From the title you might think I am glossing over or neglecting the other eight Commandments, but that is in no way intended. Sadly, the other eight Commandments have long been ignored and disobeyed, particularly the first one –“I am the Lord your God….you shall have no other gods before me.” The reason the focus of this sermon is on the 9th and 10th Commandments is because in terms of the so-called reset initiative, those two Commandments are particularly vulnerable given the insidiousness of the architects of the “reset.”
At the outset, let’s be clear on what those Commandments are so we can appreciate why they are under siege: The 9th Commandment forbids the giving of false testimony against your neighbour. The 10th forbids the coveting of your neighbour’s wife, property and possessions.
Outwardly, they appear straightforward and unlikely to be difficult to uphold. Yet that is precisely why they are being targeted by the “reset” promoters as the final nails in the coffin of God’s laws.
When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments he was emphatic about the need for men to be conscious of them. This is how he put it: Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates (Deut. 6:7-9).
From Genesis to Revelations, there are 363 direct references to the Commandments. Repeated calls are made to “keep the statutes.” God issued dire warnings through his prophets such as this one from Jeremiah: “I will repay them double for their wickedness and their sin because they have defiled my land…” (Jer 16: 18) So, how is the 9th Commandment under siege? Through communication, falsehood and its progeny – hatred and violence -are being propagated.
A recurrent theme of God’s ministry to mankind is that of mass communication. Terms such as ‘company,’ ‘multitude,’ ‘assembly, ‘gathered,’ and ‘fellowship’ appear over 700 times in the Bible. Heralding God’s commands or voice were the sounds of trumpet blasts – which occur on just over 100 occasions in the Old Testament. Trumpet blasts were bold like the message they heralded. Although there is much that we ought to be emulating from Biblical times in terms of communication, regrettably that is not the case.
Of course the absence of mass communication technology meant that messages and instructions could only be delivered and conveyed by means of gatherings and assemblies – at least until the invention of the printing press 500 years ago. Moses presented the Ten Commandments to an assembly of “all Israel” [Deut 5: 1- 22]. Many of Jesus’s teachings were to assembled multitudes. Following their infusion with the Holy Spirit, the apostles appeared before large crowds of people to launch the Christian mission.
So, we see how mass communication took place in those times. But what was the message? Apart from the obvious, it was to make people aware of the 9th commandment. Isaiah in chapter 62, verse 1, says: “For Zion’s sake, I will not keep silent; for Jerusalem’s sake, I will not remain quiet till her righteousness shines out like the dawn.” In other words, proclaim, speak out, uphold God’s message. Defend truth.
In preaching the Beatitudes Jesus said: “People do not light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men…” [Mt 5: 14-16].Jesus associated light with the proclamation of God’s word, the exposure of falsehood and upholding the 9th Commandment.
Jesus was outspoken and critical of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees of his time. He did not mute his condemnation of their double standards. He exhorts us to stand up and speak out against injustices, deceit and betrayal. In other words, he expects us to defend the 9th Commandment.
Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians all wrestled with the attack on the 9th commandment. At the time the early church was threatened by heresy and falsehood. We should spare a thought for Paul’s frustrations in being able to counter those challenges. The slowness and difficulty of travelling and his later imprisonment in Rome did not deter him from using the only means at his disposal to dispense enlightenment and to counter falsehood – his timeless, God-inspired letters.
How more fortunate are we today with worldwide communication available on smartphones and computers. Never before has communication been so universal, instantaneous, accessible, portable, and affordable. Yet the downsides of that reality are pervasive and threatening. The 9th Commandment is under siege as falsehood flourishes while the sense of community has become fractured, insulated and isolated. The great casualty of the era of mass communication is the retreat of actual, physical, personal fellowship now amplified by the term “social distancing.”
Of course isolation and insulation from the wider world can be justified by a desire for self-preservation given the risk of exposure to crime, violence and disease. But as Christians we are expected to witness for Christ. Social distance may be obligatory under present circumstances but it does not justify withdrawal and exile. Every period in history has been subjected to change, confrontation and conflict. Every generation has been vexed by changing circumstances. But whereas past situations were regional, what we face today has a macro and a micro impact. Today there is no place to hide or to seclude oneself from the realities that prevail.
The very facilities we praise for enabling mass communication are the same ones that are besieging the 9th Commandment by being harnessed to propagate falsehood, inflame passions, cause polarisation, sow division and hatred, censor and vilify God’s teaching and commandments.
Let’s scrutinise how that is occurring. On January 7, 2021, the New York Times called for tightening of censorship of the internet. By that it did not mean the exclusion of profanity, pornography and perversion. No. It meant restricting voices projecting conservatism, nationalism and time-honoured moral values. Instead it wants the “reset” voice of socialist globalism to dominate. I will examine that under discussion of the 10th Commandment. On January 12, the EU urged the US to come into line with it in censoring free speech on the internet.
On January 8, Twitter cancelled President Trump’s account, falsely claiming that he caused the riot in Washington DC on January 6. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, stated on January 15: “We are focused on one account, but this is going to be much bigger, it is going to go on for much longer.” Trump, with over 80 million Twitter followers, represents the most significant opposition to globalism. Parler, another social media network, has had its platform removed by amazon because amazon opposes the conservative content of speech aired on Parler.
On January 18, CNN which is owned by Warner Bros, announced that it wants Newsmax.Com de-platformed. Newsmax is a conservative, Christian cable network which relies on Big Tech for transmission. In recent months Newsmax has become America’s 4th largest cable news network while CNN and Fox have been losing viewers.
Besides the policy of mainstream media to marginalise those who differ from its globalist message, there are individuals whose voices are being carried by the mainstream media which urge actions that are standard in communist countries and should be alien to the USA.
Michael Beller, former principal counsel of the US Public Broadcast Service, on January 13, said that the children of Republican supporters of Trump should be taken away and subjected to “re-education.” His view was echoed by TV actress and personality, Katie Couric, who on January 20 demanded that all those aligned with what she called the “Trump cult,” should be “de-programmed” so as to fall in line with globalist, new world order thinking - the new narrative, as it is called. One should also be aware of the voices of many so-called Hollywood celebs, like Bette Midler, Amy Schumer, Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep whose toxic remarks in recent months leave no doubt as to their support for the “reset.”
From February 8, all conversations on Whatsapp will be accessible through Facebook even if one is not a Facebook account holder. That means Facebook will be able to chart a profile of a Whatsapp user. As a result many Whatsapp users are migrating to Signal and Telegram to reduce exposure to Big Brother intrusion on their right to free speech and privacy.
What needs to be recognised here is that the actions of Big Tech – Twitter, amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, Youtube – constitute the frontline of the assault on the 9th Commandment. Insidiously and deceptively they are intent on censoring views that differ from their agenda and to condition minds into accepting the “reset” agenda. In terms of the rights of Americans, it amounts to an assault on the First Amendment of the US Constitution – the right to freedom of speech and religious freedom.
The extent to which Big Tech can profile individuals is evident from a proposal now being considered by the IMF. It is called a “credit score” profile and can be compiled from non-financial data accessed through Google. That is done by simply tracking a person’s net surfing history and postings. From that a profile of political, religious and social thinking would emerge which would indicate to what extent that person diverged from the globalist narrative. Based on that information, that person’s eligibility for employment or promotion in state or corporate structures would be determined.
From all this it is clear that the assault on the 9th Commandment is getting into top gear. For a system that has de-platformed God and banished him from public life, it is not surprising. After all, only God can provide freedom if we adhere to his laws. “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” The relevance and truth of that statement by Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians (3:17) cannot be overstated because it explains exactly why there is so much strife, division and evil in the world today.
Turning now to the 10th Commandment, Churchill’s view of socialism as the “gospel of envy” is very accurate. Proponents of socialism always attack those in society who have material abundance. They claim to be the voice of the “have nots” and demand that wealth be redistributed so as to uplift those less fortunate. Socialism, therefore, essentially covets what others have achieved or earned and seeks to dispossess them of it.
Implicit in the 10th Commandment is recognition of inequality, that some people will have more goods or possessions than others. Jesus’s parable of the talents acknowledged inequality. Implicit in the 10th Commandment is that that situation must be respected. It must not be coveted. In other words, we must make our way in life by means of the talents God gave us and not expect or attempt to take from others what we have neither earned nor deserved. Abraham Lincoln said that one cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
Ronald Reagan saw welfare as the provision of a safety net to enable those who have fallen in hard times to regain their dignity and wellbeing. He did not see welfare as a permanent fixture in a person’s life. By contrast, socialism promotes increasing dependence on state welfare by discouraging personal enterprise and initiative.
The application of socialist policies requires state interference in commerce and everyday life. Free enterprise is progressively hobbled through taxation and excessive regulation. Such policies create unemployment and deter economic growth. Consequently, more people come to rely on state welfare. This is blatantly apparent in South Africa. It was also very obvious in the US when Trump removed 25,000 pages of constricting commerce regulations and thereby liberated the US economy to grow at an astounding 4% rate when under Obama , who had added 16,000 pages of stifling regulations, it barely managed a 1,9% growth rate.
Equality is the buzz word of socialists and those who fail to understand the 10th commandment. That is not to deny equality before the law. But to legislate equality as liberals and socialists advocate, is foolish because equal outcomes cannot be legislated. The diversity of human nature ensures that. Standardisation can be achieved only to a limited degree. That is why all socialist states are socially dysfunctional having broken family life and imposed state norms in place of God’s laws. They are also are very unequal because they keep the masses mired in mediocrity, poverty and state dependence while the ruling elite enjoy exclusive lifestyles. The current rulers South Africa are a worthy example.
Essentially, the architects of the so-called reset initiative aim to “re-invent capitalism,” a phase Biden uses, “building a new social contract,” as the World Economic Forum calls it. That is the jargon for the assault on the 10th Commandment. It involves establishing a social order similar to that of China where capitalism is state controlled, where political connectivity provides for elitist and exclusive lifestyles while the masses toil in sweatshops and are subjected to standardisation in all aspects of life. China is a state which persecutes religion, punishes dissent and freedom of expression and in which the Communist party is the arbiter and giver of life. In short, it is a Godless tyranny.
The building blocks of the new world order are already in place. Besides China’s massive political influence in Asia, it has established a pervasive economic stranglehold worldwide. The EU is another geopolitical piece of the reset while Big Tech not only connects everything but seeks to become the sole arbiter of free speech and the purveyor of acceptable opinion. The reason Trump is hated by the reset gang because he defies their Tower of Babel globalism and upholds American sovereignty, economic independence and traditional values. Trump’s strong support among Christians should leave no doubt as to the merit of his stand.
Briefly, therefore, the assault on the 9th and 10th Commandments is to subvert truth and God’s laws – “cancel culture,” as the revolutionary shock troops proclaim. Having “re-educated” and “de-programmed” opponents, as the radicals intend, the reset envisages a world not of nations but of loose hemispheres presided over by the ideology of socialism which of course is one stage removed from communism.
Covid-19, it would seem, has been deliberately inflicted in order to hasten the assault on the 9th and 10th Commandments where we see politicians undemocratically aggrandising powers and assuming total control over our lives. Significantly, the regulations they have imposed have effectively shut churches while keeping casinos, gambling dens, health gyms and shops open. Uncertainty and conflicting views over how to treat the pandemic, personal impoverishment and the increasing Covid death rate appear to be facilitating the onset of the reset.
As Christians we are being intimidated into silence. The persecution and prosecution of Donald Trump is an example of the extent to which the architects of the reset will go to silence and destroy those who oppose them. Trump resisted the assault on the 9th and 10th Commandments. The Book of Revelation exhorts us to stand firm against the forces of darkness and to have “patient endurance” because, as Hebrews tells us, “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (11:1).
We are indeed living in what the prophet Daniel termed “times of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations” (12:1). It is a time to do what Paul urged the Corinthians to do: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves” (2:13:5) He amplified that exhortation in the concluding lines of his letter to the Ephesians [6:11-18]:
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world….Therefore put on the full armor of God….stand firm then with the belt of truth, buckled around your waist, with your breastplate of righteousness in place…..In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith….take up the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.
---------© Duncan Du Bois, January 2021