Receiving The Ten Commandments





The receiving of the Ten Commandments by Moses, from the Lord, is

recorded in the following manner:



"In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone

forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into

the wilderness of Sinai, . . . and there Israel camped before

the Mount. . . .



"And it came to pass on the third day that there were thunders

and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the Mount, and the

voice of the tempest exceedingly loud, so that all the people

that was in the camp trembled. . . .



"And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord

descended upon it in fire, and the smoke thereof ascended as

the smoke of a furnace, and the whole Mount quaked greatly.

And when the voice of the tempest sounded long, and waxed

louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a

voice.



"And the Lord came down upon the Mount, and called Moses up

to the top of the Mount, and Moses went up."[58:1]



The Lord there communed with him, and "he gave unto Moses . . . . two

tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of

God."[58:2]



When Moses came down from off the Mount, he found the children of Israel

dancing around a golden calf, which his brother Aaron had made, and, as

his "anger waxed hot," he cast the tables of stone on the ground, and

broke them.[58:3] Moses again saw the Lord on the Mount, however, and

received two more tables of stone.[58:4] When he came down this time

from off Mount Sinai, "the skin of his face did shine."[58:5]



These two tables of stone contained the Ten Commandments,[59:1] so it

is said, which the Jews and Christians of the present day are supposed

to take for their standard.



They are, in substance, as follows:



1--To have no other God but Jehovah.

2--To make no image for purpose of worship.

3--Not to take Jehovah's name in vain.

4--Not to work on the Sabbath-day.

5--To honor their parents.

6--Not to kill.

7--Not to commit adultery.

8--Not to steal.

9--Not to bear false witness against a neighbor.

10--Not to covet.[59:2]



We have already seen, in the last chapter, that Bacchus was called the

"Law-giver," and that his laws were written on two tables of

stone.[59:3] This feature in the Hebrew legend was evidently copied

from that related of Bacchus, but, the idea of his (Moses) receiving the

commandments from the Lord on a mountain was obviously taken from the

Persian legend related of Zoroaster.



Prof. Max Mueller says:



"What applies to the religion of Moses applies to that of

Zoroaster. It is placed before us as a complete system from

the first, revealed by Ahuramazda (Ormuzd), proclaimed by

Zoroaster."[59:4]



The disciples of Zoroaster, in their profusion of legends of the master,

relate that one day, as he prayed on a high mountain, in the midst of

thunders and lightnings ("fire from heaven"), the Lord himself appeared

before him, and delivered unto him the "Book of the Law." While the King

of Persia and the people were assembled together, Zoroaster came down

from the mountain unharmed, bringing with him the "Book of the Law,"

which had been revealed to him by Ormuzd. They call this book the

Zend-Avesta, which signifies the Living Word.[59:5]



According to the religion of the Cretans, Minos, their law-giver,

ascended a mountain (Mount Dicta) and there received from the Supreme

Lord (Zeus) the sacred laws which he brought down with him.[60:1]



Almost all nations of antiquity have legends of their holy men ascending

a mountain to ask counsel of the gods, such places being invested with

peculiar sanctity, and deemed nearer to the deities than other portions

of the earth.[60:2]



According to Egyptian belief, it is Thoth, the Deity itself, that speaks

and reveals to his elect among men the will of God and the arcana of

divine things. Portions of them are expressly stated to have been

written by the very finger of Thoth himself; to have been the work and

composition of the great god.[60:3]



Diodorus, the Grecian historian, says:



The idea promulgated by the ancient Egyptians that their laws were

received direct from the Most High God, has been adopted with success

by many other law-givers, who have thus insured respect for their

institutions.[60:4]



The Supreme God of the ancient Mexicans was Tezcatlipoca. He occupied

a position corresponding to the Jehovah of the Jews, the Brahma of

India, the Zeus of the Greeks, and the Odin of the Scandinavians. His

name is compounded of Tezcatepec, the name of a mountain (upon which

he is said to have manifested himself to man) tlil, dark, and poca,

smoke. The explanation of this designation is given in the Codex

Vaticanus, as follows:



Tezcatlipoca was one of their most potent deities; they say he once

appeared on the top of a mountain. They paid him great reverence and

adoration, and addressed him, in their prayers, as "Lord, whose servant

we are." No man ever saw his face, for he appeared only "as a shade."

Indeed, the Mexican idea of the godhead was similar to that of the Jews.

Like Jehovah, Tezcatlipoca dwelt in the "midst of thick darkness." When

he descended upon the mount of Tezcatepec, darkness overshadowed the

earth, while fire and water, in mingled streams, flowed from beneath his

feet, from its summit.[61:1]



Thus, we see that other nations, beside the Hebrews, believed that their

laws were actually received from God, that they had legends to that

effect, and that a mountain figures conspicuously in the stories.



Professor Oort, speaking on this subject, says:



"No one who has any knowledge of antiquity will be surprised

at this, for similar beliefs were very common. All peoples who

had issued from a life of barbarism and acquired regular

political institutions, more or less elaborate laws, and

established worship, and maxims of morality, attributed all

this--their birth as a nation, so to speak--to one or more

great men, all of whom, without exception, were supposed to

have received their knowledge from some deity.



"Whence did Zoroaster, the prophet of the Persians, derive his

religion? According to the beliefs of his followers, and the

doctrines of their sacred writings, it was from Ahuramazda,

the God of light. Why did the Egyptians represent the god

Thoth with a writing tablet and a pencil in his hand, and

honor him especially as the god of the priests? Because he was

'the Lord of the divine Word,' the foundation of all wisdom,

from whose inspiration the priests, who were the scholars, the

lawyers, and the religious teachers of the people, derived all

their wisdom. Was not Minos, the law-giver of the Cretans, the

friend of Zeus, the highest of the gods? Nay, was he not even

his son, and did he not ascend to the sacred cave on Mount

Dicte to bring down the laws which his god had placed there

for him? From whom did the Spartan law-giver, Lycurgus,

himself say that he had obtained his laws? From no other than

the god Apollo. The Roman legend, too, in honoring Numa

Pompilius as the people's instructor, at the same time

ascribed all his wisdom to his intercourse with the nymph

Egeria. It was the same elsewhere; and to make one more

example,--this from later times--Mohammed not only believed

himself to have been called immediately by God to be the

prophet of the Arabs, but declared that he had received every

page of the Koran from the hand of the angel Gabriel."[61:2]





FOOTNOTES:



[58:1] Exodus xix.



[58:2] Exodus xxxi. 18.



[58:3] Exodus xxii. 19.



[58:4] Exodus xxxiv.



[58:5] Ibid.



It was a common belief among ancient Pagan nations that the gods

appeared and conversed with men. As an illustration we may cite the

following, related by Herodotus, the Grecian historian, who, in

speaking of Egypt and the Egyptians, says: "There is a large city called

Chemmis, situated in the Thebaic district, near Neapolis, in which is a

quadrangular temple dedicated to (the god) Perseus, son of (the Virgin)

Danae; palm-trees grow round it, and the portico is of stone, very

spacious, and over it are placed two large stone statues. In this

inclosure is a temple, and in it is placed a statue of Perseus. The

Chemmitae (or inhabitants of Chemmis), affirm that Perseus has

frequently appeared to them on earth, and frequently within the

temple." (Herodotus, bk. ii. ch. 91.)



[59:1] Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, had TEN commandments. 1. Not

to kill. 2. Not to steal. 3. To be chaste. 4 Not to bear false witness.

5. Not to lie. 6. Not to swear. 7. To avoid impure words. 8. To be

disinterested. 9. Not to avenge one's-self. 10. Not to be superstitious.

(See Huc's Travels, p. 328, vol. i.)



[59:2] Exodus xx. Dr. Oort says: "The original ten commandments probably

ran as follows: I Yahwah am your God. Worship no other gods beside me.

Make no image of a god. Commit no perjury. Remember to keep holy the

Sabbath day. Honor your father and your mother. Commit no murder. Break

not the marriage vow. Steal not. Bear no false witness. Covet not."

(Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 18.)



[59:3] Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 122. Higgins, vol. ii. p. 19. Cox:

Aryan Mytho. vol. ii. p. 295.



[59:4] Mueller: Origin of Religion, p. 130.



[59:5] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. pp. 257, 258. This book, the

Zend-Avesta, is similar, in many respects, to the Vedas of the

Hindoos. This has led many to believe that Zoroaster was a Brahman;

among these are Rawlinson (See Inman's Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 831)

and Thomas Maurice. (See Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 219.)



The Persians themselves had a tradition that he came from some country

to the East of them. That he was a foreigner is indicated by a passage

in the Zend-Avesta which represents Ormuzd as saying to him: "Thou, O

Zoroaster, by the promulgation of my law, shalt restore to me my former

glory, which was pure light. Up! haste thee to the land of Iran, which

thirsteth after the law, and say, thus said Ormuzd, &c." (See Prog.

Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 263.)



[60:1] The Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 301.



[60:2] "The deities of the Hindoo Pantheon dwell on the sacred Mount

Meru; the gods of Persia ruled from Albordj; the Greek Jove thundered

from Olympus, and the Scandinavian gods made Asgard awful with their

presence. . . . Profane history is full of examples attesting the

attachment to high places for purpose of sacrifice." (Squire: Serpent

Symbols, p. 78.)



"The offerings of the Chinese to the deities were generally on the

summits of high mountains, as they seemed to them to be nearer heaven,

to the majesty of which they were to be offered." (Christmas's Mytho. p.

250, in Ibid.) "In the infancy of civilization, high places were chosen

by the people to offer sacrifices to the gods. The first altars, the

first temples, were erected on mountains." (Humboldt: American

Researches.) The Himalayas are the "Heavenly mountains." In Sanscrit

Himala, corresponding to the M. Gothic, Himins; Alem., Himil;

Ger., Swed., and Dan., Himmel; Old Norse, Himin; Dutch, Hemel;

Ang.-Sax., Heofon; Eng., Heaven. (See Mallet's Northern Antiquities,

p. 42.)



[60:3] Bunsen's Egypt, quoted in Isis Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 367. Mrs.

Child says: "The laws of Egypt were handed down from the earliest

times, and regarded with the utmost veneration as a portion of religion.

Their first legislator represented them as dictated by the gods

themselves and framed expressly for the benefit of mankind by their

secretary Thoth." (Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 173.)



[60:4] Quoted in Ibid.



[61:1] See Squire's Serpent Symbol, p. 175.



[61:2] Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 301.





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