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Important Things You Must Know About 10 Commandments

I suppose for many, the only exposure to the 10 Commandments has come from movies and television shows. I was surprised to find that there have been at least seven motion pictures produced since 1923 — the first being a silent film. Gone are the days of the classic Charlton Heston version. Now, there are documentaries, animations, videos, and mini-series’ of the infamous story.

The biblical account of the 10 Commandments, however, paints a much deeper picture of the miraculous events surrounding Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness of Sinai.

The books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers record, in detail, the 11-month period that the Hebrew nation camped at the foot of the mountain and were tested by God.

If you’ve never done an in-depth study of these Old Testament books, I encourage you to take some time to study them closely. I was blessed to discover some interesting things I didn’t know before. Here are 10 things you might not know about the 10 Commandments.

1. They were spoken to Moses three months after he led the Israelites out of Egypt. 
We can only imagine what the Israelites were going through, three months after they’d been led out of Egypt. Six hundred thousand men, besides women and children, had witnessed their miraculous deliverance from the hand of Pharaoh. Yet, within a few weeks, the people began complaining about water to drink, (Exodus 15:22-27), and bread to eat. (Exodus 16:2-5)

God’s timing in waiting until the third month to give the commandments was no coincidence. He had already proven Himself as their Deliverer and Provider and it was time to test their faith and reveal His divine standards for them.

“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.” (Exodus 19:4-5)

The third month also parallels the New Testament Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the first church in Acts 2. The Israelites were God’s chosen people, and by setting forth His commandments, He was declaring an everlasting covenant with them that would later be fulfilled in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

2. The commandments were written by God, not Moses. 
“And Moses turned and went down from the mountain, and the two tablets of the Testimony were in his hand. The tablets were written on both sides; on the one side and on the other they were written. Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tablets.” (Exodus 32:15-16 NKJV)

It is often assumed that when God spoke the commandments in Exodus chapter 20, it was Moses who wrote them down. But the tablets were inscribed by the finger of God. (Exodus 31:18)

There have been skeptics who claim that Moses copied the commandments from an ancient Babylonian text called the Code of Hammurabi. While Hammurabi did record 282 civil and criminal laws, 300 years before Moses, any similarities between the two sets have remained just that — similarities. Hammurabi’s laws were based on civil actions and harsh punishments. The 10 Commandments were based on God’s deep and unconditional love for His people.
3. There were actually two sets of stone tablets. 
Because Moses remained on Mt. Sinai for such a long period of time, the Israelites figured he wasn’t coming back down and decided to make an idol in the form of a golden calf. When Moses saw it, he threw the first tablets down the mountain in anger.

“So it was, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. So Moses’ anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. Then he took the calf which they had made, burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder; and he scattered it on the water and made the children of Israel drink it.” (Exodus 32:19-20 NKJV)

After that, the Lord called Moses to chisel a new set of stone tablets and once again trek up the mountain for divine revelation. This time, Moses fasted 40 days and 40 nights, listening to the voice of the Lord as He spoke the words of the covenant law a second time.
4. Both sets of tablets were placed in the Ark of the Covenant. 
I have a plaque of the 10 Commandments hanging on my wall that was made to look like ancient stone. My husband and I bought it on our tenth wedding anniversary, as a reminder of God’s faithfulness to our family. I plan to keep the memento and pass it down to my children and grandchildren as an heirloom of faith.

But the real sets of commandments, both the broken ones and the new ones, were placed in the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 40:20). Also known as the Ark of the Testimony, it was a chest made from acacia wood, overlaid with gold, and used to hold the rod of Aaron and a portion of Manna as well.

The Ark would eventually be housed in the Temple, but later become “lost” to the world. Dozens of speculations about it’s whereabouts remain in circulation, while the book of Revelation mentions the Ark of the Covenant in heaven, found in the temple of God. (Revelation 11:9)
5. Commandment number five is followed by a direct blessing. 
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”

This is the fifth commandment found in Exodus 20, and it is also the one commandment that is followed by a blessing. It is worth noting that God’s gift of long life is much more than a lengthy number of days. It is a promise of His provision, protection, and guidance every day of our lives. Honoring our parents was included in the 10 Commandments because God ultimately wanted His people to honor Him. Treating our earthly parents with due respect is just a hint of how we honor and glorify God.

Even when relationships are fragmented and parents seem unworthy to receive honor, there is great blessing when we choose to obey the fifth commandment. God knows. He understands. And He is faithful in keeping His promises.
6. All 10 commandments are upheld in the New Testament. 
As I brainstormed points for this article, I admit that I didn’t know for sure if this fact was true. I hoped it was, but I couldn’t automatically recall whether or not every one of the 10 Commandments were mentioned in the New Testament.

Much to my pleasant surprise, I found that each of them was not only mentioned, but upheld within the pages of the New Testament. From the very first command to have “no other gods,”

(1 Corinthians 8:5-6), to the commandment against coveting, (Colossians 3:5), all 10 Commandments are backed up by Jesus and His disciples. (See also Matthew 5:17-32,Mark 7: 9-13, Luke 18:20, 1 Corinthians 5:10-11.)

[written by Jennifer Waddle]