(Exo 20:1 NASB) Then God spoke all these words, saying,
(Exo 20:2 NASB) “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
Exo 20:2: Israel has now been delivered from bondage and they have made a covenant with Elohim. Elohim is now going to give them the rules by which they are to live. These particular commandments give the framework upon which the rest of the commandments are based.
Most commentators would agree that the deliverance of Israel from bondage out of Egypt is a picture of our deliverance from the bondage of sin. If that pattern is true, then the ensuing events should be our pattern also. After we are delivered from the bondage of sin, we should follow the instructions of Elohim (Torah) just as Israel was commanded in this chapter. Paul and Peter and Jude tell us this same thing (Romans 6:1-18, 1 Peter 2:16, 2 Peter 2:18-21, Jude 1:4).
When we are delivered out of the slavery of sin, we are no longer to to act as if we are still in that bondage. We are to walk according to Torah in the newness of life.
(Exo 20:3 NASB) “You shall have no other gods before Me.
Exo 20:3: This law (as in all of them) is followed by His people throughout Scripture and into today (Rev. 22:8-9).
(Exo 20:4 NASB) “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
(Exo 20:5 NASB) “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,
Exo 20:5: The Catholic Church and some other ecumenical churches consider verses 3-5 to all be one commandment. They apparently do this to prevent their artwork that is seemingly worshiped to not be a sin. The Lutheran Church designates verse three to be the first commandment and verses 4-5 to be the explanation of that commandment. They, and the Catholic Church, then split up coveting into two commandments. Strange, but true.
The command here is not to make an object of worship of any kind. We cannot make an image of anything that is declared a deity. We certainly cannot make an image of Elohim (Deut. 4:12, 15-19).
There is some discussion about whether or not this applies to all statues of any kind. That is possible. But the context of the passage states making images of other things that are worshiped.
The issue of Elohim visiting the iniquity on the third and fourth generations of those who hate Him is an interesting one. Some people claim that Elohim no longer does this because of a passage in Ezekiel 18:1-9 (not shown). But this passage refers to those who hate Him for generations. The sins of the fathers will continue to visit the sons in that case. Yeshua even says the sins of the past generations will fall upon the Pharisees (Matt. 23:34-36)
(Exo 20:6 NASB) but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
Exo 20:6: The grace of Elohim continues throughout all time. His grace and mercy were prevalent in that day and in this day also. But the problem for most is that His grace is reserved for those who love Him and keep his commandments (1 John 2:3-7, 3:21-24, 5:3, 2 John 1:6).
(Exo 20:7 NASB) “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.
Exo 20:7: To use His name in vain is to use it frivolously or to use it with no good purpose.
(Exo 20:8 NASB) “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
(Exo 20:9 NASB) “Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
(Exo 20:10 NASB) but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.
(Exo 20:11 NASB) “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
Exo 20:11: This is the longest of the commandments. It was instituted at creation (Gen. 2:2-3). It was honored by Israel before Mt. Sinai (Ex. 16:21-30). It was honored by Yeshua and Paul throughout their lives. It is a command for the eunuch and the stranger also (Isaiah 56:1-7). The Sabbath Day will be celebrated after Yeshua returns to rule the world also (Isa 66:22-23).
This is not a controversial command. It is a fact of Scripture and a commandment of Elohim to His people.
(Exo 20:12 NASB) “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
Exo 20:12: There is no question that we are to honor our father and mother all our lives.
(Exo 20:13 NASB) “You shall not murder.
(Exo 20:14 NASB) “You shall not commit adultery.
Exo 20:14: Many people make the false claim that certain comments in the New Testament can override the Tanakh. If that is the case, then Yeshua rewrote the Ten Commandments (Matt. 5:21-27). Using that same convoluted logic, we can now murder our brother, just so hate is not involved. We can now commit adultery as long as we are blindfolded and do not look at the woman with lust. This is ridiculous, but not any worse that much of the rewriting done by many “christian” theologians.
(Exo 20:15 NASB) “You shall not steal.
(Exo 20:16 NASB) “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Exo 20:16: Elohim is the Elohim of Truth and He expects His people to be people of Truth, especially when giving witness of a neighbor or brother.
(Exo 20:17 NASB) “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Exo 20:17: While we should work hard and strive to provide the best we can for ourselves and our families, this should NEVER come at the expense of others or at the desire of others possessions.
(Exo 20:18 NASB) And all the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance.
(Exo 20:19 NASB) Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, lest we die.”
Exo 20:19: This is the reason we see that Elohim sent a Prophet like Moses. The people were rightly afraid and did not want to face Elohim personally again (Deut. 18:15-19).
(Exo 20:20 NASB) And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.”
Exo 20:20: The way to avoid sin is to fear Elohim. That is a Scriptural fact and one that is seldom taught today.
(Exo 20:21 NASB) So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.
(Exo 20:22 NASB) Then the LORD said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven.
(Exo 20:23 NASB) ‘You shall not make other gods besides Me; gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves.
Exo 20:23: Elohim repeats the second commandment and stresses it’s importance.
(Exo 20:24 NASB) ‘You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you.
Exo 20:24: How did the people know about the burnt offerings and the peace offerings if the law had not previously been known to them? The Law of Elohim is eternal (Deut. 29:29, 2 Kings 17:37, Psalm 119:44, Isaiah 8:20).
It is also interesting that the name of Yahweh is eternal and He will cause it to be remembered.
(Exo 20:25 NASB) ‘And if you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it.
(Exo 20:26 NASB) ‘And you shall not go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.’
Exo 20:26: Aaron and his sons were to wear undergarments when they serve at the Tabernacle (Exodus 28:42-43).
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas