Monday, March 24, 2014
The Real Ten Commandments (Facts Instead of Traditions) – Part 5
Moses returned from his sixth trip up and down the mountain without new stone tablets to replace those he smashed at the base of the mountain. We learned in Part 4 that YAHWEH came down to the tent of Moses and spoke to him there. This is part of what He said to Moses:
And YAHWEH said to Moses, “Cut out for yourself two tablets of stone like the first ones. I will write on the tablets the words which were on the first tablets which you broke. Be prepared in the morning, and go up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself by Me there on the top of the mountain. And no man shall go up with you. And also let no man be seen on all the mountain; also let neither the flocks nor the herds feed before that mountain.” And he cut two tablets of stone like the first ones. (Exodus 34:1-4a)
And Moses rose early in the morning and went up Mount Sinai, as YAHWEH commanded him; and he took in his hand the two tablets of stone. And YAHWEH came down in the cloud. And he placed himself with him there, and called on the name of YAHWEH. And YAHWEH passed before his face and proclaimed:
“YAHWEH! YAHWEH, EL! Merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and great in loyalty and faithfulness. Keeping loyalty for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and entirely not leaving unpunished, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on sons, and on sons of sons, to the third and to the fourth generation.”
And Moses hurried and bowed to the earth and worshiped. And he said, “If now I have found favor in Your eyes, O Lord, let go, I pray, my Lord in our midst; for it is a stiff-necked people; and You forgive our iniquity and our sin, and take us as a possession.”
And He said: “Behold, I am cutting a covenant. Before all your people I will do wonderful things which have not been done in all the earth and among all nations. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of YAHWEH. For it is awesome, that which I am about to do with you. (Exodus 34:4b-10)
We have come to the moment we have been waiting for -- but to truly understand it we must jump ahead in the biblical account:
And YAHWEH said to Moses, “Write for yourself these words, because on the mouth of these words I will cut a covenant with you and with Israel.” And he was there with YAHWEH forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread and water he did not drink. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 34:27-28)
This is the first appearance of the term – “The Ten Commandments.” It is the name of the two tablets of stone. In the traditional institutional accounts of the “Ten Commandments” of Exodus 20, you saw with your own eyes that Moses wasn’t on top of the mountain with YAHWEH, no stone tablets were mentioned, and the term “The Ten Commandments” did not appear. Now, in Exodus 34, you have seen with your own eyes that Moses was on the mountain with YAHWEH, two tablets of stone were there, and the tablets were called “The Ten Commandments.”
The verses above also reveal some very interesting information about what took place during the forty days and nights Moses spent with YAHWEH on the mountain.
(1) Moses was told to “these words,” the words he received from YAHWEH during the forty days. “These words” were not written by Moses on the stone tablets. He wrote them on something else. A number of traditions indicate Moses wrote them on a scroll.
(2) The words Moses wrote on the scroll included much more than The Ten Commandments.
(3) “The Ten Commandments” are given in Exodus 34:11-26.
So, are you ready to read “THE REAL TEN COMMANDMENTS”? Well, here they are!
Observe what I am commanding you today! Behold, I am about to drive out from before you the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Guard for yourself, lest you cut a covenant with the people of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst. But you shall cut down their altars, and break their images, and their shrines you shall cut off. For you shall not bow to another, for YAHWEH is Zealous, whose name is – He is EL the Zealous; lest you cut a covenant with the people of the land, and they play the whore after their gods, and they sacrifice to their gods, and one call to you, and you eat from his sacrifice, and you take from their daughters for your sons, and their daughters commit whoredom after their gods, and they lead your sons to whoredom after their gods. (Exodus 34:11-16)
You shall not make casted gods for yourself. (Exodus 34:17)
The Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the fixed time of the month of Aviv; for in the month of Aviv you went out from Egypt. (Exodus 34:18)
All that open the womb are Mine, and every male firstborn among your livestock, whether the first ox or sheep. And the firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb. And if you do not redeem it, you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before Me empty. (Exodus 34:19-20)
Six days you shall work, and on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing and in harvest you shall rest. (Exodus 34:21)
And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the first-fruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year. (Exodus 34:22)
Three times in the year every male of yours shall appear before the Lord, YAHWEH the ELOHIYM of Israel. For I will cast out nations from before you and enlarge your territory and no man will covet your land as you go up to appear before YAHWEH your ELOHIYM three times in the year. (Exodus 34:23-24)
You shall not slaughter on leavened bread the blood of My sacrifice, and the sacrifice shall not remain till the morning the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover. (Exodus 34:25)
The first of the fruits of your ground you shall bring to the House of YAHWEH your ELOHIYM. (Exodus 34:26a)
You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk. (Exodus 34:26b)
And it was as Moses was going down from Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand, as he went down from the mountain, and Moses did not know that the skin of his face had become shiny by talking with Him. Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face had become shiny; they were afraid to approach him. And Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the chiefs of the congregation returned to him; and Moses spoke with them. And afterwards all the sons of Israel came near. And he commanded them all which YAHWEH had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. And Moses finished speaking with them and put a veil on his face. (Exodus 34:29-33)
This brings us to the end of this Bible study of “The Real Ten Commandments.” The Biblical Heritage Center isn’t the first to discover this, but we may be the first to share our information with the public. Shouldn’t every religious institution tell their members when they discover that something they have been saying or teaching is wrong? Shouldn’t the lawyers that filed cases over the Ten Commandments -- all the way up to the Supreme Court – have read the words of the biblical account of Exodus and discovered if what they were going to court over was correct? Shouldn’t the judges that tried the cases discovered this? Think about how many religious groups have used issues related to the Ten Commandments to polarize and inflame people against each other.
Our goal is very simple – “let the words of our Bibles tell their own stories.” When we read the institutional and traditional accounts of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 we compared what the biblical text stated to what those institutions said. As pointed out above, the things that grabbed our attention and raised the questions that spurred us to dig deeper were obvious. In Exodus 19-20:
(1) Moses wasn’t on top of the mountain when the “traditional Ten Commandments” were given.
(2) Moses was at the base of the mountain with the people.
(3) No stone tablets are mentioned in chapters 19 & 20.
(4) The name “Ten Commandments” does not appear in chapters 19 & 20.
Therefore, we kept reading and found all of the things that were missing in Exodus 34. The obvious problem this new information raises for those institutions is the words of the Real Ten Commandments are different from “their versions.” I seriously doubt that we will hear any “breaking news” announcements that religious institutions have discovered that what they have been teaching about the Ten Commandments was wrong -- and that they are replacing all of their Ten Commandment copies & memorials.
So, what do you value the most – the facts or institutional doctrines and traditions?
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SHALOM & BE EMPOWERED!