When Jesus came to our world to become our Savior and Redeemer, the second table of the law of God—the last six commandments—were often ignored, while God’s professed people exalted in their keeping of the first four commandments and avoiding idolatry, which had been the plague of God’s professed people up until the time of the Babylonian captivity. This can be seen over and over in the gospels (see for example Mark 3:1–6).
But in the last days, the situation is reversed. We know this from studying Revelation 13. There will be great emphasis on loving your fellow man but there will be a rebellion against the first table of the law, which commands us to love God with all our heart and mind. If I do love God with all my heart, I will never commit idolatry. However, according to Revelation 13 we will be commanded to worship an image.
Does the Bible emphasize the fact that law-keeping versus law-breaking will be the issue in the last days and that the special issue will involve the first four commandments? It does. Here is a little of the evidence:
- The difference which distinguishes God’s children from the rest of the world in the last days is that God’s children in the last days will be commandment keepers in contrast with those who worship the beast and the image to the beast and who receive the mark of the beast (Revelation 14:9–12; 13:14–17). Worshiping any image is a violation of the second commandment.
- The saved from the last generation will be those who do not worship the beast, the image, and receive the mark of the beast (Revelation 15:2; 20:4).
- Nobody can be saved who is a violator of the second commandment unless he repents and is converted and forsakes that sin. Notice the warnings about this in 1 Corinthians 6:9; Revelation 21:8; 22:15.
- A deliberate attempt to change God’s times and His law is a special identifying mark of the apostasy of the latter days according to Daniel 7:25. The only times in God’s law are the times mentioned in the fourth commandment, the longest commandment of the ten and the one that has been almost universally broken since ancient times. And yet this commandment for thousands of years has been the sign that distinguishes God’s true people from all others. (See Exodus 31:12–17. Compare Ezekiel 20.)