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THE SECOND COMMANDMENT PROHIBITS GRAVEN IMAGES: WHAT WAS GOD THINKING?

Blog Pic 2.27.19        

       God is against graven images. He is against idols. It is why the ancient Jews expressed a vigorous rejection of such imagery. There must be a compelling reason.

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         The Hebrew word for idol is pecel. It is defined as “a carved, graven, or sculpted image.” God’s injunction against such images is further defined by the Hebrew word temunah, which follows it. This word is most often translated as “likeness,” and is also defined as “form, similitude, picture, or shape.” What God is describing here is basic statuary of any size. Here is how Merriam-Webster defines the word statue: “A three-dimensional representation usually of a person, animal, or mythical being that is produced by sculpturing, modeling, or casting.” [1] That pretty much covers it.

         “You shall not make for yourself a carved 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 nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” [Exodus 20:4-6 NKJV]   

      The preceding is the second commandment as it appears in the list of the Ten Commandments, which is known in Hebrew as the Ten Words (Aseret HaD’vareem). This list of ten, or Decalogue, appears twice in the Old Testament, in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. The ten comprise an initial set of compulsory imperatives directed to the nascent nation of Israel which had just been delivered from prolonged Egyptian bondage. The commandments were designed as a foundational moral code and components of a covenant. From these ten we can construe the behavior and way of life essential for right standing with God. We can also discover what is most important, i.e. our relationship with Him, since the first three commandments refer to how mankind must think of God and relate to and honor Him. The last five commandments tell us which sins and bad behavior God considers to be the most heinous and despicable, which must be eradicated at all cost in order to create an ethical and peaceful community.

THE HISTORICAL SETTING, CIRCA 1446 BC  

         The descendants of Jacob had arrived at the mountain of God in the early part of the third month after the Exodus. God had wasted no time in bringing them to an unprecedented supernatural nexus in the remote wilderness of Arabia. The great mass settled in and camped below the majestic mount, while Moses ventured up to meet with God. After getting his instructions he returned, gathered up the elders, and delivered the covenant pronouncement he had just received. The people immediately agreed to it wholeheartedly. Moses climbed the great mysterious height once again to relay the message to the Lord. He was instructed to tell the people to consecrate themselves, wash their garments, and prepare for the third day. They must all be warned to not go up the mountain or even touch its border on pain of death.

         So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. [Exodus 19:16-20]

         Take a moment and consider what you just read. Does it sound believable? Biblically literate Christians in general become notoriously complacent regarding such passages due to their familiarity with accounts such as this one, often to the point of no longer being effected by them as they should be. But rookie believers or non-Christians must see them differently. One cannot read this for the first time and not be emotionally affected. It gives us a picture of God many would rather not reflect upon.

         There was thunder, lightning flashes, a thick cloud upon the mountain top, and the incessant high decibels of a ram’s horn. All the people down below were shaking in fright. Can you imagine being in that place, having never experienced anything close to that? There was fire, ascending smoke, and the entire mountain quaked violently. Picture Moses actually having to go up there. I would think God was dead serious about the covenant He was making with Israel and expected everyone else to be as well. Whoever may happen to discount the severity of the setting and not respect the laws God was giving may likely be beyond hope.

EDITING THE SECOND COMMANDMENT

         Would you believe that a particular Christian denomination which embraces statuary decided to eliminate the mention of idols and graven images in its preferred version of the Ten Commandments? Agree or disagree, editing the Ten Commandments is a bold move. Perhaps they may wish to mull over what happened at the mountain of God and reconsider. Though they have no discernible respect for the commandment, have never repented for the obvious editing, and justify their actions persistently, God had specific spiritual reasons for the prohibition and has never rescinded it.

        There is something in that particular denomination that is vitally dependent upon graven images and idols, so much so that it was willing to actually remove one of God’s commandments in order to keep them. What is it, exactly, about these graven images and idols? What spiritual power do they have? How are they used? Why could they not do without this statuary? Why are the leaders of this religion so willing to confront God Himself and insist they will not be subjected to His commandments? The ancient Israelites did the same on countless occasions. They often refused the whole counsel of God and took to picking and choosing what laws they would comply with and which to reject.

         This exact attitude also leads to pure idolatry, in that people choose to create a deity to suit themselves.

        They create a god in their own image, according their personal wants and desires. Rather than live under the command of God and subject themselves fully to Him, and thus rightfully subject themselves to all of His laws and teachings, they instead make themselves the personal arbiters of God’s laws. It is the same with so many Christians who refuse to believe in and follow the entirety of the teachings and commandments of the Lord Jesus but instead create syncretic hybrid religions loosely based on Christianity, Christian denominations, and various offshoots.

         If one has a proper attitude before the Lord he knows he must either follow the Lord Jesus completely or not follow Him at all. Such a person knows he would be better off never following the Lord at all than submit to a false or incomplete form of Christianity. Once we choose the Lord Jesus it is never in our power to choose what He does with us or what He wants us to believe. When we choose Him we also choose His entire curriculum. When some people insist they are Christians but refuse the Lord’s full curriculum or create another, it is a clear sign of rebellion and disobedience on their part and signifies that their heart has yet to be circumcised.     

WHY IS GOD AGAINST IDOLS AND GRAVEN IMAGES?

         I don’t pretend to know the whole counsel of God on this subject, but it should not be difficult for us to figure it out. One may recall that the Israelites, after having experienced the incredible spectacle of God on the mountain and agreeing wholeheartedly to the covenant, shortly thereafter decided to make a golden calf and engage in extremely wicked acts right there in that same location. Somehow or another, that false idol had assisted them in their bad behavior. Even though they saw the effects of God’s presence on the mountain, they were more impressed by a three dimensional crafted idol which they could easily behold with their natural senses. God would prefer that we behold Him supernaturally, though we can’t see Him. He would prefer we do not make counterfeits that substitute for Him or spiritual things. Statuary may be legitimized as mere representations or art, but God has a different opinion. He says that creating idols, graven images, and statuary eventually leads to worshipping and serving them.

         “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” [Exodus 20:4-6] [2]

         He is a jealous God. He refuses to allow the imposition of any false gods or deceptive demonic entities in His place. He demands that we worship and serve Him and not be led astray into serving idols. He loves us enough to tell us the truth—that He is the only One who is both loving and compassionate, and able to save us. He shows great lovingkindness to those who love Him and keep His commandments. What happens to those who don’t? What happens to those who edit His commandments?

         Somehow or another, though the advocates of statuary vociferously deny this, there is a hidden understated worship of these abstract representations, though they may be mere statues and works of art. They portend a mental visual within the minds of their beholders which overrides reality, to the extent that reality is replaced with a faux portrayal which serves to reject reality and the desire to discover truth. The people who accept these carved images as benign eventually accept them as genuine representations, but they are not photographs. They are not even good representations, in that they do no service to the original organic flesh and blood historical figures but are mere stylized versions heavy on presence but lacking in human frailty and flaws.

         Regarding representations of otherworldly figures or those whose actual portraiture is unknown, the creation which results is based merely on the whim of the artist or whoever may be directing the artist. Whoever then may behold such statuary as genuine realistic renderings can be convinced, often easily, that whoever or whatever is supposedly represented had actually appeared as such though there is obviously no proof whatsoever. For example, whoever carves a statue of Moses is merely making up the resulting image since no one knows what Moses actually looked like. No one knows what any Biblical character looks like. But this has not stopped Christians from several denominations which reject God’s second commandment from manufacturing millions of statues, paintings, and iconography throughout most of the Church Age. And it has not stopped millions of beholders from becoming grossly spiritually confused, sidetracked, and barricaded from spiritually reality.

         Rather than attempting to experience God in some grand architectural wonder filled with statuary and beautiful art, I suggest heading out to a distant, desert wilderness all alone. If fortunate, one may meet the same Person Moses did.

         © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. 


[1] © 1995 Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, Tenth Edition.

[2] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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DEFINING SIN: The Lord Jesus Endorsed the Old Testament Definition of Sin (2)

        Many Christians erroneously believe the Old Testament has been eliminated by the New Testament but the Lord Jesus NEVER said this. In fact, He said the following:

         “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:17-19] [1]

         In this passage, the Lord Jesus grants full approval of the entire Torah, accepts it in every respect without question, and allows for no elimination of any single law. He is saying that the Law of Moses is perfect and complete, just as the apostle Paul later taught in his writings, and He endorses the Law wholeheartedly. The Lord Jesus put His entire ministry and mission on the line by doing this, tying Himself entirely and absolutely to the Torah and its existence at least until heaven and earth passes away.

         Therefore, the notion that the Old Testament or the Law of Moses is no longer viable or in play could not be more wrong: Every definition of sin regarding personal human behavior is still 100% in effect. So if people say, “Well, since Jesus never said anything about this sin or that sin, it must be okay to practice such,” the correct response is that He actually did since He endorsed the Law and the Prophets. If the Law of Moses said something was a sin, it is still a sin to this day and the Lord Jesus agrees.

         Also, if the Torah said a particular action or behavior was a gross sin, or a complete violation of God’s intent, or an abomination, then it was and remains an abomination. You can tell which sins were the worst by the penalties attached to them. The worst sins had the sentence of death as the penalty, signifying the outright heinousness of the behavior and ultimately the total contempt for the Lord and His Law.

         Therefore, even though the Gospels do not address every single specific sin or the worst sins that required the death penalty, the Lord endorsed the written Torah, which does.

THE ORAL LAW

         Of course, the original written Torah was added to in a sense and amended with the addition of the unwritten oral law, which began about the time of the Babylonian Captivity and grew in content until the first century A.D. This oral law did not change the written Law (the Torah—the Law of Moses) which remained intact, but it had changed and corrupted the original intent of the written Law. The Lord Jesus addressed this corrupting influence on many occasions, rebuking those Torah-teachers who advocated for its use in altering the original.

         (Many Christians are guilty of the same practice, having altered the original teachings of the Lord Jesus to suit their own taste and limited understanding, and in some cases changing His intent and meaning entirely.)

         Since the New Testament thus defines sin by the Lord’s support of the Law and the Prophets, there is actually no distinction between the two in defining sin. Sin is still what it has always been and it still incurs a penalty. Many people do not understand they are paying a penalty for sin in some form or another at present based on some past or present sin, which they do not recognize as sin. They do not consciously make the cause and effect connection between the two.

         But God is not mocked. What we plant is what we will harvest. The ultimate penalty for unconfessed sin comes after physical death. It is not the Lord’s fault if people choose to die in their sins having rejected the only cure and the only cleansing agent—the Blood of Jesus.

         The worst sins require the death penalty. The Lord Jesus paid that death penalty in full on our behalf. He fulfilled the requirements of the Law regarding sin and whoever applies the penalty He paid toward their own sins will have their long list of violations against God and man expunged, and their official record of sin will be erased as if it never existed.

         This is the Lord’s grace. This is His mercy. This is His love.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued…]

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

PLEASE SUPPORT THIS POWERFUL SERIES:

DEFINING SIN: The New “Evil is Good-Good is Evil” Paradigm (1)

DEFINING SIN: The New “Evil is Good-Good is Evil” Paradigm (1)

         Medical doctors are trained to diagnose the cause of a physical problem and administer the proper care toward returning a patient to good health. Defining the problem is often not so difficult though some cases can be tricky. With the help of support staff and any number of devices, however, they most often come to the correct conclusion regarding the cause.

         It is usually the case that the illness or injury is caused by the patient, directly or indirectly, either by a bad diet, bad decisions, negative lifestyle choices, or reckless and irresponsible behavior. We know there are always correct choices available that greatly limit the odds of poor health. Patients rarely make this connection, however, and refer to fate or predisposition (“it runs in the family,” for example). Also, illnesses and disease often do not manifest until years down the road. The cause and effect is thus not perceived. People often get sick based on wrong choices in the past.

         The human body, though, is amazingly resilient and responsive to the proper treatment. For example, rather than pollute the body by eating garbage thinly disguised as food or drinking tap water loaded with chlorine and other chemicals, one can begin drinking purified water and eating real food packed with the necessary nutrients that not only supply energy but greatly build up the immune system to successfully win the fight against sickness and disease and allow for optimum health.

         Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. [1Corinthins 9:24]

SIN IS RUNNING RAMPANT

         Sin is a powerful disease, far worse than any other. It has reached epidemic proportions in America. Rather than attack its spread and seek the only cure, however, the deadly disease has instead been embraced. Many strains of the disease have been reclassified wrongly as benign. In an unbelievably counterintuitive manner, sin in general has moved far beyond the toleration stage and is presently entering the stage of popular acceptance. Since the only cure has been rejected by the most influential and powerful among us, sin is seen as inevitable and many who previously resisted have weakly given up the fight and surrendered to both its causes and effects.

         In a wrongheaded effort to be socially acceptable (liked), and to not appear as old fashioned preachers of the pure Word of God, the majority of Christian ministers in America no longer preach about sin. They don’t feel comfortable doing so and are easily embarrassed by unbelievers who question their motives. They know what the hot button issues are and would rather not take a chance on sacrificing themselves or their ministries. So they make it nice and keep it low key. They smile a lot. They dance all around the obvious. They do not want to offend. They attempt an impossible “classy” method of ministry that totally fails against the ugliness of evil. They reject striving for the spiritual success of others, derived only from properly applying the real Gospel, for other forms of personal success.

         This has never been the Lord’s way. He addressed sin directly. He loves us enough to tell us the truth. He always makes a perfect diagnosis and follows it up with a perfect cure. His entire mission is to bring salvation from sin.

         How can He do this unless He teaches that sin must be rejected? Therefore, any so-called minister who refuses to properly address sin and define it so people can discover what’s causing the problem and receive the cure is a phony.

         There are presently millions of Christians in America who believe wholeheartedly that what used to be clearly defined as blatant sin is no longer sin at all. They have shifted their priorities. They have fully joined the world. It is obvious that their major influence is no longer the Lord or His Word. Many others have adopted causes and created organizations with unbelievers that are completely removed from the scope of New Covenant ministry. These Christians, many of whom are very influential Christian leaders, have essentially rewritten the Word of God. They have joined the enemy. They have no excuse.

         “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.” [John 15:22] [1]

IS MURDER A SIN?

         Most Christians still believe murder is a sin, for example, unless it involves killing defenseless babies. Then, for many, it is okay. War deaths of any definition are considered by most Christians to be justifiable, though most are ignorant of actual causes and motives of wars. But like every other sin being accepted these days as not sin at all, there will probably come a time soon when even murder will not be characterized as sin, though this is largely already the case.

         In fact, government leaders the world over have justified murder in all forms as acceptable under their own guidelines. Many have long since appropriated the necessary cold heart and indifferent attitude toward killing. To easily prove this, it has been generally estimated by many statisticians and authors that in the last century, from the year 1900 to the year 2000, approximately 200 million people were murdered through the direct efforts of the leaders of legitimate, recognized governments. For perspective, 200 million is about two-thirds of the entire population of the United States. Based on these statistics, it appears as though the perpetrators of these killings do not believe murder is a sin.

YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME

         You see, the problem people have with accepting the reality of sin is that they must also accept a higher law and a higher authority to pronounce, define, and render penalties with reference to law violations. People in general do not like such restrictions on their chosen behaviors, because it demands responsibility. It demands accountability for one’s illicit actions. And as this world grows darker, the lovers of darkness desire ever-greater control, not only for the allowing of their own sinful behavior but that of society in general. Part of that control involves rewriting the rule book on:

(1) Good and Evil

(2) Right and Wrong

(3) Acceptable Behavior and Aberrant Behavior

(4) What will be Allowed or Opposed

         Because they have rejected the Lord Jesus they must also reject His Word. They end up in the only remaining logical place of such rebellion: They must overturn His entire curriculum, turn everything upside down and backwards, and thus redefine good as evil and evil as good.

         The one thing they oppose the most is real Christianity. The one Person they oppose the most is the Lord Jesus. So anyone who actually joins up with the Lord wholeheartedly according to His directive and methods, and believes and teaches the real Gospel, will also be the subject of their wrath. This is already happening, of course, right here in what used to be free America, as anti-Christian hate is presently rising precipitously.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Continued…]

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

10 or 2? The Greatest Commandments and You

        Some American Christians are metaphorically up in arms over a curious issue. Representations of the Ten Commandments have been removed from public places, court houses, etc, and removal of these icons is threatened elsewhere. A great fight has ensued with either side casting the other in a not too pleasant light.

        On one end of the spectrum, secularists claim the Ten Commandments is an ancient outdated list of dos and don’ts that has no place in a country in which church is divided from state. Christians counter that the nation was founded on the Ten Commandments and that our entire system of jurisprudence is based upon them. The latter consider the disagreement as an attack against the Christian moral code by anti-Christian government-first authoritative bigheads, atheists, statists, and secular humanists. Those against the posting of the TC consider its supporters as backwoods half-brained ninnies living in the past.

         Both parties might step back from the fight for a while to consider what the New Testament actually says. While the Ten Commandments have indeed been foundational in Christian circles, it is only because Christians have stopped at a place in their development and did not apply the actual teachings of Jesus:

         “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:17-20]

         Well, this statement certainly seems to support the traditional keeping of the Ten Commandments. For the record, though, the Lord is actually referring to the entire Torah, which is composed of 613 commandments. However, as did the Pharisees, so do many Christians. There is a higher mandatory standard that many in both camps fail to keep which keeps them out of the kingdom. That’s why the Lord continued His teaching on the subject by adding caveats:

         “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” [Matthew 5:21-22]

         “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” [Matthew 5:27-28]

         “It was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” [Matthew 5:31-32]

         “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all…” [Matthew 5:33-34]

         “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” [Matthew 5:38-39]

         “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…” [Matthew 5:43-45]

         Only two of the preceding six statements refer to one of the Ten Commandments. The point here is that there is much more than the mere celebrated ten that so many people are willing to fight about. To add to the above caveat list wherein the Lord makes the proper amendments, we also have an even more curious teaching on the opposite end. Whereas the Lord got into fine detail regarding what the Torah actually states, He also pares down all of that detail into a prima facie foundation with reference to not only the Law of Moses but His own voluminous teachings:

         But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:34-40]

         Jesus said the remaining 611 commandments of the Torah and the entirety of all prophetic writings are suspended from the strong upper framework of the two greatest commandments of all. And guess what?

         Only one of the two greatest commandments is listed among the Ten Commandments.

         There is obviously then, much misunderstanding and misapplication of the Ten Commandments themselves and the true teaching regarding them. Can anyone find a single quote by the Lord Jesus in reference to the ten? How about among the apostles? The fact of the matter is that the Ten Commandments are not mentioned one time in the entire New Testament. Not even once.

         This means there was a different standard among the early believers than is among most of us. It means their Christianity was a completely different Christianity. They were not hung up on lists and they did not give but partial commitment. They knew that if they properly obeyed the two greatest commandments, they would also be fulfilling all the rest of the applicable commandments that had not already been fulfilled.

         Therefore, what we should be posting are the Two Commandments, not the Ten Commandments.

         In addition, the early believers knew that wearing one’s religion upon one’s proverbial sleeve was anathema to real Christianity, and that obeying the commandments did not mean posting a select few on the walls of buildings and the institutions of man, but on our hearts.

         We are the building. We are the wall. We are the medium the Lord has chosen to advertise Himself to the world.

         You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

         Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

         But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

         Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

         Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. [2Corinthians 3:2-18]

         As stated here, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of our Lord Jesus whose love has been poured out within our hearts if we have indeed been filled with His Spirit. It is He to whom the greatest commandment is applied. And it is to each other that the second is applied. These two living commandments (not suggestions) make the entire curriculum of the Lord work properly and bring it to life. They are based on love for Him and love for one another.

         Obeying the Two supersedes obeying the Ten.

         “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” [John 14:15-18] [1]

            © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.