The Ten Commandments

The Ten Words

What people always think of as the Ten Commandments of Yahuwah are correctly called the Ten Words. Yahushua put them in perspective in Markos 12:28-31.

In the King James and some other English versions of scripture, the phrase "Ten Commandments" appears three times. These are in Shemot (Exodus) 34:28 and in Dabariym (Deuteronomy) 4:13 and 10:4. Each time the phrase appears the underlying Ibriy (Hebrew) text is ~yrI)b’D>h; tr<f,Þ[](eser hadabariym) and it literally means, "the ten words." No "commandments," just the words of our Creator. Of course we can consider any word He says as having the force of a commandment, but we should not be translating His words to say what they do not mean. That leads to gross misunderstanding of the intent of the associated passage.

In the Greek text of scripture, the words used for commandment sometimes really mean commandment. When the "commandments" of Yahuwah are the subject of a passage the Greek word entole {en-tol-ay} is the word used most often and it does mean "commandment." Of course some words are mistranslated as "commandment" in some English versions also.

These precepts found in these "ten words" are what comprise the eternal law that has existed since the creation. This was intended to keep order and peace in the world. As you know, because mankind has consistently refused to obey them in letter or in spirit, the world is in a very sorry state. Prior to the exodus of the Yisra’eliym (Israelites) from Mitsrayim (Egypt) they were a law that was assumed to be common to all men everywhere, as can be seen by many events of scripture such as the Great Flood of Noach fame. Yahuwah would not have pronounced the world "evil" if He had not put in place a standard by which to judge.

But that law was like an assumed speed limit. If it is not written down and posted anyone could plead ignorance because they "did not know the law." The assumption that there is a common understanding that a certain speed will not be exceeded on a certain road leads to the expectation that everyone understands that they must not exceed that speed. Then everybody starts speeding and saying they didn’t understand that there was a speed limit. So the powers that be post a speed limit sign to make sure that everyone does know what the speed limit is. Once it is written and posted there can be no more excuses. Then if they exceed it, they are liable to the law. Everyone can be held accountable for violating that law. In that same manner Yahuwah took away that excuse of ignorance of the law from ALL men when He spoke the commandments to Yisra’el and had Mosheh write them down.

When Yahuwah gave the law at Choreb, the first thing He did was make known His expectations of the people. Those expectations were the same as they were at the beginning. (Today everyone erroneously calls those expectations the "Ten Commandments.") Then He gave the ritual law that would separate the sons of Yisra’el from the heathen world to Mosheh (Moses). Each of these law systems was separate but intertwined. The ten words had ALWAYS been law, but now it was with the addition of, for the sons of Yisra’el only, ceremonial and ritual law that would show the world that these were His people.

Those "ten words" are found in their entirety and in order in two places in scripture. The first place is in Shemot (Exodus) 20:3-17, which takes place BEFORE the giving of the law of Mosheh and the other is Dabariym (Deuteronomy) 5:7-21.

Below are all ten with explanatory notes below them. Pay close attention to them for you are in for a surprise a little later in this dissertation.

The Ten Words

  • You shall have no other elohiym before me.

Other elohiym (gods) include money, clothes, people (such as Elvis, the Virgin Mary, James Dean, Jimmy Hendrix, and any other thing that takes your eyes off Him.)

  • You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in the sky above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I, Yahuwah your Eloah, am a jealous El, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me and showing mercy to thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

These graven images include such things as statues of The Virgin Mary, the Saints, icons, "holy" relics, etc.

  • You shall not take the name of Yahuwah your Eloah in vain, for Yahuwah will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain.

To take His name in vain is to use it without authority, irreverently, or in an empty manner. If you use it as an expletive, you are guilty. If you call on His name without meaning it, you have used it in vain, etc. Substituting the pagan titles "LORD" or the pagan name "GOD" for His true name are prime examples of the "emptiness" of today.

  • Remember the shabbath day to keep it sacred. Six days you shall labor and do all your work but the seventh day is the shabbath of Yahuwah your Eloah. In it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your guest that is within your gates. For in six days Yahuwah made the sky and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Wherefore Yahuwah blessed the shabbath day, and hallowed it.

The days of Yahuwah start at dusk, or sundown, and go to the next sundown. The shabbath day that He blessed and commanded us to keep sacred starts at sundown the sixth day and ends at sundown the seventh day. He reminded the Yisra’eliym of this shabbath in Shemot 16:23 before the ten words or the law of Mosheh were given. This commandment has not been modified anywhere in the scripture, Ibriy (Hebrew) or Greek. (Modern Saturday starts at midnight and ends at midnight.) "Sunday" is NOT the shabbath of Yahuwah.

  • Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the land which Yahuwah your Eloah gives you.

Means exactly what it says.

  • You shall not commit murder.

Literal rendering of the Ibriy (Hebrew) - You shall not dash in pieces, which constitutes murder.

  • You shall not commit adultery.

Serious business.

  • You shall not steal.

If it is not yours, leave it alone.

  • You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Don’t say it if it isn’t true.

  • You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or any thing that is your neighbor’s.

If it is not yours, don’t look at it and wish it was yours.

The Ten Words (Ten Commandments) are NOT part of the Law of Mosheh (Moses) as so many people seem to believe. They are the commandments of the Creator that were from the beginning whereas the Law of Mosheh (Old Testament) came into being as described in Shemot 24:8. The Ten Words were given verbally and directly to the people by Yahuwah in Shemot 20:1-17 while the Law of Mosheh was dictated to Mosheh starting at Shemot 20:22.

Also, the law that was given because of transgressions is NOT the Law of Mosheh, but the Ten Words. The Law of Mosheh was given not because of their disobedience as some believe, but as a future test of the sons of Yisra’el’s obedience to His commandments and to separate them (Yisra’el) from the rest of the world as the Chosen People of Yahuwah.

So in Shemot 20 those commandments left the realm of understood law and went into the realm of written law because of the disobedience of mankind and not because of the disobedience of the sons of Yisra’el. That disobedience of mankind (all of Yahuwah’s human creation) is the reason that Yisra’el was chosen as the channel through which our Savior Yahushua would come to restore mankind’s love and obedience in faith to the previously unwritten law (as understood from the beginning) of Yahuwah.

New Law
Now that you know where these "commandments" are found first time in scripture and what they mean, I will tell you that they are no longer valid as they stand.

These words were given as a code by which ALL people everywhere were supposed to live. It made no difference what they thought about them, all they had to do was obey them. They usually did so out of fear of the consequences of disobedience. Then they were reiterated verbally by Yahuwah directly to the people He had chosen as His own, His possession, of all the tribes on the earth. They are the law of carnal ordinances that constituted the "ministry of death" inscribed on stone spoken of by the delegate Sha’uwl (Paul or Paulos) in his second letter to the people of Korinthos (Corinth).

  • 2 Korinthios (Corinthians) 3:6-8 . . . who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit, for the letter kills but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was magnificent, so that the sons of Yisra’el could not look steadily at the face of Mosheh because of the splendor of his countenance, which splendor was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more magnificent?

Regardless of what many people think, no one has ever achieved salvation by obeying the "Ten Commandments." These are the "works of the law that cannot save" that you read about in scripture. Most people, excluding the Jehovah’s Witnesses and a few other apostate religions, know this. We can only be saved by grace through faith and not by works of righteousness. Grace through faith means that Yahuwah gives us the unmerited gift of salvation (grace) because of our faith in and obedience to Him. If we have faith in Him we will listen to His words and be obedient to His will and we will meet His conditions for salvation. If you are not obedient, you do not have true faith, and you therefore will think He was not serious about you having to do what He said for you to do.

This "grace through faith" is the "ministry of the Spirit" in the above passage. This ministry is called the Law of Grace and it does incorporate the precepts of the ten words.

When our Savior Yahushua died, was buried, and resurrected, He restored the precepts found in the Ten Words but the precepts are now called the Law of Grace, the Royal Law, the Perfect Law of Liberty, etc. The Ten Words ceased as the actual law to be followed, because they had been intended to be followed by the letter regardless of the faith of the individual (Rhomaios [Romans] 7:6). This "Restored Law" in fact contains ALL the precepts found in the ten, but now we are to follow those precepts out of faith, love for our Creator, and in the spirit instead of the letter of the law and fear of reprisal. The actual precepts of the new law are given in Dabariym (Deuteronomy) 6:4-5.

  • Dabariym 6:4-6 Hear, Yisra’el! Yahuwah is Eloah! Yahuwah alone! You shall love Yahuwah your Eloah with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength and these words that I command you today shall be in your heart.

They are then repeated and emphasized Yahushua in MattiythYahuw (Matthew) 22:37-40 (see also Markos 12:29-31 and Loukas 10:25-28).

  • MattiythYahuw 22:35-40 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked, testing Him and saying, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Yahushua said to him, "‘You shall love Yahuwah your Eloah with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

Sha’uwl (Paul or Paulos) gave some very incisive dissertations on this law and its relationship to mankind in his letters to the Galates (Galatians) in chapters 2 & 3 and the Korinthios (Corinthians) (see 2 Korinthios chapter 4). The whole point of those dissertations is to show that we cannot be saved by obeying any law (and that is NOT the Law of Mosheh being discussed in that light) but only by grace through faith. A very good explanation is also found in the letter to the Ibriym (Hebrews) in chapters 7, 8, and 9.

Today the precepts of the Ten Commandments are back in the realm of understood law. These precepts are binding on us because they are now written in our hearts and not because they are written on paper.

C.F. Castleberry