9 November 2004
in the light of God's renewed Will
The Ten Commandments, or Decalogue are a list of religious and moral imperatives
that feature prominently in Judaism and Christianity. Jews and Christians have
historically believed that these rules were dictated to Moses by God at Mount
Sinai; Muslims do not recognize the validity of the Ten Commandments as such.
A review of various understandingsq of the Commandments is provided in Wikipedia.
There it is noted that different groups have divided the commandments in different
ways. For instance, Protestants separate the first six verses into two different
commands (one being "no other gods" and the other being "no graven images"),
while Catholics see all six verses as part of the same command prohibiting the
worship of pagan gods. The initial reference to Egyptian bondage is important
enough to Jews that it forms a separate commandment. Catholics separate the
two kinds of coveting (i.e. of goods and of the flesh), while Protestants and
Jews group them together. These relions all agree that the Bible lists the ten
commandments in chapter 20 of the book of Exodus,
The Wikipedia entry also notes that: Modern Evangelicalism, under the influence
of dispensationalism, commonly denies that the commandments have any abiding
validity as a requirement binding upon Christians; however, they contain principles
which are beneficial to the believer. Dispensationalism is particularly emphatic
about the dangers of legalism, and thus, in a distinctive way de-emphasises
the teaching of the law. Somewhat analogously, Pentecostalism and the Charismatic
movement typically emphasizes the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the freedom
of the Christian from outward commandments, sometimes in antithesis to the letter
of the Law. Quakers and pietism have historically set themselves against the
Law as a form of commandment binding on Christians, and have emphasized the
inner guidance and liberty of the believer, so that the law is fulfilled not
merely by avoiding what the Law prohibits, but by carrying out what the Spirit
of God urges upon their conscience.
- "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.". Interpreted
as enjoing belief in the existence of God and forbidding ingratitude to God
and denial that he is our God. (Exodus 20 :1-3)
To what extent does this fundamental historical relationship of
Christianity to Arab lands now influence the attitude of the Chosen People
to those orginating from those countries? Does it influence their relationship
to non-Christian religions associated more closely with that region?
- "You shall have no other gods besides Me... Do not make a sculpted image
or any likeness of what is in the heavens above" (Exodus 20 :4-6). Interpreted
as prohibiting the worshiping of God through images, or by confusion of any
creature with God, or any other way not appointed in his Word.
How do the Chosen People view the start of
- "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord
will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain." (Exodus 20:7).
Interpreted as forbidding all abuse of anything by which God makes himself
How do the Chosen People view the start of
- "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8). Interpreted
as forbidding the omission, or careless performance, of the religious duties,
using the day for idleness, or for doing that which is in itself sinful; and
prohibits requiring of others any such omission, or transgression, on the
How do the Chosen People view the start of their attack on Fallujah
on Sunday 7th November 2004
- "Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in
the land which the Lord your God gives you " (Exodus 20:12). Interpreted as
enjoing forbidding anything against, or failing to give, the honour and duty
which belongs to anyone, whether because they possess authority or because
they are subject to authority.
How do the Chosen People view ...?
- "You shall not kill" (Exodus 20:13). Interpreted as forbidding the taking
of life, including one's own. [A distinction is made in The Hebrew Bible between
murdering and killing, and explicitly notes that murder is always a heinous
sin, while killing is sometimes necessary, and in these cases just in the
eyes of God. Thus, Jews take offense at translations which state "Thou shall
not kill", which Jews hold to be immoral. Many Protestant and most Catholic
Christians hold that this verse forbids abortion; Judaism disagrees.]
How do the Chosen People view their interventions in countries
that are widely reconized to constitute no threat, the killing of innocent
civilians (including women and children)?
- "You shall not commit adultery". (Exodus 20:14) Interpreted as forbidding
all unchaste thoughts, words, and actions.
How do the Chosen People view .....?
- "You shall not steal". Interpreted as prohibiting whatever deprives our
neighbor, or ourselves, of lawfully gained wealth or outward estate -- and
possibly including kinapping.. (Exodus 20:15)
How do the Chosen People view the efforts by their Leader to take
possession of oil resources in Iraq?
- "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" (Exodus 20:16).
Interpreted as forbidding whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious
to our own, or our neighbor's, good name.
How do the Chosen People view the well-documented misrepresentation
by their Leader of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,
the evidence regarding the culpabiity of those imprisoned on suspicion of
terrorism, and the relationship between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaida?
- "You shall not covet you neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's
wife or his male servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs
to your neighbor." (Exodus 20:17). Interpreted as forbidding discontent or
envy, prohibits any grief over the betterment of our neighbor's estate, and
all inordinate desires to obtain for ourselves, or scheming to wrest for our
benefit, anything that belongs to others
How do the Chosen People view the start of
Typical Protestant view Exodus 20:
Preface: vs 1-2 Implies the obligation to keep all of the commandments
of God, in gratitude because of the abundance of his mercy Forbids ingratitude
to God and denial that he is our God.
1. vs 3. Enjoins that God must be known and acknowledged to be the only
true God, and our God; and, to worship him and to make him known as he has
been made known to us Forbids not worshiping and glorifying the true God
as God, and as our God; and forbids giving worship and glory to any other,
which is due to him alone
2. vs 4-6 Requires receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all
such religious worship and ordinances as God has appointed; and zeal in
resisting those who would corrupt worship; because of God's ownership of
us, and interest in our salvation. Prohibits the worshiping of God by images,
or by confusion of any creature with God, or any other way not appointed
in his Word.
3. vs 7 Enjoins a holy and reverent use of God's names, titles, attributes,
ordinances, Word, and works. Forbids all abuse of anything by which God
makes himself known. Some Protestants, especially in the tradition of pacifism,
read this Commandment as forbidding any and all oaths, including judicial
oaths and oaths of allegiance to a government, noting that human weakness
cannot foretell whether such oaths will in fact be vain.
4. vs 8-11 Requires setting apart to God such set times as are appointed
in his Word. Many Protestants are increasingly concerned that the values
of the marketplace do not dominate entirely, and deprive people of leisure
and energy needed for worship, for the creation of civilised culture. The
setting of time apart from and free from the demands of commerce is one
of the foundations of a decent human society. See Sabbath. Forbids the omission,
or careless performance, of the religious duties, using the day for idleness,
or for doing that which is in itself sinful; and prohibits requiring of
others any such omission, or transgression, on the designated day.
5. vs 12 The only commandment with explicitly positive content, rather
than a prohibition; it connects all of the temporal blessings of God, with
reverence for and obedience to authority, and especially for father and
mother. Forbids doing anything against, or failing to give, the honor and
duty which belongs to anyone, whether because they possess authority or
because they are subject to authority.
6. vs 13 Requires all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life, and the
life of others. Forbids taking away of our own life, or the life of our
neighbor, unjustly; and, anything that tends toward depriving life.
7. vs 14 Enjoins protection of our own and our neighbor's chastity, in
heart, speech, and behavior. Forbids all unchaste thoughts, words, and actions.
8. vs 15 Requires a defense of all lawful things that further the wealth
and outward estate of ourselves and others Prohibits whatever deprives our
neighbor, or ourselves, of lawfully gained wealth or outward estate.
9. vs 16 Requires the maintaining and promoting of truth between people,
and of our neighbor's good name and our own, especially in witness-bearing.
Forbids whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own, or
our neighbor's, good name.
10. vs 17 Enjoins contentment with our own condition, and a charitable
attitude toward our neighbor and all that is his, being thankful for his
sake that he has whatever is beneficial to him, as we are for those things
that benefit us. Forbids discontent or envy, prohibits any grief over the
betterment of our neighbor's estate, and all inordinate desires to obtain
for ourselves, or scheming to wrest for our benefit, anything that is his.