Help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121)
Seven general principles, going all the way back to mankind's very beginnings: here is God's Way for all of us. The marvelous flexibility, universal applicability, and the ultimate righteousness of the Law itself proclaim its more-than-human origin.
I establish My covenant with you, and with your seed after you. . . forever. Genesis 9
What are the Seven? The Way of God: the Biblical Tradition for everyone.
He has shown you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God. - Micah 6:8
Of all the nations, only the people of Israel kept the First Covenant Tradition intact. The First Covenant constitutes part of the larger Biblical Tradition: it's part of the same cause. The two traditions - the First Covenant, on the one hand, and the Covenant between God and the people of Israel at Sinai, on the other hand - fit into each other: both teach us about the other, both are infinite, both bring us closer to God.
Learn the Seven in outline, then explore them in detail. The rainbow symbolizes the Bible's universal aspects. The universal perspective adds tremendous depth and clarity to our understanding of the sacred - of what the Bible really teaches. It adds a whole dimension.
Learning the First Covenant takes us into the Bible; learning from the Bible takes us into the First Covenant. By looking at both together, we get to see both in depth. It's like looking at something with two eyes instead of just one!
Each of the Seven, as Rainbow Covenant shows, can be stated as a general "thou shall not" prohibition, as follows:
- Against eating any part of a sentient (self-aware) being while it's still alive. God cares about us, His stewards over the Earth, and about the animals that we eat - who are also His creatures. Our conduct on earth, not just piety, matters.
And God said to Adam, Behold My works! See how beautiful and commendable they are. All that I created, for your sake I created it. Pay heed that you do not corrupt and desolate My world, for there is no one to repair it after you. (Ancient Hebrew Torah commentary, Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:28)
- Against theft, rape, larceny, or cheating in worldly matters.
- Against grossly misdirected sexuality: adultery, incest, bestiality, and male-on-male sexuality (For more on this, see Rainbow Covenant).
- Against murder and suicide and abortion - that is, according to Sinai's Ten Commandments' Teachings, the abortion of any human fetus, beyond the first 40 days after conception, unless absolutely necessary to save the mother.
If it comes to a choice between saving the mother or saving the unborn fetus, saving the mother comes first. Concerning the 40 days, science now supports the ancient Law: a nervous system develops and gender becomes settled only at 40 days, or at the start of the sixth week following conception.
- Against anarchy, or the oppression of the weak by the strong - requiring a fair, effective system of justice and police. (A nation's men, more than its women, have collective responsibility for upholding this civic principle.)
- Against sacrilege, blasphemy, and defamation of the sacred.
- Against "strange worship" - often translated as idolatry, really a prohibition against blasphemous "worship," steeped in cruelty, immorality and bloodlust (including suicide bombing "for Allah").
Seven touchstone principles, these commandments apply to everyone. Every nation, state or social group which doesn't uphold them - which tolerates open transgressions of these principles - invites its own destruction.
A technical point: In case of question, every society must determine details of the Seven, such as penalties and matters of enforcement, for itself. But every society needs to enforce these Teachings on some level. Homosexuality, for instance, can be treated as lightly as a minor traffic violation, but it can't be allowed to become perfectly acceptable - it can't be allowed to go mainstream. See Leviticus 18 and Rainbow Covenant: Torah and the Seven Universal Laws.
By learning what displeases God, we learn what pleases Him. The Seven show us the true nature of God. Just by glancing at them, we see, for instance, that God cares about how we treat our fellow creatures, animals subservient to man. We also see that God cares about such a supposedly insignificant matter as what we eat!
As Rainbow Covenant shows, the Seven teach us God's Way; they teach us how He wants us to truly serve Him.
Goodness requires more than merely avoiding criminal transgressions of God's most basic moral principles. By doing the opposite of what the Seven forbid - by giving charity, rather than merely refraining from stealing, for instance; by saving human life, instead of merely refraining from murder; etc. - we fulfill our holy destiny.
By keeping the Seven in all their details we can rise above the angels.
To find out where and how the Ten Commandments fit together with the Seven, go to The Ten Commandments.
About that quote from Micah, above: He has shown you, O man, what is good. From Rainbow Covenant: To do justice. Literally, lawfulness, rightness, the square and decent thing. To love goodness: loving-kindness, the spirit of mercy translated into deeds. To walk humbly: personal purity, dignity, and modesty. Page 311.