And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 12:17 KJV
Years ago, I was having Bible studies with a Protestant family who believed the Ten Commandments were abolished in the New Testament. One evening, their Protestant pastor came to our Bible study. I showed them that God’s people will still be keeping the commandments in the last days. The pastor told me that the commandments in Revelation 12:17 are not the Ten Commandments. I asked him what commandments they were then. He told me, “I don’t know, but they are not the Ten Commandments. Those were done away with.” I believe the Bible will not leave us to guess what the law and commandments are in the New Testament. I believe the New Testament will tell us what commandments the New Testament is talking about. Let’s take a look at the New Testament and let the Bible explain itself.
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matthew 19:16-19 KJV
When asked point-blank which commandments He was talking about, Jesus referred to the Ten Commandments. Yes, Jesus says this before the cross, but does He give any indication they will be done away with? As a matter of fact, earlier Jesus said,
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:17-18 KJV
Of course I am sure that, like me, you have heard people try to say that once Jesus fulfilled the commandments, He then abolished them. But if that were the case, then it would make no sense to say “not to destroy, but to fulfill.” Does fulfill mean to eventually destroy or abolish? Let’s see how Jesus uses the world fulfill. When Jesus went to be baptized, John the Baptist was hesitant at first, until Jesus told him,
Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. Matthew 3:15 KJV
After Jesus fulfilled the rite of baptism, did He then abolish baptism? Of course not. He told the disciples right before his accension to go and baptize. Fulfill does not mean to abolish. Fulfill means to continue. Now, I have also heard people tell me that the law was only valid till everything was fulfilled. Again we just talked about the word “fulfill,” but let’s also see how the word “till” is used in the Bible. Paul tells Timothy,
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:13 KJV
Now Paul only said, “Till I come.” Does that mean that Paul wanted Timothy to stop attending to doctrine after he came? Of course not! When you tell some one, “I’m on my way to help! Hang on till I get there!” You don’t mean for them to give up when you arrive. In the same way, Paul did not mean for Timothy to stop attending to doctrine when he arrived. Likewise, Jesus did not mean for everyone to stop keeping the law of Ten Commandments once everything was fulfilled. Again, fulfill does not mean to abolish. It means to continue to carry out.
Let’s keep looking at the commandments in the New Testament.
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. Romans 7:7 KJV
Paul is speaking about his life after the cross when he says he knows sin by the law, and then quotes the tenth commandment. Did Paul ever say the law was was abolished or made void?
Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. Romans 3:31 KJV
Does Paul talk about the Ten Commandments elsewhere in the New Testament?
For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:9-10 KJV
Again, Paul is referring to the Ten Commandments in the New Testament. Some say that the commandment to love each other replaces the Ten Commandments, but Paul tells us that loving our neighbor fulfills, or continues to carry out, the Ten Commandments. This will also help us to understand in a moment what James means by saying that when we break one commandment we have broken them all. The principle of every commandment is consideration for others. Whenever we put self first, it does not matter which commandment we broke. If we break one commandment, we break the principle of the entire law. Before we go to James, let’s take a look at the how Paul refers to the Ten Commandments in Ephesians.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. Ephesians 6:1-3 KJV
Paul is telling us in the New Testament that there is a promise for us by keeping the 5th commandment. If the promise is still valid, the commandments must still be valid. Paul writes as though the Ten Commandments are very much still in effect. Sure, in Galatians 2:16 Paul tells us we can’t be justified by the law, but the same was true in the Old Testament. No one in the Old or New Testament was ever saved by the law. In both Old and New Testaments we are saved by grace, and in both Old and New Testaments we have the Ten Commandments. Now let’s go to James.
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. James 2:10-12 KJV
Here in the New Testament, James is clearly referring to the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20 as the commandments. He also refers to them in the present tense, meaning that, if we break one today, we are breaking all of them today. He also explains we will be judged by them! So we see when Jesus, Paul and James refer to the commandments in the New Testament, they are referring to the Ten Commandments. So we understand that the commandments God’s remnant people will be keeping, in the last days, are the Ten Commandments.
God’s remnant people will be keeping His Ten Commandments, not in order to be saved. In both Old and New Testaments we are saved by grace. God’s people will be keeping the Ten Commandments because they love Jesus. And they will not be keeping them in their own power. The Holy Spirit will be helping us keep the commandments out of love. We can’t keep the law to be saved, but we can keep the law with the Holy Spirit’s help because we love Jesus.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17 NKJVYou may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here,