Daughter of Zion Eternally
Torah has in it principles that act as guidelines to a Godly life. Torah will not get one into heaven now or ever because it is so impossible to keep outside of Christ, but it most definitely is a set of guidelines and principles that teach God's way.
Commonly known as the Ten Commandments or sayings they were first "penned" of God Himself on Horeb in the Sinai Mountains. After they were broken before ever being received to the people Moses went back up to "pen" the second set. In the New Testament, a new commandment is given by Jesus that completes to an eleven set of conduct codes both for attitude toward God and toward ones fellow man.
You shall have no other Gods before me
God is a stand-alone type of being. He created everything from nothing by His own Word in Jesus. God sculpted, if you will, man; and that after His own image. I don't read where of the angelic race He ever sculpted them after His likeness so unto us has He paid a high note of praise. God has no need, except the desire to fellowship with what He creates. But desire is not need. Anything that man may conceive in his mind to carve, sculpt, or screw together that a man might place all his hopes in is futile. For the object made is constructed of basic elements that are the building blocks of the universe even though those elements may have been manipulated to serve a need. Furthermore, it is constructed by one who is first himself a product of construction by another in the first place. So if one takes a moment to reflect and realizing the magnificence of ones own humanity, wouldn't it follow that if the maker of such perfection existed it would be to that individual mankind should seek? This isn't the sermon that will fly well in most circles today because it certainly does not stroke our egos, but truth is truth no matter how unflattering.
You shall not make nor worship any graven images.
This is the basic command but the text goes on to become very specific in what those images might be. "Neither of things on the Earth above the Earth or in the sea, nor creeping things that creep on the Earth." This effectively excludes; the mammals, amphibians, reptiles, avian species, the plant kingdom, all aquatic life and man himself. It can be supposed that in these things the above argument of having been created and therefore less worthy of adoration than the Creator could be argued and rightfully so. What if one merely wishes to worship an image of God Himself according to what and who He says He is in the Testaments or perhaps the enigmatic image of the shroud of Turin. Surely, we are now focusing on an image of the right being aren't we? We might well be, but even the image of the shroud presents but one aspect of God at any one time and as it has been argued this presents a limited picture of God and does not create either a desire or and awareness of Him in fullness. Therefore, we shortchange His glory in His very presence and that is a slap in the face. If you wouldn’t wish to be understood like that what makes us think God would either?
You shall not take the Name of the LORD your God in vain.
All these first commands build upon one another if you haven’t seen this by now. The God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob had a name by which He was known. This name is written in consonants only, and its pronunciation has been lost to antiquity so in modern day Hebrew we approximate according top a text that has markings in it to help the reader with pronunciation. Yet the Massorites whom the text is named after, may very well have never heard the effable name spoken in their hearing. This name was such that it is rumored in Talmud that anyone uttering it could produce magical results therefore the priests began to use the Name in a manner that excluded the average man from ever hearing it. The Name was to be used for things appropriate to the one spoken of. The blood of sacrifice was to be offered up to His Name, because it had redemptive power in that redemption was granted whenever sacrifice was accepted. Veneration, adoration, worship, extolment, and glorification the Name were acceptable because in this one gave a homage unto the one named. To cry unto the Name to lift up ones burden to the Name spoke of entrusting of the trouble to one who was eminently able to handle any earthly difficulty that might arise among men. This giving of trust was in its own way a high note of worship. Anything less denegraded the one so named. After all, do we not like to have our names honored among men?
Honor the Sabbath day and keep it Holy.
This is one of those hotly debated issues that has caused a splitting in the body of Christ. Paul the Apostle even mentions of it in His teachings to the early church. Those who kept certain days were not to be criticized for doing so. They in turn were not to be judgmental of those who didn't. Jesus summed up the Sabbath issue thusly, "the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath." So then why all this hoopla? The understanding comes when we see why it was called for to be observed and kept holy in the first place. In Genesis chapter one, we see that after al was said and done that God Himself took a day of rest. He stooped for that one day and did no creative work. One has top realize that man and woman were on the earth at the time and for that one evening and morning of a day God was not "fiddling in the garden", so to speak. I wonder however did God take this one day off every week ever after? Does it really matter? Does a parent model things that they believe are bad for us? Of course not. There is a two fold principle here especially in light of Jesus' words. First off the day of rest is to be a break from job, job, job, and a time to relax and slow down. It is statistically proven that those who fail to take time to slow down are far more likely to die young or cardiac arrest than those who do. It is a time to get away from the pressure cooker of living and recharge the batteries. This is a simple principle of one rest in seven leaving six for work. This enforcement of rest was strictly held to the point that manna was gathered in two portions on the eve of Sabbath and spoiled on the first day of the week when God put out fresh manna. The premise here was not that God didn’t want them collecting it on Sabbath but that God wasn't going to be putting any out on Sabbath. That answers the question of if He rested every Sabbath thereafter doesn't it? In fact the scriptures indicate that even kindling of fire for warmth or cooking as forbidden on Sabbath so one had better tend to the one pre-Sabbath or go without till the first day of the week.
The other aspect is the holiness observance of the Sabbath. If Sabbath was a day to kick back and enjoy family and friends and do whatever pleased one then we might argue weekend warriorship, yet in the Old Testament the way to God's heart was to not do those things which pleased ones self on Sabbath but to turn the foot to going about ding what pleased God on Sabbath. God both wants that we should care for each other and seek to know Him more when we take time off to relax. Therefore, this is day to turn off from the week completely and seek to serve and to know the one who gave us all we have. Sadly enough, the issue of the day has become its own God and those who despise it altogether have missed the point entirely.
Honor your Father and Mother that it may go well with you in the land, which I give you to possess.
Now we turn from the narrowing in of the upward attendance to the outward expanding of the outward attendance. We start with the parental authority of the house in which we live that we consider safe. This as Paul puts is the first command with a blessing tied in to the observance of it. To possess the land was to have to follow the orders of the one in charge. Following the right chain of command kept one ever able to combat and win over the civilizations that were squatting on land set aside for the chosen ones. It is to the leadership that God is supposed to talk the most and they are to lead the troops in the safe routes of battle. If they caused the death of those troops, they were held responsible. However, if the troops were not disposed to obey the leadership then those troops were on their own, often with disastrous results. In the family where behavior is learned the leadership falls to the parents and it is the parents that lead the children through the minefield of human growth and development. Failure to learn to honor and thus obey and respect the parent left a person who would be inclined to run alone and have no use or respect for any kind of authority or leadership. Such a one ran the risk of incalculable loss even death.
You shall not kill (murder).
The word kill here is actually premeditated murder for in the scriptures a provision is made for what we call manslaughter. God knows the difference between the slipping of the ax from the handle and the burying of a blade in the back. Interestingly enough the punisher was a family member of the deceased who was called the avenger of blood. In other words, a hit was put out on the murderer and a life was taken for the dead family member. This is one sure way of closure. But it has its downside. If the person, committed manslaughter to kill him would be inappropriate, therefore cities of refuge that the person would live in for the rest of their life were set up in each territory. These cities were God's penal colonies.
You shall commit adultery.
The marital relationship is the one relationship closely identified in scripture with the relationship of God to man. Therefore, anything concerning it must be tied into that divine relationship. If one did not worship any other god but God Himself or devote himself to any other image but the person of God. Then why would one treat the object of their intimate affections any different? This brings out a point. The relationship of God and man is best seen in marriage. Marriage has in it one thing that sets it apart from all other relationships. In marriage there is provided a means of gratification that will reproduce the species, i.e. sex. In our relationship to God, there is a means that provides gratification of the spirit and reproduces itself in the life lived and the witness given for more souls into the kingdom and that is worship. In intercourse, both parties unite and receive a mutual benefit, but each parties benefit is derived at differently. The act however is so designed that passionate attention to it will accommodate the needs of both parties. The same applies to worship for in the act passionately attended to both God and man derives benefit. God receive the glory due Him and man receives the pleasure of God's presence and the joy of His pleasure in being given His due. Furthermore because of this intimacy bonds of trust and ties of the soul and spirit are formed and if either party formed the same relationship with another outside this union there comes a tearing apart of these bonds which ruin the lives not only of the couple but of the offspring as well. Similarly the bonds of trust and the ties of the soul and spirit to God if one strays from Him are subject to tearing and the resulting hypocrisy can be seen and cause the down fall of those we have been an example to.
You shall not steal.
Now we expand outward from the parental unit and the marital union to the society as a whole. These last three commands deal with ones neighbor who could be righteous or sinful. To deprive a person of that which is their just due is just the same as removing from them by force that which is their lawful property. Often when we think of theft we think of property or civil rights but theft can be broadened to include taking credit for the work of another, plagiarism, violation of copyright laws, and fraud. Taking credit robs the individual; of the satisfaction of hard work, this can make them less likely to try next time. They then slack off and defraud the company proper labor. Plagiarism removes the appropriate recognition of the work of a person from them. It is the theft of ones honor that we speak of here violating copyright does the same thing. Fraud however is just like robbery or simple theft. Its removes ones trust in oneself while simultaneously removing ones income reserves or nest egg as well. Fraud is perhaps the worst type of stealing because is ruins one from ever trusting another again. There is only one worse type of stealing and that would be rape, the theft of the honor of a woman. I wish to cover that at the end in its own place, for it involves all three of the last commandments.
You shall bear false witness against your neighbor.
Tattle tailing is the first manner in which we bear false witness. Usually kids tattle to get the other in trouble so the tattle is usually skewed or a lie. Yet to bear witness is to testify to what a neighbor has done in a court of law isn’t it? A false witness will ruin the reputation and honor of a man ruining his self esteem for life. The removal of a mans honor is a form of theft but it is not an actual defrauding or direct action but rather, a deception that changes the opinion of the others toward this one individual. In some cases, false witness can be tantamount to murder. A false witness is character assassination or character rape. That today we assign a legal value to character assignation called liable or slander speaks to the need for the honor of ones reputation and their name. Legally the false witness can also help the criminal go free by conviction the innocent in the place of the guilty. This then leaves the judicial system accountable for innocent blood. God is not pleased to have to bring judgment on the judiciary for someone's false witness.
You shall not covet anything that is your neighbors.
Here is the root o the other tow laws. Coveting is the desire that will not be satiated for what is someone else's because it is someone else's and not yours. James speaks of wanting what is someone else's and not being able to get it so then one bites, devours and murders. To want the same car that your neighbor has and then plan to go buy one from a dealership is not coveting but to scheme how to get your neighbor's car is. To like the type of service your neighbor has in their house staff and inquire when they got there temp help and apply for temps from the same company is not coveting, but to shanghai your neighbors servants into your own home is. This is the thing that leads to false witness and theft and adultery and murder and all for the sake of a trinket, toy or tool. What we own we have because it helps us maintain our property and belongings. To seek ways to remove from us these things is to rob us of the ability to keep order and discipline and maintenance of our property. If we cannot maintain that which is our personal property then we begin to see a decay in the order of society as a whole which does not make for a safe future to any generation. That in turn can end humanity, as we know it.
I wish to close this with a word on rape. Rape is a crime of coveting. One covets the power over the person usually the woman, or one covets the pleasure of intercourse. But instead of giving for mutual pleasure the self seeking rapist only takes that which he thinks is rightfully his and then leaves the ruined husk behind. Rape murders the souls integrity, strips the covering of honor and self-respect and bears a false witness to the impurity of a woman. Rape also defiles the purity of the essence of the soul of the woman afflicted, which in turn will forever impair the union between her and anyone or anything else, including God. So deep is the violation that unless a supernatural intervention is immediately made, such a woman will ever have a scar where an opening of the heart in trust and innocence should be. People who have been raped have had a defilement deeper than any human intervention can penetrate, and they should be dealt with in great compassion and understanding. The deepest cut of rape is this; that the afflicted will never again trust themselves let alone anyone else. It is easy to see the problem that can arise in a relationship with God let alone a spouse. In some cases, it is so profound and has been so cyclically repeated in the life in covert or overt ways that God Himself is unable to get at the wound to heal it, for He never given entry though he is greatly desired entry for the rest of the life. Such an individual becomes mentally unbalanced and spiritually defiled to the point of madness, believing themselves to derive pleasure from the act of degraded intercourse and even seeking remuneration for such; or believing themselves to be worthless and thus becoming the doormat of all society. We see these the most on the streets, unkempt, untouchable, viciously hissing and spitting like the cornered animal, lost in their own little universe and hearing the voice of the enemy driving them to perversions themselves or to anything to dull the pain and silence the voice of scorn. These fill up our mental hospitals and our morgues. Physical rape is bad enough but far worse is the verbal and non-verbal rape perpetrated on our young by uncaring unloving individuals who never wanted the responsibility for the children in the first place being similarly treated themselves. God will hold accountable every soul responsible for the loss of these innocents, defiled in this manner, and the penalty will be pitiless.