THE TWELVE COMMANDMENTS – TEN OF MOSES, AND TWO NEW ONES
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© April 2015, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Many people love the Ten Commandments of Moses. Other say the entire Bible is a cruel, male chauvinist, outdated, piggish, mysogenistic, homophobic, paternalistic, condescending, and stupid document. I would like to deal with the Ten Commandments only in this article. Themes include:
1. The Twelve Commandments are a set of common sense rules that are extremely important for everyone today. They are not a “religion”, as some believe. However, they are the basis for the Jewish and Christian legal systems that today govern most Western nations.
2. The Twelve Commandments are about loving others properly. They are not just prohibitions and regulations. They also may help us understand the grand plan of the Universe and how we fit into it, so that we may live happily.
3. Modern societies ignore the Commandments at their great peril. In other words, the rules work very well, and must be taught widely or a society degenerates into tyranny, false religions, and lawlessness.
4. The Commandments can be interpreted in different ways. In other words, their meaning is not always simple. Thus, it is worth discussing and thinking about them clearly.
5. One can evaluate a person, a community or an entire society by how well they follow these Commandments.
6. Two others may be added to the current Ten Commandments of Moses to deal with modern problems. They are 1) Do not rape, and 2) Do not start wars. These are discussed at the end of this article.
Let us now discuss the Commandments one by one.
Note: In different translations and traditions, such as the Talmudic, the Augustinian, and the Philonic traditions, the Commandments are not in the identical order. While perhaps confusing, this is not too important because the ideas matter, not the exact order of the Commandments.
THE TWELVE COMMANDMENTS
I. YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BESIDES THE LORD, THY ONE GOD
Here are two meanings of this all-important Commandment:
1. There is only one Source, one Creation and/or one God. This aspect is about the integrity of our Universe and how to worship. In this case, the word integrity means oneness, wholeness and completeness. The Commandment means that in one Source or idea is found everything you will ever need.
2. Put God first in your life, above all. The Commandment is about your priorities. The idea is expressed in the New Testament of the Bible in the statement, “Seek first for the Kingdom of heaven, and all else will be added thereto.” All else in your life must be secondary, in other words, to the concept that ONE Source or God rules all things.
1. We are all subsidiary to the grand scheme of the Universe called God or the Creation.
2. We are all brothers and sisters. A deeper meaning of the First Commandment is that since there is only one central God or Source or Father, all people on earth are related. In other words, we share our humanity with every other person on earth, no matter who they are. In this regard, we are all brothers and sisters, and we are all children of the same Source or Father.
3. This Commandment is difficult for Hindus and some others who worship multiple “gods”. However, I believe there is really no conflict. The Hindu “gods” are more like our Greek mythological “gods” such as Zeus and others. They are humans, basically, who are powerful and perhaps more advanced than us. However, they are not the ONE SOURCE or the ONE FATHER. Judaism brought forth a new, higher idea, which is that above all the “god” in Hinduism, Buddhism, Greek mythology and many other pagan religions, there is yet a higher Source or God, who is One.
4. Does this mean there is a man (or woman) sitting on a throne someplace ruling everything and everyone? Some teach this, but my understanding is that the answer is no. The Bible does say things like “God was jealous”, or the “wrath of God”. These and other statements make it sound like God is a human, with emotions, just as we have. However, I believe these statements were made to help people understand God, rather than being actual physical descriptions of God.
I believe God is a principle, or a power, or an emanation of light. Could there be a “wrath” of such a God? Yes, it is possible that if you disobey certain laws of physics, for example jumping off a high building, then the “law” hits you hard and you fall down hard.
Could such a God be “jealous”? Yes. One meaning of the word jealous, according to the dictionary, is “afraid of losing something of value”. It is possible that God, the Emanation or Love principle, loves us so much that He or She is afraid of losing us to sin or spiritual death.
In other words, He or She wants us to behave in certain ways, and to mature and work our way back to a high level of understanding and practice of good works and love. Because of this, He or She may be jealous - that is, somewhat fearful - that we might go astray.
II. YOU SHALL NOT MAKE ANY GRAVEN IMAGES OR IDOLS OF GOD, AND YOU SHALL NOT WORSHIP ANY IDOLS OR OBJECTS, NOT IN THE HEAVENS, THE LAND OR THE SEAS
This interesting Commandment is telling us that this God is invisible, and cannot be worshipped like the other ones with statues, golden calves, or other things. In other words, it means:
1. Do not worship graven images, which are pictures or photos, and do not worship idols, which are objects. These can be so-called religious images and idols, or secular ones such as large buildings, beautiful or talented women or men (either photos or living people), money, and other modern “idols”.
2. The proper way to “worship” is thus not a material style of worship. Thus, “worshipping” the family, money, the body, sex, love, children, friends, spouses, lovers, occupations, cars, vacations, homes, or anything else is always incorrect. Even worshipping the angels, or the image of Jesus or Buddha, is wrong.
This was a new concept in the time of Moses, as every other nation and group worshipped many confusing gods, each of whom served in a different area such as agriculture, the weather, financial support, love, and so forth. Some older religions in Africa, Asia and South America still worship many gods. The Second Commandment is thus a great simplification of religious concept and worship.
The secular humanists particularly dislike this Commandment. They want to worship the earth, for example, or the environment, or perhaps worship the animals, or people who need their help. Some worship sex, or perhaps friendship, above all else. They dislike being told that these are all secondary to worshipping the One God, the Source Of All Life, or Creation.
I understand their desire, but they don’t realize that all the things they treasure and value so highly are products of the One God. If one truly worships the One God, one does appreciate the environment, the animals, and all else.
Implication. The emphasis in today’s modern society on making a lot of money, for example, or on appearance, or on having a lot of friends, or even on saving the earth, is wrong. The emphasis must be on living in accordance with the principles outlined in this article, and that alone. That must be the standard, not so-called modern standards of happiness, wealth or “goodness”.
This does not mean that one should be selfish or unconcerned with one’s appearance, or that it is fine to pollute the earth. It simply means to keep your priorities clear, and things will work out for the animals, the environment, and for you as well. I realize this is a difficult idea, and I love the environment and the animals. But this is different from worshiping them as my God.
III. YOU SHALL NOT MISUSE THE NAME OF GOD, OR TAKE THE NAME OF GOD IN VAIN
This means that if you swear an oath to God, you must mean it. The word to swear, as used in the Bible, means giving your powerful intent and commitment to something. This is an older use of the word. In modern times, the meaning of the word to swear has been reversed, in fact, to mean the use of coarse or slang language. This is most unfortunate in some ways.
This Commandment is about your integrity of intent, and that you honor the name of the Creator or Creation.
Why is this important? For at least three reasons:
1. God should be the center of your Universe or thoughts at all times. The name should therefore be a holy word and everything connected to Him must be praised, loved and lauded. Mocking or lying using the name of God, therefore, is a bad idea.
2. Using the name of God to cause harm to others is also a terrible thing to do. This is sometimes called satanic, in Christian thought. It is when someone uses the name or concept of God, Source or Creation to hurt others.
Someone might say “God made me do it”, after doing something evil. This is just one small example of taking the name of God in vain. God never commands anyone to harm another, although it is okay to harm another in self-defense only.
3. At a practical level, swearing an oath to God was one of the few ways that society had and still has to assure itself that a person is telling the truth. It is fine to tell a judge, a jury or just a friend that “I am telling you the truth”. However, invoking the name of God or the Creation is a further stamp of approval, or proof, that you mean what you say. This is why the punishment for taking the name of the Lord in vain was death.
For example, swearing an oath to God is required in America when someone is a witness in a court case. It is also required of all elected leaders in America at the federal and state levels. They are required to place their right hand on a Bible and pledge their allegiance to the United States and the Republic for which it stands. They must also swear to uphold, defend and protect the Constitution of The United States.
Sadly, many elected officials today do not like the Constitution and they seek to destroy it. This is a horrible contradiction and lie that these politicians must live with. They will someday have to answer for their attempts to circumvent and destroy the US Constitution, and for their mocking of the name of God. If they do not like America, they should go and live elsewhere, or at least they should not become elected officials in the government.
4. Another meaning of this Commandment is that one must not “use” God or the Creation for greedy, lustful, violent, or other nasty purposes. Many people do this, even preachers, at times. This is all the misuse or abuse of name of God, and what it stands for. This is an abuse of the greatest power the love that exists.
Liberals, secular humanists, and atheists dislike this Commandment, as it imparts a special meaning to the name of God or the Creation. They believe that God is not important or perhaps even fake, so why bother making the name important?
They have a point, in fact. If one does not believe in a God, then why bother with swearing oaths to God? In fact, there is no point.
Politicians should probably be asked if they will swear an oath to God before being forced to do so to take office. However, if they won’t swear the oath, then they should not be considered for the job in the first place, as they are probably not trustworthy men or women. America and most other nations no longer consider this important, but it is most important if one wants honest and efficient government. Looks and words matter little, in comparison with honesty, integrity and pure intent. I hope we learn this soon.
IV. YOU SHALL CELEBRATE THE SABBATH OR SEVENTH DAY OF REST EACH WEEK, AND KEEP IT HOLY
The meanings of this Commandment, I believe, are many:
1. Take a break from your daily “grind” or daily routine each week. This is a very healthful idea for most people, though not all require it. Thus, the Sabbath Commandment may simply be about rest, regeneration, repairing the body and the mind, and even repairing machinery, tools, automobiles and other things one uses all week long.
2. Spend a day or time each week praising God, not just laying around, reading the newspaper, or watching random television, for example.
This is about setting aside a day each week, at the very least, to focus on God rather than on secular matters that so easily fill up one’s time.
3. Elsewhere in the Bible we are told that God rested on the Seventh day, and so should we. Thus, this Commandment may have to do with the cycles of activity and rest, in which a day of rest on the seventh day is critical for completion, breaking patterns, and balancing out a person’s life.
This Commandment is a reminder that the non-stop, rat race lifestyle is not ideal. The antidote is that once a week, stop your normal material life routine and dedicate the day to God or to the Creation. This Commandment compels us to slow down at least once a week. A nice idea, if possible, is not to drive the car except for necessities, and don’t spend the day on the telephone or email, and skip Facebook and all social media sites, as well. If you use the computer, use it for spiritual purposes only.
4. Religious people will say that the Sabbath Commandment is more than this. The Hebrew Bible specifies what must be done and what must be left undone on the Sabbath.
However, this is a source of controversy. Some readers know that one reason Jesus was crucified was for healing people on the Sabbath, and doing other things on the Sabbath that were forbidden by the priests of the day.
Jesus understood the Old Testament differently, and perhaps wanted to remind people that the Sabbath Commandment is more about common sense and love, and not about following mere rules and regulations, especially if people are harmed by such rules and regulations.
I once worked for a wise man who operated a special summer camp for children. On the Sabbath, the children had to slow down, everyone took showers are dressed up a little, the vehicles were repaired, and the counselors and staff relaxed. He told me that if God had not ordained the Sabbath, we would need to invent one.
V. HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER, THAT THY DAYS MAY BE LONG UPON THE LAND WHICH THE LORD THY GOD GIVETH THEE
Some interpret this Commandment to mean that you must love and care for your parents, even if they abuse or hate you.
I don’t think it means this. It means that one should respect parents, no matter what they do, and honor the fact that your parents brought you forth on this earth plane and gave you life and basic sustenance. For this, be forever grateful.
I think this Commandment is really about living in integrity with all that gave you life on earth. Ido not think it is about:
A. Visiting Mom or Dad every few months or weeks.
B. Talking to them on the telephone for an hour a week.
C. Even letting them into your home if they are very disruptive, although it is considered a blessing in many cultures.
D. Letting them be around your children, if they are a very bad influence.
E. Supporting them financially, although this is also considered a blessing in most cultures.
F. It does not even mean you must be on speaking terms with an abusive or dangerous parent.
However, I think it means to forgive them for anything that they did, and let them go, rather than hold grudges and dishonoring them in your mind, in your speech or in your actions.
Honor the Father in Heaven, and the Mother Earth. Some spiritual texts interpret this Commandment to mean that one must honor and love the Father in Heaven and the Mothering Energy of the earth that brings forth our food and water. Some will disagree with this concept, but it is another interpretation of this Fifth Commandment.
VI. YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER
This Commandment is often misunderstood. It means you shall not take another life without good cause. In this sense, it is about your integrity with the force called life.
While the Commandment sounds absolute and all-inclusive, other parts of the Bible make it clear that it is not. Killing another person is horrible, but the Bible elsewhere permits one to kill another who is harming you first. It also allows killing an enemy in a war situation. It also allows killing animals for food and sacrifice. It may even allow a killing to end the life of another person who is in severe pain and who is terminally ill. So if you kill in self-defense, for example, and for this reason only, it is not considered murder.
I often hear that Jewish and Christian people are hypocritical because they engage in wars in which people are killed, even though the Bible forbids it. However, the Bible does not forbid killing in self defense or during wartime. As to which wars are justified, the Bible does not specify these.
A modern example. One can argue that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not about the self defense of the NATO nations, so the soldiers should not be there from nations that worship the God of the Jews and Christians. However, this is not true because these nations are havens for terrorists who continue to attack and kill those in the Western nations. So the war and killing is justified, at least on Biblical principles.
What about abortion? The Commandment does not mention abortion, specifically, although it is said to be sinful elsewhere in the Bible. This is the main reason why some women, in particular, do not like the Hebrew or Christian Bibles.
This is unfortunate because the Commandments are designed for many situations, and they are very good general rules. In fact, abortion has been a subject of debate by both Jewish and Christian scholars. The debate rages on, and I won’t solve it here.
As for whether it is murder, I am told that souls begin to enter a human fetus within several weeks of conception. Killing the baby, however, does not kill the souls. I am told they just move on to someone else. Another milestone occurs at 8 to 12 weeks, after which the fetus is absolutely complete, with a brain and heart and two hands, etc. From then on, it just grows larger and larger until it is born into this world.
On the other hand, allowing a faulty pregnancy to continue occasionally kills the mother, who may have other small children to care for. Does that make sense?
On the other hand, is it right to terminate a life just because it is inconvenient or it will affect a lady’s figure? I think not.
On the other hand, when the Bible was written, abortion was a very unclean practice that usually involved sticking sharp objects into a woman’s uterus. It often killed the mother, as well as the baby.
On the other hand, many women who have had abortions will tell you that having an abortion leaves emotional scars that may last a lifetime. Abortion also carries some medical risk, especially late term or third trimester abortions.
On the other hand, the ability to carry a child and give birth is a sacred gift. Sadly, the sacredness of life, and the sacredness of womanhood is basically gone in modern societies. Women are told they are just like men, and having children is just a sort of side issue. This horrible attitude is responsible for thousands of sick children today. I would urge men and women to consider all this, and stop looking at the issue as all black or all white.
What about capital punishment, also called the death penalty? This is also a little confusing, although not if you read the Bible carefully. The Bible specifies the punishment of death for certain crimes including rape, murder, perjury, and taking the name of God in vain (this means swearing an oath on a Bible, and saying “so help me God”, and then acting otherwise). So obviously, the Bible permits the death penalty, and this is not considered a violation of the Sixth Commandment.
I hope this clarifies the Sixth Commandment as respecting life, first and foremost.
Another meaning of this Commandment. One can also murder another’s spirit, murder an interest of a child, for example, in school, or murder the self-esteem and dignity of another. Therefore, an expanded understanding of this Commandment is that one must not kill the Spirit, kill the intellect, or kill the dignity of another.
Murdering yourself. This Commandment also applies to oneself. It is the prohibition against suicide, or intentionally taking one’s own life. It might also imply that one must not murder one’s own body slowly with deficient food, not enough rest and sleep, the use of drugs and alcohol, too much work or even too much sex.
One can also, in effect, murder one’s own Spirit, self-esteem and dignity through destructive thoughts or deeds.
This principle can be applied to all the Commandments, not just this one. One can steal from oneself, one can “adulterate” oneself in various ways, one can dishonor the Father and Mother energies in oneself, and so on.
VII. YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY
At the simplest level, adultery means sex outside of one’s marriage. This is another common sense rule. It is about helping to maintain the integrity of the marriage vow.
Some misinterpret the Seventh Commandment to mean that one must not have sex unless and until one is married. However, that is not the strict definition of adultery. Adultery is specifically sex with someone who is not your marriage partner. So if one is not married, this Commandment technically does not apply to you. Sex before marriage, in the Christian context, is fornication, another sin according to many people, but not one that is directly related to this Commandment.
The Seventh Commandment also does not say that one must not look upon a woman with lust. This excellent idea came from Saul or Paul, a disciple of Jesus.
A deeper meaning to the Seventh Commandment. Adultery, like the word adulterate, means to corrupt or ruin. A deeper meaning to this Commandment is that one must not corrupt anything. In other words, do not adulterate anything you do or have.
This expanded meaning makes good sense. It is not limited to married people, but applies to everyone and applies to all of our life, not just marriages. For example, it means do not corrupt, ruin or adulterate your children by spoiling them or lying to them, perhaps. It means do not corrupt your business by lying to your customers or mistreating them in some way. It means do not corrupt your body by eating poor quality food or not resting enough, and so on. In this regard, the Seventh Commandment may be about preserving integrity and wholesomeness in all things, persons and situations.
VIII. YOU SHALL NOT STEAL
This is an important Commandment in many ways. It is a very broad statement that means you shall not appropriate anything, or take anything, that does not belong to you. This includes real tangible property, intellectual property, kidnapping a child, taking a life for no good reason, or even taking or degrading the dignity or the self-esteem of another. It can apply to stealing exam answers to get a better grade, and of course to stealing money or objects.
In legal terms, this Commandment sets down or implies the principle of ownership of private property. This is a basic legal concept in Western society, although it is under attack in many Western nations.
Private property rights are not a common idea in most of the world with its dictators, or those that have communist, military or socialistic governments. In these nations, for example, the government regularly steals from the people and sets a terrible example that the people often follow.
“Redistributing the wealth”, a popular phrase today, easily degenerates into plain stealing from some to give to others whom the leader favors.
This can be a difficult Commandment for many people to follow if they are parasites on society. Some live by cheating and stealing from others. I would include in this group anyone who charges too much money for a product or service, even if it is perfectly legal. I would also include anyone who is part of a licensed monopoly group such as doctors, lawyers, and union tradesmen. All have “legal arrangements” that allow them to steal from others, although it is technically legal. In other words, they do not earn their living, but rather they receive certain “benefits” as a result of their monopoly position in society.
Others who routinely take from others legally are those on government welfare. They receive “perks” in the form of tax breaks, food stamps, social security disability, unemployment benefits and more. The reason these are stealing, in one sense, is that the money for these programs is taken by force from the general population. If the funds were given freely, as in private charity, then such benefits would not be stealing.
I am not advocating the end of all government programs, but there is a problem when any government or power takes the people’s money by force. It always engenders anger and resentment, and often cheating and lying. Private charity and private welfare worked extremely well in America until the government ruined it by taking over the welfare system during the 20th century. There is no need for government welfare, I maintain.
Another group that routinely steals from the public are institutions such as the Federal Reserve system, the banks, and others who mystify money and take advantage of people’s ignorance in this area.
Other ways people cheat and steal things range from simple shoplifting to filing false income tax reports, which cheats or steals from the government. Others cheat on health insurance forms and in other ways. Inflating the currency by the governments is a horrible type of stealing of the people’s wealth, and so forth and so on. So this is not an easy Commandment to follow, and it is a very important one.
IX. YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS
This is another complex and difficult Commandment to follow. I interpret this to mean that one should not lie at any time, about anything, unless it is to preserve your life or property. In other words, this Ninth Commandment is about integrity with your speech and your thoughts.
All the Commandments are sacred, but this one is very special because your words are deeds. Your words and your deeds should match up perfectly every day. If they do not, you are bearing false witness and violating this Commandment.
In other words, this Commandment does not just mean one shall not give false testimony in a court of law. It means much, much more. For example, it means one must not:
a. Spread false rumors.
b. Lie or exaggerate to make a point.
c. Cover up or obscure the truth by telling half-truths or omitting important information.
d. Advertise falsely, which is extremely common. For example, an ad may feature a lovely young, scantily clothed lady who has no interest at all in the product or service, but is just being paid to look pretty and sexy. This is just a subtle way of lying to consumers.
e. Lying about money, as is done by the government when they waste it, and as is done by many individuals, as well.
f. Lying with the body - with words, or a smile, a gesture, a glance, seduction, and in other ways.
g. Lying to oneself. This is a fine line. Sometimes one is caught in negative thinking, and one tries to substitute positive thoughts instead. This is not exactly lying, but rather trying to control the mind. However, many people lie to themselves that things are not the way they really are. This can be a subtle form of self-hypnosis or brainwashing in an attempt to put yourself to sleep to the truth.
An exception, perhaps, is the use of prayers or affirmations such as the 23rd Psalm of David. This psalm, along with others, can help stop negative thinking and help calm the mind.
Lying can be very subtle. It can mean leading a person on in a relationship with gifts or praise, when they are false. It can mean telling a child a scary story just to keep the child in line. Learning to tell the truth and live the truth is a lifelong struggle for everyone! Let no one think they are above the fray, so to speak.
X. YOU SHALL NOT COVET YOUR NEIGHBOR’S HOUSE, NOR HIS WIFE, NOR HIS MALE SERVANT, NOR HIS FEMALE SERVANT, NOR HIS OX, NOR HIS DONKEY, NOR ANYTHING THAT IS YOUR NEIGHBOR’S
This is an interesting Commandment because most people do not know the word covet. It does not just mean to envy. To covet means to want to steal from another. This fascinating Commandment means you should not seek or desire to take away or steal that which belongs to others. It is about integrity of desire in relation to action.
For example, let us say your neighbor has a lovely wife or husband. It is perfectly okay to desire that you should also have a lovely wife or husband. However, it is coveting if you secretly or openly would like to take away your neighbor’s husband or wife, and have him or her for yourself. This is a fine distinction, but an important one.
An important political example. Some politicians tell the voters that it is “not fair” that a few people own big houses and drive fancy cars, while most of the people do not. These politicians spend their time stirring up envy and hatred for the rich. This is about coveting, and they encourage it.
This is called class warfare talk in the United States, and it is based on the writings of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. These two 19th century political scientists based their entire world view on the concept that progress in human society is all about a class struggle, and hatred, envy and coveting between the rich and the poor. It is the theoretical basis of Marxism, communism and socialism.
However, this rhetoric violates the Tenth Commandment that warns us not to desire the possessions or wealth of our neighbors. Indeed, teaching this totally anti-biblical attitude tends to divide the nation, and stirs up anger, resentment, hatred and often ultimately violence.
The truth, by the way, is that some people work hard, so they have more money. Some are lazy, so they have less. Some also develop their talents, so they earn more. Others would rather drink wine all night, so they tend to earn less.
Instead of stealing the possessions from the wealthy, Abraham Lincoln and many other great men said to teach the poor how to become wealthy. This works wherever it is tried, even in modern Red China to some degree. Yet it is not taught in high schools and colleges, which is truly a shame. For more on this important subject, read Capitalism and Freedom on this website.
Additional information: The Tenth Commandment is quite specific, unlike all the other Commandments. It specifically mentions the neighbor’s wife, maidservant, manservant, animals, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor. Perhaps these are spelled out to emphasize how inclusive and important it is not to covet. Perhaps this is why class warfare talk is so pernicious.
TWO NEW COMMANDMENTS
I hope it does not seem too arrogant to suggest that we need a few more commandments. Here they are:
IX. DO NOT RAPE
Rape is widespread all over the world. It is cultural in some nations. In others, notably America and Europe, it may be part of an effort by a foreign government to destroy the fabric of the society. After all, it destroys women’s lives in half a dozen ways, infects their husbands and boyfriends with diseases, and more.
The raping must stop. Anyone caught doing it pays dearly, I am told, even if the legal system does not punish the crime hard enough. To read more about this subject, please read Rape and Healing Rape on this website.
The word rape has broader meanings such as to violate, to steal, to humiliate or to “rip off” another. All this may be included in the Commandment not to rape.
XII. DO NOT START WARS
The days of unrestricted war on earth need to end. Those who start wars pay dearly, I am told. There is no reason for aggression against another sovereign nation. No nation on earth needs the territory, people or resources of another nation. This needs to be taught to everyone on earth. So it does not matter what your Queron teaches. Nor does it matter what Karl Marx taught. There must be no more aggression against other nations or other people you disagree with!
The word war can be expanded, in this Commandment, but that is not the intent of it. People sometimes start wars with their family, their friends, their employers or employees, and so on. However, at times, these are needed to bring to light the truth, for example, or to make an example of someone so that others will not go astray. So this Commandment only applies to physical, cyber, electronic, psychotronic and other outright and unprovoked attacks on the life and property and territory that belongs to others.
OTHER TOPICS RELATED TO THE TWELVE COMMANDMENTS
THE ENTIRE BASIS FOR WESTERN CIVILIZATION
Although some will disagree, I believe the Ten Commandments of Moses are the basis for modern Western civilization. Please allow me to explain. The Ten Commandments of Moses are a basic legal code that protects the innocent, punishes the guilty, establishes a right to own and control private property, allows for self-defense, forces people to treat each other civilly, and more.
In so doing, the Commandments of Moses form the groundwork for the wonderful legal system we have today in many Western nations that protects those who are honest and decent, and hopefully jails those who lie, cheat, steal, murder, rape and otherwise harm society and its citizens. I believe this is the “big picture” concerning the Ten Commandments. It is a marvelous legal code to guide modern man in his quest for an advanced society.
Many people have forgotten this aspect of the Ten Commandments, though not the founders of America, who inscribed them all over the Supreme Court building in Washington, DC, in every courtroom in the land, and in most early government buildings, as well. The fact that the Ten Commandments are now banned from being displayed in public schools and courtrooms of America, for example, is totally insane.
The argument for this is that they are a “religious symbol”, when they are nothing of the sort. They are the basis for a legal system that has produced a sane society, and they should be hallowed, not banned.
One could argue that the real cause of the downfall of some nations today, including the communist nations, is that they do not abide by the these Commandments. They institutionalize lying, cheating, stealing and even murdering. If this ever happens in America, she, too, will go down. I believe that to the extent that a nation elevates the Ten Commandments, and it citizens actually practice them, that nation will prosper.
This is not because that nation is “favored by God”, but because the Ten Commandments are basic legal principles needed for an orderly and prosperous society. This, once again, is why class warfare talk by the Democratic Party in the USA is so damaging to everyone. These politicians repeat over and over that their opposition just favors the rich. Not so. The opposition to class warfare favors freedom, and allowing people to accumulate wealth if they earn it legally and properly.
THE COMMANDMENTS ARE NOT A “RELIGIOUS” SYSTEM
This article focuses on the Ten Commandments as a logical and common sense system of simple rules for living. A huge mistake, in my opinion, is to just associate them with Judaism or Christianity, as is the case today. It is true that Moses was a Hebrew, but that does not mean that: 1) they are religious in nature, 2) that one must be Jewish or Christian to follow them, or 3) that one must be religious at all to appreciate them.
Many secular people dislike the Bible, which they consider outdated, bigoted or paternalistic, and they throw away the Ten Commandments as well. Then they wonder why their children lie, cheat, steal, do drugs, and their lives end up in ruins. Society needs basic rules of conduct and intent. The Twelve Commandments are a simple moral code, not a religious order or religion. They are designed to help you live your life as happily and joyously as possible, with as few problems as possible.
THE WORD COMMANDMENT IN HEBREW DOES NOT MEAN A FIXED RULE, BUT RATHER A SIGNPOST
The word for commandment in the Hebrew Bible, does not actually mean a rule. It has a different meaning entirely. The word commandment in Hebrew means a signpost. This is important because it is a much more sophisticated way to understand the Commandments – as the Twelve Signposts.
The Commandments are thus not meant only as rules for living. They are signposts that point you in the direction of a more Spiritual, healthier, longer, and happier life. In this sense, they are like mathematical vectors or arrows on a signpost that point you in the right direction so you do not become lost. This is a more advanced understanding that can move a person forward very fast in one’s mental and spiritual development.
THE TWELVE COMMANDMENTS AS A WAY TO GAUGE A PERSON AND A SOCIETY
The word commandment in Hebrew also can mean a type of gauge, much like the gasoline gauge in an automobile. We can thus use the Twelve Commandments as a way to gauge or measure of how well a person is living life.
Those who live a simple, honest, clean life do not always come out “ahead” in society’s terms such as wealth or perhaps “love”. However, following the Twelve Commandments properly is still a wonderful way to gauge your life.
You can also gauge or measure the righteousness of a society by noting how well that society and its people, in general, practice the Twelve Commandments. Do the people worship false gods such as sex, money, lust, fame, etc.? Do people swear by God and then disobey their oath of allegiance, for example, to the US Constitution which most have not even read? Do people balance their lives by taking off a day of work each week, rather than working too much or slacking off too much?
Furthermore, is marriage between a man and a woman held sacred, or do many people cheat on their spouses? Must you lock up everything to prevent it from being stolen? Are rape and murder common? Do people respect truth, or do they lie to each other and to themselves? And does the society pit the rich against the poor with its taxes and other policies, causing envy and covetousness? Evaluating communities and nations in this way may be extremely valuable. It is a far more spiritual, and often practical, means to discern the truth about a society than simply measuring its wealth or its technology.