September 15-25, 1992 (and notes from November 22, 1991)

v. 7 when a Christian fails to keep the his side of the covenant, he has violated the third commandment; he has taken the name of the Lord his God in vain.
v. 12, When one denies proper authority in any area, he has violated this command.
v. 16 giving a false impression about another has a particular word from God against it.


Exodus 20

I would say that this is the central passage of the whole of the word of God. Here is given the law without which no man would know the mind and holiness of God, the sinfulness of man or the mercy and forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ. It is obvious that Israel had a limited knowledge of the law and the sacrifices, but here the Lord spells out His will clearly. These are called "The Ten Words" of God.

V. 1, according to Deut 5:22, the Lord spoke these words within the hearing of all the assembly, then latter the Lord called Moses up into the mount to receive the written law on the tables of stone. The Lord caused the words to be formed in a manner that everyone present could hear them, Deut 4:36. Furthermore, Deut 5:4 says that the Lord spoke to them face to face out of the midst of the fire.

Several times we are told the Lord made His appearance great and terrible at the mount for a purpose: to cause the people to fear Him enough to obey His voice. The NT authors, especially Hebrews ch. 12, point out how terrible the appearance and voice of the Lord was at the mount, yet the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ is more terrible. Heb 12:21, 22 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and tho an innumerable company of angels... So we are shown a contrast, and the second contrasting part is presented as more fearful.

Strange! we don't think of the church and the voice of Jesus as being terrible, yet we are told that we are to fear the second giving of the covenant under Christ more than Moses and Israel feared at the first giving of the covenant. Where is the fear which is urged under the "New Covenant?" Hebrews 12 goes on to develop the idea of the shaking of the earth at the first giving of the law by saying that the shaking of the earth under the second covenant, Christ, will be far worse than under the first. We have developed this elsewhere.

The chronology of Deut 5 corresponds to Ex 20.

V. 2, the Lord opens His words here with a reminder of what He has done for them. In this we see that the Lord continually reminds the people of several things (Ex 19:4; Deut 5:6):

First, the Lord loves them: eagles' wings speaks of the loving care with which the Lord delivered them. In other words, their presence here at the foot of the mount where they are about to receive the law is proof of His love for them. The law, to the natural man, appears to be hatred because the natural man desires to be free to do his thing.

Second, the Lord presents to them a constant reminder of the authority He has to command them.

Third, He tells them the reason for their freedom is so that they can serve Him. Their freedom was not so they could go their own way, but so they could obey His command-word.

Forth, by the Lord bringing them out of Egypt as a separate nation unto Himself, He is the legitimate "Father" or "Founder" of this nation; He has every right to give these commands to them, and they have every legal responsibility to obey these commands.

Vs. 3-17, the giving of the law by the Lord (the ten words or commandments). These words were initially spoken from the mount in the hearing of all Israel, then Moses went up into the mount and received the same words written in the tables of stone, 24:12; 31:18.


First, 24:12, And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayst teach them. Note that the Lord said, a law.. The law is one law; therefore, whoever offends in one point is guilty of offence in all points. There is one law around which all the rest of the commandments of the Lord are formed.

Second, 31:18, two tables of stone.. "But the Bible contains neither distinct statements, nor definite hints, with reference to the numbering and division of the commandments upon the two tables,--a clear proof that these points do not possess the importance which has frequently been attributed to them." Keil. Note that Moses' books are the books of the law; they are legal documents containing the law of the covenant between God and His creation. Therefore, the two tables would have been identical; Moses was given two tables of the same law: one table for each party of the covenant. One table was man's, one table was the Lord's.

On the division of the ten words, much has been written. All we can say is that there were two stones written on both sides; probably the first 4 commandments pertaining to man's responsibility to God on one side, and on the other, man's responsibility to his fellow man.

We saw in the last chapter (vs. 5, 6) how that the people were to be priests unto the Lord. In other words, they are given the law here, but they are not to keep the law unto themselves. They were to obey it as individuals and nations, and they were to influence the other nations of the world with it. The ten basic words are given, and them the rest of the writings of Moses are dedicated to expanding upon these commandments. All the Lord gave in the hearing of the people was the basic ten words.

Keil makes a very important statement here: "Nearly all the commandments are couched in the negative form of prohibition, because they presuppose the existence of sin and evil desires in the human heart."

V. 3, the first word.

"The sentence is quite a general one, and not only prohibits polytheism and idolatry, the worship of idols in thought, word, and deed, but also commands the fear, love, and worship of God the Lord." Keil.

Vs. 4-6, the second word.

The first word deals with the proper God; the second word deals with the proper approach to the proper God. In this word, we see the prohibition against any representation of God in any way, shape or form. This was such a danger among the people that the Lord emphasized it again, vs. 22, 23. They were also reminded that the reason they did not see any image of God was so they could not make any likeness of Him.

This word does not prohibit images or paintings as such; it prohibits anything which represents God. Furthermore, it strictly forbids "the principle of monotheism, and forbids a plurality of gods." Oehler. Of course, an application of this commandment is that it also forbids pantheism: god in nature. This is the basis of the modern environmental movement.

V. 5, assumes that an image is made that represents God. This forbids any kind of prayer to those images. Serve them would refer to any kind of sacrifice or religious ceremonies connected with images.

Vs. 5b & 6. "The threats and promises, which follow in vers. 5b and 6, relate to the first two commandments, and not to the second alone; because both of them, although forbidding two forms of idolatry, viz. idolo-latry and ikono-latry, are combined in a higher unity, by the fact, that whenever Jehovah, the God who cannot be copied because He reveals His spiritual nature in no visible form, is worshipped under some visible image, the glory of the invisible God is changed, or Jehovah changed into a different god from what He really is." Keil.


1) This commandment speaks the clearest about Christ. He is the only proper way to the Father, for no man commeth unto the Father except by Him.

2) This commandment was/is the one that creates so much hostility among the Jews. They say that the worship of Jesus is a violation of this commandment because, in their religion, Jesus is just another man. From the reading I have been doing about communism and its origin, it was a Jewish idea which was formed to destroy Christianity. Is it any wonder that our State Department has been so determined to keep it alive? Because our government is so antichrist, they support any system that has the same goal of removing Christianity. The need for communism is over because the official policy of every nation under the sun is antichrist; therefore, they have allowed official Soviet Communism to die.

Notice God's warning against the violation of the second word: visiting the iniquity.. upon the third and fourth generation... shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me.... His mercy goes much farther than His anger. "So ready is he rather tho show mercy than to punish." Geneva Bible marg. "The human race is a living organism, in which not only sin and wickedness are transmitted, but evil as the curse of the sin and the punishment of the wickedness." Keil. Note that parents do not realize the importance and implications which their decisions have on following generations. Just as sure as sickness and disease can be passed down, so can the results of sin or righteousness.

For me: I think that the reason the Lord has seen fit to work in our girl's hearts is because we have decided to follow the Lord in spite of the cost involved. I know that Jessica has to see it and it does have an influence on her. We pick it up often in her words and actions.

There are several instances in Scripture: David and the situation with Absalom; Christ's words against the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Mt. 23.

V. 6, contains a very important part of the law: And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

First: inseparability, love for God is tied with obedience to God; the antinomians who have separated obedience from love for God are in dirrect violation of this law just as much as are the ones who are bowing to the images. (The Lord said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments.")

Second: the mercy of God is dependent upon obedience to His commandments; He shows His mercy to those who obey. Of course, obedience is based in His free grace. Why does He give one the desire and power to obey and not another??? The question with no answer until we see Him.

work on for mo add to covfaith

V. 7, the third word.

"Although there is no God beside Jehovah, the absolute One, and His divine essence cannot be seen or conceived of under any form, He had made known the glory of His nature in His name, and this was not to be abused by His people." Keil.


Keil rightly points out that the glory of the Lord was manifested in His name, and that glory was not to be abused by His people. This is a good point when we remember what the Lord said in 19:5, 6, and then expands on in the rest of the word of God; the glory of the Lord was and is to be manifested in His people by their faithfulness to His covenant-law. Thus, when His people fail in their covenant faithfulness, the glorious name of the Lord is abused. In other words, when a Christian fails to keep the his side of the covenant, he has violated the third commandment; he has taken the name of the Lord his God in vain.

"The natural heart is very liable to transgress this command, and therefore it is solemnly enforced by the threat, 'for Jehovah will not hold him guiltless" (leave him unpunished), etc.'" According to the Lord's words in Mt 5:13, the punishment for taking the Lord's name in vain is to be trodden under the foot of evil men. This was the history of the OT nation of Israel, especially in the book of Judges. Israel was also trodden under the foot of Assyria, Babylon, Greece and Rome for taking the name of the Lord her God in vain. What makes the new Israel, the church, think she can fair any better when she takes the name of the Lord her God in vain?

Of course, there is the other meaning here which Keil emphises: "Although there is no God beside Jehovah, the absolute One, and His divine essence cannot be seen or conceived of under any form, He had made known the glory of His mature in His name, and this was not to be abused by His people.. it denotes that which is waste and in disorder, hence that which is empty, vain, and nugatory, for which there is no occasion. The word prohibits all employment of the name of God for vain and unworthy objects...."

Vs. 8-11.
The Fourth Word, Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy...

The word remember presupposes an acquaintance with the Sabbath. Keil. The Sabbath was evident from the creation, but there had never been a command for man to set it aside for his rest until Ex 16:28. At that point, Moses was upset because there were some people who tried to gather the manna on the Sabbath. This was some time before they came to the mountain.

Labour.. work.. Labour would be a general term; whereas, work is more specific. Every occupational activity was covered, v. 11. The Lord rested from His "occupation" in creation. If He could do everything necessary for creation in six days, surely man can do everything necessary for his occupation in six days. Furthermore, the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it, meaning that it was a day set aside for rest.

The significance of the Sabbath, therefore, is to be found in God's blessing and sanctifying the seventh day of the week at the creation, i.e. in the fact, that after the work of creation was finished on the seventh day, God blessed and hallowed the created world, filling it with the powers of peace and good belonging to His own blessed rest, and raising it to a participation in the pure light of His holy nature (see Gen. ii. 3). Keil


1) The command not to do any work on the Sabbath covered, without exception: all Israelites; their children; their hired hands; their cattle, and all who lived within the land. Notice that the Law of the Lord covers everyone, man and beast.

2) The power of God is at work in creation; therefore, in the sabbath rest, man recognizes the power of God at work and depends upon His Divine providence to provide for his every need.

3) Hard, and many times wasted, labour was the consequence of the fall. The sabbath rest stated that God would overcome the consequence of the fall; it spoke of the divine sovereignty, rest and restoration in Christ. (work on these three points.)

Divine sovereignty: man must work hard, but the prosperity and lively hood comes from God Whom, by His divine providence, blesses man's labour and gives the increase.

Rest: the sabbath also finds rest in the midst of the curse; it gives a day of refreshing and lifting of the spirits of the people of God.

Restoration: restoration into covenant faithfulness. In the sabbath, man realizes that he is dependant upon the free grace of God to supply his every need as man obeys the law.

Furthermore, the sabbath said that, in spite of the curse of having to work hard, man could not live and must not try to live by hard word (bread) alone, but by every word which proceeded out of the mouth of God.

[Let me make a point: man was assigned with hard work before the fall. He was created for a purpose, ie. total dominion over all creation, Gen 1:26. The result of the curse was not hard work, but the curse resulted in fallen man's effort with the ground (representing all areas of his effort) resisted and the shortness of life in which do his work, among other things.]

4) The parallel verse is in Deut 5:15, where the Lord reminds them that they were servants in the land of Egypt. The Lord uses the sabbath as a continual reminder that His redemption provides His people with rest from their slave labour which they were under in Egypt. Egypt (the world) represents hard labour of bondage; on the other hand, the sabbath represents freedom from the bondage of the world.

5) The Christian Sabbath: Everything about the OT sabbath pointed to Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath, Mt 12:8. He was the good thing to come, Col 2:17; Heb 10:1. He completed His work, rested on the Sabbath and then rose again on the first day of the week. He thus sanctified the first day of the week as His (the Lord's) Day to be observed until He returns and finishes the judgment against sin which He started at His first advent.

6) I think that a major point here is that because the Lord broke the curse of sin of which the OT sabbath spoke, we observe a new sabbath: The Lord's Day.

7) Keep it holy.. Notice how this day was kept holy: it was done by resting on the sabbath. The sabbath was made for man's benefit, not God's. The rest is enforced for all of creation's well-being, not for the Creator's.

below in mo file, comm5. if I add to it, change file, September 24, 1992

V. 12, the fifth word, Honour thy father and thy mother.

This word is not referring to our relationship to our fellow man as summed up in Lev. 19:18 (love them as ourselves), but is referring to "those who are the representatives of God. Therefore, as God is to be served with honour and fear, His representatives are to be so too." Keil. "The fifth word directs honour to parents as (in the language of Luther) 'the vicars of God,' and hence implies similar reverence towards all God's representatives, especially magistrates and rulers." Edersheim. This commandment "lays the foundation of all social ordinances of life." Oehler. "By the parents also in meant all that have authority over us." Geneva Bible, marg notes. Accordingly, this word deals primarily with proper respect for authority.

Moreover, Lev 19:3 places this fifth word with the forth word, proper observance of the Sabbath; Ex 21:15, 17 states that disrespect toward parents carried the same punishment as disrespect toward God. Consequently, the fifth commandment is more appropriately placed with the first four, which determine man's responsibility toward God, than with the second five, which determine duties to one's neighbour. I would say that this commandment is a transition commandment; it makes the transition from God to man because it deals with man's first contact with God and authority, the home, father and parents. (There have been many words written as to how the commandments are divided; however, our concern is not how are these commandments divided, but, "How do the commandments apply.")

But by father and mother we are not to understand merely the authors and preservers of our bodily life, but also the founders, protectors, and promoters of our spiritual life, such as prophets and teachers...; also the guardians of our bodily and spiritual life, the powers ordained of God..., since all government has grown out of the relation of father and child, upon which the prosperity and well-being of a nation depend, from the reverence of children towards their parents. Keil

1) Elisha calls Elijah "my father, my father," 2 Kgs 2:12. A teacher's students are called children by the teacher, Ps 34:11; 45:11; Pro. 1:8 &c. 2) Elisha is called "My father" by the king of Israel, 2 Kgs 6:21; 13:14. 3) The servant of Naaman called Naaman "My father," 2 Kgs 5:13. 4) False gods which were thought to give life and prosperity are called "father," Jer 2:27.


A) Proper attitude towards any and all authority, God, civil, occupational, ecclesiastical &c., falls under the fifth commandment (which carries on the thought of the previous 4). This proper attitude is developed in the home.

B) All authority is an outgrowth of the parental authority in the home. Thus, a breakdown in proper family authority must, of necessity, result in a social breakdown of authority. Note: when the state undermines parental authority over the children and the children's submission to their parents, it is only a matter of time until anarchy must prevail in the state. Maybe this is why the state does this wickedness: anarchy will require a police state. There is total warfare against godly authority in the home, exemplified by the abortion situation: according to the antichrist state, the parent has no authority over their children in this area.

C) When proper authority is denied, this commandment is violated. The fifth commandment is a two-edged sword; not only does the state seek to destroy family authority, thus strengthening its own authority and power, but when parents refuse to enforce godly laws and authority and/or undermine the legitimacy of other authority (civil, ecclesiastical occupational &c.) authority, they undermine their own authority. There is a war against godly parental authority both from within and from without the home.

D) No one in or under authority is exempt from the law of God; the first responsibility of all mankind is to the law.

a) The father had no right of life and death over his child; the stubborn child had to be taken to the magistrate, Deut 21:18. (Note that the parent had no choice but to take the incorrigible child to the magistrate, so both the child and parent were/are bound by the Lord. In addition, the wording of v. 19 is interesting: lay hold.. The son didn't want to go, so his father and his mother lay hold on him and take him. In addition, all the men of his city.. Evidently his dad had to take part in the stoning.)

b) The law explicitly stipulated what the parents were/are required to teach the children: a holy education in the fear and the love of God and His word.

c) The law expressly forbids one from following those whom would undermine the law of God, no matter what the source is of that request, Deut. 13:1-8. (Note the penalty placed against the "prophet" whom undermines the law of God.) Thus, those under authority are expressly forbidden to obey ungodly requests placed upon them by their authority.

E) When one compares Moses' words of Deut 5:16, (Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.) words with Paul's, 1 Timothy 2:1, 2, (I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be given for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.) (Note though that Paul was killed at the hands of the civil authority.), he will recognize a distinct connection made between civil and parental authority; both carry a blessing for those who give proper respect to either and both. If either is undermined or ignored, both will be; conversely, if either is upheld in a godly manner, both will be.

F) All authority, both good and bad (Dan 4:26), comes from God and must be regarded as such. Inescapably, one's attitude toward human authority reflects his attitude for God's authority. Proper understanding of authority begins in the home between parents and children, and when this authority breaks down (parents refusing to enforce godly laws, children refusing to recognize godly authority), all of society breaks down; all the laws in the world will not prevent anarchy in the streets because anarchy starts in the heart of the parents and children when either or both deny the personal binding of God's law. The streets will only be reclaimed as the heart of the home is reclaimed.

G) Paul develops his doctrine concerning the civil government (as well as all authority) from the fifth commandment, Rom 13:1-7. (Note v. 7, Render therefore to all their dues:.. honour to whom honour.) Thus civil government is out of control because the father of the family, and hence his family, is out of control.

(Paul regives the concluding 5 commandments almost verbatim, Rom 13:9. He does not regive the forth commandment as such, but he builds the first 7 verses on it; note v. 7, Render therefore to all their dues:.. honour to whom honour. This clearly refers to honour thy father and mother. Accordingly, Paul restates completely the concluding 6 commandments in Rom 13. Note that Christ totally and completely fulfilled the first 4 commandments, so Paul had no need to repeat them.)

H) Obviously then, the laws presented in the NT passages dealing with the inner family relationships apply to all relationships concerning all authority: civil, ecclesiastical, occupational, &c. Cf. Eph 6; Col 3; Heb 13:7, 9, &c.

I) When one denies proper authority in any area, he has violated this command.

[A group that I know of apparently equates salvation with total withdrawal from all civil authority: "STATEMENT OF PURPOSE The Embassy of Heaven Church is called to rescue the lost from the governments of the world and bring them into the Kingdom of Heaven where their sins are forgiven (Acts 26:18, Colossians 1:13). We are Christ's ambassadors and citizens of Heaven, called out ot the world to preach Heaven's message (2 Cor 5:20; Phil. 3:20 and II Cor 6:17)." Embassy of Heaven Church, Sublimity, Oregon 97385.]

Vs. 13-17.
The other five words or commandments, which determine the duties to one's neighbour, are summed up in Lev. xix. 18 in the one word, "Love thy neighbour as thyself." Keil.

The second table, which defines duties to neighbours, is obviously based on the common Old Testament trilogy of hand, mouth, heart (cf. e.g. Ps. xxiv.4). It first attacks sins in deed,--injuries to the life, wedded state, or property of a neighbour; and then sins in word,--injury to a neighbour's good name by false testimony or lies. Finally, since the last commandment forbids even to covet what belongs to another, it is made clear that the obedience demanded is that of the heart, and it is indicated that the fulfilling of the law is not complete except in the sanctification of the inner man. Oehler.

Observe the order of the remaining words.

First, Thou shalt not kill. Life is protected:

The sanctity of life is established with the command, "Thou shalt not destroy life." he remaining 4 are based upon this one, just as the previous four were based upon the first one. They all start with Thou shalt not...

Thou shalt not destroy a man's family, his property, his name or anything that is thy neighbour's. Furthermore, these commandments move from the outward (killing) to the inward (coveting). The Old Testament law required that the heart be subdued to the word of God. We might add that the Lord would not require something that He would not make possible. Hence, the requirements of the OT and NT are exactly the same. The difference is the work and blood of Christ. He is the better mediator than was Moses.

Of course, this commandment also contains the command, "Thou shalt preserve life." I have discussed this command before, but this would say that there is no innocent bystander, Ps 50.
This command says that we are to do all we possibly can to preserve our neighbour's life, liberty and property.
This commandment not only forbids murder, but it prohibits every "act that endangers human life, whether it arises from carelessness (Deut xxii. 8) or wantonness (Lev. xix. 14), or from hatred, anger, and revenge (Lev. xix. 17, 18)." Keil. This commandment also forbids suicide.

V. 14, the sanctity of the family is protected:

This is sexual intercourse between a husband and the wife of another, or between a wife and a husband of another. This is distinguished from fornication. Note that in the OT the husband had exclusive rights over his wife, but the wife did not have exclusive rights over her husband, ie. the man could have more than one wife.

These commands are addressed particularly to the man as the high priest of his family, but they apply equally to the wife and children.

V. 15, property is protected:

This "prohibited not only the secret or open removal of another person's property, but injury done to it, or fraudulent retention of it, through carelessness or indifference (chap. xxi.33, xxii.13, xxiii. 4,5; Deut. xxii.1-4)." Keil.

a short not in mo.
Ex 20:16, the neighbour's name is protected:

This commandment is the only one that has to do primarily with the use of words. Thus all the New Testament commands having to do with speech would fit under this. I think particularly of our Lord's words when He said, But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil, Mt 5:37. He tells us to keep our conversation short and to the point, within the bounds of love one for another and conformed to the truth of God's word. We are to love one another as we love ourselves, and I don't know of anyone who doesn't think plenty of themselves, but the word of God goes further than loving our neighbour as ourselves; 1 John 4:20 tells us that our love for the Lord is shown in our attitude one toward another. Our words toward others reveal our love toward them and toward the Lord. Love for our neighbour will fulfill God's law toward him which includes confronting him with his sin.

Observe: this commandment clearly forbids:

1) giving false testimony against our neighbour, either in a court of law or simply in our speech. "But further his good name, and speak truth." Geneva Bible, marg. Obviously, when the witness in a court of law is permitted to purger himself (this happens when the church fails to enforce laws against purger), the complete legal system breaks down; there can be no justice for anyone because justice is based upon a true witness.

A) just one witness could not charge a person of a capitol offence, Num 35:30 (note that there could be no "plea bargaining. Failure to enforce this law polluted the land, vs. 31-34).

B) the hand of the witnesses had to be the first to be raised against the one executed. This would do a couple things: remind the witness of the seriousness of his testimony, and if the accused was innocent, it would place the guilt-blood of the accused upon the witnesses. Note today how the witnesses are removed from what actually takes place when and if one is put to death; this removal would tend to make the witnesses detached from what is taking place.

C) the law required the false witness to suffer what he sought to do to the accused, Deut 19:16-21. This would tend to keep the witnesses honest. So actually the witness was on trial as much if not more than was the accuses.

These requirements are clearly carried over into the New Testament: Mat 18:16; 2 Cor 13:1; 1 Tim 5:19 (against an elder), the Lord required two or three witnesses for any matter to be established in the church (note that the word church is used before Pentecost). John 8:17, confirmed the need for the testimony of two witnesses for a matter to be true; Christ had two, His Father and Himself.

Furthermore, when one witnesses a lawless act, he is required to take the proper action, Lev. 5:1. When we bring this over into the New Testament, we see that one is not permitted to ignore lawless acts and words in the church in the hopes that they will go away.

2) also forbidden is lying about another: it protects their good name; it protects the innocent from false, worthless and unfounded charges which might endanger the person or name of the neighbour in any way.

Note here we see that something as simple in our eyes as giving a false impression about another has one tenth of the law of God against it. We do not really hold such activity as being among adultery, idolatry, theft and murder, but God places it between theft and covetousness. In fact, at times we work at giving a false impression concerning others; we do this by sometimes even giving the truth about a matter. We know that a particular truth will cast a bad light on another and present the false assumption about them that we are trying to cast. Thus, this commandment would prohibit even the truth about a person if that truth is to undermine the person's name or work.

All of the NT admonitions against being a busybody in affairs which do not involve us and talking against one another would fit under this commandment. Paul gives special attention to the railer in 1 Cor 5:11.

People are bad about this toward a pastor; they know they cannot come right out and speak against him, so they tell the truth about certain matters (either in or out of context) with the express purpose of undermining him. The matters may be true enough, but the purpose behind the truth is to undermine or outright destroy the individual.

The word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword dividing asunder between the thoughts and intent of the heart, so how do we know when a person is in violation of this commandment; or can we?

The accused is to be approached by the accuser, Gal 6:1. If the accused will not heed the warning, then a witness is to be taken and the proper procedure followed as laid out by the Lord in Mt. 18. But when the one charged is talked about without the Lord's injunction being followed, then this commandment is violated.

V. 17, everything that is our neighbour's is protected:

All sin against another starts in the heart (Pro 6:25), and brings forth sin when finished (Jas. 1:14, 15). This law protects us from the evil desires of others.


1) this law is the only one not protected by civil authority.
As we follow the laws of Moses through, we will find that there is no human authority given to either judge this sin or punish it. The Lord alone knows the heart and, He is and will be the righteous Judge against this sin.

2) this law prohibits the rest of the laws from becoming merely an external observance. (Which they easily become.) Actually, it sums up the previous 9 and places them in the inner most being of the individual.

3) it is evident that when the Lord lists the neighbour's house before his wife, the Lord means by house, not the building, but the neighbour's family, including his wife. Then the Lord mentions the wife again, giving her double attention as the primary "possession" of the neighbour.

The natural man looks on these commandments as chains and bands upon him and restrictions against his freedom. The truth is that these are protection placed upon mankind. They protect the ones whom are trying to do right.

4) this law, as does all the laws, speaks to the man. The man is the one responsible to preserve a godly society. But because it does speak to the man as the head of society, all of society is under the same law. In other words, by this speaking to the husband and father, the wife and children are included in it. If it spoke to the wife, then the husband would not be included.

5) this law deals with the uncontrolled mind in every fashion. This law is referred to in Ph 4:8. Thus, the uncontrolled mind is unlawful; it violates the 10 commandment.

Pornography would come under this law; pornography is a result of statism; the state depersonalizes the individual and makes him no more than a pawn to be used to strengthen those who want money and power. Pornography depersonalizes the individual and makes her no more than a pawn to strengthen those who want money and power.

Christ summed the law up in one word, "Love." Because the Lord loves us, He gave to us the proper method of approaching God when He did not have to; because the Lord loves us, He gave to us laws of perfection. His law of love prohibits two things: 1) the Holy God of Heaven and Earth from breaking fourth against sinners [sinners can know how to please God by His grace]. 2) our neighbour from breaking fourth against us to rob, kill and destroy. Sure, the lawless element of society sees the commandments as cords and bands which prevent its destruction of his neighbour, but to the lawful individual, the law is his protection. It embodies God's protective love for His creation.

Vs. 18-21.
The manifestation of the Lord and of His law has its desired effect; the people lose their self-confidence before the Lord (19:8). As a result, they moved away from the mountain and stood afar off. They ask Moses to intercede for them with the Lord, and they fear for their lives (lest we die). Moses assures them that the Lord is intentionally placing His majesty before them so that they will fear Him and depart from evil (keep His ten words which He just spoke), Pr. 3:7. The people stand afar off and Moses approaches the Lord in the sight of the people.


1) At the time of this giving of the law, the world had existed for about 2,500 years (2000 from Adam to Noah, 500 from Noah to Sinai). Yet for those 2500 years, there was no sacrifice which was required. Now, the saints of old before Sinai made sacrifices and offerings, but they were not required. The reason that they were not required is that there was no law until Sinai, Rom 3:20. Not until the giving of the law was the full weight or burden of sin placed upon the people. Although before Sinai the law was written on the heart and the saints knew they must offer sacrifices for their sin (cf. Job 1), the full weight of the law was unknown.

Thus, the people had great boldness to come even into the presence of the Lord UNTIL the Lord spoke the commandments. Then they were weighted down with guilt, so they backed away out of hearing range and asked Moses to intercede for them. Sinful man's conscience will not permit him to listen to the law of God or enter into His presence, but Christ purges the conscience.

I believe we see the same today: the natural man (and most Christians today are appeasing him) cannot tolerate hearing the law, so one of two things happens: 1) the preacher compromises so as not to offend the people; 2) the people remove from the teaching of the law. This is why teachers which emphasize inner attitudes and the individual are drawing such great crowds.

The purpose of the public preaching of the word of God is to develop the implications of the gospel (includes all scripture) into every area of life, thought and action.

2) the law of God reveals His holiness; this is its purpose. Through the law man sees His holiness, and it should make the natural man tremble. The law reveals God's holiness, so now they removed, and stood afar off. Whereas before they had to be warned about getting too close, now they realize that God is holy and they must have a mediator. The spoken law made them realize how sinful they were. This is the effect which the law is to have on its hearers. This is probably why people do not like to hear the law; it calls to their attention how sinful and short of the glory of God that they are. Without the teaching of the law, man sees no need for the one mediator between God and man, 1Ti 2:5 For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Undoubtedly, this is why Christ is viewed as simply a fire escape. The holiness of God in everyday activity, as revealed in the law, is ignored, while His eternal judgement is stressed. The result is a lack of daily fear of a holy God which results in daily holy living.

"But such feelings of fear [as the people expressed here at the foot of the mount] have nothing spiritual in themselves. While Moses acceded to their request, he was careful to explain that the object of all they had witnessed had not been the excitement of fear (Ex xx. 20), apprehension of outward consequences, but in the true fear of God, which would lead to the avoidance of sin." Edersheim. In other words, there is a fear of God which is not godly. True fear of the Lord will depart from evil, and these people did not depart from evil.

Fear not, says Moses. The Lord has not come to slay you, but He has come to prove you ("referred to the testing of the state of the heart in relation to God, as it is explained in the exegetical clause which follows: that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not." Keil). The purpose of the Lord's appearance was not to kill them; rather, it was to create in them enough fear that they would depart from evil and obey His voice (and man, Moses).


1) As I have worked with people, I am continually amazed at how much fear they can profess of the Lord, yet they continue on in their own ways. This people professed fear, yet the Lord proved, v. 20, that their fear was not a genuine fear which leads to faithfulness to the Lord and His word.

2) Life is a continual testing, and that testing is in terms of the law of God. Will we obey the One we have not seen or not? Cf. Jn 20:29; Rom 8:24. See 15:25. "Whether you will obey his precepts as you promised, Chap 19:8." Geneva Bible, marg notes.

3) V. 21, we are told again that the people stood afar off. But, as we know, this fear was a very superficual fear. When the supernatural manifestation was gone, and Moses was meeting with the Lord, they departed from the Lord.

Stood afar off.. They did this as a result of hearing the voice of God and the commandments of God. This was/is one of the purpose of the commandments, that His people would fear Him and keep His commandments. Also a purpose is to show man his sinfulness when compaired to the holiness of God.

The mind of God, had been revealed to some extent before the giving of the Ten Commandments, showing man a measure of sin, Exodus 19:20; Romans 1:17-21. This had not been a clear revelation of God and His holiness. A man with no written standard can easily justify most of the sin which he does. He may know about the major things, such as murder and rape, but the small things are easily covered over in his conscience. This is why when questioned, the unsaved and unlearned in the word of God, can say, "I don't murder or run around on my wife, so I'm OK." It is by the knowledge and understanding of the Ten Commandments that sin is revived.

The passage on this would be Romans 7:1-13. Paul, as a Pharisee, knew the law. He kept it to the best of his ability, trusting it to give him life, Leviticus 18:5. Sin, taking advantage of his misinterpretation of the law, which was good and intended for life, along with the tradition of the elders, deceived him. This deception allowed him to sin while he thought he was doing right. Therefore, he was dead to sin. Sin had no effect on him as he was able to kill Christians with a clear conscience, v. 8. He served the old letter of the law, leaving him under the law's curse of death, even though he thought he was alive according to the law, vs. 8-13.

In his deception by sin, mistaking death for life (Pro. 15:12), the Holy Spirit took the written law and applied it to his heart. The one he mentions is Thou shalt not covet (note that this is a totally internal law), v. 7. At one time he thought he was alive according to the law as he followed the outward actions perfectly, Philippians chapter 3. But now, through the written law applied to the heart, sin revived and he died, Romans 7:9. Thus the written commandments that had been meant for life to the faithful covenant people became an instrument of death as it revealed to him his unfaithfulness. The law didn't change. What it did was reveal the truth about his relationship with the Holy God.

Romans 7:13, the commandments, applied by the Spirit of God to the spirit of man, makes sin exceeding sinful. Paul further explains this in Galatians 3:19-29. In chapter three, he addresses a three-fold false teaching concerning of the commandments.

First, as the means of justification and life, v. 11. Today's term would be legalism. Rather than justifying the unsaved, the law condemns to death, v. 10 (Deut. 27:26).
Second, as the means of inheriting the promises given to Abraham, v.18. Rather than bringing one into the covenant promise, it makes the division greater because the promise was given before the law, v. 17.
Third, as a mediator between God and man, v. 19. Rather than bringing fallen man closer to God, it separated him further.

Thus, these false teachers, through their heresy, had set the law against faith, v. 18. They saw the law as their means of approach to the Heavenly Father. This set up the law as an idol.


Paul gives in chapter three, the proper use of the law. Paul points out the curse against all who violate the law in any manner, v. 10 . Next, he points out that Christ fulfilled that curse through His substitutionary death upon the cross. Christ took the curse of the law, death, for His people, v. 13 (Deut. 21:23). Then he points out that any attempt to use the law to inherit the promises made to Abraham, is an effort contrary to the word of God itself, v. 11 (Hab. 2:4). Not only is this misuse of the law an effort against the word of God, it is also against the method by which Abraham gained the promise, v. 18 (Gen. 15:6).

The purpose of making the promise available through faith in Christ and not through the law, is given in v. 14. God had the salvation of those outside of the Hebrew race in mind when He made the promise to Abraham four thousand years earlier. The promise, obtained by faith, was firmly established by God with Abraham, and no amount of wishful thinking by fallen man can change the condition, v. 15.

He concludes this chapter with the purpose of the commandments to those outside of the promise (covenant with Abraham, vs. 14-18). The commandments were/are to make sin exceeding sinful. It was/is to force those who seek self-justification, whether Jew or Gentile, to face the fact that they cannot be as holy as God Himself (this holiness revealed in the commandments). This forces man to come to Christ for their justification, vs. 21-29.

The commandments revealed the holiness of God. They revealed the sinfulness of man. Therefore, all of the OT sacrificial laws, starting in Exodus 20:24-26, pointed to the requirement of a substitutionary death in place of the sinner in order to approach the Father, either for redemption or forgiveness of sin. This requirement is clearly revealed in the NT, Hebrews 10:1-23.

Of all these sacrificial laws, the passover was the primary 'shadow' of things to come, fulfilled in Christ our passover (1 Cor. 5:5). The sabbath of rest which accompanied these sacrifices spoke of rest in the finished work of Christ, Leviticus 23:1-8; Numbers 20. Only through His atoning sacrifice can His people find payment for their sins and rest for their souls, Isaiah 53:4-8; Matthew 11:28, 29.

Exodus 12 gives us the original details of the passover, emphasizing the blood of the lamb being shed in the place of the individual. This redemption was provided by the sovereign grace of God through no merit of their own, which any one was free to partake of it. We know that many Egyptians did join in this redemption, and can assume that there were Israelites who didn't.

Exodus 12:14, the passover was to be kept forever and those who didn't were cut off from the people of God (Num. 9:13). V. 15, a person could partake of this feast, but if it had any leaven in it their partaking was useless. In other words, if they tried to mix any works of man (leaven) with the work of the sacrifice, their partaking of lamb was useless. V. 16, continues on with the thought of total reliance upon the sacrificial lamb, forbidding any work at all during this time. Then to re-emphasize the endurance of this, v. 17 restates v. 14: It must be observed forever.

Christ observed the passover and He was crucified at the time of the passover in spite of all efforts to prevent this timing by the religious leaders. He replaced the OT passover feast for His people with the Lord's supper, Matthew 26. Paul identifies Christ as our passover, making the passover a required and enduring celebration for His covenant people until the end of time, 1 Corinthians 5:7. John the Baptist pointed to Christ (Jn. 1) and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Isaiah 45:22, identifies hope for any redemption other than through Christ As service to other gods. Furthermore, any standard of holiness other than the command word of God is also service to other gods.

5) The Lord said that He would exalt Moses in the sight of the people, and He most certainly is doing just that here.

Vs. 22-26. I suppose we could title this section, "Proper Approach unto the Lord."

The people back off and ask Moses to approach the Lord for them. They desire that Moses receive the words of the Lord and deliver those words to them. The words that Moses receives are words of instructions on how the people can approach the Lord; the alter and the sacrifice.

Not only does the LORD give us practical laws and daily applications, He also makes it clear that the doctrine of one God requires one way to approach that one God. This approach to the Father for justification could not be through the Commandments as the Jews were seeking to do in Christ's day. To use the law thusly, would be to have an idol and to violate this Second Commandment, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image..

As soon as Moses was given the Ten Commandments, he was given instructions for approaching the Holy God of the Commandments. The Lord moves right from the last commandment to building an alter. Although the building of alters to worship God had been a common practice by the men of God, this is the first detailed instruction by the Lord. In this instruction, we see that the Lord takes for granted that man is a sinner and must have a way to approach the revealed Holy God other than the law which had just been given.

The law is given, now the Lord sums it up for them as He gives them further instruction.

1. He reminds them that He alone is God, the only God and the one who brought them out of Egypt. He is a personal God, spoke to them so they could hear Him.

2. He then tells them that they cannot approach Him after the manner of the pagans, nor could they approach Him through the law which He had just given. Any approach had to be through the sacrifice which they were already familiar with. The law did not supersede the sacrifice as their mediator.

3. The alter could not be of their own design, although the Lord did give instructions as to how to design and make the alter later. But the point is that the alter, thus their approach to God, could not be a product of their own imagination or ideas of how it should be.

4. A point that we overlook is that the priests were required to be holy. The alter and the sacrifice did not supersede holiness on the part of the priest in his approach to God. Even though he had the alter and sacrifice to approach the Lord, he still had the command-word of the Lord to obey for the approach to be acceptable.

For our day. Many think that because they have the alter and the sacrifice of the Son, they no longer have to be holy. The principle of individual holiness of the priest is established here and expanded in the rest of Moses' writings.

This shows us these things.

One God, can only be approached through the sacrifice. The manner of approach, the alter, must be after the revelation of God. But to this must be added holiness on the part of the child of God. If the priest was not holy, the offering would not be acceptable, no matter how costly or how much in conformity with the law. It all goes together!

We will not go into details of this alter other than point out some things that it represents. First, it represents that all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The just given law proved this. They need a substitutionary sacrifice. Second, it tells us that even after redemption, there are none that can say they sin not. Therefore, they need daily sacrifice and cleansing of sin. Third, it represents Christ who is presented as both the alter and the sinless sacrifice for the law-breaker. It represents the mediation of Christ, between God and man.

We will not develop the Biblical doctrine of Salvation other than to define it as preservation, victory, health, material and temporal deliverance, personal, national, temporal and eternal triumph. This is contrasted with the world's Greco-Roman, humanistic definition of salvation; deliverance, or escape from difficulties and trials.


Even under Moses, the Lord requires that the individual approach Him. The provision He makes is for the people to come to Him, and that provision is through the alter and sacrifice.

The Lord makes a very emphatic point: He spoke to the people from heaven, but the people saw absolutely no likeness of the Lord. The Lord was not going to give them anything to make an image of, Deuteronomy 4:10-19. Therefore, they have no reason to make any type of image of Him at all. The reason for this emphasis is that all the pagan nations of the world has images which represented their gods, so the Lord is extremely emphatic that no image can represent Him. He knows the weakness of man, so He takes extra precautions in those areas. (Of course, as soon as Moses was out of sight [out of sight, out of mind], they made their image. They violated the very first statement out of the Lord's mouth about images.)

The proper approach to the Lord in through the alter, but not just any alter. The alter had to be made out of earth, or if not earth, out of uncut stones. The reason for this strict prohibition was that there can be no works of man involved in the slightest in his redemption. The alter and the sacrifice represented Christ, the Sacrifice to come. There could be nothing added to or detracted from His person, His work or His sacrifice. The Lord here is exceedingly zealous for this fact. He will protect the picture of the completeness of Christ at all cost. (Not a cost to Him, but a cost to man who violates the picture of Christ. Moses violated this picture at the rock and paid the price.)

Clearly, any self-effort upon the alter voids any sacrifice which is made in approach to the Lord, v. 25, thou hast polluted it.

Furthermore, the Lord makes special mention of total covering of the one coming before Him; he cannot go up on steps to an alter (thus, the Lord's alter could not be build on a raised object), v. 26. Again, the message is clear: there can be nothing of self showing before the Lord. I know that I sound like a stuck record, but we are living in an age of self, both inside and outside the church. Has the emphasis on self voided the sacrifice of Christ?

Observe: the that the self gospel is nakedness before the Lord. We talk about modest appeal, and we should. But the genuine immodest appeal before the Lord is the gospel of self. Any kind of self effort or confidence before the Lord is evil to the extreme and voids the sacrifice of Christ.

In Exodus 19:21-25, the Lord sent Moses down to warn the people about coming too close to the mountain; the Lord, He is God and can only be apporached in one way. Any other way is death. Notice also that man cannot approach God on his own. He must have a mediator. The OT meaditor was Moses; the NT mediator is Christ. The giving of the law showed to the people that there was no approach to the holy God without a mediator. Furthermore, even the natural man knows this, for even the pagans desire to have some means to approach their pagan gods.


Joseph Parker, rather than mentioning each commandment, breaks them down into 4 divisions:

1) A right view of God. This right view involves seeing the ten commandments as one word or law from God. One cannot be violated without violating them all.

2) A right view of labour. "God takes notice of our working ways, of our allotments and appointments of a temporal kind." Man is not permitted to keep his 'nose to the grindstone' seven days a week, but must set aside one seventh of his time to refresh himself and cultivate his spiritual nature in the Lord.

"If any have to work seven days for the mouthful of bread they need, it is the doing of an enemy; it is not the claim of God." Note what Parker said here: if one must work seven days a week to support his needs, he is serving the wrong god.

Let me add that many families have been lost because the parents have felt the need to work on the Lord's day. Thus, the families are sacrificed to the god of this world, mammon, and not to the Lord God. Such situations cannot be laid at the feet of the Lord.

3) A right view of physiology. "The Bible takes care of man's body." The Bible searches the heart and body of man and keeps any dangerous activity from him.

4) A right view of society. "Not only is God interested in the individual man, he is also interested in the social, imperial, national world--humanity." God protects the life, property and social order of society from the outermost violent activity (murder) to the innermost non-violent and secret activity (covetousness).


Let me close this chapter and open the rest of Exodus with Edersheim's statement about this section. It is very important to keep his point in mind as we continue on.

Moreover, as the altar indicated that place on earth where God would appear for the purpose of blessing Israel, it was only to be reared where God recorded His name, that is, where He appointed it. In other words, their worship was to be regulated by His manifestation in grace, and not by their own choice or preferences. For grace lies at the foundation of all praise and prayer. The sacrifices and worship of Israel were not to procure grace; grace had been the origination cause of their worship. And so it ever is. "We love Him, because He first loved us," and the gift of His dear Son to us sinners is free and unconditional on the part of the Father, and makes our return unto Him possible. And because this grace is free, it becomes man al the more to serve God with holy reverence, which should show itself even in outward demeanour (ver. 26).

Yes, there will be many laws given; there will be many ordinances given which will latter be done away with in Christ, but we must always keep in mind that it is God's grace which gives the desire and power to please Him in keeping the words He is about to give in the rest of Exodus. We love Him and prove that love by our obedience to what He has told us to do, but we love Him because He first loved us and gave Himself for us. This must be foremost in our mind as we study the rest of this book of the law.

Exodus chapter 20. The holy standard of the Holy God of Heaven is revealed. Immediately, God, in His sovereign mercy and grace, tells sinful man how to approach Himself. There is no approach to God without the blood atonement and holiness on the part of the sinner. The approach to the Holy Heavenly Father is made possible only by His grace.