Commandments of Exodus 20 in Modern Terms

Based on Patriarchs and Prophets by Ellen White, Chapter 27, page 303

Preparation: three days of cleansing of sins, combined with humiliation, fasting, and prayer.

A total of 10 areas of corruption are shown to lead to death
1. Fixations or obsessions
2. Symbolism
3. Not separating the holy from the everyday
4. Busi-ness – Not spending time with God
5. Rebellion against authority
6. Hatred, injustice and neglect
7. Sexual immorality
8. Theft, taking advantage of others
9. Deceit or lack of integrity
10. Selfish desires

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

If you give any other object the first place in your affection or service other than God who created and sustains us, this will lessen our love for God and interfere with our service that is due to Him.

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness”

Forbids worship of the true God by images or similitudes since this lowers man’s conception of God and of infinite perfection.

Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me.”

By inheritance and example those who follow the sins of their parents will suffer physical disease and all the degeneracy of sins.

Showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.

Thousands of generations will receive the endless mercy and love of God on this world if they keep His commandments.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain”

Separation between the holy and profane:
By the thoughtless mention of God in common conversation, by appeals to Him in trivial matters, and by the frequent and thoughtless repetition of His name, we dishonor Him. “Holy and reverend is His name.” Psalm 111:9. All should meditate upon His majesty, His purity and holiness, that the heart may be impressed with a sense of His exalted character; and His holy name should be uttered with reverence and solemnity. {PP 306.6}

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

God has given men six days wherein to labor, and He requires that their own work be done in the six working days. Acts of necessity and mercy are permitted on the Sabbath, the sick and suffering are at all times to be cared for; but unnecessary labor is to be strictly avoided. “Turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and … honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure.” Isaiah 58:13. Nor does the prohibition end here. “Nor speaking thine own words,” says the prophet. Those who discuss business matters or lay plans on the Sabbath are regarded by God as though engaged in the actual transaction of business. To keep the Sabbath holy, we should not even allow our minds to dwell upon things of a worldly character. And the commandment includes all within our gates. The inmates of the house are to lay aside their worldly business during the sacred hours. All should unite to honor God by willing service upon His holy day. {PP 307.3}

5. Honor thy father and thy mother”

This commandment forbids the act of rejecting authority, requiring respect, submission, and obedience to parents, ministers, and rulers.

6. Thou shalt not kill.

All acts of injustice that tend to shorten life; the spirit of hatred and revenge, or the indulgence of any passion that leads to injurious acts toward others, or causes us even to wish them harm (for whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer); a selfish neglect of caring for the needy or suffering; all self-indulgence or unnecessary deprivation or excessive labor that tends to injure healthóall these are, to a greater or less degree, violations of the sixth commandment. {PP 308.5}

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. {PP 308.6}
This commandment forbids not only acts of impurity, but sensual thoughts and desires, or any practice that tends to excite them. Purity is demanded not only in the outward life but in the secret intents and emotions of the heart. Christ, who taught the far-reaching obligation of the law of God, declared the evil thought or look to be as truly sin as is the unlawful deed. {PP 308.7}

8. Thou shalt not steal. {PP 308.8}
Both public and private sins are included in this prohibition. The eighth commandment condemns manstealing and slave dealing, and forbids wars of conquest. It condemns theft and robbery. It demands strict integrity in the minutest details of the affairs of life. It forbids overreaching in trade, and requires the payment of just debts or wages. It declares that every attempt to advantage oneself by the ignorance, weakness, or misfortune of another is registered as fraud in the books of heaven. {PP 309.1}

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness {PP 309.2}
False speaking in any matter, every attempt or purpose to deceive our neighbor, is here included. An intention to deceive is what constitutes falsehood. By a glance of the eye, a motion of the hand, an expression of the countenance, a falsehood may be told as effectually as by words. All intentional overstatement, every hint or insinuation calculated to convey an erroneous or exaggerated impression, even the statement of facts in such a manner as to mislead, is falsehood. This precept forbids every effort to injure our neighborís reputation by misrepresentation or evil surmising, by slander or tale bearing. Even the intentional suppression of truth, by which injury may result to others, is a violation of the ninth commandment. {PP 309.3}

10. Thou shalt not covet
The tenth commandment strikes at the very root of all sins, prohibiting the selfish desire, from which springs the sinful act. He who in obedience to Godís law refrains from indulging even a sinful desire for that which belongs to another will not be guilty of an act of wrong toward his fellow creatures. {PP 309.5}

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