Exodus Chapter 20 Verses 1-17  

:1 “And God spake all these words, saying, 2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 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: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. 7 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.  

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. 

12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 13 Thou shalt not kill. 14 Thou shalt not commit adultery. 15 Thou shalt not steal. 16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 17 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.” 

This section of the book of Exodus is commonly called the Ten Commandments.  Volumes have been written on the subject of the Ten Commandments.  I do not intend to do that here.  I will limit my comments to some basic arrangements found here as follows:

    1.  These commandments were given to the children of Israel.  However, they do spell out to us God’s moral standards which apply to all of mankind and not just to the children of Israel. 

    2.  The first four commandments pertain to the moral standard God requires of man and judges man based on his relationship with God. 

    3.  The last six commandments pertain to the moral standard God requires of man and judges man based on his relationship with other men. 

    4.  In the New Testament, the Lord expanded on the moral standard by showing that the Lord not only looks on the outward violations of the commandments as sin, but also, the inward violation is considered sin as well:

        a.  Matt. 5:27 “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

        b.  Matt. 5:21 “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” 

    5.  The most controversial of the commandments seems to be concerning remembering the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.  God established the Sabbath when he created the heavens and the earth and rested on the seventh day.  Thus the Sabbath Day was designed to honor God for his work of creation of which we all have our existence because of his creation.  Some argue that we should continue to honor the seventh day Sabbath in our day as the Ten Commandments still show forth God’s moral requirements for man.  In this New Testament church age, we honor God for even a greater work in which he has completed and now is resting.  We honor him for his work of saving us from our sins.  That this work is a completed work of God in which he is resting, we site the following verses of scripture: 

        a.  Heb. 1:3 “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;”

        b.  Heb. 10:12 “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them sanctified.”   

We conclude that the work of salvation from sin was a completed work of Jesus Christ and that he is now resting in that completed work.  This fits the definition of Sabbath.  Sabbath means completion and rest.  According to Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 we are to rest in the finish work of Jesus Christ: Heb. 4:9 “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”  The word, rest, above comes from the same Greek word that is otherwise translated Sabbath.  God has, therefore, ceased from his completed work of saving his people from their sins and now rests.  Likewise, we are to cease from our works of trying to get right with God and rest in his completed work.  This gives honor unto our God, Jesus Christ. 

    6.  The commandment of “Thou shalt not kill” is also at times controversial.  Some argue that capital punishment is a violation of this commandment; therefore, governments should not enact the death penalty.  The Lord further expounded on this commandment in the New Testament as he said in Matt. 19:18 “He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness…”  The Lord defined “thou shalt not kill” to mean “thou shalt do no murder.”  Capital punishment, self-defense, and killing in war to defend ones country is not defined as murder.