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9 November 2004

Ten Commandments

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.


 

  1. "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?
  2. "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
  3. "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 known.
    How do the Chosen People view the start of
  4. "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 designated day.
    How do the Chosen People view the start of their attack on Fallujah on Sunday 7th November 2004
  5. "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 ...?
  6. "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)?
  7. "You shall not commit adultery". (Exodus 20:14) Interpreted as forbidding all unchaste thoughts, words, and actions.
    How do the Chosen People view .....?
  8. "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?
  9. "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?
  10. "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
  11. 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.

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