Temple School of Taphim 6:
The Fifth Commandment
1. Beloved children and friends, 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 which are as follows: "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).
3. Last time you were here you were taught the importance of, and difference between, the inner and outer Sabbath. You were taught that the inner Sabbath is a condition of being in right relationship with the Lord always, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week; that the outer Sabbath is the law which requires you to rest one day in seven and devote yourself entirely to the Lord's service, putting all worldly concerns to one side.
4. You were taught that this observance is very important in your spiritual growth and sanctification and that it is a sign of God's people on the earth. Those who do not observe the Sabbath soon decline in their spirituality.
5. You were also taught the importance of hard work. Whereas one day in seven is to be dedicated to the Lord, the other six days are to be used for hard work. You were taught that a person who does not work hard rarely observes the Sabbath properly, and that a person who does not honour the Sabbath properly rarely works hard.
6. The world, you were taught, works five days a week and has a "weekend" in which men and women amuse themselves doing whatever they want to. Although working six days a week doesn't necessarily mean that you must go to school or to do professional work six days a week, it does mean that six days should be used in active labour, even if the sixth day is domestic labour or some other work.
7. You were taught that work exists on four levels -- physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual and that it is important for the New Covenant Christian to work on all four of these. Physical work and/or exercise, emotional contact with yourself and others, active intelligent thinking, and spiritual communion with God are all important for your soul's growth.
8. You have now understood that there are different degrees of "work" and "rest" and that God, though He rested from creative work on the Sabbath, nevertheless continued to perform sustaining work. You were taught the analogy of the plant when it flowers and "rests" before flowering again.
9. You should now therefore be aware of many different cycles of activity or "work". You should understand that the Fourth Commandment is an eternal commandment rooted in the very way in which we were created. It is an active Law. Moreover, you should also understand now that the Fourth Commandment is as much about "resting" on the Sabbath as it is about "working" on the other six days.
10. I hope that you will gradually become more conscious of the presence of divine Law in everything that God says, and understand that this Law is at its root internal or spiritual. God is not just concerned about the things you do outwardly but the way you function in your spirit. The root of the Sabbath Law is spiritual, and Sabbath Day observance is a physical manifestation of this Law. You will understand more of the inner principle of the Sabbath as you grow in your endowment in the Holy Order.
11. Beloved children and friends, we shall now move on from the God-man commandments, of which there were four, and look at the man-man commandments, namely, commandments affecting our relationship with each other. Today we shall begin with the first of these, the Fifth Commandment.
The Fifth Commandment
12. The Fifth Commandment is as follows: "Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you" (Exodus 20:12, NIV).
13. This is the first of the six commandments dealing with man's relationship to man. God did not put it at the top of the list accidentally. As I hope you are beginning to see, nothing is "accidental" in scripture. You should by now understand that just as the First Commandment contains the other three that follow it, so the first of the "man-to-man" commandments contains the remaining five commandments which follow it and which we shall be examining over the next two months.
14. Obedience to the remaining commandments, which are about murder, adultery, stealing, being honest with your neighbour, and not desiring things which don't belong to you, cannot occur without obedience to the Fifth Commandment about honouring your parents.
15. The Fifth Commandment is actually a very big one. It is bigger than it first appears. It finds its direct parallel with the First Commandment about honouring our Heavenly Parents. In fact, the First and Fifth Commandments are so closely connected that really they ought to be studied together. The Fifth Commandment is a mirror of the First.
16. Like almost all the rest of the commandments, the Fifth is being universally broken, even in countries where there has been a strong tradition of honouring parents. If you look at young people today you will discover that violence and insolence are common. There are more and more broken homes. In the West, over 50% of marriages end up in divorce and in some countries it is not unusual for over 90% of married parents to commit adultery.
17. Teenage crime is getting worse and worse each year. In large cities in many parts of the United States, young children are murdering each other in school and on the streets. Young teenagers are mugging and brutally murdering old people. You've even probably heard of children dressing up at soldiers and machine-gunning to death their fellow pupils at school.
18. I hope that common sense will tell you why these horrific things are happening. The answer to this worldwide problem is to be found in the Scriptures, and specifically in the Fifth Commandment.
19. Judge Samuel Leibowitz, a respected authority on juvenile problems in the United States, set out to find the answer to the frustration of young American people. To find the answer, he travelled to the Western nation with the lowest reported incidence of juvenile crime, Italy.
20. He went into Italian schools, and to the police to find out why Italian children were less involved in crime than the rest of the Western world. Wherever he went, he found the same answer: young people in Italy respect authority.
21. Finally, he went into Italian homes to find why they respect authority. He found that even in the poorest home that the wife and children respect and honour the father as its head.
22. Since the 1960's there has been a revolution in the West. Not a revolution with guns and tanks, but a revolution in attitudes. Some very foolish people decided that authority was the root of all the world's problems and that children should be allowed to do whatever they want to do. The result has been a disaster. Instead of making children happy and balanced, the opposite has occurred.
23. Even adults tried it. In communist China they abolished the authority of rank in the army. If a General told a Private to do something, the Private was entitled to question the General's authority by deciding for himself if the command was correct or not. The result was chaos in the Chinese army. Authority is needed for order. And order is needed for a happy, balanced life.
24. But why did people have to find this out the hard way? Because they refused to believe the All-wise God. Instead, they rebelled. Now adults are discovering the disaster they unleased as a result of turning away from the Fifth Commandment. Infact, the disaster is so great that repairing it is practically impossible. We have now started to enter into the opening phases of time leading to the Great Tribulation, a period of total anarchy and terror.
25. The same has happened in the former Soviet Union which was a highly organised society. Once the system of authority (which in this case was admittedly evil) was overturned, chaos began to reign.
26. Children and friends, what is your attitude to discipline? Do you resent it? Or do you thank the Lord for it? The chances are that you have become partially brainwashed by our permissive society which teaches by what it does that it is alright to do as you please. If you are looking for happiness, then it is absolutely essential that you come to understand and accept that authority and discipline is essential.
27. Judge Leibowitz discovered that a child wants a solid wall of discipline and rules around him so that his world can be defined. He wants to know exactly how far he can go. Everyone -- you and me -- has a nature which likes to test rules. We want to see how far we can go. God has established the boundaries and these we, as Christians, must obey not only for our own sakes but for the sake of the world too.
28. In the adult world you must expect to be disciplined. You, as children, must also expect to be disciplined to do things you don't necessarily don't want to do. If there is one message that I want you to take strongly and clearly away with you out of this temple session it is this: RESPECT AND OBEY YOUR PARENTS.
29. Judge Leibowitz concluded his investigations with a nine-word solution to juvenile delinquency: PUT FATHER BACK AT THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY.
30. If a child does not learn to have a deep-seated respect for constituted authority from infancy, he will find it difficult living under authority when he is an adult. Beloved children, if you do not learn to honour and respect authority now you will have enormous problems growing up and even greater problems learning to obey the Lord.
31. The home is the training ground for life. You will learn more at home than you will in the outer Church. Long before a child even knows that church, school, or nation exist, he will be forming attitudes and habits toward those who are his superiors at home and in the neighbourhood.
32. Obedience to the Fifth Commandment is learned at home. It makes obeying the First Commandment so much easier. A home where the father is head, and where father and mother are honoured and respected by children, is one of the greatest spiritual legacies a child can receive.
33. Are you rude to your parents? Do you speak disrespectfully to them? I hope not. For if you do, then you not only disobey the Fifth Commandment but you disqualify yourselves from being members of the Holy Order. This goes for both children as well as adults.
34. The Fifth Commandment is placed first amongst those which govern our human relationships. That is no accident. It is not only chief in importance amongst the last six commandments when we understand its full meaning, but it also acts as a "bridge" between the two sections of God's Law.
35. True obedience to the Fifth Commandment is directly linked with obedience and honour toward God our Heavenly Father Himself. The Lord knew this when He inspired it to be "the first commandment with promise." A promise? Yes, the Lord makes a promise: "HONOUR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you."
36. What exactly do we mean by the word "honour"? Why do we need to "honour" our parents? Why is this so important, especially when there are so many bad parents around? Well, we shall see. To understand why we must honour our parents we must first discover the spiritual depth of the Fifth Commandment. Is there more than we can see? You will usually find that with everything God says there is alot more than you can at first see.
37. If every parent on the earth came to realise 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 they would not take the terrible risks they do by ignoring it themselves.
38. So important was the Fifth Commandment that under the Law of Moses the penalty for directly and flagrantly violating it was death! The Lord said: "Anyone who attacks his father or mother must be put to death...Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death" (Exodus 21:15,17, NIV).
39. The home and the family unit is 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 the children the rest of their lives -- and even for Eternity.
40. In the eyes of a small child, a parent stands in the place of God Himself. For the parent is the child's provider, protector, lover, teacher and lawgiver. Therefore 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.
41. Children, do you find it difficult to approach God? It may be that you have a problem honouring and respecting your parents. It may, of course, have other roots, but you should at least consider right away whether or not you are living the Fifth Commandment or not.
42. The New Testament magnifies this commandment in many places. The Apostle Paul wrote: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honour your father and mother' -- which is the first commandment with a promise -- 'that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth'" (Ephesians 6:1-3, NIV).
43. The original commandment to "honour" 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".
44. Children, you may think that you know everything from time to time and that you do not need your parents to control you but this is not true. Because you lack experience and judgment, it is absolutely necessary that you learn to obey your parents instantly and without question. Christian parents will give you explanations and reasons most of the time so that you may understand, though you should not expect to always understand at once. It takes time to get the wisdom and experience that parents have. You cannot expect to get it instantly.
45. So, the moment a parental command is given, obey it, because there may not be time or opportunity to give the reason why. Let me give you an illustration from the history of a Christian family that went to serve as missionaries in central Africa. The boy had been taught the Fifth Commandment from when he was very small and obeyed his father and mother without question.
46. One day this little boy was playing under a tree in the garden in their home in Africa. Suddenly he heard his father cry out: "Son, obey me instantly. Fall flat on your face, and then crawl to me on your hands and knees as fast as you can." Knowing that his father had to be obeyed, he fell flat on his face, and crawled to his father. He did not question him. He obeyed.
46. When he got to his father, he turned round, and there, hanging from one of the lower branches of the tree he had been playing under, was a green mamba, one of the most poisonous and deadly snakes in Africa for which there is still no known antitoxin. If that boy had hesitated for one second -- if he had paused to question his father -- he would he been bitten to death. Only instantaneous obedience saved his life.
47. Now it is easy for us to understand how dangerous a poisonous snake it but it is more difficult for young children to understand, for example, how dangerous pop music and discos are. These things seem harmless -- no-one gets bitten or dies. Or do they? You see, the venom from a snake acts quickly -- its effects are soon apparent after a few minutes. You can see that it is dangerous. But what if its poison took several years to work? Would you still be afraid?
48. You will learn many things in the Holy Order that you should not do because they are dangerous for your spiritual health, and which can kill you spiritually. Because the effects of these things can't be seen instantaneously, it is hard for a child to understand their dangers. But parents in the Holy Order have wisdom and experience which they have acquired over many years, wisdom and experience that will take you many years to acquire also. Because it takes time, you must obey in faith.
49. Pop music is dangerous. You will be taught why as you grow up in the Holy Order. And there are many other things which are dangerous which the world says are alright. But they are wrong, as the world's rebellion to the Fifth Commandment has proved with all the child crime around. Will you take the risk? Or will you trust those whom you have been given to to watch over you and take care of you? The Fifth Commandment has been given for your protection, security and happiness.
50. Now the Fifth Commandment does not give a parent the right to do what he or she wants do. A parent doesn't have the right to tell a child to go and steal. That is why Paul said: "Children, obey your parents IN THE LORD". These words, "in the Lord", are most important. Parents are expected to be "in the Lord", meaning, that they should be obeying the commandments themselves.
51. This means that a parent is bound by the Fifth Commandment to make himself honourable. If a person is to be honoured, he must himself be honourable.
52. Every parent needs to realise that he represents God to his child. Realising this, he should live a life worthy of the child's deep respect and reverence. Then he should teach his child to honour and respect both of his parents. As a 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.
53. Christian parents will them teach their children to honour and obey their spiritual Father with even greater 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....nor fear in the sense of "terror", but fear in the sense of "awe" and "deep respect".
54. 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.
55. Now let us take a look at the promise which God gives those who honour their parents, 'that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth' (Ephesians 6:3, NIV). It follows that if you have a deep respect for your elders and have learned the habit of obedience from childhood that you will never become a juvenile delinquent. No person who has learned honour and obedience would ever dream of beating an elderly person. He would never even think of contemptuously defying school or police authorities.
56. Obedience to the Fifth Commandment automatically results in the building of habits and character which tend to a 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.
57. And, in its ultimate meaning, those who learn to respect and obey their parents, and later -- because of this training -- God Himself, will certainly "enjoy a long life on the earth". For, as Jesus said: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5, AV). Or to translate the word "meek" more fully: "Blessed are the humble and obedient and submissive: for they shall inherit the earth" (LT translation; meek = "piously humble and submissive" - Concise Oxford Dictionary).
58. Here, then, we have three explanatory keys to the Fifth Commandment -- three states of mind which make for a child of God, and they are: HUMILITY, OBEDIENCE and SUBMISSIVENESS. You will learn much about these throughout your spiritual journey in the Holy Order.
59. There are 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 these bounds are by his parents -- and stays within them -- then he is relieved of the responsibility which he innately realises his parents must shoulder.
60. Let me explain what that means. If you are obedient to your parents, then they automatically assume responsibility for what you do. That is their duty as lawgivers. If you deliberately smash a window of a neighbour's house, then the parents have the responsibility to pay for them. They, in their turn, will punish you as they feel fit.
61. If obeying God gets us into trouble in the world, then that is God's responsibility, for He is the Lawgiver. Your school might, for example, want you to do some unnecessary activity on the Sabbath, such as playing in a band or in a football match, which you must refuse to do. Obedience to your Father in Heaven takes priority, even if this makes you unpopular.
62. Obeying your parents might make you unpopular with your friends too, but you are obliged to obey them nonetheless. Obedience to your parents is obedience to God because that is God's commandment. God takes ultimate responsibility. Remember, He also promises to bless you for your faithfulness to Him.
63 There is another problem that comes with disobedience and that is frustration. A disobedient child is a frustrated child because his mind is constantly plagued with feelings of guilt and rebellion.
64. Can you see, then, that a child who honours, loves, 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 honouring of his parents to the joyful worshipping of his God!
65. You will recall the Third Commandment which says: "You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His Name" (Exodus 20:7, NIV). You were taught that the Name of the God should not be repeated unnecessarily, and that you should address Him as "Father" or "Lord" but never by His Name Yahweh. This you both do to show deep respect for Him as well as to acknowledge that He is your King and you His subject.
66. Similarly, you are never to address your parents by their first names but only as "father" or "mother". Whilst younger children may use other respectful terms of affection such as "mummy", "mamma", "daddy" or "pappa", by the time a child or young adult is admitted into the Holy Order, they are expected to call them "father" or "mother" only. This changeover is usually expected on the child's twelfth birthday, or sooner if he or she senses the inner calling to be obedient earlier.
67. Similarly, to show respect for authority, you should not address school teachers or others in positions of authority such as judges and doctors, by their first names, if this is a tradition in your country, but call them "Sir", "Madam" (or "Ma'am"), "Miss", "Doctor", or by their last names such as "Mr.Smith", "Mrs.Smith", or "Miss Smith". Remember, the key word is honour and respect. This is the heart of the Fifth Commandment.
68. This may not be easy for some of you because of the habits you have learned in the world but in order to be members of this Order it is required of you. Only in that way will you learn to approach God with the kind of respect that is due Him. It is the key to developing a personal relationship with Him. And remember this, developing a truly spiritual, personal relationship with God is not based on familiarity but respect, for we are not as He is. You may recall that even though Jesus called His disciples His friends, that they still addressed Him respectfully as "Lord", "Master" or "Rabbi".
69. Finally, you must learn to address those in authority in the Order and in the outer fellowship in the appropriate way too. Because the New Covenant Church of God is a special family that is different from the world, we address each other differently. You should therefore begin cultivating the habit -- if you have not already done so -- of addressing members of the Church as "brother" or "sister" in public. Similarly, your Pastor should be called "Pastor" in public, such as "Pastor Smith" out of respect for his authority as father of the congregation. The elders of a congregation should also be addressed in a similar way in public, such as "Elder Smith". Similarly, the deacons should be addressed as "Deacon Smith" or in the case of woman ministers, "Eldress Smith", "Deaconess Smith" and so on. They may allow you to address them differently when not in public but you should first seek their permission.
70. This does not mean that you should worship Church officers but simply honour and respect them for the responsibility that God has given them, for only God is to be worshipped. It is not so much the person that you are obliged to respect, for you cannot be forced to respect someone who lacks the credentials. Rather, you are to respect the office which God has given them. If they are living their offices as they should, then respecting them as persons will come naturally. Your parents have similar responsibilities and should so be honoured.
71. So remember, there are two aspects to honour and obedience: First, there is the outer honour -- the office which is given by God -- either to leaders in the Church or to your parents. You honour them not because of what they are but because of God's calling to them. Second, there is inner honour. This can only come naturally by spiritual attraction. When the inner and the outer are equal -- when you are able to honour a person's office as well as respect them as a person because of their spiritual life, then the ideal has been achieved. Thus outer honour is an obligation, but inner honour must be earned.
72. But in case you should think that the Fifth Commandment was only given to children, let us remember that in fact is was given to everyone. And this brings us to a very difficult area indeed.
73. The time may come when it is no longer necessary or right that a person should strictly obey his parents. Some parents may try to lead their children into crime and sin -- such should not be obeyed when the child has grown up. But the days should NEVER come when he should cease to honour them. There is a very real difference between honour and obedience which, when it comes to human beings, we must separate.
74. The word "honour" 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.
75. A person who has properly obeyed his parents in childhood later expresses his honour for them in a deeper appreciation of the comforts and training they provided as a child. This honour expresses itself in courtesy, thoughtfulness and kindly deeds. This children should do no matter how many faults their parents may have.
76. 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 created. In the evening of their life, many parents long for this affection and fellowship with their children more, perhaps, than for any other blessing. And this in itself ought to give us a small window into God's heart and how He longs for the love of His children for whom He has given so very, very much.
77. Therefore, beloved children and friends, the Order challenges you to think and act on this opportunity to return the love our parents gave, and who may still be giving, so freely. I hope this will reveal to you the great LOVE that lies behind the Fifth Commandment. Indeed, if you look carefully enough with the eye of experience, you will find an overwhelming love behind EVERY commandment. Truly did John the Apostle speak when he said that "God is love".
78. The Ten Commandments are both an expression and definition of that love. Have you ever wondered about God's love? You will find it revealed in the Ten Commandments. If you can't find it there, then either you have missed something somewhere in your life or openly rebelled against Him, and if that is so, now is the time to start searching for the reasons. If you do so, with faith, God will help you. For His greatest desire is to reveal His love for you.
79. One of the fruits of abandoning the Fifth Commandment is the way elderly people are neglected. They live on a mere pittance that usually comes to them through governmental agencies and pension schemes. Usually their children are able but simply unwilling to provide additional comforts.
80. The Lord 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 favour in approaching God.
81. Reproaching these hypocritical religionists, Jesus said: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commandments of God in order to keep your own traditions! For Moses said, 'Honour your father and your mother,' and, 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.'" (Mark 7:9-10, NIV). Notice how these hypocrites "reasoned" their way around this commandment!
82. Jesus continued: "But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban' (that is, a gift devoted to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. Thus you nullify the Word of God by your tradition that you have handed down" (Mark 7:11-13, NIV).
83. Jesus condemned these hypocrites. His words plainly teach that a Christian person 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 also is a part of our obedience to the Fifth Commandment and mostly concerns adults.
84. The Saviour 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, AV). Through obedience to His Heavenly Father, and to His human parents as well, Jesus grew in wisdom and maturity even as a youth.
85. The world teaches the opposite. It says: "Rebel against your parents and against authority! Be mature!" But the opposite is true. Rebellion is childishness. The world is full of immature adults who, never having honoured or respected parents or authority, are just grown-up rebellious children. Obedience to the Fifth Commandment will make a true man or woman out of you. It will give you richness and beauty of character.
86. Speaking of Jesus in His childhood, Luke records: "And the child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him" (Luke 2:40, NIV). Wisdom and grace. Not roughness and crudeness. Knowledgeable and gentle, dignified and firm. Was He these things because He was a member of the Godhead? No, He obtained them as a human being through obedience to the commandments. What Jesus did we are called to do also. He set an example everyone can copy.
87. Are you graceful and gentle? Or are you "rough and tough"? Are you dignified and firm? Or are you crude and lax in obeying rules? If you are the latter, no matter what your age, then something is missing. And more than likely you are probably missing out on complete obedience to the Fifth Commandment. Be honest and truthful with yourselves. Don't make excuses. You may well have a unique opportunity -- no matter how old you are -- to make a dramatic change in your life as a son or daughter of God.
88. Let us return to the example of Jesus. We read the remarkable account of His trip to Jerusalem for Passover at the age of 12. (Remember, this is an important year in spiritual growing up as you will learn more of in the New Covenant). After the days of unleavened bread, His parents started the trip home to Nazareth without Him -- supposing Jesus was with neighbours or relatives (Luke 2:43-44).
89. This in itself shows that Jesus' parents relied on His dependability and good judgment -- supposing He was with other young people in the caravan as the group headed home. As parents, Joseph and Mary had learned to trust His obedience and wisdom.
90. But now, perplexed about Him, perhaps for the first time in their lives, they turned back and finally found Jesus. They did not find Him in a disco, nightclub or place of amusement. They found Him in God's temple "sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions" (Ibid., v.46, NIV). He had remained to investigate and learn more of the ways of His heavenly Father!
91. Remember, He was only twelve years old. But His parents had instructed Him from God's Word. And He had heeded their instruction. He had studied diligently. He had grown in the knowledge and understanding of God's ways just as you have been called to do in the Holy Order.
92. Now, even in the midst of these highly educated teachers of the Law, Luke writes: "Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers" (Ibid, v.47, NIV). When Jesus' mother asked Him why He had remained behind in this way, He said: "Why were you searching for Me?...Didn't you know I had to be in My Father's House?" (Ibid., v.49, NIV).
93. Now there must have been a very special understanding between them when Jesus said: "Didn't you know I had to be in my FATHER'S House?", as He looked up at Joseph and Mary. For it had been a long time now since His supernatural conception and birth, and Jesus may have been gently reminding His human guardians that He fully understood, more than they had realised, the nature of His birth and that His real Father was God in Heaven.
94. But although gently reminding them of this, "He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them" (Ibid., v.51, NIV). So Jesus continued to respect and OBEY His human parents while maturing physically and preparing for His Divine Mission in behalf of His Heavenly Father.
95. Even in His dying moments, while suffering one of the most agonizing deaths ever devised by men, Jesus honoured and loved His mother to the very end. Just before He died on the cross, John records: "When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, 'Dear woman, here is your son,' and to the disciple, 'Here is your mother.' From that time one, this disciple took her into his home" (John 19:26-27, NIV).
96. 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 on self, Jesus still remembered the Fifth Commandment and extended love and honour to the woman who bore Him, who had nourished Him from infancy, who had taught Him from the scriptures, and who now stood in this awful place -- unashamed -- weeping at His death.
97. O, beloved ones, young and old, remember His perfect example! "Honour your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." And did you know, that in the Scriptures, grandfathers, grandmothers, great-grandfathers and great-mothers, and indeed, all ancestors back to Adam and Eve were called "father" and "mother"?
98. And did not Jesus also teach that those who obeyed the commandments of our Heavenly Father are our brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers? Do you understand the deeper implications of this commandment? You see, if you cannot extend your honour, respect and love to your earthly parents, not only will you be unable to honour, love and respect your Heavenly Father but you will be unable to honour, love and respect your spiritual fathers and mothers in the New and Everlasting Covenant of Jesus Christ. Impossible!
99. If you wish to grow in Christ and in this Order, return your debt to your physical parents. It is the first step. Have you spoken ill of them? Repent, and make right any serious sin. Have you shown disrespect for them by calling them anything other than the names God has designated should be part of their office as parents, namely "father" and "mother"? If you have, address them properly. Do you love and honour your grandparents? If not, do so. Let your love extend back as far as it will go along your family tree until it is embracing all men and women everywhere.
100. Now, maybe, you can see why the Fifth Commandment is the chief of the last six. May the Lord our God and Heavenly Father bless you to honour, love, and respect all your parents -- in Heaven, in your home, and in the Church, until you are filled and overwhelmed by His love and kindness, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Question and Answer Session
101. We will now have our question and answer session according to the rules that you have been taught (Taphim 1:49; 2:88). I will now take your questions.
(Questions and answers -- max. 30 minutes)
102. Beloved children and friends, you have mnuch to think about until you are called in again to the House of the Lord tomorrow to discuss the Sixth Commandment. May you develop and increasing conscience of the importance of obeying all your parents, both on earth as well as in heaven, is my prayer, in Jesus' Name. Amen.
First created on 11 July 1998
Last updated on 11 July 1998
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