The world today is far different from the world of sixty years ago, what has changed so much? In the 1950’s and 60’s places like Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan were modern thriving nations with a mix of Christian and Muslim citizens working together and living side by side. The 1947 UN partition and 1948 formation of Israel as a Jewish state had seen Jews expelled from all Muslim majority lands and the invasion of the fledgling state of Israel by Jordan who promptly renamed Judea and Samaria the “West Bank”.
It is not just this conflict that has seen global culture change but the growth of apostasy, or a turning away from the Biblical tenets that had made peaceful and civilised nations in every corner of the world. There are six hundred and thirteen commandments in the five books of law as given to Moses, three hundred and sixty-five say thou shall not and two hundred and forty eight say thou shall. Ten of these commandments were spoken directly by the Almighty, the first two were heard by all the people assembled but because they were so afraid of the voice of God asked Moses to intercede on their behalf; Moses climbed the mountain and received the commandments directly from the Creator’s hand.
This ten was the basis of our laws but most people today cannot recite more than one or two and have no idea what they even mean or why they come in the order in which they are presented. Those who understand this find them easy to recall and logical, for those who don’t know I would like to explain why we need to understand in order to have a chance to save the world.
1. Thou shall have no other God but me. This means not putting things like wealth and power ahead of your duty to your creator.
2. Thou shall make no graven image. This means not praying to religious icons or images of people or things that are not the Almighty.
3. Thou shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. This means we must not presume to speak for God or assume that we know God better than others. It is the most commonly broken commandment; all those inquisitors who killed Pagans, Protestants and Jews in the name of God were breaking this commandment as are those today who bomb, kill and behead those whose belief does not follow their own path. To kill claiming it is God’s work is a crime and a sin.
4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. A day of rest, meditation and prayer not only renews the soul but gives time to consider whether we are righteous.
5. Honour your Father and your Mother. Respect for one’s parents is the basis for respecting the law.
These first five commandments are our duty to our Creator, which is why they are given priority over even those about killing, stealing and lying.
6. Thou shall do no murder. The Almighty gives life it is not up to man to take it especially for financial or political gain or any other selfish reason.
7. Thou shall not commit adultery. The bond between man and wife is sacred it should not be violated to do so destroys the fabric of society.
8. Thou shall not steal. It is obvious to most that it is not right to take that which is the property of others, but many in society today think it acceptable that if someone has more than they it is their right to take it. Movies and advertisers often make fun of theft and ignore the criminality of actions they portray.
9. Thou shall not bear false witness. Lying is common in society today and many even find it humorous, many television sitcoms are based on the main character getting into trouble for failing to tell the truth.
10. Thou shall not covet. It seems such a little thing to put as a commandment but coveting and jealousy are often what leads to the breaking of many of the other commandments. Be happy for one who has good fortune or has worked hard to obtain benefits and strive to be as deserving, brooding over what others have can prevent you from reaching your own goals and potential.
We can see from the world around us that these commandments are not being observed and the Bible warns that this is the recipe for disaster. The prophets tell us that the world has been written down for destruction now the only question is what can we do? We can have faith that we were not created simply to destroy ourselves and begin observing God’s commandments that we might be saved.
There is another commandment that Jesus claimed was the most important of all the commandments and which observant Jews recite twice daily. It is found in Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all you possess.” We are also informed that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, so when you feel fear at coming destruction know that it is the beginning of wisdom and be faithful because as you sow so shall you reap. In order to expect kindness, justice and mercy from the Almighty we must extend these to others, violence and hatred will only bring destruction.