AN INTERESTING QUESTION perhaps…but is it really an important one? Some people believe that Jesus Christ abolished the Commandments when He did away with the sacrifices, the food laws and the rest of the Old Testament and the only requirement for salvation is “to believe on Jesus.” Are we no longer required to keep God’s law? Is just believing enough to make our lives filled with peace, happiness and abundant success?
People all over the world are living in misery, confusion and fear. World news today is devastating. Never before in history has violence, heartless brutality, war and fear of war been so globally threatening. Combined with domestic strife, crumbling family life, the vast disparity between rich and poor and immeasurable moral decline, our global situation is dire. In our society, the elderly are carelessly forgotten and our youth are at best confused or lost and at worst, among the most vicious of our criminal element. What is happening to our planet? How could the world situation be in such total chaos and with such overwhelming misery and horror? What is to become of our lives?
There is a reason why our world is in this terrible state. There is also a solution to all of man’s problems and a way to worldwide peace and prosperity.
All mankind is responsible for the state of the world. Since the beginning we have all, regardless of nationality, had a hand in its destruction. The time has come to accept our blame and correct our error.
Likewise, the answer to this calamity does not rest with any one country or government. No human being has ever devised a system capable of bringing the world-wide harmony desired by all people.
There is only one place to look for our rescue and that is toward the One who created all and put into motion a plan that will bring about all the wonderful things man desires.
The Basis of Life
Almighty God designed invisible, spiritual laws for our good and happiness. All our woes and troubles are the direct result of our rejection and transgression of these laws. Many people believe those laws were abolished by Christ or that they are merely religious and theological issues that do not affect us in our practical everyday lives.
Actually, those laws – and the breaking of them – have everything to do with our lives. They have everything to do with all the bad news we hear about every day; everything to do with the fact that we are frightened, restless and discontented, and that we’re not as happy as we want to be. They have everything to do with today’s chaotic world conditions, with social unrest, and with the troubles that we experience increasingly in our own homes.
We know those laws as the Ten Commandments and many believe they were ended by Christ. Many think the Ten Commandments either are the same as, or a part of, the ritualistic Law of Moses, and that they didn’t even exist until Moses, and that they lasted only until Christ!
This is not a simple, irrelevant theological or religious question. This is the very essence of and impacts every phase of all of our lives – home life, social life, business life. It’s the very same question behind all world troubles today. And, strange as it may seem, the Ten Commandments have been in full force and effect since human life began on this earth!
They constitute a spiritual law that is unchangeable and eternal. A law that is love and the fulfilling of which is love – a law that was set in motion for our happiness to produce everything good which we have foolishly denied ourselves. These Ten Commandments are entirely different and separate from the ritualistic Law of Moses which was simply a code of physical laws, not spiritual laws.
Proof that Commandments Were in Force at Beginning
The Ten Commandments were first made known to Adam in the Garden of Eden. We know this to be true because that is the very law that he broke in the “original” sin. Every one of the Ten Commandments was then in full force and effect. It was sin to disobey any one of those laws between the time of Adam and Moses. Scripture proves it.
When did this thing that we call “sin” start anyway? Did it start with Moses?
We read the answer in Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. ” And in verse fourteen, “…death reigned From Adam to Moses…” (New King James Version throughout).
Verse 13 tells us, “…sin is not imputed when there is no law…” Yet sin was imputed because death did reign from Adam to Moses. There must then have been a law from Adam’s time.
What Is Sin?
People have vastly differing ideas about what sin is; from indulging in chocolate to mass murder. But, what exactly is sin? Is there a Bible definition – a place in the Bible where it says, “Sin is . . .” and then follows the definition?
Yes! The answer is in 1 John 3:4, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” Lawlessness means without regard for the law; disobedience. Sin is disobedience of the law!
God Almighty is not only the Creator of matter- solid matter, liquid matter and gaseous matter, as we know it – but God also is the Creator of force and of energy and of every power and of every law – the laws of physics, the laws of chemistry, every law that is in motion and is energized. God Almighty also created the spiritual law and that spiritual law is what regulates man’s happiness.
Happiness Instead of Suffering
Every human being wants to be happy and lead a life that is pleasing and pleasant. Everyone wants a life that is full, abundant, interesting and a little exciting. A life where there is no pain or suffering or sorrow – just joyful well-being.
The opportunity for such a life has always been available to everyone – the entire world could live happily in peace – if everyone only understood the Way! God Almighty in His great love for humanity set a law in motion. That law was designed to produce just that kind of life for all of us.
But since the beginning, man has chosen to not go the way God revealed to us. Instead man wants to go his own way, making his own rules and ignoring God’s law. The result can be seen in all the terrible situations man currently finds himself – war, every kind of brutal violence, crime, terrorism, disease, famine – unhappiness and fear everywhere on this planet.
God wants us to have the happily abundant life He created for us and told us how to find it – by His law. That law is merely love. It’s the way of love; the way that love should be expressed – love toward God and love toward neighbor.
The apostle Paul tells us how the law teaches us what sin is in Romans 7:7, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’” In other words, by the law comes the knowledge of sin, as Paul had said previously in Romans 3:20.
The law gives us the knowledge of what sin is. It directs us and guides us about what we must do to be happy.
We Were Born Ignorant
Human beings are born knowing absolutely nothing. We don’t even have instinct to guide us, as animals do. Animals behave in certain ways without having to be taught. If a young bird is pushed from the nest, he will fly before hitting the ground and if a bear cub is hungry, he’ll hunt for something to eat before he starves. Beasts know what to do to exist and avoid suffering. They live as the Eternal Creator designed.
Man, however, is made in God’s image because God’s plan is to reproduce Himself. He created man with a free will and in support of that free will, He has provided us with minds like His; able to absorb information and process it with reason and emotion. The only difference is that our minds are very limited and prone to mistakes while God’s mind is perfectly unfailing and completely unlimited.
What Is the Law?
Man does not know what is right and what is wrong without it being revealed to us. Paul would not have known what sin was if the law had not told him. Human nature will not teach us. Human nature has evil in it. As Paul says, “I had not known lust,” that is he wouldn’t have known that lust was evil or wrong. He didn’t have such instinctive knowledge, “except the law had said, ‘Thou shalt not covet.'” That law – the tenth commandment – taught the apostle Paul what was sin. The law which teaches us about sin is the Ten Commandments!
In Romans 7:12, Paul says that “…the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.” That isn’t what is being taught today. Many people have been reared in the belief that the law is unholy, that it is altogether wrong, and that Christ had to do away with it.
In verse 14 of Romans 7, the apostle Paul says, “For we know that the law is spiritual.” Paul said he was carnal. He was fleshly and material. So are we. But the law is a spiritual principle and it regulates our happiness – a spiritual matter.
The Original Sin
Every one of the Ten Commandments was in existence during the time of Adam. It was sin to break any one of them prior to the time of the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses didn’t come until 430 years after the time of Abraham. But the spiritual law has been in existence from Adam!
The original sin is recorded in Genesis, beginning with chapter 2, verse 15-16: “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat…’”
God, the Supreme Ruler, is giving the orders. He is teaching the man who doesn’t know and must be told. Here is the instruction – the command, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
The fact that God said, “In the day that you eat of it . . .” shows that the man was allowed to refuse God’s teaching, that he could disobey God’s command. It’s clear from this passage that man was created with a free will and that he must make a choice.
Most people believe we have the right – the freedom – to decide for ourselves exactly how to live. That includes how we choose to treat ourselves and each other, to choose what we do and say and to choose how we worship the god we have selected from all the gods this world has to offer. But man is in error about this. The choice we are to make is much simpler than that. The one, true God has always intended for mankind – you and I – to simply choose whether we will obey His law or not. That is the only choice to be made by man. We have the freedom to decide whether we will be happy or miserable; whether we will live or die.
Animals behave by instinct. They cannot reason and are not required to make a choice. But man is not an animal. He is a rational, reasoning being created with a mind like God and free will. And God ordained that you and I must make a choice. If we choose the right way to live, according to that law which God set in motion to produce happiness and contentment and a full, thrilling, enjoyable life, we can have it.
Notice, however, the remainder of verse 17 states, “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Paul tells us in Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death.” If we choose to not live God’s way, we will have suffering, sorrows, curses and death. Sadly since Adam, that’s what we have all chosen to do.
The First Lie
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die.” (Gen 3:1-4.)
That was the first recorded lie in history. It was not told by a man, but by the devil. He said, “You will not surely die.” What the devil meant was “You have an immortal soul that won’t die.” That’s what the devil said and Eve believed him and disbelieved God.
The devil continues in verse 4 and 5: “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” In other words, the devil implied that God had been lying to Eve – she wouldn’t die but would have the wisdom of God to decide over good and evil. That is what the devil wanted the woman to believe. But, Satan was the liar and the author of lies. “You are of your father the devil…for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44)
Continuing in verse 6 of Genesis 3, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,” – she used her own judgment and didn’t obey the law of God – she used her own human reason – “that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” – This was the first transgression of the law – the first human sin!
The Commandments Broken
Analyze exactly what happened. God is the One we must obey. That’s one of the definitions of God; whoever you obey is your god – whatever you serve is your god. It might be an object or a person or an idea. Maybe it’s an idol. Whatever it is you put first and follow, that’s your god. Adam and Eve had another god in place of the true God – they broke the first commandment.
They dishonored their only Parent breaking the fifth commandment. In Luke 3:38 Adam is called the “…son of God,” because God created him. Adam was not God’s son by begettal or birth but Adam was the son of God by a direct creation.
Adam and Eve not only disobeyed the fifth commandment when they dishonored their only Parent, but they also broke the tenth commandment. There was lust (coveting) when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and desired to make one wise – vanity, egotism and pride entered into her heart and she gave in to them. And Adam obeyed Eve even though he knew she was wrong, placing her desires and his regard for her above God.
Lust is what usually causes a person to have an inordinate desire to have something that is not legal. Lust causes you to steal and Adam and Eve broke the eighth commandment by stealing what was not theirs.
Four of the Ten Commandments were broken in the original sin. And in other ways every one of the Ten Commandments were actually broken in that very first sin.
How Did Cain Sin?
Consider Adam and Eve’s first son, Cain. Genesis 4, beginning with verse 6. “So the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door.”
Notice what sin was in the days of Cain! “Now Cain talked with Abel his brother and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” (verse 8)
The sin that lay at Cain’s door was murder.
“And the Eternal said unto Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ He said, ‘I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (verse 9) Cain also lied to his Creator breaking another of the commandments. That was sin, too.
Cain broke the sixth and the ninth commandments. Every one of these commandments was known from creation, because God had revealed them to Adam and through him to mankind at that time. But from the very first, humanity has rejected God’s laws.
Idolatry Committed Before Abraham
Notice Joshua 24:2. “And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods.” Idolatry was a sin in the days before Abraham and that was 430 years before the Law of Moses!
Now turn to Genesis 35:1-4: “Then God said to Jacob, ‘Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.’ And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone.’ So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands…”
They could hold these gods in their hands. Notice further: “and the earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree which was by Shechem.” It was a sin to worship idols and they had idol gods in their hands and in their ears.
The Third Commandment
Notice the third commandment in Leviticus 18:3, 21, and 27. “According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do…” Here’s the instruction of God to the Israelites in the time of Moses, but it was sin to break that third commandment before Moses!
“…and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances. And you shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.”
Now the 27th verse: “(for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled),” – before this generation during which the Law of Moses came.
Clearly there was profanity, profaning the name of God or He would not have addressed it with them. God explained that in previous generations – before the Law of Moses – those men committed atrocities, such as sacrificing their children to foreign gods and profaning the name of God. These were sins hated by God and so a curse came to the land. As explained, one of the sins was profaning the name of God. Therefore, profanity – taking the name of God in vain – was a sin before Moses.
The Fourth Commandment Observed
Coming to the fourth commandment in Exodus 16:4, “Then the Lord said to Moses,” – this was weeks before they came to Mount Sinai and before the law of Moses was given, even before they knew there would be a law of Moses – “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.”
Here is a law of God. He was going to see whether the people would obey it before the Law of Moses was given – weeks before they even came to Mount Sinai where the Law of Moses was added.
Verse 5, “And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”
Notice verse 22: “And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much …”
Verse 23: “Then he said to them, ‘This is what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord…”
Then in verse 25, on the following day, “Then Moses said, ‘Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.’ Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none.”
God was showing them by miracles from heaven which day was the seventh day – God’s holy Sabbath day.
Some of the Israelites didn’t pay attention or thought it didn’t make any difference. They would wait to go out on the following day – on the Sabbath – to collect the manna but there was none! Does it matter how we keep God’s commands? Did it make a difference to God how the Israelites kept the law? It absolutely did! “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws? See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.’ So the people rested on the seventh day.” (verses 28-30.)
That was weeks before the Law of Moses was given on Mount Sinai but it was one of God’s laws already in effect at that time.
The Fifth Commandment
Look in Genesis 9:21. “Then he (Noah) drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.”
Continuing: “Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. Then he said: ‘Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants, He shall be to his brethren.’ And he said: ’Blessed be the Lord, The God of Shem, And may Canaan be his servant.” (Gen 9:21-26.)
Dishonoring a parent is a sin and a curse was pronounced in those days, long before Moses.
Adultery, Stealing, Lying and Coveting – All Sins from the Beginning
Consider the seventh commandment against adultery. Genesis 39:7-9, “And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Adultery was sin – Joseph knew it and obeyed God’s command – hundreds of years before the physical Law of Moses.
The eighth commandment against stealing is shown in Genesis 30, verses 25-43 which recounts the story of Jacob and his agreement with Laban. Consider Jacob’s words: “every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the lambs, will be considered stolen, if it is with me.” Jacob, living hundreds of years before Moses, had been taught by his father, Isaac and his grandfather, Abraham and understood that stealing was a sin.
Genesis 20:1-9 concerns the ninth commandment about lying: “And Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar. Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, ‘She is my sister.’ And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.” He was going to take her as his wife. He would have committed adultery with her, but God sent an angel to him in a dream to warn him. “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart”. The king, remember, heard Abraham say of Sarah, “She’s my sister.” God said, “For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.” Abraham had lied. He was afraid and tried to protect himself with a lie. But his intent was wrong and his lie almost ended in disaster for Abimelech. It was a sin and sins always have a bad result.
What about coveting? Notice Genesis 6:1-3, 5: “And it came to pass when men began to multiply upon the face of the earth and daughters were born. unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they took them wives of all whom they chose. Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Coveting was a sin even in those days, long before the time of Moses!
Laws for All Time
Every one of the Ten Commandments was in existence for all mankind from the creation. To transgress or disobey any one of them was sin between the time of Adam and Moses, when the laws of God were clearly given again to Israel. Those same laws are in force today and will be until Jesus Christ returns to the earth to establish God’s government. They will be in force through the millennium and will be kept perfectly by everyone throughout all eternity in the Kingdom of God.
God’s laws of love bring happiness and peace to all who keep and obey them. The choice is ours to make – a very simple choice; refuse to obey God’s laws and endure misery and death or choose God’s way and be blessed with a joyous life forever.
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;” (Deuteronomy 30:19)