The Seven Commandments
Moral touchstones for all humanity
Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not.
One Father created us all. He Who lovingly grants us life and free will, and dominion over planet Earth, also blesses us with the gift of guiding law. Every person of every nation lives connected to the First Covenant and to its holy Author..
What is moral? What is righteous? This may sound confusing but it's actually quite simple. It's doing the opposite of what the Noahide Commandments forbid.
Here are the Seven Noahide Commandments - seven headings or "families" of "thou shalt not" prohibitions - with their legal and moral opposites:
- ("Murder") Not just avoiding murder (the deliberate and unjustified killing of human being) but affirmatively saving and protecting human life.
- ("Theft") Not just avoiding stealing; giving charitably, wisely.
- ("Anarchy") Not just preventing oppression and injustice; establishing, maintaining and constantly improving institutions of government and striving for freedom and fairness, democracy* and justice.
- ("Incest") Not just avoiding sexual immorality; creating an exemplary personal and family life, and helping others do the same.
- ("Torn limb") Not just refraining from inflicting unnecessary pain on animals - as though animals can't feel pain, as if, God forbid, life and the world weren't real - but ensuring their decent treatment, and eating, when one eats, in a manner befitting man and woman, "made in the image of God."
- ("Blasphemy") Not just avoiding sacrilege but positively, publically, honoring and sanctifying the One and Only God.
- ("Strange worship") Not just avoiding repulsive idolatry (in Hebrew, gilulim, "abominable idolatry") and oppressive, cruel and disgusting acts that would shame any "god" worth worshipping, but - by always striving to become more conscious and nearer, spiritually and morally, to Him - consciously honoring His Holy Name, positively vindicating the holiness of the One and Only God.
What's the difference between the Ten Commandents that were Revealed to the People of Israel through Moses at Mt. Sinai after the Exodus from Egypt, on the one hand, and the Universal Seven Laws?
The Ten Commandments and the specific laws - 613 separate laws, in the Five Books of Moses - include many ritual and symbolic laws that aren't necessarily "logical laws" that are clear to the human moral sense. God commands Israel but not all humanity to keep the Seventh Day Sabbath, for instance; God commands Israel but not all humanity to avoid taking His Name in vain; God commands Israel but not all humanity to outlaw all "coveting." It's very important to get this aspect of Biblical Law and Revelation correct: no "burden of the law" falls on non-Jews, who are obligated only by the Seven Commandments, but the Bible's moral laws and commandments are for the enlightenment, guidance, and spiritual elevation of absolutely everyone.
Commandment, in Hebrew, comes from the root "connection." By fulfilling a commandment, human beings connect with the Lord God Himself.
The Seven Commandments are all logical laws. They all follow logically from the Universal Revelation that God made us all "in the "Image of God." Scripture emphasizes this point several times (Genesis 1:26, 1:27, 5:1). That is, God put the whole human family on notice: every human being is sacred, an inviolable personality and not just a thing, animal or object.
The Seven Commandments - the entire human race's eternal precepts of morality and decency and spiritual guidance - follow, logically and chronologically. Life and the world are real, for instance: therefore, one should not cause animals unnecessary pain, and one should eat, not like an animal or monster, but like the elect of God's Creation.
The Bible points to the Seven Commandments in Genesis chapter 9, and its clearly significant seven declarations of the word "covenant."
These Seven laws are the common inheritance of all humanity, including the Jewish people. In fact, they direct us to every single "logical law" - laws and commandments appealing directly to the human moral sense, as apart from the Bible's many ritual and symbolic laws and statutes - in the Bible.
The Rabbis, Prophets and Sages of Israel have kept this Universal inheritance - this ancient treasure - alive. Now it's time to learn it, keep it, and acquire wisdom about the God Who made it - if the world can only rise above its ancient prejudices and hatred for the 'other' enough to profit from this enormous treasure trove of sacred Wisdom. We've spoken here about this Wisdom only in very general terms. There's considerably more to it! About the nature of work, for instance, and honesty in business; about birth control and abortion and cloning and so-called mercy killings; about conduct in war, and war crimes; about conduct in families, in marriage and parenthood.... There is so much here....
*Democratic self-rule is the only system of government based on the infinite sacredness of every human being - the only earthly creature capable of understanding and seeking freedom, justice, and truth. Even when government isn't democratic, we should still aspire to democracy.
For deeper insight, explore our website. And please read "by far the best book on the subject," Rainbow Covenant: Torah and the Seven Universal Laws. Learn more about this revolutionary, all-important movement, and how you can help.
And God spoke unto Noah, and to Noah's children
with him, saying, 'And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you, and with your seed after you.'
Genesis 9 : 8-9