As a motion picture, they were acclaimed by the world. As the
law of God, they have been loved by some, hated by others -- but transgressed by
all. The Ten Commandments have been cursed, maligned, distorted, vilified; some,
by human arguments, have tried to do away with them. A small few of the obedient
have experienced the blessings they can bring. David said, "O how love I
thy law!" and called it perfect; Paul called it holy, just and good; Jesus
honored, magnified, obeyed, and commanded obedience to the Ten Commandments. But
to most people they remain and an enigma that has never been understood. Here is
the answer to the request of thousands -- a booklet explaining plainly this
inexorable living law, soon to become the basic law of the peaceful, prosperous,
joyful world tomorrow!
THE KEYS TO UNDERSTANDING
This is a lawless age. Crime and violence are increasing at a fearful rate
because among millions of people there is practically no respect for law or
constituted authority -- either that of God, or of man!
On the international scene, nations live in daily fear because they very well
know that the so-called "guarantees" and treaties of peace are not
worth the paper on which they are written. There is no law -- respect for no
authority -- among the nations of the world.
This is the world in which you live!
The Real Source of Law
Men have lost all deep respect for law because they have forgotten the very
SOURCE of all law and authority! Your Bible says: "There is ONE lawgiver,
who is able to save and to destroy" (James 4:12). That lawgiver is Almighty
In their modern search for a man-devised "peace of mind" or a
"religion that satisfies," men have totally forgotten about the great
God who RULES this universe! No wonder some of our young people -- the leaders
of tomorrow -- have such a lawless attitude.
One of the world's foremost educators warned a group of military leaders of
this very problem. He was the late Dr. Rufus von Klein Smid, former chancellor
of the University of Southern California. He stated: "I have no quarrel
with the present emphasis placed on science, but today we are paying for support
of schools which act from September 1 to June 30 as if there were no God."
Dr. von Klein Smid noted the "absence of moral values" in our youth
resulting from this attitude.
When you leave the true God out there is no real standard of behavior left.
The result is spiritual chaos and lawlessness and wretchedness in the human
In nearly all present-day religious denominations, the tendency is to try to
"modernize" and "democratize" God, and do away with His
authority to RULE His creation -- and us, His creatures. There are very few
truly "God-fearing men" left on earth today!
Having made their imaginative pet "god" in their OWN image, men
certainly do not stand in awe and deep respect of such a "god." They
do not fear their "god." And they certainly do not OBEY this creature
of their own imagination!
Yet the real message of Jesus Christ was about the God who created and now
RULES this earth! His was the God who blessed men for obedience to His laws --
and who punished for disobedience.
The Jesus Christ of your Bible ALWAYS preached the gospel of the Kingdom of
God (Mark 1:14; Luke 4:43). In modern language, He preached the happy news of
the GOVERNMENT of God -- the RULE of God. He said: "REPENT YE, and BELIEVE
the gospel" (Mark 1:15).
Before you can sincerely believe and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, and
have His shed blood cover your sins, you must repent. But repent of WHAT? Repent
What IS sin? Despite the contradictory ideas and generalizations of organized
religious denominations, your Bible clearly states: "Sin IS the
transgression of the law" (I John 3:4).
Sin is BREAKING GOD'S SPIRITUAL LAW -- the Ten Commandments. That is
definitely and specifically what sin is!
Before God will forgive your past sins, you must first repent of breaking His
law! You must learn to fear and respect God as the Supreme Ruler of this
universe -- and as YOUR King and Ruler.
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, was inspired to write: "The fear
of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Prov. 1:7). This godly fear is
by no means a personal dread, but a deep respect and reverence for the great
office and authority of God -- for His divine power -- His wisdom -- His love.
Without faith in such a great and real God, man is incomplete. Cut off from
the true God of law and order, man is purposeless, empty, frustrated, confused.
The way out of modern man's emptiness and confusion may sound trite or simple to
some people. But it is real -- and it works! It is simply that man must quit
worshiping false gods. Man must return to the God of the Bible, the God of
creation, the God who rules this universe!
Summarizing His way to the fulfillment of man's desire for a happy, abundant
and purposeful life, God inspired these words at the end of the book of
Ecclesiastes: "The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and
keep His commandments; for this is the whole man" (Eccl. 12:13, Moffatt
Man is frustrated and incomplete without this living, vital contact with God
-- walking His way, keeping His commandments. Obedience to God's commandments
would bring peace and fulfillment and joy to all the nations and peoples of this
earth. It is the real answer to all of our problems, individually and
collectively. It is the way of life Jesus Christ is going to teach when He
returns to rule this world (Micah 4:2).
Do You Really Understand God's Commandments?
The prophet David was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22). He is used as
a type of Christ, and will rule directly under Christ over the entire nation of
Israel in the soon-coming millennium (Ezek. 37:24), when Christ will bring peace
to this earth.
David wrote: "O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the
day" (Psalm 119:97). David studied and pondered God's law all day long! He
learned how to APPLY it to every situation in life.
This gave David wisdom. "Thou through thy commandments hast made me
wiser than mine enemies" (verse 98). God's law showed David the WAY to go
-- a WAY OF LIFE. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my
path" (verse 105).
Throughout this 119th Psalm, David declared how he loved God's law, and used
it as his guide in life. Do you?
Probably you don't. Most of you have been taught that God's law was done away
-- or else you simply have not realized that it is the only real way of life
that will bring man happiness and joy. You haven't realized that God's law
reveals the very nature and character of God Himself. And God commands us:
"Be ye holy; for I am holy" (I Peter 1:16).
Remember that the true Christians, the "little flock" of Jesus, are
described as those "which keep the commandments of God, and have the
testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 12:17). And God gives this description of
the character of His saints: "Here is the patience of the saints: here are
they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" (Rev.
If you are to be counted among God's true saints who will escape the seven
last plagues, you will have to have this living faith -- this OBEDIENT faith --
in Almighty God through Jesus Christ living His life in you! You will have to
understand and keep God's spiritual law as revealed in the Ten Commandments!
In answer to thousands of requests, and to help all of you come to really
understand the commandments of Almighty God your Creator, we are publishing in
this booklet a series of articles explaining and expounding each of the Ten
Commandments. You should really study this booklet, look up each scripture
quoted, live by His spiritual and holy law.
The Almighty God of Israel
To properly understand and feel the real impact of the Ten Commandments, let
us notice the setting in which they were given. Remember that Moses and the
Israelites had preserved the knowledge that their God was the Creator of heaven
and earth. He was the great RULER of the earth who had brought about the Flood
in the days of Noah, their forefather.
And now the true God, the God of Israel, had delivered them from Egyptian
bondage by tremendous miracles; had brought them out of Egypt and through the
waters of the Red Sea which rose on either side of them as a mighty wall (Exodus
Since the time they had passed through the Red Sea, God had begun to deal
with them and to remind them of His laws which they may have, in part,
forgotten. Before they ever reached Mount Sinai, God erased all doubt about
which day was His Sabbath by performing a series of miracles to remind them
(Exodus 16). In Exodus 18, Moses was already judging the people according to
God's laws and statutes (verse 16).
Now that they were come to Mount Sinai, God proposed -- NOT to give them a
new law -- but to enter into a covenant or AGREEMENT with them so that they
would be His special people and He would be their God whose laws and statutes
and judgments they would obey.
Since the Ten Commandments were -- and always will be -- God's basic
SPIRITUAL law (Romans 7:14), they were made a part of this agreement between God
and Israel. Since they were His holy and spiritual laws, He gave them with great
power, and, unlike the rest of the covenant, wrote them with His own hand.
Notice the setting in Exodus 19. God commanded the people to clean themselves
up and be ready against the third day when He would come down to them (verses
10-11). "And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there
were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of
the trumpet, exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp
TREMBLED" (verse 16).
God was here showing His power as the Creator of this earth as He began to
speak with His own voice the Ten Commandments! As the Creator Himself descended
upon Mount Sinai in His glory, "the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of
a furnace, and THE WHOLE MOUNT quaked GREATLY" (verse 18).
In this setting of great glory and majesty and power, God spoke the Ten
Commandments to the people who were trembling in awe below the mountain. His
voice must have literally shaken these people with its power as it boomed across
the land like the sound of thunder (Psalm 104:7).
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT
And so God began speaking the Ten Commandments -- revealing to His people the
laws of life which bring success and happiness and peace with God and with man.
In this day of human reason, of agnosticism, and of creeping socialism, it is
important to notice that the Almighty spoke first not about the
"brotherhood of man," but about obedience and worship to God -- the
Creator and Ruler of heaven and earth -- and the personal God of those who serve
and obey Him!
"And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which
have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. THOU
SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME" (Exodus 20:1-3).
That is the first and, as we shall see later, greatest commandment. Study the
wording of this commandment carefully -- and meditate on it as David did!
"I am the Lord thy God" is a more revealing phrase than at first
meets the eye.
The "I" who was speaking with such tremendous power was quite
evidently the great Creator of heaven and earth. In His very manner of
appearance, He had demonstrated His power as Creator by sending forth
thunderings and lightnings and literally shaking Mount Sinai as if it were a wet
The First Commandment and You
Now that we have seen the power and might with which God revealed Himself
when He spoke the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai, let us see how each one of
them -- beginning with the first commandment -- applies to you personally. For
if you make any claim to being a Christian, remember that Jesus Christ, the
FOUNDER of Christianity, said that you shall live by EVERY word of God (Matt.
4:4). And certainly -- through God's help -- you must walk according to the
COMMANDMENTS of Almighty God if you would enter into eternal life (Matt. 19:17).
How, then, does the first commandment apply to YOU? "I am the Eternal
thy God," the Creator states. Is the God of creation, the God of Israel,
the God of the Bible, really your God whom you serve and obey? Or have you
conjured up your own false "god" or "gods"? Or are you
falsely worshiping according to the "traditions of men," which Jesus
said would cause you to worship God IN VAIN? (Mark 7 :7.)
These are things YOU need to consider! To the Christians God says that He is
the one who has "brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of
bondage." Throughout the Bible, Egypt is used as a type of sin. All
unconverted men are held in slavery to the organized, paganized system of this
world, and to their own personal lusts.
When a person is really converted, God brings him OUT of that bondage -- and
he comes out willingly and gladly!
You need to examine whether or not you have ever really come out from the
false traditions and ways of this world and have also repented of your own
personal lusts and sins. God commands: "Thou shalt have no other gods
before me." Have you put something else in place of God? Is your time, your
interest, your service taken up more with something other than the true God?
What idol have you placed between yourself and the true God, studying His Word,
and living by it?
God says: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament
sheweth his handywork" (Psalm 19:1). Throughout its pages, the Bible
declares that God is the real Creator of this earth and of the universe. He is
the one who gives life and breath to all creatures (Genesis 1).
Do you honestly think of and worship God as your Creator and the one who
gives you every breath of air you breathe? You should, for that is part of
worshiping the true God and having no false gods before Him!
Today, the greatest deception of all is not communism or atheism, but the
false, pagan doctrine of evolution preached by the false god of science.
Evolution is an attempt to explain the creation without the Creator. It denies
the true God and His very nature and office! It is the very basis of most of
this world's "education"! But the wisdom of this world is FOOLISHNESS
with God (I Cor. 1:20).
In the Bible, God is revealed not only as the Creator, but the one who
sustains and who rules His creation -- intervening in the affairs of His
servants to guide and to bless and to deliver them.
David said: "The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my
God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my
salvation, and my high tower" (Ps. 18:2). Literally hundreds of times,
David called upon God to intervene and deliver him from some trouble or
Do you go to God with these things, or do you trust in your own strength and
in purely human devices?
Understand God's Purpose
In Matthew 6:9, Jesus tells us, when we pray, to address God as our
"Father." Throughout the New Testament, He is revealed as the one to
whom we should go with all of our trials and problems. Like a human father, He
watches over His children and blesses and protects them. He also chastens every
son that He loves (Heb. 12:6).
From the beginning, God has been the ultimate Father of mankind. In creating
man, God said: "Let us make man in OUR IMAGE, after OUR LIKENESS: and let
them have dominion over the fish of the sea ..." (Gen. 1:26).
Man was made in the physical image of God -- the outward form and shape of
God. He was given certain responsibilities and prerogatives like God Himself
has; given dominion or rule over all the creation on this earth. He was given
certain limited powers to make or "create" -- so to speak -- new
things that had never existed before in that exact form. In this limited way, he
has some of the very abilities of God! For God plans and purposes that we shall
ultimately be like Him -- glorified as He is glorified! (I John 3:2.) Man is
ultimately to be born of the spirit -- made of spirit -- composed of spirit
(John 3:6). He will be part of the spirit-born, ruling family of God.
God the Father is reproducing Himself! He plans that those who overcome human
nature in this life and learn -- through the help of His indwelling Holy Spirit
-- to keep His perfect laws shall be made like Him -- born into His very family
Then, AFTER this life of growing and overcoming, AFTER this spiritual
REBIRTH, man will be able to exercise prerogatives of God Himself! He will be
qualified as an additional member of the ruling Kingdom of God! (If you would
like a detailed exposition of this spiritual rebirth, write for our free booklet
"Just What Do You Mean -- Born Again.")
Yet, even in this regard, science and this civilization compete with God, and
therefore become FALSE gods!
Modern science is trying desperately to give man power far in excess of his
mental and spiritual capabilities for handling such forces! As former President
Eisenhower said in his first inaugural address: "Science seems ready to
confer upon us as its final gift the power to erase human life from this
planet." And now -- realizing what they have already done forebodes
destruction of this earth -- scientists are working feverishly to invade the
And here on earth our civilization continues its paganized teaching that MAN
is the ultimate judge of what is right or wrong and puts man completely in the
place of God and His laws! Whether we realize it or not, this carnal
attitude-this God-REJECTING attitude -- permeates every phase and facet of our
What You Serve Is Your "God"
Most people who just go to church once a week and take their religion for
granted actually don't really know what worship is. They think it is something
you do once a week in church not realizing that it should affect every thought
and word and action every day of your life! In everything you think or say or
do, you either serve God, or else you serve your own lusts and Satan the devil!
The apostle Paul was inspired to explain this: "Know ye not, that to
whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey;
whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Rom.
6:16.) There is no middle ground! You either delight in God and His law and
serve and obey Him all day long, or else you serve and obey your own lusts!
One key to this situation is how you use your time. For your time is your
life! The Bible commands us to "redeem ... [buy back] the time, because the
days are evil" (Eph. 5:16.) How much time do you actually spend each week
studying and meditating on God's Word and law as David did? How much time do you
spend in earnest, prevailing prayer to Almighty God? How much time do you spend
in discussing the Bible with others, teaching it to your family, writing to
others words of spiritual edification as well as words of purely social
It is true that most professing Christians think of their religion as just
occupying a corner of their lives. But in all fairness and love we say that the
day will come when they will realize that that type of religion is false
religion and false worship!
What is the most important thing God commands you to do? When Jesus Christ
your Savior was asked this question, He answered: "Thou shalt love the Lord
thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This
is the first and great commandment." Then Jesus continued: "And the
second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two
commandments hang ALL the law and the prophets" (Matt. 22:37-40).
On these two commandments hangs the destiny of all nations and individuals!
If men will obey these two commandments as they are magnified throughout the
Bible, they will be blessed! If not, they will be cursed and will become
wretched in their own confusion and frustration! As Jesus said, the very
writings of the prophets hang on whether or not nations obey or disobey God's
law. Every prophecy written against a nation shows that God foresaw that the
nation would disobey and turn away its eyes from His law and obedience to His
These are the living laws -- like the law of gravity -- that rule the world
in which you live!
Learn to Love and Worship God
Above All Else Jesus said the great commandment is to love God with all of
your heart and soul and mind. You are to worship and serve God with all of your
Whenever you think or speak or hear of anything good or beautiful or
wonderful, you should think of God! Remember James' inspired statement:
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from
the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of
turning" (James 1:17). Because you love Him, because you know His way is
right, because you truly worship Him, you should meditate on God's law and on
His Word daily as David did. You should study your Bible regularly to live by
every word of God. You should pray to God regularly, with sincerity and with all
your heart, as Jesus did, setting us an example.
Whenever you find that God commands you in His Word to do something, you
should immediately say: "Yes, Lord," and not argue, "reason"
or evade the issue, as so many falsely professing Christians do today.
Knowing that He made you and that your life really belongs to Him, you should
present your body a living sacrifice as God tells you to do (Rom. 12:1). You
should serve and obey God with all your being -- with a willing heart -- and do
all in your power to prepare yourself for and to further the work of reaching
others with the message of the soon-coming government of God which will finally
bring real peace to this earth.
Your attitude should always be that of Jesus Christ, your example, when He
was called upon to give His very life: "Not my will, but thine, be
done" (Luke 22:42).
This is what true worship really means! This is how to keep the first
commandment, the GREAT commandment!
THE SECOND COMMANDMENT
In His teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated: "Whosoever
therefore shall break one of these LEAST commandments, and shall teach men so,
he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall DO
and TEACH them [even the LEAST commandments], the same shall be called great in
the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:19). Throughout the entire message, Jesus
was explaining and expounding and magnifying the Ten Commandments. He was
showing that this spiritual law was a living law -- like the law of gravity or
inertia. When you break it, it breaks you!
We have seen, therefore, that when men or nations break the first commandment
-- "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" -- they bring an
inevitable penalty of suffering and wretchedness upon themselves and their
posterity. Men cut themselves off from the source of their being, from the
purpose of life, from the laws that would give them happiness, peace and joy.
Men cut off from the true God are empty, frustrated and miserable. And whether
by the awfulness of war, personal violence, sickness or simply the rotting of
corruptible human flesh, the ultimate fate of all men cut off from God is an
ignominious death -- with no hope or promise of eternal life thereafter (Rom.
6:23; Rev. 21:8).
The Second Commandment
Man is incomplete, then, having cut himself off from the true worship of the
true God. Yet he is to worship that God alone: "Thou shalt have no other
gods before me."
The second commandment tells us about how to worship the true God, what
pitfalls to avoid in our worship, and of the continuing blessing or penalty that
comes to our progeny as a result of the way in which we worship Almighty God.
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any
thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in
the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve
them: for I the Lord [Eternal] thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity
of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them
that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my
commandments" (Ex. 20:4-6).
The natural mind of physical man cries out for something to help him in his
worship of God. He wants some physical object to "remind" him of the
invisible God -- some "aid" to worship. Yet, that is exactly what is
forbidden in this commandment!
Jesus said: "But the hour cometh, and NOW IS, when the true worshipers
shall worship the Father in SPIRIT and in TRUTH: for the Father seeketh such to
worship him" (John 4:23). Notice that it is only the "true"
worshipers who are able to worship the Father in spirit and in truth. Many
others attempt some form of worship but, because they limit their worship by a
false concept of God, it is largely in vain. "God IS a SPIRIT: and they
that worship him MUST worship him in spirit and in truth" (verse 24).
The instant a man sets up any representation of God, he denies that which is
essential in God. God is the essence of all power -- all wisdom -- all love. God
is limitless. When man erects a mental or physical image of God, he
automatically limits in his own thought and worship the God who will not be
The Basis of Idolatry
Many times after reiterating the Ten Commandments, God again warned Israel
against any form of idolatry. "Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image,
neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone
in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God" (Lev. 26:1).
God was continually against EVERY form of idol or image used in worship.
However, lest some misunderstand, let us pause at this point to note that God
does NOT condemn art or sculpture, but rather the setting up of any picture or
image or representation "to bow down unto it." In the original command
in Exodus 20:4-6, God is NOT condemning every picture and image, but, as the
command continues, "Thou shalt not bow down, thyself to them, nor serve
them." So it is the use of art or sculpture as a form of worship or
"aid" to worship that Gods condemns!
The real BASIS of all idolatry is that self-willed, rebellious man refuses to
surrender himself to worship the true God IN THE WAY THAT HE COMMANDS! Not
really knowing the true God, then, nor having His Spirit, man thinks he needs
some "aid" or "representation" to help him worship his
humanly devised concept of God. Notice that this second commandment is not
speaking of the worship of an IDOL -- that's forbidden in the first commandment.
This second commandment forbids the use of physical "aids" or
"helps" in worshiping the invisible God.
A Converted Person Knows God
No man who really knows God as his Father -- no man who is living in daily
communion with Him -- needs a picture or image to help him to pray. If a man
thinks he needs this kind of help, it is simply because he has not come to know
God -- and undoubtedly is not filled with and led by the Holy Spirit of God. In
order to worship God in spirit, you must have the Holy Spirit. "Now if any
man have not the Spirit of Christ, HE IS NONE OF HIS" (Rom. 8:9).
But God gives His Holy Spirit only after repentance and baptism -- and only
to those who "obey him" (Acts 2:38; 5:32). Very few men in this day
and age have truly surrendered themselves to obey God, to walk with Him, to let
Him rule their every thought and word and action. Therefore, they are not
actually acquainted with God. He seems far off -- unreal -- nebulous. They need
a physical "reminder" in front of them to help them realize that He
exists and is there to hear their prayers!
Pictures of Jesus
Thousands of professing Christians employ representations or pictures of a
so-called Jesus Christ in their worship -- and even display them in their homes.
What does your Bible say about such pictures?
First of all, the second commandment itself obviously prohibits the use of
anything which represents God or could easily become an object of worship.
Certainly, since Jesus Christ is God (Heb. 1:8), this would directly prohibit
any picture or likeness of His person!
In addition, for those who might wish to "reason" or argue about
this point, these so-called pictures of Christ have no similarity whatever to
the way Jesus Christ really looked! Jesus -- when in human flesh -- was a Jew
(Heb. 7:14). The features in most of His supposed pictures are obviously not
As the Word of God, Christ inspired the apostle Paul to write: "Doth not
even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a SHAME unto
him?" (I Cor. 11:14.) Yet these pictures invariably show a man with long
hair, soft feminine features and a sentimental, sanctimonious look in His eyes.
This is NOT the Christ of your Bible! Actually, Jesus was undoubtedly very
masculine in appearance. As a young man, He was a carpenter -- working outdoors.
And He continued spending most of His time outdoors even during His ministry.
So most crucifixes, pictures and images of Jesus are in total opposition to
every description given of Him in the sacred Word of God! They give a false
impression of the true Jesus Christ in every respect.
Jesus' face must have had a rugged, sunburned appearance. He was not womanish
in appearance, but rather had short hair like a man. He did not have beautiful,
aristocratic features, but as He inspired Isaiah to describe His human
appearance: "He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him,
there is no beauty that we should desire him" (Isa. 53:2). As a human
being, Jesus was a normal, healthy, perhaps somewhat rugged looking young Jew in
His early thirties, who with earnestness and conviction preached the message of
God's soon coming Kingdom or rule over this earth.
However, if we think of Jesus' appearance at all, we should think, in general
terms at least, of the way He looks today. He has described this for us in
Revelation 1:13-16: "His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white
as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire ... and his countenance was as the
sun shineth in his strength."
As very God, Jesus' face now shines with radiance and with power. As a human
being, you would not dare to look directly into it!
Many will claim they do not worship these pictures or images. Perhaps so. But
this false picture and false concept of Christ undoubtedly comes into their
minds quite often when they think of Christ or pray. These false pictures and
statues actually come between them and Christ. They separate the worshiper from
If you use such images or pictures of Christ, you are breaking the second
commandment! And you are greatly limiting your concept of the living Christ --
who now sits glorified at the right hand of God in heaven with His face shining
like the sun in full strength!
Worshiping Systems and Institutions
One of the most common forms of modern idolatry is making an idol out of
one's church or society. For many people, this world's society -- its dictates,
customs and traditions -- becomes a literal god. Many people are desperately
afraid of doing anything that might be regarded as different or "odd."
They feel they must conform to this world and its ways.
But God commands: "Be NOT CONFORMED to this world, but be ye transformed
by the renewing of your mind" (Rom 12:2). This command must seem very hard
to obey for people who get to thinking that other PEOPLE must be right in what,
they think and say and practice.
The Bible shows that many people in Jesus' day failed in their worship:
"For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John
12:43). If you blindly obey the dictates of your family, your church or society
instead of the direct commands of God, you are guilty of idolatry. That group or
institution becomes an idol to you in place of the true God!
Even ritual in a church service is a dangerous thing, for however refined the
ritual of some institutions may be, it begins and ends in the physical senses of
human man -- and is not a valid substitute for the true worship of God "in
spirit." The Bible directly warns that people of our day would "have a
FORM of godliness, but deny the POWER thereof" (II Tim 3:5).
The true God is the invisible, Eternal Creator and Ruler of the universe. How
should you worship Him? He answers: "To this man will I look, even to him
that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word" (Isa.
You must worship God directly -- and with a humble and willing heart. You
must study God's Word, willingly be corrected by it, and tremble before its
authority over your life! With a heart proven to be submissive through
repentance and obedience, you must pray to God in heaven many times each week on
your knees and in silent prayer as you go about your daily tasks. You must come
to know and love Him as your Father.
As Enoch and Noah and Abraham did, you must learn to "walk with
God" -- and be in constant and increasing communion and yieldedness to Him
throughout every day of your life. Then -- guided by His Spirit -- you will
never even begin to consider using an image or idol or picture as an
"aid" to prayer and worship of the great sovereign Ruler of this
universe, and your personal Father in heaven.
A Solemn Warning and Promise
We have seen that God forbids the making of any image or idol to represent
Him: "For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the
fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate
me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my
commandments" (Ex. 20:5-6).
Because God is our Father, He is lovingly zealous for our eternal welfare. He
is jealous over us, in that He will not countenance the worshiping of false gods
by His children. This, of course, is for our own good!
If we persist in an idolatrous and vain form of worship, God says He will
visit our iniquity upon our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
There are many ramifications to this statement and principle.
But there is one obvious direct meaning in this context. If, in worship, men
put an idol, image or something else in place of God and come under the
influence of that false worship, then they are not only harming themselves --
but their children and grandchildren! The principle is that their false idea of
worship will be transmitted to their children -- damaging and wrecking their
lives and happiness! It is a solemn and terrible thing thus to pass on to your
children a false concept of God. It is one of the most awful things a man can
do! But together with this warning, God gives a merciful promise to those who
are willing to worship God as He commands. In their case, He is a loving and
merciful God, "shewing mercy unto thousands" of them that love Him,
and keep His commandments.
Here is a remarkable contrast. God only visits the iniquity of the fathers to
the third and fourth generations before intervening with merciful punishment and
awakening to truth. But He shows mercy unto the THOUSANDTH generation!
God calls men into His own immediate spiritual presence -- to worship their
Creator DIRECTLY. Men can come to really KNOW the great God of the universe as
their personal Father. They can daily walk with Him, talk with Him. Whenever a
man stops short of that face-to-face worship of the Eternal God, he is working
ruin in his own character -- breaking the commandment of God.
This is the meaning and force of the second commandment.
THE THIRD COMMANDMENT
Is God really first in your personal life? Results of a poll of 1500 college
students showed that they had two sets of values toward which they professed
allegiance: on the first level, towards self, family and friends; on the second
level, to mankind (in general) and GOD.
It is notable that God was least regarded by these "educated" young
people! Yet in this same poll, 90 percent of those questioned indicated a belief
in God. This prevailing spiritual lethargy and passive disrespect toward God --
and toward the great magnitude of His office and power -- is indicative of a
growing trend even among churchgoers and professing Christians. People like to
talk about religion and God, but they do not stand in awe of His position and
And this spiritual cancer has within it the seeds of the destruction of our
The Third Commandment Stated
In discussing the first and second commandments, we found that we must guard
against making a god out of ANYTHING -- and putting it in place of the true God.
And we learned that God commands us to worship Him DIRECTLY -- to walk with Him,
to talk with Him, to really know and worship Him in spirit and truth -- and to
avoid using any image, picture or physical object as an "aid" to
worship or to "remind" us of the great Creator.
The third commandment deals with God's name, His office, His position as the
great sovereign Ruler of the universe: "Thou shalt not take the name of the
Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his
name in vain" (Exodus 20:7).
In the Bible, personal names have a meaning. The original Hebrew name of
ABRAM was changed to ABRAHAM -- for Abraham means "a father of many
nations." And Abraham was destined to become just that -- "a father of
many nations" (Gen. 17:5).
So it is with GOD'S NAME.
God's Name Reveals the Kind of God You Worship
Every name or title of God reveals some attribute of the divine character. In
studying God's Word, we learn new facts about God's nature and character with
each new name by which He reveals Himself. In other words, God names Himself
what He is!
If men use the NAME of God in a way which denies the true MEANING and
CHARACTER of God, they are breaking the third commandment. God declares through
Isaiah: "Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of
Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name
of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in
righteousness" (Isa 48:1). People to whom this prophecy applies use the
name of God, but fail to obey the revelation of God contained in His name.
And shocking though it may be, many religious people repeat over and over the
name of God in sermons or prayers. They are taking God's name IN VAIN -- to no
good use or purpose!
The original command says: "The Lord will not hold him GUILTLESS that
taketh his name in vain." The Hebrew word here rendered
"guiltless" may also be translated "clean": "The Lord
will not hold him to be CLEAN that taketh his name in vain." The test of
spiritual cleanliness is the attitude of a man to the name of God! A man is
clean or unclean according as he uses the name of God in truth -- or for vanity.
Do you realize what this means? It certainly indicates that a man is better off
who -- because of sincere religious doubts -- has dropped the name of God from
his vocabulary than is a professing Christian who talks about God continually,
but denies Him in his daily life!
In the Lord's prayer, we are instructed to "hallow" God's name. And
the third commandment with which we are dealing has directly to do with showing
the proper respect for the name of God. One of the ten great points of God's
eternal spiritual law is devoted to this very thing!
First of all, however, let us make it clear to those who may have been
misinformed on the subject that reverencing God's name does not mean trying to
speak Hebrew or Greek or learning to pronounce God's name in the original
biblical languages! There are certain sects which make a great matter out of
this. Some claim that "Jehovah" is the Father's name. Others claim
that it is "Yahweh," others "Yahveh," and others use still
different variations. The truth of the matter is that since all admit that the
Hebrew vowels have not been preserved, no one knows exactly how this Hebrew name
of God should be pronounced! (For proof that "God" is the Father's
name, request our free reprint article titled "The Unknown God.")
Describing the significance of one's name, Moulton-Milligan's
"Vocabulary of the Greek Testament" states: "By a usage similar
to that of the Heb .... ["onoma", "name"] comes in the N.T.
to denote the 'character', 'name', 'authority' of the person indicated" (p.
451). Also, and even more important, God Himself inspired Daniel and Ezra to use
the Aramaic word for God in nine chapters of the Bible which they wrote in this
language, and the New Testament writers all were inspired to use the GREEK words
for the Deity.
The real importance of the matter, of course, lies not in the phonetic sound
which is used to describe God, but in the meaning which His names convey! Thus,
this respected authority on biblical linguistics clearly shows that one's name
signifies one's office, authority and especially one's character. The names of
God show us what God is like -- they reveal His character!
Do you really know what God is like? Do you respect His various offices and
His name as you should?
Turn to your Bible and check up!
God's Nature and Character Revealed
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen. 1:1).
In this very first verse of the Bible, God reveals Himself by the Hebrew name
ELOHIM. There is one God -- but more than one member in the Godhead, or God
family! This same word ELOHIM is used in Genesis 1:26: "And GOD [ELOHIM]
said, Let us make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness." Here it is clearly
seen -- in context with the passage itself -- that more than one person shares
the name of God -- ELOHIM. In the New Testament, this is made clear by the
revelation that God the Father created all things by and through Jesus Christ --
who was with God and was God from the beginning (John 1:1-14; Eph. 3:9). In
these passages, therefore, it is revealed that God is more than one person --
God the Father and the "Word" or SPOKESMAN, who later became Jesus
Christ when born in human flesh. This Father-Son relationship shows that God is
a FAMILY. And the way the word ELOHIM is used in these early passages in Genesis
and elsewhere certainly indicates that God is the creating kingdom or family!
Interestingly, ELOHIM is plural in form but is used either in the singular or
plural, depending on the context.
God, by virtue of being Creator, is also the Ruler over His creation. We find
that immediately after creating the first man and woman, God gave them both a
blessing and a command: "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the
earth, and subdue it" (Gen. 1:28). Yes, the true God is Ruler -- and you
should obey Him because He made you and gives you every breath of air you
In dealing with Abraham, God sometimes calls Himself EL SHADDAI, which means
"ALMIGHTY God." So God is the source of ALL power! His name should be
revered, because it stands for the one who is the source of all power, all
might, and all authority.
The name most commonly translated "LORD" in the Old Testament is
translated from the Hebrew letters YHWH, sometimes rendered YAHWEH or YAHVEH.
The original Hebrew word means the "Eternal" or "Self-Existent
One." The word is both used and defined in Genesis 21:33: "And Abraham
planted a grove [tree -- ESHEL in the Hebrew] in Beersheba, and called there on
the name of the LORD [YHWH], the EVERLASTING God." This Hebrew word, often
translated "Jehovah" in some of the revised versions, shows God's
character as the EVERLIVING God and is used to show His everlasting office in a
covenant relationship to those whom He has created.
God has always existed and will always exist to carry out His blessings, His
promises, and His covenant with His people! Our God is the ETERNAL -- the
Throughout His Word, God's name is connected with His attributes -- His
power, His eternal existence, His mercy, His faithfulness, His wisdom, His love.
Notice how the prophet David connects God's name with His creative power:
"O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set
thy glory above the heavens .... When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy
fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that
thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?"
Here God is pictured as setting His glory above the heavens. Then David
proceeds to show that God has created the heavens, the earth and man. No wonder
God's name and office are to be respected!
In our everyday speech, many of us are damning the very name of our Creator
and our God! We are using our breath to curse and damn the name of the very one
who gives us our life and the very breath with which we curse His name! An
expression used with terrible frequency is asking God to "damn"
someone. Poor men and wealthy men alike give ready tongue to this vile oath --
and often think they are proving their "manhood" or getting away with
something by doing it! Yet it would be hard to find any normal human being
anywhere who would like to see this phrase carried out with respect to his
fellow man in all of its terrible meaning. Using this expression is trifling
with the name of our God -- asking Him to do something which He has never
intended to do.
God never "damned" a man in the way men seem to think! This idea is
an awful heresy! God's work is the work of salvation, and God will deprive no
man of eternal life, except that man by his own volition and will rejects God's
God says: "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a
contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word" (Isa. 66:2). The very same thing
may be said about the deep respect and godly fear we should have for God's name
-- which directly represents God's character, His Word, and His purposes.
Should You Swear?
Men today are accustomed not only to profane swearing and invoking God's name
to back up their oaths, but also many legal ceremonies in some lands invoke the
name of God in a form of swearing or an oath.
Jesus Christ said: "But I say unto you, Swear NOT AT ALL; neither by
heaven; for it is God's throne: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool:
neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King" (Matt.
God's name is so sacred and holy that we are commanded not to invoke it to
back up our words or our oath! Fortunately, the American nation was founded by
men who read their Bibles and made great allowance for religious liberty and
freedom. Therefore, even though many public officials will, on occasion, ask you
to raise your hand and "swear," they all realize that provision has
been made so that you can employ the word "affirm" instead of
And actually, as we should all know, the simple affirmation or formal word of
a God-fearing Christian is far more to be relied upon than ten thousand oaths
given by a liar on the witness stand! The travesty of some few businessmen,
politicians and even college professors taking God's name in vain on the witness
stand in this manner bears ample proof of this statement!
Religious Titles to Avoid
Speaking of using certain expressions as a religious title, Christ said:
"And call no man your FATHER upon the earth: for one is your Father, which
is in heaven" (Matt. 23:9). Although there is a flagrant and obvious abuse
of this command in some large religious organizations, this statement of God's
Word is clear to anyone who wishes to obey it.
Our only spiritual Father is God! Any application of this word as a religious
title to a man is simply direct blasphemy against the Creator who has made all
men -- even the weak, corruptible human beings who impudently take to themselves
and falsely assume that which is a divine title.
Of course, we SHOULD call our human parent "father," as God Himself
does in the fifth commandment.
Another common misuse of the divine name is the application of the term
"Reverend" to any human being -- be he a minister or otherwise. For
God applies this title to Himself alone: "He sent redemption unto his
people: he hath commanded his covenant forever: HOLY and REVEREND is his [God's]
name" (Psalm 111:9). "Reverend" applies to someone to be revered
-- someone worthy of worship! No mortal man is worthy of such a title! Even so
great a servant of God as the apostle Paul himself was inspired to write:
"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing"
(Rom. 7:18). ANY man who thinks he is worthy of worship -- or deserves the title
"Reverend" -- is someday going to have to repent of breaking the third
The Most Common Sin of All
In teaching His disciples, and us as Christians, how to pray, Jesus Christ
set forth the right manner to approach Almighty God and the attitude of
reverence in which we should hold His office and His name. In the opening
phrases of what is commonly called "The Lord's Prayer," our authorized
translations of the Bible are most probably falsely punctuated. After the
invocation, "Our Father which art in heaven" -- the approach of man to
God -- there are three requests linked together, and then a clause following
which conditions all three -- and not the last one only. The correct rendering
would be as follows: "Our Father which art in heaven, thy name be hallowed,
thy kingdom come, thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth." The phrase
"as in heaven, so on earth" has reference not merely to "thy will
be done," but to "thy kingdom come" and to "hallowed be thy
These thoughts contained in what is called the Lord's Prayer -- the hallowing
of God's name, the coming of His kingdom, and the doing of His will -- are
simply different phases of the same thing. For a man hallows God's name by
submission to His kingdom and government, and by doing His will and obeying His
Simply holding the phonetic sound of God's name in reverence is only a small
part of fulfillment of the third commandment.
Jesus asked: "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things
which I say?" (Luke 6:46.) Prayer without obedience is a subtle form of
The supposedly religious people who talk about religion and God but refuse to
obey His Word and His law are guilty of greater sin than the man who admittedly
goes the way of the flesh and at least refuses to pretend otherwise. The
hypocrisy of religious denominations and religious people is infinitely worse
than the profanity of the street. Praise offered to God which is counteracted by
rebellion against His ways and His laws is certainly blasphemy -- and it is
taking the name of God in vain!
A man or minister who preaches and prays with eloquence and a devotional
attitude, but then proceeds to breaks the least of God's commandments (Matt.
5:19) -- that man blasphemes when he prays! But even if he deceives the world,
he never deceives God!
Speaking of the "religionists" of His day who refused complete
obedience to the will and law of God, Jesus declared: "This people
honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is FAR FROM ME. Howbeit IN VAIN do
they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Mark
7:6-7). In like manner, many today profess God with their lips, but their
worship is vain!
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the
kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH THE WILL of my Father which is in
heaven" (Matt. 7:21).
May God grant you the willingness to obey His will and law! May you learn to
worship Him in spirit and in truth. May you learn to honor and reverence His
great name -- for it represents His creative power, His wisdom, His
faithfulness, His love and kindness and patience and infinite mercy. It
represents the character and office and dignity of the great God who sits at the
controls of the universe!
THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT
Why were you born? What is the meaning of your life? What is the true goal of
life -- and what are the laws of life by which that goal can be attained?
How much time do you spend each week in considering these most important
questions? Most people are so busy with the day-to-day cares of making ends meet
that they devote almost no time at all to the spiritual issues of life. If
questioned about Bible study or prayer, most people reply that "there just
isn't enough time" for these religious activities.
Because he is so engrossed with his job during the day, and with television,
movies, parties and sports in the evenings and on weekends, the average American
is totally lacking in even a rudimentary knowledge of his own religious beliefs.
And he is childishly ignorant of the fundamental truths of the Bible -- so much
so that a survey showed that the average American is unable even to name the
four Gospels correctly!
God seems far away to him. The Bible is "for old folks and
preachers" to read and understand. Yet he proclaims that he "hopes to
do better" someday. The big question is-when? When will he take the time to
really get to know God? When will he take time to study his Bible, to pray
earnestly to the Creator as his Father, to meditate on the laws and purposes of
For most people, the true answer will probably be "never" -- unless
they learn to obey the fourth commandment of Almighty God! Obedience to this
little-understood commandment is a powerful factor in bringing the lives of men
and women close to the Creator God -- and to His blessings and direct guidance.
The Fourth Commandment Stated
In the first three sections of this booklet, we discussed the prevalent sin
of putting another god in place of the true God. We learned that God commands us
to worship Him directly and to avoid using any image, picture or physical object
to "remind" us of the great Creator, or as an "aid" to
worship. And we were warned against the vain use of the name of Almighty God,
which stands for His position, His character, His power, His office as the great
Ruler of this entire universe.
The fourth commandment completes the first section of the Decalogue which
deals with man's relationship to God. It provides for the perpetual observance
of a sign of the relationship between God and man. "Remember the sabbath
day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the
seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any
work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant,
nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the
Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the
seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it"
This command is, in its wording, the longest of any of the ten. It is placed,
protectively as it were, in the very midst of the Ten Commandments. Yet, sad to
say, it is the one command about which men "reason" and argue most and
which they would most quickly tear asunder and try to separate from the rest of
Notice that it starts out with the injunction to "remember." This
very statement proves that the Sabbath command was ALREADY understood by God's
chosen people and that, in incorporating it as part of His covenant, God was
REMINDING them of a spiritual command of which they already had knowledge.
"REMEMBER the sabbath day, to KEEP it holy." You cannot
"keep" cold water hot! And mortal MEN cannot make anything holy.
Therefore, to fully grasp the significance of this divine command, we need to
learn WHO made the Sabbath day holy and WHEN!
Jesus said: "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath" (Mark 2:27-28).
Notice that Jesus said the Sabbath day was "MADE." Whatever was made
has a Maker.
Note also that Jesus did not say that the Sabbath was made only for the
Jewish people, but for MAN -- for all mankind, in other words. Then He stated
that He -- Christ -- is "Lord" of the Sabbath. In this statement, He
claims to be -- not the destroyer -- but the LORD of the Sabbath. In His human
life, Jesus kept the Sabbath, and many verses in the four Gospels are devoted to
His instructions to the disciples in how it should be kept, and in freeing it
from the traditions which the Jews had added.
But, before continuing, let us answer the question: "Who made the
Who Made the Sabbath?
In understanding the command to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy,
and in understanding who made the Sabbath in the first place, we need to turn to
an account of the very beginning of God's creation. The New Testament gives such
an account in the first chapter of the Gospel according to John. "In the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The
same was in the beginning with God. ALL THINGS WERE MADE BY HIM; and without him
was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:1-3). Here we find Jesus
Christ described as the "Word" (or "Spokesman," as the
original Greek may more properly be rendered). This passage reveals that Jesus
has been with the Father from the beginning, and that all things were made by
Him -- by Jesus Christ! As the second person in the Godhead, the Father used HIM
as the instrument through whom the creation was brought into being. The apostle
Paul was inspired to speak of how God "created ALL THINGS by Jesus
Christ" (Eph. 3:9). In Hebrews, we find Christ described as the Son of God,
"whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the
worlds" (Heb. 1:2).
These and many other scriptures show that He was the person in the Godhead
who later became Jesus Christ, who actually carried out the job of creation! He
was the one who said: "Let there be light," and there WAS light. He
was the one who created man -- and set him on this earth in the garden of Eden.
So speaking of Him in particular who did the creating, the inspired writer of
Genesis states: "And on the SEVENTH day God ended his work which he had
made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. AND
GOD BLESSED THE SEVENTH DAY, AND SANCTIFIED IT: because that in it he had rested
from all his work which God created and made" (Gen. 2:2-3).
Jesus said that the Sabbath was made FOR man. Here we see that the Sabbath
was made WHEN man was made. And it was made BY the very divine person who later
became Jesus Christ! It was made as an intrinsic part of the environment which
surrounded man and which God made in the seven days of creation. Notice that God
"blessed" the SEVENTH day and "sanctified" it. Such an honor
was not conferred on any of the preceding six days. When God blesses something,
He bestows His divine favor upon, and His divine presence in that thing. The
very word "sanctify" means to SET APART for holy use or purpose. Thus,
we see that in the very act of creation, the Almighty God put His divine favor
upon, and set apart for holy use and purpose, a certain space of the most
enduring thing there is -- time.
The Sabbath Is a Blessing
Certainly this insight into the background of the Sabbath gives added meaning
to God's command: "REMEMBER the sabbath day, to KEEP it holy." Through
Jesus Christ, God made the seventh day of the week holy -- and on His authority
as our Creator He commands us to keep it that way!
The Sabbath, then, is holy time. Yet it was made FOR man -- as a great
blessing to all mankind!
Our Creator knew that we would need a period of rest and worship every
seventh day, and this is the basic purpose for which the Sabbath was created.
Each of us tends to become overly absorbed in our daily cares and work and
pleasure during the week. Our Creator foresaw this, and set apart His Sabbath
day as a consecrated time when we can completely forget our daily routine and
draw closer to the Creator God in study, meditation and prayer. Modern man
desperately needs this period of time in which to have real communion with his
Maker and God. Taking time to think about God and to worship Him, to pray, to
study and meditate upon the purpose for human existence, and upon God's revealed
laws of life -- all this adds great strength and meanings to man's life the
other six days of the week.
The Sabbath is one of the greatest blessings that has ever been bestowed upon
the human family!
The Command Expounded
Understanding that the Sabbath command is just as binding as the commandments
against murder and adultery, let us proceed to analyze and expound this
commandment of God and its application to our personal lives today.
Except for the explanatory and expository statements, the fourth commandment
consists of two basic injunctions: First, "Remember the sabbath day, to
keep it holy." Second, "Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy
It is by the authority of God that the first six days of the week are
appointed for man's business and labor. It is the will of God that man should
work and earn his daily bread. He who idles away his time in the six days is
equally guilty in the sight of God as the one who works on the seventh! The idle
person is ordinarily clothed with rags, and his idle mind and hands lead him
into many wretched vices and sins.
This second part of the Sabbath command is just as binding as the first! He
who never works is totally unfitted for worship! The honest, purposeful work of
the six days is in itself an act of worship and obedience to God.
Man is placed in a world that contains all that is necessary for his physical
being, but to obtain it he must work! It is part of the original intention of
God, for man was placed in the garden of Eden "to dress it and to keep
it" (Gen. 2:15).
However, in like manner, he who never pauses from his daily business and
pursuits to worship as God has commanded on the seventh day which God has made
holy and set apart is -- through lack of contact with his Maker -- rendered
incapable of his highest potential achievement in work, in service and in the
joy of accomplishment.
Since the very Creator has so commanded, we can keep the Sabbath day of rest
and spiritual rejuvenation with complete confidence that God will bless and
prosper us, because we have done this!
A Paid Vacation
Normally speaking, if you would quit working every few days to take a needed
rest, you might naturally expect to get behind with your work and finances. But
God Himself has set in motion a great law. God's Ten Commandments are living,
active laws -- just like the law of gravity. They are in operation -- they work
automatically. The law of the Sabbath backed up by the very power of the Creator
-- says that if you will pause to rest and worship Almighty God on the seventh
day every week, you will be so blessed during the work of the six days that this
will more than make up for what you might have accomplished by laboring on God's
Sabbath! Do you realize what this amounts to? In one way of looking at it, God
is giving us a paid vacation every seventh day!
But this vacation is not only for the purpose of physical rest, it is also a
time for worship, for spiritual rededication, for the contemplation and exercise
of the spiritual purposes and laws of life which God has set. In the observance
of the seventh day which God has made holy -- and which alone points to creation
-- man is brought into close communion with his Maker and his God. For God's
very presence as well as His divine blessing are especially evident in this day
which He has set apart and sanctified.
These are the busiest days that humanity has ever seen. These are days in
which most men seem to have little or no time for the contemplation of the
spiritual purposes and goals of life -- the most important questions which man
ought to be considering.
The tremendous blessing of God's true Sabbath is that it enables man to take
time to fully consider and weigh these most important of all questions in life
-- and to commune with his God and Creator in a way in which few men in this age
have ever experienced. The true observance of the Sabbath would keep man in
contact with God! Without that contact, he is cut off from the very purpose of
his existence, from the laws that govern his success or failure in life, from an
understanding of what he is, where he is going and how to get there. Without
this contact with the Creator God, the life of man is emptiness, frustration and
a thing of vanity. In this age above all others, man needs the contact with God,
the spiritual strength and understanding, and the divine blessing and guidance
which proper observance of God's true Sabbath provides.
Jesus Christ -- the inspired example of how every true Christian ought to
live - taught by His own life and actions that the Sabbath is a holy convocation
(commanded assembly) for God's people as is taught in Leviticus 23:3. Jesus'
example and customary practice is recorded in Luke 4:16, where we read that
Jesus, "as his custom was ... went into the synagogue on the sabbath day,
and stood up for to read."
Certainly the true Sabbath is a day for the united worship and adoration of
God by His called servants. And it is a time for the preaching and expounding of
God's Word and His living laws. It is the duty of every true Christian, then, to
find out where that Church is in which he can really worship God "in spirit
and in truth," a Church which properly observes the true Sabbath of the
Creator God, and a Church in which man is taught to "live by EVERY word of
There are several churches which believe in keeping the fourth commandment.
But most of these churches -- in their teaching and practice -- directly break
one or more of the other commandments. Jesus founded only one Church (Matt.
16:18), and it alone keeps all of God's commandments.
Rejoice in God's Sabbath
Learn to keep the Sabbath in a positive way! Use the seventh day that God has
sanctified and made holy as He has intended -- to rest from worldly labor, to
pray, to study and to meditate on God's Word and the purpose for human
existence. Take time to do good to others, to care for the sick, to visit the
afflicted. Assemble with other true Christians on the Sabbath if this is
The seventh day and that day alone which God made holy is the commanded and
God-blessed time for rest, for worship and for contemplation of the vital keys
to the meaning of life.
If you have any doubt whatsoever about on which day the Sabbath should be
observed, write for our free, fully illustrated booklet "Which Day Is the
Properly understood and properly observed, the fourth commandment -- the
keeping of God's holy Sabbaths is one of the greatest blessings that the Creator
has ever bestowed upon the children of men! It is an identifying sign between,
man and the true God. Remember it -- keep it holy!
THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT
Youthful violence and insolence characterize the age in which we live. Broken
homes are increasing. Teenage crime is literally skyrocketing!
One of America's most respected authorities on juvenile problems, Judge
Samuel S. Leibowitz, set out to find the answer to the frustration of America's
youth. He decided to go to the Western nation with the lowest reported incidence
of juvenile crime, Italy. He sought the reason from police and school officials
throughout the nation. From every part of Italy, he received the same answer:
Young people in Italy respect authority.
Judge Leibowitz had to go into Italian homes to find out WHY. He found that
even in the poorest home, the wife and children respect and honor the father as
its head. He found that the modern do-as-you-please, permissive world does not
really make a child happy and balanced. Rather, a child wants the solid walls of
discipline and rules around him, defining his world -- telling him exactly how
far he can go.
Just as will be expected of him in the adult world, a child must be
disciplined to do things he does not necessarily want to do. From babyhood, a
child must be taught to respect and obey his parents.
Judge Leibowitz concluded his investigations with a nine-word solution to
juvenile delinquency: Put father back at the head of the family.
The remarkable answer to juvenile problems given by this eminent authority
goes deeper than might be realized. For it goes to the very source of the
problem: A lack of deep seated respect for constituted authority beginning in
infancy and continuing throughout life.
This problem has its origin in childhood -- in the home! Long before a child
is even aware of the existence of the church, the school, the nation, he is
forming attitudes and habits toward those who are his superiors in the nursery,
the home, and the neighborhood. Developed from infancy, this part of a child's
character will undoubtedly affect his thoughts and actions for the rest of his
The Fifth Commandment Stated
The first four commandments define man's relationship with God. They teach us
the magnitude of God's power and name -- and exhort us to remember Him as
Creator of all that is.
The fifth commandment is placed first among those which govern our human
relationships. It is not only chief in importance among these, when we
understand its full meaning, but it acts as a "bridge" between the two
sections of God's law. For true obedience to the fifth commandment is inevitably
linked with obedience and honor toward God Himself! Our Creator knew this when
He inspired it to be "the first commandment with promise."
"Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the
land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."
Why honor our parents? The true answer reveals the depth of this commandment
and its true import. If only every parent on earth might come to realize the
tremendous influence upon a child's later life that automatically comes as a
direct result of obedience or disobedience to this God-given command!
This commandment is one of the ten great points of God's eternal, spiritual
law. Under the Old Testament dispensation, the penalty for directly and
flagrantly violating this law was death! "He that smiteth his father, or
his mother, shall be surely put to death .... And he that curseth his father, or
his mother, shall surely be put to death" (Ex. 21:15,17). That is how
important this command is in God's eyes!
The home and the family unit are the basis of all decent society. And the
relationship of children to their parents is an exact type of the spiritual
relationship between true Christians and God. The lessons of character learned
in that relationship may last children the rest of their lives -- and for
In the eyes of a small child, a parent stands in the place of God Himself.
For the loving and affectionate parent is the child's provider, protector,
teacher and lawgiver. A child's early training and response to this relationship
will in large measure determine his later response to the larger relationships
with society. And, ultimately, it is certain to affect his relationship with his
spiritual Father in heaven.
Honor and Respect for Parents
The New Testament magnifies this command in many places. The apostle Paul
wrote: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour
thy father and thy mother; (which is the first commandment with promise)"
(Eph. 6:1-2). The original command to honor father and mother applies to all of
us throughout our lives. But in this place children specifically are told to
obey their parents "in the Lord."
Because of his total lack of experience and judgment, it is absolutely
necessary that a child be taught to obey his parents instantly and without
question. Explanations and reasons for this may and should be given to the child
from time to time. But, at the moment a parental command is given, there may not
be time or opportunity to give the reason why!
Therefore it is imperative that a child be taught the habit of unquestioning
obedience to his parents. For, until the young child develops, his parents stand
to him in the place of God. And God holds them responsible for teaching and
directing the child properly.
Obedience "in the Lord"
By direct implication, a parent is bound by the fifth commandment to make
himself honorable. For to be honored, one must be honorable. Every parent needs
to realize that he represents God to his child! He should live a life worthy of
the child's deep respect and reverence. Then he should teach his child to honor
and respect both of his parents.
As the child matures, the parent should instruct his child about the
existence of the great spiritual Father of all life, the Creator of heaven and
earth, the sovereign Ruler of the universe -- Almighty God. Christian parents
should teach their children to honor and obey their spiritual Father with even
more implicit faith and love than they do their earthly parents. For the
greatest lesson that a child or anyone can be taught is that of fear and
obedience to the One who set in motion all life in the first place! Thus, a
child will be taught the habit of obedience. He will learn to respect authority.
In due time, if his mind is opened to know the Supreme Father of all life, he
will already have learned the very basis of God's character -- loving obedience
to God, and deep respect and reverence for all law and constituted authority.
Blessing for Obedience
The apostle Paul reemphasizes the blessing attached to the fifth commandment:
"That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the
earth" (Eph. 6:3). Obedience to the fifth commandment automatically results
in the building of habits and character which tend to long life. A young person
so trained will avoid the recklessness, the violence, the wrong companionships
and the rebellion against authority which often result in untimely death. And,
in its ultimate meaning, those who learn to respect and obey their parents and
later -- because of this training -- God Himself, will certainly "live long
on the earth." For, as Jesus said: "Blessed are the meek [the humble
and obedient]: for they shall inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:5).
There are also many everyday blessings to the obedient child. Certainly not
the least of these is a sense of security. As Judge Leibowitz pointed out, a
child is confused unless he is told the bounds of his activities. But if a child
is told what those bounds are by his parents -- and stays within them -- he is
then relieved of the responsibility which he innately realizes his parents must
Frustration is another problem which is alleviated. The disobedient child is
a frustrated child -- for his mind is constantly plagued with feelings of guilt
and rebellion. A child who loves, honors and obeys his parents is a blessed
child indeed. He will tend to live a more truly happy, carefree and purposeful
life. And in his spiritual life, he will pass through the natural and beautiful
sequence from the honoring of his parents to the joyful worshiping of his God!
Thus far we have dealt primarily with the application of the fifth
commandment to children and young people. But the original command to
"honor" our parents is not addressed to children -- but to everyone.
Even Adults Should Honor Their Parents
The time may come when it is no longer necessary or right that a person
should strictly obey his parents. But the day should never come when he ceases
to honor them. The word "honor" has a much larger meaning than that of
obedience. It indicates a high respect, as for worth, merit or rank. It denotes
a feeling of high esteem and reverence.
A person who has properly obeyed his parents in childhood later expresses his
honor for them in a deeper appreciation of the comforts and training they
provided him as a child. This honor expresses itself in courtesy, thoughtfulness
and kind deeds.
As we mature, it becomes increasingly evident that untold hours of work, of
anxious thought and agonized prayer were bestowed for our welfare by faithful
and loving parents. It should become the delight of every decent man and woman
to return this love which our parents showered on us.
In the evening of life, many parents long for this affection and fellowship
with their children more, perhaps, than for any other blessing. Let us think and
act on this opportunity to return the love our parents so freely gave!
To the everlasting shame of our professing Christian society, thousands of
elderly parents are reduced to living on a mere pittance that comes to them
through governmental agencies. In all too many cases, the children are able but
simply unwilling to provide additional comforts for their parents.
Jesus Christ gave one of the most forceful interpretations of the fifth
commandment in its application to this very problem. In His day, men were
excusing themselves from providing for the necessities of their parents. They
were saying that funds which might have been used in this way were "Corban"
-- that is, dedicated to the service of the altar. These funds were not part of
God's tithe, but rather an additional offering which was used to gain favor in
approaching God. Reproaching these hypocritical religionists, Jesus said:
"Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own
tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth
father or mother, let him die the death" (Mark 7:9-10).
Now notice how these hypocrites "reasoned" their way around this
commandment! Jesus continued: "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. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his
father or his mother; making the word of God of none effect through your
tradition ..." (verses 11-13).
Jesus condemned these hypocrites. His words plainly teach that a Christian
must give material and financial assistance to his aged parents if it is
possible and their needs so require. He must not excuse himself by saying that
all his extra funds are "dedicated to God"!
This is a part of our obedience to the fifth commandment.
Jesus' Own Personal Example
Jesus Christ LIVED the message He taught. His own personal life is a dramatic
illustration of OBEDIENCE to the fifth commandment.
Just before His death, Jesus said: "I have kept my Father's
commandments" (John 15:10). Through obedience to His heavenly Father, and
to his human parents as well, Jesus grew in wisdom and maturity even as a youth.
Even in His dying moments, while suffering one of the most agonizing deaths
ever devised by men, Jesus honored and loved His mother to the very end. Just
before He died on the stake, John records: "When Jesus therefore saw his
mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother,
Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And
from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home" (John 19:26-27).
Here Jesus made final provision for His mother to be taken care of by John
after His death. At a time when the thoughts of all other men would have been of
SELF, Jesus still remembered the fifth commandment and extended love and honor
to the woman who bore Him, who nourished Him from infancy, who taught Him from
the Scriptures, and who now stood in this awful place -- unashamed -- weeping at
Remember the PERFECT EXAMPLE of Jesus Christ! "Honour thy father and thy
mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth
THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT
This is an age of hate and violence. It is an age of intense, competition,
strife and personal tensions.
The nations of the earth -- and the individuals within them -- are
conditioning their minds and consciences to the likelihood of wholesale murder
and possibly world suicide. Naturally, this situation is devastating to the
spiritual principles and ideals of our people. The effect of this is being felt
now -- even as you read this booklet.
We have seen the blessings that come through awe and respect for the one true
God, through reverencing His name and office, through hallowing His Sabbath day
and keeping it in the true knowledge of Him, and through honoring our fathers
and mothers in their high office which directly reflects God's Fatherhood and
love for all creation. In all these commandments, we have seen love and wisdom
and blessings. And so it is with the sixth commandment.
Amid the thunder and lightning and literal shaking of Mount Sinai, God's
voice THUNDERED the sixth commandment: "Thou shalt not murder" (Exodus
20:13, Jewish Publication Society translation). Biblical authorities agree that
"murder" is a more correct reading of the original inspired Hebrew
than the word "kill." For it is possible to kill and yet not to
murder. And it is important to understand that only the letter of God's law was
given to ancient Israel, whereas Christians are to live by the spirit and
fullest intent of that law as magnified by Christ Himself.
Under the original letter of the law, it was intentional killing or murder
which was forbidden. Remember that in this same "book of the covenant"
given to Israel, God commanded them to kill or execute those guilty of major
crimes (Ex. 21:12-17). Also, the instructions in Numbers 35:9-34 show that
accidental killing was not regarded as murder. Even here, though, manslaughter
was obviously a terrible offense -- and the careless or unwitting slayer had to
remain in a city of refuge for perhaps many years until the high priest died.
Just as capital punishment was commanded by God for serious crimes under the
letter of the law, so the commanded wars of Israel should be viewed not as acts
of wholesale murder but the carrying out of the divine will through human
instruments. Notice in Deuteronomy 7:1-2 that God directly commanded Israel to
exterminate the heathen tribes in the land of Canaan. This was not humanly
devised warfare nor was it personal vengeance or malice. It was the express will
of Almighty God who gives life -- and who alone has the right to say when it
shall be taken.
Incidentally, it should be noted that the history of the time indicates that
these nations occupying Canaan were absolutely wicked in the extreme -- and were
burning alive their own children in human sacrifice to their pagan gods. This
was part of the intelligent reason why the Creator ordered their extermination
at that time. Notice that in all these cases where God permitted man to take
life, it was only as His agent -- at His express will.
God's original purpose was that man should learn not to kill. And although it
was permitted in certain instances to the carnal, unconverted people of Israel,
we shall see that God is now developing in His Spirit-begotten children the
character to love, to serve and to save life -- not to destroy it.
The Source of Life
"And God said, Let us make man in OUR IMAGE, after OUR LIKENESS: and let
them have DOMINION ..."(Gen. 1:26). Man is given life by his Creator. He
did not give it to himself. Neither may he take it from himself -- or from
others. Life is sacred because it is God-given. Man has been made in the very
image and likeness of God. Of all the physical creation, only man has the type
of mind that God possesses. God is the Ruler of all that is. But out of human
flesh He is forming literal sons who will someday share in that rule. So God
said: "Let them have dominion ...."
Man needs experience in order to develop the character God purposes for him.
Experience requires time. And a man's life consists of just so much time. God
gave that life for the supreme purpose of preparing another son to be in His
kingdom and family forever.
The giving of life and breath and ability includes all. It is the most
wonderful gift of which physical man has knowledge. The taking of life ends all.
It cruelly and unexpectedly crushes all the hopes and dreams and plans of a man
made in the very image of the Creator Himself. It is a wicked usurpation by man
of a prerogative belonging to God alone who gives life in the first place -- and
who alone has the authority to take it away (Job 1:21). That is why ANY form of
murder is one of the ten great sins. It is destroying the highest creation of
Almighty God! In effect, it is an attempt to thwart the very purpose of the
great sovereign Ruler of the universe! The Giver of all life is God. And puny,
mortal man has no business whatsoever interfering with God's GREATEST GIFT!
Personal Application of the Commandment
Jesus Christ came into this world to "magnify" God's law and
"make it honorable" (Isa. 42:21). Jesus cast a spotlight, as it were,
on the Ten Commandments, and showed their real spiritual intent and meaning in
the full Christian life. Jesus said: "Ye have heard that it was said by
them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in
danger of the judgment: BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, that whosoever is angry with his
brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall
say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall
say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire" (Matt. 5:21-22).
Here murder is traced to its source hate and anger. Christ declared that if
personal anger fills the heart of one of His subjects, such a person is in
danger of judgment. If that anger leads a man to have utter derision and
contempt for his fellow human being, that man shall be "in danger of the
council" -- of God's punishment. If in bitterness and scorn a man shall say
of his fellow, "Thou fool," such a man shall be "in danger of
THIS is Jesus Christ's application of the sixth commandment to you and me. If
we harbor hate and anger in our hearts, we are harboring the spirit of murder.
Action follows thought. First we think, then we do! The Spirit of Christ guides
us not only to control our actions, but to control our thoughts and our
attitudes. In part, the New Covenant is the process of God writing His law in
our hearts and minds (Heb. 8:10).
God spoke through Paul: "Dearly beloved, avenge NOT yourselves, but
rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will
repay, saith the Lord" (Rom. 12:19). Man is incapable of taking vengeance
with proper wisdom and justice for all concerned. God alone has the wisdom and
power and the right to take vengeance on human beings -- to the extent of
executing them if need be. The true Christian must learn that God is real -- and
that His protection and His vengeance are just as real!
How, then, should you deal with your enemies? "Therefore if thine enemy
hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap
coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with
good" (verses 20-21).
It takes real strength of character to help and serve your fellow human being
when he has directly tried to harm you! It takes the spiritual wisdom to realize
that he is a fellow human being, made in the image of God, and simply misguided
for the time being in his thoughts and actions.
Humanity's Greatest Crime
Perhaps the greatest international crime of humanity is the scourge of war.
Millions of human lives created in the image of God have been mercilessly
slaughtered down through the ages in useless, senseless, idiotic wars which in
most cases failed utterly to accomplish their stated purpose!
The spirit of God's law as magnified by Jesus Christ is totally opposed to
every form of war! Nearly all the really great religious and political leaders
of the world have acknowledged the utter futility of war. Before the outbreak of
World War II, Pope Pius XII declared: "Everything is gained by peace;
nothing is gained by war." One of the most respected statesmen and military
leaders of our time, General Douglas MacArthur, stated: "Men since the
beginning of time have sought peace ... military alliances, balances of powers,
leagues of nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by way of
the crucible of war. The utter destructiveness of war now blots out this
alternative. We have had our last chance. If we will not devise some greater and
equitable system, our Armageddon will be at our door. The problem basically is
theological and involves a spiritual recrudescence, an improvement of human
character that will synchronize with our almost matchless advances in science,
art, literature, and all material and cultural developments of the past two
thousand years. It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh."
Humanity's "last chance" is to repent of the sin of war before
human annihilation removes every vestige of life from this planet! General
MacArthur acknowledged that the problem we face is theological -- it is a
Christian problem involving a true knowledge of the true God! He went on to say
that it involves "an improvement of human character."
The greatest statesman of all times was Jesus Christ. He was the Spokesman
for the government or Kingdom of God. Christ said: "Ye have heard that it
hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say
unto you, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, bless them that curse you, do good to them that
hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you"
There is a great deal of highly respectable, cultured and educated paganism
abroad in the world today under the name of "Christianity." But can
even this sophisticated paganism face these clear words of Jesus Christ without
confessing that His life, His teaching, and His Spirit condemn the very essence
of war? More lives have been snuffed out prematurely, more suffering has been
endured, more homes have been wrecked and broken, more time and property has
been utterly wasted because of the scourge of war than through any other means
in the history of man! And war has never solved the problems of men or brought
permanent peace. Instead, it only breeds more war! "For all they that take
the sword shall PERISH with the sword" (Matt. 26:52).
The Bible Teaching
Jesus Christ came into this world as a messenger of the government or kingdom
of God. He took no part in this world's politics or wars. On trial for His very
life before Pontius Pilate, He said: "My kingdom is not of this world: If
my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight that I should not be
delivered to the Jews: But now is my kingdom not from hence" (John 18:36).
As we have stated, only God who gave life has the right to take life.
Therefore, only God has the right to wage war! And, as Jesus taught, God does
not choose to have His children wage war for Him during this age.
Jesus said that His servants would fight if His kingdom were of this world.
But it is not.
Through the apostle James, God shows that war results from a type of spirit
exactly opposite that which He wants His servants to have. "From whence
come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that
war in your members? You lust, and have not: Ye kill, and desire to have, and
cannot obtain: Ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not"
God's Government Will End War
Jesus Christ came preaching the good news of the government or rule of God.
That rule is based on the Ten Commandments -- God's spiritual law. Jesus
magnified that law and showed its spiritual intent and purpose. He taught that
if we even hate our brother, we are spiritually guilty of murder! Jesus taught
that men should obey the laws of God and prepare for His coming Kingdom by
yielding themselves to let God's laws -- His character -- be placed within them.
When God's government does come very soon now to this earth, His law will go
forth as the standard of conduct of all nations (Micah 4:1-2). At that time, God
alone will wage war to punish rebellious nations in perfect wisdom and justice.
As for the peoples of the world themselves? "Nation shall not lift up a
sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore" (verse 3).
War involves learning to hate and kill. Young men will no longer be forced to
learn an attitude which is diametrically opposed to the rule of God's law of
Dwight D. Eisenhower once said: "Man's hope for world peace does not
rest in opposing armed camps, but in an idea. That idea is the concept of a rule
of law as the means of settling disputes among sovereign states." Whether
this former President realized it or not, he pointed up the fact that only the
government of God based on His laws will solve the problems of men and nations!
But meanwhile, true Christians must work and pray for God's Kingdom of peace,
and we must realize that the spirit of war is the spirit of murder -- and avoid
it with all of our strength.
Speaking before the League of Nations, Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick put this
thought in a very powerful way: "We cannot reconcile Jesus Christ and war
-- that is the essence of the matter. That is the challenge which today should
stir the conscience of Christendom. War is the most colossal and ruinous social
sin that afflicts mankind, it is utterly and irremediably unchristian; in its
total method and effect it means everything that Jesus did not mean and it means
nothing that He did mean; it is a more blatant denial of every Christian
doctrine about God and man than all the theoretical atheists on earth ever could
devise. It would be worth while, would it not, to see the Christian Church claim
as her own this greatest moral issue of our time, to see her lift once more as
in our fathers' days, a clear standard against the paganism of this present
world and, refusing to hold her conscience at the beck and call of belligerent
states, put the kingdom of God above nationalism and call the world to peace.
That would not be the denial of patriotism but its apotheosis."
The essence of the matter is that Jesus Christ is against the spirit of
murder in every form. He is against war -- and someday He will put an end to it
forever! He is against all malice and envy and hate. Jesus Christ taught the
dignity of man and the sacredness of human life -- "Created in the image of
And the great Father of Jesus Christ, the Almighty God who governs the
universe from His throne in heaven -- that God thunders at an age of violence
and rebellion: "Thou shalt not murder."
THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT
Is "sexual compatibility" the all-important thing in marriage? In
this age of broken homes, juvenile delinquency and modern psychology, many will
say that the answer is "yes".
But the fact remains that the more "modern" theories about marriage
are put into practice, the faster the divorce rate climbs and the more little
children are doomed to grow up without the blessing of a stable, happy home. It
is a painful fact that almost one out of three marriages in America ends in the
The marriages end -- but the suffering and anguish and grief do not. For the
little children of such broken homes, the years of frustration and emptiness are
Is there a real meaning to marriage that modern man needs to understand? Are
there God-given laws and principles that can safeguard a Christian marriage and
make it happy and purposeful?
The Seventh Commandment Stated
The Creator God devoted two of His ten great spiritual laws -- the Ten
Commandments -- to protecting the relationships in the home and family. In this
booklet, we have already discussed the first of these: "Honour thy father
and thy mother ...."
The other law directly governing the home and family is contained in the
seventh commandment: "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Ex. 20:14).
Almighty God gave this commandment to protect the honor and sanctity of
marriage. Immediately after the sixth command, which declares the sacredness of
human life, God gives this law to safeguard the highest earthly relationship.
For marriage and the home are the basis of all decent society. The words of the
command directly forbid adultery as violating the sacred rights of the marriage
relation. Its spirit makes evident the fact that all unchaste conduct before
marriage is a wrong done to the future marriage, and unfaithfulness before
marriage is violating the command as much as adultery committed after marriage.
In this permissive modern age, it is important to remind ourselves that God
has promised to reward those who break this commandment with the penalty of
death. "And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even
he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the
adulteress shall surely be PUT TO DEATH" (Lev. 20:10). The seventh
commandment also covers in principle all other forms of illicit sex, including
male and female homosexuality -- now an ENORMOUS SIN in the Western world --
which also warranted the death penalty (Lev. 20:13).
Again, in the New Testament, God says: "For the wages of sin is
DEATH" (Rom. 6:23).
Why is the sin of adultery so great as to merit death, and, in God's
judgment, eternal death in the lake of fire -- unless really repented of? The
answer is this: Marriage is in God's sight such a precious, righteous, holy
thing that it must not be defiled! The meaning of marriage and its great purpose
in God's plan needs DESPERATELY to be understood in this age of unhappy
marriages and broken homes.
The Purpose of Marriage
It is impossible to understand the true meaning of marriage without first
understanding that sex and marriage are God-given and God-ordained. To leave God
out of the picture -- as this modern age is doing -- is to degrade the marriage
union to mere animalism. Notice GOD'S purpose in creating man and woman!
"And the Lord God said [after He had made only the man], It is not good
that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him" (Gen.
2:18). God saw that man was incomplete by himself, and so He decided to make a
help "meet" or SUITABLE for the man -- one with whom man could really
share his life.
So the first and primary purpose of marriage is to make man and woman
complete. Each is incomplete without the other. Man alone was not able to
fulfill the purpose for which God created him -- was not able to learn the
lessons of character which God intended -- and so God created the woman as an
"help" to the man. And, in the very creation, God showed that they
were to dwell together as man and wife in one fleshly union -- to share
everything in this life, and so make their lives meaningful and complete in a
physical sense at least.
The second purpose of sex and marriage is the begettal and training of
children. For God had told the man and woman: "Be fruitful, and multiply,
and replenish the earth, and subdue it ..." (Gen. 1:28).
With begetting children comes the responsibility of protecting and training
them. A stable, happy home and marriage are indispensable to the correct nurture
and training of a child. And God commands: "Train up a child in the way he
should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6).
The home and family are the basis of all decent society! The lessons of
character learned in the home -- patience, understanding, kindness -- all of
these are qualities that God, wants in man for all eternity, and the family
relationship is one of the best places in which they can be learned!
Better than in any other place, the lessons of decency, loyalty, and a sense
of responsibility are learned in a happy and well-balanced home.
And so, in addition to making man complete and the begetting and training of
children a third great purpose in sex and marriage is the building of character
in the home and family relationship. The kingdom and law of God are based on
love. Jesus said: "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts
20:35). To obey God's law of marriage, man and wife must literally give
themselves to each other in every phase and facet of their lives.
Marriage Pictures Christ and His Church
As ordained by God, the marriage union is a holy thing. It is so holy that in
His Word Almighty God uses the marriage union as a type of the relationship
between Christ and His Church! Notice Ephesians 5:22-24: "Wives, submit
yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head
of the wife, EVEN AS Christ is the head of, the church: and he is the saviour of
the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to
their own husbands in every thing."
In this place, God shows that in the Christian home the wife is to submit
herself to her husband as the head of that home, just as she must learn to
submit to Christ Himself for all eternity! In this holy relationship, she is
learning a lesson of lasting faithfulness!
Then the husbands are addressed: "Husbands, LOVE your wives, even as
Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it .... So ought men to love
their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself"
(verses 25, 28).
Jesus Christ served, helped, trained, protected and eventually gave Himself
for His Church. So are husbands to protect, to provide for, to guide, to
encourage, to love and give to their wives! A Christian man is to be the head of
his house. Yet he is to use that office to serve and to give protection,
guidance and happiness to his wife and family. And Almighty God holds him
responsible for being the right kind of head!
Because of this great lesson and purpose in marriage, God says: "For
this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his
wife, and they two shall be one flesh" (verse 31). In the marriage union,
man and woman are made one. Their relationship is then to picture the eternal,
loving and serving relationship of Christ and His Church. Therefore, nothing
should come between them. The lesson of marriage is to teach us eternal
faithfulness to Jesus Christ as our Head! To separate from one's God-given mate
is to fail to learn the lesson which God intends for us to learn in marriage. It
is a reproach to Almighty God -- for it denies His wisdom in ordaining the
marriage union in making us truly "one flesh" with our mate!
How can we ever be faithful to the living God throughout all eternity if we
selfishly refuse to be faithful to the mate to whom we are bound in this life
for only a few years and fail to learn the lessons of patience, kindness,
long-suffering, self-control, love and faithfulness in the sacred marriage
The Teaching of Jesus Christ
Now it becomes increasingly clear why Jesus Christ taught the enduring
quality of the marriage vow.
When Jesus was asked by the hypocritical Pharisees why Moses allowed divorce
in Old Testament times, He answered: "Moses because of the hardness of your
hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not
so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, EXCEPT IT BE FOR
FORNICATION, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth
her which is put away doth commit adultery" (Matt. 19:8-9).
Divorce generates divorce! A moment's reflection will recall that the
commonplace granting of divorces was absolutely unheard of only fifty years ago.
The religious leaders of that time and before warned us that if divorce were
once tolerated, there would be no restraint powerful enough to keep it within
the limits then fixed or foreseen. Today we see the truth of this warning! We
now behold the sad and miserable spectacle of one-third, and in many areas as
many as one-half, of all marriages ending in failure in the divorce courts of
And after divorce, what? It is a matter of record that most divorced persons
seek a second mate, and many find a third or a fourth mate to satisfy a desire
which God intended should be satisfied and channeled to and uplifted in the holy
and sacred marriage with their first mate -- who in most cases is still living
at the time of the remarriage.
This is a pitiful spectacle and a national disgrace! Even though God PERMITS
divorce in certain instances, it is far better for each marriage partner to
learn to help and serve and FORGIVE the other, and thus preserve the sacred
marriage bond. Jesus' famous exception clause, "except for fornication [PORNEIA]"
(Matt. 19:9), should be employed ONLY as a last resort and even then after much
prayer, counsel, and sincere attempts to save the marriage. And the same would
apply to the apostle Paul's permission for the Christian to remarry if DESERTED
by an unconverted mate (I Cor. 7:15).
Marriage Is Ordained of God
We now see that marriage is not something that just evolved through the
reasoning and gradual civilization of man. Rather, marriage was ordained by the
Creator God. He ordained it as a holy union picturing the everlasting
faithfulness between Christ and His Church!
And every form of adultery is so very wrong and evil because marriage is so
holy and sacred in the sight of Almighty God. Adultery is not only an offense to
the aggrieved husband or wife involved; it is an offense to their home and their
children. It is an offense against society -- because it strikes at the very
BASIS of all decent society. But, most of all, it is an offense against God
Himself and against an institution which He has ordained.
In America and Britain today, a God-rejecting society all too often seeks a
Hollywood-type romantic ideal in marriage. Thus men and women are subtly
encouraged to break the marriage covenant if their selfish, sensual desires are
not fulfilled with the wife or husband of their youth. In a
"marriage-go-round" society, they fail to learn the basic lessons of
character which marriage can and should teach -- outgoing concern for their
mate, patience, mercy, humility, service and lasting faithfulness. In addition,
they fail to consider the suffering and frustration of the children from their
original marriage -- the irreparable damage done to their lives and minds which
will carry over into yet future generations and future marriages.
Truly, even though God ALLOWS some marriages and homes to be shattered by
divorce, it is something our Creator abhors. "For the Lord, the God of
Israel, saith that he HATETH putting away [divorce] ..." (Mal. 2:16).
Again: "... The Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy
youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and
the wife of thy covenant" (verse 14).
No question, then, that God hates divorce -- even though He allows it. To
learn the lessons God intends in marriage, true Christians should seek to
literally "cleave" to their mates in body, mind and attitude. They
should seek earnestly to understand each other -- to share freely and joyously
their plans, their hopes, their dreams. And, with God's help, they will crush
any adulterous and lustful thoughts which present themselves.
The sin of lust is more fully understood when you realize how righteous and
holy the proper use of sex in marriage is to Almighty God the Creator. The
process of adultery, and the process of divorce and remarriage, usually begin in
the heart. Notice how Jesus Christ covered this point in magnifying the law of
God and making it holy: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old
time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, that whosoever LOOKETH
on a woman TO LUST AFTER HER hath committed ADULTERY with her already in his
heart" (Matt. 5:27-28).
Jesus taught that you break the seventh commandment when you even so much as
entertain thoughts of sexual lust toward another person. Action follows thought.
So it is part of the development of Christian character for every God-fearing
person to learn to guide and to channel his thoughts away from all lust and
Meanwhile, in the industries that control the most realistic, lifelike media
that influence and move young people to action -- movies and television -- the
emphasis in an ever increasing number of productions is upon sex or violence, or
a combination of both.
But modern society is paying a terrible penalty for these widespread sins and
abominations! More and more homes are made miserable and wretched because of
adulterous relations of one or both mates. Increasing numbers of homes are
broken in divorce. More children are being left without the love and guidance of
both parents! And illicit sexual intercourse before marriage -- called
"fornication" by God -- is becoming epidemic among young people in
Yet any and all of these things constitute breaking the seventh commandment!
Those young people who are cheapening and damaging the happiness of their
future marriages through illicit sex before marriage are seriously injuring
their entire future in this present life. And unless they repent and stop this
vile practice, they will force God by an eternal necessity to exclude them from
His Kingdom and everlasting life and happiness (I Cor. 6:9). God's laws are
always for our own good and the good of those around us. They should be obeyed.
We should fear being counted with the "abominable" and
"whoremongers" who will have their part in the lake of fire which is
the second death! (Rev. 21:8.)
Obey the Seventh Commandment
God gives some important advice to those who are tempted to commit
fornication or adultery. In this age of sex stimulation and lust, it is
invaluable to HEED this advice if you would enter into the Kingdom of God and
eternal life. God says: "FLEE FORNICATION" (I Cor. 6:18). He does not
say to let your mind dwell honoring sexual ideas or desires. He does not say to
place yourself alone with another person's mate or with a single person with
whom you might be sexually tempted. He does not say to watch movies or
television or read books which wrongly stimulate the sexual appetite.
God does say to get as far away from these things as you possibly can! He
says to run -- flee -- away from temptation to sexual sin. Sex is not a toy to
be played with and experimented with. It should be regarded as a God-given
blessing in the holy and sacred marriage union which the Creator Himself has
ordained. It should always be thought of with reverence, and as an expression of
unselfish love in a Christian union which pictures the everlasting faithfulness
of Christ and His Church!
This generation needs desperately to learn the lesson of lasting faithfulness
in marriage and in the home! It needs to obey both the letter and the spirit of
God's seventh commandment: "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT
After the God of heaven thundered from the top of Mt. Sinai the commandments
ordaining the true worship of Him, and laws protecting the most sacred human
relationships -- the home, the family, and human life itself -- God gave the
eighth commandment. This is God's law protecting all private property and
possessions: "Thou shalt not steal" (Ex. 20:15).
Because men do not think the God who gave this commandment is real -- and do
not fear to disobey His law -- we have more literal theft than ever before. But
we also violate the eighth commandment in hundreds of ways through a
watered-down system of morality.
After discussing some debased scheme by which to cheat a business competitor
or customer, executives shrug their shoulders and say: "Well, that's just
business." Or, after a meeting involving false measurement, poor quality or
misleading advertising, a businessman will say: "What's the difference? If
I don't do it, somebody else will." When cheating the government or
falsifying an income tax return, the common American phrase to salve one's
conscience is: "Let Uncle Sam sweat this time. The government is taking too
much money anyway. So what?"
Yes, so what? Is that "just business"? Well, it also happens to be
God's business -- and He has set in motion a law stating: "Thou shalt not
steal." When you break God's law -- it breaks you! For God's laws are
living, active things -- like the law of gravity. When you transgress them, the
punishment is automatic -- and it is sure.
The Right to Property
According to God's Word and His law, there are only two right ways by which
you can come into possession of anything. The first is by a free gift -- or an
inheritance -- from another person, or from God Himself. The second is by honest
labor, which earns something as a legitimate return. Any other way is theft --
the taking from another that which belongs to him.
The eighth commandment recognizes the legitimate acquisition of property, and
forbids theft. It is important to note that, in principle, the eighth
commandment forbids all forms of communism which deny man's right to property.
It also forbids international thievery in which governments forcibly confiscate
and steal the property and possessions of their own or other nations' citizens.
And, to our lasting shame, ALL nations stand guilty of breaking God's law in
Young people today are learning to steal in an immensely large and organized
fashion. Not only are they purloining articles by the thousands from stores,
shops, schools and even churches, but they regularly organize an intricate
system of cheating on tests and exams in schools and colleges. Because it is
generally looked on without too much alarm, this practice is growing at an
unprecedented rate. But what the young people may not have been told is that
cheating is taking a score or grade illegally -- and is stealing. It is directly
breaking the eighth commandment of God!
The industrialist or merchant who uses false weights and measures or a poor
quality of material or workmanship to deceive the public is just as guilty of
breaking the eighth commandment as a common thief! He is trying to get something
more than a legitimate return for his product. Viewing the illegal profits he
hopes to receive, he is trying to get that extra something for nothing. In
principle, he is simply stealing! Yet, in how many thousands of cases this type
of lawlessness and deception is practiced, God alone knows.
Thievery Through False Advertising
One of the great commercial sins of our age is the common practice of false
advertising. The consumer is led to expect that a certain "pill," for
instance, will cause him to lose weight, gain weight, increase his potency,
restore his thinning hair, or whatever the case may be. And, in most cases, this
statement is a direct, willful lie without any doubt.
Such a practice is, in effect, stealing from the people who pay money to
achieve the promised result.
In many cases, the victims of these gigantic frauds are not only robbed of
money, they are robbed of health, happiness and peace of mind. Many a
"respectable" businessman and community leader has attained his
position largely through this type of mass deception and theft!
Our nations and peoples need to wake up! Just because a sin can be made
outwardly to appear "respectable," remember that God is the real
The Almighty has this to say: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall
not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators ... nor
THIEVES ... shall inherit the kingdom of God" (I Cor. 6:9-10).
Lest any misunderstand, remember that it is God's will that His servants
prosper in material wealth -- as long as they gain it honestly, and don't set
their hearts upon it. The apostle John wrote: "Beloved, I wish above all
things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth"
(III John 2).
Moreover, we must realize that an industrialist's wealth which is tarnished
by an unnecessarily high death rate in his plants or factories is ill-gotten
gain -- and he is branded in the light of God's law as a thief, if not a
The principle behind the eighth commandment is broken again and again in the
relations of capital and labor. James was inspired to warn the dishonest
employer: "Behold, the hire of the labourers ... which is of you kept back
by fraud, crieth: and the cries ... are entered into the ears of the Lord of
sabbath" (James 5:4).
It is also equally true -- and especially so in this era of corrupt unionism
-- that many a working man robs his employer! He does this by taking his wage
and yet withholding his full share of honest labor. And that is stealing!
All too often one laboring man tells his fellow: "Slow down, buddy,
you're working too hard. If you keep on working like that, we'll ALL have to
work hard around here!"
British and American laborers, spending an undue proportion of their working
time on "tea breaks," "coffee breaks" and "cigarette
breaks," are causing our industries to be badly beaten in the worldwide
trade war now going on. This lack of productivity is affecting the destiny of
the American and British people!
The eighth commandment of Almighty God has a message for both capital and
labor. To capital: "A fair day's wage for a fair day's work." To
labor: "A fair day's work for a fair day's wage."
But just stealing from a fellow human being is not the only principle
involved in the eighth commandment. God owns far more property than any man
Stealing From God
In Malachi 3, speaking to modern-day Jacob or Israel (verse 6), God declares:
"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we
robbed thee? In TITHES and OFFERINGS" (verse 8). God here indicts our
modern English-speaking peoples for robbing our very Creator and His Work! No
wonder there is so little true religion left on earth today! No wonder there is
so much confusion and deceit going about in the name of Christianity!
God continues: "Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even
this whole nation." Then God promises in His Word: "Bring ye all the
TITHES into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and PROVE ME
NOW HEREWITH, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of
heaven, and pour you out a BLESSING, that there shall not be room enough to
receive it" (verses 9-10).
Here is a bold challenge from Almighty God! God says He will bless you if you
begin tithing -- as He commands -- through faith in Him and in His Word.
Literally hundreds of case histories may be cited to show that God certainly
does bless the tither even in material ways. He may not always do so
immediately. You may have to obey Him and exercise faith for a while. But as you
serve Him, obey Him, trust Him, God will keep His part of the bargain. Your
blessing is certain to come!
Notice this joyful letter from one of our listeners who took God's promise
literally: "A few weeks ago I was absolutely broke financially. I received
ten cents. I was tempted not to tithe the one cent. I did. Then a few days later
I received one dollar. Again, I was tempted to keep the tithe because of many
needs. I just received forty dollars and am getting the tithe off to you as soon
as possible. I have been faithful and so has God."
The Command Applied Positively
The definite positive application of the eighth commandment is stated in the
New Testament letter to the Ephesians. "Let him that stole steal no more:
but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that
he may have to give to him that needeth" (Eph. 4:28). On the one hand,
stealing is condemned in this passage. On the other, working and giving are
outlined as the way of life the positive application of God's command dictates.
Property and possessions are to be gained by honest work -- not merely to
satisfy personal desires and needs -- but so that any excess may be freely given
to the brother in need. In the real intent or spirit of God's law, a man not
only steals by taking from another that which is his, but by refusal to work in
order to share and give to others in need! The true Christian should be
"distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality" (Rom.
12:13). As God's begotten children, we are to become like Him (Matt. 5:48). And
Jesus said: "My Father WORKETH hitherto, and I WORK" (John 5:17).
The POSITIVE lesson of the eighth commandment is also summarized in these
all-inclusive words of Jesus, the Christ: "It is more blessed to GIVE than
to receive" (Acts 20:35). If, through God's Spirit, we can truly learn to
live by those words, we will have indeed fulfilled the spirit of the eighth
THE NINTH COMMANDMENT
This is the age of the sophisticated lie, the double standard of morality,
the Watergate syndrome. This is the age of respectable-appearing lawyers,
industrial leaders, government officials and college professors perjuring
themselves on the witness stand and even before the United States Senate. This
age also presents the peculiar spectacle of millions of people who believe in
evolution attending churches which nominally, at least, believe in the Creator
God of the Bible.
The Christ of the Bible thoroughly condemned the hypocrites of His day. What
would He say about our generation?
Society Living a Lie
In his book, "Sex, Vice and Business", Monroe Fry tells of
"the willingness of communities to accept vice when it brings an indirect
profit to their respectable businessmen." His book shows plainly what
thousands of sophisticated adults already know: "Respectable" church
and civic leaders are often ready and willing to support gambling, prostitution
and narcotics if it is to their financial advantage to do so.
To the community at large, they appear as the pillars of virtue and
respectability. To the procurers of prostitutes, narcotics or to big-time
gambling czars, they are ready to make an "undercover deal." They are
ready to use their civic influence or position to let organized vice and crime
flourish in their community -- so long as they get a financial cut.
In plain language, they are living a lie! The revelation of how much our
entire "Christian" society is based on this type of hypocrisy is
absolutely astounding! But we are paying a stern penalty nevertheless -- for we
are breaking the ninth commandment of God.
In this booklet expounding the Ten Commandments, we have seen that the
greatest sin of all is putting something else in place of the true God. This, in
turn, leads to idolatry, to blaspheming God's name, to breaking His Sabbath, to
dishonoring our human parents, to murder, adultery and stealing.
And the exact same principle applies to the ninth commandment of God.
The Ninth Commandment Stated
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour" (Ex.
20:16). It is only in seeking and bearing witness to the truth that man is
associated with God. For, in literal fact, God is truth! Jesus said: "Thy
word is truth" (John 17:17). And again: "I am the way, the truth, and
the life" (John 14:6).
No matter what other faults and weaknesses a man may have, if he is willing
to speak the truth, live openly and truthfully what he really is, and
acknowledge the truth when it is shown to him, that man can be respected and
helped to overcome his personal weaknesses.
The far-reaching spiritual applications of the ninth commandment are
tremendous. Consider: 1) There is a personal, living Almighty God of this
universe whose ways and laws are intrinsically right. 2) Therefore, a man who is
honest, who is willing to speak the truth and acknowledge the truth when it is
revealed, must eventually be converted to the true God and His ways! But a man
whose word is no good, who is in the habit of lying to others and to himself --
that man's very character and mental processes are so twisted and perverted that
he can never come to understand even the truth of God until his mind is
literally cleaned up!
That is why it is so vitally important that -- even though among humans there
may be honest differences of opinion on many matters -- we all learn to live and
speak truthfully. Yet, we are living in a society which is increasingly
permeated by various forms of untruth, hypocrisy and self-deception. If we are
ever to build the character of God -- and inherit eternal life -- we must
consider the ninth commandment in all of its ramifications -- and learn to obey
The ninth commandment protects every upright and decent man in that it helps
guard his reputation. Perhaps there is no more despicable sin than that of
slander, the lie invented and spread abroad with intent to harm one's fellow
man. A thief takes only material goods, which may usually be replaced. But a
false witness who slanders may rob one of esteem and reputation in the eyes of
his fellowmen -- and chances are slim that it will ever be fully regained.
The Practical Value of Honesty
The immediate value of being able to rely on a man's word would not only
guard every decent man's reputation and eliminate millions of wasted hours from
the burden of investigating every statement and report several times over, it
would also prevent unworthy men from ever being placed in high positions of
responsibility. It would literally clean up our society!
How often today are entire nations guided by men who are in power only
because of their ability to delude and deceive their own people! Throughout the
world, we see puppet dictators arising and promising their followers something
for nothing. By means of clever propaganda, the leader makes the people believe
what he himself knows to be a big lie. Then follow many months or years of
uncertainty, anguish, frustration until ultimate disaster strikes and the truth
is finally made plain only by force of circumstance.
Even in our democratic nations, men are all too often recommended for high
office -- not because of integrity and ability -- but because of what seems
expedient at the moment in party politics. The political and governmental
leaders who countenance this are certainly "bearing false witness"
against their fellow countrymen! They are living a lie -- as well as helping
In the field of industry and business, think of the tremendous benefit that
would come to the public if each company would really tell the truth about its
own product and honestly seek to serve the consumer's real needs! The effects of
this would be literally astounding! Think of a society where each brand of
toothpaste and breakfast cereal, for example, was not just an imitation or
needless variation of another but was the only and best of its particular type,
honestly priced and truthfully advertised! Apply this to every phase of society
and you get something near utopia.
But this is not a farfetched or fantastic suggestion. It is simply the
blessing that would come if the entire society really and literally obeyed the
ninth commandment of God!
If you would live forever in the society of God, you are commanded by Him who
gives you life and breath: "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man
truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another" (Eph. 4:25).
Apply the Ninth Commandment in Your Life
The very root principle of all sin is vanity. "Vanity of vanities, saith
the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity" (Eccl. 1:2). The real
reason most men reject the true God is that they want to be "gods" in
their own eyes and the eyes of their fellow men. It is vanity. Every sin that is
committed by man has its ultimate roots in this one principle. And so it is with
every form of lying. Men lie because they are more concerned with their own
self-esteem and sense of importance than they are with the ultimate good of
their fellow man. They speak and act falsely because they fear the opinions of
men much more than that of Almighty God Himself! The daily actions and words of
nearly all men bear eloquent testimony to the literal truth of this statement.
As John said even of the religious leaders of his day: "For they loved
the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:43). Men and women
are often ashamed of what they call "failure" in a business or social
sense. They will cheat, falsify and lie in order to avoid this
"failure" -- or to cover it up. But from the point of view of what is
intrinsically "right" -- and of eternal values -- the thing they
should fear is sin. For, as the apostle Paul said, "If God be for us, who
can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31.)
Jesus said: "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute
you, and shall speak all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake"
(Matt. 5:11). We had all better quit worrying so much about what puny, mortal
men think -- and become far more concerned about what Almighty God thinks! Then
we will learn to cease from all hypocrisy in business, in social life, in
politics -- yes, in our religious and scientific endeavors.
Remember that many whom this deceitful world condemned have received God's
blessing and are heirs of eternal life. Never forget that it was through the sin
of false testimony and lying that Jesus Christ was murdered! "For many bare
false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together" (Mark
Since, through vanity, men want to believe what is popular at the moment,
they will kid themselves and their associates into believing even religious and
scientific theories that have no basis whatsoever in actual fact!
God warns against all such hypocrites: "For the wrath of God is revealed
from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the
truth in unrighteousness" (Rom. 1:18). Most Bible commentaries or lexicons
show that the expression "hold" should have been translated "hold
down" or "suppress." Men SUPPRESS the truth.
God is condemning those who knowingly hold down or suppress the truth of His
existence and His purpose on this earth! God says the vain philosophers and
scientists of this world are "without excuse" for denying that He
literally created this universe and is now ruling it through His power (verse
20). Most scientists and theologians who believe in the Satan-inspired theory of
evolution ought to know better. Some of them do know better! But they are going
along with what pleases men, and they are living a lie! God says they are
And in the same category are those ministers and Bible students who continue
to teach and practice what they know are ancient heathen and pagan beliefs and
customs condemned in the Word of God. In all too many cases, they know better!
They are "without excuse."
The continued teaching of these basic scientific and spiritual lies is the
very thing that is blinding most of this world from the real nature of God and
of His true plan and purpose here below. This is the truly terrible result of
bearing false witness, self-deception and lying. For as long as supposedly
"educated" leaders keep deceiving themselves and others about the very
existence and power and plan of God, our civilization is doomed!
Live by the Truth
In your own personal life, then, learn the importance of telling the truth,
believing the truth, living the truth. Be careful not to base your whole life on
a series of lies -- whether they be personal, political, scientific or religious
distortions of truth. Remember, it is the real truth which will make you free
In your personal speech, guard your words carefully. Never forget that a man
is only as good as his word. If a man becomes an habitual liar, it is almost
impossible to help him -- for anything he says or does may simply be another
One of the basic qualities of God's character is that He is truth. If we
couldn't rely on God's Word, there could be no real assurance of forgiveness
from past sins, of present help in time of need, or of future reward and eternal
Even though God had tremendous well-meaning love, and all wisdom and power --
but you couldn't rely on His Word or His promises -- where would you be?
Have you ever thought of it that way before? The very diametric opposite of
God's character is that of Satan the devil. As Jesus Christ revealed: "When
he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: FOR HE IS A LIAR, and the father of
it" (John 8:44). Those who follow Satan in his refusal to live by truth
have a terrible fate awaiting them: "But the fearful, and unbelieving ...
and ALL LIARS, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and
brimstone: which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).
Remember, there are no "white lies" in God's sight. Half-truths,
distortions and deceptions are condemned throughout God's Word. Jesus said:
"Thy word is TRUTH" (John 17:17). Let us live by that inspired Word
that we may inherit eternal life in the kingdom that is based on what is
literally true and right. This is the message of the ninth commandment.
THE TENTH COMMANDMENT
Did you know that recent surveys have revealed that the financial troubles
plaguing most families are not the result of low income? Rather, they are
directly caused by overextending a normally adequate income for luxuries and
personal indulgence, and by the American habit of installment buying!
"Buy now and pay later," say the advertisements. But do you really
need to buy this item now? And are you sure you will be able to "pay
A Society Based on Lust
"Keeping up with the Joneses" is a popular American slogan.
High-pressure advertisements constantly encourage this idea. It is made to seem
backward or wrong not to strive and compete and lust after as many material
possessions as your neighbor owns. The modern idea is to "get all you can
while the getting is good."
The incessant pressure to get ahead -- which usually means to acquire more
money and material property -- has spawned more and more idolatry. It is
blinding the minds and hearts of millions to the life of God.
Several years ago, a prominent religious publication, "The Canadian
Churchman", ran a sobering article revealing the effect of this material
idolatry on young African Christians studying in the United States and Canada.
One such young man said: "Before I came to study here, I was a good
Christian. I dreamed someday of becoming a medical missionary. Now I'm an
"Why?" asked the shocked interviewer. "Since coming
here," he replied, "I've discovered that the white man has two gods.
One that he taught us about, and another one to whom he prays. A Presbyterian
mission school taught me that the tribal doctrines of my ancestors who worshiped
images and believed in witchcraft were wrong and almost ludicrous. But here you
worship larger images -- cars and electrical appliances. I honestly can't see
Surprising? It shouldn't be -- except that most people get so close to their
own sin that they can't see it. We live in a so called "Christian"
society which is literally based on lust and greed for more and more material
things! The frenzied effort to compete with others and get ahead is the source
not only of most financial problems, but the real cause of much physical and
mental illness, broken homes, frustrated lives. Most important of all, this form
of idolatry leaves one with almost no time, strength or desire ever to become
acquainted with the true God -- whose living laws and ways alone would bring
real inner peace and joy.
The Tenth Commandment Stated
Most men fail to realize that the Ten Commandments are living, moving, active
laws -- like the law of gravity. They are automatic. When you break them, they
break you! So it is with the final commandment of God's law. Even though it may
be broken without the knowledge of any other human being, the penalty for its
violation is absolutely certain!
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy
neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his
ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's" (Ex. 20:17).
Of all the commandments, the tenth refers most specifically to man's relation
to man. The force of the commandment lies in these words: "Thy neighbour's
... thy neighbour's ... his ... his ... his ... his ... thy neighbour's."
This is a SEVENFOLD guarding of the interests of another.
It is not wrong to lawfully desire a wife, a servant, or an ox or ass. But
where the object admired is legitimately out of reach of the one admiring,
admiration merging into desire to possess breaks the commandment.
Although this commandment deals most obviously with human and physical
relationships, the SPIRITUAL REQUIREMENT of the command is in some ways more
rigid than any that has preceded it. This command regulates even the thoughts in
the mind and heart of man. Most men look on sin as an outward or physical type
of thing. They do not realize that the holy, righteous character which God
purposes in us necessitates that even our thoughts be completely purified and
made like His. Action follows thought. What you think, you are.
If you secretly reject God's standard and His way, if in your heart you lust
after something which you either cannot or will not come to lawfully possess
with His blessing, then-sooner or later -- this mental rebellion will bring
forth outward sin. The actions will then proceed to defy God -- to break His law
-- because the thoughts have been doing this all along!
This command pierces through all "surface Christianity" and shows
whether a man has really surrendered his will to his Maker! It is a searching
and fearful principle. But it is a command you must learn to obey if you are
ever to receive eternal life and glory in the Kingdom of God.
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil.
2:5). Through God's Spirit in us, we must fight the fight of faith -- put down
the lustful human nature within us -- and ultimately succeed in "bringing
into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Cor. 10:5).
This is the ultimate goal of the true Christian - to be fully attained in the
But we are to grow in God's character during this life. We must learn as did
righteous Enoch, Noah, Abraham and other servants of the Most High to "walk
with God." We must go His way -- do as He does -- think as He thinks.
But the normal mind of man is filled with selfishness, vanity, competition,
greed, hate, lust. It is a mind cut off from the ways and thoughts of God (Isa.
That is why Jesus emphasized how important it is to get our minds changed,
converted and cleaned up when He said: "Blessed are the pure in heart: for
they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8).
Where Do We Stand?
Especially since World War II, life in our Western society has sped up. We
are rushing to make more money. We are in a hurry to have a good time, to get
everything we can out of life. On every side, we are taught to compete with our
fellow man for social honors and material advancement. We have come to literally
crave material luxuries that were in some cases completely unknown just two
generations ago. We are urged to spend more than we make -- to do more than we
ought. "You owe it to yourself," the subtle advertisement reads in
putting over the idea that we would be foolish not to buy a bigger car, eat at a
more expensive restaurant, or take longer and more costly trips. The emphasis is
on getting and on self.
On an international scale, the nations of the world fight and kill because of
this same attitude of heart. "From whence come wars and fightings among
you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust,
and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war,
yet ye have not, because ye ask not" (James 4: 1, 2).
All too often, the capitalist lusts for more money than he can easily attain
by paying fair wages. So he robs his employees by paying too little, and
spending too little on improving working conditions and safety. Likewise, the
modern laborer -- often misguided by unscrupulous union leaders -- learns to
lust after more money than he can honestly earn. Through organized pressure and
political trickery, he thinks he can get something for nothing.
Why do so-called "authors" write cheap paperback novels based on
nothing but filth, obscenity and juvenile stupidity? Why do publishers print
such corruption which degrades the human emotions of love, kindness and idealism
to a level lower than the dumb brute?
You can quickly see HUNDREDS of other major examples of covetousness in our
society if your eyes are really open. But be willing to see your own
covetousness as well! Be willing to repent of it and ask God for the love and
strength to overcome it.
Our generation needs these words of the Son of God: "Take heed, and
beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the
things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15).
Did you get that? Your real success and happiness in life, Christ said, is
not truly able to be measured by how new or powerful a car you drive, the kind
of home you live in, the clothes you wear, or even the food you eat. Happiness
is a state of mind. It comes from having the very Spirit and mind of Christ
inside your own mind. Jesus said: "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air
have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Luke 9:58).
The love, joy and peace which Jesus exemplified came from giving and serving --
not from any material thing Jesus was able to get.
Jesus, the Son of man, was able to overcome human vanity and covetousness
because He put the service of God far ahead of anything and everything else.
After telling how the unconverted seek after -- and worry about -- the material
necessities and comforts, He commanded: "But seek ye first the kingdom of
God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you"
The Commandments Join Together
And so at this point the last commandment joins hands with the first. For
whatever you seek contrary to God's will, you covet. If in your mind and heart
you lust and covet something more than to obey the Creator and receive His
blessings, that thing becomes an idol to you. "Covetousness ... IS
idolatry" (Col. 3:5).
Then, whatever you idolize you put in place of the true God. And you break
the first commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex.
20:3). The apostle Paul said: "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield
yourselves servants to obey, his servant ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin
unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Rom. 6:16.) When you
begin to covet material things, you "serve" them. You spend your time,
your energy, your money for these things. In such a situation, you have neither
time nor energy to really study the Bible, or to spend an hour in earnest prayer
before the One who gives you life and breath. And you find yourself being stingy
and jealous of the money you owe your Maker to finance the proclamation of His
truth. By this simple process, the material things you lust for and covet
literally become your god. For you truly serve and worship them -- and find in
your life little time, strength and wealth with which to serve the true God with
all of your heart, strength and mind.
Do you see? Covetousness is a terrible thing -- for it cuts you off from the
fellowship and blessings and love of the great God of heaven who made all that
is -- but intended that this material creation be used in His service and for
His glory. And, in practical daily life, covetousness violates the basic
principle of the way of life set forth by all the commandments of God and by
Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus summarized this principle when He said: "It is
more blessed to give than to receive'' (Acts 20:35).
In learning to lovingly, sincerely and intelligently serve your fellow man,
and to serve and worship the true God, you will find the only real sense of
fulfillment and joy in this life. And in the world tomorrow, you will be given
eternal life and glory in a divine government literally based on the Ten
Commandments -- the true way of love, of giving and serving your fellow man, and
of worshiping and exalting the living God who gave these commandments for our