Skip to comments.Did the Catholic Church Remove One of the Ten Commandments?
Posted on 02/12/2014 7:34:09 AM PST by GonzoII
My mother recently sent me an email from a friend who was being challenged by an Evangelical to re-consider her Catholicism. He claimed the Catholic Church had perniciously omitted what he referred to as the second commandmentYou shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth (Exodus 20:4)in order to keep the Catholic faithful in darkness as to the truth that they should not have statues in their churches. Despite appearances, we know Exodus 20 is not a prohibition against making any likeness of anything in a strict sense because we clearly see God either commanding or praising the making of images and statues in multiple biblical texts (see Numbers 21:8-9; I Kings 6:23-28; 9:3). Just five chapters after this so-called prohibition against statues, for example, God commands Moses to make statues representing two angels to be placed over the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant:
And you shall make two cherubim of gold The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another . And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark There I will meet with you (Ex. 25:18-22).
There are five key points to be made concerning this common misunderstanding among Protestants as well as many quasi-Christian sects.
1. Exodus 20:4 is part of the first commandment that begins in verse 3 and stretches through part of verse five:
You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them.
Verses 3 and 5 make clear that this commandment is not simply condemning making statues; It is condemning making gods that you bow down to or serve. In a word, this first commandment forbids idolatry, i.e., the adoration of anything or anyone other than God. The Catholic Church condemns this as well.
2. By lifting out part of the first commandment appearing to prohibit the making of any likeness of anything, not only do you have God contradicting himself in later commanding the making of statues, but you also end up making the first two commandments repetitive. They are both essentially condemning idolatry.
3. Though the commandments are said to be ten in Exodus 34:28, they are not numbered by the inspired authors of Sacred Scripture. If you count the you shall nots along with the “you shalls” of keeping holy the Sabbath and honoring father and mother, you end up with 13 commandments. So the actual numbering of the commandments depends upon which you shall nots you lump together as one commandment and which ones you separate. And in the end, which you shall nots you lump together depends upon your theology.
4. We believe the Catholic Church alone has the authority to give to Gods people an authoritative list of the Ten Commandments. And the Catechism of the Catholic Church does exactly that. At least, it gives us a list as a sure norm for us.
5. The problem with creating a second commandment where there actually is not one really comes to the fore at the bottom of the list. The common Protestant listing of the Ten Commandments combines coveting your neighbors wife, the Catholic ninth commandment, with coveting your neighbors property, the Catholic tenth commandment. And really it just can’t be any other way because you run out of room. I cant imagine many women being happy with being equated to property! Some may argue at this point: Well, that is what the Old Testament teaches. We’re just going with what the inspired author teaches.” Are you really? Lets take a look. Now, it is true that Exodus 20s version of the 10 commandments appears to place both women and servants in the place of property.
You shall not covet your neighbors house; you shall not covet your neighbors wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbors.
I say it “appears” to do so because Genesis 1:26-27 does reveal God himself to have said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. There is an essential equality between male and female revealed even in the Old Testament, though this revelation is not as clear and unambiguous as what we have in the New Testament. Exodus 20 certainly does anything but add to the clarity of the point. When I say the revelation of this essential equality is not as clear in the Old Testament, we need to understand why this is so. The Old Testament consists of 46 books written over a period of ca. 1500 years, representing a progressive revelation. Hebrews 1:1-2 says, In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets. The Greek word for many ways is polumeros, which means in many portions; God gave his revelation in piecemeal fashion over the centuries, taking an ancient people right where they were and gradually beginning to reveal more and more truth as they were able to receive it and as he gradually gave them more and more grace to be able to receive it, all the while respecting their freedom. But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son (Galatians 4:4) to communicate the fullness of the revelation God willed for his people. For example, the divorce God permitted in Deut. 24:1-4, he later says [he] hates in Malachi 2:16. And when Jesus elevated marriage to the level of sacrament eliminating divorce and remarriage absolutely in Matt. 19:5-6, he explained that this allowance by God through Moses was never intended from the very beginning citing Genesis 2:24, the two shall become one flesh. God permitted things early that he would not have ever willed in an antecedent sense as he helped his people to grow much like a parent does not treat a four year-old the same as he would treat a fourteen year-old. In a similar way, though God revealed the essential equality of man and woman very early in salvation history (Gen. 1:26-27), this revelation was given by God to an ancient people who did not have the same understanding of the essential equality of man and woman we so often take for granted given the fullness of revelation we have enjoyed in the New Covenant for 2,000 years. God did not expect his people to change immediately, nor did he give them the fullness of the revelation that we have in Christ all at once; rather, he helped them along as weve said. In fact, we can see this development of understanding even in the Old Testament itself. We cited the earlier version of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, but notice the change by the time God gave his people Deuteronomy:
Neither shall you covet your neighbors wife; and you shall not desire your neighbors house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox. Or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbors.
The inspired author of Deuteronomy now makes the distinction between wife and property sharper by using two different Hebrew words for covet and desire and by only using the word covet with regard to the wife. The two separate commandments now become undeniable. Well leave the discussion of the status of the servants for another blog post!
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"The inspired author of Deuteronomy now makes the distinction between wife and property sharper by using two different Hebrew words for covet and desire and by only using the word covet with regard to the wife. The two separate commandments now become undeniable. Well leave the discussion of the status of the servants for another blog post!"
That's balderdash... actually it's more like heresy.
He’s definitely in violation of the Tenth Commandment with his wealth redistribution naivety, which, by extension, leads to breakdowns about bearing false witness (9) in conjunction with the admonition not to steal (8).
Yes sir, the Pope’s on a tear. Which will be next?
Simple answer — NO!
Then there is the issue of the commandment to observe THE (not “a”) Sabbath. Extensive research by Samuele R. Bacchiocchi and published by Pope Gregorian University in his book From Sabbath to Sunday, shows that the Roman Church demonstrated its authority by moving the commanded Day of Rest from the seventh day of the week to the first. But he also shows this was done on cultural and political authority, but not on any Scriptural authority.
In a lecture he gave shortly before his death, Dr. Bacchiocchi noted that the vast majority of Christians today do not even observe the Commandment in that they have changed the concept of a Day of Rest into an hour of fellowship, and even then it is easy to give themselves a psss and not even observe that, at least when important personal or family business intrudes.
If we can ask what happened to the second Commandment, we should also ask what happened to the fourth one as well, and not only for Catholics but for everyone who attends a Sunday-keeping church.
The other point, often missed when discussing “graven image”, is the fact this is about idol worship, not carving.
To make that point, it is important to notice this commandment is on the same page as the instructions for CARVING THE ARK OF THE COVANENT!!
Sounds like an Alinsky tactic - accuse your opponent of what you yourself are already doing.
Which one of the heresies is it again?
All these new converts to Catholicism have the same trait - they were formerly from another denomination/religion or two or three, before settling upon Catholicism after much trial, tribulation, and heartache. They believe they found a home, but their search for a spiritual home never included NONE OF THE ABOVE. They searched inside a box, all religions, and never entertained the fact that maybe all could be wrong, but that all might have some characteristics of the Holy Spirit. Scott Hahn was the same. In Catholicism, he found his artificial, human construct that most resembled something real. Catholicism was the perfect box, no other religious box could measure up to the Catholic box and so they join and sing its praises with all its endless rules, regs, dogma. sacraments, and gobbledeegook. It is wonderful for people who love boxes.
Agreed. People in general like rules and lines.
3? I thought it’s only communion and Baptism. What’s the 3rd?
That’s funny, Christ said there were just 2 Commandments....
and said he had come not to overthrow the Law, but to fulfill it.
Anything that divides the believers of Jesus Christ is the work of Satan.
For all the debate over the Catholic Church, and what our current Pope may or may not intend, the Church is NOT going to retreat on basic tenets of Faith that come from the Gospels.
It is NOT going to abandon it’s Pro Life stance.
It is NOT going to embrace “gay marriage”.
It is NOT going to ditch any or all of the Ten Commandments.
Whoever wrote that might want to look into Scripture and God's plain and terrible warning to those who would change or alter HIS Word. His authority in His Word is His alone. This is God 101.
The two commandments to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself. Yes.
But, he also instructed the Apostles in Sacramental duties, because his Church needed to be in the position of dispensing his graces and blessings.
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If I may ask, are you a Seventh-day Adventist?
For another book that discusses that question Bacchiocchi raised (as well as the question concerning the commandment against worshiping statues, and many other related questions), I urge you to read "Where is That in the Bible?" by Patrick Madrid
Just occurred to me image there were women in Heaven too!
According to that article, the Catholic Church's numbering goes back to St. Augustine. The Lutheran count agrees with the Catholic count.
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, Christian Morality
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, The Ten Commandments
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, First Commandment
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, Second Commandment
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, Third Commandment
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, Fourth Commandment
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, Fifth Commandment
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, Sixth and Ninth Commandments
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, Seventh and Tenth Commandments
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith; Part Three: The Will of God, Eighth Commandment
Catechism of Aquinas |SUMMARY OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS| THE OUR FATHER & FIVE QUALITIES OF PRAYER
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 34: The First Commandment
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 35: The Second Commandment
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 36: The Third Commandment
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 37: The Fourth Commandment
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 38: The Fifth Commandment (w / special prayer request)
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 39: The Sixth and Ninth Commandments
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 40: The Seventh and Tenth Commandments
A Brief Catechism for Adulst - Lesson 41: The Eighth Commandment