From the Red Sea the Hebrews continued to travel through the
desert. They stopped at Mt. Sinai (Sinai and Horeb are the two peaks of one and
the same mountain). Here Moses went up the mountain, where the Lord said to
him, "Tell this to the sons of Israel, ĎIf you will hear My voice, you
will be My people.í"
When Moses came down from the mountain he told the
people of Godís will. The Hebrews replied, "We will be obedient and do
everything the Lord said."
The Lord commanded Moses to prepare the people for
the third day when Godís Law would be made known. The Hebrews prepared
themselves for the day by prayer and fasting.
On the third day, which was the fiftieth day from
the Jewish Passover, that is, from the exodus of the people of Israel from
Egypt, a thick cloud covered the top of Mt. Sinai. Lightning flashed, thunder
resounded, and a loud blaring sound rang out. Smoke rose from the mountain, and
the whole mountain violently shook. Amidst these awesome signs of His presence,
the Lord delivered His laws in the form of Ten Commandments.
At Godís command, Moses went up the mountain and
stayed there forty days and forty nights without any food. God gave him two
tablets or stone slabs, on which were written the Ten Commandments. In
addition, the Lord gave Moses other church and civil laws. He also commanded
him to build a tabernacle, a transportable temple
After coming down from the mountain, Moses wrote
down in books all these laws and everything that the Lord had revealed to him
on Mt. Sinai. In this way we acquired the Sacred Scripture, or the Law of God.
The Ten Commandments, or precepts, which God gave
His people, point out exactly what a man must do and what he must avoid if he
wants to love God and his neighbor.
These are the commandments:
I. I am the Lord, thy God. Thou shalt have no
other gods before me.
This commandment enjoins the love of God before
everything else; apart from Him (God), worship will be rendered to no other
divinity. Saints of God should also be honored, not as God is, but as people in
whom God rejoices more than others, as our prayerful intercessors before Him.
II. Thou shalt not carve images, or fashion the
likeness of anything in heaven above, or on earth below, or in the waters under
the earth, to bow down and worship it.
Since everything on earth was created by God, then
we should bow down to Him only and worship Him only. We must not make idols and
bow down to them. When we venerate a holy icon, we must call to mind who is
represented on it, and bow down to that person and not consider the icon itself
as an object of worship.
III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord
thy God in vain.
You must not utter the holy and great name of God idly,
in empty chatter. Therefore, this commandment forbids swearing and uttering
IV. Remember to keep the Sabbath Day holy.
There are six days for labor, for doing all the work you have to do. When the
seventh day comes, it is a day of rest, consecrated to the Lord thy God.
Six days of the week a man must toil, labor and
take care of everything he requires for his earthly life. The seventh day must
be dedicated to God. That is, it must be kept separate for the Lord, to pray to
Him, to read useful books for the glory of God, to help the poor and to do as
many good things as possible for the Lordís sake. We must not be idle and by no
means commit excesses. In the Old Testament, Saturday (the Sabbath) was thus
celebrated. With us in the New Testament, in memory of the resurrection of
Christ from the dead, Sunday is celebrated.
V. Honor thy father and thy mother. That it may
be well with Thee, and that Thy days may be long upon the earth.
We must love and respect our parents, listen to
their good advice, take care of them when they are ill, support them in their
old age and when they need us. We must also be considerate of other relatives,
old people, benefactors, teachers, spiritual fathers and superiors. In return
for this God promises to prolong our earthly life and bless us.
VI. Thou shalt not kill.
Killing is understood to be not only the taking of
oneís own life or that of someone else, but also ordering or conspiring with
others to commit murder. This commandment also forbids unrestrained anger and
insulting oneís neighbor by any abusive word. This commandment calls for a life
of peace and harmony with one another, and also commands the gentle treatment
VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
By this commandment the Lord forbids a husband or
wife to break mutual trust and love. God commands the single person to preserve
purity of thoughts and desires. Gluttony, drunkenness and generally any excess
or intemperance are also forbidden by this commandment.
VIII. Thou shalt not steal.
You should not take anything belonging to anyone
else, openly or secretly, without asking. Do not cheat in business. In any
transaction, calculate honestly. Do not conceal what you have found. Finish
every task by the time you have promised and do it conscientiously.
IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness against
This commandment forbids lying, slandering,
speaking badly of people, judging them and also believing slanderers. This
commandment enjoins that you keep your word honestly.
X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighborís house,
or set thy heart upon thy neighborís wife, or servant or handmaid or ox or
donkey or anything else that is his.
This commandment forbids the envy of anotherís
property and enjoins that one be content with what one has. Unkind desires
result from envy, and every unkind, wicked, evil thing results from unkind
Every person must know and fulfill the Law of God.
He who keeps the commandments ensures for himself eternal salvation, as well as
The feast of Pentecost (Old Testament) was
observed in commemoration of the giving of the laws to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
Exodus, chaps. 19,20,24,32-34; and Deuteronomy, chap. 5.
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