The Ten Commandments

1 - No Gods Before The Eternal

AN ARTICLE BASED ON A SERMON

by Jon Bowles

given 19 May, 2007

(PLAY FROM START)

As we start this series on the 10 Commandments and look at the First Commandment let us at the outset remind ourselves of a few things that we covered in the prelude article ("Higher Education").

Christ came not to destroy the law, but to "fill it to the brim."

Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil [fill it to the brim].

Verse 20:

Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The Pharisees were absolutely meticulous in keeping the Law in a physical, carnal, and fleshly way. Christ tells us we must go over and above that - the Law must be written in the heart. Hebrews, chapter 10:

Hebrews 10:15-16 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, (16) This is the covenant [the New Agreement] that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

When we are looking at the conditions of the New Covenant - this New Agreement that came after Christ died, and that we are able to actually enjoy today - it is not a case of there being a change to the Law. Turn back to chapter 9:

Hebrews 9:14-15 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? [The laws that were changed, that were different, were the ones relating to the laws that Christ, as the Sacrifice, replaced.] (15) And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

In the New Covenant there are different promises, but the Laws that were found in the Old Covenant are the same. The incredible change that has to take place is that instead of them being written on stone, and obeyed the way the Pharisees were trying to obey them, in a physical way, they are to be obeyed and written in fleshly tables of the heart. (II Corinthians 3:3). As we saw in chapter 10, I will put my laws into their hearts. It is the same Spiritual Law, but written on the heart. What is vitally important is the principle behind those same Laws and the administration of them using the very Spirit of God.

In this article we will examine the principle behind the First of these 10 Commandments - how the mind of God was working when He gave it. It is not enough just to have these Laws written down, to find a few other scriptures and tie them across, and then do as much as the Pharisees used to do. It is a matter of getting them written on the heart, so that we understand and apply their principle, and are then living our lives the way Christ lived His.

Turn to Exodus, chapter 20, where we find this First Commandment given:

Exodus 20:1-3 And God spake all these words [The actual word for "commandment" is literally "word." or "phrase." There are certain phrases that summarize aspects of this spiritual Law and that is what we will be looking at.], saying, (2) I am the [Eternal] thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (3) Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

It sounds rather simple and straightforward when you read it doesn't it? But to really understand the principle, the Mind behind this command, let us break the passage down into its components and examine them. The five areas we will cover are:

"THE LAND OF EGYPT"

Let us look at coming out of "the land of Egypt" as the first point of the First Law, in understanding what the spiritual principle is behind this Law.

In Hebrews, chapter 11 it talks about Egypt as a type of sin.

Hebrews 11:24-25 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; (25) Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

But what exactly is sin? Notice a number of definitions.

Romans, chapter 14:

Romans 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. [If it is not of faith, not according to what you understand to be right, and you go ahead and do it, you are committing sin.]

I John, chapter 3:

I John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. [Or, as it is labeled in some translations, "sin is lawlessness."]

Verse 8 talks about the connection between Satan and sin, clearly showing that his way, his mindset, is sinful.

I John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Notice I Samuel, chapter 15, where Samuel tells Saul:

I Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the [Eternal], he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Saul rejected, disobeyed, the Word of God. The reason why the devil is instrumental as far as sin is concerned is that he is going against the Word of God. So we see a much broader aspect to the definition of sin. Sin is not only the transgression of the law, Sin is the transgression of the Word of God. God said to Adam, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil... And in breaking that Word, they sinned. The command was not specifically in the 10 Commandments, but by association it was - it broke the Word of God.

Let us look at several places where this phrase, I am the [Eternal] thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, is found and notice the associated verses with that phrase.

Leviticus, chapter 11:

Leviticus 11:44-45 For I am the [Eternal] your God [The very same phrase we see in Exodus 20:2]: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (45) For I am the [Eternal] that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

When we are looking at this phrase coming up out of the land of Egypt, coming up out of sin, there is an inference that we need to get our acts cleaned up. We need to be like this Being that has actually taken us out of sin. We need to become holy as He is holy. This is exactly what Christ said: Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) In trying to get the mindset of God in looking at this particular Commandment the implication is that we must be reflecting this God, this Elohim, this Mighty One - the Eternal who brought us out of the land of Egypt, out of sin.

Notice Leviticus, chapter 19:

Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the [Eternal].

Again, this is something Christ said, that we should love our neighbor as our self. It is part of the spiritual Law, found here in Leviticus. It is another New Covenant idea, a spiritual concept, bound within this First Commandment.

Verse 33:

Leviticus 19:33-37 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. (34) But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself [We have just read about loving your neighbor as yourself and here we see loving the stranger as yourself. What did Christ say? When asked, "Who is my neighbor?" He answered by giving the parable of the Good Samaritan. This is the same mind, the same concept. Notice what it goes on to describe here.]; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the [Eternal] your God. [Going back to this concept that they were slaves in the land of Egypt, you therefore do not oppress someone who is a stranger. And what follows is, in part, the way in which you don't oppress him.] (35) Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. [Not only in the way you make judgments and differentiation between people, but in the way you mete or measure, there is to be no unrighteousness, no respect of persons. In the New Testament we find this same concept - that respecting of persons is wrong. (James, chapter 2)] (36) Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the [Eternal] your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. (37) Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the [Eternal].

Remember we are looking at a mindset, a principle that God clearly lays out, associated with Him bringing you out of the land of Egypt.

Chapter 25:

Leviticus 25:35 And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. (37) Take thou no usury of him, or increase [We are not to take interest within Israel. This is clearly forbidden. And certainly in the Church, if we make a loan to another brethren, we are not to take interest.]: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. [It is a giving way of life.] (37) Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase. (38) I am the [Eternal] your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt [You don't do these things that were done to you to enslave you.] to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.

Today in physical Israel we see some absurd policies and applications of laws. Notice some examples in an article in the Daily Mail:

It would seem that one reason why there never seems to be a police officer around when you are being mugged or your house is being burgled is that our police service has turned itself into a stage for the theatre of the absurd. It has simply turned the concepts of crime and order on their heads. [We are looking at a concept of right from wrong that is back to front.]

Incidents which ten years ago would have led to a word of advice are now landing thousands of people with criminal records. Ludicrously, such incidents listed by the Federation include a man who was cautioned for being 'in possession of an egg with intent to throw'; a child who was arrested for lobbing a slice of cucumber at another child; and a woman who was arrested on her wedding day for criminal damage to a car park barrier when her foot slipped on the accelerator.

Then there is the case reported today of the boy who collected £700 for Comic Relief but failed to hand in the money. Because it had been collected from 542 different people, Home Office rules stipulate that this counts as 542 crimes solved - which the police force dutifully logged.

The same sort of figure-fiddling is going on in the NHS. Today, we learn how health authorities are getting round Whitehall's target of cutting waiting times in A&E [Accident and Emergency] wards to a maximum of 'only' four hours.

Ministers claim their unambitious target is being met in 98 per cent of cases. The truth? Thousands of patients are being kept waiting far longer - simply by curtaining off part of the A&E ward and calling it a 'Medical Assessment Unit'.

Look at what goes on in the country of Israel today, during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Instead of removing the leaven, Jews will sell their bakeries to the Arabs and then buy them back, so as to get around the law. It is a carnal, fleshly approach. What we are looking at, just in this one phrase, that we are coming out of the land of Egypt, is the application of the Law in a spiritual way - understanding that we do not enslave other people.

Chapter 26:

Leviticus 26:13 I am the [Eternal] your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke [Why?], and made you go upright. [We do not have that sin around our neck, bowing us down, so that we can stand upright and live a life reflecting the way of God. This is the mind of God.]

Jeremiah, chapter 2:

Jeremiah 2:11-13 Hath a nation changed their gods [Their elohim, their "mighty ones."], which are yet no gods? [They are not really "mighty ones."] but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. [Common sense, that has been based on perhaps a thousand years of having a semblance and a respect of scripture, has been progressively changed. Remember what Queen Victoria did when asked the secret to England's greatness - she presented a Bible.]. (12) Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the [Eternal]. (13) For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters [The Word of God is like living waters, when we understand the principle and apply it.], and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. [They throw away the spirit of the law and put, for example, "targets" in their place, that are artificially inflated, as we saw in the Daily Mail article.]

This forsaking the fountain of living waters happened in Israel of old and it has happened in physical Israel today. But it must not happen within the Church of God. People that are called by God need to learn to administer the Law according to its spiritual intent, in the way God would administer it, the way Jesus Christ living in us would, for we will be administering it in the Millennium.

"OUT OF THE HOUSE OF BONDAGE"

God brought his people out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage - out of slavery. We who are under the terms of the New Covenant (though not ratified yet, as it is a marriage agreement) are made free from spiritual slavery, but how? And what do we need to do?

Romans, chapter 6:

Romans 6:12-18 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. [We saw earlier what sin is: Whatever is not of faith is sin; Sin is the transgression of the Law; Sin is linked up with the way of the devil; It is against the very Word of God.] (13) Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (14) For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (15) What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. [Because we are taking the spiritual high road, do we therefore go ahead and break the Law?] (16) Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey [Who do we obey? When we are looking at the spiritual intent of this First Commandment, it is a case of out of the house of bondage, to serve The Eternal.]; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? [So righteousness is obedience to God.] (17) But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. (18) Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. [We turn from one way and turn to another way.]

Notice in John, chapter 8, where Christ specifically talks about this subject, out of the house of bondage, being linked to sin.

John 8:30-35 As he spake these words, many believed on him. [They did not believe Him, merely on Him, as is clearly seen in verse 45.] (31) Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples [or students] indeed; (32) And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (33) They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? [We don't need to be made free.] (34) Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant [slave] of sin.

So when we are looking at out of the land of Egypt and out of the house of bondage it is clear within this very First Commandment that it is a case of not just "out of Egypt" physically, but "out of Egypt" spiritually as well. When we are applying the spirit of the Law then, we are looking at whosoever committeth sin is the [slave] of sin.

Verse 35:

John 8:35-36 And the servant [slave] abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. (36) If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Verse 43:

John 8:43-47 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. (44) Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. [Remember, the devil sinneth from the beginning (I John 3:8)] He was a murderer from the beginning [He had the frame of mind of a murderer from the beginning.], and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (45) And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. (46) Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? (47) He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

Once we have turned from sin, come under that blood of Christ, and have had sins forgiven, we turn to the way of God. We put ourselves under that authority to be obedient to God. As we saw in Romans 6:16, whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey.

Notice in I Samuel, chapter 8, where Samuel is talking to God about Israel asking for a king:

I Samuel 8:7 And the [Eternal] said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

If we look at the First Commandment - ...out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me - by inference we are coming out of servitude to sin, putting ourselves under the Eternal, under His mindset, and walking in His Laws, His ways. When Israel decided that they wanted a king, to be like the nations around them, they moved themselves from underneath God (because they were to go the High Priest for the decisions, or to the judges, who primarily were the priests and the Levites) and became subject to the rules of a man.

The heart and core of this First Commandment is to do with the Government of God and our attitude of mind in coming under that Government. We come out of the land of Egypt, a type of sin, we come out of the house of bondage, the bondage to sin, and instead place ourselves under the Government of God. We have no other "mighty one" before Him.

But in doing this what should our attitude of mind be? Turn to Luke, chapter 17:

Luke 17:3-10 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. (4) And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. (5) And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. [How are we going to possibly do that?] (6) And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (7) But [Understand this: you don't try and do these mighty miracles for your own selfish ends.] which of you, having a servant [slave] plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? (8) And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? [This is the way it was in the household at that time.] (9) Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. [I don't think so.] (10) So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

This is what our attitude should be. There is a basic fundamental duty to be obedient, to put ourselves under this Being, our God. He has brought us out of the land of Egypt, out of sin, out of the house of bondage. We put ourselves voluntarily under Him, not thinking that we have done something great or something wonderful. We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do - what was expected. That is our reasonable service as servants of God.

ELOHIM

Let us look at this word Elohim that we find in this First Commandment.

Exodus, chapter 20:

Exodus 20:2-3 I am the [Eternal] thy [Elohim], which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (3) Thou shalt have no other [elohim] before me.

The word elohim means "mighty ones." It can be used to apply to false gods as well as the true God. Notice in Deuteronomy, chapter 6:

Deuteronomy 6:12-17 Then beware lest thou forget the [Eternal], which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. [Here we have this same phrase again and continually we will find this phrase being mentioned throughout the Pentateuch.] (13) Thou shalt fear the [Eternal] thy [Elohim], and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. [Note that Christ later said that if we are keeping the Law of God as we should in its intent, we don't need to swear at all, because we will always be telling the truth.] (14) Ye shall not go after other [elohim], of the [elohim] of the people which are round about you; [the mighty ones of the people, round about you] (15) (For the [Eternal] thy [Elohim] is a jealous [Elohim] among you) lest the anger of the [Eternal] thy [Elohim] be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. (16) Ye shall not tempt the [Eternal] your [Elohim], as ye tempted him in Massah. (17) Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the [Eternal] your [Elohim], and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.

This word "mighty ones" can also apply to judges, to those in authority. Notice in Exodus, chapter 22:

Exodus 22:8-9 If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto the judges [elohim], to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbour's goods. (9) For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing, which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges [elohim]; and whom the judges [elohim] shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbour.

"Mighty ones" can apply to individuals as well. In Genesis, chapter 10, elohim is not used, but nevertheless it is still indicating that this person was a "mighty one."

Genesis 10:8-10 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. (9) He was a mighty hunter before the [Eternal]: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the [Eternal]. (10) And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel...

This individual became a mighty one. He placed himself before God and then became (with his wife Semiramis) many of the gods and goddesses that we have even today - down to the word "Easter," down to Baal worship and Mithracism that we find within Christmas. Babel was the start of the kingdom of this mighty one.

Chapter 11:

Genesis 11:4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

Their idea was to make us a name, and this name was linked to the very name of Nimrod and his wife Semiramis. But notice what happened with Abram in chapter 12:

Genesis 12:1-2 Now the [Eternal] had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: (2) And I will make of thee a great nation [Abram was going to be the "mighty one," the one who was going to be great.], and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: [The promises were given to Abram and the same kind of promises are given to us. If we put ourselves under God we will indeed inherit eternal life and have that name. Whereas the men of the earth set their minds on wanting to be the mighty ones, the elohim, now.]

Note what Christ said over in John, chapter 10:

John 10:8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

Christ is the "Messiah," the "Anointed One." He is going to implement a world in the future which will administer the Word and the Law of God, according to its principle, according to its intent, to the entire earth. When Christ said that all that ever came before me are thieves and robbers we can see very clearly within many areas of the current system that we are living under the "mighty ones" that we respect. And what is the "mighty one" we most respect? In America it is probably the dollar. In Britain it is probably the pound.

Notice this excerpt from an article entitled "Silver Stock Report," by Jason Hommel. It is essentially a list that shows how the use of paper money violates every single one of the 10 Commandments.

You shall have no other gods before Me - Paper money creates slaves to debt and if debt is your master it is also your god. [This is true - whoever we are slaves to obey, they are the ones that become our gods.]

You shall not make for yourself idols - Paper money is printed with an image and requires faith to maintain its value, we are to trust God not money. [What do we put our faith into? Whatever is not of faith is sin. Where is our faith? Is it really in God, this individual who says, "You shall have no other elohim, no other mighty one, before me"?]

You will not use the name of God in vanity; By putting Gods name on the dollar we swear an oath to its value though it has none. [The dollar does not have anything behind it. It is smoke and mirrors.]

Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy; The Sabbath was made for rest from debt [Remember the Sabbatical year? It is a rest from debt.] but we don't forgive debt with the dollar; instead, we compound it.

Honor your father and mother; By taking away stability by the use of the dollar we steal the life savings of our fathers and mothers. [We are seeing the erosion of real value, not just in the dollar, but around the world. What is the current rate of inflation, for example, in Zimbabwe? Something like 20,000%. A phenomenal amount. People notice the value as it relates to each currency, but all the currencies are sinking, because there is nothing behind them. By using paper money we erode the life savings of our parents. They cannot save for the future.]

You shall not commit murder; Many have lost their lives in war due to the government's need to keep the dollar viable; also, the valueless dollar causes deaths through poverty. [I recently heard a Canadian, who had been working in Rwanda, make the comment that no one is interested in what is going on in Rwanda and the Congo now. Why? Because there is no money there, no strategic value within the country. So total genocide can carry on. But we will send troops to those countries of value to us.]

You shall not commit adultery; Debased coinage is literally "adulterated". [Coinage is not gold anymore. Silver-looking pieces are not silver. The tuppenny piece isn't even copper, but something less.] Those who support a false currency are committing themselves to an idol and therefore whoring themselves out to a false god.

You shall not steal; Paper money is a promise to pay but with no intention to do so, therefore it is theft.

You shall not give false testimony; Paper money is a lie.

You shall not covet; More valueless paper money is printed every year to buy things we cannot afford simply because we want them.

Money is indeed one of, if not the, "mighty ones" that we respect. But there are others. Medicine is a "mighty one" that we run to. Armies are another area that we look to. We can even have our wife or our family as a "mighty one." We can, and most everyone does, elevate ourselves as well.

Mr. Armstrong, when he was being brought by God to repentance, talks about this in chapter 35 of his Autobiography, under "Smashing Your Idol." He writes:

Whoever you are, YOU HAVE, or you have had, an IDOL. You have had another "god" before the true living Almighty God. It might be your hobby or your habitual pastime. It might be your husband, or wife, or child or children. It might be your job. It might be your own VANITY, or the lipstick you paint on, or your business or profession. Very often it is the opinion of your friends, your family, your group or social or business contacts.

But whatever it is, that idol must first be CRUSHED, SMASHED -- it must be literally torn out of your mind, even though it hurts more than having all your teeth pulled out...

Now I had an idol. My whole mind and heart was set on that idol. I had worked hard, night and day, for that false god. My false objective was the intense desire -- the desperate, driving, overpowering ambition -- to become "successful" in the eyes of important business men -- to be considered by them as outstandingly "IMPORTANT" in the business world -- to achieve status.

All of us have a god, a "mighty one," before the true God. But God says:

Exodus 20:2-3 I am the [Eternal] thy [Elohim], which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt [out of that way, out of that sin], out of the house of bondage [the bondage that we had previously before our conversion]. Thou shalt have no other [elohim] before me.

GOD THE LAWGIVER

When we start to look at the intent of this Law, it is world-girdling! Because we are looking at God, the Lawgiver.

Mr. Armstrong related the account in a World Tomorrow broadcast ("Law and Grace," May 16, 1979) of anointing his granddaughter and what he did to try and help her understand a little more about God, this Lawgiver. He held a book in his hands and asked if she could see anything between the book and the floor. She said she couldn't. He then let it drop to the floor, illustrating the invisible law of gravity. He blew her hair and asked if she saw the wind coming at her. She said she didn't. He told her that while we can't see the air, we can still feel its effect and it is the same with God.

We can't see the Laws of God, but the effects are all around us. The entire world rests on His very Word and Laws. Notice a few scriptures which show how, as the Great Lawgiver, He made all that exists.

Psalm, chapter 33:

Psalm 33:6 By the word of the [Eternal] were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. [All things were made by His Word and His breath, or Spirit. The word for breath and spirit are interchangeable.]

Verse 9:

Psalm 33:9 For he spake, and it was done [Rather, "and it was." The word "done" is not in the original.]; he commanded, and it stood fast.

Hebrews, chapter 11:

Hebrews 11:1-3 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. [It is a living law, a living way of life.] (2) For by it the elders obtained a good report. [It goes on in these verses to describe Noah. You can not see Noah's faith, or the instruction he was given, but you can certainly see the affect. You can see what he did as a result of his faith.] (3) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. [There seems to be underneath everything that exists, the Word of God operating at a level that we really do not understand.]

In an article in PCPro magazine, Dick Pontain, a professor of computer science at the Open University, makes some interesting comments. In talking about Bishop George Berkeley, an 18th century Irish philosopher who denied that material objects exist unless they are being looked at, he says:

Materialists like me believe, for convenience, in stuff called matter, from which other entities are made, but we can never experience it directly because we're made from it too. My eye can't see atoms because it's made of atoms and would only see itself.

But surely nowadays we can see atoms through a scanning tunnelling electron microscope? Er, 'fraid not, we still see light rays. In this case, ones emitted by the monitor connected to the scanning tunnelling electron microscope. Atoms don't exist except as a concept and a word - another kind of brainmap. In truth, we don't even believe in atoms any more because we decided they're "really" bunches of protons, neutrons and electrons. Then those became clumps of quarks, and in another decade quarks may be imagined as knotted strings. All just brainmaps.

The whole of reality rests on the Word of God. Whatever He has decided and defined, that is what it is - for we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God. This Being that gave the 10 Commandments, who became Jesus Christ, also said, "Let there be light" and thinned out the atmosphere so that light could then come through. He said "Let the dry land appear" and it came up from the sea floor, the seas ran off it, and it started to dry out. He said "Let the seas team with life" and the various programs - His Words that He had stored within the Spirit, presumably - brought life into being. This is the Being that created all things. The reason why if we drop a book it falls to the floor, if we throw it across a room it goes in an arc, if it hits the wall there is a noise. EVERY single law is defined by this Word.

Take a beautiful red rose. Who gave the Word, made the law, that it is red? As the light hits the flower, according to scientists, it gives energy into the color and it expands. - the electron jumps the energy shell and as it jumps back again it gives a certain frequency, in this case red.

Who made the laws about Quantum Mechanics? Who designed all of this? Who came up with the concept that there will be an earth with flora and fauna, with people walking around on it that will be potential sons of the Living God? It is this Being, this Lawgiver, who, with the Father, had this concept.

Turn to II Peter, chapter 3, where we find that in these last days there is going to be a problem.

II Peter 3:3-47 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, [What they want.] (4) And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation [from the "Big Bang," or the "singularity," whatever they happen to call it]. (5) For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: (6) Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: (7) But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

This same Word that defines the reality that we see, defines also what is going to happen to this reality. It not only defines reality, but morality, right and wrong, as well. It defines gravity, which we can't see, and adultery, that we might not be able to see. I know of one case in particular, outside of the Church, where despite the spouse not knowing of the adultery that was going on, the marriage was nonetheless destroyed. Why? Because it is a LIVING inexorable Law, made by the same One, the same Word, that made the Laws of the physical world.

When it says:

Exodus 20:2-3 I am the [Eternal] thy [Elohim], which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other [elohim] before me.

This is the word of a Lawgiver, THE Lawgiver, who gives these invisible, spiritual Laws.

Turn to Deuteronomy, chapter 8:

Deuteronomy 8:1-3 All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the [Eternal] sware unto your fathers. (2) And thou shalt remember all the way which the [Eternal] thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. (3) And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the [Eternal] doth man live.

This last part was quoted by Christ in one of, if not the, greatest trials for Him on earth, when He confronted Satan. He used this to counteract Satan when he said, "Command that these stones be made bread." Christ defined right and wrong by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the [Eternal]. He had after all given these words - they were the words of the Father and Christ collectively.

Just down the road from us in Wales there is a Hindu center. Quite a controversy is going on there at the moment and it is getting national coverage. The center has several animals on the property, which they allow to live out their natural lives. One in particular is a Friesian bull called "Shambo" (another name for Shiva, one of the gods of Hinduism). As reported in a recent article in the Telegraph, entitled "Thou shalt not kill our sacred bull, even if he has got TB, says the Hindus":

Hindus across Britain are threatening to form a human chain to prevent the slaughter of a sacred bull after it tested positive for tuberculosis.

Shambo, a six-year-old Friesian, will be killed later this month unless he is granted a reprieve.

Senior monks at the Skanda Vale Temple, near Carmarthen, west Wales, where Shambo lives, said the killing of cows and bulls was against their religious principles.

What is the Truth? How do you define what is right and what is wrong? What is your elohim? The Elohim is THE Lawgiver, and THE Lawgiver has defined vegetarianism as a doctrine of demons. Yet these people believe that their "sacred bull," their "elohim," cannot be put to death. Eventually, the world will come under the authority of God. They will have the Eternal as their Elohim, and they will eat beef.

ETERNAL - YHWH

This Lawgiver is described as the Eternal, the YHWH. As it says:

Exodus 20:2-3 I am the [Eternal - YHWH] thy [Elohim], which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (3) Thou shalt have no other [elohim] before me [before the Eternal].

But we are not only to not have any other gods before the true God. This command is also expressed in a positive way - that we go over and above to love Him with all our heart, soul and might. Notice in Deuteronomy, chapter 6.

Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the [Eternal] thy [Elohim] with all thine heart [The heart, being the very core.], and with all thy soul [The soul being the physical body.], and with all thy might [The might being what we do. It goes out from the heart to whatever we do or touch. This was re-phrased by Christ, "heart, soul and mind." Both are applicable.]

Everything - heart, soul, might, mind - must come under Him. But who is this Eternal, YHWH? No man hath seen God at any time (John 1:18), neither heard his voice at any time (John 5:37). Yet we know Moses saw the Eternal's "back parts" (Exodus 33:23) and the people heard His voice (Deuteronomy 5:24). So this could not be the Father.

But in Psalm 110:

Psalm 110:1 A Psalm of David. The [Eternal, YHWH] said unto my Lord [Adonai], Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

This is an example of the Father speaking, as the Eternal, and there are various others. But we can also see the name being used for Christ.

Notice in Zechariah, chapter 14:

Zechariah 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the [Eternal] of hosts [the Eternal Sabaoth - the Eternal of armies], and to keep the feast of tabernacles.

So we find that this name applies equally to both Christ and also the Father. For it is this family of God Beings who have created all that we see, whose Word upholds heaven and earth, who are both Eternal.

Notice in Malachi, chapter 3, where we see two groups of people described.

Malachi 3:13-18 Your words have been stout against me, saith the [Eternal]. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? (14) Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the [Eternal] of hosts [Sabaoth]? (15) And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt [test] God are even delivered. [This is one group of people.] (16) Then they that feared the [Eternal] [that had the right kind of respect, that applied this First Commandment, that understood what bondage really was] spake often one to another: [We should have this kind of fellowship.] and the [Eternal] hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the [Eternal], and that thought upon his name. [Whose name? YHWH, the Eternal. We need to meditate on this name, on what is the principle, what is the thinking, behind this Being when He gives this First Commandment.] (17) And they shall be mine, saith the [Eternal] of hosts [Here again we find the word "Eternal" - the I was, I am, I will be - linked with the word "Sabaoth," meaning armies or hosts.], in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. (18) Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked [We will make the distinction that is necessary. God wants this ability within His sons and daughters.], between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

This word YHWH is not only linked with "hosts" (Sabaoth), but with several other words as well, which give a description of what kind of Being this Being (or family of Beings) actually is. Let us look at a few.

Exodus, chapter 31 - the Eternal that sanctifies you, that sets you apart

Exodus 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the [Eternal] that doth sanctify you. [YHWH Maccaddeshcem]

Exodus, chapter 15 - the Eternal that heals you

Exodus 15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the [Eternal] thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the [Eternal] that healeth thee. [YHWH Ropheka]

The fact that He is there is expressed in several places in different words.

Psalm, chapter 7 - the Eternal most high (He is there on high all the time.)

Psalms 7:17 I will praise the [Eternal] according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the [Eternal] most high. [YHWH Elyon]

Ezekiel, chapter 48 - the Eternal that is there, that is dependable:

Ezekiel 48:35 It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The [Eternal] is there. [YHWH Shama]

Exodus, chapter 7 - the Eternal our banner

Exodus 17:15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:

Genesis, chapter 22 - The Eternal who sees

Genesis 22:14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the [Eternal] it shall be seen.

It is also shown that this Individual, or these Individuals (We pray to the Father, but Christ is the same. "He that has seen me has seen the Father." The two act in the same way.), is also "The Eternal of peace." Judges, chapter 6:

Judges 6:24 Then Gideon built an altar there unto the [Eternal], and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

Jeremiah, chapter 23 - The Eternal our righteousness

Jeremiah 23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The [Eternal] Our Righteousness. [YHWH Tsidkenu - This is where righteousness comes from. It is not our own human love, but the love of God...shed abroad in our hearts.]

Psalm, chapter 23 - The Eternal our shepherd

Psalms 23:1 A Psalm of David. The [Eternal] is my shepherd [ YHWH Rohi]; I shall not want.

So we see there are many constructions. There is the God of armies, and yet when we look at the "elohim" today we see people putting their trust in armies. There is the God who sanctifies, and so we need to go to this Being who sets us apart, makes us holy. There is the God who heals, and yet we see people turning to their own gods for healing. There is the God who is there, and yet people deny His existence, or say, "Where is the promise of His coming?" And there is the God our helper, who indeed is willing and able to come to our aid.

Turn again to Exodus, chapter 20.

Exodus 20:1-3 And God spake all these words, saying, (2) I am the [Eternal] thy God [Elohim], which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt [out of sin - turning us away from a certain way of life that you find out in the world, to a way of happiness which is His mindset. He is happy. Satan isn't.], out of the house of bondage [that brings every unhappiness, everything that we do not want in this life.] (3) Thou shalt have no other gods [elohim] before me.

The difference between the Old and New Covenants is not in the Law. The Law is the same, but it has to be written in our very hearts. It has to be magnified and made honorable. The difference is in how it is administered. In administering this First Commandment it has to be in our heart and kept there for eternity - faithfully administered according to the Spirit, the intent, the principle. The scriptures that we've gone through in this article will hopefully help every one of us to begin to be doing just that.

transcribed in article form by KA. Edited by JB.