THE LAW IS ETERNAL
Many people assume that the Ten Commandments and the covenant God established with ancient Israel are identical—and that both were abolished by Jesus Christ’s death.
They believe that the Sinai Covenant and God’s commandments came into existence together and went out of existence together.
But is such reasoning biblical? The facts show it is not. A close look at the Scriptures reveals that breaking the Ten Commandments was a sin before the covenant at Mt. Sinai, so arguments that they came into existence with that covenant and were terminated with it cannot be true. Let’s notice the scriptural proof.
God’s Word defines sin as “the transgression of the law” 1st John 3:4
The Bible also teaches that; “where there is no law there is no transgression” Romans 4:15.
Let’s use an illustration to clarify these points: Suppose you are driving on a motorway where no local or national speed limit exists. If you are travelling at a speed of 80mph, can you be given a ticket for speeding? What about 90mph? How about 100mph?… The answer is no! You cannot be given a ticket for speeding where there is no law stating a maximum speed or the speed limit. In other words, “where there is no law, there is no transgression.” A law has to exist in order to be transgressing or “breaking” the law.
So if no law existed, then there could be no sin and no one could be found guilty of sin because there would be no law to sin against. So if we have had sin from the beginning, then it stands to reason that we have had the law of God from the beginning (way before any Jews were on the scene).
So do we find transgressions of the Ten Commandments described as sinful before Mt. Sinai? Lets look at the evidence….
THE LAW OF GOD WAS KNOWN!
What was the difference between the characters of Cain and Abel? ….. 1st John 3:12 …..”Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.”….. Now notice that this Bible verse says that the works of Cain were evil, but the works of Abel were righteous. So there must have been a standard by which their characters could be weighed against. This standard must have defined the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. And what standard was that? The law of God. Take a look at these following Bible verses:
Genesis 13:13 …..”The men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.”
2nd Peter 2:7-8 …..”And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked; for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.”
Genesis 15:16 …..”But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”
Now how could the men of Sodom be wicked and sinners if there was no law in place? And how could the Amorites be guilty of iniquity if there was no law? And for the most clear cut Bible verse, have another look at 2nd Peter 2:7-8 above. It says that the people of Sodom did UNLAWFUL deeds. Now how can someone be UNlawful where there is no law? There had to have been a law in place for the people to obey, and that law was the Ten Commandments.
Now take a look at this following Bible verse: ….. Genesis 26:5 …..”Because that Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws.”….. What did Abraham do (before Sinai)? He KEPT GOD’s COMMANDMENTS!! So how can anyone say the law of God didn’t exist before Sinai, when Abraham KEPT God’s law?
If we belong to Christ Jesus, then who are we? ….. Galatians 3:29 …..”And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” ….. We are Abraham’s seed. And what should we do if we are Abraham’s seed? ….. John 8:39 …..”Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.” ….. We should do the works of Abraham. What works? Obedience to God. Abraham kept the commandments of God and so should we.
TEN COMMANDMENTS BEFORE THE TABLETS OF STONE
Commandment 1: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3
In the recorded account of Exodus, we see that God was ready to serve justice on all the inhabitants of Egypt for putting other gods before Him. Note what it says in Exodus 12:12 “and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.”
Commandment 2: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:” Exodus 20:4-5.
Hundreds of years earlier God was working with the patriarch Jacob. After God spoke to Jacob, notice what he did with the idols that were among his household:
“And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Beth-el, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: and let us arise, and go up to Beth-el; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. ” Genesis 35:1-4.
So we see Jacob understood the importance of getting rid of idols and only worshipping the true God.
Commandment 3: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain ” Exodus 20:7.
It seems the patriarch Job lived before Moses, according to many Biblical Scholars & Historians. Job was concerned that his children might have been taking God’s name in vain, and he knew that was wrong.
“And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually. ” Job 1:5.
Commandment 4: “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” Exodus 20:8.
To remember the Sabbath is to recall something that was established earlier.
Notice Genesis 2:3: “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”
Interestingly, Israel was reminded to remember the Sabbath even before they came to Mount Sinai. This was when God gave them manna to eat.
“And he [Moses] said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: . … And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the Lord: to day ye shall not find it [manna] in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none……And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?” Exodus 16:23-28.
So even before they arrived at Mount Sinai, God expected the people to obey His commandments, including the Fourth Commandment.
Commandment 5: “honor your father and your mother” Exodus 20:12.
Jacob and Esau both had dishonored their parents, but Jacob finally did obey. “When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padan-aram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan; and that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padan-aram; ” Genesis 28:6-7.
In the beginning, with Adam & Eve, Adam was called; “…the son of God” Luke 3:38. Now when Adam & Eve sinned against God the ground became cursed; “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; ” (Genesis 3:17). Notice that later a blessing of land is promised for those who obey the fifth Commandment;
“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. “ Exodus 20:12
Commandment 6: “Thou shalt not kill” Exodus 20:13
God told Cain he was to rule over and avoid sin, as anger was in Cain’s heart.
“And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. ” Genesis 4:6-8.
Cain’s anger led to the sin of murder.
After the Flood, people knew that God was against murder and demanded a penalty for it. “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. ” Genesis 9:5-6.
In the Exodus story we see that the midwives “feared God” & would not kill the babies on birth;
“And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: and he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. ” Exodus 1:15-17.
Commandment 7: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14
This Commandment was well known and understood by Joseph.
“And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; there is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? ” Genesis 39:7-9.
God also had warned Abimelech, king of Gerar, not to commit adultery with Sarah. “But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife. ” Genesis 20:3.
Commandment 8: “Thou shalt not steal.” Exodus 20:15
This Commandment was apparently on Jacob’s mind when he discussed his wages with Laban.
“So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me. ” Genesis 30:33.
Commandment 9: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Exodus 20:16
Lying first started in the garden of Eden. When satan told Eve that “You will not surely die”, if she ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. We all now see the consequences of listening to this lie!
Job also understood this Commandment, as he made many references to lying:
“But ye are forgers of lies,ye are all physicians of no value. ” Job 13:4.
“And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?” Job 24:25.
“my lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit ” Job 27:4.
“Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression ” Job 34:6.
“For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee. ” Job 36:4.
Commandment 10: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” Exodus 20:17
This Commandment has been breached ever since Eve saw and desired (coveted) the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam ate of it as well (Genesis 3:6), and then both of them justified their actions (verses 10-13). The result of their disobedience to God was that they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden.
In the Exodus wanderings, Moses father-in-law, Jethro, advised him to;
“Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: ” Exodus 18:21.
The 10 Commandments existed before Moses and are still important today
In summary, the 10 Commandments were known before Moses, and they are still important laws for all peoples today. The Bible shows that the Ten Commandments did not originate with Moses or in his time. Nor were they in any way limited only to the Jews. They were in effect and known long before Moses or a people known as the Jews existed. They are the foundation of God’s laws that show us how to love God (defined by the first four Commandments) and how to love our fellow man (defined by the last six).
God gave His laws for our good (Deuteronomy 10:13). They are based on love and help us know how to show love to God and our fellow man (Romans 13:9-10).
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. ” 1st John 5:3.