Keeping ten commandments seems to be extremely important for they were given by God to Moses on stone tablets, so we really need to think about keeping them in our relationship with the Lord.
However, keeping ten commandments can become almost fanatical at the expense of living our lives before God, and we believe that this is the reason that Jesus summed up not only the ten commandments, but the whole of the Law and many of the other books in the Hebrew Bible in these waysÖ
First in Matthew 7:12, which in paraphrased form has become known as the Golden Rule, Jesus teaches usÖ
12. "Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
In other words, we need to live our lives with and before others in such a way that it fulfills all the things that the Bible teaches us.
Secondly in Matthew 22:35-40 we are told another, but similar way of keeping ten commandments, and a lot moreÖ
35. And one of them [a Pharisee], a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him,
36. "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"
The Law is considered to be the first five books of the Hebrew Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
37. And He said to him, ď'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
So, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:5 to show the true intent of the entire Law, for if we love God with every aspect of our being, which includes loving the whole of His creation, nothing and no one is left out.
38. "This is the great and foremost commandment.
39. "The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
Here Jesus quotes Numbers 19:18, in part, to emphasize that no one is to be left out.
And, if we really think about it, the animals, at least many of them, are also our neighbors, so if we include everyone on earth, we are also including all the animals, but since our neighbors and ourselves are all part of Godís creation, they are also included in loving God and His creation.
40. "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."
In other words, nothing in the Bible is left out, so if we love God and His creation with all of our being, we fulfill the whole Law and the Prophets, because we love unconditionally, which includes keeping ten commandments.
Letís now take a look at the Ten Commandments as recorded in Exodus 20:1-20Ö
1. Then God spoke all these words, saying,
2. "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
God is referring to the fact that His love freed the Israelites from their bondage with many signs and wonders so that they would remember who He is.
3. "You shall have no other gods before Me.
God reminded the Israelites who He was/is for this reason, that we would have no other god before Him, and this includes gods of our own making and lifestyle, such as our lusts and addictions, such as drugs, alcohol, smoking, and even eating meat or other products of suffering and death.
4. "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
We need to take special note of the term idol, which seems to mean a statue of a different being or god who people worship.
5. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,
Again, we need to take specific note of the words ďthose who hate me,Ē for God doesnít hate those who repent and worship Him such as Abram, who grew up in a family who worshiped idols.
6. but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
To us, this is proof that this is telling us that the curse does not follow anyone who loves the Lord and is filled with His unconditional love, which goes on beyond those who worshipped idols.
7. "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
Taking the Lordís name in vain is extremely common, and God is saying that those who do will not go unpunished, but this commandment doesnít seem to bring with it condemnation to hell.
8. "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
We believe that this portion of this commandment expresses the true meaning of Godís intent, because it is a day to specifically honor God and for us to keep it holy; in other words, we are to do nothing on this day that is outside the heavenly will of God, and really has nothing to do with working for God or ministering to others.
This is also the only commandment that Jesus doesnít repeat.
9. Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
Verses 9 through 11 discuss working on the sabbath day, but it doesnít change any of the intent of verse 8; therefore, if we are clergy, or first responders, or health care workers, or do other things to help or care for other living beings, and we are true believers, then we honor God with our work, just as Jesus did when He healed on the sabbath.
10. but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.
We believe that this is why Jesus said that the sabbath was made for man, so that we and the animals would not be forced to work seven days a week, but would at least have one day of rest.
11. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
The problem with this commandment is that some people have made an idol of not working on the seventh day, which is what the religious leaders did with Jesus, and some people do to this very day, and this is definitely not Godís intent.
Perhaps the best way to understand the intent is to keep every day holy by living in Godís heavenly will.
12. "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
We are to always honor our father and mother for who they are, but not for the ungodly things they do, such as being an alcoholic, or an addict, or a child abuser, or someone who deliberately goes against Godís heavenly will.
We honor them with our love, but not by assisting with their ungodliness.
13. "You shall not murder.
This commandment originally was translated as ďthou shall not kill,Ē but for political reasons ďkillĒ was changed to ďmurder,Ē and we believe that a lot of it had to do with killing animals.
The definitions of murder all seem to include the terms, premeditation and malice aforethought, which is exactly what is happening in the animal agriculture industry, because animals are raised to be slaughtered (murdered).
Some definitions also say unlawful, but we need to remember that this commandment came from God, and the laws that they are referring to are made by human beings and not God.
14. "You shall not commit adultery.
This applies to both men and women equally, whether or not only one is married.
This commandment may also be a part of coveting as stated in verse 17 below.
15. "You shall not steal.
This commandment also may be considered coveting something a person doesnít have, but wants, so they take it from someone.
If something is not ours, we are not to take it.
Think about something else: donít all living beings have a life that belongs to them and that they want to keep? So, if people deliberately steal or take their lives by killing them, are they not also violating those commandments as well? We believe they are.
16. "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Thatís what they did to Jesus, and people usually do this because they hate the person, and want to take revenge on them, or they are afraid of someone else, or they want or covet something that they expect to gain by doing this evil act.
17. "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
People usually do this because they want something they donít have or they just want more, which is really saying they are not satisfied with what they have.
If we truly love the Lord our God, we donít have to keep up with others, and there is nothing wrong with working for a better life for ourselves and our families, as long as we are not getting it because someone else has it.
18. And all the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance.
Well today we are not hearing thunder or seeing lightning flashing with keeping ten commandments, but it is something that we should simply desire to do, because it is something God wants us to do.
19. Then they said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, lest we die."
They feared God but didnít seem to reverence Him, but as we know from history they didnít follow what Moses said, and this is true to this very day.
20. And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin."
But the people didnít listen to this either, they just went off and did their own thing, which angered God.
Keeping ten commandments should be something that is on our hearts and souls simply because we love the Lord our God with every aspect of our being, and because living in unconditional heavenly love fulfills the Law and the Prophets.
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