Did God’s people keep the Ten Commandments before Moses?


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The Ten Commandments existed from the very beginning of time. God gave His law because it showed men what sin is. “I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet” (Romans 7:7). The Bible defines sin as, “the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Sin is lawlessness, and all lawlessness is sin. God made His will known to men through His law.

Therefore, from the very beginning of time, God formulated laws to guide people, to enable them to enjoy life fully, and to save them from sin (Ex. 20:1). And because the law was made available to man, men were able to know their sins. For example, Cain understood clearly that he had committed the horrible sin of killing his brother. And later his descendants were punished by the flood for their sins against God’s Moral law. Thus, before Moses, the Lord offered His children the system of offerings to atone for their sins of violating His Moral law (Genesis 4; 8:20).

We also see that the Sabbath commandment (the fourth) which is in the heart of God’s law was instituted at the very beginning and about 2500 years before the Jews and Moses. The Sabbath was given at end of the creation week “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:2-3).

Further, the Bible says that Abraham Kept all of God’s laws “because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws” (Genesis 26:5). God’s own testimony, here given, makes it certain, that Abraham was faithful in keeping God’s moral law of the Ten Commandments. “Commandments” refer to the precepts given by God (1 Sam. 13:13; 1 Kings 13:21. Such a precept, to walk perfectly before God, had been enjoined upon Abraham at the age of 99 (Gen. 17:1). And the statues refer to divine laws, ceremonial (Ex. 13:10; Num. 9:14; etc.) as well as moral (Deut. 4:5, 8, 14; 6:24; etc.). And the laws refer to the ethical instructions as well as ceremonial and spiritual precepts (Job 22:22; Isa. 8:16, 20.)

Abraham diligently observed them all, whether they came directly from God or whether they had been handed down from past generations. He purposed in his heart to obey God implicitly. And when he failed, he approached God with the sacrifice of repentance (Heb. 7:25; 8:1–4). And His descendants followed in his pattern in obedience to God’s law. And when the Israelites lost the knowledge of God’s law in Egypt where they were enslaved for 400 years, the Lord reinstated His laws by His servant Moses. The Lord wrote His Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17) by His finger in stone (Deuteronomy 10:4, 5) and gave to them.

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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