I’ve been struggling with what to write because the last few weeks I have been getting questions from a lot of you on my posts. I am so glad most of you find my blog enlightening. For those of you who are fearful of the fate of my soul, I am not worried. I don’t believe in the existence of a hell or a devil. I view hell as a scare tactic and the devil as a mere cop-out for being responsible for your own actions.
In my last blog post I discussed that I respected the character of Jesus and was going to write about his teachings. However, before any discussion can be had on anything Jesus may have said it is important to know the most widely accepted beliefs of who Jesus was and the climate he is said to have lived in. (I say beliefs because we have no way of proving any of this so we cannot say these are facts.)
- Jesus was Jewish.
- There were multiple denominations and sects of Judaism during the time he is said to have lived.
- Some sects observed the Talmud and some observed other unwritten laws but, all of them observed the 10 Commandments.
- For the most part all of Jesus’ teachings were based on the 10 Commandments.
- There are 2 versions of the 10 Commandments, one in the book of Exodus (Exodus 20:2–17) and the other in the book of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 5:6–21).
According to Jewish Scripture the 10 Commandments found in the book of Exodus were actually carved into stone tablets by God and given to Moses on a mountain in the Sinai peninsula (some say Mt. Horeb others Mt. Sinai). Whether it actually happened that way or not is not important, as the 10 commandments are a relevant and powerful code of ethics.
There are multiple ways of dividing them but, generally the 10 commandments are as follows:
- I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me.
- You shall not make for yourself an idol.
- Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
- Honor your father and mother.
- You shall not kill/murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.
For the most part these are relatively self-explanatory but, Jesus simplified the first 3 commandments into “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength” and the last 7 he summed up as “Love your neighbor as yourself”. This universal law of love Jesus is said to have taught, should be enough for man to build a sense of morality. The flaw in this approach is that it leads to an element of subjectivity that can vary by one’s interpretation of the meaning of love and how much they may or may not love themself. Therefore I think it is necessary to clarify some of them without the corruption of centuries of translation, editing, modifications, and unnecessary dogma.
Here is my translation of the 10 Commandments:
- Respect the Creator and all Creation/Nature.
- Do not put your faith in objects (like money) or people.
- Do not break promises.
- Remember to balance your time and always set time aside to rest.
- Respect your parents.
- Do not murder.
- Do not commit adultery.
- Do not steal.
- Do not lie.
- Be grateful for what you have and not envious of what others have.
Using this as a foundation, can you imagine the way the world would be? If we respected our creator and nature, we would not pollute or take things like the air we breathe for granted. If we didn’t revolve our lives around money, there would be no greed and no poverty. Imagine a world without broken promises, where fathers and mothers set work aside to spend with their children. Imagine a world where everyone respects life and you never have to fear for your own safety. Imagine a society built on trust and honor.
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more. (Jeremiah 31:33-34)
Jesus is essentially reiterating a message from Jeremiah that was centuries old. The overall theme of all of the teachings of Jesus was that these commandments are useless if they are only etched in stone. They should be written in our minds and inscribed in our hearts. Our intentions are just as important as our actions. To act without conscious is empty and shallow. To love with conditions is not love. To give for the sake of giving and not a reward is true charity and true charity is the highest expression of love.
© Nelson Rose, The Quest for Light