Temple School of Taphim 11:
The Tenth 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 five 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 five 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. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour" (Exodus 20:12-16, NIV; Taphim 7:4,36).
5. In the Tenth House of Taphim you were taught the full meaning and implication of the Ninth Commandment which says: "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour", or, more generally, "You shall not lie."
6. You were taught the meaning of the word truth -- that God is Truth, and that what He has spoken is Truth. You were told that in many ways the Ninth Commandment is the door to obedience to the other commandments, that total honesty is essential to receiving, and growing up in, Christ.
7. To be truthful requires humility, honesty, and a willing to publicly confess sin. These, you will remember, were the persons Jesus ministered to, no matter what their background. As a New Covenant Christian you should find it easier to associate with an honest unbeliever than with a dishonest Christian. The former is already close to salvation where as the latter is already on the road to hell.
8. What are some of the signs of a person who is truthful and honest? The Hebrew word for truth also means firm, trustworthy, stable, and faithful. Perhaps one of the best definitions of truthfulness is stability. One of the definitions of God in the scriptures is given by David: "But You remain the same, and Your years will never end" (Psalms 102:27, NIV). Paul said: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8, NIV).
9. A sign that a person is walking in the truth is that they become stable and consistent in right conduct. Paul said: "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast -- as you really are. Therefore, let us keep the Festival (of the Passover) not with the old yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Corinthians 5:7-8, NIV).
10. To be honest and truthful means we must walk as the Lord would have us walk. We are not to compromise with sin in any way. This means we must be strict in our conduct with others, especially within the Church. Paul says further: "But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother (or sister) but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man (or woman) do not even eat....Expel the wicked man from among you" (1 Corinthians 5:11,13, NIV).
11. Maintaining congregational purity is, of course, the responsibility of the Pastor and elders of the outer fellowship, and of the Patriarchate in the Holy Order. One sign of honesty and truthfulness is therefore a willingness to obey this Word of God and not compromise it. You will discover that it is the impure and the liars who wish to retain the "sexually immoral, greedy, idolaters, slanderers, drunkards and swindlers" and that often they will appeal to "love" in defence of their position. But beware! Such are dangerous liars and the truth is not in them, for by their action they betray their own sinful nature.
12. A person who is obeying the Ninth Commandment is walking a stable and harmonious life. That person has found what it means to be "the same yesterday, today and forever". The truth does not change. It is forever constant. Morality is constant. God does not change His Word though He may bring it to further completion depending on man's readiness to receive it.
13. So if anyone tells you that any of the Ten Commandments are "old fashioned", or that they have been replaced by a so-called higher law of "love", mark them down as either ignorant and in need of further instruction, or as possible liars who are trying to conceal some immorality in their lives. Man are only too willing to change God's Laws to suit them so that they can continue living in sin without a disturbed conscience.
14. If you desire to gain God's approval in your life, you should walk in His Truth, and serve Him in truth. Joshua said: "Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness" (Joshua 24:14, NIV). And the prophet Samuel added: "(And) consider what great things He has done for you" (1 Samuel 12:24, NIV). May you be able to say to the Lord with a clear conscience, having obeyed the Ninth Commandment, as King Hezekiah did, as he said tearfully: "Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before You faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in Your eyes" (Isaiah 38:3, NIV).
15. There is no more wonderful thing than to walk in the knowledge that one has been truthful and honest. Actually, the Lord expects nothing more of us. We can only acknowledge and do what we personally know to be true. The Lord does not expect us to know the truth all at once. We cannot possibly know it all. Knowing truth comes only through seeking after it and living a life of truthfulness. We have to put into practice what we know to be right in our minds and hearts.
16. Once you know the blessedness of living a life in the truth, any thought of deception, lying, or bearing false witness will become utterly revolting to you. And when others lie, distort the truth, or bear false witness of others, no matter who they are, you will become righteously angry.
17. A person who is living in the spirit of truth will support an unbeliever against his own brother or sister if that unbeliever tells the truth and the believer tells a lie. Our loyalty is first and foremost to the Truth, and not to our fellowship. Now I am not saying that you should be disloyal to your brothers and sisters. Absolutely not. In supporting an unbeliever is not to make the unbeliever your friend and your brother your enemy. For a person who is living the Ninth Commandment is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34, AV) -- for him it is not a question of "member versus non-member" but a question of "truth versus error".
18. For this reason the purity of the fellowship or Church is of vital importance. Paul write to Timothy: "...I am writing you these instructions so that ... you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the Church of the Living God, the pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Timothy 3:14-15, NIV). This is why the New Covenant Church of God is so strict about personal and communal holiness, because the Church is called to be the "pillar and foundation of truth". If the Church is living the commandments, then there never should be a need to support a non-member against a member.
19. You have been given pastors and elders in the outer fellowship to make sure you remain firmly in God's truth. Their responsibility is to make sure that the saints follow the scriptures, the Word of God, and to combat false teaching which will always try to find its way into the Church though unenlightened and misinformed people (2 Timothy 2:15-18, NIV). Their job is to "gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance, leading them to a knowledge of the truth" (Ibid., v.25).
20. One of the great blessings of being active members of this Holy Order, to which you have been called if you remain true, is that you will possess great wisdom. But what is this wisdom? And how will you obtain it? The apostle James writes: "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbour bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such (so-called) "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest or righteousness" (James 3:13-18, NIV).
21. Beloved children, brethren and sisters: I want you to remember these words well. If you can learn them and apply them in your lives, you will know the gloriousness of the Ninth Commandment. You will find them at the end of the Third Chapter of the Epistle of James.
22. The New Covenant Church of God is orderly and pure. To enter into it fully, which is to enter into the mystery of Christ, requires that you discover the heart of the Tenth Commandment, which is PURITY, PEACE, CONSIDERATION, SUBMISSIVENESS, MERCY, GOOD FRUITS, IMPARTIALITY and SINCERITY. May these words reverberate in your souls as you glorify the Lord our God, is my prayer, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Tenth Commandment
23. Beloved children, brethren and sisters, we shall now look at the Tenth and final Commandment, in which the Lord says: "You shall not covet your neighbour's house. You shall not covet your neighbour's wife, or his manservant or his maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour" (Exodus 20:17, NIV).
24. The word "covet" means "to desire eagerly" or "to long for". Used in the negative sense, to be "covetous" has come to mean "eagerly desirous of another's property", "grasping", and "avaricious" (The Concise Oxford Dictionary, 1978, p.236). Avarice, as it is sometimes called, is one of the Seven Cardinal Sins, about which you will learn more in the House of Dabar.
25. Amongst the things we are not to covet are gold and silver (Deuteronomy 7:25), fields and houses (Micah 2:2). The apostle James warns us that there is little difference between covetous and murder, for covetous always leads to murder if allowed to come to full fruition1 (James 4:2; Jeremiah 22:17).
26. Paul sums up this commandment very succinctly when he says: "Do not covet" (Romans 13:9, NIV). The heart of the problem is not what you covet or eagerly desire but coveting, full stop/period! God's people are to "hate covetousness" (Exodus 18:21) because God hates it (Psalms 10:3). And we are given a promise: "He that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days" (Proverbs 28:16, AV), but those who covet shall, in the end, lose everything (Jeremiah 8:10, AV).
27. Covetousness is subtle and deadly, and Christians, as we shall see presently, are very easily seduced by it. Ezekiel said: "My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain" (Ezekiel 33:31, NIV). Or as another translation puts it: "...with their mouth, they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness" (Ibid., AV).
28. Covetousness is evil and straight from the devil. What a man covets he will take by any means, taking by violence if necessary, oppressing a man and his family until he gets what he wants, even if it means murdering for it (Micah 2:2).
29. I hope it is obvious to you, children, brethren and sisters, that the commandment not to covet is being almost totally ignored in the world. Covetousness is one of the major reasons the world is in such moral chaos and anarchy today, and why it will get worse and worse. Many see the fall of communism as not only a blow for freedom but also a blow against freedom, because at least officially covetousness was regarded as anti-social, evil, and decadent. And so it is.
30. Surveys have revealed that the financial troubles plaguing most families in the rich Western world, and increasingly in the Second and Third world where First World values are becoming the norm, are not the result of low income. The financial troubles of the modern family and directly caused by overextending a normally adequate income for luxuries and personal indulgence, and by the common habit of installment buying. "Buy now and pay later" is what advertisers have been saying for a long time.
31. But this is fundamentally wrong. The so-called "credit-society" is not scriptural. Credit is a form of bondage -- it is, actually, a naked lie. Nowadays citizens are made to believe by advertisers that they are "backward" or "wrong" not to strive and compete and LUST after as many material possessions as your neighbour owns. "Keeping up with the Joneses" is a popular American expression. In short, "GET all you can while the going is good."
32. A well-known American satanist has written: "Strive, reach, take. Then you shall not be taken". He has also said: "Satanism is a blatantly selfish philosophy. It is based on the belief that human beings are inherently selfish, violent creatures, that life is a Darwinian struggle for survival of the fittest, that only the strong survive and the earth will be ruled by those who fight to win the ceaseless competition that exists in all jungles -- including those of our urbanised society" (NCW, November 1993, 6:44).
33. Almost everything you see on TV, in magazines and in other media teach this lie. In the modern Western world there is the incessant pressure to "get ahead" -- which usually means to acquire more money and material property. As should be obvious to you all by now, this is clear-cut IDOLATRY. The minds and hearts or billions of souls have become blinded to a truly satisfying and joyful life in God because of this materialist philosophy.
34. Yet sadly millions of professing Christians are utterly blind to this lie and eagerly pursue the capitalist dream like their unbelieving neighbours. Some years ago, a prominent religious publication, "The Canadian Churchman", told this sobering story of the effect of this material idolatry on young African Christians studying in the United States and Canada.
35. One such young man said: "Before I came to study here, I was a good Christian. I dreamed some day of becoming a medical missionary. NOW I AM AN ATHEIST." "Why?" asked the shocked interviewer. "Since coming here", he explained, "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 worshipped 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 the difference."
36. Should we be surprised? Not really, for that African spoke the truth. The problem nowadays is that people have got so close to their own sins that they can't see them any longer. The so-called "Christian" West is no longer Christian. It is a society based on LUST and greed for more and more material things. There is no Christian society anymore, no Christian nation. All are utterly and thoroughly apostate. They have abandoned the truth and embraced a giant lie. And one of those lies is atheistic capitalism, and especially that brand of capitalism which is called monetarism. In monetarism, money dictates the system, not a code of morals like the Ten Commandments.
37. 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, and frustrated lives. Most important of all, this form of idolatry leaves almost no time, strength or desire ever to become acquainted with the true God -- whose living laws and ways alone bring real inner peace and joy.
38. This is the eleventh lecture you have now attended in this House of Taphim and I hope that by now you can see that every problem and sorrow in our individual and national lives is directly caused by disobedience to one or more of the Ten Commandments of God. Jesus said: "Out of men's hearts come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils...make a man 'unclean'" (Mark 7:21-23, NIV).
39. O rebellious, foolish man! He wants to achieve the results of righteousness in his own way -- the wrong way -- and so he suffers. I repeat, the Ten Commandments are living, moving, ACTIVE laws -- like the law of gravity. They are automatic. When you break them, they break you.
40. And so it is with the final commandment of God's Law. Even though a man may break it in secret, without anyone else knowing, the penalty for its violation is absolutely certain.
41. Of all the commandments, the tenth refers most specifically to man's relation to man. It's force lies in the words: "Your neighbour's...your neighbour's...his...his...his...his...your neighbour's." This is a sevenfold guarding of the interests of others.
42. 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 it breaks the commandment.
43. Many people seems to think that this commandment is purely physical. But it isn't. In some ways, the spiritual requirement of the commandment is more rigid than the physical ones. This commandment regulates even the thoughts in the mind and the heart of man.
44. The bulk of Christendom teaches that the Law of Moses was basically carnal, adapted to fallen man. This is only partially true. If you look at the heart of the Law you will find that it is utterly spiritual. When Jesus said that a man commits adultery when he even looks at a woman to lust after her, He was not revealing anything new, but reaffirming what God had already stated in the Law, and especially here the Tenth Commandment (Matthew 5:28).
45. Is it really surprising that most modern Christians worship Jesus rather than the Father? When they think of God, they think of Jesus alone, because their image of the Father has been tainted by false teaching on the Law. The Father is associated with the supposed harshness of the Law, and Jesus with the mercy side. Can you see what a terrible idolatry this is, and how the Almighty God is dishonoured?
46. The Ten Commandments are the heart of the Law and are completely and utterly spiritual. What has been added, because of human weakness and rebelliousness, may be termed "harsh", for that is what the children of Israel invited upon themselves. But the heart of the Law is eternally spiritual, as should be clear in this brief study of the Tenth Commandment.
47. It is important for you, children, brethren and sisters, to come and understand what the heart of the Law really is. Without this understanding, you can never come to a knowledge the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whose heart is also the Law, and especially the Ten Commandments.
48. Most people, if you ask them, will tell you that they look upon sin as an outward or physical type of thing. They do not realise, because they are not spiritual themselves, that the holy, righteous character which God intends us to have requires that even our thoughts be completely purified and made like His.
49. Action always follows thought. You are what you think, and what you think, you are.
50. 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 manifest itself as outward sin. The actions then reach the stage of openly defying God -- too break His Law -- because the thoughts have been doing this all along.
51. The Tenth Commandment pierces through all "surface Christianity" and shows whether a man or woman 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.
52. Now it should be obvious to you that where all eternity is involved that God will now give eternal life to a person whose mind and heart disdain the very character and way of life which God intends for those in His Kingdom.
53. When it comes to the True Gospel and to the True God in all His reality and glory, it is time to stop fooling around about religion. Religion is not a game, it is not a hobby, it is not something you do "in addition" to other life. The choice is simple, and it is a black-and-white choice: Either you come to LOVE the Creator God and His Ways and laws with all your being or you will automatically begin to resent His authority and rule over your lives.
54. And that is where the Tenth Commandment enters in. For it shows God's authority even over our inner thoughts. Part of our glorious call is to learn to think as God thinks (Philippians 2:5). And that requires nothing less than a total inner revolution of mind which is one of the major functions of the Holy Order.
55. This is no easy task. To think as God thinks, and to feel as God feels, cannot be achieved overnight. It is a long inner struggle. It is a process. By means of the Holy Spirit within us, we are to fight the fight of faith in putting down the lustful human nature within us all. As the famous English hymn by John Samuel Bewley Monsell puts it so eloquently: "Fight the good fight with all they might, Christ is thy strength and Christ thy right; Lay hold on life, and it shall be Thy joy and crown eternally" (Duke Street, tune by John Hatton).
56. To live the Tenth Commandment requires a fighting spirit. Do not expect obedience to it to come automatically. It is no accident that Paul uses military language when describing this great battle. He says: "We (must) demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV).
57. Children, brethren, and sisters: this is our ultimate goal -- to bring all our thoughts and feelings into subjection to Christ. We may not fully realise it in this life but we will certainly realise it in the resurrection if we are true in the battle while we are here.
58. Meanwhile, we are to grow in God's character during this life. It takes time, patience, resolution, and above all -- unquestioning obedience. We must therefore learn like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and others of God's servants of the Most High God to "walk in God". We must go His Way -- do as He does -- think as thinks, and feel as He feels.
59. For those of you who are young in the faith these will seem but words to you at present. But the time will come, if it has not already come, where you will find yourself in a fierce struggle for dominance with your lower nature. Even those of you who have been Christians for a long time may yet have to face the most difficult inner struggles as the dominance of your lower nature in certain areas of your life is revealed and stripped naked by the revelation of the Holy Order.
60. The "normal" mind of man is filled with selfishness, vanity, competition, greed, hate and lust. It is, in short, a mind CUT OFF from the ways and thoughts of God. We should not therefore be surprised to hear the Lord telling us, as He has through the prophet Isaiah: "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.....As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV).
61. Do you wonder why you cannot always hear the voice of God? It is because your thoughts are so out of harmony with His. Though He is talking to you all the time, you cannot hear Him because you aren't listening. You are rather listening to the thoughts of your fallen nature. Do you wonder why you can feel His intimate presence more often? It is because your feelings are out of tune with His. You are rather listening to the feelings of your lower nature.
62. Human nature covets all the wrong things. People's goals and priorities are all wrong. Usually the drown out God's will altogether; amongst believers, they are usually in competition with God's will. Our spiritual nature, however, covets, or eagerly desires, that which is right.
63. So what does "Do not covet" actually mean? Are we allowed to covet anything? Actually, there is a positive commandment to "covet". Let's have a look and see.
64. The apostle Paul said: "The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbour as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbour. THEREFORE LOVE IS THE FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW" (Romans 13:9-10, NIV).
65. Love "fulfills" or "completes" the Law. Without it, the Law is actually quite meaningless. The moment you start loving your neighbour -- and that means everyone -- you are living all the Commandments.
66. Are you one of those who struggles inside desperate to try and love your neighbour? Most honest Christians at some stage in their lives get frustrated because they can't understand why they don't love as much as they want to. Why the apparent contradiction?
67. The contradiction comes because of competition -- the competition for dominance of our lower, carnal nature over our higher, spiritual nature. What is it you most eagerly desire? Or to put it another way, what is it that you covet? And have you considered that what may actually be lawful may not actually be right at that particular moment of time?
68. Sometimes righteous desires put us into conflict with the higher demands made of us by the Lord. We may know what is acceptable to desire but that desire may become an obstacle to God's will. So what may be permissible for us to have by the Law -- such as a wife, husband, servant, home, or whatever -- may not, at a particular moment of time, be what we are supposed to be eagerly desiring or coveting. So what are we to covet?
69. Paul said to the Corinthians: "Eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way" (1 Corinthians 12:31, NIV). Or as another Bible translation puts it: "But covet earnestly the best gifts" (Ibid., AV).
70. What are the best gifts? What are we to covet, then? What is "the most excellent way?" He gives a big list of the "best gifts" and they are: the gifts of apostolic and prophetic ministry, the gift of teaching, the gift of miracles, the gift of healing mind, heart and body, the gift of organisation of the Body, and the gift of speaking in foreign languages so that the Gospel may be taught to all. These are the best gifts. These are the gifts we are to earnestly seek after -- to covet.
71. But then there is still a "most excellent way" which makes all of these desires, great though they may be, take a firm second place. And that is the gift to love. It's a complete circle, isn't it? You want to know how to love, so you seek after the best gifts. But even these aren't enough. The only thing that matters in the end is whether or not we learned to love or not.
73. The more you serve, the more you love. As you serve, have love uppermost in your minds, and not the service itself. Give of yourself, and you will receive love until you cannot contain it. Have nothing but good feelings towards all men and women, and let your mouth reflect that inner warmth by the sweetness of your praise and concern. Let your words be a song of praise to God as you love your neighbour.
74. David prayed this prayer to the Lord: "Turn my heart towards your statutes and not toward selfish gain" (Psalm 119:36, NIV). The writer of Proverbs said: "The sluggard's cravings will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work. All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing" (Proverbs 21:25-26, NIV).
75. The Law of God permits you many things, but if you love what is permissible more than what God actually wants you to do, you end up breaking the Law! For the heart of the Lord is above all other things love of your neighbour.
76. The purpose of the Holy Order to which you have been called by God is to get your minds changed, converted and cleaned up. This is Christ's great commission when He said: "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8). And as you will learn later in your spiritual endowment, in Hebrew language there is no difference between mind and heart -- they are two aspects of the whole.
77. If you are one of those people who up to now has been rushing around to make more money, or if you've been in a hurry to have a good time and to get everything you can, now is the time to STOP and THINK. Even if you have been a Christian for some time you may discover that parts of the old way of life are still clinging on to you and diverting you from the great call to serve the Lord our God with ALL you might, might and strength.
78. In our modern age there are luxuries that were unthinkable 50 or 100 years ago. The world urges you to spend more than you make and do more than we ought. People have become so career-orientated that they have no time for God, let alone their families. For many their career is their god.
79. It is important for you to realise that the greater part of the luxuries that exist are not necessary for a happy life. We are not to go lusting after them like the gentiles. If you look at the Tenth Commandment carefully it is interesting to see what is included in the "do nots": a house, a wife, a manservant, a maidservant, an ox, and an ass.
80. Have you ever wondered why these specifically are named in this commandment? All of these are necessary for a full and complete life. What are these things in the 20th (21st) century? Firstly, every man and woman needs a wife or a husband. Why do we need them?
81. The Bible says for intimate companionship to teach us how to have an intimate relationship with God, to raise up godly children, and to be helpers in the Kingdom work. That is why we are to get married. To lust after someone else's husband and wife destroys all three purposes. Marriage was not given for selfish gratification.
82. Next we come to "menservants" and "maidservants". The modern mind considers these things terrible and associates "servants" with the idle rich. But this is not God's meaning. An essential quality of Christian discipleship is service. You cannot earnestly desire the best gifts of apostolic and prophetic ministry, the gift of teaching, the gift of healing, etc., until you have first learned how to SERVE.
83. One of the reason there is so much selfishness, greed and lust in the world is that people are not taught to serve, only to get. Having men- and maidservants in a household is perfectly normal. In the Holy Order, every souls is expected to have served as a man- or a maidservant before they can hold positions of responsibility. They are expected to have performed what the world disparagingly calls "menial labour" before they are spiritually fit to take leadership positions.
84. In Firstborn Communities older, single children spend a minimum of one year's obligatory service in a household other than their own. Their duties are wholly domestic. At the same time they have temporal duties in the religious life of the community. This is to teach them humility, submissiveness, and obedience. They occupy, relative to the position they have in the household, the same position that mature adults should have towards God.
85. These older children sleep in the homes of their biological families but work during the day in the homes where they are called to be menservants or maidservants. In a Firstborn Community, therefore, possession of menservants and maidservants is a normal way of life. They are called by the Patriarchate to this service and is conditional for their advancement in the social life of the Order. Unmarried adults do exactly the same service though with slight variation.
86. These servants are not slaves as they were under the old Mosaic Law where they belonged to the owner of the household. These servants belong to Christ. They are, as the Scriptures teach, slaves of Christ. You may recall that one of the indignant retorts of the Pharisees to John the Baptist's criticism of them was that they had "never been slaves of anyone" (John 8:33, NIV). They did not know what true service was, for they had been brought up isolated from the people. A Zionic community therefore needs menservants and maidservants. That is why they appear in the Tenth Commandment.
87. We next find "oxen" and "asses" which were essential to an agricultural way of life in Moses' day. In other words, they are the tools of our labour, the means by which we provide an income in money or in kind. Just as a farmer needs farming equipment, so a piano teacher needs a piano, and so on. In the Holy Order everyone receives according to his or her need. Whatever we need to feed ourselves and our family is a legitimate want, whether it is our biological family in the world, or the saints of the Holy Order.
88. These are our seven-fold "needs". Thus the law guards seven-fold our interests as well as the interests of our neighbour. Finally, the Tenth Commandment says "anything that is thy neighbours". This apparent "after-thought" is actually very important and by no means just an "after-thought". Once the Order has given a family something, the Order has no right to demand it back. A family may surrender something of its own free will if it does not need it anymore but the Order cannot take away once it has given. It cannot therefore appropriate property.
89. God therefore defines our needs in terms of a marriage companion, servants, and the tools of our trade. All else is surplus. These are our sacrosanct "possessions". You will learn more of these things later on in your spiritual endowment in the Order.
90. As candidates for the Holy Order and a Firstborn Community it is vitally important that you get your minds "cleaned up". You have to learn to think in God's way. Our call is to abandon the world's way of thinking -- totally -- with its emphasis on getting and SELF.
91. The nations fight and kill because of this sinful attitude. The apostle James asks: "What causes fights and quarrels amongst you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you (do) ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives; that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend becomes an enemy of God.
92. "Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit He caused to live in us envies intensely? But He gives us more grace. That is why scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God, and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded...Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up" (James 4:1-8,10, NIV).
93. Gambling is one of the symptoms of disobedience to the Tenth Commandment. Gamblers want something for nothing -- to covet a reward they have not legitimately earned. 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 brutes?
94. The answer, if of course, that this obscene "literature" is the result of a particularly foul and perverse form of covetousness -- a selfish desire to "get" the good things of life without having to give anything good in return. Just look around you and you will see that the whole of society is literally founded on the principle of covetousness.
95. You will quickly see thousands of other major examples of covetousness in our society if your eyes are really open. But you must we willing to see your own covetousness first! You must be willing to repent of it and ask the Lord for the love and strength to overcome it.
96. Many of you may have become spiritually or even physically injured because of covetousness. Millions are led to ill health, debt, bankruptcy, broken homes, and many other evils because of covetousness.
97. Jesus warns every generation: "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (Luke 12:15, NIV). Beloved, watch out, because covetousness is an illusion. It doesn't give what it seems to promise. And why not? Because it is from the father of lies, Satan. Covetousness is a big lie.
98. Happiness is first of all a state of mind. It comes from having the very spirit and mind of Christ inside your own. Jesus said: "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head" (Luke 9:58, NIV). The love, joy and peace which Jesus exemplifies came from giving and SERVING -- not from any material thing Jesus was able to "get".
99. The Saviour of Mankind 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 of life, He commanded: "BUT SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD, AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33, AV).
Question and Answer Session
100. Children, brethren and sisters, 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)
101. Beloved, this brings us to the conclusion of this session. I hope that you now see that the last commandment -- the Tenth -- 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. Paul said: "Covetousness...is IDOLATRY" (Colossians 3:5, AV).
102. Then, whatever you idolise you put in place of the True God. And you break the First Commandment: "You shall have no other gods besides me" (Exodus 20:3, NIV variant reading). Paul said: "Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey -- whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?" (Romans 6:16, NIV).
103. When you begin to covet material things, or even wrong spiritual things, you begin to "serve" them. You spend you time, your energy, and your money for these things. You end up loving them more than God.
104. 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 for His glory.
105. And, in practical daily life, covetousness violates the basic principle of the way of life set forth by all the commandments of God and Jesus Christ Himself.. Jesus summarised this principle when he said: "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35, AV).
106. If you strive to see how much you can give to others and serve them, you will find the true way to happiness and eternal life. You will need to ask the Lord for His help and Spirit. But you will find that this positive approach is the only way you will be able to keep the Tenth Commandment.
107. Beloved, you will be called to one more session of this House of Taphim. In this session you will be required to make a choice -- whether to continue in your endowment in the Holy Order, spend another year going through these sessions again, or abandoning your attempt to enter the Order. These are serious questions and will require much prayer and meditation.
108. If you decide you wish to proceed in your endowment in the Holy Order, you will be called into the House of Pethach which is a preparatory endowment to your entering the House of Tabal. The House of Pethach consists of three temple endowment sessions. More will be explained to you next time.
109. May the Lord bless you and keep you until we meet again, and may you meditate carefully on what you have learned in this House, is my prayer in Jesus' Name. Amen.
First created on 11 July 1998
Last updated on 11 July 1998
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