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The 10 Commandments


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The Tablets of Stone, Stone Tablets, Tablets of Law, or Tablets of Testimony (in Hebrew "the tablets [of] the covenant") in the Bible, were the two pieces of special stone inscribed with the Ten Commandments when Moses ascended Mount Sinai as recorded in the Book of Exodus. Exodus 31:18 refers to the tablets as the "Tablets of Testimony" because they give insight into the nature of God.

According to the Bible, there were two sets: the first, inscribed by God, were smashed by Moses when he was enraged by the sight of the Children of Israel worshiping the Golden Calf; and the second, later cut by Moses and rewritten by God.

[1] The people, before the moral law was delivered, were to wash their clothes, whereby, as by a type, God required the sanctifying of their ears and hearts to receive the law. Exod 19: 10. [2] There were bounds set that none might touch the mount, which was to produce in the people reverence to the law. Exod 19: 12. [3] God wrote the law with his own finger, which was such an honour put upon the moral law, as we read of no other such writing. Exod 31: 18. God by some mighty operation, made the law legible in letters, as if it had been written with his own finger. [4] God's putting the law in the ark to be kept was another signal mark of honour put upon it. The ark was the cabinet in which He put the ten commandments, as ten jewels. [5] At the delivery of the moral law, many angels were in attendance. Deut 33: 2. A parliament of angels was called, and God himself was the speaker.

Use one. Here we may notice God's goodness, who has not left us without a law. He often sets down the giving his commandments as a demonstration of his love. 'He has not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments they have not known them.' Psa 147: 20. 'Thou gavest them true laws, good statutes and commandments.' Neh 9: 13. What a strange creature would man be if he had no law to direct him! There would be no living in the world; we should have none born but Ishmaels - every man's hand would be against his neighbour. Man would grow wild if he had not affliction to tame him, and the moral law to guide him. The law of God is a hedge to keep us within the bounds of sobriety and piety.

Charles Finney and the Ten Commandments

Charles Finney makes some profound observation about the Ten Commandments in relationship to covenant theology.
The Sinai covenant, or the law given at Mount Sinai. It appears that all the laws and ordinances given at Mount Sinai taken together, made up this covenant. In the following passages the ten commandments are called the covenant. Heb. 9:4: "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--"; Ex. 34:28, "And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread nor drink water. And He wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments." Deut. 9:9, 11, 15: "When I was gone up into the mount, to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the Lord made with you, then I neither did eat bread nor drink water. And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the Lord gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant. So I turned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire; and the two tables of the covenant were in my hands."
The above were quotes from the writings of Charles Finney.

Charles Finney - The Theologian

These commandments however were only a part of the covenant as other passages clearly show, Heb. 9:18-20 compared with Ex. 24:3-8.
Charles Finney left his mark in American history. During his life, he was considered to be one of the better known and well thought about ministers of his day. He was a profound writer, to any serious Bible student, Charles Finney leaves a lasting impression. Charles Finney
  According to traditional teachings of Judaism in the Talmud, they were made of blue sapphire stone as a symbolic reminder of the sky, the heavens, and ultimately of God's throne; many Torah scholars, however, have opined that the Biblical "sapir" was, in fact, the lapis lazuli. Both the first shattered set and the second unbroken set were stored in the Ark of the Covenant.
The Decalogue is another name for the 10 Commandments.
Exodus 20:3-17 & Deuteronomy 5:7-21

The 10 Commandments - Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q 42 & 82)

Q - What is the sum of the ten commandments?
A - The sum of the ten commandments is, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves.

Q - Is any man able perfectly to keep the 10 commandments of God?
A - No mere man, since the fall, is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but does daily break them, in thought, word, and deed.
The Ten Commandments of God - The Ten Commandments at US Supreme Court
The Decalogue Ten Commandments

10 Commandments In Bible of God

'And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God,' -Exod 20: 1, 2.

What is the preface to the Ten Commandments in the Bible? The preface to the Ten Commandments of God is, 'I am the Lord thy God.'

The preface to the preface is, 'God spake all these words, saying,' &c. This is like the sounding of a trumpet before a solemn proclamation. Other parts of the Bible are said to be uttered by the mouth of the holy prophets (Luke 1: 70), but here God spake in his own person.

How are we to understand that, God spake, since he has no bodily parts or orgasms of speech?

God made some intelligible sound, or fanned a voice in the air, which, to the Jews was as though God himself was speaking to them. Observe:

(1) The lawgiver. 'God spake.' There are two things requisite in a lawgiver.

[1] Wisdom. Laws are founded upon reason; and he must be wise that makes laws. God, in this respect, is most fit to be a lawgiver: 'he is wise in heart.' Job 9: 4. He has a monopoly of wisdom. 'The only wise God.' 1 Tim 1: 17. Therefore he is the fittest to enact and constitute laws. [2] Authority. If a subject makes laws, however wise they may be, they want the stamp of authority. God has the supreme power in his hand: he gives being to all; and he who gives men their lives, has most right to give them their laws. (2) The law itself. 'All these words.' That is, all the words of the moral law, which is usually styled the decalogue, or ten commandments. It is called the moral law because it is the rule of life and manners. The Scripture, as Chrysostom says, is a garden, and the moral law is the chief flower in it: it is a banquet, and the moral law is the chief dish in it.

The moral law is perfect. 'The law of the Lord is perfect.' Psa 19: 7. It is an exact model and platform of religion; it is the standard of truth, the judge of controversies, the pole-star to direct us to heaven. 'The commandment is a lamp.' Prov 6: 23. Though the moral law be not a Christ to justify us, it is a rule to instruct us.

The moral law is unalterable; it remains still in force. Though the ceremonial and judicial laws are abrogated, the moral law delivered by God's own mouth is of perpetual use in the church. It was written in tables of stone, to show its perpetuity.

The moral law or Ten Commandments is very illustrious and full of glory. God put glory upon it in the manner of its promulgation.
The Ten Commandments from the Bible

If God spake all these words of the moral law in the Bible, then it condemns:

(1) The Marcionites and Manichees, who speak lightly, yea, blasphemously, of the moral law; who say it is below a Christian, it is carnal; which the apostle confutes, when he says, 'The law is spiritual, but I am carnal.' Rom 7: 14.

(2) The Antinomians, who will not admit the moral law to be a rule to a believer. We say not that he is under the curse of the law, but the commands. We say not the moral law is a Christ, but it is a star to lead to Christ. We say not that it saves, but sanctifies. They who cast God's law behind their backs, God will cast their prayers behind his back. They who will not have the law to rule them, shall have the law to judge them.

(3) The Papists, who, as if God's law were imperfect, and when he spake all these words he did not speak enough, add to it their canons and traditions. This is to tax God's wisdom, as if he knew not how to make his own law. This surely is a high provocation. 'If any man shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.' -Rev 22:18. As it is a great evil to add anything to a man's sealed will, so much more to add anything to the law which God himself spake, and wrote with his own fingers.

Use three. If God spake all the words of the moral law in the Bible, several duties are enjoined upon us:

(1) If God spake all these words, then we must hear all these words. The words which God speaks are too precious to be lost. As we would have God hear all our words when we pray, so we must hear all his words when he speaks. We must not be as the deaf adder, which stoppeth her ears: he that stops his ears when God cries, shall cry himself, and not be heard.

(2) If God spake all these words, then we must attend to them with reverence. Every word of the moral law is an oracle from heaven. God himself is the preacher, which calls for reverence. If a judge gives a charge upon the bench, all attend with reverence. In the moral law God himself gives a charge, 'God spake all these words;' with what veneration, therefore, should we attend! Moses put off his shoes from his feet, in token of reverence, when God was about to speak to him. Exod 3: S, 6.

(3)If God spake all these words of the moral law, then we must remember them. Surely all God speaks is worth remembering; those words are weighty which concern salvation. 'It is not a vain thing for you, because it is your life.' Deut 32: 47. Our memory should be like the chest in the ark where the law was kept. God's oracles are ornaments, and shall we forget them? 'Can a maid forget her ornaments?' Jer 2: 32.

(4) If God spake all these words, then believe them. See the name of God written upon every commandment. The heathens, in order to gain credit to their laws, reported that they were inspired by the gods at Rome. The moral law fetches its pedigree from heaven. Ipse dixit. God spake all these words. Shall we not give credit to the God of heaven? How would the angel confirm the women in the resurrection of Christ? 'Lo (said he), I have told you.' Matt 28: 7. I speak in the word of an angel. Much more should the moral law be believed, when it comes to us in the word of God. 'God spake all these words.' Unbelief enervates the virtue of God's word, and makes it prove abortive. 'The word did not profit, not being mixed with faith.' Heb 4: 2. Eve gave more credit to the devil when he spake than she did to God.

(5) If God spake all these words, then love the commandments. 'Oh, how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.' Psa 119: 97. 'Consider how I love thy precepts.' Psa 119: 159. The moral law is the copy of God's will, our spiritual directory; it shows us what sins to avoid, what duties to pursue. The ten commandments are a chain of pearls to adorn us, they are our treasury to enrich us; they are more precious than lands of spices, or rocks of diamonds. 'The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.' Psa 119: 72. The law of God has truth and goodness in it. Neh 9: 13. Truth, for God spake it; and goodness, for there is nothing the commandment enjoins, but it is for our good. O then, let this command our love.

(6) If God spake all these words in the Bible, then teach your children the law of God. 'These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children.' Deut 6: 6, 7. He who is godly, is both a diamond and a loadstone: a diamond for the sparkling of his grace, and a loadstone for his attractive virtue in drawing others to the love of God's precepts. Vir bonus magis aliis prodest quam sibi [A good man benefits others more than himself]. You that are parents, discharge your duty. Though you cannot impart grace to your children, yet you may impart knowledge. Let your children know the commandments of God. 'Ye shall teach them your children.' Deut 11: 19. You are careful to leave your children a portion: leave the oracles of heaven with them; instruct them in the law of God. If God spake all these words, you may well speak them over again to your children.

(7) If God spake all these words, the moral law must be obeyed. If a king speaks, his word commands allegiance; much more, when God speaks, must his words be obeyed. Some will obey partially, obey some commandments, not others; like a slough, which, when it comes to a stiff piece of earth, makes a baulk; but God, who spake all the words of the moral law, will have all obeyed. He will not dispense with the breach of one law. Princes, indeed, for special reasons, sometimes dispense with penal statutes, and will not enforce the severity of the law; but God, who spake all these words, binds men with a subpoena to yield obedience to every law.

This condemns the church of Rome, which, instead of obeying the whole moral law, blots out one commandment, and dispenses with others. They leave the second commandment out of their catechism, because it makes against images; and to fill up the number of ten, they divide the tenth commandment into two. Thus, they incur that dreadful condemnation: 'If any man shall take away from the words of this book, God shall take away his part out of the book of life.' Rev 22: 19. As they blot out one commandment, and cut the knot which they cannot untie, so they dispense with other commandments. They dispense with the sixth commandment, making murder meritorious in case of propagating the Catholic cause. They dispense with the seventh commandment, wherein God forbids adultery; for the Pope dispenses with the sin of uncleanness, yea, incest, by paying fines and sums of money into his coffer. No wonder the Pope takes men off their loyalty to kings and princes, when he teaches them disloyalty to God. Some of the Papists say expressly in their writings, that the Pope has power to dispense with the laws of God, and can give men license to break the commandments of the Old and New Testament. That such a religion should ever again get foot in England, the Lord in mercy prevent! If God spake all the commandments, then we must obey all; he who breaks the hedge of the commandments, a serpent shall bite him.
Michael Horton Charles Finney

But what man can obey all God's 10 commandments? To obey the law in a legal sense - to do all the law requires - no man can. Sin has cut the lock of original righteousness, where our strength lay; but, in a true gospel-sense, we may so obey the moral law as to find acceptance. This gospel obedience consists in a real endeavour to observe the whole moral law. 'I have done thy commandments' (Psa 119: 166); not, I have done all I should do, but I have done all I am able to do; and wherein my obedience comes short, I look up to the perfect righteousness and obedience of Christ, and hope for pardon through his blood. This is to obey the moral law evangelically; which, though it be not to satisfaction, yet it is to acceptation.



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