Temple School of Taphim 10:
The Ninth Commandment
1. Beloved children, brethren, and sisters: I welcome you back to the House of the Lord in the Name of Jesus Christ, whose House this is.
2. You have now been instructed on the four commandments which deal with man's relationship to God and the first four of the six commandments which deal with man's relationship to man. The first four commandments are as follows:
3. "I am the Lord your God...you shall have no other gods before Me...You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments... You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His Name. Remember the Sabbath by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy" (Exodus 20:1-11, NIV; Taphim 2:36; 3:1; 4:3; 3:17; 4:5; 4:12; 5:2).
4. The first four man-to-man commandments are as follows: "Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal" (Exodus 20:12-15, NIV; Taphim 7:4,36).
5. In the Ninth House of Taphim you were taught the Eighth Commandment which is: "You shall not steal." As you should by now understand, dishonesty does more than rob a man of his property or reputation. It undermines pure Christ-like love, destroys unity, and fosters mistrust. The apostle Paul said to the Ephesians: "Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour, for we are all members of one body" (Ephesians 4:25, NIV). In a modern revelation, the Lord has said: "Let every man deal honestly, and be alike among these people, and receive alike, that you may be one, even as I have commanded you".
6. The Lord condemns all false dealings, exaggerated charges, fraud, robbery, withholding wages, borrowing without returning, and plundering. In another modern revelation He has said: "He who steals and refuses to repent shall be cast out of the Church". Not only does stealing defile the thief and deprive another of what is rightfully his, but it deprives those that the victim and the thief might otherwise have been able to help.
7. The apostle Paul says: "He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need" (Ephesians 4:28, NIV). A wise man once said: "Remember, that whoever among you borrows from his neighbour should return what he has borrowed according to the agreement made, or else you are committing sin; and perhaps you will cause your neighbour to sin also".
8. The prophet Zechariah said that in the last day: "Every thief will be banished" and a curse "will enter the house of the thief... and... will... destroy it, both its timbers and its stones" (Zechariah 5:3-4, NIV).
9. You were taught to act at once if at any time in the past you have stolen, however great or small the theft. You must do all you can to make restitution, restoring all stolen property to its rightful owner and paying compensation if you no longer have the property.
10. You were taught that there are only two valid ways to come into possession of something -- either it must be a free gift or the reward of honest work. All other ways are theft. That includes gambling.
11. You were also taught that God, as owner of all your physical possessions, has the automatic right to one tenth of all you own. This is called the tithe and is the financial law lived by the Deaconate and Eldership. This you will be required to live fully as a condition of entering the Priesthood of God, first as trainee Sub-Deacons, and then as full Deacons, which you will be allowed to do if you have been faithful to your covenants. God calls robbers those who refuse to pay tithing.
12. You were also taught that in the Holy Order the saints live the Law of All Things in Common, also known as the United Order. This is the Law you will be required to live if you desire to enter a firstborn colony.
13. You have been taught the importance of hard work and how the Eighth Commandment would look in its positive aspect: "You shall work and give to others" (Taphim 9:100), both on the Church level and nationally. Generosity is important. God gives us surplus so that we can be a blessing to others as well as to bless us spiritually.
14. You were also taught that the Kingdom of God is a creating, working, and producing environment. God creates and works, as we should create and work, for the blessing of others.
The Ninth Commandment
15. Beloved children, brethren and sisters, we shall now look at the Ninth Commandment, in which the Lord says: "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour" (Exodus 20:16, NIV). Or to put it another way: "You shall not lie."
16. In order to have a personal relationship with God through Christ, a man or woman must seek for the truth and then bear witness of that truth. If you want to know the difference between the truth and a lie is, then you have only to turn to the scriptures for a concise definition. And the scriptures define God as truth.
17. In His great High Priestly prayer, Jesus asked God the Father to sanctify His disciples in the truth. Then He gave a definition of the truth. He said: "Your Word is truth" (John 17:17, NIV). All that God says is truth. If any man challenges the Word of God, then by definition he becomes a liar, because he makes out God -- who is truth -- to be a liar.
18. The Lord Jesus gives a second definition of truth when He says: "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6, NIV). Jesus Christ is truth, just as His Father, and our Father in Heaven, is Truth. All truth is therefore defined relative to the Godhead and what God has declared through His Word.
19. By now you should have realised that you have many faults and weaknesses. As you grow up in your endowment in the Holy Order you will discover that you have many, many more. A person who grows up in the Order who thinks that he has fewer and fewer faults is in reality living an illusion. Not until you have seen yourself for what you really are can you have any hope of growing up in maturity into Christ.
20. You may at sometime wonder why the commandment to be truthful appears so late in the 10 Commandments. Why is it the 9th commandment and not higher up the list? Well, one think you should by now be certain of is that its appearance as the 9th Commandment is no accident.
21. Before a person can grow spiritually he must become aware of who he really is. To become conscious he must first and foremost be honest. It doesn't really matter what, or how many, faults and weaknesses you have so long as you are willing to speak the truth, live openly and truthfully as to who or what you are, and acknowledge the truth when it is shown to you. It is only as you are thus honest and truthful that a man or woman can be respected and helped to overcome personal weakness.
22. If you study the life of Christ carefully in the New Testament you will discover that the kind of people who attracted Him, and whom He ministered to, were those who are honest and truthful. For Him everything else was secondary. He associated freely with thieves like Matthew, prostitutes, bad tempered and rebellious people like Peter, doubters like Thomas, adulteresses and all manner of commandment-breakers not because He condoned what they did but because they had the supreme quality of honesty.
23. Honesty requires humility. It is not easy for a sinner to be open about his sin because it means he must let go of his pride and self-image. The reason Peter became one of the presiding three apostles was not because he had a sweet and gentle nature in the beginning but because when confronted with the truth he always repented. He was not afraid to be put to shame publicly.
24. Now this supreme quality is what qualifies a person for the Kingdom of Heaven. You can take the Name of God in vain, be an idolater, break the Sabbath, be disrespectful to your parents, murder, commit adultery, and steal and find admission into the Kingdom if you are honest and truthful. A person willing to face the facts of his life is a person who can confront his life and be changed.
25. By contrast, a person who is virtuous in every respect, obeying all the Ten Commandments but the Ninth, is lost. Such a person cannot change because in his own eyes he is already perfect, like the rich young man who came to Jesus.
26. Now, please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that you can go and break the other commandments. By no means. What I am saying, though, is that the Ninth Commandment is the door into the others. A person who is not honest cannot live the other commandments at all!
27. A person who is honest is on the path to eternal life. He is open and teachable. He is willing to be humbled and be seen to be humbled in public. Such a person must eventually be converted to the true God and His ways. There is no doubt about that. A person who does not come to God is actually a liar in one or more ways because they are denying the truth.
28. The man, woman or child whose word is no good, who is i 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".
29. That is why it is so vitally important that, even though we may have honest different opinions on many matters, we all learn to live and speak TRUTHFULLY.
30. Unfortunately, the world has become a society of the sophisticated lie, the double standard of morality. The next time you watch TV, count the number of lies told in a 5 minute period of time. You will be surprised. But before you do, be aware of some facts.
31. Modern society is by an large willing to accept vice when it brings an indirect profit to their respectable businessmen. "Respectable" church and civic leaders are often ready and willing to support gambling, prostitution and narcotics if it is to their financial advantage.
32. To the community at large they appear as the pillars of virtue and respectability. To the procurers of prostitutes, narcotics or big-time gambling czars, they are ready to make an "undercover deal." They are ready to use their civil influence or position to let organized vice and crime flourish in their community -- so long as they get a financial "cut". They are, in plain language, living a lie.
33. If you were aware of the extent of such activity in society you would understand that society is now thoroughly corrupt, and to such an extent that it is beyond turning back.
34. Most of the leaders of nations are either crooked or living a lie of one sort or another. For fear of upsetting other nations, leaders will abandon sound moral principles. Today there are presidents of countries who are mass murderers, swindlers, extortioners, and thieves. But few people speak out the truth against them. Occasionally, in order to appear righteous or to protect some national interest, a nation may condemn another nation's leader or leaders. But on the whole, all government régimes are living a lie. The whole political system is corrupt in every single system.
35. You are called to have nothing to do with the world's system. If you become involved you must either compromise your honesty or find yourself squeezed out. Governments have rejected the true God. No government in the world proclaims the God of the Scriptures. By definition, all governments have therefore rejected the truth and are living a lie.
36. That is not to say that all individuals in governments are living a lie. But no matter how virtuous a person may be, to be a part of any party of organisation that is built up on a lie, in whole or in part, is to support and sustain that lie. It is therefore to compromise one's honesty.
37. The Ninth Commandment protects every unright and decent man, woman and child in that it helps guard his reputation. Perhaps there is no more despicable sin that of slander, the lie invented and spread abroad with intent to harm one's fellow man.
38. 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 fellowman. Once a person has been so slandered it is almost impossible to have that reputation fully restored. Those who have been falsely accused of committing some crime will, long after his name has been cleared, still be viewed as a criminal by many people.
39. Those who hold priesthood office in the New Covenant Church of God must preserve their reputations by being honest. Of Pastors Paul writes to Timothy, saying: "He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap" (1 Timothy 3:7, NIV). Is our reputation important? Of course, because we are representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we get a bad name for ourselves, then be bring disrespect upon Christ and upon all those who profess Christ.
40. If someone is wrongly accused, no matter who they are -- no matter whether we like them or not -- we should fight to defend their reputation. Likewise, you may be surprised to find the kinds of people who will come to the defence of your good reputation -- many of them may be unbelievers, but who are precious in God's sight because they are honest and honourable. Often you will find unbelievers more honest and honourable than Christians.
41. Therefore beware of the masks which people wear, or the labels they like to use. Do not assume a person is right with God simply because they call themselves "Christians". Judge righteous judgment, and judge first and foremost a person by his honesty and not the way he talks, dresses, or otherwise behaves. Such a person is close to the Kingdom of God because he is standing at the door.
42. Do not be surprised if in the last days many of the enemies of the New Covenant turn out to be people calling themselves "Christians" rather than the unbelievers. There will be a place in the Millennial World for honest unbelievers but not for dishonest "Christians". The truth is that honest "unbelievers" have already begun to believe.
43. We will all be surprised at the last day when we stand before the Great Judgment of Almighty God. You will find persons in Zion whom you never dreamed would be there, and persons not in Zion whom you thought had all the right credentials. It is only as you mature in the Gospel that you will learn to discern the way God sees and judges, and not the narrow blinkered ways of many religionists who judge after their own fallen standards.
44. The aggressive nature of men makes them the most guilty party in countless outward acts of sin. But one of the most common and degrading sins among women is that of spreading gossip and slander. How many lives, homes and careers are wrecked by this vile practice is known to God alone.
45. The apostle James warned: "The tongue is also a fire. a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell" (James 3:6, NIV).
46. You girls and sisters are therefore strictly warned to control your tongues because amongst the female sex this is a great weakness. This is not to say that men are not guilty of this crime also, for they are, and are to be warned also. But women are particularly susceptible to this sin which they are tempted to use more than the men because physically they are the weaker sex and often think this is their only defence.
47. The first and basic application of the Ninth Commandment is against false testimony in the courts of justice. This we call perjury. It is a criminal defence and rightly so, for justice is based on truth.
48. The fruits of perjury in the courts of the nations is only too clear. An entire generation of businessmen, industrialists, government bureaucrats, labour leaders and even college professors are basing their lives on deception, lies and hypocrisy.
49. This is more dangerous than people realise. For this means that we must not only distrust our avowed enemies, but also our professed "friends". It means that millions of man-hours and dollars (pounds, kroner, etc.) must be spent in order to "check up" on the honesty of those in government, in business, and so on down the line. And it breeds throughout our entire society an attitude of cynicism, despair and futility. For this is the result of breaking God's Law.
50. It is therefore frightening to see how entire nations are guided by men who are in power only because of their ability to delude and deceive their own people. And as should be obvious to you, when society is so corrupt, then democracy has little meaning. We should not be surprised to learn, therefore, that God is not a democrat but a dictator. As the only One who is Truth, He is, moreover, a benevolent dictator.
51. 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 following many months or years of uncertainty, anguish, and frustration until ultimate disaster strikes and the truth is finally made plain only by the force of circumstance.
52. Democracy has become one of the gods of the modern world precisely because those who use it can appeal on the dishonesty of ordinary citizens, making promises that tempt but which are rarely kept. Democracy has become organised, sophisticated lying. Democracy functions only for the benefit of the people in a society where individuals are living the Ten Commandments.
54. In the 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 tell one.
55. The Holy Order, as you will be taught many times, is not a democracy. It is a benevolent dictatorship, just as God is a benevolent dictator. But just as the Father gave all authority to the Son because of the Son's obedience, so also does the Son, Jesus Christ, give authority to those of us who are obedient, lifting us into freedom.
56. True freedom is honesty. We are not free to lie, cheat, deceive, or otherwise break the Commandments. The world is free, but not those who have voluntarily submitted themselves to God's Law. Lying and deception are slavery because they lead to demonic control.
57. Honesty is common sense. 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 prevent unworthy men from ever being placed in high positions of responsibility. It would literally "clean up" society.
58. 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 would literally be astounding.
59. 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 the utopia that will exist during the Millennium.
60. This is what the society of God is like. This is what a Firstborn Society is. The best for honest labour. For those who wish to be a part of Zion the commandment rings forth: "Therefore each of you must put of his falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour, for we are all members of one Body" (Ephesians 4:25, NIV).
61. Children, brethren and sisters: honesty pays. If people were honest with each other and with themselves there would be no conflicts either in Church or in society. Think of it: anger, pride and selfishness would vanish altogether. Honesty always leads to the truth, and truth always leads to freedom. Jesus said: "If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32, NIV).
62. But you must first trust the Word of God and then live it. Only then does true inner freedom come. And what a wonderful freedom it is too! All fear will disappear -- you will live in peace and happiness. That is the message that you must give to the world.
63. So why do people reject the Ninth Commandment if its benefits are so plain to see? Is it because people don't understand what the fruits of honesty and truthfulness are? No, it is because of one thing: VANITY. You see, the very root principle of all sin is vanity. The Bible says: "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity" (Ecclesiastes 1:2, AV). What is vanity? Vanity literally means "emptiness" or "unreal thing" or "illusion".
64. What, then is man's great illusion that leads him into sin and into a rejection of God? The illusion is that men believe they can become "gods" in their own eyes and in the eyes of their fellowman. It is utterly foolish! Everyone wants to become their own boss and write their own rules.
65. That is utterly impossible. By definition there can only be one "God"; there can only be one principle of "good", not two, three, or ten billion. There can only be one set of self-existing, harmonious, complete laws. There is one law of gravity, not two.
66. To believe otherwise is to believe in the GREAT LIE that Satan told Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He persuaded them that they could become independent gods in their own right! And they believed the lie and died.
67. To want to be your own boss is an utter illusion. No world can peacefully exist with everyone wanting to be their own bosses. So men lie to each other and to themselves. Men try to get power over each other, women to outshine each other in beauty. It is all a lie. There is only one power and only one beauty; all the rest of but reflection.
68. Only one sun lights up our solar system and gives uniform heat to our planet as there is only one God who lights up our souls and gives us love.
69. 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 fellowman. They speak and act falsely because they fear the opinions of men much more than that of Almighty God! The daily actions and words of nearly all men bear eloquent testimony to the truth of this statement.
70. The apostle John saw this so clearly when, of the religious leaders of his day, he wrote: "For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:43, NIV).
71. Men and women are often "ashamed" of what they call "failure" in a business or a local sense. Young men are "ashamed" not to "get their girl" or girls to not "get their boy". Children are ashamed to get low grades in school or to not to be popular. They will cheat, falsify and lie in order to avoid this "failure" -- or to cover it up. Sometimes they will even sell their own souls to do so.
72. But from the point-of-view of what is intrinsically "right" -- and of eternal values -- the only thing anyone should fear is sin. For, as the apostle Paul said: "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31, NIV).
73. Beloved, do not be deceived! All that is important is that you flee sin. For if you are made right with God through faith in His Name and obedience to His commandments, what have you got to worry about? You have the Creator-God -- the maker of heaven and earth and everything in them -- on your side!
74. Jesus said: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven..." (Romans 8:31, NIV).
75. Stop worrying about what puny, mortal men and women think! Start worrying about what God thinks! Once you do, you will learn to cease all hypocrisy in business, in social life, in politics, and in religious and scientific endeavours.
76. Remember also that many whom this deceitful world have condemned have received God's blessing and are heirs to eternal life. Never forget that it was through the sin of false testimony and lying that Jesus Christ was murdered! "Many testified falsely against Him, but their statements did not agree" (Mark 14:56, NIV). Yes, it was through breaking the Ninth Commandment that God's Son was murdered.
77. It is only because of vanity that men want to believe what is "popular" for the moment, and they therefore fool themselves into believing scientific and religious theories that have no basis whatsoever in actual fact. God warns against all such hypocrites: "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness" (Romans 1:18, NIV).
78. In this world, the truth is suppressed. So don't be surprised what you discover, through your own experience in the world, that almost everything around you is based on falsehood. How deep this falsehood is you really do not yet know! All may appear orderly and right, but the core of this world is utterly and completely rotten.
79. Anyone who knowingly holds down or suppresses the truth comes under the condemnation of God, and especially those who suppress the truth of God's existence and purpose on this earth. God says that the vain philosophers and scientists of this world are "without excuse" for denying that God literally created this universe and is now ruling it through His power (Ibid., v.20).
80. Most scientists and theologians who know in the Satan-inspired theory of evolution ought to know better. Some of them do know better but they go along with what pleases men, and they are living a LIE.
81. The same principle is true in the religious sphere. Those ministers and students of scripture who continue to teach and practice what is false in the face of the plain teachings of the Bible come under condemnation for they make the Word of God out to be a lie.
82. Is it any wonder that the world is blind to the truth of God when so many Christian ministers teach falsehood, and are doing so more and more? In openly rebelling against the Word they show themselves to be a part of the world and its devilish system. And that is why what is called "civilization" is doomed. That is why the world will disintegrate into anarchy and why only personal intervention by the Saviour will save our planet.
83. Children, brethren and sisters: let your lives be a model of truthfulness. Learn the importance of telling the truth, believing the truth, and living the truth. Be careful that you do not base your life on a single lie -- whether personal, political, scientific or religious distortions of the truth.
84. In your personal speech, guard your words carefully. You need not always speak everything you know. But when you speak, let it be TRUTH. Remember: "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit" (Proverbs 18:21, NIV).
85. Never forget that a man or woman is only as good as his word. If a man becomes a habitual liar, it is almost impossible to help him -- for anything he says or does may simply be another deception.
86. 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 life.
87. 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??
88. The very diametric opposite of God's character is that of Satan, the devil. As Jesus Christ revealed: "When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44, NIV). Those who follow Satan in his refusal to live by truth have a terrible fate awaiting them: "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death" (Revelation 21:8, NIV).
89. Remember also that there are no "white" lies in God's sight. Half-truths, distortions and deceptions are condemned throughout God's Word.
90. Your challenge then, children, brethren and sisters, is to live by the inspired Word of God which says: "Your Word is truth" (John 17:17) for this is the only way to inherit eternal life and the Kingdom that is based on what is literally true and right. This is the message of the Ninth Commandment. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Question and Answer Session
91. We will now have our question and answer session according to the rules that you have been taught (Taphim 1:49; 2:88).
(Questions and answers -- max. 30 minutes)
92. Beloved, this brings us to the conclusion of this session. I hope that you will return to the House next time having carefully thought over what you have learned and understand the supreme importance of honesty in the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
93. May the Lord bless you and keep you until we meet again tomorrow for our next study of the Ten Commandments. Amen.
First created on 11 July 1998
Last updated on 11 July 1998
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