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Old 5th February 2019, 09:42 PM
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Default Exodus 20

[Exodus 20]
{20:1} And the Lord spoke all these words:
{20:2} “I am the Lord your God, who led you away from the land of Egypt, out of the house of servitude.

Our Lord can lead us out the house of the slavery of sin. Lets turn to the Lord and He shall do great things for us.

Here come the Ten Commandments (also known as the Decalogue) but they need to be understood in whole context.

These Commandments are based on love of God with all our hearts, strength, mind and love our neighbor as self. If we break one of these commandments we break them all (James 2:10).

“Therefore, just as a person who is entangled in all sins will not enter the gate of eternal life, so also if a person remains in one sin – (Second Lateran Council - 1139 A.D. under Pope Innocent II; canon 22).

{20:3} You shall not have strange gods before me.
{20:4} You shall not make for yourself a graven image, nor a likeness of anything that is in heaven above or on earth below, nor of those things which are in the waters under the earth.
{20:5} You shall not adore them, nor shall you worship them. I am the Lord your God: strong, zealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the sons to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
{20:6} and showing mercy to thousands of those who love me and keep my precepts.

Here God is not telling us not to makes any image at all. He is telling us not to make images of strange gods (20:3) and not to adore those images (20:5).

What God is prohibiting is making any image and worship it (that particular image) as if IT IS God, or placing it above God, which is something that the Catholic Church never teaches. We do not "adore" images. We venerate or honor those whom they represent, which is totally different and it is not idolatry.

Joshua and the elders prostrated themselves to the ground before the Ark of the Covenant which was covered completely in gold and had images of two cherubs, Joshua also talked to it (Joshua 7:6-7) but did not worshipped it because he was directed to God through the Ark, not the Ark itself.

David also prostrated himself over Saul and reverenced him, not “worshipped” him (1 Samuel 24:9). We, persons, are made in the “image” of God (Gen 1:26), so David did bow down before a type of image, but did not worshipped him.

Similarly, the Shunammite woman bowed down at the feet of Elisha (2 Kings 4:27).

Daniel falls prostrate to the ground before the Angel Gabriel and he was not reprimanded for an act of worship (Dan 8:16-18 ).

Solomon made holocausts and offerings before the Ark of the Covenant (1 Kings 3:15).

In conclusion, this Commandment is regarding not having idols which can be, not only images, but anything we place above God in our minds and hearts. For we can create an image in our minds and hearts (not a physical image) about ourselves above God and that is idolatry. God is specific about physical images in this language because that was the custom of ancient Israel who learned to make physical image-idols (images of false gods and worshipped them) from the pagan country of Egypt.

Later, as we shall see, God talks about not desiring "donkeys" or "ox" of others, but God is talking about not desiring other people's goods in general, whether is a donkey, or, in our times, a car, etc.

{20:7} You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. For the Lord will not hold harmless one who takes the name of the Lord his God falsely.

It is a grave sin to use the name of the Lord in order to do our own way type of "justice" as if the Lord is the accomplice or our limited understandings.

{20:8} Remember that you are to sanctify the day of the Sabbath.
{20:9} For six days, you will work and accomplish all your tasks.
{20:10} But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. You shall not do any work in it: you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, your beast and the newcomer who is within your gates.
{20:11} For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all the things that are in them, and so he rested on the seventh day. For this reason, the Lord has blessed the day of the Sabbath and sanctified it.

We should be grateful for all the things the Lord has done for us and we need to separate a day for His due worship. The day that we Christians dedicate to the Lord is the day of Jesus' resurrection, Sunday. Jesus died on "Preparation Day" which is the day before the feast of the Passover begins (Luke 23:53-56) (John 13:1) (John 19:14-15) (John 19:31-37) and rose on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:4) which falls on the day we know as Sunday. Passover begins on what today we know as the evening of Friday and ends on the evening of Saturday. The dying and rising of Jesus is the new creation (2 Cor 5:17) (Rev 21:5). This has been the practice since the early Christianity (Acts 20:7) (Rev 1:10).

{20:12} Honor your father and your mother, so that you may have a long life upon the land, which the Lord your God will give to you.

We shall honor not only our biological fathers and mothers but also our spiritual ones or those who have treated us as such.

{20:13} You shall not murder.

We do not need to physically kill a person in order to offend God, for we can kill such persons in our hearts and minds with any kind of disrespect or malice towards them (Mathew 5:21-22).

{20:14} You shall not commit adultery.

Similarly, a married man does not have to physically lay down with another woman in order to commit adultery (Matthew 5:27-28 ).

{20:15} You shall not steal.

We shall not take the properties of others, usurp someone else's role, steal time by negligence.

{20:16} You shall not speak false testimony against your neighbor.

Lying is intrinsically evil for it's contrary to Truth who is God (John 14:16) (CCC# 1753). Some lies are more severe than others, some lies are venial sins, but all lies are still sins. A dog is a dog whether it is big or small. This Commandment also prohibits any kind of dishonest language such as calumny or perjury.

{20:17} You shall not covet the house of your neighbor; neither shall you desire his wife, nor male servant, nor female servant, nor ox, nor donkey, nor anything that is his.”

As explained about, God is talking about not desiring other people's good. It also applies about women not desiring a woman's husband.

{20:18} Then all the people considered the voices, and the lights, and the sound of the trumpet, and the smoking mountain. And being terrified and struck with fear, they stood at a distance,
{20:19} saying to Moses: “Speak to us, and we will listen. Let not the Lord speak to us, lest perhaps we may die.”

Moses had the gift of speaking to God mouth to mouth (Numbers 12:8 ) but in forms of a trumpet, lights, which scared the rest of the people. But since God has manifested to us as a man in the Person of Jesus, now we are able to speak to God just as a friend to his friend.

{20:20} And Moses said to the people: “Do not be afraid. For God came in order to test you, and so that the dread of him might be with you, and you would not sin.”
{20:21} And the people stood far away. But Moses approached toward the mist, in which was God.
{20:22} Thereafter, the Lord said to Moses: “This you shall say to the sons of Israel: You have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven.
{20:23} You shall not make gods of silver, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold.

What God is saying not to make "gods" or false gods. The Catholic Church does not teach the faithful to make gods or to adore them. We can make images, not of gods, but of the faithful champions of the faith in order to respect, honor or pay tribute to them, but never to worship any creature. We only worship the Person of Jesus (or the Holy Trinity, Three Persons, One God), not the image that represents Him. We respect and honor such images but do not worship them. We do not believe that an image itself made the heavens and the earth, the sea and everything that it contains.

{20:24} You shall make an altar from the earth for me, and you shall offer upon it your holocausts and peace-offerings, your sheep and oxen, in every place where the memory of my name shall be. I will come to you, and I will bless you.

We do worship the One True God.

{20:25} And if you make an altar of stone for me, you shall not build it from cut stones; for if you lift up a tool over it, it will be defiled.
{20:26} You shall not ascend by steps to my altar, lest your nakedness be revealed.”

God is the One who gives us the instructions of how He shall be worshiped correctly. We are not to worship God the way we think He should, for we, fallen creatures, can be mistaken.
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John 3:27; John 15:5; Matthew 19:26
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