages, obedient, happy children; protection from your enemies, only a ten percent `flat tax'; no military conscription; no endemic diseases as were in Egypt—I will make you the most prosperous nation on earth. Study the entire chapter of Leviticus 26 in this regard, where all the blessings for obedience, and curses for disobedience are listed.
Now, God has proposed a NEW covenant! He said, "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people" (Jeremiah 31:33). Did you read anywhere that God said He would ratify His NEW covenant with A CHURCH?
Notice how the same scriptures are repeated almost verbatim in Hebrews: "But now hath he [Christ] obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
"For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
"For finding fault with them [there was no "fault" or flaw in the covenant itself—the fault was with the rebellious people!], he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
"Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people" (Hebrews 8:6-10).
If God's Ten Commandments are inculcated deeply into your mind and heart, they become PART of you—like second nature! That which is in your mind and heart you KNOW, and your conscience is directly linked to such knowledge. Are those who claim to be a "new covenant church" people in whose HEARTS AND MINDS are all ten of the Ten Commandments? Can they recite them? Do they believe them? Do they OBEY them as best they can with the help of God's Holy Spirit, crying out to God for forgiveness if they sin, and fall short?
The Old Covenant was about a physical lifetime. It involved physical, material promises like those listed above. But the New Covenant is about SPIRITUAL promises—eternal life! Just as in the case of the old, it is an AGREEMENT between God and those He calls.
God proposes: "If you will REPENT of your lawbreaking; if you will be baptized in water as a symbol of the death and burial of your old sinful self, and the resurrection to life of a NEW "creature in Christ," then I will FORGIVE all your sins; your infractions of my Ten Commandments, and I will place my laws in your deepest psyche; your innermost mind and heart, and I will induct you into my kingdom."
Peter cried out, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).
Repent of WHAT? Repent of SIN! And what IS sin? "Sin is the transgression of the law!" What law? The Ten Commandments!
There was no "fault" in the law. The fault was with the PEOPLE who BROKE the law. Lawbreaking was specifically what they promised NOT to do—they promised to KEEP the law. The PROMISE; the AGREEMENT formed the covenant! Like a marriage vow which used to include the phrase "love, honor and OBEY," Israel agreed with God. If He would give them all the BLESSINGS He enumerated, they would be faithful to Him as their God—keeping His laws, which were given them for their great GOOD!
Never forget that God to whom we continually refer means the One who became Jesus Christ, and says he NEVER CHANGES!
Notice what Moses said about the law: "Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
"Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
"For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
"And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
"Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons" (Deuteronomy 4:5-9).
WHY have most professing Christians been taught all their lives that the law was harsh, disagreeable; a burdensome, unwanted list of "do's and don'ts" which Christ came to DESTROY?
Christ said HE was the One who spoke to Moses from the burning bush. He said this to the persecuting Pharisees, and they tried to KILL Him for it, because they knew He was claiming to be very God: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by" (John 8:58, 59).
If the professing Christian churches of this world knew even this ONE simple truth about Christ, they would KNOW that the Ten Commandments have NEVER been "done away!"
Notice what God [Elohim: "I AM"] told Moses after reiterating the law, "O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
"Go say to them, Get you into your tents again.
"But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it.
"Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
"Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess" (Deuteronomy 5:29-33).
Continually, God emphasized the GREAT BLESSINGS which would occur if the people would keep His righteous laws.
God's Ten Commandments were only codified; written down in stone, at Sinai! But they were WELL-KNOWN by the ancients; they were known by the patriarchs! God's law was in full force and effect long before Sinai! It will be in full force and effect in His Kingdom!
Notice, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
"And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
"And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2:2-4).
Christ is prophesied to be the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS, RULING this world with a rod of iron for 1,000 years! "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
"And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father" (Revelation 2:26).
Make no mistake! God will not save a single person He cannot govern!
Near the close of the Bible, God's church is described as a COMMANDMENT-KEEPING CHURCH: "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17).
What about you? Are YOU one who understands what sin IS? Do you know that, when we repent of sin, and God forgives us, He expects us to "go, and sin no more"? Are YOU one who is a member of a church which "keep(s) the commandments of God"?
Notice the very last chapter of the Bible: "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Revelation 22:14).
The Divine LOGOS, or Spokesman of Elohim; the One who became Jesus Christ; the One who said He spoke to Moses from the burning bush; who called Himself "I AM," said, "I CHANGE NOT!" He did NOT come to "change" the law, or "do away" with it, but to LIFT the letter of the law to a spiritual plane!
Which is the more binding — the command which says "do no murder," or the command which says, "If you hate your brother in your heart, you have as good as killed him"?
Christ "MAGNIFIED the law, and made it binding!"
As Jesus Christ, our Savior, He says to us today, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love" (John 15:10).
You may copy and distribute this information only to friends and family without changes, without charge and with full credit given to the author and publisher. You may not publish it for general audiences.
This publication is intended to be used as a personal study tool. Please know it is not wise to take any man's word for anything, so prove all things for yourself from the pages of your own Bible.
The Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association
P.O. Box 747
Flint, TX 75762
Phone: (903) 561-7070 • Fax: (903) 561-4141
More FREE literature is available at our Internet Web Site:
The activities of the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association are paid for by tithes, offerings and donations freely given by Christians and co-workers who are dedicated to preaching the gospel according to Jesus Christ.