Digging Up the Past

The Ten Commandments

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: David Down


Series Code: DUTP

Program Code: DUTP000011

00:01 For this program we go to Mount Sinai, at the foot of which is
00:05 Santa Katarina, or St. Katherine's Monastery.
00:09 But, of course, the most important reason for being there
00:12 is because this was where the Israelites camped for a whole
00:15 year, and where Moses met with God, and the Ten Commandments
00:19 were proclaimed.
00:57 After Pharaoh had given permission for his Israelite
01:00 slaves to leave Egypt, they marched to the Red Sea,
01:03 but Pharaoh had some second thoughts and pursued them.
01:06 The Red Sea, which you see behind me, is quite shallow at
01:10 this point, and it was pounded by a strong wind,
01:14 and the Israelites were able to cross to the Sinai Peninsula.
01:17 When the Egyptians followed the wind dropped and the
01:20 sea closed in.
01:21 The entire Egyptian Army was drowned.
01:24 From here the vast throng of Israelites had to plod their
01:29 weary way across the desert to Mount Sinai.
01:49 Now we are at Mount Sinai, and from here we can look down on
01:53 the Montessori of Santa Katarina, or St. Katherine's.
01:56 Early in the Christian era some pious monks established a
02:00 settlement here, but it was dangerous living.
02:04 The nomads gave them no peace, and many of the monks perished.
02:08 In the fourth century AD, Helena, the mother of the
02:11 Roman Emperor Constantine visited Jerusalem, and she heard
02:15 of the plight of the monks.
02:17 She provided the money for a protective tower to be built
02:20 here so the monks could be safe from the marauders.
02:26 In the year 530 AD the Emperor Justinian had a defensive wall
02:30 built around this chapel, but even then it was so lawless
02:34 the Greeks were afraid of the nomads crashing the gates.
02:37 So the only way they had entrance was by being hauled up
02:40 by a rope, or a basket, up onto that platform up there.
02:44 In the 3rd century AD there was a Christian woman by the name of
02:49 Katherine who was martyred in in Alexandria in Egypt.
02:52 Legend has it, and we may doubt this legend, but the legend is
02:57 that her body was miraculously transported to the highest peak
03:02 in this area.
03:03 Three hundred years later the monks found it and brought it
03:06 down and buried it in this chapel here.
03:09 This is a Greek monastery.
03:11 When the monks die they're buried in the cemetery.
03:14 After awhile they're disinterred, and their skulls
03:18 are placed in this skull room.
03:19 We'll go in and have a look.
03:48 Well, we're climbing Mount Sinai, and there's our first
03:52 glimpse of the summit up there.
03:53 See the little chapel?
03:54 It's right at the top.
04:05 Jebel Musser, or the Mount of Moses, is 2,300 meters high.
04:10 You have to climb 3,750 steps to get to the top.
04:28 Well, I climb this mountain twice a year.
04:32 I bring a group of tourists around the middle East
04:35 every year.
04:36 In fact this is the second time I've climbed
04:39 the mountain this year.
04:40 And do you want to know something?
04:41 It never gets any easier!
04:44 Anyway, we're on the last steep pitch here.
05:25 Well, at last we've reached the summit.
05:27 Up here is a little Greek chapel that is meant to commemorate
05:34 the visit of Moses to the top of the mountain.
05:38 Mind you, there's no guarantee that this is actually the
05:42 mountain that Moses climbed because most scholars favor
05:47 a peak over there called Rassassafi.
05:51 The reason is up here there is no place you can see the
05:55 Israelites encamped down below
05:56 Whereas over there there's a place where the Israelites
05:59 could be encamped.
06:00 However, this is typical of scenery here in the
06:04 Sinai Peninsula.
06:05 What a tremendous view you get as you look around here.
06:21 Over there in the distance is Gebal Katarina, or the mountain
06:26 of Saint Katherine, where she was supposed to have
06:28 been buried miraculously.
06:30 That is 2,600 meters above sea level.
06:34 That makes it 300 meters higher than where we are
06:36 at the present time.
06:37 And when the voice of God was heard around here somewhere
06:41 proclaiming the Ten Commandments, it must have
06:44 really been an awe inspiring scene.
06:45 I think the best thing we can do is just read from the Biblical
06:49 account what it says.
06:53 Here it is in Exodus 19:16.
06:57 Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning,
07:00 that there were thunderings and lightenings, and a thick
07:04 cloud on the mountain, and the sound of the trumpet was very
07:08 loud; so that all the people who were in the camp trembled
07:12 because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the whole
07:17 mountain quaked greatly.
07:19 Then the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the
07:22 mountain: and the Lord called Moses to the top of the
07:26 mountain; and Moses went up.
07:28 And God spoke all these words, saying, I am the Lord your God,
07:35 who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house
07:37 of bondage.
07:45 ...or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above,
07:48 or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under
07:52 the earth: Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor serve them:
07:56 for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the
07:59 iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third
08:02 and fourth generation of those who hate me;
08:04 but showing mercy to thousands of those who love me and keep
08:09 my commandments.
08:15 ...for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name
08:19 in vain;
08:23 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work:
08:27 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God:
08:30 in it you shall do no work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter,
08:37 nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle,
08:40 nor your stranger who is within your gates:
08:43 for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth,
08:47 the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh
08:50 day: therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day,
08:53 and hallowed it.
08:57 ...that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord
09:01 your God is giving you.
09:14 ...your neighbors house, you shall not covet your neighbors
09:18 wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox,
09:22 nor his donkey, nor any thing that is your neighbor's.
09:27 Well, that's a very good law.
09:30 The trouble is that not too many people really make much of an
09:33 effort to keep it.
09:34 Have you ever noticed some of the things that
09:37 it's saying here?
09:39 For instance, it says You shall not take the name of the Lord
09:42 your God in vain.
09:43 Have you ever listened in to the average conversation?
09:46 You know, people can't say a sentence these days without
09:50 bringing God's name, or the Holy Spirit,
09:53 or Jesus Christ into it.
09:54 It's awful!
09:55 God says, You shall not take the name of the
09:57 Lord your God in vain.
09:58 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
10:02 How many people really stop work and put down tools,
10:07 and keep the Sabbath day holy?
10:10 It's, unfortunately, something that's forgotten instead of
10:13 remembered today.
10:15 Then it says here, You shall not murder.
10:19 Life is cheap!
10:21 And even hating your brother is breaking this law.
10:26 Life is sacred in God's sight.
10:29 Then it says, You shall not commit adultery.
10:32 That's one that seems to be old fashioned in most
10:36 peoples thinking.
10:37 But what a beautiful thing marriage is!
10:40 God ordained marriage, and for a husband and wife to be
10:45 faithful to each other.
10:46 Marriage is a very beautiful and sacred relationship;
10:49 the family, the home.
10:51 Beautiful!
10:52 But people spoil it by breaking God's laws.
10:56 Nobody ever made themselves happy by committing adultery.
10:59 Premarital sex; all you get is some early thrills.
11:02 But beating the gun to it like that is only spoiling the
11:06 ultimate enjoyment of the marriage relationship.
11:09 God wants you to be careful about things like this.
11:12 And as for homosexuality, or you can call it an alternative
11:17 lifestyle, if you'd like, but that's only giving a trade
11:20 name to a poison.
11:23 God forbids the practice of homosexuality.
11:27 That's why Sodom and Gomorrah got destroyed.
11:30 So people need to stop and think about these laws, and realize
11:35 that God means what He says.
11:37 Unfortunately, there are some well meaning people in the world
11:40 today who try to say that when Jesus Christ came He ushered in
11:44 a new era of love and abolished the Ten Commandments so that
11:48 Christians don't need to keep them.
11:49 Well, I find Christ's sayings just the opposite of that.
11:53 Do you remember when the rich young ruler came to Him and
11:56 asked Him a very important question?
11:57 He said, Good Master, what good thing should I do to inherit
12:01 eternal life?
12:02 Jesus Christ said to him in Matthew 19:17
12:07 Why do you call me good?
12:09 No one is good but one, and that is God, but if you want to enter
12:13 life keep the commandments.
12:15 So it doesn't seem that Jesus was abolishing
12:18 the Ten Commandments.
12:19 In fact, I'll tell you something maybe you don't know.
12:22 Do you know that it was actually Jesus Christ who spoke
12:26 the Ten Commandments from the top of Mount Sinai?
12:29 You see, when 1 Corinthians 10:4 says
12:34 Moreover brethren I do not want you to be unaware that all our
12:37 fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,
12:40 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank of that
12:44 spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.
12:47 Was Christ!
12:49 You see, it was Christ that led the Israelites through the
12:51 Red Sea, across the Sinai Peninsula, to Mount Sinai.
12:55 And then it was He who proclaimed the Ten Commandments
12:58 because He says, I am the Lord your God, who brought you up
13:02 out of the land of Egypt.
13:04 So if Christ proclaimed the Ten Commandments, I don't suppose
13:07 He's likely to abolish them.
13:08 Well, what about the Apostles?
13:11 Did they change the Ten Commandments
13:13 or say that they are abolished?
13:14 I think they'd be surprised at such an idea.
13:17 For instance, Paul said in Romans 7:12, Therefore the Law
13:24 is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
13:30 Paul couldn't see anything wrong with the Ten Commandments.
13:33 He thought it was really good.
13:34 What about the beloved Apostle John?
13:36 You know John is called the Apostle of love, and he was too.
13:40 If anyone is going to say love replaces the Ten Commandments
13:43 you'd expect the Apostle John to be saying that.
13:46 But over here in 1 John 2:3 we find him saying, Now by this we
13:55 know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
13:58 He who says I know him and does not keep his commandments,
14:02 is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
14:05 That's laying it right down the line, isn't it?
14:07 But I didn't say that; that's the Apostle John, and he says
14:11 that if you say that you love God and don't keep his
14:13 commandments, you're just not telling the truth.
14:18 We're on the plain of Genneseret on the edge of the
14:22 Lake of Galilee.
14:23 It was down here one morning when Jesus went down to the
14:29 edge of the lake.
14:30 There's a little narrow beach down there.
14:32 There were so many people gathered to hear him that he
14:35 realized that there just wasn't enough room.
14:37 so he led the way across the plain of Genesseret to
14:42 the nearby mountain, and up the mountain.
14:46 I think it was probably; you see that rise over there where the
14:50 mountains goes up and then sort of levels off?
14:52 I think that's a very likely place where He sat on the
14:56 mountain and preached to the people the famous
14:58 Sermon on the Mount.
15:00 It's a wonderful sermon.
15:01 I think we should look a bit more closely at it.
15:03 Well, we've climbed up onto this slope that I pointed out to you,
15:08 but I want to tell you there's one big difference;
15:11 Jesus preached this Sermon on the Mount in springtime
15:14 just when the grass had just started growing nice and green
15:17 and soft.
15:18 We've come here when the grass has all gone dead.
15:20 I want to tell you that there's some
15:22 pretty sharp prickles around here.
15:24 Anyway, this is the scene, and what a magnificent view it is
15:28 looking out over the Lake of Galilee.
15:31 Jesus must have been really inspired.
15:36 Anyone could be inspired here.
15:37 And what wonderful truths He taught!
15:41 I'll read you some of them.
15:43 We can't deal with the whole sermon.
15:45 There's three chapters in the book of Matthew on the
15:48 Sermon on the Mount.
15:49 I can recommend you get your Bibles out and read it.
15:52 It's good, spiritual, uplifting reading, and some very high
15:57 standards here.
15:58 It says: He went up on the mountain, and when he was
16:01 seated, his disciples came to him.
16:03 Then he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
16:06 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is
16:09 the kingdom of heaven.
16:10 Blessed are those who morn: for they shall be comforted.
16:12 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
16:16 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
16:20 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
16:24 There are eight blessings here; beautiful truths.
16:27 As the people listened their hearts must have thrilled as the
16:31 wonderful blessings were pronounced on those who had
16:33 really been trying to do the will of God.
16:36 But, you know, there must have been some people in the
16:40 congregation who were critical, you know?
16:43 They'd never heard anything like this before, and they were
16:46 probably thinking in their hearts, Yeah, what about
16:49 the Law of Moses?
16:50 What about the Ten Commandments proclaimed from Mount Sinai?
16:53 And I think Jesus read their thoughts because it says here in
16:57 chapter 5, and in verse 17, Do not think that I came to
17:04 destroy the law, or the prophets: I did not come to
17:07 destroy, but to fulfill.
17:09 For assuredly I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass away
17:13 one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law,
17:18 till all is fulfilled.
17:19 You know, a jot or a yod, is the smallest letter in the
17:23 Hebrew alphabet, and a tittle is the little bump on the edge of
17:27 one of the Hebrew letters; just a part of a letter.
17:30 Not even a yod or a tittle is going to pass from the
17:34 Ten Commandments He says.
17:35 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments
17:39 and teaches men so, shall be called least in the
17:43 kingdom of heaven.
17:44 Now that doesn't mean that they're going to get to heaven
17:45 and be called least.
17:46 It means up there in heaven such people will be
17:49 called least.
17:50 So, you see, Jesus wasn't saying that the
17:53 Ten Commandments are finished.
17:55 Oh, no!
17:56 He was the one who spoke from Mount Sinai, and he said,
17:58 Don't think that I've come to destroy the law,
18:00 or the prophets.
18:02 And whoever keeps these commandments and does them,
18:04 well then, he's the one who is doing the will of God.
18:12 Seated here on the Mount Jesus said to them, You are the light
18:17 of the world.
18:18 A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
18:21 Now that's very meaningful language for those people.
18:24 You see, for defensive purposes most of the villages and towns
18:29 of Israel were built on top of low hills.
18:32 We call them tells.
18:33 So Jesus said to them a city that is set on a hill
18:37 cannot be hidden.
18:38 You're going to see it.
18:39 And... you are the light of the world... so let your light shine
18:44 before men that they may see your good works,
18:46 and glorify your Father in heaven.
18:49 He also said, Nor do they light a lamp, and put it under a
18:53 basket, but on a lampstand; and it gives light
18:56 to all who are in the house.
18:57 The archeologists have found so many of these little oil lamps.
19:02 People would put some oil in the lamp, and a wick at the end
19:06 of it and light it up.
19:08 Well, you're not going to put a lamp like that under the bed or
19:11 under a basket or something.
19:13 You're going to let it be seen, or where it will show light.
19:16 So Jesus says, Let your light so shine before men, that they may
19:21 see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.
19:24 Then He goes on to say, and I want you to notice that He's not
19:29 demolishing the law here, He's rather expanding it.
19:32 He's showing how deep it goes.
19:34 Listen.
19:35 You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall
19:38 not murder; and whoever murders shall be in danger of the
19:41 judgment: but I say to you that whoever is angry with his
19:45 brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.
19:48 So it's not just a case of whether you hit a fellow
19:50 on the head, or cut his throat, or shoot him,
19:52 or something like that.
19:53 It's a case of if you just get angry with him you are breaking
19:56 the commandment which says, You shall not kill.
20:00 Here's another one.
20:01 You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shalt not
20:06 commit adultery.
20:07 That was the law that was proclaimed from Mount Sinai.
20:10 Now Jesus says, I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to
20:14 lust for her has already committed adultery with her
20:17 in his heart.
20:18 So Jesus is not getting rid of the Ten Commandments, He's just
20:21 showing how deep they go.
20:23 They go right down to your motives, and right down
20:24 to your thoughts.
20:26 So this is setting a very high standard of commandment
20:29 keeping, isn't it?
20:30 One more.
20:31 I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason
20:34 except sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery.
20:38 Divorce has become too easy these days.
20:41 People entering into marriage take it too lightly.
20:44 It is true Jesus makes an exception.
20:47 He says if somebody is unfaithful to the marriage vow,
20:50 then the innocent party has the right to get a divorce.
20:53 The marriage is broken.
20:54 But apart from that, He said, just because you don't like the
20:58 way your partner stirs her or his coffee, is not a good reason
21:02 for divorce.
21:03 So Jesus set some very high standards here.
21:09 Now, have you ever heard of the golden rule?
21:13 Well, that's part of the Sermon on the Mount, you know.
21:16 And just in case you're not familiar with it,
21:18 let me read it to you.
21:20 Therefore whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them:
21:25 for this is the law and the prophets.
21:29 Well, it is a golden rule, isn't it?
21:31 And it's a very good one too.
21:32 What a high standard it sets for people to live up to today
21:37 when they're thinking about the Ten Commandments and the
21:39 Sermon on the Mount.
21:41 There are some people who say, Listen, you just can't do it.
21:44 You just can't reach a standard like that.
21:47 But I want you to notice what Jesus says here in Matthew 5,
21:54 when he's talking about this Sermon on the Mount.
21:57 I think he's really referring to people who are just wondering
22:00 whether they can keep it or not.
22:03 He says, look at the birds of the air: for they neither sow,
22:07 nor reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father
22:10 feeds them.
22:11 Are you not more valuable than they?
22:14 He says, Why do you worry about clothing?
22:17 Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;
22:21 they neither toil nor spin: yet I say to you, that even
22:24 Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
22:28 So he says, If God so clothed the grass of the field,
22:32 which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven,
22:34 will he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
22:38 You see, what He is saying is to the people who think, Oh,
22:41 look, you've just got to do a bit of cheating
22:44 to get on in business.
22:45 You've got to tell a few lies.
22:46 He says, listen, this is the standard.
22:49 What you should realize is that if you live up to what God
22:53 tells you to do, He's going to look after you.
22:55 In fact, it says over here in Matthew 6:33, Seek first the
23:01 kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these
23:05 things shall be added to you.
23:07 So just put God first, and everything else will come along;
23:11 just so long as you do your part.
23:13 Now does this mean that you've got to so live that you just
23:18 never make any mistakes?
23:19 Well, of course, you want to try that, but don't be
23:22 discouraged if you don't live up to this Sermon on the
23:25 Mount just in one day.
23:26 I think the Bible makes it very plain that even if we do our
23:32 best, we're still going to make mistakes.
23:33 Listen, in 1 Kings 8:46 Solomon was praying and he said,
23:38 When they sin against you, for there is no one who
23:42 does not sin.
23:43 If you happen to think that you're one of these people
23:46 who never makes any mistakes, you don't realize just how
23:49 sinful you are.
23:50 We all make mistakes.
23:51 Listen to what James says.
23:53 And James, mind you, was the Lord's brother, and probably
23:58 at this time, the head of the church.
24:00 He says in James 3:2, For we all stumble in many things.
24:07 Yeah, we've got to face it, we all make mistakes.
24:09 So, okay, if we make mistakes, what then?
24:13 Do we give up in despair, and say you just can't do it?
24:16 Some people say, you know, well, we're under the new covenant.
24:19 We're not under the law of the Ten Commandments proclaimed from
24:23 Mount Sinai.
24:24 Do you know what the new covenant is all about?
24:27 I'll read it to you in Hebrews 8.
24:30 This is the new covenant that I will make with the house of
24:35 Israel after those days, says the Lord.
24:37 I will put my laws in their minds, and write them on their
24:41 hearts.
24:42 Under the new covenant there's no question of
24:44 abolishing the law.
24:46 What it says, I'll write that law in your heart.
24:49 In other words, God is going to help you to keep it.
24:51 But listen, if you do make mistakes, don't get discouraged.
24:55 Don't get the idea that if you sin against God; break one of
24:59 His laws, or fall fowl of some of the sayings of the Sermon
25:03 on the Mount, God is going to wipe you out and say,
25:05 I've finished with you.
25:06 Not at all!
25:07 We've got a wonderful, loving God!
25:08 And even if you do make a mistake, remember if you have
25:12 faith in Christ you are still God's child.
25:14 Do you know what it says in 1 John 2:1?
25:20 It says here, My little children, these things I write
25:24 to you that you may not sin.
25:26 You see, God doesn't want you to sin.
25:28 He doesn't want you to break his laws.
25:30 You should make up your mind you should try
25:33 not to break God's laws.
25:34 But, He says, if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the
25:39 Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous...
25:42 So he says, even if you do make a mistake, don't be discouraged.
25:46 You're still God's child, and Jesus Christ is your
25:50 great advocate.
25:51 So the whole teaching of the law from Mount Sinai, and the
25:55 Sermon on the Mount is this is God's standard.
25:59 You should choose.
26:00 God wants you to choose; to try and live up to this standard,
26:04 but if you make mistakes you have a wonderful loving Savior
26:08 who still regards you as His child.
26:10 You still belong to Him, and you can still trust Him.
26:14 There's an appropriate verse in Psalms 119 for today's very
26:19 stressful world.
26:20 It says, Great peace have those who love your law...
26:23 We certainly need as much peace of mind as we can all get.
26:27 In our next program we travel around the Lake of Galilee,
26:31 which is behind me, to the little town of Capernaum.
26:34 and we talk of the things that Jesus did there on the
26:38 Sabbath day.


Revised 2014-12-17