The ten commandments

The first stone tablet
And God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
 
You shall have no other gods before me.
 
You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shalkl not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
 
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
 
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
 
I would like to deal with the first tablet of stone, i.e. the first four of the Ten commandments that contain our obligations towards God. But before I do that let me refer briefly to the spiritual and cultural contrast between Egypt and Israel. It was absolutely necessary to deliver Israel from Egypt in order that the historical, national and religious background, the spiritual milieu could be realized for Abraham's seed to become flesh. For this it was important that God separated Israel, the heirs of Abraham's promises, from all other nations. By then there had already formed an irreconcilable opposition between His plan for the world and the era's civilization of which Egypt was the greatest superpower. Israel that had been given the main role by the Lord of history in the realization of this plan, was in contrast with Egypt's culture at least in three important aspects.
 

The people of life in the country of death

 
The first one is that the sons of Israel believed in one God, standing on the basis of monotheism, whereas the people of Egypt created and respected all kinds of “gods” from the sun to various insects. It was impossible to match Israel's image of God with the polytheism as the source of occult power. These two had to be separated and segregated from each other.
 
The other main difference between these two cultures was that while in Egypt human individual life had no value, the Israelites respected everybody as one that had been created in God's own image. To the preceding we can see a good example from the Pharaoh's order to throw all boys to the river who were born from among Israel's sons. But other historical sources also prove that there was no value of human life in Egypt. Herodotos noted that when the Egyptian Pharaoh built a pipe in the 7th century, B. C. in order to connect the River Nile with the Red Sea during that time 120 thousand people died but that was no problem. The only thing that mattered was the system of power, the life of individuals were put in an unconditional service to that.
 
Many who admire the pyramids today, forget about that cruel, antisocial system that stood on the basis of the "all for one" principle where the individual was deprived of his dignity and forced to slavery. The lives of slaves were not worth more than the lives of animals. By contrast Israel's social mentality was built on human dignity. The covenants made with Noah and Abraham determined the main directions of the historical way of Jacob's descendants and in this scale of values the most important thing on earth is the individual himself.
 
So the sons of Israel believed that a man created in God's own image and likeness has inalienable rights. The Law that was born later also makes it clear that after loving God the main moral principle is the sanctity and defense of human life.
 
The third very important contrast between the two religious-cultural systems is that in the centre of Egypt's religion and philosophy was death. People prepared themselves already in their earthly lives for the other world: they respected death. After the Pharaohs had come to power they immediately started to build their sepulchral monuments in order to ensure their happiness in the other world after they would leave this earth.
 
Israel's conception was absolutely the opposite. The Jews did not prepare for death but for life. The main goal of the covenant made with Abraham was providing life: God committed Himself in this contract to deliver man from death. This is exactly why Abraham's faith proved to be acceptable, truthful for God because Abraham believed that God gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. Therefore the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the God who resurrects the dead and calls things that are not as though they were: in the Jewish faith life stands in the center.
 
By the way this is typical of the whole Bible. Christianity has to go on the same way too. For example Jesus Christ approached the debates regarding Sabbath with this life-centered attitude. He drew the attention to the fact that this holiday had got alienated from its original purpose although it should have led people towards life.
 
Also the main aim of Christianity is to find life. In Jesus Christ of Nazareth - as apostle John says - life has appeared and we saw it, heard it and touched it. One of the gospel's main message that whoever believes in Jesus of Nazareth "he has crossed over from death to life" (John 5:24). You can also say that he has crossed over from Egypt to enter life, since the Pharaoh's empire became the symbol of oppression, slavery, death and occult power despite the fact that God is merciful to the Egyptians too. The Bible emphasizes at several places and reminds the sons of Israel to be merciful and forgiving towards other people.
 

However, the Egyptian system could not fit in God's plan for human life on earth. Moses wanted to create a system for Israel that ensures the worshipping of the one God, in which human relationships stand on the principle of "love your neighbor as you love yourself" and where the whole society is filled with the love of life and the hatred of sin. People were looking for the immortal, imperishable life in God already in the faith of Israel of the old covenant. Life on earth was very important for Jewish people; they considered it as the scene of self-realization that would also determine their fate in eternity. By contrast the Egyptians tried to realize themselves in the life of the other world, in an unconceivable, mystical world. The sons of Jacob believed that God's supernatural intervention can be realized already here and now. Owing to Adam's fall mankind got into a forced ride: instead of developing we have to walk on the path of salvation. One can walk on the path of salvation if the supernatural world comes down to the natural world, eternity to time, the godly to man in order to deliver the fallen man from the oppression of death and damnation and to give him a present of a complete life that brings happiness and salvation to his whole personality.
 
Also the purpose of the covenants was always to give life and not to put some kind of "strait-jacket" to cover human nature and deprive it from something good. For example one of the direct goals of giving the Law was to make Israel know the objective border between life and death in the form of commandments, so that based on these all of them could choose between life and death, blessing and curse. The covenant made with Abraham makes it possible to be justified however God had to complete it, because it was necessary to regulate the relationship between man and God. Those limits had to be made clear within which we can lead a godly life, keep the grace of God so that the believers can be fulfilled with the life of God like Abraham did.
 

The appearance of God

 
Let me make one more comment before I come to the first commandment. Since Abraham the covenants have been preceded by theophanies. We call theophany (appearance of God) those supernatural events when God makes Himself visible in the material world. It means that the invisible God somehow visits the Earth and can be experienced in a certain geographical place, i.e. in space and time.
 
According to the Bible nobody has ever seen God. He stands beyond human organs of sense, we cannot get any information about Him through our organs of sense, because the Almighty is a spiritual being, a person who reigns above the world, therefore He can be experienced by our sense organs only through epiphanies (appearances). The Bible says that we can get to know God's reality through a revelation in which God reveals Himself, He lets us know about His personality, His characteristics, His plan and usually a man chosen by Him receives this through the Holy Spirit. These form the objects of God's kingdom on earth that express the reality beyond the visible world, i.e. the supernatural world. The revelation does not only make it possible to grab the existence of the One who reveals Himself, but during that time you can experience God's presence, His nature and you will be radically changed by that. This knowledge about God creates a conviction in your spirit and this is the basis of a close, personal relationship between God and the man filled with His light. Therefore the knowledge that comes from revelation creates communion between man and God.
 
The communion, the unity is the general purpose of the revelation and you can find many kinds of that in the Bible. The most undisguised form of revelation is the theophany, or christophany (the appearance of Christ), when the supernatural creature himself, God or Christ can directly be experienced by man. This is the main characteristic of appearances (epiphanies).
 
In these cases God does not talk to the human spirit directly by the Holy Spirit, but He Himself reveals the secret, reveals His peronality for the experience of the human organs of sense. In other words in these supernatural events God addresses man through his organs of sense. The people who experienced God's appearance could see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears the Revealer Himself. For example when Moses saw that the bush was burning but was not consumed – since it is no big wonder to see a burning bush in a heat of 40-50 degrees, but Moses saw a bush whose branches and leaves did not turn to ashes despite of burning - he said:
I will go over and see this strange sight-why the bush does not burn up. (Exodus 3:3)
When he was approaching the burning bush the Lord called to him in a physical voice. This is also theophany.
 
You can see in this story as well that the appearance touched the eyes in the first place and through them it attracted Moses to the supernatural event by his other organs of sense and eventually the power of God's presence grabbed his heart too: Moses fell down to the ground, worshipped the Lord and listened to His revelations. Before God gave the Law He had come down to Mount-Sinai as well and although the sons of Israel did not see His shape they saw the fire and the smoke on the top of the mountain, they heard the sound of the horn (shofar) and an earthquake followed the appearance, too. The sons of Israel could experience by their organs of sense that God left His heavenly throne, He entered the visible world and landed on the top of Mount-Sinai. Although He did not reveal His shape and His face openly before the people, these supernatural events that had happened before the Law was given are also considered theophanies. The theophany does not necessarily mean God's complete, open revelation in front of man. Usually the Lord shows one of His characteristics like He had showed His power and glory for Israel before He revealed the "ten words" (decalogos) for the people.
 
There was also a need for theophany so that the people invited for the covenant with God could get to know His reality, His power, His glory and through that experience they could give their trust and their lives to God and commit themselves to God even in the form of a covenant. You could also say that God first gave His businesscard to Israel. This gesture was emphasized by His first statement:
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (Exodus 20:2)
 

The first word

 
A very important truth that we should not forget about—especially us, Europeans—is that God introduced himself for the first time as “I”. So he introduced himself as an independent person and not as a part of the universe or an abstract absolutum, but as an “I”: as a spiritual being who owns personality signs. An individual that owns personality signs has identity, will, emotions, communication ability for self-expression and other personal characteristics. So the first thing that he communicates about Himself is that He is a person who is separate, independent from the universe and self-dependent. He is an “I”, that is why we can have a personal relationship with Him.
 
The second very important piece of information that He gives about Himself is that he is Lord. First it means that He stands above all, everything is subordinated to Him. Secondly: He is owner, possessor, the owner of the whole universe. The third meaning of the word Lord”is that He is a commander, so He can give commands and laws in the universe with absolute authority. It comes from this that He laid down the laws of nature and He gave the basic norms and rules of human settlement. On the other hand, he is not the God of mere words and laws. He is the God of life -—the norms and laws in the physical world serve the protection and fulfilment of life, especially for human being, who has been created in His image and similarity.
 
The third very important revelation of God He gave about Himself: "your God" . In this message He identifies Himself as the God of the covenant, who bound Himself to His allied nation (“a your God”). The order is worth attention: first "I", then "Lord" and finally "your God". So the first word, the first revelation already assumes and emphasises the "me" and "you" relationship: human beings can live in a personal relationship with God. The aim of the covenant is exactly to get a nation (Israel), the individuals and groups of the nation involved into a covenant form, in which personal communion, koinonia can start up between God and the people. God appears as a person also for the Old Testament Israel. The phrase "your God" expresses possession. The people possess God, His inheritance, His power, His strength, His life, so everything He has, because the Almighty has pledged Himself to Israel in a covenant. In exchange, the people give their lives and stands by God to carry out His will and plans on the earth. Because of the personal relationship, God and the people possess each other on the base of love and truth, and they both share each other's supernatural and natural goods.
 
The next revelation in the first word is that God calls Himself Deliverer. He does not say: "I am the Creator", but He says: I am the One who “brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery". In this, he already defines a very important task of the Redeemer: setting the people free. "Deliverer" means that someone sets somebody free from the bounds. In this case, the Egyptian system meant the bounds, which was a political, national and religious oppression at the same time.
 
It is very important to understand the apparent contradiction between the Old and the New Testament regarding the delivering. In the Old Testament God appeared first of all as a political and national deliverer; on the other hand, when Jesus Christ of Nazareth came to us for the first time in the New Testament, He arrived as a personal and spiritual deliverer and not as a national redeemer. However, the New Testament also emphasises that the aim of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is the delivering of Israel on a national level. That time the New Testament reaches its peak and the Messiah is going to be a spiritual-personal and a national-political deliverer for everyone at the same time.
 
The New Testament perceives the Egyptian system as the symbol of Satan's Kingdom, so there is an analogy between the delivering of Israel from the Egyptian slavery and the redemption from the power of Satan by the blood of Jesus. In this era of the salvation history everyone can only get into relationship with Jesus Christ by a personal decision: the free, personal decision is a precondition of being able to share the goods and blessings of the redemption of the Nazarene. After the parusy, political and national systems, communities will also bear and intermediate the redemption.
 

Spiritual oppression

 
In the Ten Commandments God revealed Himself as a national, political and religious redeemer at the same time. Israel was under a very hard spiritual oppression in Egypt, which had more serious consequences than the political and national oppression. Spiritual oppression causes an irrecoverable harm in the human spirit, paralyses it, quenches the desire and thirst towards God in it, and this way deprives people of the ability to search for God, and also the abilities through which he can understand the root and essence of his problems. The oppressed and injured human heart cannot understand that the main cause of his crisis is his distance from God and his opposition to the Lord.
 
Spiritual oppression quenches the desire and thirst towards God in the human heart
If man were only sinful, he could recognise that his crisis, bad fate and frustrations comes from the absence of having a relationship with God. The man who is under supernatural, spiritual oppression, is kept in the state of ignorance by dark, occult, intelligent powers, and they organise the opposition to God in him.
 
Human nature and human heart recognises its need of God if it is not under occult spiritual oppression; hunger and desire for the Everlasting can develop in it, as David said:
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? (Psalms 42:2)
Human heart longs for the living God, especially when it feels that it has been torn apart from Him, and is left alone, abandoned. Sin in its own could not wound the desire and thirst for God, but the occult oppression that Israel's sons were victims of can destroy the need for the person of God from one's heart.
 
The spiritual and moral problems of Israel's sons that appeared on the 40-year journey should be examined in the light of this fact. In the New Testament redemption in the first place the human spirit is saved, and it reaches its peak in the resurrection of the body and the political-national salvation. In the grace era of the New Testament people are set free from the powers of death and hell on spiritual level.
 

It is important to understand this because many people among the contemporaries of Jesus expected the Messiah to set Israel free on a national-political level already at his first coming. But it is not true either that the Old Testament deals only with the questions of national-political liberation. The aim of the exodus and the holiday system that was formed later was also the spiritual-moral liberation. In the charismatic Old Testament movements (for instance in David's Kingdom) Israel achieved relative spiritual-moral liberation besides national-political liberation. Moreover, according to the Book of the Judges, when Israel lost her spiritual-moral liberty, than regularly it became the victim of other nations political-national oppression. The nation could get back its freedom when they followed a leader who had spiritual-moral freedom. In the grace era of the New Testament, the spiritual and national liberations are separated at least by two thousand years. According to the Christian timetable, the first is the spiritual liberation, then comes the natural one when Christ comes back for the second time and a Messianic world era starts.
 

Cockchafer in the garden

 
Going back to the Ten Commandments: God introduced Himself to Israel as the Saviour who rescued them from the land of slavery in Egypt. This statement not only tells us about a historical fact, but it also gives Israel a hope related to the future. It gives hope that the Lord is a delivering God, and can deliver Israel from the dark spiritual powers, from the dominion of Satan and the oppression of the world, as he delivered her from Egypt.
 
Let’s go on to the second word:
You shall have no other Gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)
Let me note here that the Ten Commandments are numbered in different ways. The Word has been numbered by people, originally there were only sentences coming out of God's mouth. He did not say that “I give you the commandments in one, two, three, four, etc. points, but God speaks about "ten words".
 

The different numberings of the Ten Commandments

Jewish

 
1. introduction 
2. there are no other gods there are no carved images 
3. God's name 
4. Sabbath 
5. respect of parents 
6. against murder 
7. against adultery 
8. against stealing 
9. against false testimony 
10. against coveting 
 

Catholic/Lutheran

 
1. there are no other gods there are no carved images 
2. God's name 
3. Sabbath 
4. respect of parents 
5. against murder 
6. against adultery 
7. against stealing 
8. against false testimony 
9. against coveting the house 
10. against coveting the wife 
 

Calvinist

 
1. there are no other gods 
2. there are no carved images 
3. God's name 
4. Sabbath 
5. respect of parents 
6. against murder 
7. against adultery 
8. against stealing 
9. against false testimony 
10. against coveting 
 
 
The Ten Commandments is only the essence of the Mosaic Law, and is not the whole commandment. The whole commandment has at least three parts: the so-called spiritual-moral laws that we are talking about now; then the worship laws, and thirdly the civil laws.
 

So in the second word God declares that people should respect and worship the Lord as the only real God. The Bible's main principle and statement about God is that He is uniform: other things or beings that are out of His nature and essence are not gods. If someone would say about a beetle or a cockchafer in your garden that it is like you, or that you are that beetle, then obviously you have to state that you are not a cockchafer. If they want to respect you, they should not respect cockchafers!
 
The worship of foreign gods is absurd in the same way, although it may sound ridiculous. The term "foreign god" means that this being, this "god" is different from the nature of God. Apostle Paul says in the Letter to the Galatians, reminding them to their former life:
Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. (Galatians 4:8)
So Paul gives a short definition for the foreign gods: their nature stands in opposition to the nature of God.
 
Humans should not invent and should not form gods to themselves, because it was God who created humans. He is the only true God; things or beings that are different from His nature or in opposition to His nature and essence, are all foreign gods. And the thing or being a person respects, prays to or worships is his or her God. So it is very important that your worship and respect should be towards the God of Abraham, to the Almighty who created, redeemed and redeems the universe.
 
The positive statement in the second commandment is that you should respect and worship God as the only God, and pray only to Him! Approaching someone or something else is not expedient. Not because God tries to retaliate it out of a kind of vanity, but because there is no reality behind foreign gods. However, if there is no reality behind something, then it exists only in human fantasy as a wrong concept. God has become an empty concept in humankind's mind mostly because ideas of foreign gods have mingled with the ideas made about the real God. We talk about the worship of a foreign god if someone puts a being or thing whose nature is in opposition to God, to the place of the real God, in order to give it religious respect, reverence or worship. The real God is a true reality; worship should only be towards this reality, to this person. He is the only one who must be the aim of every people's worship and respect, because it corresponds the facts, the reality. It was this God who revealed Himself in the Bible. There are also other supernatural beings in the Bible besides God, who can give revelations about themselves, the supernatural world or God, but if these are in opposition with the revelations of the God of Abraham, then they are obviously not from Him. God does not tell lies, does not say any statements that are contradictory to Himself, His nature, His essence, and He does not urge anyone to act against Him.
 

How is God's presence transferred?

 
The third verse:
You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments."(Exodus 20:4-6)
 
The third question is thus, who or what transfers God's presence to mankind. The third verse categorically makes it clear, what does not transfer God's presence: god-images formed of wood, stone, metal. When people still make such objects, the Bible calls it idol-worship, idolatry. Having this fact revealed, God responded not only to a particular event in history, i.e. the spiritual oppression in Egypt, but expressed that this law rules over all the universe.
 
The point here was not only to separate Israel from Egypt, to detach from the worship of vultures and other animals. The Bible goes one by one: "in heaven above", then "on the earth beneath" etc., because in Babylon idolatry began "from above", worshipping the Sun, but in Egypt even insects were worshipped; that is to say, religion degraded to lower and lower levels, reaching the worship of worms and animals.
 
One of the most harrowing example was when the people of Israel began worshipping a golden calf in the time of making the covenant already. Of course they did not think that golden calves are gods, but believed that these man-made objects can transfer to them the same as what Moses did. Their concern was not having seen Moses for forty days. They thought his return was not even sure, since one cannot endure forty days without food and drink, and Moses had been with God for forty days. So they wished to resolve transferring God's presence, thus prepared objects to pay religious honour to.
 
According to the Bible there is one single being in the visible world that is created to the image of God: man. God can enable man to have and transfer His presence. Earthly creatures and things cannot do that. Consequently, when people prepare things to pay honour to, their religious practice does not reach its goal, but leads them to a condition exactly opposite to their goal: idolatry alienates people from their essence and makes them turn against that; what is more, their personality and activity get under a curse.
 
This commandment very surprisingly disappeared from the numbering of Ten Commandments in the past centuries of the Catholic Church, and the tenth commandment was split into two instead. The apostles, the early church and Christians of subsequent centuries considered the Ten Commandment as found in the 20. chapter of Exodus. The authentic Ten Commandments is that of the Bible.
 

Arbitrary and bigot

 
Apostle Paul explained in his epistle to the Romans that mankind's attitude fell into extremity in terms of acknowledgement and worship of God:
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. (Romans 1:21-23)  

In the covenant made with Noah, a family from whom all nations descended, did have the knowledge of God. But their descendants did not keep that knowledge in their spirits, exactly because they created their own, humane ideas about God, and shaped these in the form of images, statues and metals. Idol is a representation of man-made ideas of God in material: metal, wood, etc. This is the basis of idolatry. Such so-called "god's image" does not reflect the true God, this knowledge originates not from the revelation, but reflections and imagination of people, that is to say: people created god-images for themselves. According to apostle Paul the reason why the religions of the nations are worthless, is the lack of knowledge of the true God. These comprise images arbitrarily created by people, and serve as the basis of religious practices.
 
The most important biblical symbol of arbitrary, self-imposed religious practice is Babylon. The root cause of religious delusion was not the lack of revelation, since the ancestor families of the nations were given the knowledge of the one God. The cause of trouble was that they made arbitrary ways in pursuit of trying to transfer God's presence on Earth. This came to be one of the main causes of religious frauds and errors in human history.
 
Paul depicts another extremity in the 10th chapter of his epistle to the Romans. From these parts it is clear that Paul was engaged in religion-critique too, he considered it necessary to construe and contrast religious assertions and practices against biblical truths.
For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. (Romans 10:2-3)
In this verse Paul points out an inappropriate religious practice that is founded on appropriate worship though, still its followers don't have true revelation-based kowledge from the Lord. If there is no knowledge of God revealed; if one does not get personal knowledge of the Father and Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit, and so commences to honour or worship God, so tries to become Christian - like many do -, often the result of such effort is bigotry, intolerance instead of reconciliation with God: the devotion and enthusiasm of such religious people rests not on knowing God, but on their own intensified emotional, subjective condition.

 

That is why this kind of religiousness is characterized by blindness, intolerance towards other world-views or religions, and aggressive desire for self-assertion. This is the religiousness that Paul describes as having blind zeal, its followers set themselves to worship the true God, still are unable to step out of themselves, because the true knowledge of God originating from revelation is missing.
 
It is also important to understand the message beyond the sequential order of the Ten Commandments: man must get to know God first. As we said, knowing God most often originates from the revelation of the Holy Spirit, which ignites light in man's spirit and creates spiritual capability to know and understand God. Theophany - analyzed above -, provides a revelation to human observation, not directly to our spirit. It is important to note that knowledge of Jesus Christ in the New Testament usually comes from revelation by the Holy Spirit. Such type of spiritual cognition addresses the essence of man's personality, the heart, which not only receives information about the Eternal God, but also participates in His life, nature, even His power. As a result, the heart and life of the man receiving the revelation goes through a radical change, enters into lasting relations with the Saviour, and the divine presence developing in his life urges him to live fulfilling God's moral-spiritual standard, to be filled with the Holy Spirit. If one has mere psychical knowledge (rational recognition, emotional experience, will to believe), then the biblical change grasping the entire personality does not take place.
 
This may well be the most important dilemma of religiousness in Europe. The Bible describes that believers in the eschatological times will have experience with the Lord, originating from revelation by the Holy Spirit, and their worship will be founded on this charismatic knowledge.
 

The reasons behind prohibition of idolatry

 
Back to the question of idolatry, we read in the 4th chapter of Deuteronomy:
Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman (Deuteronomy 4:15-16).
That is, God did not allow people to make images for the purpose of religious honour and worship. What are the reasons behind this prohibition? First: God is invisible, nobody has ever seen His appearance or form. Even in theophanies He concealed His face, always surrounded His form with clouds, consuming fire, in which He kind of clothed; so no man could ever see His form or face, nobody is able to picture God.
 
Even if some man had seen God and were able to give an authentic and accurate representation of his experience, what significance that product would have? He would be able to pick out only one momentum from God's action and existence. That momentum would be like when a movie is stopped, one frozen picture. It is not the film itself, after a while becomes unenjoyable, one does not watch it any more, because one single picture out of a movie is not why he went to cinema. It is similar with God: He is a living and active God. For this reason, any portrayal, no matter how authentic it would be, could only freeze one momentum of God's life and action, lacking godly life and dynamics.
 
Another important consideration: no man-made image or statue is capable of transferring the true God's presence and mercy on Earth. In the whole visible world there is only one single being created in God's image and likeness: man. Obviously God's purpose for man was to have and transfer God's presence in the visible world. When sin penetrated into human life, man became unfit for this mission.
 
For this reason appeared Jesus of Nazareth in the last times, of whom in the epistle to the Colossians apostle Paul asserts that He is the image of God. This means, He brought God's presence into the visible world, hence whoever wants to enter God's presence, can do so through the image, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. That's why He says of Himself, "No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6), because only God's image can carry and transfer God's reality, power, glory and life. Additionally, since Jesus Christ of Nazareth is not only God's image, but Saviour as well, whoever received Him, those He enables to have and transfer God's presence again.
 

Thus, it is people, out of whom God's Spirit pours out, God's presence enters the visible world through men. That is why God prohibited making images, statues for religious purpose, such act deprives man of dignity. Idolatry is not only misguiding with regard to God, but also alienates man from the mission given to him by God. The most noble duty of man is to carry God's presence on Earth, and living in His presence afterwards.
 
This is one of the most important messages of the Bible, this question is answered following the Fall. Hence it is regulated, that people should not substitute man's duty and role with objects. It is not artifacts that must transfer Christ's presence and life towards society, but born-again believers. We need to ask for the Holy Spirit and fire from God, since once we get filled with Holy Spirit, we will promote, carry God's presence on this Earth. It was Jesus Christ, God's true image, who made many people capable of carrying God's presence even today.
 
The second reason why the Ten Commandments prohibit idolatry, is found in the New Testament, in Stephen's speech, in the 7th chapter of Acts:
He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us. But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. They told Aaron, 'Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt-we don't know what has happened to him!' That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and held a celebration in honor of what their hands had made. (Acts7:38–41)
 
According to Stephen one of the consequences of idolatry is one's alienation from the living Word. In his speech he makes reference to the event when Moses stayed in God's presence for forty days, and the people of Israel started worrying about who is going to transfer God's presence to the nation. They knew that the calf image is not God, but thought to substitute Moses with it. So a calf image replaced the anointed man. The people of Israel knew that God delivered them from Egypt, but also thought that man-made things can transfer the presence of their Deliverer. That was their tragic error - it turned out that it cannot. Only anointed people can transfer the living God towards fellow-people and the visible world.
 
Ever since, religion divides into two big category: religious systems based on "calf images" and religion transferring God's presence through "Moseses". Stephen pointed out that for impatience people did not wait for Moses return from Mount Sinai, but put up an illegitimate mediator in his place. As a consequence they detached themselves from Moses as well as from the living Word, their attitude qualified as rebellion against God. Ever since, idolatry offers men to lead them to God's presence, but produces rebellion against the true God instead. The Bible emphasizes that it is essential to found God's worship on the living Word of the Lord.
 
The third reason why God prohibited idolatry is the fact that such act pulls up a separating wall between man and God, so that not blessing, but curse is transferred. The Bible emphasizes the role of fathers, because the fathers determine the spiritual standard and condition in families and society. If fathers love God, then they keep His commandments, follow Him in accordance with God's Word. If fathers do not love God, abandon His Word, then they get their descendants into trouble. The consequence of idolatry is the most serious form of curse: generation curse, affecting up to the third and fourth generation.
 

Where did the second commandment disappear?

 
In the Christian world it is often heard that the New Testament has changed the orders of the Old Testament concerning the prohibition of idolatry. Idolatry is not the central problem of the Gospel indeed because after the Babylonian exile the Jews have put an end to the practise of pagan idolatry in their communities. However in the chapters of Acts - after the beginning of preaching the Gospel to the nations - the apostles confronted with idolatry at every step.
 
The great spreading of religiousness and idolatry based on occultism was a surprise for the Jewish-Christians coming from Judea and Galilee. In the time of Jesus the Jews living in the eretz were free from the cultic forms of idolatry. One of the main spiritual goals of exodus was exactly that God could separate Israel from the polytheism and idolatry of the nations and could build a nation - and even a whole society - upon the true knowing and worshipping of God; so that later to this social frame and to this spiritual-ethical environment the son of God, Christ could get a body and human nature without sin from a Jewish woman. This was the precondition that He could give an innocent and holy sacrifice to God for the whole world.
 
In the 17th chapter of Acts, preaching in Athens apostle Paul said the following:
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. (Acts17:24–25)
 
So if there is no true knowing of God then there is no true worshipping of God. There can be a kind of worship but it is not acceptable before God. Abel's worship was accepted by God, Cain's one was not because Cain thought that God "is served by human hands". Contrary to this
by faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. (Heb 11:4).
One of the elemental truth of the acceptable worship of Abel was the noticing of the fall of man and the sin which entered and conquered the world and the consequences of sin: death and damnation. The other elemental truth was that God is holy, in Him there is no sin and only holy and true sacrifice is acceptable by Him. The third elemental truth of the worship of Abel was that a man cannot get mercy and atonement from God neither by himself nor by earthly things and gifts. The fourth one is that only God can give atonement for man by a sacrifice and a sacrificial form chosen and appointed by Him. Abel's knowing of God comprehended all of these truths and his approaching to God and his worshipping were based on the exact understanding and following of these biblical facts.
 

Let us return to the preaching of apostle Paul in Athens, where he said the following:
Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone - an image made by man's design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. (Acts 17:29–30)
 
According to the statement of the apostle the whole humanity descends from God and because of this every man resembles to God (this does not mean sameness). However the man-made things, the golden and silver and stone statues, images do not resemble to God so they can not transmit the presence of God. Apostle Paul says that people have to repent from the cult of their own makings to the living God. Thus the New Testament does not teach that we can leave the second commandment but that all people everywhere has to repent from the breaking of the second commandment. A man can repent only if he gives priority to the truth of God contrary even to his religious, denominational or national truth.
 
I mentioned above that the second commandment, which prohibits idolatry, was deliberately left out from the Catholic Ten Commandments for centuries. This step was generally explained with the fact that when Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, he said:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Mt 22:35–38).
Taking this statement into account the Catholic first commandment is a "compacted" one: "Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only." They say that this kind of composition comprehends all kinds of reverence - also idolatry - so it is unnecessary to detail it further.
 
The first Word declares that God is one. The second Word contains positively that God has to be worshipped as one God. All other kinds of gods that is the alien gods harm the sovereignty of God.
 
The third Word deals with transmitting the presence of God. Who or what transmits the presence of God on earth? God is in Heaven above human senses: He is an invisible God above human experiences. We, however, are on earth and we are the part of nature. Through our bodies we are embedded in the laws of nature and because of this we live - from the viewpoint of God - in a prison.
 
The question is that who and how transmits the presence, life and grace of God to us? To this question the third commandment gives the following answer: the makings of the hand of man, that is the things which portray a picture of a god do not transmit them even if they are of gold, silver, metal or wood. Moreover, this commandment declares clearly that this is idolatry and forbidden.
 
It is true that Jesus Christ of Nazareth had summarised the Ten Commandments in two Words. The first one calls upon to the exclusive worshipping of God indeed and the second one regards to brotherly love. With these two sentences the Ten Commandments can really be summarised, this is the essence and positive message of the Ten Commandments. However let us not forget that the role of the Law is to regulate the community with God. A regulation always contains bans, too.
 
It is clear that Jesus said the same thing as the Ten Commandments, as they regulated the order of keeping connection with God, and the order of seeking for God. They stated the norms of these activities, that is within what kind of norms can a man find his God and can God share his presence with a man, therefore they contained concrete bans. These bans, which regulated the covenant with Israel, are naturally valid in the New Testament also as Jesus said that until heaven and earth disappear, not the least stroke of a pen will by any means disappear from the Law. So these bans, the ban of idolatry and other bans are still valid in the New Testament. Exactly within the keeping of these norms can be realised godly love and brotherly love in a man.
 
Because of this it is not enough to summarise positively the teaching of the two stone-tables, the essence of them, but it is very important to know the bans. For this is exactly the problem: people want to be positive but they neglect the fact that the connection with God has its own rules determined by God. Only inside this frame can be realised righteousness and living in the Lord, a man can work on and keep salvation only inside of this. Not the keeping of the Law gives salvation to man, however in our lives keeping of the Law is necessary for keeping salvation as the wages of sin is death.
 
In reality one of the main goals of the Law was to teach man, the God-seeking men to the knowledge of sin. Because if there is no knowledge of sin than man would loose the grace and eternal life received from God. As I mentioned before: through Abraham God had brought the truth of righteousness by faith into the history of mankind, but He considered it important to complete righteousness with the giving of the Law.
 
God has given the Law - its validity has to be accepted. The New Testament has not overruled the Law. At some points - in the case of certain civil laws and God-service laws - it corrected the Law indeed, however this correction does not mean invalidation. Exactly because of this no one has the right to change the Ten Commandments, the objective rule concerning revelations is the following:
Do not add to it or take away from it. (Deut 12:32b).
The adding to the commandments or taking away from them is leading the given person or community into great crisis.
 
I want to emphasize that the Ten Commandments or Ten Words are very important parts of the covenant-making, but it has other parts, too. The knowledge of the Ten Commandments is very important because according to the prophecy of Jesus of Nazareth the last days will be characterised by the falling apart of moral-spiritual values.
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. (Mt 24:12)
 

The original text marks lawlessness as one of the main features of human behaviour in the last days. The Old-Greek language uses the word: nomos for the Law; and in the original text there is anomia here, that is the state without law is the reason for love growing cold. The word love is agape in the original text, which signs divine love. This presumes being born-again, so that lawlessness (anomia) will also be represented in Christian communities. To counterweight this process you have to know exactly the Law and norm of God in which you can build your personal fellowship with the Lord.
 

God, tell me your name!

 
After this let us examine the third commandment
You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (Ex 20:7)
 
In this word the Law takes measures against the degradation of the name of God. The name of the Lord must not be connected to worthless things, must not be depraved or degraded. Throughout history the name of God was abused continuously and regularly. This is typical for religious practice until today. For example the Islamic terrorists commit their atrocities in the name of God. They draw the blood of innocent people, the blood of the old and young in the name of God - like in the hostage-drama in the theatre of Moscow. The terrorists in their key-sentence pled to the name of God. However their practise was totally opposite to the Law of God.
 
The name of the Lord must not be connected to evil things, murders and religious manslaughter. Even more the Name must not be degraded or depraved to the level of worthless and useless things. The consequence of the degradation of the Name is that the person of God seems to be evil and worthless and pitiful in the eyes of man and this causes disappointment and turning away from Him all over the world. In the religious world the greatest and absolute authority is the name of God. However, what happens if people kill others in the name of God? This is a serious abuse of the authority of the name of God that wants to make acceptable what is unacceptable, and to replace evil with good. This form of religious abuse can cause great disturbance particularly in religious people and can distort the ability of adjudging moral questions right. Not surprisingly God has firmly banned to abuse his authority and his name.
 
In the following we shall examine what is the real content of the name of God. Until the covenant made with Israel the Name was unknown for humanity. Of course, this does not mean that the letters of the word themselves were unknown. We find in the 3rd chapter of Exodus the following:
Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you. (Ex 3:13–14)
 
The meaning of Moses' question was this: "God, tell me your name!" I mentioned that the word signed the person of God was known even before Moses. In reality Moses asked for more.
 
The original word (shem) he used means not just name but glory and authority and reputation also. On the other hand you have to know that in the Ancient Times the name signed not just the person, it was not just a word, but to some degree the person himself was also in the name, therefore it reflected and represented his substance. The name signed the person but it also contained the person's abilities, his authority and power. Because of this if someone had known and used the name of somebody else then he shared to some degree in the presence of the owner of the name.
 
So Moses asked in reality: "What is your reputation, what is your greatness, what is your glory?" He did not refer to the empty notion, not to the word itself because from the previous covenants - I refer to the covenants made with Adam, Noah and Abraham - the revealed knowing of the name of God was missing.
 
It is well-known that the existence of God can be accepted and understood just by rational thinking. However this knowledge standing on psychicological level does not connect people to God. Only the knowledge came from revelation is able to do this. The knowledge originating from revelation makes the life, the power and authority of God presented in the person who has known Him.
 
A righteous man absolutely needs the revelation about the name of God. Moses recognised that the Name will reflect the power and authority of its Owner for him only if he gets knowledge about it from God Himself. Moses needed the spiritual knowledge concerning the content of the Name because he had to plead to God genuinely before his people. He could justify his mission only if the vowels of the Name were in inseparable unity with the personality and abilities of its Owner. This made him able to speak out God's Name to his people such a way that the presence of the Holy One would immediately overflow by his speech.
 
The charismatic knowledge and experience got from the Name of God was also the beginning of the covenant with Israel. Before this event to his chosen ones the Lord had mainly showed His characteristics and given knowledge about His plans concerning the world (through different charismatic experiences e.g. revelations, visions). However nobody had held, nobody had carried the Name with such charismatic power as Moses. He was anointed with the content of the Name of God, too.
 
One of the newness of the covenant made with Israel was that God has put His Name onto a man. Even more later He chose a concrete geographical place, Jerusalem, to place His Name there. One of the tasks of Israel as a nation was to carry and represent the Name of God. This task commissioned this covenant with a special spiritual significance. A Christian must be aware of this fact because the spiritual understanding and sanctification of the Name is the central part and also a task of the New Testament. By spiritual born again a believer puts on the name of Jesus Christ that carries the presence of the Redeemer in his life. From the Owner of the name he gets right to use the Name in justice for blessing others and himself.
 

God’s presence in the Name

 
To Moses's question: What is your name?”God answered with a form of the Hebrew equivalent of the verb “to be, the substantive verb, which is hard to express in English. Up to this day, experts sustain diverse points of view regarding this, all of which contain some truth. You can translate it as “I will be who I will be, but also as I will be who I was. Accordingly in any case the substantive verb used here refers to a continuity that indicates that something started in the past, is going on in the present and will continue in the future.
 
This does not only refer to God's existence, does not only mean that He is the eternal I Am, but also expresses that through this name God is efficiently present in the life of man or the people whom He has provided with His name, to whom He has handed over His visiting card. If God anoints somebody with His name, He will be with him, will be present in him, His strength and power will cooperate with him in the use of the Name. The reason why this is very important is that one can give honour to his Creator or acquire true knowledge in His presence (in His name) only.
 
After Moses's experience with the burning bush, the strength and power of God's name manifested in his life. God protects His holy name. The community with His person in the form of a covenant authorizes a man to use this name. By lawfully using the Name, fantastic possibilities open up before the believer: God stands by him and performs for this human bearer of the Name the things he would never be able to accomplish by himself. According to the Bible, the uniqueness of Israel among the nations originated from their divine right to the Name. Where God had placed His name, there the Israelites set up the tabernacle of the Lord and guarded the ark of the covenant.
 

The everlasting name

 
God revealed His name in linguistic form and this made the bearer of the Name, God the Creator Himself available to man. Man is an addressed creature since Eden, the addressee of the question "Man, where are you?" . The addressing is unidirectional as long as the caller's identity is unknown. The Hebrew Bible calls contacting God "shouting in a name" , wrapping his/her appeal in a name as if hiding it in a code, which breaks through the boundaries of space and time and gets the word of the earthly man to its destination. This code, this name is the four-letter name of the God of the Hebrews, which He made known to Moses at the bush. This name has been preserved in the original manuscripts of the Bible, but both its exact meaning and its pronunciation is surrounded by secrecy.
 
God's four-letter name in the Hebrew writings is made up of the yod-heh-vau-heh (*YHVH*) letter combination, which corresponds to our Y-H-V-H consonants, but in certain positions they may also denote vowels. They are at least certain to be a special setting for the Hebrew substantive verb. The YHVH name unites the time planes of past, present and future. Haya - was; howe - who exists; yihye - is, will be. The name is a combination of the perfect, participle and imperfect forms of the substantive verb. This meaning is supported by the fact that God, simultaneously with revealing His name, sent out Moses with a message: "I am who I am" ; He even commanded him to say "I Am" had sent him. Undoubtedly this can be regarded as the best explanation for the four-letter name. This "I Am" expresses existence taking place equally in the present and the future. This "I Am" also means "I Will Be" . It expresses possessing an existence above time, moreover spanning over historical time. According to the book of Revelation (1:4,8) "Grace and peace to you from him, who is, and who was, and who is to come , the Almighty." (verse 8).
 
In the time of the second Temple, the high priest sang the holy Name onto the people once a year in his day of atonement blessing, as they regarded it so holy that they refrained from its common use. They began to use increasingly the word Adona i meaning My Lord , which became the basis for the name Lord used in modern translations, following the footsteps of the Septuagint. (In the middle ages, the vowels of this were added to the letters of the name in manuscripts, that is why the erroneous “Jehovah” reading spread in Christian circles.) A transcription of the name intended for Greek or Latin readers could hardly have survived from the pen of Jewish writers. Solely church fathers with a different spiritual background put down such a thing, in the form of IAO or IEUO. Josephus Flavius, who was a priest and a Pharisee, reticently says only this much: "[The high priest] wore a byssus (white flaxen linen - the editor) head-dress on his head interwoven with blue; this was held together by a golden hoop engraved with the holy letters: they mean those four particular letters by this." (The Jewish war, V. 5.7) . In Josephus' text „those four particular letters”refer to vowels! He claims no less but that this holy Name consists of such sounds only during the formulation of which the air current in the mouth is not obstructed. The perfect form of the spiritual Name, wherein the YHVH consonants turn into IAUE vowels as the spiritual realization of the letters. (Márta Hack)
 
According to the account of the Old Testament, Solomon built a temple for God's name. If we have a closer look at 1 Kings chapter 8, we realise that the king of Israel mentions several times: he had built a temple for the name of the Almighty, this was the real, primary purpose for erecting this building, in whose epicentre the ark of the covenant was placed, above which God's shekina, glory was resting. This circumstance justifies that God's glory, strength and power is effectively present with those whom He shares His name with.
 
The more than three-thousand-year-old secret of Jerusalem is connected with this truth. This is why the City of David is different from other cities. There is only one geographical location in the visible world that God chose for himself to place God's name forever on one spot of this, the Temple hill. When David brought the ark of the covenant up to Jerusalem, and also later, when the temple was dedicated, God's shekina alighted on the chosen place and the sacred furnishings. The spreading out of the glory made it clear for Israel that His name dwelt in the Most Holy Place.
 
Since then, anywhere in the world the Israelites must pray towards Jerusalem. In the time of the Old Covenant, the Jews had to go up to Jerusalem at least three times a year so as to be able to partake of the blessings and goods conveyed by the Name. When they articulated their requests to the Lord in the presence of God's name, the Almighty heard them and shared His goods and blessings with the Israelites.
 

Protecting and hallowing the Name

 
The Old Covenant authorised Israel to use God's name, but at the same time regulated its use through the Law: it prohibited abusing His name. This came about because the Name guaranteed the operation of God's miraculous powers for Israel. The Name and the power became synonymous notions for them.
 

This is reflected in Exodus chapter 9 verse 16, which says:
But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.
This revelation makes it unmistakable that there is a close relationship between the Name and the authority, the Name and the strength, the Name and the power: the supernatural power which comes into action through using the Name and breaks through the laws of nature, creating changes in nature that contradicts the general sensuous experiences: in other words, the Name performs miracles.
 
We can also understand from the quotation that the age of miracles arrived because God had shared His name with Israel through Moses. So the history of the covenant concluded between God and Israel started when the Eternal God gave knowledge about His fame (shem), the greatness of His name by revelation to Moses, and then shared it with the whole people by having them set up a tabernacle after the heavenly pattern. The Tabernacle of the Lord, and later the Temple became places filled with glory, energy and strength because of the presence of God's fame. The prohibition of the abuse of the Name protected this supernatural reality, the kingdom of God within Israel.
 
Besides this, in the time of the Old Covenant God directly chose people whom He also anointed with the perfume of His name too. These persons had the right to speak in God's name. They were the people of the Spirit, the prophets (navi) , the seers. Naturally they also had to submit themselves to the regulation given by the law when using the Name.
 
When one abuses God's name, he confronts God's person, His real, supernatural strength and power with the word denoting it. God's decree had the aim that men always use His Name with the real deposit standing behind it: the name and the content should be in tight, inseparable unity in order that when someone calls on the name of the Lord, the supernatural world, God's power and strength can get in motion and intervene in His people's natural way of living for their sake.
 
We can see numerous examples of this in the Old Testament. When in certain war conflicts the ark of the covenant was brought out from the tabernacle, God's name moved out together with Israel and the supernatural power and strength in the Name also fought with the enemy. The Israelites often entered the strength and power of the Name in times of threatening, which is why Solomon says at a place:
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10)
The well-known king of Israel compares God's name to a fortress where the righteous find refuge during wars and conflicts. The Old Covenant Israel already knew that the supernatural presence of the name provides strength, protection and victory for the people.
 
Modern men know little about the secret of the Name. As a consequence of this, one can hear the abuse of God's name at every step, furthermore people cursing it and using it as a swear-word. After Israel lost the shekina, the teachers of the people did not let them utter God's name. If the Name does not contain strength and power, do not say it in vain or for worthless things! Do not misuse it when speaking in public or in your kitchen, not in religious acts, prophesying or preaching! Use God's name only in states and situations that correspond to righteousness, contain divine revelation, reality, so that the Name and the essence, the Name and the person, the Name and the person's power and strength remain in unity in you and in front of you.
 
The law had very strict regulations so that one should not use God's name arbitrarily even as an oath. The ultimate goal of the New Covenant is included in one of the requests in the prayer known as “the Lord's prayer, which says: "Hallowed be Your name!" (Matthew 6:9b) Hallowing the Name eventually refers to the Father's name. The Father's name carries the fullness of God.
 

The name of Jesus

 
In connection with the Name (shem) another fundamental truth of the New Testament is that believers directly assume the name of Jesus Christ at their rebirth, although Jesus revealed the name of the Father. In the book of Acts, at Pentecost three thousand people were reborn and baptized in water "in the name of Jesus Christ". Another time people were baptized "into the name of Jesus Christ". According to the report the early Christians when they were reborn and baptized they got into a close connection with Jesus of Nazareth similar to when a man marries a woman and gives his name to his wife and so she can use it by right. According to the New Testament believers first have to assume the name of the Messiah so that the name of the Father can be sanctified in their life.
 
Also the name of Jesus of Nazareth is more than a mere word. It symbolizes not only the Saviour's person but carries also authority and empowers its legal owners to share in the blessings of the Salvation. There are salvation, freedom and healing in the name of Jesus for believers. Therefore in the New Testament the apostles said and did everything in the name of Jesus Christ.
 
There is a famous prayer in the 4th chapter of the book of Acts that was said after the disciples had been commanded "not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus" (Acts 4:18). In this prayer the church of Jerusalem cried out to God:
Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus. ( Acts 4:30)
 
What did they really ask for? They asked for that the name of the Messiah together with God's supernatural delivering and healing power be present and manifest itself in their life and ministry; and that the name of Jesus Christ mediates delivering and healing power and authority; so that when they say - for example: "Go away Satan, in the name of Jesus!" or "Be healed in the name of Jesus!" - then God's miraculous, delivering and healing power manifest itself by their words and sentences and bring change in the life and body of people.
 
Today also, it is one of the most important purpose of Christian life that the using of the Name and the supernatural reality behind it be in union with each other. Their breaking from each other or in a worse case their turning against each other make Christian life worthless, ineffective and even causes damages.
 

In the epistle to the Philippians Paul writes about the humiliation and exaltation of Jesus of Nazareth. One of the peak points of his apotheosis is that God gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. .
 
The name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth is also the most effective spiritual weapon against the kingdom of Satan. You have to use his Name to bind and break the powers of the evil and darkness over the life of people. God put all authority into the name of Jesus of Nazareth, therefore Jesus declared after the resurrection that all authority (exusia) in heaven and on earth has been given to Him. By the community between God and man within the covenant of the New Testament people can share in this authority and power.
 
Thus when you were reborn and baptized, you received not only a name that indicates a person but you shared in the supernatural reality and power being behind the Name. You must not estrange the Name from this supernatural reality because then you would use the name of the Lord ineffectively. People who sink the name of Jesus Christ down to the level of human and natural things, make a more serious error. In the Christian world, in our civilization people have abused the name of Christ - for ages up to this day - both on an individual and church level. For example when they say: European Christian culture. There were and there are essential differences between the content of the name of Jesus Christ and the history of Europe and its present state. For example ghettos were established, the Jewish people were deprived of human rights and dignity for centuries in the name of Christ; nations started conquering wars against each other in the name of Christ; believers were burnt in the name of Christ and lethal weapons were consecrated etc. They are all striking examples for the abusing of the Name. This way the norms and requirements of God - that God laid for all people - have been broken.
 
Anybody who uses God's name in the interest of his own pleases will not be held guiltless. The third commandment makes it clear: who uses God's name illegally and for worthless things will not be held guiltless, be that person anyone.
 
As I have already mentioned the muslim terrorists use God's name for murders also. It is a blasphemy because it deeply hurts God's features and plan, for terrorists with their wickedness create the appearance before people that God Himself wants to murder and kill off people. They demonize God's personality before the people. On the other hand God wants to give life to this world and He wants all people to share in eternal life. In the Gospel Satan is said to be a murderer from the beginning. Terrorists present Satan as God before themselves and the people. No ideology that wants to enforce and realize some purposes by destruction of human beings can be brought into harmony with God. People use God's name unlawfully and illegally for such ideologies whether they are political or religious. They can not escape God's punishment, because one of the most serious outrages against the Almighty is when people pack their fierce and barbarous tempers and their wild ideas into God's name.
 
The degradation of God's name is a serious sin. Anybody who misuses God's name for corruption, swearing, murders, exploitation and injustice will not be held guiltless.
 

Doorstep between time and eternity

 
The fourth commandment is the law of the Sabbath:
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Ex. 20:8–11)
 
So this is the law of Saturday or Sabbath that is the feast of rest and peace. According to the sense of the original expression this is the day of resting from work and being in peace. It is a holiday. I would like to draw to your attention that in this commandment God speaks not only about the day of resting from work but He mentions further six days. You have to work and mobilize your will, thoughts, feelings and physical power through six days and on the seventh day you have to rest from it and make that day holy.
 
According to the Scriptures the seventh day is Saturday and not Sunday. I would like to emphasize that this commandment begins with the call: "Remember...". The expression refers to that the law of the Sabbath had already existed before the covenant was concluded with Israel. Thus the Sabbath was not established by the covenant with Israel, it is not only a Jewish feast, but it is a supporting-pillar of the visible world that was determined by God at the creation. It is written in the story of the creation:
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy... (Genesis 2:2–3a)
 
What does it mean that He blessed it? It means that God shares His possessions by the Sabbath. It means that there is only one day among the seven days that was touched by God in a supernatural way. People are engaged in their work and tasks in other words in things of this world through six days. But on the seventh day they come out from the control of material and ride over the visible world, into the presence of God. On Saturday you exist directly as God's image and a creature who was created in God's likeness. You do not work, have a rest and God blesses you also in such state as Psalm 127 shows it:
In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat - for he grants sleep to (or while they sleep he provides for) those he loves. (Psalm 127:2)
 
Blessing is not only a festive, for example a Christmas greeting. In the Bible when God blessed someone, He shared His possessions of heaven and earth with that person. Thus the Sabbath is a meeting point for people between the visible and invisible world.
 

The Sabbath is the doorstep of time and eternity. If you do on this day what God says, you can experience eternity in its temporality. It gives you much greater blessing then the goods that you get on other days by your work. Of course it does not mean that you should make all days of the week Saturday. According to the Bible you have to work through six days and on the seventh day you have to stop your activity so that you experience the internal content of being God's image on this day.
 
In connection with the Sabbath the second thing is that God sanctified it, in other words separated it from the other days. The Sabbath is not as profane as the other days. The 24 hours of the Sabbath are different and more then the 144 hours of the other days of the week. The Sabbath is invested with transference-ability by God. It means that it transfers all the blessings of God that can fill human necessities. The hours of the Sabbath are ordered for God's supernatural presence that transfers life to you.
 
On this day your life, power, health and abilities can be renewed. The most important aim of the law of Sabbath is life and Christ. Therefore the Nazarene said that
The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27) and the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. (Matthew 12:8)
Therefore the Sabbath had been ordered from the Creation under the rule of Christ, so that people who kept the laws of God concerning this day, could share in the blessings and grace of Christ also in the periods of the Old Testament.
 
The Sabbath is a feast ordered to the whole humanity - it transfers blessing to all people who keep the law of this day. In the New Testament the importance of the Sabbath changed - or rather was fulfilled -, because Christ put on human nature and body of flesh and blood and He brought the real aim of the Sabbath, the eternal life close to everybody. In the epistle to the Colossians Paul explained the Sabbath as the symbol of things to come. Its semantic content transfers and indicates supernatural reality: the Christ. He emphasizes because of the community with Christ that
therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ" ( Colossians 2:16-17). The New Testament did not repeal but fulfilled the supernatural sense and content of the Sabbath as the epistle to the Hebrews says: There remains, then, a Sabbath - rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:9-10)
You can read in the same chapter:
Now we who have believed enter that rest... (4:3a)
 
Thus the realization of the spiritual content of the Sabbath in the new Testament and the community with the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit give options to the believers concerning the formal keeping of the law of the Old Testament in connection with the Sabbath. This question was in the background of the conflict between Jesus of Nazareth and the Pharisees regarding the Sabbath. On the other hand the historic Christian conduct against the Sabbath has antijudaist roots: the change of the Sabbath for Sunday spread within the Christian world about the middle of the second century, as a result of the so called Barnabas letter. But this approach was founded on the theology of Israel's final exclusion from grace. According to the apocryphal letter God rejected not only Israel but the Sabbath, too. This false interpretation was supported with the book of Isaiah:
Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations - I cannot bear your evil assemblies... (Isaiah 1:13).
 
On the other hand the simple truth is that the prophet refused the way they celebrated the Sabbath and not the Sabbath itself. In the opinion of Paul the Sabbath can be held also in the New Testament:
He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord.
And then he continuous:
You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. (Rome 14:10)
 
Source: New Exodus