BY PROSPER TINGINI
I have in the past written about my reservations on the doctrine of the Ten Commandments, in relation to the numbers. I have vociferously argued that the numbers of God’s commandments are collectively in their hundreds.
My dictionary tells me that a commandment is a directive or instruction to do or not to do certain things. I humbly agree that the Ten Commandments referred to are only a reference to those first ten commandments spoken by the Lord our God directly, within the sight and the hearing of the assembly of the trekking descendants of Jacob at Mt Sinai.
They had been requested by the Lord to gather at the foot of the mountain, under the leadership of Moses. The purpose was to ensure that the people would see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears, to be witnesses to the world, of the presence and existence of the Almighty God.
His presence was so fearful that they begged Moses to let them withdraw from the mountain, and that him alone (Moses) would remain on their behalf, so as to continue to listen to the additional instructions (Exodus 20:18-20). Moses clearly spells out what then transpired as the people pleaded with him to withdraw from the fearful sight of the Lord.
He relayed the information, “The Lord heard your words when you spoke to me; and the Lord said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you; they have rightly said all they have spoken. I wish that they has such a mind as this always, to fear me and keep all my commandments, that it may go well with them and with their children forever! Go and say to them, “Return to your turns.” But you, stand here by me, and I will tell you all the commandments and the statutes and the ordinances which you shall teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess (Deuteronomy 5:28-31).”
Moses then follows up to reveal what other commandments God spoke to him about, for him to teach to the people. In Deuteronomy, chapters 6-27, Moses repeats all those other commandments, statutes and ordinances which the Lord spoke of, to be preached to the people. Apparently, the first and top on the list was this, “Hear, O people: The Lord your God is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might….” For the next twenty one chapters, Moses goes over all the others, of a host of other statutes, in their hundreds in numbers.
Coincidentally, when Jesus Christ was asked by various people, of which of all the commandments is the first and most important, he similarly quotes according to the arrangement of Moses, in the order of the commandments. In Matthew 22:34-40 and also Mark 12:28-31 he is asked a same question; “Which commandment is the first and greatest of all?” In both answers, Jesus vividly replies, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment. And a second is like this. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depends all the law and the prophets.”
Clearly Jesus Christ teachings is in tandem with what Moses was directed by God to teach to the people. Yet, this first and most important commandment of God, taught by both Jesus Christ and Moses, is nowhere within the confines of the Doctrine of the Ten Commandments.
Something is clearly not right about this, something is amiss. In my readings of the scriptures, the first mention of the words “Ten Commandments” in the old testament is in reference to a specific covenant drafted by God and primarily directed to guide the children of Israel on their onward journey to their promised land. This was after the people had built a golden calf in the absence of Moses, while he was in the mountain with God writing all the commandments.
I am sure the people moulded the golden calf somewhat innocently, copying this from other religious cultures. They were simply imitating other symbolic religious statues which they saw among other nationalities, from the time they were in Egypt. They had obviously seen numerous other molten or graven images that were perceived to be a representation of some gods, in the likeness of those other gods.
After Moses had pleaded for forgiveness on behalf of the people for the sin of the sculpture of the golden calf, God withdrew His anger; and then set apart ten distinct commandments to be strictly observed by the people during and after their expedition to Israel.
These are listed as follows (Exodus 34:12-26): “Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land wither you go, lest it become a snare in the midst of you, you shall tear down their altars, and cut down their Acherim, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they play harlot after their gods, and sacrifice to their gods, and one invites you, you eat of his sacrifice, and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters play harlots after their gods, and make your sons play the harlots after their gods”.
“You shall make for yourself no molten gods.”
“The feast of the unleavened bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib. For in the month of Abib you came out of Egypt.
“All that opens the womb is mine, of all your cattle, the firstlings of cow and sheep. The firstling of an ass you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the first born sons you shall redeem. And no one shall appear before me empty.
“Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in ploughing time and harvest time you shall rest.
“You shall observe the feast of weeks, the first fruits of your harvests.”
“You shall observe the fruits of ingathering at the year’s end. Three times in the year shall your males appear before the Lord God….
“You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the Passover be left until the morning.
“The first of the first fruits you shall bring to the Lord your God.
“You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.” (These are a total of ten).
Thereafter the Lord instructed Moses (Exodus 34:27); “Write these words, in accordance with those words I have made the covenant with you and Israel.” Verse 28 then goes on to read, “And Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights (a second time), he neither ate bread nor drunk water and Moses wrote upon the tables of the covenant, the ten commandments.” It could be that people then mistook this reference, of this set of ten commandments, as if to mean a reference to all the commandments of God. I have previously written that there are many other possible reasons that could have caused such a misinterpretation, or possibly a deliberate change to some texts of the Bible, for reasons I also mentioned.
Prosper Tingini is the scribe of the Children Of God Missionary Assembly. Contact details: WhatsApp/SMS: 0771260195 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org