The Ten Commandments

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According to both the Bible and the Qur’an, Moses went up onto the mountain to converse with God, seeking God’s guidance and direction after having faced many years of test and trial, and was given Ten Commandments. These were commandments, or laws, which Moses was both to teach and to obey. As a prophet, it was his duty to convey to the people what God would have him to convey. Most importantly, it was his duty as a servant of God, a father, a husband, and a leader of his people and community to teach the law, and to set an example of a faithful life, lived in obedience to God.

Probably if anyone had ventured to ask Moses why he brought those commandments down that mountain, he would likely have cited his trust and faith in God to continue leading him and his people, such trust and faith resulting from the fact that God had, according to Biblical and Qur’anic accounts, only recently guided Moses through a very intense encounter with a Pharaoh that led ultimately to that Pharaoh’s demise, and freedom for Moses’ tribe, and others who left Egypt following Moses to freedom. At that time the Egyptians were pagans, and the Bani Israel who lived among them, along with others, were being forced by the Pharaoh of Egypt to not only worship Pharaoh as a god, but also to work as his slaves. The scriptures teach that in order to subdue the people he was destroying the men while preserving the women. This may have been an attempt to eliminate the likelihood that any prophets might be born, or it may have been an attempt to eliminate the masculine personality, while preserving and advocating the feminine qualities, which were perhaps assumed to be less aggressive, and of course it could have been both.

The timing, place, and nature of the law revealed to Moses causes many to believe that God’s presentation of the Ten Commandments to Moses was in fulfillment of God’s promise to Adam to lead and guide Adam’s progeny, and to harvest from among them, men and women who would desire righteousness. God promised that He would provide such people with a criterion for judgment by which to live that would unite them as a people, empower them, and lead them to success in this life, and an eternity of happiness in the afterlife. Those who chose to follow Moses out of Egypt had proved themselves to be such a people, and so they received the law that we now call the Ten Commandments. The power of that law is that it frees mankind from Satan’s authority, just as Moses’ belief in God, and obedience to God’s guidance led to the people’s freedom from the authority of Pharaoh. Accor! ding to the scripture, adherence to the laws of God makes it impossible for Satan to mislead or deceive mankind as he had deceived, and mislead Adam and Eve.

The Holy scriptures teach us that no matter what form evil takes, it cannot seduce or mislead those who adhere to the laws of God, since the affect of obedience to God’s law is proximity to God Himself, and in God’s presence those who are called have no fears. God promised Adam, and also Abraham that their righteous progeny would inherit the earth and serve as God’s vice regents, establishing God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. To some people this symbolizes the alignment of their individual human will, an imperfect power, with the Will of God, the origin, and source of all power, manifest in our perception as a law to which all of creation is subject, whether knowingly or unknowingly, willingly or unwillingly. In other words, just as the other created things obey and fulfill their purpose, acting without volition, so does imperfect man in some respect. The difference is our ability to act outside of the divine order to the extent that we can. The similarity is found in the fact that God has no rival, and so our ability to deviate from either God’s plan or purpose is both limited and temporary, and also a part of the plan. "God will establish in strength those who believe, with the Word that stands firm, in this world and the hereafter; but God will leave to stray those who do wrong; and God does what He wills" (Holy Qur’an 14:27).

The Ten Commandments as they have come to be known, addressed the very basic need of every people, individually and collectively, to have at their disposal, a criterion upon which to rely when faced with issues of right and wrong, wherein rests the truth about judgment and justice. Justice, according to the scriptures, is the fulfillment of the Word of God, which might explain why secular courts have distorted the entire concept of justice as an outgrowth of right and wrong, good and evil. Justice is now a matter of popular opinion and political clout arbitrarily dispensed to appease and aggrandize certain groups, while humiliating and disenfranchising others. The Qur’an says in Chapter 7, verse 145,

" And we ordained laws for him (Moses) in the tablets in all matters, both commanding and explaining all things, ! and said: take and hold these with firmness, and enjoin thy people to hold fast by the best in the precepts…"

In the very first part of the initial revelation spoken to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel in the cave of Hira, named Iqra, or "read" there is a passage that speaks of councils of men, who would seek to forbid any public expression of God. The Qur’an says: " …Man doth transgress beyond all bounds in that he looks upon himself as self-sufficient. Verily to thy Lord is the return of all. Do you see one who forbids a votary when he turns to pray…does he not know that God sees…Let him call for help from his council. Heed him not, but bow down in adoration and bring thyself close to God."

Is it any wonder then that there are people who struggle vehemently to remove the law of God from the public square? Is it really surprising that many of these same people are silent when pornography is splashed across public billboards, and television screens? Are we surprised that all types of public indecency, vulgar speech and violence are successfully defended as rights and freedoms? Why can we have public displays of other symbols that imply belief in other than human intellect and reason, yet the word "God," the Ten Commandments, the Cross, the name Jesus, or even the Qur’an, Muhammad, etc. conjure up almost violent objections from a minority in this country who are for now, obviously wielding a tremendous amount of political power and influence over our society.

Regardless of which sect of monotheism one might adhere to, the truth of God’s Oneness unifies mankind through faith. It is the belief in the One God of Adam and Abraham and Noah and Jesus and Muhammad, and obedience to His law, that distinguishes the progeny of Adam who will inherit, from those who reject God’s authority, and who worship other than God. The people of God stand united by faith, and on the day of Judgment God will judge between us on the issues upon which we differ. It was this type of unity and faith that empowered the people of Moses, both Jews and Gentiles, who successfully challenged Pharaoh, who had declared himself the sovereign lawgiver over the people who dwelt in and around Egypt at the time. Remember when Moses fled Egypt and went to the Midian people, their patriarch said to Moses, "you have done well to escape an unjust people," speaking! of the court of Pharaoh. Because of this, we understand that it was not only the Bani Israel who was being oppressed. Nor did only the Bani Israel follow Moses, since both the Qur’an and Bible suggests that other cults joined them in the exodus, and one such cult worshipped the golden calf, and convinced the monotheists among them to do the same.

God saved those who followed Moses, and He destroyed Pharaoh and the arrogant ones who had served him. God also favored those who followed Moses out of Egypt above the other nations, when He sent down to them the Ten Commandments.

" Said Moses to his people, Pray for help from God and wait in patience and constancy, for the earth belongs to God, to give as a heritage to such of His servants as He pleases, and the end is best for the righteous. They said, "We have had nothing but trouble, both before and after you came to us. He (Moses) said, "It may be that your Lord will subdue your enemy and make you inheritors in the earth, so that He may try you by your deeds" (Holy Qur’an 7:128).

"Oh you who believe if you love and hold God in reverence and awe, He will grant you a criterion to judge between right and wrong, remove from you all evil that may afflict you and forgive you, for God is the Lord of grace unbounded" (Holy Qur’an 8:29).

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