The First Four
by Paul Taylor 12/08/2012 / Christian Apologetics
1 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth
3 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
4 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
The Ten Commandments as given to Moses were written on two tablets of stone, the first four on one tablet and the last six on another tablet. All were written by the finger of God onto these tablets of stone; stone being a symbol of lasting strength, stone does not decay as papyrus or paper does.
These first four are a declaration as to how we are to interact, worship and honor God our creator. The last six are how we are to interact with our fellow man. Taken as a whole, when we keep the first four the last six will come automatically. God's laws are perfect and his Ten Commandments cover any and everything without loopholes. You don't need a battery of lawyers and judges to interpret. Psalms 119:151 says the commandments are truth and Psalms 19:7 says the law is perfect
Psalms 119:151 Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.
Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
There should be no doubt, after carefully studying God's Ten Commandments that they are concise, understandable and to the point.
I'm going to cover only the first four at this time, and the results we suffer when we reject them.
At one time in our nation's history, the Ten Commandments were a part of our everyday moral and civil life. We didn't have to look at them on a daily basis or recite them; instead they had been instilled in our hearts by our Parents, schools and Church. They, along with daily Bible study helped guide our ancestors in the right direction when making critical decisions as to the direction our nation and our families would go.
As the years passed, we as a nation grew complacent in realizing the untold value associated with the Ten Commandments and the reading and study of the Holy Bible.
The Churches and the people began to compromise on God's word and the direction he wanted us to go. We began to gradually accept tolerance of sin in the form of Political Correctness and the effect it would have on the collection plate should we not compromise. As Christians we seem to have forgotten that God said he would provide for our every need, instead we desire our wants rather than our needs to be met. Hear what Jesus said in Matt.6:26
Matt.6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
If God takes care of the fowls of the air, would he not take care of our earthly needs as well?
For the most part it seems that God is being portrayed as a BANKER, supplying materialistic wants of those that send their money to the various churches and tel-evangelists, that can shed the most convincing tears; a prosperity gospel as some call it. Not the gospel truth of Jesus Christ.
Jesus had not a place to lay his head, and the only treasures he had were the clothes on his back. People seem to seek the religion of the various Churches which will enhance their social status rather than their spiritual status in order to obtain earthly treasures and materialistic goods.
Churches are not preaching and teaching the everlasting Gospel of Truth for fear of offending one group or the other and have therefore slipped into a state of virtual apathy, avoiding the truth at all costs; the major cost being the lost souls of the many, hungering for the truth but being denied it.
It seems we have come to the point in history where God and his word are no longer viable to our way of life, and have, in effect, asked God to stay out of our lives. Our present course suggests we are incapable of taking care of our problems, but are too proud to turn and ask God for his guidance. I guess we take the position that God doesn't understand our wants; (I say that being sarcastic), as we are a materialistic society bent on instant gratification, and have no time for such nonsense as God and his outdated Commandments. Some clergy have even suggested they are not commandments, but merely suggestions which don't apply in today's world. If the Ten Commandments and God's moral and health laws don't apply to us then I can say either Jesus is a Liar or somebody translated the Bible wrong! Look at Matthew 5:17-19 17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
These are Jesus's own words, not man's. They clearly teach that the law was not to be changed in any way till Heaven and Earth pass. I do believe that we are still here in the flesh and therefore the law still stands as written.
There was a time in recent memory when the Ten Commandments, daily Bible reading and prayer started a school day in our public schools. If you are old enough to remember that, then you can remember a time when our schools and neighborhoods were a safe and secure place to be, the worst thing happening would be an altercation between the two local hotheads, who would later sit and laugh about the matter, (after they had faced their principal and parents). Yes, parents and teachers took part in the wellbeing and moral fiber of our youth.
Fast forward to today's school yard and you'll find a cesspool of crime, guns, drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, violent gang activity, disciplinary problems, low scholastic scores, and a lack of compassion for fellow human beings, which has in essence created a ticking time bomb ready to explode.
James Madison, chief framer and architect of the U.S. Constitution made the following observation in one of his famous quotes, "We have staked the whole future of American Civilization upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."
It is widely believed that the idea for three separate branches of the government of the United States of America comes from Isaiah 33:22, which says, "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king." From a Christian perspective, the Founding Fathers based America's judicial, legislative, and executive branches on this Scripture. With that being said, I ask the question, where do we get the idea that God or the Bible has no place in our schools, businesses, or government?
Since we began the process of removing God, the Bible and any reference to Christianity, (other religions are O.K.) we have seen a complete downhill slide in the moral and civil structure of our society leading us to the very pits of HELL!
There seems to be an unending array of violent acts being committed in our once safe and secure public schools at an alarming and horrific pace. Schools are now staffed with armed Police Officers instead of the once proud student hall monitors; doors are now kept locked and chained, rather than open for parents to pop in unexpectedly to check on the welfare of their children and discuss any remedial needs of the student with the teacher. Access is now granted only after passing through metal detectors, and picture ID"s are required for everyone on campus. This has all happened in the past 20 years.
Parents no longer take an interest in the educational process, instead their time is spent chasing the dreams of a materialistic laden lifestyle as showcased in the movies, advertisement, magazines and sports, while ignoring the most important needs of their children and family, thus allowing the government school system to indoctrinate them, and make all the decisions concerning the moral direction their children will follow. They are now being taught that homosexual activity and same sex marriage is the norm, but in essence it is an abomination to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Remember SODOM and GOMMORAH and the surrounding cities? God destroyed them for their wicked ways and their denial of his laws to guide them. Lot's wife was so enamored with the lifestyle of Sodom and Gomorrah it cost her her life, because she had to look back at what she loved.
We have ceded our parental rights and allowed the government to educate our children via the immoral and unbiblical ways of modern times by allowing the expulsion of God and prayer from public education, thereby creating a screaming nose dive in the moral fiber of our educational and societal system. Without God or the moral examples of the Ten Commandments to guide our children, they have been led down a pathway which leads straight to hell, and the parents and politicians refuse to see the relevance of the first 300 years of this country versus the last 50.
Look around, are you safe? We now carry guns for protection, security cameras and alarm systems adorn our homes, offices, streets, and businesses, and most have no idea who the next door neighbors are, yet have resided there for years.
We as a nation have been programmed to put sports figures and the immoral Hollywood activities as our number one priority, and have been led down a straight path to destruction as a nation and a people by following a make believe fairy tale woven by the Hollywood moguls and the Madison Avenue advertisers that have infiltrated to the very depths of our conscience ,convincing us that we must have the latest, greatest and best , that we should reward ourselves with this alcoholic beverage or that alcoholic beverage, and convince even the most brilliant that you have some medical condition which requires this pill, and you should call your doctor and ask for it so your life will greatly improve. How have we allowed such an educated and high standard of living nation to succumb and become such a manipulated society led like a herd of sheep to the slaughter?
The Churches have compromised and joined forces with Satan himself by accepting a little bit here and a little bit there of political correctness; thereby taking the stand that the Bible as written was for the biblical period of its time and does not pertain to today's society. The churches are now catering to the various lifestyles of this modern age rather than to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as written in the Holy Bible. Jesus admonished the Scribes and Pharisees in John 8:44 ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. What a fatal mistake and direction the Churches have taken over the past century, and the results are seen on the news every day. Revelation3:15,16 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth
In light of the moral condition and gutter lifestyles which America seems to have sunk to, I surmise the above description fits most Churches and Christians of today and they are in danger of being spewed out of God's Grace.
Most have been led to believe God doesn't exist; the Bible is a collection of mythological stories passed down through the ages of a mythical tyrant being that lives in the sky.
The religious information most Americans receive are through TV evangelicals preaching a gospel of prosperity; send me your money and God will make you rich, or Hollywood's endless false portrayals of the Bible and its characters. The mainstream Churches are even preaching a do whatever feels right gospel and pass the offering plate, and adhere to the worldly views of sin so as not to offend any one or any group.Is there any more reason to wonder why Christianity is such a laughing stock among the comedians and ordinary people, or why Homeland Security has declared that Christianity is a possible terror threat to the U.S.? God said there would come a time of apathy and falling away from the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, and friends I believe we are smack dab in the middle of that time.
2 Chronicles 7:14 makes this promise to us from God.
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land
Folks, we have tried the Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and a host of other mental and social gurus who claim to have all the answers for our social and educational problems, with no improvement; rather it has become worse, and continues to worsen on a daily basis.
Do you think that MAYBE! JUST MAYBE! , we should return to the tried and true means of solving our problems?
Oh! You ask, "What is this tried and true means?"
The answer is, "JESUS! Jesus is the answer
The only means by which a dying nation and people can be rescued from their utter destruction is through Jesus Christ the Son of God, which offers our only hope and refuge.
Jesus said in Luke 11:9-11;
9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
If we as a nation and people which claim to be Christian, and Churches which claim to preach the true gospel would take Jesus at his word, forsake Satan and his ways, (by the way, Satan offers a 100% take you back guarantee, he will take you back if you are not satisfied with Jesus) and fall on our lazy knees, bow our prideful heads, humble ourselves and ask for his forgiveness and guidance, he will fulfill his word, and the miracles and blessings which follow will be astounding to say the least. So why would we not take Jesus at his word when all we have to do is ask in faith and humbleness.
King Jehoshaphat was surrounded by enemy armies, with his army far outnumbered and incapable of defeating the enemy. Facing the annihilation of his nation he and his people turned to God for guidance.
Jehoshaphat's enemies were defeated without his army firing a single arrow or losing a single man, yet the enemy was completely defeated and Jehoshaphat's nation reaped all the spoils of war, and occupied the land God had given them.
You can read this story of God's miraculous delivery of a nation, facing complete destruction in 2 Chronicles 20 and ask yourself, if God did this for them, then would he not do it for us if we only humbled ourselves, asked for forgiveness and lived according to his Ten Commandments?
Look at Jehoshaphat's situation versus the situation Lot found himself in, and observe the very different results. King Jehoshaphat and his nation bowed before God and sought his guidance. God kept his promise and delivered the nation from sure annihilation as he had indicated in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
The people of Sodom & Gomorrah refused to seek God and turn from their wicked ways. The people, much like today, preferred the material goods and satisfaction of their fleshly lust, rather than seek a loving God with all the answers.
God destroyed both nations and several more in the surrounding areas. Lot escaped only by the skin of his teeth, but his wife perished because of her insatiable appetite for the materialistic life she yearned for and was forced to abandon.
I know you're thinking God is such a tyrant; forcing people to obey or be destroyed when we don't heed his commandments, but I have to disagree.
God desires that all of his creation live in peace and harmony and not die the eternal death which awaits those that do not follow the principles he has given us to live by. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us; The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance
As an example, let's say you have been infected with a serious virus that begins to multiply in your body. You know if it isn't brought under control, you will die from its effects. Wickedness and sin is much like that virus; if you don't destroy the virus or bring it under control it will overwhelm and destroy the host it has infected. God is a loving and compassionate God, and doesn't wish for any of his creation to be destroyed, but rather reconciled to him. If the virus (sin) isn't stopped it will eventually destroy its host. Sodom & Gomorrah were destroyed to eradicate the sin (virus) which had infected that society, and was spreading to other cities.
When we seek his forgiveness and follow his commandments, the virus (sin) begins to diminish or be destroyed as we become aware of our surroundings and begin to look after the needs of our fellow man and our communities, thereby causing the wicked ways of man to succumb to the love we begin to show one to another. Jesus said in John 14:15 15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Love and compassion always wins out over violence and evil. God is very much aware of this and that is why he gave us these commandments to live by.
God Said he would forgive and remember our sins no more if we would only seek him and turn from our wicked ways as written in Heb.8:12 and Jer. 31:34
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. Jer. 31:34 Heb. 10:17
Let's go through the first four commandments and discuss what each means and how it affects us in our daily life.
Exodus 20:2-4 (NKJV)
1"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.
God is reminding us that he not only is our creator, but he can rescue us from the trials and tribulations of this world. We are not to put anything before God.
You say, I don't worship another God or participate in any other religion. Why that doesn't pertain to me and my church, we know better. Do you?
Really, do you understand what God is saying when he says other God's? He is not speaking of another deity or religion, but rather an action or craving that you make a conscience effort to attain and ignore God in the process.
Money, job, sports, television, hobbies, etc. The list could go on, but I hope you are getting the picture. When we put anything before God, our priorities begin to revolve away from our relationship with God, until Satan has snared you completely in his trap. Let's use an example.
You have a good job, pays a good salary and you always have the weekends off. You attend your church and bible studies and believe you are in God's will. You and your family decide you would like to take a vacation that will cost twice as much as you have budgeted, but this is a vacation of all vacations, which comes only once in a lifetime. The company needs extra help on the weekends and you would be paid an extra wage for working the weekends, which means you wouldn't be keeping the Sabbath, but it's only for a couple of weeks, you reason, God will understand and overlook this as I have been a good Christian, I tithe, give extra offerings, I visit the sick and help out with church activities, so I think God will let me slide on this. REMEMBER THE SABBATH TO KEEP IT HOLY!
YOU HAVE JUST COMPROMISED WITH SATAN and put another god before God the creator. The next time it will be easier and easier until you have completely abandoned God for the materialistic things of this life, just as Lot did, and lost everything. God's word is written in stone and God does not compromise to suit the world for political correctness or monetary gain. Malachi 3:6 6 For I am the LORD, I change not;
2 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to those who love Me and keep My commandments .
God wants us to worship him on faith and love, not bow down or pay homage to some statue, picture or set of beads. God desires a personal relationship with us through faith and prayer. He will not tolerate a stand in for him, because he is the only true and living God.
When we start using images in the place of God we gradually lose that personal touch with God and eventually we will start to see the artifacts we are worshipping as a god and drift away from the true God.
There are some Christians who will not leave their home without a cross or some other religious artifact on their person. Now, where is their faith? Their faith has been altered to look upon the artifact, to protect them from harm and or evil. This is why God says thou shalt not make any images to stand in his place. Folks, we have to be careful when it comes to religious artifacts.
3 "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
We should be very diligent when using God's name, and use it only when we are praising him or in humble prayer.
The vulgar use of profaning God's name is so common place anymore that people other than true Christians pay no attention when it is used in public or in the movies.
4 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it."
There is so much contention on this one commandment, there is not enough space or time to go into it, so I'll just take a few minutes on it.
This is the longest commandment, and the only commandment that begins with "REMEMBER", and it is the last of the four that pertains to God himself and how we are to worship him.
Most forget to remember the Sabbath as they have been taught that the Sabbath is Sunday, or that it matters not which day you worship because Jesus did away with the Ten Commandments at his crucifixion and thus no longer apply. I viewed a video of a well-known Pastor preaching to his congregation that the Sabbath was never observed before the Ten Commandments were issued to Moses, and the 4th commandment is only a decree to remember that God rested on the seventh day and we are to only remember this and not observe it as a commandment. These types of preachers of the Gospel are spewing a false and dangerous doctrine. The congregation amenned and applauded as he preached this doctrine, and not once did anyone open their Bible and check for themselves.
Isaiah 56:5-6 tells us about Gods promise to those that obey his will and commandment to keep the Sabbath
5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. 6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that KEEPETH the SABBATH from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant.
I am amazed at how anyone can misinterpret this scripture and conclude the Sabbath no longer applies to God's people. Folks we are treading on dangerous ground when we deny the will of our Heavenly Father.
It's time for us to look into our hearts and souls and take stock of our relationship with Jesus Christ. We are so close to the coming of JESUS that I can feel his breath on my neck.
Look at Jeremiah's message from God to Israel which also applies to us in America today. Jeremiah 7:26-28
26 Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers. 27 Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee. 28 But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that OBEYETH NOT the voice of the Lord their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.
It's time we wake up.
The clock is ticking.
We are at one minute to midnight.
Jeremiah 8:20 The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.
Rev 11/10/12 12/08/12 Copyright 2012 all rights reserved by Paul L. Taylor