In case you haven’t heard, a newly established Ten Commandments Commission composed of Christian and Jewish leaders has designated May 7, 2006 as America’s first annual “Ten Commandments Day” to promote the supreme importance of the Law of God in our society. The Commission’s official website, www.tencommandmentsday.com, explains,
Recent court rulings have threatened the very fabric and foundation of our culture and faith. The Ten Commandments, which have served as the moral foundation and anchor of our great country, are systematically being removed from public places. Public displays of the Ten Commandments have been a powerful visual testimony to the fact that the United States of America is “one nation under God.” Their removal from public places shows that those with a secular humanist agenda are intent on destroying the moral heritage of our nation.
Those who care about traditional values cannot passively sit by and watch the removal of the very principles that made this country great. The Ten Commandments are the heart of all moral code and must be restored to the heart of our society.
We are inviting all Christians, churches, synagogues, ministry leaders, religious bookstores and everyone who is interested in preserving traditional values to join us in a national and global movement to restore the Word of God to our nation.
The focal point of this movement is the first annual Ten Commandments Day that will be held on Sunday May 7, 2006. On this date we are calling on all who are concerned about traditional Judeo-Christian values to host celebrations in support of the Ten Commandments in their local communities.
Ten Commandments Day supporters include such notable Christian leaders as Dr. Paul Crouch, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, David Barton, Gary Bauer, Dr. James Dobson, Chuck Colson, Kay Arthur, Dr. James Kennedy, Jerry Falwell, and many others, including the leadership of the National Religious Broadcasters Association.
Personally, I believe in the Ten Commandments and support their promotion far and wide. Yet when I look at the goals of the TC Commission, while there are some things that absolutely thrill me, there are other things that completely confuse me, and a few more things that positively concern me. Let me explain.
First, I rejoice that God’s Law is being so widely discussed. While the Bible itself is a fully inspired Book, there is only one document described therein that was uniquely inscribed by the Almighty Himself–the Ten Commandments. Each of those heavenly statements was written “with the finger of God” on “tables of stone” (Exodus 31:18). This places the ‘Big Ten’ above all other human laws, and also establishes their eternal validity. Have you heard the expression, “We can change this or that, for it isn’t written in stone”? This classic idea is based on the Ten Commandments. When God wrote His law on solid rock, He was essentially proclaiming to the entire human family, “My law is eternal. Don’t change it. Respect it.” To promote this law within our increasingly secular and godless society is to promote pure morality, true goodness, and honesty. I deeply appreciate this focus of the Ten Commandments Commission.
What confuses me is that for many years Christians throughout North America and around the world have taken the decisive position that when Jesus Christ died on the cross He abolished the Ten Commandments. Because the New Testament teaches that we are saved by grace, not by the works of the law (see Romans 3:28 and Ephesians 2:8), millions have interpreted this to mean that the Ten Commandments are now an outdated law, simply an Old Testament law, just a law that applied to ancient Jews. I have heard Christian leaders proclaim this on TV and radio, from the pulpit, and in print.
I have never bought into this lie. A careful study of the Bible reveals that the reason why Jesus Christ came to earth, lived, suffered and died is because human beings have broken the Ten Commandments. The New Testament itself clarifies that “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4) and that “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor. 15:3). Simply put those two verses together. Their message is that Jesus Christ died for our sins of breaking God’s Law, and it is only through our Savior’s death, burial, and resurrection that we can each be forgiven, receive a new heart, enjoy a clean record, and have heavenly power to overcome all sin (see Acts 13:38, 39; Romans 8:4; Revelation 14:12; 21:7; 22:14). In other words, through God’s grace we can obey His law. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Now for the things that concern me. Are you ready for this? Here goes. First of all, the Ten Commandments Commission has officially designated Sunday, May 7, 2006 as Ten Commandments Day. But if you open your own Bible and read the Ten Commandments as they were written by God Himself, you will discover that the fourth commandment plainly states, “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord” (Exodus 20:10)–and the seventh day is Saturday, not Sunday. Look on any calendar. Check any dictionary or encyclopedia. Ask any Jew.
It’s true that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on “the first day of the week” (see Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:9, Luke 24:1, John 20:1), but it’s also true that Christ Himself never specifically mentioned that day even one time during His entire public ministry. Jesus didn’t change the Sabbath; neither did His disciples, nor is there any change reported in the New Testament. The fact is–and a careful study of church history brings this out–Sunday observance is a man-made tradition that entered Christianity after the New Testament was written.
For the TC Commission to choose a Sunday (“the first day of the week”) as Ten Commandments Day, when the fourth commandment itself identifies Saturday (“the seventh day”) as God’s holy day, well…I call this the ‘Ten Commandments Commission’s Omission’. Again, just open your own Bible and see for yourself. Read Exodus 20:8-11. Don’t take my word for anything; but when you see what God wrote with His own Almighty finger, respect that.
Here’s my next concern: The paragraphs quoted above from the TC Commission’s official website reveal that a central goal of the Commission is to restore God’s Law back into prominence in our society through legislation. There is even reference to the goal of inspiring “a national and global movement to restore the Word of God to our nation.”
While this may sound wonderful, danger lurks. This short explanation will explain why. The Ten Commandments were not inscribed on only one stone tablet, but on two (see Exodus 31:18). There’s an important reason for this. The first four commandments concern our relationship with God (no other gods, no idols, reverence His Name, keep the Sabbath holy). These were written on the first tablet. The last six commandments concern our relationship with our fellow man (honor parents, no murder, no adultery, no stealing, no lying, and no coveting). These were inscribed on the second tablet. It’s only the second tablet, and even then only some commandments therein (don’t murder or steal), that fall within the legitimate sphere of human governments. The first tablet–dealing with our relationship with God–lies completely outside the jurisdiction of earthly governments and should never be legislated or enforced. Christians have been confused over this in the past. That’s why Sunday laws (called ‘blue laws’) have been enforced at various times throughout American history.
Bible prophecy predicts that at the very close of time there will be “a national and global movement” which becomes confused, crosses over the line, and enforces the traditions of men upon society (read carefully Revelation 13:15-17). Beneath this end-time movement will be the hidden activity of a subtle devil whose infernal agenda has always included replacing God’s exact words with human traditions and then enforcing those traditions upon humanity. And don’t think Satan can’t use religious people to accomplish his goals. Remember, it was one of Christ’s very own disciples that betrayed Him (see Matthew 26:47-49) and it was top religious leaders that plotted to put Him to death (see Matthew 26:65, 66). May God save us from all religious self-deception!
White Horse Media has many resources to help you understand bible prophecy, these exact issues, and to help you prepare for the soon return of Jesus Christ. We now offer the tract: Taking a Stand for the Ten Commandments, by Mark Finley, my little book, Truth Left Behind (explaining Sabbath/Sunday issues), and a five part documentary called, The Seventh Day: Revelations from the Lost Pages of History.
Our world is bursting apart at the seams–environmentally, economically, morally, and spiritually. Surely these are “the last days” (2 Timothy 3:1) predicted in the Bible. Our Lord is coming soon! Yes, let’s promote the Ten Commandments as God’s perfect standard of morality, and double yes, let’s exalt Jesus Christ as our Savior who died for every sin. But let’s do it through love, and never by force. “If you love Me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15), taught our Savior. His love is the key. May His entire law be written in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (see Hebrews 10:15, 16).
Jesus Christ died for our sins.
His love appeals to our hearts.
By His grace, let’s keep the Ten Commandments.
Not just nine of them – but all ten.