The Ten Commandments: A Necessary Rebuke of Secular Libertarianism Part 1
by Pastor Cary Gordon
PART 1 OF A 6 PART SERIES
As you may or may not know, when Moses descended the mount, he had with him two tablets of stone carved by the finger of God. As a child, I assumed God handed Moses two tablets of stone (as opposed to one) for the simple reason that He had such large fingers. It made perfect sense to me. God had huge fingers and was clearly unable to fit all Ten Commandments on one tablet of stone. Had God picked a large enough tablet for his finger to write all ten, it obviously would have been too heavy for Moses to carry.
My childhood memories still amuse me.
To borrow words from the Apostle Paul, I “put away childish things” and came to realize Father God deliberately divided the law onto two tablets for more intelligent reasons. We’ll get to those reasons in a moment.
The legal foundation for the original 13 states at the time of our federal constitution’s ratification – the entire Mosaic Decalogue (Ten Commandments) – was codified into law at that time, but has been discarded by our present American federal and state governments. Sadly, it was first sweepingly discarded by most American churches who began to teach a Marcionite version of “grace,” irreconcilable with carefully studied scriptures. It seems grace has “replaced” the law…or so they claim.
If you’re reading this and you think I’ve already become too religious or too theological then you’re making a mistake. Your mistake suggests that you haven’t had very many political arguments with a pagan lately. Pagans are listening to religious/theological arguments, you see. I’ve had enough conversations with unchurched Americans (and even non-Americans, for that matter) who have picked up on these popular Christian clichés of ours, and I assure you they routinely use them during political arguments just as soon as they realize I’m a clergyman.
Perhaps it is only because of my occupation? Perhaps because you are not a clergyman they keep these dangerous ideas quietly wrapped inside their minds and only bring them forward on special occasions? Let me assure you, this theological misinformation is neatly tucked away in the recesses of their thoughts. Sadly, it is not only Christians who now claim Jesus did away with Mosaic law, but it is hard left; God and religion-hating people, who don’t necessarily read the Bible so much as they listen to...Christians. What a crying shame! It’s the very opposite of evangelism. Is devangelism a word? Maybe it should be.
With that explained, you might appreciate that this series of articles I’m prepared to offer for your reading pleasure is intended for both Christians and non-Christians alike – all who may still be interested in handling a full deck of truth.
Let us begin. Read very carefully and consider these plain words from Jesus (emphasis added):
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil (fulfil is the Greek word pleroo, which means in this context: to satisfy the requirements of the law through personal obedience). For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled (fulfilled is the Greek word ginomai which means in this context: to come to pass like a prediction of a future event that finally comes true).” – Matthew 5:17-18
It is very important that readers not pervert the significant difference between the first word translated as “fulfil” (pleroo) and the second word used later translated as “fulfilled” (ginomai) in this same passage. Though translated with similar looking English words, they are derived from quite different Greek words in the original text. Pleroo and ginomai do not mean the same thing. Common Marcionite error is made by believing Jesus “fulfilled the law”, as if by Christ’s obedience to “thou shalt not murder”, society no longer needed God’s law to continue warning the civic world. (If that were the meaning of this verse, we’d all be forced to admit that since Jesus “fulfilled” the law, it’s now okay to murder! This is madness!)
It is not the meaning and could not be the meaning under any rational circumstances. The very opposite is what Christ plainly warns. The use and purpose of the civil law of Moses shall NOT pass away from this fallen world UNTIL HEAVEN AND EARTH PASS AWAY.
Has Heaven passed away? No. Has Earth passed away? No. So the present use of the Mosaic system has not passed away either. Are Heaven and Earth going to eventually pass away at some point during the eternal ages to come? Yes. That is precisely what the prophets predicted for centuries. Christ believed and repeated those same predictions. Someday, the world as we now know it will dissolve and find total renewal under Christ’s theocratic rule. Thus, the final word “fulfilled” is from the Greek word ginomai, which means: to come to pass like a prediction of a future event that finally comes true.
Again, when will the “law and prophets” pass away, according to Jesus? After Heaven and Earth are passed away. In the meantime, what should be the attitude of those who follow the doctrines of Christ forward as they unravel during His “kingdom from heaven”? He tells us how ministers of the gospel will be judged in the future of our present covenant with the following warning:
Matthew 5:19 (KJV) “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of [from] heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of [from] heaven.”
Did the Apostle Paul believe that Christ specifically completed the purpose of the ritual portion of Mosaic religious laws that were prophetic of a coming Messiah, (like animal sacrifices, priestly pageantry, food ordinances, special holiday feasts, and circumcision laws)?
Yes, he most certainly did.
Did the Apostle Paul believe that Christ abolished the civic-use of the Mosaic codex (specifically the civic portion founded upon the common sense of the Ten Commandments) from any practical application in the modern world?
No, he absolutely did not.
The command, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”, was not a “prophetic prediction,” nor were any of the Ten Commandments. It was divine law made for the world’s “lawless” both during the administration of Moses and the times of Jesus around 1500 years later. It was a code of behavior plainly stated for the world (Deuteronomy 4 says “in the sight of the nations”) with logically corresponding consequences. The Commandments were designed for those who would refuse to self-govern by legitimate standards of conscience, thereby requiring external restraint by force of law in order to protect the innocent.
The difference between the believer and non-believer was simple during the times of Moses and remains the same today. Believers would obey the divine laws of society because they loved God and appreciated His gift of liberty and goodness. Non-believers, particularly those who feared getting caught, would obey the laws of society because they feared the consequences of the civil sword. Those too stupid and wicked to keep the law for fear of consequences, got what they deserved – punishment.
So civil law then and today is supposed to reflect eternal realities. What? You don’t think so? Well, the Apostle Luke sure did when he penned Acts 17:26-27 saying:
“And hath made of one blood [every nation], to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath assigned the seasons [of history] which were ordained before, and [drawn] the [national boundaries] of their habitation, That they should seek the Lord, if so be they might have groped after Him, and found Him, though doubtless He be not far from every one of us.” [Emphasis added].
Yes, civil law then and today is supposed to reflect eternal realities. Consequences for all wrongs are inevitable. Repent or be damned. Turn or burn. Bow to Christ now, in humility, or be forced to bow when He returns in His righteous wrath. Why? Because as a Great Father, God takes His responsibility to love, protect, and bless His children very seriously. The innocent must be protected from the damned, both on earth and in the next life. Punishments for crime exist here on earth. Punishments for eternal crimes exist beyond the grave. Truth is absolute. There is only one truth; therefore, there is only one true justice. There is only one standard of justice. Any deviation from that standard is unjust and contemptible to God. Civic rulers who do not rule justly and honestly on earth will answer to His wrath as well. Just ask King Herod. (See Acts 12:21-23.)
Again, when did Jesus say the Mosaic law and prophets would no longer be required on earth? After Heaven and Earth (as we know them) eventually pass away. Paul emphatically agrees with Christ’s incredibly clear warning when he echoes Him, writing:
1 Timothy 1:8-10: (KJV) “And we know that the [Mosaic] law is good, if a man use it lawfully. Knowing this, that the Law is not given unto a righteous man, but unto the lawless and disobedient, to the ungodly, and to sinners, to the unholy, and to the profane, to murderers of fathers and mothers, to manslayers, to whoremongers, to buggerers, to menstealers, to liars, to the perjured, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to wholesome doctrine.”
Does the world still have lawless people living upon it? Yes, it does. This is the rationale for the existence of civil government, according to Romans 13 and 1 Timothy 1:8-10, in our New Testament, which remains in perfect harmony with the Old Testament. And what should be the standard of such civic government designed to confront and restrain lawless people? The Ten Commandments that both Jesus and Paul warned were designed for handling wicked and sinful society…the commandments which would not pass away until Heaven and Earth first passed away…should be our standard.
As a Christian pastor, I find it very frightening to assert myself as being smarter than either Jesus or Paul, so I’m constrained by both reason and conviction to agree with them. If you are still daring enough to reject their assertions after reading the clear remarks made by two great and wise biblical authorities, then, well, good luck with that as you pass through the door to the next life – a door the local undertaker refers to as a grave. You and I are in the same boat, friend. We are all headed toward that same morbid doorway.
I am here to lovingly remind you that the day approaches. The kingdom from Heaven is here to save more than your soul. The kingdom from Heaven is here to save your civilization. As it so happens, individual souls, like man-created governments, are saved the exact same way. The Mosaic law is the schoolmaster that leads both to Christ. (See Galatians 3:24).