Should We Follow the Ten Commandments Today?
Most people believe we should still keep the Ten Commandments. Is this true? What does the Bible say?
The Ten Commandments were given to the nation of Israel at Mt. Sinai after they left Egyptian slavery (Deuteronomy 4:13; 9:9-10). Moses said:
Jehovah our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Jehovah made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day (Deuteronomy 5:2-3). This was a new law God had given. It had not been given to their ancestors. It was given only to the children of Israel!
The command to keep the sabbath (the seventh day of the week, which is Saturday) was not required of man before Mount Sinai (Read Nehemiah 9:13-14). It was not required for any people except Israel for it was not given to anyone else! The Law given at Sinai to Israel, which included the Ten Commandments, was made only with the nation of Israel and no one else! Gentiles (non-Jews) were not required to keep the Law unless they became converts to the Jewish faith. Even if the Old Covenant had not been taken away in Christ, it would not be required of non-Jews. It never was intended for them.
Jeremiah, who lived under the Law given at Sinai, said that this Law was temporary and that God was going to make a New Law with His people:
Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt (Jeremiah 31:31-32). The New Law would be different from the Old. Jeremiah spoke these words 900 years after the Law was given at Mt. Sinai and 600 years before Christ gave the New Law. The writer of Hebrews in the New Testament quotes this passage from Jeremiah and applies it to Jesus Christ who is
also Mediator of a better covenant, which hath been enacted upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then would no place have been sought for a second” (Hebrews 8:6-13).
Jeremiah 31:31-34 also states some other differences between the Old Law and the New. The Old Law was written on tables of stone, but the New would be written on a believer’s heart. The Old Law did not provide for final forgiveness of sins, but the New did. The Ten Commandments were part of that Old Law. They have not been required of people to keep since Jesus died on the cross 2000 years ago (Colossians 2:14). Christ at that time gave a
better covenant, which hath been enacted upon better promises (Hebrews 8:6).
What happened to the Old Testament (the Old Law, or Old Covenant)? The New Testament tells us,
In that he saith, A new covenant he hath made the first old. But that which is becoming old and waxeth aged is nigh unto vanishing away (Hebrews 8:13).
For there is a disannulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, (for the law made nothing perfect)... (Hebrews 7:18-19).
Then hath he said, Lo, I am come to do thy will. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second (Hebrews 10:9).
For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law (Hebrews 7:12). The apostle Paul wrote:
having blotted out the bond written in ordinances [the Law of Moses] that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:14). Paul also wrote concerning this Old Law which contained the Ten Commandments:
So that the law is become our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith is come, we are no longer under a tutor (Galatians 3:24-25).
When was the Old Law taken away and the New Law given? It happened when Jesus shed His blood on the cross:
And for this cause he is the mediator of a new covenant, that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they that have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must of necessity be the death of him that made it. For a testament is of force where there hath been death: for it doth never avail while he that made it liveth. (Hebrews 9:15-17).
What was the purpose of the Old Law which was given to Israel at Mount Sinai? Paul answers:
What then is the law? It was added because of
transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made; and it was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator (Galatians 3:19). The Seed is Christ (Galatians 3:16). The Old Law, which contained the Ten Commandments, was given to keep Israel under control until Christ came. Since Christ has come and has fulfilled this Law, He has taken it out of the way. He has given us a New Law (covenant or testament). We must go to this New Law to learn how God wants us to serve Him today!
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