Is The Ten Commandment Law Valid Today?


Scripture Reading: II Timothy 2:15


            Many people are thoroughly confused about God’s law that contained the Ten Commandments and whether it applies to mankind today.  Many of the Bible correspondence students that we teach don’t understand how to “RIGHTLY DIVIDE THE WORD OF TRUTH” concerning God’s covenants with mankind and they are not alone in their confusion.  I don’t normally read the column published in the Shreveport Times that is written by Mr. Billy Graham but the headline on Friday, January 12, 2007 caught my eye because it is something that I deal with on a regular basis.  That headline declared that “Ten Commandments are just as valid today.”  Coupled with the teaser ad on the front page about more and more local denominations adding a Saturday evening worship service for their members it is even more apparent that most of them are also confused.

            Mr. Graham’s column said “These commandments are just as valid today as they were when God first gave them to Moses more that 3,000 years ago.  The reason is because God never changes – and neither does our human nature.  Our world would be a better place if we followed them.”  I can agree with part of what was in Mr. Graham’s column.  God never changes:




Human nature never changes, consequently man sins, transgresses God’s law:




And the world would be a better place if all men followed even the Old Testament law.  But Mr. Graham’s contention that the Ten Commandment Law is valid and applicable to us today shows us his confusion regarding “RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH”.  We will spend the balance of this lesson searching the scripture’s to determine what things are true. (Acts 17:11)


The Mosaic Covenant


Was Given Through Moses:


Exodus 19:3, 7And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;” v.7And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.”


It was given at Mount Horeb, also called Mount Sinai when God lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.  Just before he dies Moses tells the Israelite nation:


The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. 3The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.” Deuteronomy 5:2-3


God said that he made this covenant with Israel:


Hebrews 8:8-9For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 9Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.”


The Ten Commandment Law was given only to the nation of Israel:


Exodus 19:5-6Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”


Deuteronomy 5:1-2And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. 2The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.”


The Ten Commandment Law was given to preserve a people through whom God would keep his promise to provide a remedy for the sin that Satan brought into the world:


Genesis 3:15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”


A promise carried forward through Abraham (Genesis 17:19), Isaac (Genesis 26:4), and then to Jacob who became Israel:


Genesis 28:14And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”


The Ten Commandment Law was given because of transgression because as we find in Jeremiah 10:23 “…it is NOT IN MAN THAT WALKETH TO DIRECT HIS STEPS.”


Galatians 3:19Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”


The Ten Commandment Law was given to bring the nation of Israel unto Christ:


Galatians 3:24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”


The Ten Commandment Law was never intended by God to be permanent.  Moses tells the nation of Israel that there would come a day in their history:


The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;” Deuteronomy 18:15


The prophet Jeremiah tells Judah that God will make a new covenant with them; a covenant that would be different:


Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Jeremiah 31:32-33


And the Holy Spirit through Paul confirms the intent of God in His seed promise to Abraham, that that seed was Jesus the Christ and tells us that the Mosaic Covenant was only to last until Christ should come:


Galatians 3:16Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”


Galatians 3:19Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”


The Mosaic Covenant Replaced


            Christ took away the first or Mosaic Covenant:


“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” Colossians 2:14


He took it out of the way that he might establish the second or new covenant with mankind:


Hebrews 10:9  Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first that he may establish the second.”


            The declarations of the Holy Spirit through Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:32-33) that the Mosaic Covenant would be temporary are confirmed by the preaching of Peter at Jerusalem when the church of Jesus Christ began.  We are to hear Christ, the Son of God, Peter understood this completely:


Acts 3:22For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.”


I wonder how many times that the words of Almighty God himself echoed in Peter’s mind when God corrected him on the Mount of Transfiguration.


While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Matthew 17:5


The fulfillment of this prophecy is confirmed even further by the Holy Spirit in the writing to the Hebrew Christians:


Hebrews 1:1-2 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;”


            The Mosaic Law is dead and those that were bound to that law have now become dead to that law and under another.  Using the analogy of a woman whose husband is no longer living the Holy Spirit through Paul tells us:


Romans 7:1Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? v. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”


The New Covenant is Better


            It has a better mediator, the Son of God himself rather than Moses who was just a servant of God:


Hebrews 3:5-6And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 6But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”


            The Mosaic Covenant was dedicated with the blood of animals           


Hebrews 9:19-20 “For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, 20Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.”


But the New Covenant was dedicated by the blood of the Son of God:


Hebrews 9:12  Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”


Hebrews 10:44For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”


            The Mosaic Covenant was not perfect:


Hebrews 8:7For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.”


“For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” Hebrews 7:19


But it the New Covenant of Christ that liberated mankind from his sins is perfect:


James 1:25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”


            The Mosaic Law was just a shadow, a facsimile, an image of the New Covenant that was to come:


            The Hebrew writer stated that under the Mosaic Covenant the priests served “…UNTO THE EXAMPLE AND SHADOW OF HEAVENLY THINGS...” (Hebrews 8:5)


Hebrews 10:1For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.”


That shadow, that image, that facsimile could not remove man’s sins and make man perfect in the sight of God but the New Covenant does.


For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” Hebrews 7:19


            The New Covenant that God would make with mankind would be written on his heart, not on tables or tablets of stone:


Jeremiah 31:33-34But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”


The Holy Spirit confirms for us that this New Covenant has indeed been put in place in the writing of Hebrews 8 which draws a direct reference back to the prophecy of Jeremiah.


            Under the new covenant we have a permanent priesthood, a high priest seated on the right hand of God as its mediator; a high priest who did not know sin:


Hebrews 7:24-28But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.  For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”


            Back at the beginning of this lesson we showed by the scriptures that the Mosaic Covenant was given by God only to the nation of Israel and to no other.  But the New Covenant, the Law of Christ is universal, given to all men:


Galatians 3:27-29For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”


            The New Covenant is based upon better promises, greater blessings than the Mosaic Covenant:


Hebrews 8:66But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”


Ephesians 1:3-4Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”


            And one of these blessings, the greatest of those blessings is the permanent removal or remission of our sins.  The Mosaic Covenant was not capable of removing sin:


Hebrews 10:3-4But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.


But under the New Covenant we are promised:


For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 8:12


To Follow the Mosaic Covenant Today is Sin


            During the beginnings of the church among the Gentiles there were those who would bind the Mosaic Covenant on these new Christians:


Acts 15:1And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.”


But these men were false teachers that would plague the Apostle Paul and the church for years to come even though the apostles directed by the Holy Spirit settled the matter:


Acts 15:24Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:”


            Paul writes to the Galatians Christians that this mixture of the Mosaic Law and the Gospel of Christ was not another Gospel, not good news for anyone but rather a perversion:


Galatians 1:6-7I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”


The Holy Spirit also leaves no doubt regarding the relationship that anyone who teaches a perverted gospel:


Galatians 1:8-9  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”


Paul summarizes the situation of the Galatians that were trying to mix the old and new laws this way:


Galatians 5:4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”


            But does that mean that the precepts of God’s commandments are not valid today?  Not at all because as we noted at the beginning God does not change, the definition of sin has not changed, God’s attitude toward those things that are immoral has not changed.  Every one of the ten commandments, except one, the commandment to keep the Sabbath, was not only carried over into the new covenant but strengthened and reinforced in the new.  Two examples:


Exodus 20:13 “THOU SHALT NOT KILL”


Matthew 5:21-22Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”


Exodus 20:14Thou shalt not commit adultery.”


Matthew 5:27-28Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”