“RIGHTLY DIVIDING” THE TEN COMMANDMENTS – 16th CENTURY STYLE
“Good thinking” —
The Ten Commandments: Good thinking!
God gave “thirteen statements” there in Exodus 20, which mankind has arranged into Ten Commandments, having always understood that “ten” is the number that indicates emphasis for something that has to do with God and man. (“How many times should I forgive someone? Seven times?” Jesus says, ” No, seventy times seven.”)
I’m done listing the Ten Commandments here, and observing what would happen to our world if there were no Ten Commandments. “Imagine” there was nothing to restrain ourselves – or our leaders!
“Rightly dividing” (from the KJV) usually is taken to mean having a proper understanding of Scripture and knowing how to properly obey them.
But I’m going to be literal here, for a purpose. The “thirteen” commands of God were divided into ten commandments from a very early time in Christian history. The saints and scholars and theologians and doctors of the Church have always referred to one commandment or another by using this arrangement.
If the numbering is made to be different, say by a group of people who rebelled against the Church, then that means that their followers will be a bit confused when a Commandment is referred to, but the new reader finds that that particular Commandment doesn’t match what the writer is talking about.
This is an effective way to cut people off from their past!
You do that because you want to put into place a new version of the past. “He who controls the past controls the present; he who controls the present controls the future.” Although that may not have been a slogan of the 16th century, its principle was well known and effectively used to disrupt the continuity of society.
So who has the authority to rearrange the Ten Commandments? As the cartoon shows, only God can create the Commandments. We could create some . . . but we would do the job badly and not completely, and we would make a complicated mess out of it. (78,000 pages just to delineate US tax code? An eight-foot stack of papers just to make health control “fair” in our country?)
Who is the authority for changing the numbering? Who is the authority for emphasizing one part of a commandment over another? Who is the ultimate authority . . . for anything? It’s important to think about things like “ultimate authority” because these Commandments, revealed to us, have a bearing on the moral climate that we live in today.
(Do you really want your husband cheating on you? Do you really want your daughter sleeping with her current boy friend, with all the subsequent worries and heartaches? Do you really want your government “shaking you down” – taking your money without your consent — to financially support a hostile group of Third World invaders? Do you really want to hear blasphemy and vulgar language wherever you go, along with the accompanying lack of respect for anything sacred or honorable? Do you really want institutional murder of the innocent to be a matter of national policy? Do you really want to live in a media world of deceit and propaganda? Do you really want to pay higher prices, to make up for the business theft is so prevalent? . . .)
There is no more comprehensive guide to good social behavior that the Ten Commandments. “Blessed is the nation” whose king and citizens are subject to Divine Law.
In the next post, I’ll “rightly divide the Ten Commandments” using two opposing voices in today’s political climate.