Why The Ten Commandments Belong to the Church

How many of us pastors, when we teach the First Commandment, remember to explain to those whom we are teaching that Jesus is the one who was speaking (pre-incarnate of course) when He said: “I am the Lord your God who brought you up out of Egypt” and “I, the Lord your God am a jealous God”?

For those who think that we have in common with the Jews and the Muslims the Ten Commandments, here’s a Luther quote for you that I shamelessly lifted from Chad Bird’s CTS Press booklet entitled, “Reading OT Narratives Christologically & Christ in All the Scriptures: The Biblical Typology of Luther & the Fathers”:

“It follows cogently and incontrovertibly that the God who led the children of Israel from Egypt and through the Red Sea, who guided them in the wilderness by means of the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire, who nourished them with bread from heaven, who performed all the miracles recorded by Moses in his books, again, who brought them into the land of Canaan and there gave them kings and priests and everything, is the very same God, and none other than Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of the Virgin Mary, whom we Christians call our Lord and God, whom the Jews crucified, and whom they still blaspheme and curse today, as Is. 8:21 declares: ‘They will be enraged and will curse their King and their God.” Likewise, it is He who gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, saying (Ex. 20:2, 3): ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt…You shall have no other gods before Me.” Yes, Jesus of Nazareth, who died for us on the cross, is the God who says in the First Commandment: ‘I am the Lord your God.’ How the Jews and Mohammed would rant if they heard that! Nevertheless, it is true and will eternally remain true. And he who disbelieves this will tremble before this truth and burn forever” (AE 15:312).

This was based on the words “I AM” in Exodus 3:14 and Jesus’ identification of Himself with Yahweh in John 6:20 and 8:58 (and elsewhere). Perhaps the best place to start when teaching the Ten Commandments is to ask the question: Who is speaking here?

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About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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3 Responses to Why The Ten Commandments Belong to the Church

  1. Anonymous says:

    That being the case, how is it, as some say, that the Jews and Moslems aren’t worshiping the One True God, if Jesus and Yahweh are one and the same?

  2. Lawrence says:

    Because, while Muslims worship Allah as a one true god, they do not profess a messiah/savior. So while Allah is “a” one true god, Allah is not the same as “the” one-true-God of the Bible.

    There are many Jews that worship Yahweh. Yahweh is the same God that Christians worship. The difference is whether one embraces Jesus as the Messiah. Most Jews do embrace the Messianic message, and a remnant therein recognize Jesus as that Messiah. (This is a simplified view. I’ll let others expound on the details.)

  3. Pastor Beisel says:

    I’ll go one step further. Those who reject Jesus as YHWH do *not* worship the same God as Christians. “You worship what you do not know, but we worship what we know.” For them, YHWH is an idol, an-other god, because they do not believe that Jesus is YHWH.

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