Chapter 8

THE LAW OF GOD

The universal law of God, the Ten Commandments, is the basis, the constitution, the foundation on which the entire universe operates, with one exception — the earth. It is the perfect obedience to this law in heaven and throughout the vast universe of creation which guarantees the absence of trouble of any kind. Only on earth is God’s law ignored, and the beings of the universe are appalled as they behold the moral depravity to which mankind has fallen as a result.

How could one person hurt another if everyone lived his life according to the Ten Commandments? A person must break at least one of God’s Ten Commandments in the process of hurting another individual in any way. The Ten Commandments, the law of God, far from being negative as they first appear to be, are in reality ten promises which God makes to us. They are ten positive promises that life will be free from fear and trouble of all kinds if everyone obeys.

Satan wants us to believe that the Ten Commandments restrict our freedom so that we will resent God and ignore His law, He wants us to believe that we can experience true happiness only by doing as we wish, without restrictions of any kind. People want to have fun, to do their own thing, to live the carefree, happy life. The trouble is that when people do this they hurt others and thus make others unhappy. There is only one way for everyone to be happy, and that is through perfect obedience to the law of God. This is the lesson which the entire universe has learned from its observation of the earth. This is the lesson which intelligent beings in the universe have come to understand as they watch with dismay man’s inhumanity to man. And this is the lesson the people of earth must learn for God to be able to save them.

A simple example from daily life will illustrate why God’s commandments are so necessary and will help us to understand that God’s law is the source of freedom. In the United States there are laws that prohibit driving on the left-hand side of the road. Because of these laws, everyone drives on the right-hand side. Suppose these laws did not exist and that it were permissible to drive on either side of the road. You can imagine the problems that would occur with cars coming toward each other at sixty miles per hour in the same lane! Accidents would be inevitable, and people would not be really free to drive on the road. You see, it is because of the law prohibiting driving on the left-hand side of the road that we are free to use the road in comfort and in safety. It is because of this law that we are free to travel at a high rate of speed on the highways, for we can be reasonably sure that the driver traveling in the opposite direction will stay on the other side of the road.

Hosea 4:1,2,6 accurately describes the general condition of society in the world today, the result of disobedience to the law of God. “The Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee . . . seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”

By restricting certain actions which are detrimental to the happiness and welfare of others, the Ten Commandments, if universally obeyed, produce a maximum of freedom and happiness for everyone. Today, for instance, many people have had the unpleasant experience of returning home only to find that their home had been broken into and all their valuable possessions had been either stolen or broken. If everyone obeyed the law of God, this could not happen. People would not even have to lock their doors.

The Ten Commandments are found in Exodus 20:3-17. Verse 1 says, “And God spake all these words, saying,

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 shewing 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 neighbor.

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.”

The next verse, Exodus 20:18, says, “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.”

During an awesome display of divine power, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke these Ten Commandments in person from the top of Mt. Sinai, which was covered by clouds with a brilliant fire evident inside. When Christ spoke the law from the top of the mountain it must have been as if He had used a million-watt public address system; the earth and the mountains trembled as He spoke. Never has the world witnessed such a tremendous display of divine power and glory as at this time, and it never will again until the Lord returns.

The people were understandably afraid during this overwhelming event and said to Moses in verse 19, “Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” God used this awesome demonstration of His power to impress upon the people that, unlike the pagan gods of Egypt, He, indeed, is a real, living God, having tremendous power and authority.

A covenant is a contract, or a promise. Because the law of God is His promise to us, God often refers to His law as His covenant. Deuteronomy 4:12,13 refers to the Ten Commandments in this way: “And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire (on top of Mount Sinai): ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude: only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.” Thus the Ten Commandment law is God’s covenant, His promise, His contract with His people.

How long will God’s covenant be in effect? Many today claim that there is a new covenant which has nothing to do with the Ten Commandments and that God’s law is not now in force. They claim that the law was “nailed to the cross,” and that we are no longer required to keep the law. There are, however, many texts in the Bible showing that the law is permanent and that it will never be done away with. Consider Psalms 89:34: “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” God tells us that he will neither break his contract with us nor change it. It will last throughout all eternity, exactly as it was written with the finger of God. Isn’t it strange that most people want to throw out the only words God himself wrote in the Bible?

Consider also Psalms 111:7-9. “The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.” We see here that each one of the Ten Commandments will stand fast for ever and ever. God’s law is permanent. He will never change or annul any of the Ten Commandments.

Those who ignore the law of God bring a curse upon themselves. Jeremiah 11:3 says, “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel; Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant.”

Everything that God does is perfect; His law is no exception, as Psalms 19:7,8 shows: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” Why change something that is perfect? Why would God change or annul His perfect law? The answer, of course, is that He would not.

Many claim that the law was only for people of Old Testament times and that for us today it is no longer binding. Psalms 111:7-9, which tells us that the law will be in force forever, should be sufficient to make us realize that God will never repeal or change the Ten Commandments in any way. Nevertheless, there are also New Testament texts which show that the law is still in effect today and that we are required to obey it.

Second Timothy 3:15-17 says, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly (thoroughly) furnished unto all good works.” As was mentioned in chapter one, when these verses were written there was no New Testament. These verses refer directly to the Old Testament, telling us that all the Scripture in the Old Testament is given by inspiration of God and is to be used today for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. Notice also that verse 15 tells us that these Old Testament Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation. That is, the Old Testament Scriptures contain the wisdom and the knowledge so necessary to us for salvation, including, of course, Exodus 20:3-17 — the Ten Commandments.

These verses emphasize that ALL Scripture, ALL the Old Testament is given by inspiration of God, and must not be neglected, for it is just as important as the New Testament. Many ministers boldly tell us today that the Old Testament is no longer applicable, that it was only for the Jews. Whom will we believe and obey, God or man?

Jesus says in Matthew 24:35 that “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Jesus Christ gave the Ten Commandments from the top of Mount Sinai during that awesome display of divine power. The Ten Commandments are His words, and He says here that they will never pass away. He says also in John 10:35 that “the scripture cannot be broken.” The word “broken” in this verse is translated from the Greek word luo, which means “to loosen.” The Scripture, specifically the Old Testament, cannot be loosened. The Ten Commandments, therefore, cannot be loosened. They are just as binding on us today as they were when they were first given, and we are required to abide by every one of them.

Jesus also said in Matthew 4:4 that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Directly out of the mouth of God came the Ten Commandments, and Jesus said that we should live by every word of them.

Furthermore Jesus stated clearly in Matthew 5:17,18 that He did not come to change either the law or the prophecies of the Old Testament. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Jot is iota, the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet, and a tittle is a small part of a letter comparable to the serif on many printing styles. Jesus is saying here that the law will stand just as He wrote it with His own finger on the two tables of stone. Those who claim that He nailed the law to the cross, thus releasing us from obedience, are twisting the meaning of these and other verses. Jesus fulfilled the law by perfectly obeying the law, just as He would have us to do.

Chapter three of Romans has quite a lot to say about the law, and there is much confusion in the religious world as to just what is meant. Nevertheless, in total agreement with the verses we have just covered, which show that the law will never be changed or abolished, Romans 3:31 indicates that the law is as valid today as when God wrote it with His own finger. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” A law that is established is certainly not abolished!

Romans 2:12 says that “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.” Thus, those who are ignorant of the law and break God’s commandments will perish. Those who admit to the law and yet break God’s commandments will be judged by the laws which they have broken, and, of course, found guilty. They will also perish, for Romans 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Will Christ give the gift of eternal life to someone who would continue to break the Ten Commandments throughout eternity? Can you imagine an unrepentant idolater in heaven or in the new earth? Can you imagine an unrepentant thief or liar in heaven or in the new earth?

Many claim today that they love the Lord. What exactly do they mean by this, and how do they go about loving the Lord? First John 5:3 gives us a definition of love and tells us what the love of God is. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” The love of God, you see, is the keeping of His Ten Commandments. This is how we are to show our love to our Creator. Nevertheless, most of the people who claim to love the Lord are not keeping all of His commandments.

There are quite a few verses in the Bible which indicate that our keeping the law is of utmost importance. Some of these verses speak rather bluntly, without mincing words. First John 2:3,4 has an interesting comment on those who say they know the Lord but do not obey His law. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” God says that these people who claim to love Him yet do not keep all His commandments are liars. Strong language, to be sure. These people undoubtedly think that they know the Lord, but they are instead blinded by Satan’s deceptions. If they really knew the Lord they would be obeying His commandments, as this verse indicates. Perhaps God uses strong language like this to wake us up so that we might understand and realize that obeying the Ten Commandments is of utmost importance.

Consider Proverbs 28:4: “They that forsake the law praise the wicked.” No matter how often one might go to church, no matter how much one might say that he loves the Lord, if that person ignores God’s law, he is praising the wicked, as this verse says. He, himself, is wicked, for wickedness is the breaking of the law of God.

This definition of the wicked can be found in Psalms 119:53. “Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.”

Another verse which uses strong language with respect to obeying God’s law is Romans 8:6,7. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” The definition here of a carnal mind is one who rejects the law of God, and as verse 6 says, “to be carnally minded is death.” Those who claim that the law is no longer in effect, those who claim that the law has been nailed to the cross are at enmity with God. There are many people in the world today who claim they are Christians, yet they ignore one or more of God’s Ten Commandments; they are therefore carnally minded. There is no such thing as a Christian with a carnal mind. Conversely, there is no such thing as a Christian who willfully disregards any of the Ten Commandments. The Bible definition of sin, you will recall from chapter two, is given in 1 John 3:4: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” Thus, there is no such thing as a Christian who willfully sins.

It was Christ who gave the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai in a display of divine power which shook the mountains. Christ also is the only Savior. With these facts in mind consider James 4:12: “There is one lawgiver who is able to save.” There can be no doubt that Christ Himself gave us the Ten Commandments, and in John 14:15 He says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” How can the many who claim that they love Jesus also claim that they are no longer required to abide by His law? Christ said that he will never change His law and that it will remain in effect forever.

Finally, in 1 John 3:8 we see that anyone who is breaking any of God’s Ten Commandments is of the devil, regardless of how strenuously he claims to be a Christian and regardless of how many good works he does. “He that committeth sin is of the devil.”

Why is it that so many people consider it normal to disregard the law of God? According to Revelation 12:9, everyone has believed the lies the devil has spread in profusion in this world. They have accepted Satan’s lies as the truth, and the wrong way seems to them to be the right way. Because we have all believed the devil’s lies, we cannot trust our feelings. What we feel is right may not be right. God has graciously warned us about this in Proverbs 16:25: “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” We must understand that God will not lie to us; we must accept exactly what the Bible says, regardless of our feelings, regardless of our beliefs, regardless of what our ministers tell us, and regardless of whether the way seems right to us. To do otherwise will be fatal, as Proverbs 16:25 clearly indicates.

Because of the intense psychological group pressure which the devil brings to bear on each of us, it is difficult for one person to defy the majority, to go against that which is commonly accepted as truth and obey God as the Bible specifies. Satan uses each one of us to help deceive others. When one person does something wrong, it is easy for others to follow his example and do the same thing. The more people Satan can deceive into believing a lie, the easier it is for him to deceive others. When we are part of the group which follows feelings and beliefs rather than what the Bible plainly says, the wrong way seems right and is the easiest. God does not want us to be confused. He wants us to understand thoroughly what He requires of us. If we will accept exactly what He tells us, we will not be confused. We are confused when we listen to ministers and teachers explain away the clear commands of God. We are confused when we follow what seems right to us though it disagrees with Scripture.

Since sin is defined in 1 John 3:4 as the breaking of God’s law, the law is the vehicle which points out our sins, as Romans 3:20 says. “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” In other words, if there were no law there would be no sin. In Romans 7:7 Paul says, “I had not known sin, but by the law.” What law is Paul referring to in this verse? There can be no doubt that he is referring to the Ten Commandments, for he mentions the Tenth Commandment: “For I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”

Thus, sin and the law, the Ten Commandments, are intimately connected, for sin is the breaking of the law. (1 John 3:4). Yet many today claim that the law is no longer in effect! By so claiming, they say that they do not sin, for Romans 4:15 tells us that “Where no law is, there is no transgression.” Now most people who know anything about Christianity at all believe that Christ died to save us from our sins. But if the law is no longer in effect, then we have no sins. If we have never sinned, we do not need to die. Why, then, do we need Christ as our Savior? First John 1:10 says that “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” Therefore, by claiming that the law is no longer in effect, they claim that they have not sinned; and by claiming that they have not sinned, they call the Lord a liar.

Many who claim that the Ten Commandments are no longer in effect also talk about sin and readily admit that they are sinners. These people are obviously confused, for we have just seen that we must have the law for sin to exist.

We all need the Savior, for every one of us has broken the Ten Commandments, as Romans 3:19 says: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Everyone is guilty. Everyone has sinned. Everyone has broken God’s law, for the law is still in effect regardless of how many people claim it is not. Romans 3:23 also shows that all the world is guilty before God: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Since sin is the transgression of God’s law and since we all have broken the law, the law must still be in effect.

Romans 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is death.” Since everyone has sinned, everyone deserves to die, for that is the penalty for breaking the Ten Commandments. The death which this verse mentions is the second death, where all the wicked will be destroyed. The first death is only a sleep, as we saw in chapter four. The rest of verse twenty-three says, “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The only way for any of us to inherit eternal life is by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. If from this moment on we never broke another of God’s laws, we would still need the grace of Christ to be saved. He paid our penalty for us so that we would not have to. If, however, we continue to ignore the law of God, we will end up in the lake of fire, which is the second death, from which there will be no resurrection.

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.” (Exodus 24:12). “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” (Exodus 31:18). “And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.” (Exodus 32:16).

The Ten Commandments were written by God with His own finger. The Ten Commandments, found in Exodus 20:3-17, are, with few exceptions, the only words in the Bible the Lord Himself wrote. Yet these are the very words which many say are no longer in effect!

There is a well-known axiom in mathematics that states that things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. With this in mind consider: What is truth? Psalms 119:142 tells us that, “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.” Verse 151 says, “. . . all thy commandments are truth.” Christ’s law = truth.

John 14:6 says that Jesus, Himself, is the truth. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Also, then, Christ = truth.

Therefore, since Christ’s law = truth, and Christ = truth, then Christ = His law. This illustrates that the Ten Commandments represent the very character of Christ and can never change because Christ can never change. Hebrews 13:8 shows this clearly, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”

We have seen that Jesus did not come to abolish the law. He came, in fact, to magnify the law, as Isaiah 42:21 says. “The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.” Satan, you will remember, claimed that the law was unjust and that it was impossible for anyone to live without breaking the law. Jesus removed this stigma from the law and made it honorable by perfectly obeying the law under the most trying circumstances, proving that perfect obedience is indeed possible. The law has been made honorable, for we now know that the law is necessary for the general welfare and happiness of every member of God’s creation. Not only did Jesus make the law honorable, but He also magnified the law, as this text says.

How did Jesus magnify the law? He magnified the law so that it includes even the thought of sin. First John 3:15, for example, says, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” The Sixth Commandment to do no murder has been magnified to include hatred toward another person. Generally, one must hate another in order to murder him, and Jesus says here that even the thought is enough to convict a person of breaking the law even though the actual act has not taken place.

The First Commandment, which says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” has been magnified in a rather startling way. In society today people have many other gods, some of which are rather surprising. Anything which is put before the Lord and His purposes is another god before the Lord. Consider Philippians 3:18,19. “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” “Whose god is their belly.” The fact that most people are considerably overweight testifies to the fact that they love to eat, and Satan has made it easy for them to serve their god with all the varieties of gourmet food available.

Christ magnified the law even to the extent of declaring that whenever anyone breaks one of the Ten Commandments, he is guilty of breaking all of them. James 2:8-12 says: “If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Which law is James talking about here? There can be no doubt that he is talking about the Ten Commandments since he quotes the Sixth and Seventh Commandments in verse 11. “For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” If we break one of the Ten Commandments, we are guilty of breaking them all. If a person, for instance, does not keep the Sabbath day holy according to the Fourth Commandment, he is guilty of murder, adultery, theft, and of breaking all the other commandments.

James refers to the law, the Ten Commandments, as the royal law and the law of liberty — royal because this law is from the great Creator God, the King of the universe; the law of liberty because, if everyone were to obey the law as beings do everywhere else in the universe, the result would be liberty. In fact only by universal obedience to the Ten Commandments can everyone have liberty, freedom, and happiness.

James 2:12 also indicates that we will be judged by the law of liberty, the Ten Commandments. Those who advocate that the law is no longer in effect will have to face this law in the final judgment. For those who ignore the law, the judgment will be a traumatic experience, fraught with fear and terror.

Christ magnified the Seventh Commandment in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:27,28. “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” To commit adultery, it is only necessary for one to look upon a woman, or a picture of a woman, with the thought of adultery in his heart. The world accepts adultery and fornication as normal today, but they are an abomination to God. No fornicator or adulterer will ever see the kingdom of God unless he turns from this sin. Remember, a person does not have to commit the act to be guilty of breaking the Seventh Commandment. The lustful look is all that is required to convict him of sin. Far from abolishing the law or nailing it to His cross as many claim, He indeed magnified the law. The law, you see, is more binding than ever.

Luke 16:18 describes Christ’s further magnification of the Seventh Commandment. “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” Divorce is an abomination to God. God, however, permits divorce if one of the marriage partners has been unfaithful, as shown in Matthew 19:9: “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Incidentally, the Bible uses the terms “fornication” and “adultery” synonymously, as this verse shows. Jesus used the word “fornication” to describe an adulterous situation.

In modern society there is general acceptance of immoral behavior; indeed immoral behavior is considered to be normal today. Schools and colleges have done much to lower the moral standards of the people drastically by means of co-ed dormitories and sex education courses. Sex education courses in the government schools teach children virtually everything there is to know about sexual relationships, but rarely make mention of moral standards. These courses, in fact, strongly encourage the children to become promiscuous. Television and the movies have done their parts to debase the old-fashioned morality by continually displaying people breaking every one of the Ten Commandments. Modern rock music, with songs which explicitly describe drug experiences and sex acts, has been extremely damaging to the morals of society. Rock is pornography in musical form. This erosion of moral standards has led to the term “new morality,” a term which is used to imply that immoral behavior is now all right and acceptable. The “new morality” is nothing more than the old immorality that God so thoroughly condemns. Here is seen an example of how people are gradually led away from truth and the responsibility of obeying God’s law. God’s law has not changed, nor has God’s requirement for each one of us to obey that law.

Moses, who was raised as the son of a Pharaoh’s daughter, made the choice between a life of sin in the royal court of Egypt and a pure life of obeying God’s commandments. Hebrews 11:24-26 says that “by faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” Moses knew of the fantastic reward of the righteous, and, realizing that the pleasures of the court of Egypt could in no way compare with the joy and happiness of the righteous throughout eternity, he chose to go with God. Verse 26 says, “Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.”

Because of Jesus’ answer to the lawyer in Matthew 22:35-40, many claim that there are now only two commandments which we should keep. “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Jesus said here that the greatest commandment is to love God. Is He saying then that we no longer have to obey the Ten Commandments? Hardly. First John 5:3 tells us that to love God is to keep His commandments. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” We show our love to God by keeping His law. If we love God, will we do what He asks? Of course we will. We will not take His name in vain; we will not worship idols; we will have no other gods before Him; and we will remember to keep His Sabbath day holy. And if we love our fellow man, we will not lie to him; we will not steal from him; we will not kill him; and we will not commit adultery with his wife. Love, you see, is keeping the commandments of God. Love, as Jesus said in Matthew 22:40, sums up the law and everything the prophets wrote. “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Because Jesus tells us that loving the Lord with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our might is the first and great commandment, and that loving our fellow man as ourselves is the second great commandment, many conclude that the law is no longer in effect. Yet these same commandments of love are found in the Old Testament, the first in Deuteronomy 6:5: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might,” and the second in Leviticus 19:18: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

If Jesus’ commandments in the New Testament to love the Lord with all our being and to love our neighbor as ourselves release us from the obligation to obey the Ten Commandments, why did not these same commandments in Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18 release the people in Old Testament times from the obligation to obey the law? Deuteronomy 7:9 shows that the people in Old Testament times were expected to keep the Ten Commandments just as we are in New Testament times. “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” A thousand generations extends well past our time today. We are all required to obey every one of the Ten Commandments.

Many say that the Ten Commandments were “nailed to the cross” — that is, abolished. Can this be true? When one considers the many verses which emphasize the permanence of the Ten Commandments, it is obvious that the claim that they were abolished cannot be valid, for the entire Bible can have no contradictions. The Bible does say, however, that some law was abolished! Since the law which was abolished cannot be the Ten Commandments (for Psalms 111:7-9 says that they stand forever), it must be some other law. There were, in fact, four different types of laws which God gave to the Israelites in Old Testament times:

1. The great universal moral law, the Ten Commandments

2. The religious ceremonial laws

3. The health laws

4. The civil laws

Colossians 2:14-17 discusses these laws which were abolished. “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” Notice that these laws which Christ nailed to His cross were against us and contrary to us. Are the Ten Commandments contrary to us? Are they against us? Certainly not. We saw that the Ten Commandments are God’s promise to us of eternal peace and happiness. They are God’s precious promises to us that we will live in freedom and safety forever. How could they possibly be against us? Verse 16 refers to meat offerings, drink offerings, and other religious ceremonial practices, which the newly converted Christians were not observing. Colossians 2:17 says that these laws and the various days and ceremonies connected with them “are a shadow of things to come.” In other words, something later in time was casting a shadow which was represented by these laws and ceremonies.

Hebrews 10:1-10 discusses this shadow system of laws further. “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.”

Is there anything in the Ten Commandments about sacrifices? Verse 2: “For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshipers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.” Here the fact that these sacrifices ceased to be offered is mentioned. Therefore the laws which were nailed to the cross were the religious ceremonial laws requiring the sacrificing of bulls and goats for the remembrance of sin, as verse 3 says. “But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.”

It is the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross which takes away the sins of all those who will accept and obey Him. All those animal sacrifices were substitutes for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and represented Christ’s death. (The heathen religions required sacrifices also, but these were always to appease a mean and angry god.) The New International translation of the Bible says in Hebrews 10:1: “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming — not the realities themselves.”

Once Jesus died on the cross, the animal sacrifices ceased, as we saw in verse 2. Verses 6-8 say: “In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law.” Notice that those sacrifices were required “by law.”

There is no mention in the Ten Commandments of sacrifices. The law spoken of here is definitely the religious ceremonial laws, which did require animal sacrifices. Verses 9,10: “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Christ took away the first, the animal sacrifices, and established the second, His sacrifice for everyone, once for all as verse 10 says. For us to continue to offer sacrifices now, after the Lord’s death, would be a sacrilege, saying in effect that the Lord did not die for our sins. These verses in no way imply that God’s Ten Commandment law was taken away, for as Psalms 111:7-9 says, God’s commandments, His covenant, will stand forever.

First Corinthians 5:7 tells us that Christ is our sacrificial Lamb, our sacrifice for our sins. “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.”

That Christ’s death on the cross brought to an end the animal sacrifices is shown in Matthew 27:50,51. The temple contained two special rooms, the Holy place and the Most Holy place, separated by a thick, heavy curtain, called the veil in this text. “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.” The instant Jesus died on the cross the veil of the temple was torn in two with such force that it startled the priest who was just about to slay the lamb for the evening sacrifice. The startled priest dropped the knife and the lamb escaped, as the true Lamb of God died on the cross for us. With the veil torn in two, the Most Holy place, which was not to be seen by anyone except the high priest, and then only on one day each year, was completely exposed, dramatically indicating the end of the sacrificial services.

That these sacrifices would come to an end was predicted by the angel Gabriel in Daniel 9:27, some 550 years before Christ died on the cross. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” As we shall see later, when a day is mentioned in Bible prophecy, a period of one year of actual time is represented. This week is actually a seven-year period which started at the time of Christ’s baptism. Christ’s ministry on earth from His baptism to His death was three and one-half years. At His death in the middle of this prophetic week He caused the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.

In addition to these four types of laws which were given by God, there were other laws which the people were expected to obey. These additional laws originated, not from God, but from the Pharisees, who continually hounded Jesus, tempting Him and trying to catch Him in a wrong saying or a wrong act. These laws were known as “the tradition of the elders” and resulted from Jewish misinterpretation of God’s laws. These Jewish additions to the law resulted in the development of hostile attitudes over the centuries. They are mentioned in Matthew 15:2. “Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.” Here we see that one of these laws was that people must wash their hands before eating. Some of these laws were rather ridiculous. For instance, there was a law that a person could not carry a handkerchief in his pocket on the Sabbath day because that was bearing a burden; but if the handkerchief were pinned to his clothes, it now became part of his raiment and was not a burden.

Christ disobeyed these distorted and incorrect man-made laws, which were enmity; this is why the scribes and Pharisees accused Him a number of times of sinning. Jesus, of course, never sinned. He never broke any of the laws of God. These traditional laws of the elders are mentioned in Ephesians 2:15. “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.” Notice how Jesus abolished these laws: in His flesh. Jesus abolished these laws “in his flesh” while He was yet alive on earth simply by ignoring them.

The belief that the Ten Commandment law has been abolished leads people to take liberties which they are actually not free to take, for what they are doing is calling evil good and putting lies for the truth. Isaiah 5:20,21,24 warns about this. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.” God knew that men would twist the meaning of the Scriptures and claim that His law was abolished. He, therefore, warned mankind against doing this. His warning is severe, for as we have seen in chapter five, the wicked must be destroyed when He cleanses the universe of sin.

Men claim not only that the law is no longer in effect, but also that the world did not have the law before God gave it from Mt. Sinai. Romans 4:15 says, “For where no law is, there is no transgression.” In other words, if the law does not exist, it is impossible to break the law. But we know that Adam and Eve committed sin, the transgression of the law. The law, therefore, was known to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

The story of Joseph in Egypt also shows that the world had the law some 430 years before God repeated it from Mt. Sinai. Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officers. Genesis 39:7-9 relates: “And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” How did Joseph know that adultery is sin? He knew because of the Seventh Commandment, which says “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

The law, in fact, existed in heaven long before the earth was created. Ezekiel 28:16 shows that Satan sinned in heaven before he was cast out to the earth. “By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned.” In order for Satan to have broken the law in heaven, the law, of course, must have existed at that time. God’s law existed before He created the first intelligent being, for it is a transcript of His character and the foundation of His government.

Jesus, in Matthew 19:17-19, said to one who asked Him what he must do to be saved, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” To be sure which law Jesus was talking about, he asked Him, “Which?” There can be no doubt that He was talking about the Ten Commandments, for Jesus quoted from the second table of the law. “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.” Clearly, then, Christ expected people to obey His Ten Commandments in order to be saved. What do you suppose Christ’s answer would be today if we were to ask Him what we must do to be saved?

Are we required to obey the law today? Is it still in effect today? Hebrews 4:9-11 affirms that it most definitely is in force today by showing that we are expected to keep holy the Sabbath day according to the Fourth Commandment. “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” The word “rest” is translated from the Greek word Sabbatismos, which means “a keeping of the Sabbath.” Hebrews 4:9 therefore would be more correctly translated, “There remaineth therefore a keeping of the Sabbath to the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9 in the New International version says, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God.” That this verse is speaking of the seventh day is evident from verses 10 and 11, which speak of God’s resting from His works of creation on the seventh day Sabbath. “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Notice here that verse 11 tells us to enter into that rest, that Sabbatismos, that keeping of the Sabbath day. Verse 11 also indicates that those who will not obey will fall into unbelief.

In symbolic prophecy a woman represents a church. A harlot symbolizes a false church, and a virtuous woman symbolizes Christ’s true church. This can be shown by considering the last part of Isaiah 51:16: “. . . that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.” Zion, therefore, was God’s true church at that time. Jeremiah 6:2 tells us, “I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.” God’s true church of Old Testament times had one daughter, a beautiful and delicate woman. This woman, this daughter of Zion, that is mentioned numerous times in the New Testament, is Christ’s true church today. Consider 2 Corinthians 11:2. Paul, speaking to the true church in Corinth, says, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” Zion, God’s true church of Old Testament times, had one daughter, the true church of the Christian era.

With this in mind consider Revelation 12:17, which describes Christ’s true church at the end of time. Notice that God’s true church, His true people, will be keeping all of His commandments. “And the dragon (Satan) was wroth (mad, angry) with the woman (the true church), and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” The remnant of her seed refers to the people of the true church in the final days. These are they which keep all of God’s Ten Commandments. Revelation 14:12 again mentions these people who keep all of God’s commandments. “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

We have seen that God expected His creatures to keep His law in heaven and, beginning with Adam and Eve, on earth. We have seen that during the final days of earth’s history, God’s true church will be faithfully keeping the Ten Commandments. How long, then, will God’s Ten Commandment law be in effect? Will it ever be repealed? Isaiah 66:22,23 tells us that the Sabbath commandment, the Fourth Commandment, will be in effect in God’s new earth, which He has not as yet created. “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that, from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.”

Many claim that they are not required to keep the law because they are living under the new covenant. Does the new covenant release people from the responsibility of obeying God’s law? As we have seen, God refers to His Ten Commandments as His covenant. If there was a requirement for a new covenant, something must have happened to terminate the old. A covenant is an agreement, a promise, a contract between two parties. A contract is terminated when either party violates his part of the agreement. What do you suppose happened in the case of God’s covenant with His people?

Jeremiah 31:31-33 explains why God required a new covenant. “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.” Who broke God’s covenant? The people. This is why it was necessary for God to make a new covenant with His people. And what is this new covenant? Verse 33 continues: “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.”

God’s covenant, both old and new, is His law, His Ten Commandments. As we saw previously, God cannot terminate His law, for to do so would mean chaos, as this drama of earth is showing so clearly.

The term “Israel,” which means “ruling with God,” in these verses and in many other texts refers to God’s true people. This term is appropriate to describe God’s true people, for they will indeed rule with Him in the new earth, which will then be the throne of the universe. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were the chosen people of God, but in the New Testament, a different group of people is referred to as Israel. Galatians 3:28,29 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” The Israelites were the seed of Abraham, to whom God gave the promise of inheritance. Today, the true Christians are Israel and are Abraham’s seed and heirs to eternal life.

Because the Jews had continually betrayed their trust, the honor of being God’s chosen people was taken from them when Jewish probation expired in 34 AD. The period of Jewish probation is described in Daniel 9:24: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity.” This seventy-week period, which is 490 years of actual time (see chapter ten), is the period of time which God granted to the Israelites to finish their transgressions and to quit sinning. They never did quit sinning, however, and therefore they lost the honor of being God’s chosen people.

Jesus indicated this in the parable found in Matthew 21:33-41,43. “Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”

The nation to which Jesus gave the kingdom of God after He took it from the Jews was, of course, His church, as is shown in Acts 15:13,14. “And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.”

The stoning of Stephen in 34 AD marked the end of the 490-year period which terminated the role of the Jewish nation as Christ’s chosen people. After a speech which summarized the history of the Israelites, Stephen said to the Jews, as described in Acts 7:51-60, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”

On other occasions Jesus indicated that the honor of being God’s chosen people would be taken away from the Jews. In Matthew 23:31-38 He said, “Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them ye shall scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” Today the Jews still remain desolate, devoid of the special honor of being the chosen people.

At the trial and crucifixion of Christ, the Jews condemned their children as well as themselves, as described in Matthew 27:25: “Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.” In Matthew 8:11,12 Jesus indicates that people from all over the world will be accepted into the true church, but the Jews will be cast out. “And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Of course the Jews can come individually to Christ and receive salvation, but as a nation they are no longer the true people of God.

Today, the true church is witnessing to all people of the world who will listen, including the Jews. First Corinthians 14:21 says, “With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.”

Israel, as we have seen, means “ruling with God” and always refers to God’s true people, both in the Old Testament and in the New. This is also shown in Galatians 3:7,8. “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” Israelites are the heirs of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and if a person follows Christ the way the Bible specifies, he is an Israelite today and a member of Christ’s true church. Modern Biblical Israel consists of Christ’s true church and has nothing whatsoever to do with the modern nation of Israel in Palestine.

Galatians 3:28,29 also shows that we are all equal in God’s sight, for neither race, nor nationality, nor sex can elevate one individual above another in the sight of God. However, John 1:12,13 tells us that by receiving and obeying the Lord Jesus Christ and His law, we can become sons of God. “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: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

The fact that God required a new covenant because His people broke the old is also mentioned in Hebrews 8:7-10. “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, 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.” Here, again, we see that the people were at fault and did not obey the requirements of God’s first covenant. Verse 9 continues: “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.” Again we see from this New Testament text that God’s new covenant is His law, written, not on tables of stone as was the first covenant, but on our minds and in our hearts. His law, you see, will always be with us. To ignore the Ten Commandments is to throw away your gift of a beautiful life throughout eternity in God’s new earth.

Understanding God’s covenants is easy. God’s covenant with His people has always been his Ten Commandment law, and indeed will always be His Ten Commandment law. His first covenant was simply the Ten Commandments written on tables of stone, and His new covenant is His Ten Commandments written in our minds and in our hearts. Romans 8:3 tells us why the people could not keep the first covenant: “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin (margin: by a sacrifice), condemned sin in the flesh.” Even though the people promised with all their hearts that they would keep God’s law (“And all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.” Exodus 24:3), the power and deception of Satan were too much for them. They did not keep the law.

Christ came to earth exactly as any other human being, not reserving for Himself any advantage over others, and showed that the Ten Commandments could indeed be kept, even under the most trying circumstances. Thus He condemned sin in the flesh. If we follow Christ, relying on His grace and on His strength, we can reach the point where we will never again break God’s law, as Romans 8:4 says. “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Many twist the meaning of this verse to try to show that they are no longer required to obey, but verse 7 makes it very clear that those who do this are wrong. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Anyone who claims that he is not subject to the law of God, therefore, has a carnal mind and will be unable to understand.

Those who twist the Scriptures so that they seem to indicate that the law of God is no longer applicable are in direct disobedience to God. Deuteronomy 4:2 says, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” In order to show from the New Testament that the Ten Commandments were neither abolished, nor nailed to the cross, nor in any way changed from the way God originally gave them, let us consider some of the verses of the New Testament where the commandments are quoted, beginning with Matthew 15:3,4: “But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” Christ quoted the Fifth Commandment. If the law were abolished, why did Jesus chastise the scribes and Pharisees for not obeying this commandment?

Mark 7:7-10 also relates that Jesus quoted the Fifth Commandment, indicating that the law is still in effect. “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death.”

When someone came to Jesus asking what he must do to be saved, Jesus stressed the importance of keeping the Ten Commandments. This story is found in Luke 18:18,20. “And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered and said, “Thou knowest the commandments. . . .” There can be no doubt about which law He was referring to, for Jesus quoted some of the Ten Commandments: “Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.” If the law were abolished, why did Jesus tell this man to obey the commandments? A few weeks later Jesus died on the cross. If the law were to be nailed to the cross, why would Jesus have told this ruler to keep the commandments? Why would He give him instructions that would be applicable only for a few weeks? It does not seem reasonable that the man should keep the commandments while Jesus was alive, and then after Christ’s death on the cross, be relieved of the responsibility of obeying the law, does it?

After Christ’s death and resurrection, Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:1-3 that to obey the Fifth Commandment is right. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” If the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross and are no longer in effect, why did Paul say that keeping the Fifth Commandment is right?

In Romans 13:8-10 we also read that the law is fully in effect after the cross. “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Many people use this verse to try to show that the law has been abolished, claiming that all that is necessary is to love. However, they seem not to understand that love is obedience to the Ten Commandments, for if you love your neighbor, you will not commit adultery with his wife; you will not kill him; you will not steal from him; you will not lie to him; and you will not covet his possessions. Paul says exactly this in the next verse. “For this, thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Notice carefully that Paul says love is the keeping of the law. What law? The law from which Paul quoted in the previous verse — the Ten Commandments.

James 2:8-12 refers to the Ten Commandments as the royal law and the law of liberty. “If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” James quoted the Sixth and Seventh Commandments, showing that the law he refers to is the Ten Commandments. God’s universal moral law is very much in force right now, today; and, as these verses indicate, we shall all be judged by this law.

Remember that Jesus magnified the law when he said that even the thought of sin was enough to convict one of breaking the law. Revelation 22:14,15, while indicating that the law is still in effect, magnifies the Ninth Commandment. “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. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Notice that not only those who lie will be excluded from the holy city of God, but also those who love the lies.

How about fictional stories in books, movies, and on television? Are these true? Staying away from everything that is not true may seem to be a harsh requirement, but when one realizes that Satan uses these fictional worlds of fantasy to make sin more alluring, he understands that God is simply giving us advice which will make it easier for us to overcome sin and keep His law. Consider, for instance, women who watch the adultery on soap operas as it is glorified day after day. Is it any wonder there is so much infidelity in marriage today? Virtually every novel, movie, and television play displays people continually breaking the law of God and nearly always in such a manner as to glorify these sins. In modern movies and television “good” people are ridiculed and made fun of; the “heroes” of today are often the bad guys.

The increase of violence in the world today is greatly encouraged by the violence in the movies and television programs. Violent computer games are training the youth today to become killers.

In addition, the unprecedented concentration of lying propaganda in the books, movies, television, and the news media of today constitutes a distinct hazard to our understanding the things of God and the situation on this planet. Television documentaries, which people tend to accept as fact, are often far from the truth. Satan deceives the entire world, and some of his most powerful weapons are novels, movies, and television. God knows exactly what he is talking about when He advises us to stay away from everything which is not true. He is only giving us the advice we must have to be able to resist temptation, overcome sin, and enter God’s beautiful holy city. Proverbs 22:3 says, “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.”

First Corinthians 6:9,10 also refers to the Ten Commandments and indicates that they are still valid. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Notice in verse 9 that God tells us to “be not deceived.” Satan will continually try to delude us in regard to the importance of obeying God’s law. He makes God’s law seem unimportant and breaking it of no consequence. But in Galatians 6:7 we are told: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Finally, as we have seen, Hebrews 4:9-11 shows that the Fourth Commandment is still in effect. “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” The word “rest,” remember, was translated from the Greek word Sabbatismos, and it means “a keeping of the Sabbath.” That this verse is speaking of the Sabbath, the seventh day, is also evident from verse 10, which speaks of God’s resting from his works of creation on the seventh day.

The following chart gives all ten of the commandments as they appear in the New Testament.

Admittedly, in the minds of men, the law of God has been changed, but as we have seen, God certainly did not change it. Daniel 7:25, written probably in the year 552 BC, predicted that some man or power would arrive on the scene of history who would exalt himself even above God and would change God’s times and God’s laws. “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws.” The Catholic Douay version says, “He shall think himself able to change times and laws.” The New International version has for this verse: “He will ... try to change the set times and the laws.”

Indeed, he did try. In trying to change the times of God, this power tried to change the day which is to be kept holy from the Sabbath day of the Fourth Commandment, the seventh day of the week, to Sunday, the first day, a change which nearly the entire Christian world has accepted. This power is clearly identified in the pages of the Bible and will be discussed in following chapters.

One of the changes in the law that this power tried to effect was the complete deletion of the Second Commandment, which forbids the use of statues and idols in the worship service. Deuteronomy 4:14-19 says that God specifically kept Himself hidden from the view of the people so that they would not try to make an image of Him. “And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.”

The fact that man changed the laws of God is also referred to in Isaiah 24:5. This verse, you will remember, explains why God must destroy everything on the earth at the return of Christ. “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” If the law were nailed to the cross or otherwise canceled or annulled, why is this verse in the Bible? How could people transgress the Ten Commandments if there are no Ten Commandments? We see here that the Ten Commandments will be in effect when Christ returns.

The law of God is firmly established throughout the universe, and the Bible makes it clear that the law of God will continue throughout all eternity. Those who ignore the law, regardless of the many excuses they put forth to justify their actions, do so at the peril of their own lives. In the fifth chapter, The Grand Finale, we saw that after the sin of this world is destroyed, no one will ever again break one of God’s Ten Commandments. God will not save anyone who cannot come to the realization that there can never be an excuse for breaking His law.

The seriousness with which God views breaking the commandments by those who know better is shown in the following texts. These verses are severe, for God wants to impress on our minds that neither He nor anyone else in the universe will ever tolerate sin after this drama of earth is ended. We must understand that sin is detestable, repulsive, and loathsome to God and to the other beings who inhabit the universe and that we should feel the same way towards sin ourselves.

Hebrews 10:26: “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” In other words, if one who understands that it is wrong to commit a sinful act continues to sin, the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross will not cover those sins, and the sinner will be required to pay for those sins with his own life at the second death in the lake of fire. Because most people foolishly ignore the law today, others feel that the law is no longer important. Keeping God’s commandments not only shows our love to God, but is also a matter of life or death.

Hebrews 6:4-6: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” These verses say again that when those who know better commit sin they not only condemn themselves, but also put the Lord to shame, for it embarrasses the Lord when one known as a Christian commits a sin. It was the spirit of rebellion that caused the murder of Christ at the cross, and it is that same spirit of rebellion which is manifested today by people who disregard the Ten Commandments. Hebrews 6:6 says that these people are guilty of crucifying the Lord afresh.

The episode of King David’s sins of adultery and murder is recorded for us in the Bible to illustrate that God will forgive even a premeditated sin if the sinner is heartbroken with grief and sorrow because of his sin and so thoroughly repents that he never repeats the sin. David’s grief because of his sins and his fear that God’s Holy Spirit would be taken away is noted many times in the Bible. God spared David’s life in spite of these sins because he was thoroughly convicted and truly sorry. He never repeated these sins; and because of his extreme sorrow for having broken God’s laws, he will be saved and not have to suffer the second death. Likewise, if a person who commits a willful sin is as sorry for that sin as was David, the Lord will probably forgive and save him if he never commits the sin again.

In order to understand how abhorrent it is to God for a righteous person to return to his life of sin, consider Proverbs 26:11. “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” Second Peter 2:22 says, “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”

Notice in Numbers 15:22-29 that God provided a substitute to die in place of the sinner when a person sinned ignorantly. “And if ye have erred, and not observed all these commandments, which the Lord hath spoken unto Moses, Even all that the Lord hath commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day that the Lord commanded Moses, and henceforward among your generations; Then it shall be, if ought be committed by ignorance without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one young bullock for a burnt offering, for a sweet savour unto the Lord, with his meat offering, and his drink offering, according to the manner, and one kid of the goats for a sin offering. And the priest shall make an atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them; for it is ignorance: and they shall bring their offering, a sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord, and their sin offering before the Lord, for their ignorance: And it shall be forgiven all the congregation of the children of Israel, and the stranger that sojourneth among them; seeing all the people were in ignorance. And if any soul sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a she goat of the first year for a sin offering. And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the Lord, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him. Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.” Notice how the word “ignorance” is stressed in these verses.

Now consider that the person who sinned willfully in Numbers 15:30,31 would not be forgiven but would be cast out from among his people. “But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.” The sacrifices of the people, which represented the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, were accepted if their sins were done either in ignorance or without premeditation. If, however, a person planned to break one of God’s laws and then went ahead and did so, there was no sacrifice for that sin; the person had to bear his own punishment, which, of course, is death.

Many times when a person committed a sin fully knowing what he was doing, God did not wait until the second death to administer justice. Consider Numbers 15:32-36. “And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.” God would not then, and, indeed, will not now tolerate the breaking of His law. The penalty is still the same — death. The penalty is only deferred for a little while.

Consider also 2 Samuel 6:2-7. The people were moving the Ark of the Covenant, the beautiful gold-overlaid chest in which the two tables of the Covenant, the Ten Commandments, were stored. In this case the people were not moving the Ark according to the instructions God had given, for God had said not to touch the Ark. “And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubim. And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.” Why did God take the life of Uzzah? To make the people then and us today realize the utmost importance of obeying God. This episode shows that ALL of God’s instructions without exception are to be obeyed.

Nadab and Abihu were wicked priests serving in the temple in the wilderness. Notice the events of Leviticus 10:1,2. “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” God had personally kindled the fire which was to be used for the tabernacle service. These two men knew better than to use other fire, and they paid the price for sin.

These verses seem extremely harsh to us today, but only because sin seems so acceptable. Because of the great mercy of God to the repentant sinner, many assume that they can do what they want to and God will continue to forgive them for breaking His laws; but that is not the case. We live in a world where virtually everyone sins continually, and it is very difficult for us to realize that this behavior cannot be tolerated. There are no words to describe adequately God’s total abhorrence of sin. These verses which we have just been considering are in the Bible to help us to understand that sin is totally unacceptable to God and that there can never be an excuse for breaking God’s laws.

We saw earlier that everything God does is motivated by love. The verses we have just been considering seem to contradict that statement. First Corinthians 10:11 tells us, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples (examples): and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” God made examples of these people so that we in these last days might understand the seriousness of the situation here on the earth. God made examples of these men in order to teach us the importance of obedience. When He tells us to keep holy the Sabbath day, He means exactly that. He does not mean any other day, and He does not mean to keep it holy in any other way than is specified in the Fourth Commandment. Because of the deaths of these people, many have come to realize that the commandments and the Word of God are not open for debate. It, therefore, was an act of mercy on the part of God to take the lives of those who ignored His instructions and commands, for many people will be saved because of their examples.

Likewise God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha for the homosexuality and other sins of the people was an act of love and mercy to people living after this event. These people were made examples for us in these last days. Jude 7 says: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”

Consider again the admonition against the sin of homosexuality in Leviticus 18:22: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Leviticus 20:13: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

Incidentally, commands and instructions from God which are not covered directly in the Ten Commandments must also be obeyed, for if they are not, the person disobeying them is actually breaking the First Commandment to have no other gods before the Lord. When we disobey God, the reason for the disobedience becomes our god, as does anything we put before Him.

Jesus Himself in John 9:41 gives us an indication that premeditated sin will not be forgiven. “Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” If a person breaks one of the Ten Commandments in ignorance, he is not knowingly committing a sin. God will forgive his sin if when he knows better he stops breaking the law. This is shown in Acts 17:30. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.”

Exodus 34:6,7 shows that God will in no way clear those who are guilty. “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” These verses stress the virtually unlimited mercy of God to forgive a person’s sins if he truly turns away from breaking the Ten Commandments, and they also stress that God will in no way save the willful sinner.

Even among those who have never formally been taught the requirements of God’s law, many will be lost, for they have rejected the light and truth that they have been given. Every person who lives in the world has had some truth, for John 1:9 tells us that Christ “lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” To illustrate, most people know in their heart that it is wrong to commit murder or adultery, or to lie, or to steal. When people do these things they know to be wrong, they also are guilty of willfully and knowingly breaking the Ten Commandments.

These verses, which show that God will not tolerate premeditated sin, are in the Bible to help us to understand the strict requirements of God’s law. There is no way man can twist the meaning of what God commands so that he can do what he wants to do without paying for his folly with his life. No matter how many people claim that the law is no longer in effect, no matter how many people regularly break God’s law, sin can never be justifiable.

The true Christians who preferred to lose their lives during the persecutions of the Roman Empire and during the Dark Ages rather than break the law of God understood the supreme importance of obedience. They understood that even the threat of death is no excuse for sin, for the penalty for sin is the same regardless of the circumstances under which sin is committed. These true Christians understood that the death they would suffer at the hands of evil men would only be temporary and that they would inherit eternal life in heaven and in God’s new earth for their strict obedience to the Ten Commandments. Satan is fighting for his life on this planet, and he deceives the entire world in an effort to prolong his life. He makes it seem as though sin is not very important, and he makes people believe that God in His great mercy will forgive their sins no matter how many times they habitually break His law. We must realize how detestable sin is and accept what the Bible says regardless of our feelings, regardless of what other people claim, and regardless of what other people do if we expect to be saved to enjoy the priceless life in God’s eternity.

However, no matter how bad a person has been, if that person will turn away from his sins, he can be saved, as Ezekiel 18:21-28 shows. “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

“But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.

“Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal? When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.” Remember that the term “Israel” refers to Christ’s true church and His true Christians today.

James 5:19,20 is a comforting text, which should be considered. “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” When the sinner repents of his sins, studies to gain the required understanding from the Bible, and then joins the Lord’s army of true Christians in the war against the evil and deception of this world by teaching others the truth, converting them from the error of their ways, then he saves lives; and God will cover a multitude of sins, both his and the sins of those whose lives he has saved.

If a person has apparently understood God’s requirements and has committed premeditated sin as David did, God is yet willing to save him if he is truly heartsick for his sin and will dedicate his life to obedience to the Ten Commandments and to helping others find and understand God’s truth.

There is, however, one sin which God cannot forgive — the “unpardonable sin.” This sin is mentioned in Matthew 12:31,32. “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”

Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is the sin which God will not forgive. What is this sin? In order to answer this question, consider one of the functions of the Holy Spirit in our world. John 14:26 tells us that the Comforter is the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit. (The Greek word pneuma is sometimes translated “spirit” and other times “ghost”; the Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost are the same.) “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

With the understanding that the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, consider John 16:7-13. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

Notice here that it is the Holy Spirit that reproves the world of sin; and it is the Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth if we will allow Him to. How does the Holy Spirit reprove the world of sin? By means of our consciences. Suppose a man has been married for quite some time and has been faithful to his wife. Then he commits adultery with some young woman. Do you suppose his conscience will bother him? Of course it will. It may bother him to the point where he can barely stand it. Nevertheless, he again commits adultery with this girl; and again his conscience bothers him, but not quite so much this time as before. If he continues the practice, he will eventually reach the point where his conscience does not bother him at all.

What has happened here is that the Holy Spirit was reproving him of his sin and trying to guide him into the truth that he should not be doing this. Finally, however, he had grieved away the Holy Spirit so that now he has no more conscience and no more guidance to repent. The man never repents and is therefore lost. God cannot save him. He has grieved away the Holy Spirit, as Ephesians 4:30 tells him not to do. “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”

Many claim that the Ten Commandments do not appear in the New Testament. We have seen that they, indeed, do appear in the New Testament. In addition, even the original tables of the law appear in the New Testament. Consider Hebrews 8:1,2,5: “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” We see here that there is a tabernacle in heaven, the true tabernacle, of which the one on earth was a model.

Exodus 25:21 tells us that God told Moses to put the two tables of the law in the Ark of the Covenant. “And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.” Next, Hebrews 9:3,4 says, “And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant.” Thus, we see, that the two tables of the covenant, the Ten Commandments, which God wrote with His own finger, were kept inside the Ark of the Covenant in the tabernacle.

Now consider Revelation 11:19, in which John describes a vision God gave him of the tabernacle in heaven. “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament.” There it is, the Ark of the Covenant with the two tables of the Ten Commandments inside! The law of God, therefore, is preserved in heaven, far beyond the reach of man to change it.

Today many people follow the traditions of their churches instead of the law of God. In fact, one of the largest church organizations in the world today claims that not only the Bible is to be followed, but also the tradition of the church. Jesus had something to say about traditions in Matthew 15:3,8.9. “But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Christ says that it is in vain for a person to worship the Lord by following the traditions and commandments of men. There is only one way to serve the Lord, and that is by totally obeying His commandments, without exception.

Many, however, are not doing this. They go about doing good, helping the poor, and in general building a reputation for being born-again Christians. Some even at times miraculously heal the sick and cast out devils; but if they are not keeping the Ten Commandments, they are not going to be saved, as Matthew 7:21-23 shows. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Notice who will enter into the kingdom of heaven. Those that do the will of the Father in heaven. There will be no commandment breakers in heaven or in the new earth.

How can some of these so-called Christians whom these verses say will be lost heal the sick and perform miracles? Since Satan is responsible for all disease, he knows what can be done to heal a person. The devil, therefore, heals the sick during religious ceremonies in order to deceive people into believing that these ceremonies have the blessing of God even though the people performing the healing do not keep all of His commandments. This is one of the means by which Satan deceives people into believing that it is not really necessary to obey God. Galatians 6:7, you will remember, tells us to “Be not deceived; God is not mocked.”

When should a person start to obey God’s commandments? Second Corinthians 6:2 tells us that the time is now. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” We never know how long our lives will last. For us to miss out on eternity would be tragic. Waiting until you have had time to indulge the pleasures of sin before you repent could be fatal.

Notice that each of us will have to stand before the great Creator God of the universe, Jesus Christ, to receive our rewards. Second Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” Each will receive a reward for his works, whether they are good or bad. As we know, this reward is either the final death in the lake of fire or life in the new earth forever.

If a person loves the Lord, he will keep His commandments. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (1 John 5:3). “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:10).

Now that we understand that the Ten Commandments are as much in effect today as when they were given by God from the top of Mt. Sinai in an awe-inspiring demonstration of divine power, let us review them once again. They can be found in Exodus 20:3-17.

1. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Anything we put before God is condemned by the First Commandment. Neither wife, nor husband, nor children, nor material things, nor ambitions, nor appetite should be placed before God. When we disobey God, the reason for our disobedience becomes our god.

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 shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”

The Second Commandment condemns making statues of anything which God has made in heaven and in earth. God knew that because of the powerful but undetected Satanic influences in this world, many would be compelled to bow down to them. God, therefore, says not to make them in the first place.

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.”

This commandment is broken by nearly everyone. In cursing they irreverently use the name of the Lord, which is, of course, taking His name in vain. It is indeed strange that atheists do this also.

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.”

We are commanded to put aside our secular activities on God’s Holy Day. This commandment is discussed in detail in chapter twelve.

5. “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

The requirement for children to obey their parents has not been changed in the least. However, the government schools today are changing the attitudes of the youth concerning this requirement, sometimes subtly, sometimes more brazenly. Notice that there is no time limit on this commandment. Children are to honor their parents all their lives and to take care of them when they are unable to care for themselves any longer. This requirement seems anachronous in our world today; nevertheless, it is just as binding as when it was first given, as are all ten of the commandments.

6. “Thou shalt not kill.”

This commandment should really be translated, “Thou shalt not murder.” No individual is ever justified in taking another person’s life regardless of the circumstances. We have seen that hate toward another person is an infraction of this commandment. This commandment, however, does not prohibit our killing the mosquitoes and other forms of life which cause trouble and carry disease. These life forms, you will remember, are the result of Satan’s mutations of beneficial forms of life which God created.

7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

Jesus magnified this law, as described in Matthew 5:27,28. He taught that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery. This, of course, includes the women in the television shows, movies, magazines, and the pornography on the internet. Satan has cleverly designed the fashions of today so that they emphasize sex. The bikinis and tight-fitting clothes fashionable today are designed by the devil to encourage the lustful looks which break the Seventh Commandment.

Also, Jesus says that for a man to marry a woman who is divorced, unless she was divorced because her husband was unfaithful, commits adultery. “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” (Matthew 5:32).

8. “Thou shalt not steal.”

This commandment is very plain, but many do not seem to realize what constitutes stealing. If one works for a company that has a copying machine, for instance, and he wants to make a copy of a personal document, is it all right for him to do so? If it is all right for him to make just one copy, how about two, or three, or three thousand? Where do you draw the line? We must draw the line, you see, before even the first sheet of paper is stolen. Total honesty, without exception, is the only honesty acceptable to God.

9. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

Again, total honesty is the only honesty acceptable with God. Not even a little white lie is permissible, for any lie, no matter how insignificant or how tiny, constitutes breaking this Ninth Commandment. The way to keep from lying is to live in such a way that you have nothing to lie about.

We saw in Revelation 22:15 that anyone who loves lies is also breaking this commandment and will not be admitted to God’s kingdom. Lies include fiction in all forms — stories, novels, jokes, movies, and television programs — which are cleverly designed by Satan to cause men to sin.

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.”

Your neighbor is any other human being. Suppose your neighbor has a new car, which you greatly admire. He gives you a ride in it and demonstrates it for you, and you have a great desire to have a car like that. You therefore go down and purchase one for yourself. Your desire for a car like your neighbor’s was not coveting, for there was nothing unique about that car, and you could buy one for yourself. If, however, you did not have the money to buy a car like your neighbor’s and you desperately wanted his car, you would be coveting and sinning according to the Tenth Commandment. If your neighbor had restored an antique car and you wanted that one, you would be coveting, since his car is unique. You could not go down and buy another for yourself. This example illustrates the difference between coveting and simply wanting. If a person wants anything in particular which is uniquely his neighbor’s, that is coveting and a sin according to the Tenth Commandment.

God’s requirements are unchangeable. If we expect to get out of this world alive, we must realize that the Ten Commandments are the rules by which we must live. In this world, we serve either God or the devil. Romans 6:16 says, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”

Consider next some of the texts which illustrate the fact that we must obey what the Bible says regardless of how many people argue against it.

Proverbs 28:9: “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” Those who are willfully breaking the Ten Commandments yet think they are getting their prayers through are fooling themselves. For God to hear our prayers, we must be obedient to His commandments. Satan, however, regularly answers the prayers of those who are breaking the law in order to deceive them into believing that though they are not obeying the Ten Commandments they are still in God’s favor. Satan is an expert at providing all kinds of spiritual highs for counterfeit Christians.

Proverbs 12:15: “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” The wrong way seems right to a fool because of Satan’s deceptions. Fools believe the lies of the devil instead of the Word of God.

Proverbs 16:25: “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

Finally we see in Ecclesiastes 12:13,14 that our foremost duty in this world is to reverence God and obey His commandments. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”

Do not think that because everyone else disobeys God’s Ten Commandments you are free to do so also. God’s high standard of morality is the same today as it has always been. His law is as much in force today as when He spoke it from the top of Mount Sinai.

The only people who will be saved are the ones who can come to the realization that there can never be an excuse for breaking God’s law. After this drama of earth is over, throughout eternity no one will ever again break one of the Ten Commandments, the law of God.

Chapter 9: Grace and Works <<< Click

Return to Pacific Institute’s home page<<< Click