Vol: 21 Issue: 1 Thursday, February 1, 2018
Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was dismissed from his job in 2003 following his refusal to removed a monument to the Ten Commandments from the Alabama state courthouse.
In that case, Moore had been sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Justice Moore became a symbol of the growing persecution of what is often called “Judeo-Christianity” within the US and elsewhere.
But when takes a closer look at ‘Judeo-Christianity” what one discovers is that “Judeo-Christianity” doesn’t really have much to do with Judaism or Christianity — and everything to do with politics.
I often hear Christians admonish one another by saying, “They’re not called the Ten Suggestions.” I whole-heartedly agree. But what does that have to do with anything?
As a Christian, I’m not under the Law, but under grace. The Ten Commandments are the Law – they are the opposite of grace. And while they are not the Ten Suggestions, neither are they relevant to Biblical Christianity. Are they?
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: 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; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6)
Indeed, the Second Commandment longest of the Ten Commandments (in Scripture, anyway) is the one that most Christians ignore completely. The Catholic version even omits this one altogether and splits the Tenth against coveteousness into two separate commandments to make it still come out to ten.
You haven’t abolished all statues, pictures, photos or representations of everything that exists, have you? Got a picture of dear, departed Mom hanging on the wall?
Isn’t that a ‘likeness’ of something in Heaven? (Or, if she is still here, on the earth beneath?) Got a can of tuna in the cupboard with a picture of a fish on it? You’ve broken everything in the first half of the Second Commandment completely by standing in your kitchen.
Ok, so you don’t bow down before a can of tunafish and you don’t serve a picture of your Mom. But here’s the question. Is that because of the 2nd Commandment forbids it? Or because bowing down to a can of tunafish and serving a picture of your Mom is stupid?
Right. So we scratch the first half of the 2nd Commandment right off the list.
I ignore the first half and at best, I keep the second half by accident. At least the Vatican was honest enough to delete the 2nd commandment outright — instead of just ignoring it — like the rest of us do.
The Second Commandment also says that God will hold the iniquity (sins) of the fathers (you) against the sons unto the third and fourth generations. But He will show mercy to those who don’t have a picture of Mom or a can of tunafish. . . how Christian is that?
“But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11)
The Ten Commandments are not the Ten Suggestions. And neither are they ‘Christian.’ They have not been abolished. They have been fulfilled.
The purpose of the Ten Commandments was to reveal our need for a Savior. It was to demonstrate our inability to live a righteous life. Once having established that universal truth, the work of the Law was completed.
What the Law cannot do was what was accomplished by grace at Calvary.
The Ten Commandments are the foundation of America’s legal system. They are part of the Judeo-Christian ethic in the sense that the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old.
“Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” (Galatians 3:21)
But the Ten Commandments are only culturally Christian. Theologically, the Ten Commandments were the reason the Lord went to Calvary.
It was the Ten Commandments that were used to condemn Him.When it comes to the Ten Commandments as a symbol of Christianity, we’ve got it exactly backwards.
The Ten Commandments is what we are saved from. Not by.
“One of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1)
What follows is probably the most well-known passage of Scripture ever.
“And He said unto them, “when ye pray, say, Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us day by day our daily bread, And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Luke 11:2-4)
Matthew’s version, (6:9-13) adds as a close, “For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever, amen.”
Like the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer is indelibly linked to Christianity. But like the Ten Commandments, on closer examination, one finds it does not belong to the Church at all, for reasons that ought to be self-evident.
In the first place, the saved are not ‘disciples’. They are ‘saints’. That is more than just a distinction.
One can be a disciple (student) of Christianity and never come to Christ as a genuine believer. Or one can be a genuine believer and never become anything close to a ‘student’ of Christianity.
In the second place, according to Romans 6:14, the Christian is not under the Law, but under grace. The idea that forgiveness for ourselves is dependent on our forgiveness of others is, by definition, working for absolution according to certain rules or laws, making it the polar opposite of grace.
So long as grace and works are distinctly in opposition, so too is a prayer to subject ourselves to it. As a Christian prayer, it denies both the grounds and the standing upon which the believer dares to offer it.
“Thy Kingdom come . . .” The prayer of the Church is for the coming of the Bridegroom for His Bride, not the coming of the King to set up His Throne in Jerusalem for His thousand year reign. The coming Kingdom is the Promise to Israel, not to the Church.
Do you see it? This prayer belongs to the Tribulation Period. Jesus is speaking to the same audience with whom He is speaking when He outlines the signs of His Second Coming.
It is the same audience to whom He says, “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.”
I quote that verse often, but the Lord isn’t referring to my redemption. My redemption was accomplished at the Cross – I am awaiting my translation at the Rapture. Jesus is referring to the redemption of Israel at the Second Coming.
The reason I quote Luke 21:28 so often is because if the signs of the beginning of their redemption is evident, and the time of my evacuation is at least seven years earlier, then how close is that? (Really close.)
“Give us this day our daily bread.” Again, this is not a prayer for the Church. If it was, it would be a symbolic one. We are dependent on Christ for all things, but we of the Church Age are still required to work for our food. (2nd Thessalonians 3:10)
During the Tribulation, working for food will become difficult or even dangerous, particularly after the antichrist imposes the requirement of the Mark in order to buy or sell. During the Tribulation Period, the prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread” will be a literal prayer, not a symbolic one.
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The foundation of Christian prayer is grace, not the Law. Praying for forgiveness in the same manner in which we forgive others is not grace, it is the legalism of Mosaic Law.
“Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” This is a prayer of redundancy. As saved, Blood-bought Christians in the Church Age, we have already been led out from the bondage of temptation and are already delivered from evil.
Secondarily, the word ‘temptation’ here is the same word as in Revelation 3:10 in which Jesus promises the Church, “I will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world to try them.”
Since Jesus already promised to keep the Church from the hour of temptation, there is little point in His commanding the Church to keep asking for what was given them at the hour they first believed. But for the Tribulation saints (Revelation 7 through Revelation 14) that specific prayer will be very relevant, indeed.
“Deliver us from evil” is more properly rendered, “deliver us from the evil one” and makes sense in context, whereas a prayer from a Blood-bought believer for a deliverance that is already eternally his, does not.
Read in context, this is both a prayer and a prophecy, but it is about as Christian as the thunders of Mount Sinai. The full and prophetic meaning of this prayer is evident when read and understood in its full context.
The disciples are to pray that the Lord will surely and finally deliver them from the hands of the man of sin that ’causes the earth to tremble’ and from the evil that, ‘if the days be not shortened, there should be no flesh saved’.
Even the very premise that this is the Lord’s Prayer given to the Church for repetition is in direct conflict with the Words of Christ where He taught:
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” (Matthew 6:7)
What we call “The Lord’s Prayer” as we use it today, as a kind of non-sectarian Christian prayer before ball games or at great solemn occasions is largely a vain repetition. It is the prayer we offer when standing with unbelievers.
But when it is offered in its intended context during the Tribulation Period, every single word will be relevant, meaningful and heartfelt.
“Deliver us from the evil one! For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever! Amen.”
Featured Commentary: In the Beginning ~J.L. Robb