In the last issue, we looked at just some of the ways the world would be different if people obeyed the first four of God’s Ten Commandments. We will now examine some of the differences we would see if commandments five through ten were obeyed.
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In today’s society, God’s laws are universally ignored and broken. Even professing Christianity, not realizing the benefits that could result from keeping the Ten Commandments, claims that they are “done away.”
However, what would happen…
What if the whole world obeyed the FIFTH COMMANDMENT? The end of juvenile delinquency would only be the beginning. Honoring parents would naturally lead to honoring God.
Reform schools and youth detention centers would close or would become educational centers. Drug dealers and gangs would be out of business—as youths would honor and obey their parents who warned them about these dangers. Without drug habits to feed, theft would decrease.
With correct honor for parents, we would see positive changes in values and the media. Respect for the elderly would reappear, along with respect for authority, including police officers and teachers. Generations would live longer as they would receive the promised blessing due to showing honor to their parents.
What if the whole world kept the SIXTH COMMANDMENT, even in just the letter of the law? What would it be like? What would be missing from the world as we know it, and what would be present in its place?
One difference would be that military assaults and invasions would no longer be carried out. The ever-present threats of nuclear, chemical and biological warfare would no longer exist. The defense budgets of all nations would be available for more constructive uses.
On the domestic level, people would no longer have to live in constant fear for their lives. Homicides, suicides and abortions would end. Police forces would be greatly reduced. Television and movies would not glorify violence and murder.
And if the spirit of the Sixth Commandment were obeyed (Matt. 5:21-22), think of the problems that would disappear. There would not be the suspicion and fear that exist in society today. Discrimination and violent civil unrest would vanish.
People would feel safe walking at night. Parents would feel safe allowing their children to play outside, without having to watch over them constantly.
In Zechariah 8:4-5, we read, “Thus says the Lord of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.”
These are just a few of the blessings that will be enjoyed in the millennium, the one-thousand year rule of God’s kingdom on earth (Rev. 20:2-7; II Pet. 3:8). As we read, in Isaiah 11:9, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”
There will be no murderers in the kingdom, as we read in I John 3:15: “Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” At that time, the one who inspires hate and murder (John 8:44), will be removed (Rev. 20:1-2) and no longer able to influence the world.
The following offers a glimpse of just a few of the changes we would see in the world if just this one command from God were obeyed.
Impact on Judicial Systems: Think of the decreased demand on the world’s judicial systems if the Sixth Commandment were kept. Their caseloads would drop sharply. There would not be defense lawyers trying to plea-bargain for clients who had committed heinous acts of murder.
There would not be all of the “red tape” involved in determining when, and to what degree, killing constitutes murder. Much of forensic science would be a thing of the past. The endless appeals process would become obsolete. There might still be a police force, to deal with those who break other laws, but it would not have to be as large, and they would not need to carry firearms.
Prison populations would not be increasing at the rate that they are today. According to a report by Darrell K. Gilliard and Allen J. Beck, Ph.D., BJS Statisticians, at midyear 1997 an estimated 1,725,842 persons were incarcerated in the nation’s prisons and jails. Federal and state prison authorities and local jail authorities held in their custody 645 persons per 100,000 U.S. residents.
Prisoners in the custody of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Federal Government accounted for two-thirds of the incarcerated population (1,158,763 inmates). The other third were held in local jails (567,079).
There would be no more armed robberies or assaults with deadly weapons. There would be no need for “self-defense” classes. There would be no more “hate crimes,” or even slander (character assassination). This would change the tone of political campaigns and elections. Yellow journalism (the brand of reporting found in supermarket tabloids) would be a thing of the past.
Impact on Military: Imagine what the world would be like if nations lived without the fear of invasion. It has been said that throughout history, most nations have been either preparing for war, at war, or recovering from war.
If the entire world obeyed the command “thou shalt not kill,” nations would not be amassing nuclear arsenals. They would not have to take inventory of such arsenals, constantly worried about theft by rogue states. Terrorism would disappear. All branches of the armed forces would become obsolete. All funds currently directed toward military efforts could be used to beautify the earth, and to build rather than destroy.
Effect on Gun Sales: Obedience to the Sixth Commandment would also result in a dramatic drop in gun sales. According to statistics, Americans use firearms to defend themselves from criminals about 760,000 times a year. This figure is the lowest among a group of 15 nationwide polls done by organizations including Gallup and the Los Angeles Times.
Approximately 11% of gun owners and 13% of handgun owners have used their firearms for protection from criminals. (justfacts.com)
What About Families?: Imagine the difference that would be seen on the family level. Abortion would be abolished (approximately 4,000 babies are aborted every day in the U.S. alone). There would no longer be the “silent” sins of domestic violence and child abuse. In the U.S., a woman is beaten by her husband, boyfriend, or live-in partner, every nine seconds.
According to government agencies that investigate child abuse, about 3 million children in the U.S. were reported as abused or neglected in 1997; 2.3 percent of children in the United States—or about 1.5 million children—experience abusive violence each year.
Divorce caused by domestic violence would also dramatically drop.
Change in Travel: Concerns about travel safety would not be as great. There would be no more cases of “road rage.” Between 1990 and 1996, road rage resulted in approximately 83,000 deaths.
There would be no more cases of carjacking, and hijacking of commercial vehicles (airplanes, buses, trains, etc.). People and nations would work together to settle their disputes peacefully.
How Entertainment Would Change: Violence would no longer be glamorized as a form of entertainment. According to a Canadian study, television violence affects children of varying ages differently:
“As toddlers, children will mimic what they see and hear on television. A number of preschoolers pay greater attention to the TV than toddlers, though most preschoolers can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality—and may not distinguish between commercials and programs.
“Once children reach elementary school age, they begin to stay up late and watch more adult programs.
“Teens prefer adult programming that deals with subjects like growing up, dating, alcohol, drugs and sex. Horror movies, music videos, and X-rated films are also popular with teens. These programs often contain violent pornographic images and scenes of abuse against women. Research has shown that these shows can convey to boys the message that violence against women is OK, and can make teenage girls more afraid” (Television Violence: A Review of the Effects on Children of Different Ages, Wendy L. Josephson, Ph.D., 1995).
“Dale Kunkel, American media critic, monitored the content of five major U.S. newspapers and watched the nightly newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC throughout November 1993. He found that 48 percent of television news stories about children, and 40 percent of newspaper stories, involved reports of crime and violence” (How the News Media “See” Kids, Dale Kunkel, Fall 1994).
These types of programming have long-term effects on children. They may grow up unable to distinguish fiction from reality. This results in a disassociation of cause and effect (e.g., a child sees a film, in which an actor is killed, then sees the same actor [alive and well] in another film). They may attempt to “experiment” for themselves. Obviously, there would not be “Hollywood special-effects” results.
What if the whole world kept the SEVENTH COMMANDMENT? Adultery would not exist. People would consider the long-term consequences of their actions.
Most television programs and movies would have to rewrite their scripts. Advertising would have to find a new theme to sell everything from ratchet wrench sets to used tires without their traditional sex pitch. Magazines would have to, as well. The Internet’s biggest moneymaker and fastest growing business—pornography—would collapse.
There would be no more prostitution, strip clubs, adult movie theaters, exotic sex shops, or escort services. Extramarital affairs would not exist, drastically affecting the divorce rate. Illegitimate births and sexually transmitted diseases would cease. Sexually suggestive clothing styles would disappear. And the list goes on.
All of these changes and more will be effectively implemented in the coming millennium, when influence from the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4) is gone and human nature is brought in check.
What if everyone obeyed the EIGHTH COMMANDMENT? How would the world be different?
To most people, the most obvious difference would be the absence of news stories involving thefts and robberies. Retailers would no longer have to mark up prices to compensate for losses due to shoplifting. That savings would then be passed on to consumers.
According to the latest National Retail Security Survey report, “Internal theft now costs U.S. retailers $14.9 billion annually, compared to shoplifting costs of $10 billion. Employee theft and shoplifting combined account for the largest source of property crime committed annually in the United States.”
Government and Industry: There would be positive effects on the government level and in the way businesses operate as well: Governments would no longer have to deal with the problem of tax evasion. Aside from the immediate benefit of increased revenue, money would not have to be spent pursuing those who do not want to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” (Mark 12:17).
The face of the business world would change, as there would no longer be scandals involving theft, money laundering, fraud and insider trading. There would be no deceitful dealings with stockholders and other investors. Accountants would keep honest records. And again, consumers would reap the benefits, through lower prices on goods and services.
On the personal level, locks on vehicles and homes would not be as much of a necessity. Burglar alarm systems would also become relics of the past.
Some benefits of obeying this one commandment are not as obvious: For instance, professional writers would no longer have to worry about someone stealing their work, through copyright infringement. In fact, copyright law itself would become obsolete.
Likewise, inventors would not have to carry patents on their products. If even the “spirit of the law” were obeyed, and people did not covet the things of others, people would feel free to work together on ideas, and existing products could be improved without an air of competition.
Again, contrary to the premise of consumer-driven “free enterprise” capitalism, the public would ultimately benefit. There would not be the need to constantly compare goods and services, in search of the “best deal,” because business would be universally conducted with the consumer’s best interests in mind. There would not be different product standards for different demographics of society—there would truly be an environment of “one price fits all” and everyone “gets his money’s worth.”
On the Job: The workplace would also undergo major changes if everyone obeyed this commandment. Management-labor relations would improve, due to everyone doing “honest work for honest pay.” Since honesty ultimately precludes stealing, there would be no need for labor unions to look over industry’s shoulder to ensure fair treatment of workers.
There would also not be the insurance company battles we see today, over issues of workers’ compensation. If an employee were injured on the job, the company would see to it that he and his family were taken care of. And there would not be the danger of fraudulent claims.
“Dramatic increases in workers’ compensation premiums throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s fueled unsubstantiated charges that costs were high in part because workers abused the system, fraudulently collecting benefits for faked injuries or remaining on benefits far longer than their recovery required. The American Insurance Association estimated fraud losses at 10% of the cost of claims paid, or about $3 billion. The National Insurance Crime Bureau doubled the AIA’s estimate to $6 billion, even though it was involved in only 99 fraud prosecutions in 1994 and 134 in 1995 nationwide. The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud adopted the AIA’s estimate. One insurance company president put the cost of workers’ compensation fraud at $30 billion a year. These huge numbers grabbed the attention of the public and policyholders. The presumption in the press and in the state houses was that fraud was rampant and that most workers’ compensation fraud was claimant fraud” (LRA’s Guide to Workers’ Compensation).
Employers and employees would work together, and both would benefit. There would be increased company loyalty. Workers would be motivated to stay with their company for “the long haul.” Promised retirement benefits could be counted on. And ultimately, again, consumers would benefit, as well, in the form of better products and lower prices.
Imagine a world in which everyone automatically obeyed the NINTH COMMANDMENT. How different it would be from today’s world! If everyone could be counted on to always be truthful, in every situation, people’s conduct would change dramatically, not just what they say. If people were always bound “to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” their actions would reflect it.
Change in the Judicial System: Consider how the legal system would change if just this one commandment of God were universally obeyed.
Since would-be criminals would not have the option of hiding behind the Fifth Amendment—whether or not the truth would incriminate them—some might think twice before committing their crimes.
Also consider what Christ stated in John 8:32: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
(Today, when cross-examined on the stand, crime victims and eyewitnesses are not given the option to invoke the Fifth Amendment—and everything they say is “used against them.” Their private lives are often paraded around for all to see, as part of a defense team’s effort to discredit them.)
Also, since court case participants would not have to be “sworn in,” court proceedings would not be as lengthy. Polygraph tests would be obsolete. And defense lawyers, most of whom specialize in camouflaging their clients behind a barrage of “legalese,” would have to seek another line of employment. Criminals would have to accept their fate—and any who would be wrongfully accused (obviously no longer as a result of someone else’s dishonesty) could count on a proper representation of the facts, and a prompt acquittal. The whole appeals process would vanish.
If everyone were honest, there would not even be the need for “trial by jury.” While not every case brought to trial would be “open and shut,” verdicts could be rendered according to the “mouth of two or three witnesses” (Num. 35:30; Deut. 17:6; 19:15). The entire jury selection process would become obsolete—and jurors would not be unnecessarily involved in the matter.
There would not be the need for forensic experts or criminal psychologists, or other court-ordained investigators. And courtroom proceedings would not be sensationalized, ratings-driven spectacles. In the end, there would truly be “justice for all.”
Honesty in Politics: Imagine how different politics would be if all politicians were honest. There would not be the “mud-slinging” and slander that we see today—if democratic elections were held—and they would not be. Candidates would win or lose elections according to their own merits, rather than how much dirt they could dig up on their opponents.
Elected officials could be counted on to deliver what they promised. Therefore, candidates would not make promises they couldn’t keep. People would have faith in their leaders and representatives, who would truly have their constituents’ best interests in mind.
Of course, God’s form of government is not democratic; but this change, of and by itself, in such a system, would evidence visible positive results.
There would not be the mistrust and competition between political parties. There would not be special interest groups lobbying and competing for funding or legislation. Such activities involve agreements of “scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours”—not taking into consideration the well-being of others.
What if the entire world kept the TENTH COMMANDMENT? With no more lust and covetousness around, idolatry and adultery would greatly diminish. But that is just the beginning. Lust-driven consumerism would disappear, and along with it, consumer debt and bankruptcy.
More people would drive affordable vehicles, instead of going into debt to buy something that appeals to lustful vanity. In short, materialism and impulse buying would vanish. Notice what the apostle James wrote: “From where come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? You lust, and have not: You kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: You fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts. You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do you think that the Scripture says in vain, The spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy?” (Jms. 4:1-5).
The world will one day learn that only with the help of God’s Spirit can mankind successfully control lust and keep the Ten Commandments.
If the entire world—every nation!—obeyed just these six commandments, we can see that dramatic changes would take place.
During the millennium, these commandments will be obeyed (as well as the first four). Notice Isaiah 2:4: “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
Also notice Paul’s instruction in Philippians 2:4: “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
Paul is not saying that we should covet the possessions of others or meddle in their lives. Rather, he is saying that we should be concerned for their health and well-being, and also give due consideration to their property.
Notice Micah 4:4, which is speaking of the coming millennium: “But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken it.” At that time, people will be concerned for their fellow man. They will learn how to treat others the way they themselves desire to be treated.