February 2011 Yavoh

Ten Commandments

And when He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God. EXO 31:18

When God spoke and then wrote the ten commandments with His own finger on tablets of stone, man received the first Scripture. Moses then continued to write God’s instructions and we had the beginning of the Torah and the Bible. One could argue that the first words of the Bible are not “In the beginning...” but, “I am the Lord your God...”

The Ten Commandments are given to us in two separate passages. The first is Exodus 20 where Moses gives us the chronology of the journey to Mount Sinai, but in Deuteronomy 5 Moses repeats the words teaching us some additional profound things about how the commandments were given.

In general, Christians recognize the Ten Commandments but are confused as to what the actual ten commandments are. Most Christian renditions begin with the second of the ten instead of the first commandment. Jews and Messianics may agree on what the ten are but do not necessarily agree on the standards or conditions of the commandments themselves, such as the observance of Sabbath, which is subject to much debate.

Torah teachers will tell you that when Scripture repeats itself, such as Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, something very profound is being presented. There are no more profound Scriptures in the Torah than the Ten Commandments because Israel heard God speak these words directly to their ears at Mount Sinai.

It is essential as Messianic believers that our spiritual and Scriptural instruction be based on a clear understanding of the very first Scripture ever written, in this case written by God Himself, given to Moses, then given to us. Keeping the commandments of God is central to our loving God—the greatest of all the commandments.

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. DEU 6:5

We don’t keep God’s commandments to be saved; we keep His commandments because we love Him. As a result, God pours out His blessings upon us. If we do not keep His commandments we remain outside of His blessings (with the curses—or consequences), but, in keeping His commandments we find the path is straight and smooth with peace and His blessings. Therefore, the proper understanding of God’s commands is of paramount importance to a believer.

God wrote the first Scripture on two tablets of stone. This seems to indicate that the Ten Commandments have a natural division to them. Upon simple examination of the ten there is a natural division. The first five commandments have to do with a man’s relationship with God while the final five have to do with man’s relationship with other people. There is still another intriguing element to the writing of the Ten Commandments on the two tablets—they were written on both sides. There were two tablets but four panels visible.

Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets which were written on both sides; they were written on one side and the other.  And the tablets were God's work, and the writing was God's writing engraved on the tablets. EXO 32:15-16

The natural question posed by this description is “How did that appear?” Did a tablet have the five commandments written front and back? Did you flip the tablet to continue reading the commandments before going to the other tablet, or, did you read both tablets and then flip them both to read the remaining words?

The sages of Israel approach these questions and how the two tablets were written on both sides by remembering the expression “And the tablets were God's work, and the writing was God's writing engraved on the tablets”. They believe that the commandments were read from one side, that the engraving of God cut completely through the stone causing the writing to be visible from both sides. The cover of this issue of YAVOH-He is Coming attempts to illustrate this feature.

God’s presentation of the Ten Commandments on the two tablets is compelling but the substance of the commandments has stood the test of time and serves as the basis of law for all civilized peoples. Let us examine the Ten Commandments and discern God’s intent and objective in giving them to us.

Command Number One
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. EXO 20:2

At first, these words do not seem to be a commandment at all. They are not written in the imperative mood as if requiring anything of us. Instead, these words are written in the indicative mood stating historical facts. In fact, most believers regard these words as more of a preamble for the commandments that follow. Today’s believers don’t see themselves as having left Egypt or being released from slavery. They regard these words as directed at the children of Israel that came out of Egypt a long time ago. Some even go so far as to deny the authority of the commandments for our faith today, claiming that it was intended only for the children of Israel.

Examine the words a bit further. There is something truly profound about these being the first words written in Scripture. They speak of relationship rather than of an imperative command. God first states that He belongs to us. I am the Lord your God... and that we belong to Him –  who brought you out. He is our God and we are His people. It is inherent, therefore, that we are bound because of this relationship to BELIEVE in Him.

The imperative command in this statement is to believe in God, the Lord our God! This commandment applies to all who would call God their God. But let’s address this a bit further—who really came out of Egypt and was redeemed from slavery?

The Apostle Paul says that all of our fathers of every believer came out of the land of Egypt.

For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Messiah. 1CO 10:1-4

Paul was not trying to distort the history of the exodus. He was explaining how profound God’s redemption from Egypt was and that the pattern and method of God’s redemption is applicable to all believers. Moses even stresses them when he instructs every believer that you are to tell (instruct) your children that God delivered you personally from Egypt.
And it will come about when your children will say to you, “What does this rite [Passover Seder] mean to you?” that you shall say, “It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.” EXO 12:26-27

Your child(ren), in turn, is to instruct his child(ren) exactly the same way. If you have ever attended a Passover Seder meal, the leader most likely has told you that you are consider yourself being “passed over” just as the ancients were, to keep the Seder properly.

The first command of the Ten Commandments is to believe in God, the Lord your God, who redeemed you and delivered you from slavery. We need to remember that we were once slaves to sin. Believing in God is the path of God’s redemption and the forgiveness of sins. Salvation and deliverance from the slavery of sin is the testimony of every believer. Therefore, this commandment to believe in Him is appropriate and imperative for every believer. The Lord belongs to all of us, we all came out of Egypt, and we all are no longer slaves to sin. This is the testimony of every believer who keeps this commandment.

If a person is going to sin against God, no matter what else he does, he must break this first commandment in his heart before transgressing any other commandment.

Command Number Two
You shall have no other gods before Me. 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. EXO 20:3-6

Before we go further let’s make sure we all have a grasp on the obvious. There is only one God. Everything else calling itself a god is false and at best trying to imitate God. Idols are imitations and efforts to have a likeness of God. We all know that idols are nothing and that those who claim other gods deny the obvious and choose imaginations.

The first part of this commandment is to have no other god(s). We are not to have anything to do with anyone else’s god. We are not to honor, serve, or worship any other god, even to be cordial or respectful to someone else. We are not to have anything to do with a likeness of a god, even if it has wings, walks around, or swims in the sea nor MAKE anything into the likeness of God.

So if idols and other gods are nothing, why does God have a problem with other false gods and idols? The answer is given in His commandment. God says that He is jealous of the focus of your heart. Most people do not regard jealousy as a good trait. If you meet a jealous person, you most likely try to tell them not to be jealous. Jealousy will sometimes make you do strange things.

Be very careful thinking that jealousy is not a good trait for God. Jealousy is an excellent and expected trait for people in a deep and intimate relationship. Husbands and wives should be jealous of anyone getting near their relationship.

You have heard me say that God warns Israel and His believers about learning the ways of the nations, that we need to guard against those traditions and customs which would cause us to offend Him.

Thus says the Lord, Do not learn the way of the nations, and do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens although the nations are terrified by them; for the customs of the peoples are a delusion; because it is wood cut from the forest, the work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. They decorate it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers so that it will not totter…  JER 10:2-5

If this description seems familiar, it is because the custom of a Christmas tree comes to mind, one of the most common idols spoken of by God. They are called asherim, or “trees of praise.” God hates them. Men bow to them to retrieve the presents.

God’s relationship with us is more than a marriage relationship between a man and woman. God says that having an idol and another god in your life is so contrary to Him that He considers it spiritual adultery towards Him—you no longer think of Him as your primary love and cease to want to please Him. Many of us underestimate the importance of consciously loving God and showing it through our words and actions. If you decide to be unfaithful towards your wife, she will consider it to be an act of deceit and adultery towards her. God says that being unfaithful to Him by giving way to other gods will result in judgment upon you and also your children and grandchildren – to the third and fourth generations.

God says that keeping this commandment, having no other gods, having only Him is equal to loving Him and the benefit will be realized by thousands.

Let us review for a moment. There are no other real gods, they are nothing but we live in a world with other gods, all of them are made by us and others. Idolatry is failing to give to God what belongs to Him. Worse, idolatry is giving to another glory that is God’s alone. This commandment does not give us any latitude for compromise, so how do we keep this commandment?

How do we keep this commandment when our friends or family expect us to participate in their customs and festivals based on false gods? Many Christians today participate in open idolatry covered with the excuse of “Christ.” In their minds, using “Christ” enables them to change the unclean to clean, the profane to holy, and to make any false god become invisible or acceptable.

For the record, Yeshua the Messiah does not like other gods or being associated whatsoever with other gods. He doesn’t like Mithra’s birthday being celebrated and then covered by the excuse it is His birthday. He doesn’t like the remembrance of His death, burial, and resurrection being mixed with the Roman Sun god, “sunrise services,” and being completely separated from the Biblical commandment of Passover. He doesn’t like anyone telling others that His forgiveness affords you the right to ignore God’s commandments. Instead, Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) re-iterated this very commandment when He said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” This is what God meant when He gave this command about idolatry, “to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (EXO 20:6)

Before we leave these first two commandments, we need to address something very common to our shared testimony as Messianic believers. It is called the “watchword of our faith.” It is the traditional verbal expression when we say the Shema.

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One.” DEU 6:4

These words also precede the greatest commandment to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and might. The Shema is a restatement of the first two commandments. We call upon ourselves and others around us to believe in our God and to recognize that He is the One and only God there is.

Sadly, some believers today think that idolatry is a sin of the ancients, that it is not an issue for spirituality today. The problem is that virtually every spiritual issue we face today is rooted in some form or fashion in idolatry, preferring something before God even though we “believe” in Him. This commandment is still very applicable for us today.

Command Number Three
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. EXO 20: 7

This commandment is given in the negative form. God has prohibited us from making His name to be vain (common). But what name is He referring to? God has many names, some more formal than others. Or, is God referring to His reputation and testimony? The name of a person not only identifies the specific person but it represents the attributes and testimony of that person.

The simple answer here is all of the above. God’s specific names and His testimony are not to be made common or devalued. All leaders learn early on that the respect they require is essential to effective leadership. It is essential to maintain that respect or they will not be able to lead. God knows our hearts as well. If we don’t respect God, then we dismiss His authority to lead us.

The positive side of this commandment is “You shall treat the name of the Lord your God as Holy.” This is exactly the point expressed later in the Torah.

So you shall keep My commandments, and do them: I am the Lord. And you shall not profane My holy name, but I will be sanctified among the sons of Israel: I am the Lord who sanctifies you, who brought you out from the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord. " LEV 22:31-33

A strong connection is now made between keeping the commandments and profaning God’s name. Simply said, if you name the Lord your God and then do not do what He has commanded, then you have profaned (grossly devalued) and made His name vain. Vain in the dictionary means “empty, futile, ineffectual, hollow, of no substance.”

Some have suggested that this commandment has to do with pronouncing God’s name properly. In fact, some Messianics have tried to say that the simple English words “Lord” and “God” somehow offend this commandment. They offer their special pronunciation for the four letter (the Hebrew letters Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey) name (YHVH or YHWH in English). Most theologians pronounce the name as Jehovah or Yahweh. Some Messianics insist on the Yahweh pronunciation and refuse to use Lord or God.

The earliest codexes (fully written Bibles in Hebrew) with the vowels inserted are presented in many different ways. Some have three syllables, some have two. It appears that the vowels were inserted to support the cantor as he sang the Scripture. I do believe there is a proper pronunciation for the Name and that it was used in the temple in Jerusalem; however, I do not believe that the commandment given is focused on the proper pronunciation of the four letter Name. This is a distraction from the real issue. I believe it is about bringing disrepute to the name of God by our actions.

Every parent knows that if a child grows up and misbehaves enough that their name suffers and results in a bad reputation. It affects more than one person. In the same manner, God has commanded us not to bring disrepute to our family name (His name). This is not hard to understand.

A good name is to be more desired than great riches, Favor is better than silver and gold. PRO 22:1

Very few things are able to hurt God. Satan and demons do their best, but God considers it very harmful if we take His name as believers and then make His name vain and of no value by our words and deeds.

Command Number Four
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. EXO 20:8-11

Like the commandment of idolatry, this commandment has more explanation and instruction given than the other commandments. This is the only commandment of the ten that addresses how we are to observe our faith. Simply said, God commands us to stop work on the final day of the week and rest (a weekly sabbath). He precludes us from arranging for the work to be done by others and requires us to remember.

What are we to remember? The answer is also supplied. We are to remember how God made the heavens and the earth (all of us). The sabbath day then is to be a day of rest, a day of remembrance, and to be treated as holy (separate from the other days).

This also tells us that sabbath existed prior to the ten commandments. Are we not being told to remember something that already exists? That is correct; God established and made the sabbath at the creation, not here in Mount Sinai. This means that Adam, Noah, and the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) knew about Sabbath. The precedent was set long before the ten commandments were given at Mount Sinai.

Interestingly, this commandment is not just about a weekly sabbath. It turns out that sabbath (this holy day of rest) is the opening to a series of other commandments of remembrance and holy days. The Lord’s appointed times (the feasts of the Lord) are all based on this commandment of keeping the sabbath. In fact, several of the appointed times are referred to as high sabbaths to be observed in conjunction with weekly sabbaths. Each one is treated holy and has specific elements of remembrance. The Feast of Unleavened Bread, for example, has a high sabbath on the first and seventh days commemorating the children of Israel walking out of Egypt, eating the bread of haste, and crossing the Red Sea. The Feast of Weeks is a High Sabbath called the Day of Proclamation remembering when God spoke the Ten Commandments. It is also the date of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a High Sabbath and a day of fasting, preparing for the future Day of the Lord. Treating a day as holy, separate from others, remembering the works of God, and resting from our daily routine begins with learning about the sabbath. It is the first step toward personal and community worship of God.

Some Christians have suggested that any day could be a sabbath. That is true, any day can be a day of rest, but what are you supposed to remember? And how do you make the day holy? It is not the same as this commandment says. God has specifically referred in this commandment to the pattern of His creation with Sabbath on the seventh day of the seven.

Many Christians have been taught that the sabbath was changed from the seventh day to the first day because of the resurrection of the Messiah. The Scripture says that Yeshua was resurrected on the first day after sabbath and there is nothing suggested in that testimony that would make the seventh day sabbath commandment cease. If the truth was fully known, Christian leaders should be promoting the Feast of First Fruits, which was the day the Messiah was resurrected!

Truly, historical Christianity made a conscious decision not to keep the Sabbath and to promote a Sunday sabbath to be separate from the Jews. They were well aware that God made the Sabbath to be a sign between Him and Israel.

It [the Sabbath] is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed. EXO 31:17

The Church Fathers took it upon themselves to change the commandment of God and replace it with their own. Explanations about the resurrection day and any day can be a day of rest are excuses and vain arguments for what is a clear historical fact. The Church Fathers usurped God’s authority and annulled the commandment of the Lord.

Isn’t it curious that Yeshua took issue with the religious leaders of His day and stated that they preferred their precepts to the commandments of God, and the Church fathers did exactly the same thing. Yeshua’s warning to the spiritual leaders was ignored by the Church fathers; thus, Christians today believe church doctrine over God’s commandment. The commandment appears to be very applicable here.

Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, 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. MAT 5:19

Command Number Five
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. EXO 20:12

The commandment is called the “commandment with a promise.”

Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. EPH 6:2-3

God says that honoring your father and mother will give you a longer life and a longer stay in the Promised Land. Conversely, dishonoring your father and mother will shorten your life and get you kicked out of the land.

Some have asked why this command is associated with the commandments of God, why is it not part of the commandments having to do with our relations with other people? There is a powerful answer to this.

A person’s father and mother are the reason why a person exists at all. Only God shares this same honor. If a person dishonors the very people who brought him into the world it is a direct reflection on God, their Creator. Therefore, how we honor or dishonor our mother and father is a direct parallel to our relationship with God.

The world is full of parents who have not done a very good job parenting. Some parents have been and are abusive. It is usually is a result of their parents before them. Fathers are even specifically warned not to provoke their children to anger.

And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. EPH 6:4

Despite what your father or mother may have done, this commandment still stands. You can still honor YOUR father and mother just for the fact that they are YOUR father and mother. You are not commanded to honor them for their deeds, nor judge them as parents. Do it because your Heavenly Father asked you to do it (as a reflection of Him).

If you were fortunate to have parents who loved you and sacrificed for you, then you should wholeheartedly keep this commandment. It is a good way to say thank you.

Command Number Six
You shall not murder. EXO 20:13

You will notice that the word is “murder” and not “kill.” Let us be clear about this distinction. The right of self-defense for an individual, a group, or for a nation is not what this commandment is about. This is also not about the act of manslaughter or accidental death, such as a car accident, a work accident, or a hunting accident. The Torah gives more instruction about those matters. This commandment is about “hating” someone so much that you take action to kill them. Murder is the ultimate expression of hatred. Hatred is defined as life so devalued that you usurp God’s authority.  God decides who lives and who dies. Murder is the opposite of the second greatest commandment – love your neighbor. Murder is the most harmful thing that can be done to another person.

It is said that when a person actually murders another they killed a whole world. The person killed came from somewhere, had friends and family, had hopes and a future. Murder does harm to that world—or realm of other people. This is particularly true of the murder of one’s own self (suicide). The person who commits suicide does unspeakable harm to everyone around him. And just as murder begins with hating someone, suicide is not only an expression of hate against oneself, it is an expression of hatred against his world. Many view this as a depressive state, but the reality is that they have so devalued their own life that they take the final act of destroying themselves. The person who commits suicide does not understand the devastation and impact it will have on all their other relationships.

Whether or not you are successful in carrying out the deed of killing someone is not what constitutes murder. If you want to kill someone or yourself you have transgressed the commandment. The method of how you carry out the transgression is only mitigating evidence and the degree of the act. Most state and federal laws for murder recognize the very severest class of murder to include “premeditation.” They also say it was with “malice and forethought.” They call it first-degree murder.

A person transgresses the commandment against murder the moment he harbors hate for another, even before seeking a method to bring harm to the person. The choice of weapon or methodology of death only determines the degree (how much premeditation is involved) of murder. A death caused by a person who had a willful disregard for who might be hurt is called Second Degree Murder.

There is a thin line between slandering someone and transgressing the commandment of do not murder. All that is needed is hatred of the person. Words have the power to destroy a person’s life just as much as a sharp knife. Slander is at minimum a complete disregard for the life of another person or others who might be hurt.

Yeshua specifically taught about this commandment, how the heart is the primary element that transgresses and commits murder. (See Matt 5:21-22) Most believers think that they never approach transgressing this commandment. They don’t realize that murder begins with hatred or deep disdain that begins in the heart. To coin a phrase that I am sure you have heard... Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.

Command Number Seven
You shall not commit adultery. EXO 20:14

Adultery by the strictest definition is a when a person has sexual relations with someone outside the marriage. The commandment of God is not in the strictest form. Adultery in this commandment is any sexually immoral act. Adultery per se is just the opening foray for a host of sexual improprieties. These include, but are not limited to, incest, fornication, homosexuality, bestiality, pedophilia, etc. The reason adultery is specifically listed is that adultery is the most grievous sexually immoral act against another person. Adultery is a treacherous act done in deceit. It is the violation of a marriage vow and covenant.

Just like murder, you do not have to actually carry out the behavior to transgress this commandment. Transgression here is from the heart as well. Sexual immorality occurs when the sexual appetite is out of control. It is called lusting in the heart, and it also involves the eyes.

Sexual immorality (adultery) and idolatry are very similar. Idolatry is really spiritual adultery. Torah teachers teach that the heart and the eyes go after harlots and idols. In the ancient world, harlots worked at the temples of false gods. We are taught that faith does not come from what we see. Instead, it is from what we hear. The eyes tend to distract the heart away from God. The eyes mislead a person toward sexual immorality. Maybe this is why pornography is so extensive and pervasive in the world we live. The outward tassels (tzitzit) on a tallit are to remind us not to follow our eyes.

Adultery is also a sin that destroys lives. For those who say that fornication doesn’t hurt anyone if it is consensual, they should look beyond their own lust. As a community, sexual immorality destroys lives, homes, families, friends, futures, careers, and the ability to live with yourself. Don’t kid yourself; adultery and fornication are grievous sins. You reap what you sow. When a man enters into a sexual activity he sows his seed.

Command Number Eight
You shall not steal. EXO 20:15

Stealing generally comes in two forms: by extortion and by stealth. When you extort someone to give you something against his will, it is a violation of this commandment. If you sneak in unseen and take something that doesn’t belong to you, it is a violation of this commandment. It does not matter what the thing is you stole or how much of it was stolen.

In effect, a thief curses himself when he steals. The object or value stolen perpetually testifies against him. As long as the thief keeps it, the value is evidence against him. No matter how long he keeps it, it will never be his.

The Torah says that when a thief pays back what he has stolen, he must repay double (see EXO 22:4). Clearly, crime does not pay.

Career thieves believe that people who work honestly are stupid. They mock the honest man comparing their quick act of thievery to the long hours and days of work of the honest man. The truth is that the thief is a man who hates himself and does not value himself. As a result, he does not value others or their things. The Apostle Paul offers this counsel to improve the personal thinking of a thief.

Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need. EPH 4:28

There is another kind of stealing to which this commandment is applicable. It is called the “breach of trust.” If two persons enter into a trust agreement, such as the keeping of a person’s property, and the property is lost or even stolen by another, then a theft has occurred. The person who kept the property is as guilty of stealing as the one who stole it.

If a man gives his neighbor money or goods to keep for him, and it is stolen from the man's house, if the thief is caught, he shall pay double. If the thief is not caught, then the owner of the house shall appear before the judges, to determine whether he laid his hands on his neighbor's property. For every breach of trust, whether it is for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any lost thing about which one says, “This is it,” the case of both parties shall come before the judges; he whom the judges condemn shall pay double to his neighbor. EXO 22:7-9

The next time someone asks you to store his goods or watch his bag you had better consider the matter seriously. You take the responsibility and you will be held accountable for it.

Command Number Nine
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. EXO 20:16

Bearing false witness is more commonly referred to as lying. Lying is generally the first sin of a child. It is imperative that parents teach their children not to lie or tolerate others who do. When a person lies they are destroying themselves and others affected. They either lie about themselves or they lie about others.

However, this commandment is more than outright lying. If you join in criticiizing another person and spread false information about that person, misrepresenting a situation about that person, repeating a false report or accusation, such as gossiping, then you have borne false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. You shall not follow a multitude in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice;... Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent or the righteous, for I will not acquit the guilty. EXO 23:1-2,7

If a person chooses to falsely charge another person, so that the authorities investigate and charge the person, the false witness is to be punished exactly as to the charge he falsely accused. Just because he thought he was right, making the charge is no defense.

...and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. DEU 19:18b-19

The punishment for lying is banishment (purge the evil). This is what generally happens when someone lies to others in the community. The liar usually leaves. This is why they say that a person who lies destroys himself.

There is still another aspect to this commandment and it is when nothing is said when it needs to be said. If you are a witness to an event and there is a dispute concerning it, you must testify to the event. Holding back and refusing to testify is equivalent to bearing false witness; in this case, failing to bring the facts out for consideration in the verdict.

Now if a person sins, after he hears a public adjuration to testify, when he is a witness, whether he has seen or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt. LEV 5:1

The Torah teaches that a single witness cannot be used to confirm an event. There must be two or three witnesses. This is part of the defense against a false witness or a witness who is in error.

A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed. DEU 19:15

Satan is called the father of lies. A liar testifies to who his father is. A person who speaks the truth testifies to who his father is as well.

Command Number Ten
You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor. EXO 20:17

There is a slight difference from this commandment as given in Exodus versus that given in Deuteronomy.

You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, and you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field or his male servant or his female servant, his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor. DEU 5:21

The first phrase is interchanged between coveting a neighbor’s house and wife. There is a simple reason for it. A neighbor’s wife and house are the same thing. It is the wife who builds the house of a man. A man doesn’t have a house until he takes a wife.

The word “covet” means “want.” Want is the desire of the heart. If there is no self-control for the wants of the heart then the person is coveting and transgressing this commandment. We are not talking about wanting good things, such as goals or objectives of life, nor are we talking about dreams and plans for better things. Almost all men want good things like a wife and a house. This want motivates us to work and achieve. The sin occurs when you want something that does not belong to you nor is it proper for you to pursue.

You know you have transgressed this commandment whenever you contemplate violating one or several of the other commandments such as murder, adultery, stealing, or lying.

When Moses first brought the tablets down from the mountain, he broke them before the children of Israel because he was so grieved over their sins. Moses returned to God and God gave him a new set of the tablets. Moses provided the tablets and God wrote the commandments again with His finger.

The prophet Jeremiah said that the New Covenant would be different from the one made with Moses in the wilderness. In the New Covenant, each of us is to bring the tablets of our heart. Then God will write His commandments (all ten of them) on our tablets.

We should look inside ourselves, into our hearts, and see if these commandments are written there. Make sure that the words are written on both sides, front and back, that you are transparent and can be seen through, hiding nothing. Make sure they are the same words written in the first Scripture and look for the Messiah and the Holy Spirit to be witnesses of your heart.