Skip to comments.Did the Ten Commandments Exist Before Moses?
Posted on 04/20/2009 5:26:00 PM PDT by DouglasKC
Many people assume that the Ten Commandments and the covenant God established with ancient Israel are identical—and that both were abolished by Jesus Christ's death. They believe that the Sinai Covenant and God's commandments came into existence together and went out of existence together.
But is such reasoning biblical? The facts show it is not. A close look at the Scriptures reveals that breaking the Ten Commandments was a sin before the covenant at Mt. Sinai, so arguments that they came into existence with that covenant and were terminated with it cannot be true. Let's notice the scriptural proof.
God's Word defines sin as "the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4, KJV) or "lawlessness" (New King James Version, NIV). Therefore, "where there is no law there is no transgression" (Romans 4:15). This is what the Bible clearly says! So do we find transgressions of the Ten Commandments described as sinful before Mt. Sinai? Clearly we do.
For example, Genesis 13:13 tells us that "the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord." Since sin is violating God's law, the people of Sodom could not have been punished for being wicked and sinful if no law condemned what they were doing. We must conclude, therefore, that God had already made available the knowledge of what is sinful.
Here is a clear example. Genesis 20:3-9 and 39:7-9 describe adultery as "a great sin" and a "sin against God." Adultery breaks the Seventh Commandment.
In Genesis 3:6 and 17, God punishes Adam and Eve for their coveting and stealing—breaking the Tenth and Eighth Commandments. They also dishonored Him as their parent, violating the Fifth Commandment.
In Genesis 4:9-12, God punishes Cain for murder and lying—violations of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments.
In Exodus 16:4, several days to several weeks before God established His covenant with the Israelites at Mt. Sinai, we find God giving them a test to see "whether they will walk in My law or not." His test involved whether they would rest on the seventh-day Sabbath as He commanded in the Fourth Commandment of that law—with which they were at least partly familiar. The seventh day had been hallowed—set aside as holy by God—from the time of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:1-3).
God's reaction to their disobedience is revealing. He exclaims, "How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?" (Exodus 16: 28). God clearly speaks of both His "commandments and . . . laws" as already existing and in force well before He listed the Ten Commandments verbally at Mt. Sinai, as described four chapters later! Therefore, the Ten Commandments were only codified—written in stone as part of a formal covenant—at Mt. Sinai. Scripture clearly shows that they existed and were in force well before then.
This is stated explicitly in Genesis 26:5, where God tells Isaac that He blessed his father Abraham "because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws." This event took place centuries before the covenant at Mt. Sinai, centuries before Moses and two generations before Judah, head of the tribe that much later would become known as the Jews, was born! (Be sure to read "Did Abraham Keep the Same Commandments God Gave to Moses?" on page 13).
In Leviticus 18:21 and 27, God calls the idolatrous practices of the people of the land of Canaan "abominations"—actions so filthy and degrading that God compared their expulsion to being "vomited out" of the land (verse 28). What was their sin? Among other things, idolatry (the worship of false gods) and human sacrifice, which violated the First, Second and Sixth Commandments.
The Bible shows that the Ten Commandments did not originate with Moses or in his time. Nor were they in any way limited only to the Jews. They were in effect and known long before Moses or a people known as the Jews existed. They are the foundation of God's laws that show us how to love God (defined by the first four Commandments) and how to love our fellow man (defined by the last six).
This is why, after Jesus Christ returns to establish His glorious Kingdom on earth, Isaiah 2:3 tells us that "many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
At that time, all of mankind will at last be taught to live according to all of God's laws and commandments!
Jesus did not come to abolish The Law, He came to fulfill it. There is a big difference!
sounds like the author never heard of the Noachide laws.
And the point is? Those of us who are Bible teachers have known this...it is not new information. So the author’s point is what?
God says he has written His law on the hearts of men - that is why all cultures had certain prohibitions. Additionally, Christ came to fulfil the law, not abolish it. The Law’s purpose is so we realize that we are, in fact, sinners and deeply so and the Law is so that realizing we are sinners we will be ready to accept Him who came to set us free from sin and death. If we do not acknowledge that we are sinners, then we really have no need for a Savior, then do we? Of course, that’s the problemo for many today - they think they sin not apparently, or that there is NO law other than man-made. Well, wait til they find out otherwise (uh oh).
Amen and Amen.
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You would be surprised that many Christians think that the ten commandments are no longer applicable to Christians.
I guess God felt He had to write ‘em down. It worked too. :-D.
On the hearts of men who repent and accept the sacrifice of Christ under the new covenant:
Heb 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
Heb 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Additionally, Christ came to fulfil the law, not abolish it. The Laws purpose is so we realize that we are, in fact, sinners and deeply so and the Law is so that realizing we are sinners we will be ready to accept Him who came to set us free from sin and death.
Well, yes, but to fulfill means also to fill it up, to reveal it's true spiritual intent and purpose.
If we do not acknowledge that we are sinners, then we really have no need for a Savior, then do we? Of course, thats the problemo for many today - they think they sin not apparently, or that there is NO law other than man-made. Well, wait til they find out otherwise (uh oh).
I disagree - God has written His law on the hearts of ALL men and that is why no man will ever be able to stand before God and say He didn’t know. I agree with everything you say except that. What man does is try to override that law and squelch it.
Do you have any scripture to support that statement?
Other than the one that says he has written the Law on the hearts of men? (he he). I’ll try to find the specific verse but I’ve studied this many years ago and am pretty confident. It makes sense too if you think about it.
Why would God NOT write His law on the hearts of men so they would SEEK Him when not all people will have Billy Grahams, Bibles, Christian radio, etc. etc. or nice people like you to witness to them.
"Then they were pricked in their hearts...."
That is the fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:33
"Deep within them I will plant my Law, writing it on their hearts."
The Jerusalem Bible
Worth a look. Too bad most will not look.
They show that what the law requires is written in their hearts, a fact to which their own consciences testify, and their thoughts will either accuse or excuse them
Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts
the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
Bible in Basic English:
Because the work of the law is seen in their hearts, their sense of right and wrong giving witness to it, while their minds are at one time judging them and at another giving them approval;
Thank you. I'd never looked at Acts 2:37 in that context before.
Seems like as soon as they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that man became aware of what sin was and subject to the law of sin and death.
That is when the new law was written. On the hearts of men who were gathered together in order to celebrate Pentecost.
What holiday celebrates the giving of the law to Israel by Moses on tablets of stone?
It is all so very simple.