Exodus 20:1-26




Verse 1-26, And God spake all these words, saying, {2} I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. {3} Thou shalt have no other gods before me. {4} Thou shalt not make unto thee 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: {5} Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; {6} And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. {7} Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. {8} Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. {9} Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: {10} But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: {11} For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. {12} Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. {13} Thou shalt not kill. {14} Thou shalt not commit adultery. {15} Thou shalt not steal. {16} Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. {17} Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. {18} And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. {19} And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. {20} And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. {21} And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. {22} And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. {23} Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. {24} An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. {25} And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. {26} Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.


Establishment of religion.

Concerning the worship of Jehovah God, not any other god.  This is why people declare the posting of the ten commandments is the establishment of religion.  It is very important to note that anybody that objects to the posting of the ten commandments is worshipping another god, regardless of what they say.

Fighting God in these last days because the battle of the Great Tribulation has already begun.  Rev. 12 states that this conflict will be between Satan and Israel, and God prefaces His remarks in Exodus 20 with verse 2, which states that He is the one who brought Israel out of Egypt.  No other nation fits this description.  Israel will have to be led by God to take their land over once again.  They cannot do it on their own.

Two divisions - # 1-4 and # 5-10.  Very few objections to last 6, but many objections to the first four.  This is where the establishment of religion comes in.  The first four commandments are talking about worshipping and serving God only, not some other god.

The idenity of verse 2 is Jehovah God, not the god of the Amorites, Moabites, or some other “…ites.”


I.    God spoke directly to the people.

A.  This is the first time He had done this.

1.   He had always spoken to a few people at a time, or to Moses directly.

B.   This refutes the popular theory that Moses went up on Mt. Sinai and got the commandments and brought them back down to the people.

1.   Moses did go up the mountain and get the tables of stone with the commandments written on them.

2.   The people already knew what was on the tables because God had spoken directly to them.

C.   When God makes an important change, He always does it publicly, never behind a bush so nobody can see, or understand.

1.   Gen. 6 - When God repented (changed the way He was dealing with mankind) it was public.  All the people knew God send the flood to destroy the people of the world.

2.   Gen. 12-22 - The things that happened to Abraham was watched and taken note of by the people surrounding him.

3.   Gen. 24:60 - The marriage and the miracle of Rebekah and Isaac was a public affair.

4.   Gen. 30:27 - Laban had learned by experience that the presence of Jacob caused God’s blessings upon him.

5.   Exodus - Israel being in Egypt was a public affair, and the world knew when Israel went out of Egypt.

6.   When God changed the government of Israel from a judge to a king, it was public.

7.   When God caused Israel to go into Babylon captivity, it was public.

8.   When Israel came out of captivity, it was public.

9.   When god turned from Israel to the Gentiles, it was public (Day of Pentecost).

10.  When the rapture comes, it will be public.

11.  The tribulation (God dealing with Israel again) will be public.

12.  Christ’s coming at the Battle of Armageddon will be public.

13.  The end of the world will be public.

D.  Compare this public message and the resulting change to the beginnings of many religious cults today.

1.   Mormons - Joseph Smith in 1830 - He said an angel came down from heaven and gave him a book he should study out of.  Later the angel came back to him and took the book back to heaven.  This was all done privately.  People took Mr. Smith’s word for all this.  He has lead them astray.

2.   Mary Baker Eddy - Got a “vision” and started the Christian Science in 1884. Nobody was present when she got the “vision.”

3.   Jehovah Witnesses organized by Russell in 1884 by the same sort of “private” vision.

4.   If we could know the truth of the matter, we would know that if these people had a vision, it was from Satan, but it is doubtful that they had a vision at all.


II.   This is not the beginning of “the law.”

A.  The people that believe in “dispensationalism” are in error when they declare the “dispensation of law” and the “dispensation of grace.”

B.   The law always was:

1.   Gen. 2:16,17 - Adam had a law given to him of God.  The purpose of this law was not to limit Adam at all, but to point him to a closer relationship to God.  There is a “limiting” to the law, but the purpose of the law is not to limit, but to show every individual how they can more effectively serve and worship God.

2.   Gen. 15 - The promise of God to Abraham was confirmed by the offering given by Abraham.  This revealed a willingness of Abraham to be put under subjection by the law of God.

3.   Matt. 5:19 - Christ said the least in the kingdom would be those who had disregarded the commandments.

4.   Rom. 7:7 - The 10th command was the command that convinced Paul he was a sinner in the eyes of God.  Paul was saved after the resurrection of Christ.  This ought to show that the law was still in effect when Paul was saved.

5.   Gal. 3:19 - The law was never intended to save anybody, but it was added because of the abundance of sin until Christ should come.

a.   The law was perfect, pointing sinners to the only way they could be perfect before God - through the efforts of another.

b.   The law is not against the promises of God, but only points the way to those promises.

6.   Mark 12:28-34 - The fulfilling of the law in our lives is by LOVE.

a.   A love (first of all) to God.

b.   A love to our fellow man which is caused by our love for God.

C.   Grace always has been and always will be.

1.   Law will end when this heaven and earth is destroyed, but we will continue in eternity by the grace of God.

2.   Grace caused this world to be formed.

3.   Noah found grace in the eyes of God.  All Old Testament saints were saved by grace.

4.   Grace is what caused God to chose Abraham.

5.   Grace is what caused God not to destroy Israel when they were rebellious at His commands.

6.   Grace is what keeps us in God’s will.

7.   Grace is what gives and assures us of eternal life.


The Commandments


A.  There are two “sets.”

1.   Verse 3-11 - Four commandments for proper treatment of God.

2.   Verse 12-17 - Six commandments for proper treatment of mankind.

B.   No punishment listed here.

1.   Except for command # 2 and # 3.

2.   Punishment listed in other places.

3.   No punishment for # 10 - an “internal” command.


I.    No other gods - in the imagination even.  Don’t “visualize” God when you pray - as some “modern” people want us to.


II.   Images - carries the 1st command a little farther.

A.  Do not worship any image as God or as coming from God.

1.   Not talking about pictures of family unless you worship them in place of God.

2.   We shouldn’t have any pictures of “Christ.”

3.   Rules out “Shroud of Turin.”  If God said don’t make any images of God, why would He cause an image of Christ to be made?

B.   A jealous God.

C.   Compare punishment and mercy.

1.   Verse 5 - Visiting iniquity to 3rd and 4th generation of them that hate me, yet:

2.       Verse 6 - Showing mercy to thousands (forever) that love me and keep my commandments.

3.       Note the contrast!


III. Swearing - Matt. 5:33-37 - James 4:13-17   Punishment

A.  We may excuse ourselves, but God doesn’t.  We feel we have a reason for not doing what we said we would do.

  1. God Himself will avenge the misuse of His Name.
  2. This command also includes the making of vows as described in Numbers 30.


IV. Work.

A.  Ex. 34:21 - No work on Sabbath in earing or harvest (A time of “rush for farmers.”  (But also apply this to many other professions today -- but don’t apply it to “chores.”)

1.   Story of Gene Birch - 1st year - rain Monday and Wednesday - dry out by Saturday - ready to combine on Sunday.  Over and over again.  Finally cleared off - financially made about the same as all other years because his expenses were less.

2.   Second year - Best crop of entire life.  I drove combine (Case 600, 2 row corn head) in 1st gear, slow as variable speed could go.  Made more money than ever before.  Said “Trusting God works.”  Died Jan. of next year.


V.  Honor - Eph. 6:1-3.


VI. Kill - Not talking about war, self-defense, or capital punishment - talking about murder.  See Matt. 5:21-26.


VII.      Adultery - Matt. 5:27-30.  Matt. 19:3-11.  John 8:3-11 - Woman taken in adultery - where was the man?!?!


VIII.     Steal - Don’t hurt by affecting material things other people have.

A.  Ex. 22:1-4 - The punishment.

1.   A thief steals when he is actively stealing.

2.   He also steals passively when he is in jail and the government is supporting him and his family.

B.   Deut 17:12 - Death to the one who doesn’t listen to the judge or priest.


IX. False witness - Don’t hurt by affecting the reputation of others.


X.   Covet - Don’t hurt by any of our thoughts - Rom. 7:7 - The only “internal” command.


Verse 18,

1.   The people “under the law” did not see the grace of God, the love of God, or the majesty of God.  They only saw the result of God’s presence.

2.   “Under grace” Moses saw God and His greatness, and power, grace and love.


Verse 19,

I.    The people lied - though not from a knowledgeable heart.

A.  They really believed they would hear Moses and not hear God.  The truth is: they won’t be able to hear the truth Moses preaches because they won’t hear God.

B.   If they could hear God, they would know Moses preached the truth to them.