sundayword:BY PROSPER TINGINI
I have written numerous times expressing my disapproval on the concepts of the numbers of commandments. My disagreement is centred on the set number: 10. The Lord our God spent 40 days and nights with Moses on the mountain giving a summation of hundreds of other statutes (Exodus 24:18). If we closely follow events at Mt Sinai, it is clear that after the people were gathered together to view and listen to the voice of the Almighty, the presence of the Lord itself was so fearful that they pleaded with Moses for them to withdraw from the sight of the Lord. This happened after God had spoken the tenth commandment. They then begged Moses to continue to receive the other statutes, on their behalf (Exodus 20:18-20). To then imply that the commandments ended with the tenth commandment is a misrepresentation of facts.
However, there is an unspoken of ancillary set of 10 Commandments which arose days after Moses had climbed down from the mountain. This happened after the Lord was angered by the actions of the people, who had moulded and erected a structure of a golden calf to worship, in violation of the second commandment which He had already pronounced. God threatened to abandon them on their onwards journey to the Promised Land. As a consequence, 3 000 men were slain (Exodus 32:15-35).
Moses then pleaded with the Lord for the forgiveness of the sin. He had also sent a plague upon the people. It was at this point that God swore to Moses that no man would ever again see His face (Exodus 33:17-23).
Moses had dropped and broken the two tablets of stone inscribed with all the statutes which the Lord had written down in His (God’s) handwriting. The Almighty then spoke to Moses (Exodus 34:1-3) saying, “Cut two tablets of stone like the first; and I will write upon the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mt Sinai, and present yourself to me on the top of the mountain. No man shall come up with you, and let no man be seen throughout all the mountain; let no flock or herd feed before that mountain.” Moses proceeded to do as commanded by the Lord, and had the two tablets of stone rewritten, in the handwriting of God. Up to this point in our scriptures, there is no mention of God’s commandments numbering 10 in total.
After the Lord had finished rewriting the laws on the replaced tablets of stone, He then spoke again to Moses, “Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been wrought in all the earth or in any nation; and all the people among whom you are to live with shall see the work of the Lord; for it is a terrible thing that I will do with you. Observe what I command you this day. Behold I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hettites, the Perizzites, the Hibites, and the Jebusites. Take note of this, in case you end up making a covenant with the inhabitants of the land wherein you go, and it ends up becoming a snare in your midst.” This was an instruction to observe a new covenant being drafted by the Lord specifically to be strictly observed during their continued journey, so that they would not be lead astray by the practices of other nationalities who they would encounter on the way to the promised land and thereafter.
The new covenant required 10 distinct practices to be observed at all times. These religious practices would form an integral part of their culture, to distinguish them as the children of God and separate them from the other cultures and religions honouring other gods.
The list of the 10 subsidiary commandments read as follows:
i) Exodus 34:13-16) “You shall tear down their (pagan) altars and break their pillars, and cut down their Ashe’rim (tree temples), for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they play the 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 the harlot after their gods and make your sons play the harlot after their gods.
ii) (verse 17) “You shall make for yourself no molten gods.
iii) (verse 18) “The feast of unleavened bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib; for in the month of Abib you came out of Egypt.
iv) (verse 19) All that opens the womb is mine, all your male 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 of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.
v) (verse 21) “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in ploughing time and in harvest you shall rest.
vi) (verse 212-11) “You shall observe the feast of weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.
vii) (verse 23-24) Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. For I will cast out nations before you, and enlarge your borders; neither shall any man desire your land, when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.
viii) (verse 25) “You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven (yeast); neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the Passover be left until the morning.
iv) (verse 26) “The first of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God.
x) (verse 26) “You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.”
Whatever the term people may give to this set of instructions from the Lord, they would comprise the basic religious ceremonies or sacred rites for the children of God. The Lord then instructed Moses, “Write these words; in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” And Moses was with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And he (Moses) wrote upon the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:27-28). This set of rules of the new covenant signals the first time the words “10 commandments (words)” are used in the Bible.
There is clear distinction between the hundreds of general statutes (the law) which were written in God’s own handwriting on the two tablets of stone, brought up the mountain. These other ten commandments were written in the handwriting of Moses, as directed by the Lord. This is the origin of the confusion as regards the numbers of the commandments. A clear analysis separates the hundreds of general statutes from the ten commandments of the new covenant.
l Prosper Tingini is the scribe of the Children of God Missionary Assembly: God’s Messengers. Contact details: 0771 260 195. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org