Exodus 20:1-17

Topic: 10 Commandments Type: Translation and Notes Author: A. Allison Lewis 

The Ten Commandments
Exodus 20:1-17

[The following DOES NOT, in any way, support the teachings of the Seventh Day Adventist cult].

[Deuteronomy 5:6-21; Romans 7:7; 13:8, 9; Ephesians 2:8, 9, 10; 6:2, 3; Psalm 119:145-152; Matthew 19:18, 19; 22:36-40; Luke 18:20; Mark 10:19; Exodus 20:22; The moral law in the NT – Romans 10:8].

EXO 20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying [see also vs. 22], EXO 20:2 I am Jehovah your God, Who have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

EXO 20:3 [1] {1} [Numbers inclosed in { } = Roman Catholic and Lutheran numbering - An indefensible numbering system] [Isaiah 44:6 (5-25); Leviticus 26:1]. You shall have no other gods before [besides or in addition to] Me.

EXO 20:4 [2] You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in Heaven above, or that is in the Earth beneath, or that is in the water under the Earth. EXO 20:5 You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I Jehovah Your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the 3rd and 4th generation of those who hate Me; EXO 20:6 and showing mercy to 1,000’s [OR to the 1,000th generation] of those who love Me, and keep My commandments.

EXO 20:7 [3] {2} You shall not take the name of Jehovah your God in vain; for Jehovah will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain [Leviticus 24:10; Matthew 6:9; "To hear a wicked man who wallows in sin talk of God and religion is offensive; it is taking God’s name in vain" Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, p. 284. See also: Deutonomy 6:13; Psalms 29:2; 61:5; 72:17; 74:10, 18; 83:18; 99:3; 111:9; 113:1-3; 135:13; 138:2; 148:13].

EXO 20:8 [4] {3} Remember the Sabbath [Rest] day, to keep it holy [Romans 14:5, 6; Isaiah 58:13, 14. One day in seven set aside (kept holy) to the Lord - Exodus 31:12-17; Jeremiah 17:21-27. Worship on Sunday -1st day of the week - Acts 20:7; 1st Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10. God rested - ceased from creation - Genesis 2:1-4; Exodus 16:19-30 (before Sinai). Christ and the Sabbath - Matthew 12:1-5 (priest’s working); 10-14. See also J. Barton Payne, The Theology of the Older Testament where he says the "moral law" is "permanently binding" pp. 394-401]. Exodus 20:9 Six days shall you labor, and do all your work [Ezekiel 46:1; Exodus 34:21; 35:1-3]: EXO 20:10 but the 7th day is the Sabbath of Jehovah your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your cattle, nor the stranger who is within your gates: EXO 20:11 for [Exodus 31:17] in 6 days Jehovah made Heaven and Earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the 7th day: wherefore Jehovah blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Frank McClelland comments on this commandment as follows:


As in the case of the second commandment, please note the prominence with which the law of the Sabbath is presented. The fourth commandment is the longest in the Decalogue. Remember this command, like the others, was engraved by the finger of God on tables of stone. May it, and they, be engraved indelibly upon the fleshly table of each heart.

The fourth commandment occupies an important position in the law, resting at the end of the section outlining man's duty to God, and before the section showing man's duty to his fellow man. It appears as a keystone in the arch of the law. A proper keeping of the first three commandments demands the observance of the fourth commandment, and without the first four there can be no proper observance of numbers five to ten. So this command is the keystone in the bridge of the law.

The Nature of this Commandment

It must be remembered that this is a MORAL command. The fourth commandment is not part of either the ceremonial or civil laws of Israel but it is part of the MORAL LAW. The law of the Sabbath extends from man's creation on Earth [Genesis 2:1-3] to redeemed man in Heaven [Hebrews 4]. It cannot therefore be relegated to a bygone age, but should be observed.

It is primarily a CALL TO REMEMBRANCE. Remember the Sabbath day. Man is inclined to forget God's holy ordinances, and more so when they require a continual sustained effort as does the keeping of the Sabbath. . . .

. . . .

First or Seventh?

The Christian today does not serve the Jewish 'seventh day' Sabbath, but worships on the Christian Sabbath–the Lord's Day–the first day of the week. The Word 'Sabbath' simply means 'rest' or 'day of rest.' The Christian Sabbath or Lord's Day is appointed by Christ. We are told that He is Lord also of the Sabbath. It is His day. The Lord's day is mentioned in Psalm 118. The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it [Psalm 118:22-24].

It is interesting to note that this portion of Scripture is quoted six times in the New Testament plus the original Psalm, making seven in all. . . . Now the question arises–which day was it the Lord 'made', and why should we rejoice and be glad in it? The answer is found in Acts 4 where Psalm 118 is quoted, and a divine commentary of the portion is given. It is obvious the stone refused by the builders is a reference to the rejection and crucifixion of Christ [Acts 4:10-12]. The refused stone became the head stone of the corner when Jesus rose from the dead in glorious resurrection. Well did the Psalmist write, This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. He thus prophesied of the crucifixion and exults in the resurrection of Christ. Then the Psalmist states, This is THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE. What day? The Resurrection day–the first day of the week.

The Psalmist further mentions this day–the Lord's day–would be a day of rejoicing and gladness. Now the Jewish Sabbath in the week of Christ's crucifixion was not a day of gladness. Jesus was dead and wrapped in grave clothes in Joseph's tomb. The disciples were shattered and scattered. They were not glad–they were sad in the extreme.

But the next day–the first day of the week–their sadness turned to exceeding great joy when they learned that Jesus had risen from the dead. The seventh day–the Jewish Sabbath–was a day of sorrow and sadness. The first day–the first Christian Sabbath–was a day of rejoicing and gladness.

For New Testament believers the first day of the week occupied an important place. They obviously met on the first day of the week. Upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them [Acts 20:7].

So, on the first day of the week believers met together, broke bread and listened to the preaching of God's Word together. They also laid aside their . . . offerings for the work of God on this day [1st Corinthians 16:2]. It was the Lord's day when John the Apostle was in the Spirit, heard the voice of the Lord, and in vision beheld the Lord. And from that Spirit-anointed experience we received the book of Revelation [Revelation 1:10].

. . . .

Each believer, before God, must ask if his work on the Lord's Day is an absolute necessity or a work of mercy. In cases of doubt it is always a good practice to give God the benefit of any doubt. Or as the well-known maxim puts it–"If in doubt–DON'T!" If the job is neither an absolute necessity nor a work of mercy then there is no excuse for working on Sunday.

. . ..

If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the Earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it [Isaiah 58:13-14].

[Frank McClelland, The Ancient Law for the New Age, pp. 55-62. Wittenburg Publications, 1990; Toronto ON CANADA. We recommend that you purchase and read this little book].

EXO 20:12 [5] {4} Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long on the land which Jehovah your God gives you [Ehesians 6:1-4].

EXO 20:13 [6] {5} You shall not murder [Exodus 21:12-14. Matthew 19:18, 19 lists commandments 5-10 dealing with mans relations with his fellow man - does not follow OT order].

EXO 20:14 [7] {6} You shall not commit adultery [this includes all sexual sins and perversions of sex].

EXO 20:15 [8] {7} You shall not steal.

EXO 20:16 [9] {8} You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

EXO 20:17 [10] {9} YOU SHALL NOT COVET [Do not desire to have what belongs to someone else - lawfully earn the means to acquire your own] [Romans 13:9 (7:7)] your neighbor’s house. {10} You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or ANY THING THAT IS YOUR NEIGHBOR’S.


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This Page Last Updated: 11/08/08 A. Allison Lewis aalewis@christianbeliefs.org