The Ten Commandments:What’s the Point!?

bible-scripture-gospel-testament-52513When I see or hear anyone talking about the ten commandments, my first thought is the Charlton Heston movie by Cecil B. Demille. Wonderful movie about the events of Exodus, with some admitted embellishment. So the Old Testament represents a covenant agreement with the people of Israel, and Deuteronomy, Numbers, and Leviticus gives a massive list of laws. By the book of Isaiah, the rules have been narrowed down to six laws, the book of Micah narrows it further to three laws, and Jesus brings the grand total of laws to just two. However, Jesus still mentions the ten commandments as mandatory. So does that mean that there are 12 laws, two laws, or two laws that govern ten laws? It’s pretty obvious that I’m going to say it’s the last one, but let’s delve into this a bit and see what is really there.

      1. Do not have any other gods besides me.

      2. Do not make an idol for yourself in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth.

      3. Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God.

      4. Be careful to remember the Sabbath day.

      5. Honor your father and mother.

      6. Do not murder.

      7. Do not commit adultery.

      8. Do not steal.

      9. Do not give dishonest testimony against your neighbor.

      10. Do not covet your neighbors wife or desire your neighbors house, his field, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

These are all from HCSB version and what Jesus says is, “love your God with all of your soul, mind,pexels-photo-27633 and heart. The second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself. All of the law and prophets hang on this.” Commit that to memory in whatever version of the Bible you prefer. What Jesus is saying is that those two laws are the completion or fulfillment of all other laws. It’s done, game over, and no recount in Florida. But is it a contradiction for him to say this after talking with a man about keeping the ten commandments? Don’t really think so…

At the end of the life of Jesus and after his resurrection is the day of Pentecost. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit comes and gives supernatural ability to the remaining disciples, but another thing happens as well. With the Holy Spirit giving supernatural abilities, also comes a discernment that was never there before (this is mainly conjecture, and any pastor who tells you this as absolute fact is off in his theology). So with this discernment, the Ten Commandments should become obvious, in my approximation. This is a simple answer, but further investigation leads the the first proof of polygamous (and by extension polyamorous) marriage.

The first five are fairly self explanatory, along with eight and to some degree nine. I will be focusing on six, seven, and ten. Six is an important one these days, because the world seems to be going absolutely crazy. The Middle East has always been a disaster zone. People have been killing over the land there as long as there has been people, and people killing over land and other possessions has been the story of every nation of the world. With all of this “manifest destiny,” how do Godly people just gloss over the sixth commandment!? Two Sunday’s ago, a pastor at a church I was checking out claimed that the key word was “murder.” So you can kill anyone you like as long as it isn’t murder. Someone stealing your standard edition Ford Escort from the early 90s can be shot dead. Home break-in? 12 gauge loaded with buckshot is the way to do it. We can’t let them get away our gold plated juicer from Ikea… The word used here for “murder” is ratsach. It can mean murder, but it also means kill or slay. No complication or bending it, just simply stated: do not kill. This means that the pursuit of peace is a much harder line to follow, since as a tax paying citizen of most countries, our taxes fund killing. Christians have supported America being the world’s police, and in some cases it was justified, but in other places we have no moral right to do or say anything.

Some people will scream “CONTRADICTION!” because God commanded Israel to take the promised land mercilessly by killing the Canaanites, making no exceptions. So is it? No, not so much. I have a hard time with this, because it really very much seems like it’s contradictory to say on one occasion not to kill, but then in the next breath say to commit genocide. The best explanation I can come up with is that it is morally wrong to kill, but if you’re commanded by God it becomes morally right. It sounds like I’m making up the rules as I go along, and I would agree, but I really don’t know how to justify it when God says not to kill and then goes on and on throughout the book of Joshua how God supported this to the point that Jesus showed up (Arguably Christophony) and says that he’s neither for them or against them. It’s commanded of them to kill the Canaanites, and not to kill. Another theory is that the Canaanites were not actually human. Crazy conspiracy theory, but give it a chance. I believe that one way to try and ruin God’s plans was demonic interference in the natural progression of humanity. It has been documented that at the time, there really were such things as giants with red hair and six fingers and toes on each appendage. What if they were a demonic creation? God would be fully justified in killing all of them at this point. Theories are welcome, but basically unless you’re legitimately commanded by God himself, don’t kill.


Now on to adultery. The “
voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse” is the common definition today, but the Bible’s definition is very different. In the Bible, adultery had nothing to do with sex, but it had everything to do with property rights. In those days, if a man married a woman, she became his property. If another man stole her away, then he would be the adulterer. The gray area at that point is, what if the husband or wife has sex outside of marriage. Biblically, there’s nothing saying that that kind of behavior is immoral or even frowned upon. Moving on to the New Testament, Jesus makes a strange statement on the topic of divorce in Matthew 19:9, ”And I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” Most Christians look at this verse and thing it simply means that if one spouse cheats on the other, divorce is justified. However, that’s not at all what it means. Jesus makes statements as extreme as if you hate, you are guilty of murder, and this is just another extreme line that Jesus is taking on divorce. When a man divorced a woman, she lost everything. She had no property rights, no voice, no possessions of any kind. Marriage always was a transaction in those days, and women were essentially sold into a marriage. If a woman was divorced, she was penniless, and had no value to another marriage transaction. Essentially what this means is that to divorce a woman is to rob the next man, as the woman would be valueless.

pexels-photo-237647As for ten, it’s a list which inevitably means that each thing in that list is of equal value, but it goes further than that. Listed in the 10th commandment are possessions. This means that a spouse is the same type of thing as an ox, a slave, a donkey, a house… possessions. This was a cultural artifact of the time, and I believe that it was made part of the ten commandments because it was a revelation from God describing the right way to do things in a way that they would understand it. This isn’t making a statement of the place of a woman in society, just on the fact that anything at all that can be perceived as a possession, shouldn’t be coveted. It’s also entirely possible that this is there to shame them for even considering women as possessions, but that is really just me looking at a different culture through today’s lens.

Simply put, the Bible doesn’t define adultery as cheating or even sleeping around. Killing is wrong unless God appears to you personally and tells you to kill someone, and you happen to have a smartphone handy to record the conversation. I hope this shines a light into an area where people have continually gotten it wrong, and added modern culture to an entirely different culture, then made it a hard line to always be followed. These ideas are controversial to the point that it would take such a miracle to change the collective minds of the church, such as having every visible star reorganize itself into spelling out the truth in the night sky. Until then, I’ll share the truth here. A Guerrilla Theologian, in a crowd of the deceived.

-G.T.

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