17 May, 2008


[This is a comment from David at the LifeTrek blog re my 10 Commandments post that needed to be more visible than it is in the Comments section, followed by my response:]

By no means am I deeply religious, but I did do some online research.

Typically much of Galatians (try 3 and 5 for starters) explains some of what you're asking.

It appears to be a common misinterpretation when questioning the bible piecemeal, but that is answered throughout the New Testament.

Here are some summaries online of the bible in whole:
The coming of Christ made parts of the Mosaic law unnecessary.

In order to understand this, we must realize that the Law is made up of three parts: ceremonial, civil, and moral.

The ceremonial law related specifically to Israel's worship. Since its primary purpose was to point to the coming Savior, Jesus made it unnecessary. He did not abolish it, in the sense of destroying it; he fulfilled it. Nowhere do we read that Jesus thought that the ceremonial law was wrong. The principles behind the ceremonial law are still applicable to us today -- that is, the principles of worshiping and serving a holy God.

The civil law prescribed rules for the Israelites' daily living. These laws separated the Jews from the Gentiles, and gave the Gentiles the example of how a holy people should live. Since much was given to the Jews, much was expected. But God gave a new covenant in Christ, and there is now no distinction to be made between Jew and Gentile. We are still to follow the requirements of this law as God's people, but the punishments are not for any nation to impose on its people, because we are no longer separated by nations but by God's grace (Christians and non-Christians).

The moral law is basically the Ten Commandments. We are still bound by these laws, not for salvation, but to live a holy life. Jesus not only desired that His followers adhere to these commandments, He wished that they would go above and beyond them. He said, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment..." He desired not only an outward observance of these laws, but an inward observance as well.
"If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law" ... "therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath day -- things that are a mere shadow of what is to come," and "For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under Law but under grace."

Keep in mind who Paul's talking to: young churches, mostly of Jewish backgrounds. When he speaks of "the Law", he's referring to Mosaic Law. When he speaks of "the law," he refers to state law. (I say this so nobody thinks I'm claiming Paul says to disobey all laws.) Jesus clearly states in the the Gospel of Matthew that He came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. He didn't destroy the Law of Moses, he completed it. He fulfilled the prophesies of the coming messiah, He became the very essence of the suffering servant.
The Ritual Decalogue is the list of commandments in Exodus 34:10-26. They are generally viewed as having minor significance compared to the Ethical Decalogue. Although the Ritual Decalogue appears in the text at the point where the Ten Commandments are inscribed into the second set of stone tablets, and it is them, rather than the Ethical Decalogue, which are there identified as the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:28), it is the Ethical Decalogue which is commonly believed to have been inscribed on both sets of tablets.
I also read in one of my searches that the reason for the differing translations for commandments, but I can't remember where I found that and am lucky to have kept these straight through the fibro fog.

So, maybe we aren't all going to hell. Hope that helps.

My response:
Re your comment on the "10 Commandments" post. Put simply: you got me!


From a strictly Christian standpoint, you've got me dead to rights. The only thing I would point out is that it is Christian tradition that makes the ethical commandments those written on Moses' tablets. I maintain that the commandments I list in the post are, in fact -- based on reading the Bible alone -- the ones that actually went on the tablets.

However, your comment goes on to make the above point... pointless.

Since I am a former Catholic, you reminded me of what I already knew: That Jesus fulfilled certain parts of scripture, and went so far as to remind the people that certain laws were to prepare them for the coming of the Messiah, and that those specific laws no longer needed to be followed in his presence which, it can be argued, Christians remain.

I'm also very happy that your comment is so erudite and learned, when usually the kind of bile I spit in that post (I admit it: I wrote it in haste and with with a certain gleeful meanness) only causes more bile to come forth from readers. Which would be my fault, of course.

But you took a much higher road, and I say well done.

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