The Evangelical Universalist Forum

10 Commandments and 613 Commandments.


This is posted on another Universalist discussion group. I wanted to see what people here think too.

I’m currently in discussion via email with what my pastor would call a “Sabatarin Judaizer” I heard one of his radio broadcasts on a local station.

Anyways, here’s my question:

Are the 10 Commandments considered the most important out of the 613, Scripturally speaking? Or even culturally speaking back in the time they were written?
I’m reading through lists of the 613 Mitzvot (Commandments)‏.

Seems like the 10 Commandments are just a part of all those, and in some cases way down the list, so to speak. And I know Jesus said the Greatest Commandment of all was:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. - Matthew 22:37. Which isn’t one of the Ten Commandments.
I think the Bible pretty much says if you break any one of the 613 laws, you’re basically as guilty as if you broke all of them. (Matthew 5:17-19)
And I can see we Christian Gentiles in no way obey all 613. I don’t even understand what a lot of them are talking about due to cultural significance.

Especially regarding the Sabbath, people go on about Paul saying let no one judge you regarding a Sabbath, and in Acts they broke bread on the 1st day, The Lord’s Day.

But isn’t all of that moot? If we’re not keeping all 613 Commandments, isn’t that just as bad as breaking one of the 10 Commandments? Or do the 10 take precedence?




How often we have tossed around questions like this in my tradition. A tradition which prides itself on keeping “all TEN”! (Yes, I’m a Sabbatarian) This begs, however, questions like “what is the purpose of “keeping” them? Does this somehow goad God into loving us more? Does God grade on the curve and keep the top 60% of rules keepers? Do we “prove” to God our seriousness in loving Him by keeping lists. (and checking them twice?)

Except it gets awkward pretty quickly. We’re told ALL our righteousness is like filthy rags; that ALL are sinners; that salvation is ALL about grace. Further, God talks, almost wistfully, of that time when the law will be written on our hearts; no further need to refer to lists of laws. So it seems then with all this (there is much more of course) it is inescapable that what God really wants is changed hearts – transformed into His likeness by the power of the Holy Spirit. How does all this “work?? You got me.

But stop and think about it a moment. How sad must it have made God to “command” His beloved creation “DON’T KILL!” I’m guessing that was heartbreak and anguish for God; a measure of how far things had fallen. Besides; how much sense does it make to “command” us to keep a law we are also said to be unable to keep. Clearly, there’s a lot more going on.

So how about maybe thinking of the 10 commandments as 10 invitations; positive reflections of God’s reality. You want to live full lives and prosper? Get to reality. Love and serve only Me; respect and honor Me for WHO I Am (your creator). And treat those around you with the same respect you do Me. Treat each other like the valued creation you are. It’s a better way to live. You won’t get there all at once, but slowly it begins to seep into your bones and becomes second nature. That’s the change I am trying to effect in you.

So we move to the idea then that laws and rules do not save us, but they bring us to the Christ; union with whom brings life eternal. Sure laws are there and it’s important and a reflection of God. But the laws are not God Himself. God Who is our final home for eternity.

That’s kinda how I see it now…




Jesus himself answers this completely in Matthew 22 as you all know.

If Instead of comparing ones actions to a particular ordinance of the law (which are mostly negatively phrased as they are prohibitions) one compared them to the words above (positively phrased) and are a direct result of God being love then the law would be written on ones heart.

The law, while not bad of itself , shows people what sin is (as Paul says at length in Romans 7) - it defines it (otherwise there would be no sin even though people would still carry out the same actions they do now). Trying to live up to the law only shows us how we cannot do so. Living to Jesus’s words above is something we can live up to - an indirect consequence of this would be to also keep the law.



Both good posts! :smiley: (Though a good question, too.)



Here is a practical codification of the Commandments, and the Rules of Rectitude, and the Judgments which YHWH gave in charge between Himself and the children of Israel by the ministration of Moses. As recorded in the Official Canon of the Order of the Fourth Philosophy.