Vol. 8, No. 4
Since You Asked
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Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.
My co-workers and I were discussing the 10 commandments and I said that there are, I believe 605 commandments and that they equal the number of days in the year, the number of bones in the human body and the number of teeth in our mouths. Am I correct? And are they listed in the Bible?
"Following the return from Babylon, the development of the synagogue gave rise to interpretations of the law by leading rabbis, which after a time were collected into 613 precepts. Considered part of the Torah ["the body of wisdom and law contained in Jewish Scripture and other sacred literature and oral tradition" (Merriam)], they were as binding as the law itself. Jesus referred to these additions to the original law of Moses as 'the traditions of men'" ("Torah"). "The Talmud ["the authoritative body of Jewish tradition" (Merriam)] reckoned the positive laws of Moses at 248, the negative at 365, in all 613" (Johnson). One Internet site lists the 613 Jewish commandments ("613 Commandments"). The Jews imagined that there was a relationship between the number of these commandments and the number of body parts; "They also mention 248 affirmative precepts, or in all 613, according to the supposed number of members in the human body" (Edersheim).
The complete set of adult teeth number 32 ("Truth About"), and "the adult human body has 206" bones ("Big Story"). There are 365 days in a year. None of these numbers are mystical numbers in any combination respecting the Old Testament laws of God under Judaism. Likewise, any coincidence respecting the supposed numbers of laws in the Jewish Old Testament, oral traditions and commentaries corresponding to some method of numbering body parts is happenstance.
The Ten Commandments (literally "ten words") were so named by God (Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 4:13; 10:4) and given by God to the Israelite nation on Mount Sinai at the initiation of Judaism (Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 5). Jesus and the apostle Paul concurred that they were essentially commandments (Matthew 15:3; 19:17; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 6:2). "The Ten Commandments form the heart of the special COVENANT between God and His people" ("Commandments, Ten"). So, the Ten Commandments were not all the divine instructions for the Israelite nation, as evidenced by the balance of the Old Testament.
The Old Testament, including the Ten Commandments, have been superceded by the New Testament. Nine of the Ten Commandments appear as part of the New Testament as well; only keeping the Sabbath (seventh day) has not been re-instituted in the New Testament. Under Christianity, the first day of the week is the special religious day of the week (Matthew 28:1-2; Acts 2:1; 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
Not the Ten Commandments, 613 precepts, the Old Testament in general or the New Testament (Gospel) as inanimate objects have any significance in some sort of a mystical way. For people living today, obeying that form of doctrine, which is the Gospel or New Testament, has significance, resulting in salvation. "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (Romans 6:17-18).
"613 Commandments." Jewish Literacy. 17 Apr. 2006 <http://www.aish.com/literacy/mitzvahs/The_613_Commandments.asp>.
"Big Story on Bones, The." Kidshealth. 17 Apr. 2006 <http://kidshealth.org/kid/body/bones_noSW.html>.
Edersheim, Alfred. Temple, The: Its Ministry and Services. CD-ROM. Escondido: Ephesians Four Group, n.d.
Johnson, B.W. People's New Testament, The. St. Louis: Christian Publishing, 1891. CD-ROM. Austin: Wordsearch, 2004.
Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. CD-ROM. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1993.
"Commandments, Ten." Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Nashville: Nelson 1986.
"Torah." Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Nashville: Nelson, 1986.
"Truth About Teeth, The." Kidshealth. 17 Apr. 2006 <http://kidshealth.org/kid/body/teeth_noSW.html>.
Dear Mr. Rushmore, I have read your December 2005 article on "Why do churches of Christ not fellowship denominations?" I notice that it does not directly deal with a Christian's association with members of denominations. I would be most grateful if you could provide Bible answers for the following questions: I participate in Bible classes organized by members of the denominations at their homes. We pray on our own before and after the lessons. Have I violated scripture? My neighbor is a member of a denomination. Can I greet her and have conversations with her? My neighbor is a member of a denomination. We are good neighbors. We participate in some social activities like visiting each other's house and have dinner together and participate in our children's activities. Have I violated scripture? My colleague is a member of a denomination. We work together on projects. We often have lunch together. Have I violated Scripture? I buy spiritual books from denomination bookshops. Am I supporting their businesses and partake in their spreading of false teaching? I look forward to hearing from you. Rgds, John Chan
There exists in Scripture a clear distinction between religious fellowship enjoyed between faithful Christians and God versus association with non-Christians in this world. First John 1:3 represents religious fellowship between faithful Christians and God: "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." First Corinthians 5:9-10 acknowledge the necessity of experiencing some degree of interaction with non-Christians: "I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world." However, Scripture also cautions that this association with non-Christians (or erring Christians) must be self-monitored lest an ungodly influence by our associates tempts us to or actually does lead us to commit sin:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
Obviously from what you have written and the Scriptures cited, you have not necessarily committed sin by either your normal associations with non-Christians or efforts to study the Bible with them. God did not intend for Christians to form communes to exclude interaction with the rest of the world (Mark 16:15-16). Jesus prayed:
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. (John 17:15-18)
Only you can ascertain whether your association with non-Christians is sinful, by evaluating whether the religious distinction between yourself as a Christian and non-Christians has been compromised. We are, though, supposed to have a preference for brethren (Romans 12:10; Hebrews 13:1; 1 Peter 2:17).
Bro Rushmore, In my daily bible reading and reading what others have written regarding who went to the promised land, I have some questions. Who went to the promised land along with Joshua and Caleb and those under the age of 20? Did all the women 20 years old and above die? Deut 2:14-16 seems to indicate that the women did not die since verse 16 says, "So when all the men of war had died from among the people," What about the tribe of Levi, were they exempt from this destruction? No one from the tribe of Levi was sent to spy out the land according to Numbers 14. According to Num. 1:45-54, the tribe of Levi was not numbered when the census was taken. This is also stated in Num. 34:16-29, Num. 26:63-65, and Josh. 14:1-5. Any help you can give me to clear up my cobwebs would be most appreciated! Because of Him, Marilyn
Whereas Numbers 14:29, 31; 26:2; Deuteronomy 2:16 refer to the men of war in the age group of 20 years and above, Deuteronomy 2:14 refers to "all the generation of the men of war"; Hebrews 3:10 also notes "that generation" was forbidden to enter Canaan. The punishment of God toward that generation was not exclusively toward "men of war," but toward each person 20-years-old and older who "murmured" against God (Numbers 14:29); Jude 5 acknowledges God's punishment was toward "them that believed not," without specification of male, fighting men only.
Often in the Bible, families or other groups of people are referred to by citing the male representatives of the group. For instance, Eve sinned, after which Adam sinned, in the Garden of Eden. Yet, sin entering the world is attributed to Adam (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22). Likewise, women and priests in the 40 years of wilderness wandering (namely, upon the return of the spies) were neither exempt from the possibility of murmuring against God nor exempt from God's corresponding punishment.