The Ten Commandments

5 -- Honor Your Father And Mother

an article based on a sermon

by Jon Bowles

given 14 July 2007

(PLAY FROM START)

Society today is coming apart -- coming unglued at the seams. And when something that has endured several centuries begins to unravel like this, there has to be a cause -- a reason for the change. The fabric of any society has to be the family, as this is where the individuals that form the society originate from. So one of the main reasons any society begins to disintegrate is because one of the main commands of God regarding family life is being ignored. That command is the Fifth Commandment, "Honor your father and mother". It is by its very nature a command that regulates the very glue of society itself.

Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Eternal 1 thy God giveth thee.

Note that it says we are to honor both father and mother. Also note how the commandment is for the purpose of giving the continuation of each of us as individuals within a society.

The word "honor" means "to be weighty," "to be heavy," like a heavy weight. What our parents say should be heeded and taken seriously. This commandment is the very glue of society -- "that thy days may be long upon the land" -- because the home and family life is where the next generation comes from. Having a stable home therefore gives a stability to society. The Fifth Commandment is a commandment that relates to a stable society.

What is the thinking, the attitude, the principle that we need to learn from the Fifth Commandment, as far as the mind of God is concerned? The areas that we will cover in answering these questions are as follows:

Who Is The Commandment For?

Is the Fifth Commandment for young children? Yes, but not for them predominantly, because young children cannot read the Bible for themselves until they are older and have a certain amount of learning.

The command is predominantly directed to parents, to adults. The adults must teach children this commandment, explain this command to them so that they can understand it, because children are not going to understand it by themselves. This command is taught to our children primarily by example. How we act and react towards our own parents is reflected back to our children.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 Hear, O Israel: The Eternal our God is one Eternal (5) And thou shalt love the Eternal thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

This is what Christ said is the greatest commandment of the law, and the other one is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40).

Deuteronomy 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

God had just said in the previous chapter, Deuteronomy 5:29: O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!

These verses are clearly part of the New Covenant. "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart." The New Covenant that God will make with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, the laws will be in the very heart.

Deuteronomy 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Deuteronomy 6:7 tells us how the law gets into our hearts -- by meditating on these laws and doing so with our children in everything we do. The commandment is for all of us, but principally for the adults because the adults are the ones who have to teach the children.

Deuteronomy 32:46 And he said unto them, Set your hearts2 unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.

The responsibility is on the adults to teach their children.

Deuteronomy 32:47 For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither [in which] ye go over Jordan to possess it.

Moses is using terminology found in the original command, "..that thy days may be long upon the land...." How do you "prolong your days"? Here it says to teach your children. The result of teaching your children "all the words of this law" is to prolong your life. In putting these scriptures together, we see that the command is not just for little children.

Psalm 78:1-5 Maschil of Asaph. Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. (2) I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old [looking back into the things that have been learned previously] (3) Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. (4) We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the Eternal, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. (5) For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: (7) That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

It is a sequential thing, "showing the generation to come." This is why it is being predominantly addressed to the parents, the adults. It is the responsibility of parents to teach their children these things and to set the right example for their children.

What is the instruction in the New Testament? I Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop [an overseer], he desireth a good work.

Paul is talking to the ministry. In that context he says: I Timothy 3:4-5 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (5) (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

Again, the focus is on the parents. This commandment is for adults. It tells us that we should be teaching our children, so that they can keep the commandment. We must teach them by our example, so that the extended family is there. We are going to have to teach this commandment in the World Tomorrow, because family life and the way that respect operates within the family is the bedrock of society in the future, with the Spirit of God within that structure. From the family comes the next generation.

Our society today has no respect for authority -- from the highest point of authority, the highest office in the land. It is a case of "Call me Tony" (referring to how former UK prime minister Tony Blair ran his office). Within the school system, we find the same thing, teachers telling their students, "Call me Fred." This is not God's way of showing respect for authority. We need to make sure that when we are looking at today's society, we are aware just how far it is from God's way.

Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Eternal.

Here is the second great commandment that Christ highlighted (Matthew 22:39). But how do you love your neighbor as yourself? Leviticus 19:14 Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the Eternal.

The elderly tend to be the deaf, the blind. How they are treated reflects the society.

Leviticus 19:32 Thou shalt rise up before the hoary [white or gray hair] head [which is a case against the dyeing of hair], and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Eternal.

Leviticus 19:32 speaks of a different type of society than we have today. The Eternal (the One who became Jesus Christ) implemented and made very clear that the elderly are to be honored.

When it says "honor" your father and mother -- "count as weighty" -- the fifth commandment goes beyond just your father and mother and includes the elderly, definitely a different concept of old age than society has today, where there is no honor to the elderly, the "hoary head."

Leviticus 20:9 For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.

To "curse" means to "count as nonweighty, " "to make light of," and is the opposite of the command "to honor," "to count as heavy or serious." If one cursed father or mother, he would be put to death under the Old Covenant. This is how serious this command is in the eyes of God. In our society that punishment would be unthinkable. As we will see, the view of the building block of society, the family unit, is wrong in the Western world. What is counted as "beneficial" and "righteous" is not the way of God.

We need to make sure that, as we move to understand the mindset of God on this subject, we do not try to put "Western garb" on the law of God because that simply is not good enough. We need to learn what God's mind is, the mind of Jesus Christ that will be applied when He returns.

Today's Society

Isaiah 3 describes the society that we have to today. It is a prophecy, because as it says in Isaiah 2:2, "And it shall come to pass in the last days..."

Isaiah 3:1 For, behold, the Lord, the Eternal of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water.

When we are looking in Isaiah, "Zion" is a type of the true Church of God; "Israel" (this was written at the time of Israel went into captivity) is Britain and America today; Judah and Jerusalem are those who should be part of the True Church, but, if you like, are on the peripheries. The "whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water " is talking about taking away the spiritual food and drink.

Isaiah 3:2-5 The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, (3) The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator. (4) And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. (5) And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.

The attitude of mind of those ruling will be child-like and the actual structure of society will be inverted. This is exactly what we find today in our society.

Isaiah 3:12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

If we in God's Church are to have the attitude and the mindset of God on this subject of honoring father and mother, we must also recognize the kind of evil society that we are being affected by.

Isaiah 3:16-17 Moreover the Eternal saith, Because the daughters of Zion [the Church] are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: (17) Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Eternal will discover their secret parts.

As members of God's Church, we need to make sure we do not adopt the attitude of society of "girl power," as children are being reared in the world today. The "Spice Girls," a singing group of a few year ago, had the catch phrase of "girl power" and had a catty persona, and were funneling that attitude into the minds of preteen girls, whom they were appealing to, marketing to. Where are those preteen girls today? They are the mothers in our society, a society that is not obeying the Fifth Commandment. Ours is not merely an immoral society, it is an amoral one. Society does not understand morality. Morality has simply evaporated from it.

The Basic Command Itself

In looking at the basic command to honor father and mother, let us read the actual commandment again. Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Eternal thy God giveth thee.

Exodus 21:15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.

Exodus 21:17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

These laws are laws of relationship, the laws that the Covenant was based on. The Ten Commandments were not the additional laws that had to do with sacrifices, which were added because of transgression.

The weight that is put on this commandment, just reading these three fundamental scriptures, points to the fact that children have to listen to their parents. If they do not, how are they going to obey this command? How are they going to be stopped from cursing or striking out at father or mother and, therefore, risking the death penalty? Children must listen! If you have a child that will not listen, that is the time to punish. This is an absolutely key area of child rearing.

Matthew 5:5 says, "The meek shall inherit the earth." What does this command say? "that thy days may be long upon the land which the Eternal thy God giveth thee." The same common thread is going through these scriptures: The meek, the teachable will inherit the earth. Listening to parents, giving heed to an understanding greater than our own, is part of the basic, fundamental command

Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (10) I the Eternal search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

God will test us to see what is actually in our heart. What is the fundamental concept of the New Covenant? It is that the laws of God -- the spiritual Laws governing relationships -- are now written in our hearts. It is that the character of God is reflected through us as human beings, being brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.

Jeremiah 17:20-23 And say unto them [the Jews at that time], Hear ye the word of the Eternal, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates: (21) Thus saith the Eternal; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; (22) Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. (23) But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff [so that it cannot be bent back again], that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.

What happens when you are trying to teach a little child something, and he does not want to hear you? He will turn his head away, stiffen his neck, not wanting to look at the one giving instruction. God is saying it here of adults, because the adults were like this. He was talking to them about the Sabbath command, and they would not hear nor receive instruction

Jeremiah 17:24-25 And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Eternal, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein; (25) Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.

If you listen, God says, these are the blessings that you will have.

Jeremiah 17:27 But if ye will not hearken [listen] unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.

It was listening that was important. If they would not listen God was going to "kindle a fire" -- put them over His knee and spank them. That fire would "not be quenched." They were not going to get away with not listening and obeying.

In looking at the fifth commandment, we understand that children have to listen to their parents. Parents of young children have to make sure that their children have the correct respect towards them. The time to spank is when we cannot get through to them, so that they will listen. That is the reason for spanking. Each child is different, however; and we need to understand each child individually.

This is the way God deals with mankind. As we read in Jeremiah 17:10, He tests the reins and says, "Do this." If they obey, they are fine. If they stiffen their necks and do not listen, they are punished. In the world tomorrow, when we are teaching and training the building blocks of society, the family unit, this is what we are going to have to teach and train -- to listen, to obey. This is the kind of instruction we will be giving to families for the next generation, so that within four generations we will have the kind of society that we need and that God expects us to have in the world tomorrow.

In the New Testament we find similar instruction regarding families within the Church. Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

This is talking directly to older children, as the younger children would not be able to read this. In the case of younger children, the parents would have to be the ones reading this and instructing them.

Ephesians 6:2-4 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; (3) [This is the promise] That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. (4) And, ye fathers [the ones that are actually implementing, teaching this], provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture [discipline] and admonition of the Lord.

How does God deal with us? How did He deal with His people in Jeremiah 17? If He can talk to us, He will talk to us. He says, "If you will listen, then we will have the kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever." It will be wonderful. But if we will not listen, then He has no other alternative but to punish. This is His approach.

God says, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath." God's way is it not that when our children do something wrong, we punish. We are to train, to discipline our children. The word "discipline" comes from the word "disciple," which means "to teach." We should be teaching our children when we sit down, when we rise up, when we go out, when we come in. (Deuteronomy 6:7) This is the way God teaches us.

We need to be applying this basic command within our families. Parents need to be disciplining, in the sense of teaching, the same as God disciplines, teaches, disciples us, to make us students.

The Ancient Landmark

Deuteronomy 19:14 Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the Eternal thy God giveth thee to possess it.

Deuteronomy 27:16-17 Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. (17) Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmark And all the people shall say, Amen.

Proverbs 22:28 Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set

The point of not removing the ancient landmark is that our fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers, etc., have at sometime set up the ancient landmark. You do not get rid of it so that you can get extra land from your neighbor.

This is clarified in Proverbs 23:10 Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:

In other words, you do not take the landmark out, move the fence, and grab (steal) another few meters all the way down the side of the fence, so that you have that extra land. This command points back to the fathers who set the landmark in place.

We can also look at this in a spiritual sense as well. It is the same basic command to honor father and mother, that you may live long in the land. You honor what they have set forth, because they (father, mother, grandfather, great-grandfather) have made an agreement. You, therefore, honor that agreement pertaining to this piece of land.

The correct frame of mind is found in Job 32, where Elihu begins to speak. His attitude is not what you find in today's society, but it is what you would find in biblical times, and is something that we need to take notice of and train our children to take notice of. Job 32:4 Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he.

Elihu was not a child, nor was he a teenager; but the other men he was addressing were much older than he, including Job. Therefore, he waited to speak out of respect for the hoary head, the old man, which is what you find within the law (Leviticus 19:32).

Job 32:6-7 And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not show you mine opinion. (7) I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.

Elihu recognized and practiced the correct order of respect. In this particular case with Job's friends, the older men did not speak with wisdom, as they did not understand the problem concerning Job's trial. But the ancient ideas and concepts, of deference to the hoary head, can be seen here as demonstrated by Elihu. Honor and respect for elders can still be seen to some extent today in Nigerian and Filipino and Eastern societies.

I Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times [the end times] some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

Paul then starts to explain some of the problems that they were going to be having, and that we have today.

I Timothy 4:6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine [teaching], whereunto thou hast attained.

Go back and listen to what you understood from previous generations and implement that, because in the end times, they are going to be turning aside from those things.

I Timothy 4:15-16 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. (16) Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Go back to what you learned and understood. For Timothy this was predominantly what he learned from Paul, because as it says in the beginning of this letter, "Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith." Timothy learned a great deal from Paul.

I Timothy 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;

As a minister, you should not generally behave in a high-handed way toward an older man. Yes, if an older man is actually leading the Church astray, then the minister needs to jump in with both feet, so to speak. Paul is not talking about that here. He is saying, do not normally rebuke older men within the congregation, but entreat them as a father. Approach them as an older person, because that is the way of God that you find in the law. That is the mindset we all need to have. The attitude of "honoring father and mother" extends to older people generally. We need to teach that to our children, so that we in the Church of God have this as near to God's Way as we are able within our corrupt society. This is very difficult, but it is something we need to work towards.

I Timothy 5:2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

We are to behave towards the older person, and the younger, in a certain way.

We find today that the ancient landmark has been removed. The House of Lords (the upper house of Parliament) is probably the most traditional thing in the U. K., and yet it was the one thing that was targeted to be removed and undermined -- to get rid of the ancient landmark. Some of the traditions found within the House of Lords have been there for thousands of years.

Some of the traditions involved with the coronation of kings and queens have been in place thousands of years, going back to the time of King David -- the Stone of Scone (Jacob's pillar stone) over which the kings and queens are anointed being an example. These ancient landmarks have been eroded, have been undermined by a mentality that is coming from the '60s generation. That mentality also undermined all the spiritual values in the country as well and opened the floodgates at that particular time to bring about the society we have today. We in the Church must recognize those ancient landmarks and resist the present evil mentality that treats them with contempt.

The Example of the Rechabites

To give an example of God's mind on this, let us have a look at the example of the Rechabites.

Jeremiah 35:1-2 The word which came unto Jeremiah from the Eternal in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying, (2) Go unto the house of the Rechabites, and speak unto them, and bring them into the house of the Eternal, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.

God gave instruction to Jeremiah. He was to go to the house of the Rechabites, bring them into the House of God, into a side chamber, and give them wine to drink.

Jeremiah 35:3-5 Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habaziniah, and his brethren, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites; (4) And I brought them into the house of the Eternal, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah, a man of God, which was by the chamber of the princes, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the door: (5) And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and I said unto them, Drink ye wine.

Jeremiah essentially gave them a wine-tasting session. He had bottles of wine and cups, and flagons and invited the Rechabites into the poshest place in Jerusalem, which was the temple, in one of the side rooms, no mean place, the best-quality place.

Jeremiah 35:6 But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever:

Jonadab lived during the time of King Jehu. II Kings 10:15 And when he [Jehu] was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him: and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give me thine hand. And he gave him his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot.

II Kings 10:23 And Jehu went, and Jehonadab the son of Rechab, into the house of Baal, and said unto the worshippers of Baal, Search, and look that there be here with you none of the servants of the Eternal, but the worshippers of Baal only.

This account in Jeremiah is just prior to the fall of Jerusalem (554 BC). The time of Jehu was 880 BC. That is 300 years before this incident when the decree came from the Rechabites forefathers.

Jeremiah 35:7 Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye be strangers.

This is very similar to the command to "honor your father and mother, that you may live long in the land."

Jeremiah 35:8-11 Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters; (9) Nor to build houses for us to dwell in: neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed: (10) But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us. (11) But it came to pass, when Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans, and for fear of the army of the Syrians: so we dwell at Jerusalem.

The Rechabites were temporarily dwelling in Jerusalem. They had to make an allowance for not living in tents in the countryside and flee from the Babylonian armies. In normal times, they would have been dwelling in tents as nomads.

Jeremiah 35:12-13 Then came the word of the Eternal unto Jeremiah, saying, (13) Thus saith the Eternal of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken [listen] to my words? saith the Eternal.

Again, what are we looking at? Listening! This is the heart and core of this commandment. To honor our father and mother is to listen to them, to count as weighty what is being said by them.

Jeremiah 35:14 The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me.

"You do not listen to me!" This is the heart and core of what was being said. God (the One who became Jesus Christ) knew what the Rechabites would do. He orchestrated it. He gave the command to Jeremiah to get the best room in the temple, bring the Rechabites in there, set wine before them, and say, "Drink." He knew what the Rechabites would almost certainly say, that they would refuse, because it was such an ingrained tradition within them.

Jeremiah 35:15-19 I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened [listened] unto me. (16) Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened [listened] unto me: (17) Therefore thus saith the Eternal God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered. (18) And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the Eternal of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: (19) Therefore thus saith the Eternal of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever

This is how much weight is placed on the honoring of father and mother, of looking back at a command of the father. This command was given 300 years before this incident with Jeremiah took place! That would be the 1700's to us.

Listening is absolutely vital. God blessed the Rechabites because of their attitude, because of their mindset of holding onto this family tradition. He blessed this mindset. Is that our mindset? Do we hold to these kinds of things? Or do we have this never satisfied, "must have it now" mindset of society today that never looks back to history, to tradition.

In looking at the future, of becoming the teachers of the World Tomorrow, we, as adults, had better start looking at what our attitude of mind is in this area, because that attitude of mind reflects a certain mindset. The command is not just to obey father and mother when we are little children. It is to honor, count as weighty, father (grandfather, great-grandfather, etc.) and mother that you may live long in the land that the Eternal gives you.

The Example of Christ

Luke 2:40-44 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. (41) Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. (42) And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. (43) And when they had fulfilled the days [the Days of Unleavened Bread], as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. (44) But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

After the Feast, apparently they would pack up all their belongings on a particular day and travel just a short distance from Jerusalem and rest there for the night, to get themselves into "travel mode". That first evening Joseph and Mary looked for Jesus but did not find Him.

Luke 2:45-49 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. (46) And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. (47) And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. (48) And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. (49) And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not [do you not understand] that I must be about my Father's business?

Christ recognized that Joseph was his "father" on earth, but He had another Father, and He had another job to do. He recognized His true Father at the age of twelve .

Luke 2:50-51 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. (51) And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

Christ obeyed Mary and Joseph. He put Himself under their authority. He honored His earthly "father," and His mother, but He also honored His spiritual Father -- the One who was His Father from eternity.

Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

In Mark 7 Christ refers back specifically to the Fifth Commandment in dealing with the Pharisees, who were disregarding it. The way He refers back to it is interesting, because it gives us a clear indication that the commandment is talking to adults and the way adults should behave towards their parents and how they should take care of them.

Mark 7:6-13 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. (7) Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (8) For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. (9) And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (10) For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: (11) But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. (12) And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; (13) Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Christ applies the commandment, not to little children, but to adults looking after their parents, making sure their needs are met. We in God's Church have a responsibility to make sure that our parents' physical needs are taken care of. We also need to take time to visit them. This is part of the commandment, to make sure that we honor them in the correct way.

In John 19 we see how Christ specifically applies this in looking after His mother at the end of His physical life, at the time of His greatest trial. John 19:25-27 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. (26) When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved [John], he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! (27) Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Christ made provision for the well being of His mother for the rest of her natural life. Christ later says to Peter, referring to John, "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" (John 21:22). Christ knew that John would die of old age (the only one of the apostles that would die of old age, as far as we are aware) and He, therefore, made sure that His mother was being cared for by the apostle John.

Christ's castigated the Pharisees for not applying the Fifth Commandment -- for their saying, "It's Corban. We don't have to do anything for our parents." The example that we set in honoring our parents is essential. As adults, we must honor our father and mother, even when they are old. We are to do the best we can to make sure this commandment is adhered to.

The Eternal Family

John 15:1-3 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. (2) Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (3) Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

"Honor" means "to give weight to." When we are looking at our spiritual parents -- and note, that is Father and Mother (the Church) -- we are to give weight to the words that are there.

John 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (5) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Remember John starts off with, "In the beginning was the Word..." The mindset is that we are to give weight to the word, continually go back to the word, for it came from the mouth of the Logos, the Word, who became Christ.

John 15:6-10 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (7) If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (8) Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples [students] (9) As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. (10) If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

His commands are the ancient landmarkers, the Way of Life. They come from the Living Word. The commands are ancient wisdom of God, the Way God the Father and Jesus Christ have lived from eternity, the same way we must live also. These words have been given to us, and have also been revealed to us as well, through the spiritual entity, which is the Church, and the one sent (the apostle, Mr. Armstrong).

When we are looking at the eternal family, the parallels are great. Christ said, "I have kept my Father's commandments." We pray, "Our Father." We should be keeping those same commandments. We should give honor, count as weighty these words that are given. This is what this commandment is teaching.

Today in the shattered Church of God, people have forgotten, do not give weight to the words that have been left to us. It is a major problem within the Church. We must make sure that the "weight" is correctly administered.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Eternal is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

"The fear of the Eternal...." "The Eternal" can apply to both God the Father and Jesus Christ. "The Eternal" in the Old Testament is Christ; but, certainly, with our Father we need to make sure that we have the correct weight and that we do not become "fools despising wisdom and instruction."

Proverbs 1:8-9 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother [both are important] (9) For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.

This is explained in Proverbs 6:20-21: My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: (21) Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.

This is talking about physical parents, but it is also by inference, talking about spiritual Father and spiritual Mother (the Church) as well. We need to do this physically -- honoring, counting as weighty, our parents -- and spiritually as well, both our Father and our Mother, Jerusalem, the Mother of us all, which is the Church.

Proverbs 6:22 When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.

These words, if we count them as weighty, will guide us and guide our lives.

Proverbs 6:23-24 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: (24) To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.

Spiritually speaking, "the evil woman" refers to a church, and it is speaking of the commandments keeping you from a church that is going in the wrong direction. If we have the words that have been left to us from both our Father and also from our Mother, the Church, which is led by Jesus Christ and is the betrothed Bride of Christ, we need to give weight to these words.

Let us read the fifth commandment in Exodus 20:12 again in the light of what we have discussed, to understand the mindset of God that is behind this commandment.

Honour... [means to put weight on the words, put weight on the presence of] ...thy father and thy mother... [This is not only talking physically, the example and teaching that we give to our own children, but also the spiritual aspects of our Father and Mother, as far as our Father in Heaven and the Church is concerned.] ...that thy days may be long upon the land which the Eternal thy God giveth thee. [What is that land? It is eternal life in the Kingdom of God. That is what we are aiming for.]

The Fifth Commandment is a crucial commandment. We need to listen, "give weight," to the father's words which include the ancient landmarks, the ancient waymarks, the direction our lives have to take. We also need to listen, "give weight" to the words of our mother as well. Like the Rechabites, going back to traditions, we do not just discard them, throw them away. We are to treat the traditions as weighty. If these traditions are against the word of God, that is another thing altogether. But if they fit within the word of God we are to place ourselves under them.

The spiritual Mother is the true Church of God, the Bride of Christ, Jerusalem above, the very Mother of us all. We need to make sure that we apply this scripture, that our days may, indeed, "be long upon the land which the Eternal thy God giveth thee," which is eternal life in the Kingdom of God.


*
Transcribed into article form by KA. Then re-edited by JB.
1
"LORD" replaced with "Eternal" our edit throughout
2
Emphasis ours throughout.