The Decalogue — those ten commandments delivered by Moses from God on Mount Sinai — form the core of understanding everything that comes after the Exodus.
The Decalogue is a social compact between a nation and God. If the nation — as a nation — follows the these commandments it will be blessed and if they disobey them they will be cursed. This is what Deuteronomy 28 tells us. The prophets speak not so much in terms of random future predictions but rather in terms of “you all forsook the Ten Commandments, so death, destruction and disaster is coming your way.” When prophets spoke, it wasn’t some new revelation — they simply harkened back to what Moses said in Deuteronomy 28. You will be blessed if you obey and cursed if you rebel. Israel rebelled and destruction came down. The prophets pointed Israel back to the Law of Moses and Deuteronomy 28 — these were known things — it was not magic or soothsaying.
The New Covenant is also written in terms of this old covenant. Except, while the Ten Commandments formed the bases for a social covenant written for a nation, the new covenant takes that Law (the Ten Commandments) and writes it on the heart of an individuals. The Ten Commandments are social — the New birth is individual. The goal of the new birth is not to get away from the Ten Commandments, it is to write those Ten Commandments on the heart of the individual.
This is the message of Ezekiel 36: 26-27
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
And Jeremiah 31:33
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
So the path to the New is through the Ten Commandments. For where there is no sin, there is no need of forgiveness or atonement or blood. The Ten Commandments are a social standard that provides guideposts for what is right and wrong. When men sin they know they have broken God’s Law. That makes the sacrifice of Jesus Christ meaningful — for if there is no sin for what did Christ die? It makes no sense without sin. And for what is there a need for salvation? Salvation from what (if there is no sin)?
Modern societies reject the Ten Commandments because they rejected the concept of sin and the accountability to the Creator. They reject the Creator because they reject the idea of accountability to Him. It is wholesale rebellion led by our new priests and prophets (the University professors). Gospel evangelism in a nation that has rejected the Ten Commandments is difficult because first the concept of accountability to God and the concept of right and wrong must be introduced. Before repentance and atonement make sense, sin and justice must make sense. The problem in the West today is that sin is rejected and justice has become a social cause, not any real standard or right or wrong. In this environment, atonement for sin just doesn’t make any sense.
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.