Temple School of Taphim 9:
The Eighth 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 and the first three 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 three 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." (Exodus 20:12-14, NIV; Taphim 7:4,36).
5. In the Eighth House of Taphim you were taught about the sanctity of marriage and that God has protected home and family with two commandments: "Honour your father and mother" and "You shall not commit adultery." You were told that the spirit of adultery was another manifestation of the spirit of murder.
6. You now understand that marriage is an act of creation on all levels of existence. When a man and a woman marry and have full sexual intercourse, a new entity is created which represents the oneness or unity of husband and wife. This was compared to the mixing of two colours -- blue and red -- which combine to form a new one, violet.
7. You were taught that the relationship between husband and wife is a type of the true relationship that ought to exist between Christ and the Church. Marriage is therefore far, far more than a sexual relationship. Marriage is, first of all, covenant or commitment. A couple covenant or promise to be faithful to one another in the same way that a disciple of Jesus promises to be faithful to his Master. That commitment is for ever. True marriage, therefore, is more than living together until death -- marriage is a complete change in ones way of life with no turning back.
8. For a marriage to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit and to be eternal a couple must enter into this relationship only with the greatest of care. First, it must be done with the sure knowledge that it is acceptable and pleasing to God. The couple must be quite sure that it is God's will that they get married. This requires spiritual awareness which can only come about if the couple are already individually "married" to Christ.
9. To be "married" to Christ means to be a 100% committed disciple. To be "married" to Christ means that you aren't going to change your mind. It means, effectively, that you burn all the bridges to your old life so that you can't turn back to it. One Old Testament prophet who was called by God into the ministry, Elisha, burned his plough, killed his oxen, and had a great feast to make sure that he could not return to farming. He knew that his call to be a prophet would be for the rest of his life.
10. Likewise, if you are to become a totally committed disciple of the Lord Jesus you must make a clean break with your old sinful way of living. Whatever has been a barrier or obstacle between you and God must be put on the altar of sacrifice in such a way that you can never return to that old way of life.
11. To follow God means making sacrifices, that is, giving up things which you feel are important and which you may even think you can't live without. That means you must trust in God completely who promises those who follow Him that He will give them everything they need and more than they had in their old life. That requires a leap of faith particularly if you have become hung up on certain things. It may mean giving up certain hobbies, friends, and habits. It might even mean your having to give up your religion and the whole way you see the world. If you are to be born again, nothing but a complete break with your old life is required.
12. That is why you were baptised in water when you agreed to become a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism is actually a small drama where you become a part of the play. In this ordinance in which you change out of your worldly clothes and into white clothes symbolising the purity and holiness of your decision to love and obey God, you are submerged in water to symbolise the grave. Outwardly you go through the drama of dying with the intention of making it an inward reality.
13. When you are lifted up out of the water by the man baptising you, you are brought into a new life in Christ. You symbolically leave your old life in the watery grave and start anew. That is what is meant by being "born again". Baptism is supposed to be a dramatic ordinance because the new birth is dramatic. It is not a half-hearted affair. When you went into the baptismal font you should have symbolically left your old life in the water. This ordinance should be a constant reminder to you of your need to walk only in the holiness of Christ.
14. Once you have surrendered yourself to Christ to become His follower for ever, you are entitled to His guidance or personal revelation. As your Master it is His responsibility to lead you in your new life. But if you have only half surrendered to Him, your guidance is going to be hindered. You will find it difficult to know what choices to make in life because the Spirit of God will be competing with your own unredeemed carnal desires.
15. That is why is it vitally important that you lay aside your carnal or fleshy desires in the waters of baptism before you seek guidance from the Lord as to whom you should marry. Because if you follow your own natural spirit you will be led to make a choice which is based on the wrong premises which in turn could well lead to an unhappy, frustrating and potentially disastrous marriage.
16. Having found your partner through personal revelation, you must then enter into marriage with the same level of commitment that you made when you chose to follow Christ as His disciple. You must realise, though, that your marriage partner will not be perfect as God is perfect, and that you cannot therefore expect perfection from him or her as you would from God. For this reason a true and everlasting marriage must always be a marriage or partnership of three.
17. With God as the third partner in your marriage you will be led together along the joint path of your Christian discipleship. Eternal marriages are only eternal because there is a union with the Eternal, namely, God. Where God is not the centre of a marriage, an eternal union is not possible, and marriage ends at death as do all earthly contracts. If your desire is therefore one of eternal love, happiness, and security, then whether it is in daily living or in marriage the only way you will find it is through the Eternal One. God through Christ is the Lord of Marriage.
18. Marriage and discipleship very much go hand in hand. You were taught in the last House that a man or woman is not complete in an unmarried state. In ancient Israel marriage was expected when men and women were young so that they could walk the path of mortality in the way God intended. Man was not created to be alone. Those of you who are single should therefore begin searching for your marriage mates as soon as possible, seeking parental guidance when necessary but remembering to wait patiently on the Lord to guide and direct you to your right companion.
19. The whole of the life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was a parable of the kind of life we should live. Nothing that Jesus did was ever accidental and the order in which He did things in His life was very important indeed. They represent a pattern of living that we are supposed to imitate or copy.
20. To begin with, we find Jesus, aged 12, discussing the scriptures with the teachers of the Law in the Temple (Luke 2:41-50). In this action we are reminded that our discipleship begins with a firm knowledge of the scriptures and our willingness to come to God's House, the Temple. Your knowledge and love of the scriptures, which should have been cultivated in you from a young age if you were raised a Christian from infancy, should start maturing by the time you are about 12. The scriptures are one good starting point where you can independently come to know God.
21. The next phase of your Gospel life starts with what the scriptures call the Mission of John the Baptist (Matthew 3). To prepare for your life in full service to God you must be willing to change direction in life, as I have already taught you today. John the Baptist taught repentance, that is, turning away from wrong, being sorry, making restitution, and walking a path of holiness. John taught that those changing direction in their life should be baptised to indicate publicly that this was what they were doing. Your public witness of your intention to follow God was therefore most important. You are only here in the privateness of the Temple because you have already "gone public" to the world about your commitment to be a Christian. Making this decision was probably a struggle for you.
22. In the next phase of the Gospel we read of how Jesus was taken into the desert where Satan tempted Him (Matthew 4:1-11). The devil offered him three principle temptations: First, sensuality and materialism, that is, living a life centred in your physical senses, such a worldly music, promiscuous sex, alcohol, drugs, possessions, etc.; Second, pride, that is, living a life centred entirely in your self and your own authority; and Third, power, to make yourself popular, famous or otherwise important in others' eyes.
23. You can't really become a disciple of Christ until you have dealt with these areas. To begin with, that means recognising that these problems actually exist. This means being honest and humble. It also means being willing to admit these things to yourself, to God, and to your brothers and sisters in God's spiritual family, the Church. Recognition that you suffer from these problems is the first step towards salvation because EVERYONE suffers from these problems in some degree or another. They are the characteristics of our fleshy or carnal natures. No-one can truthfully say that they are not bothered by sensuality, pride, or a lust for power at sometime in their lives.
24. To overcome these problems may take a long time. Recognising that they exist, being willing to renounce them, and trusting God enough to allow Christ to take over your life so that these problems can be overcome, is what is needed at this stage. You must come to the point where you can truthfully say: "Lord, I suffer from sensuality, pride and a lust for power. I want to renounce them and live a life of holiness. I realise I can't to it on my own, so I invite you to come into my life to be my Lord and Saviour, to help me overcome these things. I know you can because of the promises you have made in Scripture and I will trust your Word. In Jesus' Name. Amen."
25. Once you have done this, you find yourself a part of a new family. You are today gathered with members of your new spiritual family in the House of God, the Temple. Once Jesus had been baptized and tempted in the wilderness, the first thing He did was to gather His disciples (John 1:35-51). This is where those of you who are children have arrived in your Christian life.
26. The next part of Jesus's ministry is vitally important. He got married in a small town called Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-12). Though you will not find this directly stated in the Gospels, it being only alluded to, we know from modern revelation and other ancient sources that this was indeed the Saviour's own marriage. You will learn more of Jesus's marriage later in your journey in the Holy Order.
27. For the present, however, you should be aware that He was married, that He was married to set us an example both as to how we should live a married life and ideally when we should get married. You must remember also that Jesus, who is the Second Member of the Godhead, entered life as an ordinary human being in order to redeem the whole of human life, which includes marriage. In this ordinance, as well as everything else, Jesus was perfect and sinless.
28. Jesus was an ordained minister of the Old Covenant Priesthood, a Rabbi to be exact, and Rabbis, like all holders of the Jewish Priesthood, had to be married. We, as members of the New Covenant, belong also to a Priesthood, called in the New Testament, the Royal Priesthood or the Melchizedek Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). To enter into the Priesthood of the New Covenant and to serve in any kind of leadership position requires, as the Scriptures teach many times, that you be married according to the standards laid down in the New Testamen (1 Timothy 3:1-2,12; Hebrews 5-7). All those who belong fully as members of this Holy Order, which you will do in about three to four years time if you are faithful, need to be married.
29. The Seventh Commandment is: "You shall not commit adultery." It is written in negative form, as a "do not" commandment. In its positive form, it would read: "Be true and faithful to God and to your husband or wife." This Holy Order will help teach you do that if you are willing to be submissive and obedient to it. By focusing on your desire to be true and faithful to God, you will automatically be true and faithful to your marriage companion, and thoughts of adultery and divorce will never enter your conscience.
30. In the meantime, those of you who are still unmarried, should remain pure and chaste before the God, seeking with an open heart to receive the marriage companion He has willed for you, not postponing your search. Those of you who are 16 years old and over should be making this a matter of urgent concern. But remember, first cultivate your "marriage" with the Lord.
31. You are also admonished to be on your guard against the tidal wave of permissive sex which has swept the world as Satan attempts to totally destroy man's spirituality. We live in a sex-centred, power-centred, and pride-centred world. As Christians we are utter foreigners and aliens in it (1 Peter 2:11; also Ephesians 2:19; Hebrews 11:14). We have nothing in common with it and we look forward only to Zion, when Christ reigns on the earth and all the filth and degradation of the world is swept away.
32. Therefore, you unmarried ones: steer away from all conversation and activities that have to do with sex, for God ordained sex to be in marriage, and in marriage alone. If anyone seems occupied with this subject, mark that person down in your minds as one to be careful of. The world is full of men and women, who prowl around like hungry lions seeking for sexual victims (1 Peter 5:8). Be careful of them, for that hungry lion lurks in all unredeemed souls.
33. Keep a physical distance from them -- do not allow members of the same or opposite sex to touch or fondle you in any sexual manner or make sexual advances of any kind to you. Flee from them! Keep yourselves pure and undefiled from this generation of wickedness. If you are not sure, simply keep away from such people. Listen to the inner voice of the Spirit. You children, always inform your parents if you are afraid that you may be being sexually harassed, or inform a member of the Patriarchate or teacher in the Holy Order or pastor in the outer fellowship.
34. You should also be aware that sexual sin is punished most severely in the New Covenant Church of God and that you should be able to feel safe amongst God's people in the Holy Order. You should still be careful in the outer churches in the world where many Christians have fallen into sexual sin, and still do, bringing condemnation on themselves and a reproach to the Name of Christ. So be alert always when not in the Order.
35. Your sexual purity or chastity is most important. Remember, it is like nuclear power and was designed to be used only as directed by God. Such is not popular with the world which is totally promiscuous, and will become less and less popular, until the world becomes as it was in Noah's days and in Abraham's -- you will remember the story of Sodom and Gomorrah well. We live in a world which is one giant Sodom and Gomorrah now. Hence another reason for the Holy Order's commission to build 12 Holy Cities where chastity and sexual purity may be found apart from the world's carnality and depravity.
36. May the Lord of Purity bless you and keep you as you remember to walk in the Spirit of the Seventh Commandment always. Amen.
The Eighth Commandment
37. Beloved children, brethren and sisters, we shall now look at the Eighth Commandment, in which the Lord says: "You shall not steal" (Exodus 20:15, NIV).
38. The sin which this commandment warns us of flows naturally out of disobedience to all the commandments that come before it. Theft, like adultery, and the dishonouring of parents, is a fruit of rebellion.
39. Theft is so common nowadays that is has become a normal way of life. It is the "rule" rather than the exception. Many nations in the world are actually run by criminals. In the early 1990's a major criminal investigation was done on a European government and a majority of politicians were implicated in crime. The same has been found in most governments around the world where such investigations have got under way. Even Presidents are being impeached for theft and related crimes such as bribery.
40. Because men and woman no longer fear God and His commandments, they are not afraid to steal either. Stealing for them is no more than a gamble without any moral consciousness. Because so many do it, others imitate them, and the whole ugly cancer spreads uncontrolled. Prison sentences for thieves are often light and act as no real deterrent anyway.
41. Nowadays in the world "theft" is no longer used -- it is simply called "business". When people cheat the government of their taxes, the usual excuse is usually something like, "Well, the government is taking too much money anyway."
42. Theft is not, as many suppose, one of the "minor" commandments. If you break the commandment, then the commandment will break you. You see, God's laws aren't simply rules and regulations written in a dusty old book which you can ignore if you don't take the book down from the shelf -- God's laws are living, moving principles. Defying the Law of Gravity by jumping off a high building is just as likely to lead to physically injury or death as breaking God's Commandments is likely to spiritually injure or kill you.
43. So why do people break such commandments as, "You shall not steal"? If you jump off a building, the effect is immediate. You don't walk away and then five years later suddenly feel pain and become aware of an injury. When you defy the Law of Gravity, you know the results at once.
44. But spiritual laws, unlike physical ones, have effects that may take time to manifest. Sometimes, the manifestations don't show until after this life. Some sins' symptoms take a longer or a shorter time to manifest. Usually the effects of sin appear so slowly that you don't even know that you've sinned until your situation becomes obviously serious and you can see something is very, very wrong.
45. Some people are born feeling no physical pain. You might think that is wonderful but they would tell you otherwise. In fact, they live in constant fear. If such a person badly cuts himself he could bleed to death without knowing anything was wrong. Pain is given to enable us to deal with injury and so save ourselves.
46. Similarly, our spirits have been given a portion of the Light of Christ to help us become aware of sin. Sometimes we call this our conscience. Wrong-doing causes a reaction to take place between our own spirit and the Light deep within our spirit-being. The result is a bad feeling or a bad conscience.
47. Now there aren't many people who are born immune to pain yet all of us have experienced at sometime what it is to lose all sense of physical feeling. If you allow yourself to get too cold, you can lose all sense of touch. You become numb. That is because the body is exposed to the cold for too long. That can be very dangerous because not only can you freeze to death but you can also seriously injure yourself and not know it. Ship-wrecked sailors who have been marooned at sea clinging on to life rafts have often had their legs bitten off by sharks and not been aware that anything has happened because their legs were too numb with cold.
48. Sin can have the same effect on the human spirit. If we ignore our conscience -- which tells us not to do wrong -- often enough, sooner or later we will not sense anything. Our spirit will go "numb". This is why early repentance is so very important if we are to preserve our spiritual life and our relationship with God.
49. There was a time when the public generally had a conscience. It knew that stealing was wrong. But as more and more people have indulged in stealing and got away with it, that conscience has been eroded away. Even government politicians and policemen steal nowadays, something that would have been unthinkable in the last century when morals were generally on a much higher plane.
50. When our conscience becomes spiritually dead because of unrepented sins which we have repeated for a long time, the only way a person's conscience can be restored is by having the Word of God spoken to him. Just as someone who has been suffering from hypothermia from over exposure needs urgent treatment to restore warmth to the body through the kindness of some other soul, so God has provided the Holy Spirit whom He sends to us to awaken us from our spiritual sleep.
51. The scriptures often speak of the Word of God cutting sharply into a man's soul. Like the surgeon's scalpel digging into the flesh of the body to remove a tumour, so the Holy Spirit can dig deep into our soul to awaken our sleeping conscience. The apostle John said that God's words are like a "sharp, double-edged sword" (Revelation 2:12, NIV).
52. The condemnation of God is terrible but equally His forgiveness is great. Most people don't want to hear the Ten Commandments because they are too afraid of God's reproach. But we must not be cowards if we have done wrong but be willing to have our sleeping consciences awakened in areas where sin has become master of our life. Only then is salvation and inner peace possible.
53. The Spirit of God will not always strive with man (Genesis 6:3, AV) and so when our consciences are pricked by God's Spirit, we should gratefully receive our chastisement, repent, and not miss the opportunity to make peace with God, our fellow man, and with ourselves. When we are condemned by God for some wrong, we should look upon it as a blessing, an act of grace, and an offer of hope, for on our own we might never know the awful truth of our rebelliousness.
54. If you have done something wrong like stealing, and you know what the Commandment teaches, then you should act at once even if you don't have a bad conscience or feel bad inside. It is only through righteous action that righteous feelings are restored by the Spirit of God if sin has been committed. Often we are not aware that we have done wrong. The purpose of the Word of God is to identify right and wrong so that we can respond accordingly.
55. The Holy Order has as one of its tasks to make God's Word into crystal-clear and bring it into sharp focus. As you pass through the Temple you will be left in no doubt as to what is right and what is wrong. It is then up to you to invite the redeeming Spirit of God into your heart so that you can make yourself right with Him and with any persons you may have wronged.
56. To understand what theft is, it is important we understand what it is we are entitled to possess. According to the Law established by God there are only two valid ways to come into possession of something. The first is by a free gift of another person, or from God Himself. The second is by honest labour, which earns something as a legitimate return.
57. Any other way is theft -- the taking from another which belongs to him. The Eighth Commandment recognises the legitimate acquisition of property and forbids theft. However, you should be aware that there are two different levels of God's Law. In the New Covenant God has provided for a higher law of possession which was practiced by the first Christians. In the Book of Acts we read: "All the believers were in one heart and mind. No-one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had" (Acts 4:32, NIV).
58. Those of you who become eventual members of this Holy Order will be expected to live this principle of all things in common. The law of the outer fellowship remains that of people having the right to individual possessions. The law of "all things in common" is sometimes called by us the United Order or the Law of All Things in Common.
59. When a person becomes a full member of the Holy Order he deeds all his personal physical possession to the Order. The Order then returns to him whatever he stands in need and re-distributes the remainder to those who gave greater need. By this means there is complete equality. This is what the disciples who lived in Jerusalem did in the apostles' day.
60. If for some reason a person decides to leave the Order or is expelled from it, he receives back exactly the same amount he brought in to the Order when he joined it. Any increase in wealth between the time he joins and the time he leaves is regarded as communal property as it was acquired, by the grace of God, through communal effort and sharing.
61. The redistribution of wealth is done by the Twelve Apostles. The Book of Acts records: "There were no needy persons among (the saints)...From time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need" (Acts 4:34-35, NIV).
62. You will be taught more about these things when you graduate to the House of Tabal. You should, however, be aware that there are two different laws concerning the right to own property depending on the level of covenant you have entered into. For the moment those of you who are not full members of the Holy Order will live the lower law of having individual possessions.
63. The Law of God, in addition to forbidding personal theft, also forbids international thievery in which nations forcibly confiscate and steal the possessions of others. Unfortunately, to our lasting shame, all nations stand guilty of breaking God's law in this respect!
64. Sometimes the United Order is compared with communism and has even been called "Christian Communism". But there is one major difference: the Holy Order recognises the individual's right to choose to live financial communitarianism or not whereas Communism forces individuals to live their doctrine. Moreover, the Holy Order recognises the right of people to choose to have personal possessions whereas Communism does not. There is therefore a fundamental difference in choice.
65. All governments impose an economic policy on peoples based on human philosophy. No government is based on God's Economic Laws and therefore no government political system is recognised by the Lord. We are obliged as citizens to obey our leaders and their financial system, to whom responsibility to govern has been given by God, however unrighteous they may be, until the Lord establishes the perfect theocratic government of Zion in the Millennium.
66. Indeed, we are to honour the leaders of governments much as we are to honour our parents even if occasionally it means we cannot sustain their unrighteous acts. Our attitude towards the government should be similar to what it is towards our parents though the two aren't exactly the same. It is because the governments and politics of this world are so out of harmony with God's Government and Theocratic Rule that members of this Holy Order have nothing to do with the world's political system.
67. Most, if not all, politics nowadays is centred in money. Most governments espouse a Nimrodian doctrine called monetarism. Money is the controlling factor in everything and people are taught to worship it as the highest goal. The apostle Paul said to the evangelist Timothy: "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness" (1 Timothy 6:10-11, NIV).
68. Later Paul wrote to the Hebrew saints: "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you'" (Hebrews 13:5, NIV). Therefore, children, brethren and sisters, you are not to be anxious about getting money. Do not be seduced by its snare. In the world it is money which holds the system together. For us, it is the Holy Spirit. Money is a necessary evil while this system exists and so we must deal with it. But we are not to go chasing after it but first seek the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33).
69. Another violation of the Eighth Commandment is gambling. A man or woman who gambles, whether in play or in serious business, puts into his pocket money for which he has done no honest work. By this very fact he robs the man from whom he receives, and violates God's Law.
70. Any form of gambling is wrong and may not be indulged in by New Covenant Christians. Even lotteries are in principle wrong. They appeal to your lust and cause you to violate many other commandments too. The lust for possession without toil, of trying to get something for nothing, is a blatant denial of the teachings of Christ.
71. And it is a well known fact that wherever any large amount of gambling takes place, the traffic in drugs, in prostitution, and in organised crime almost certainly skyrockets. So please note well -- gambling is theft and violates the Eighth Commandment.
72. Nowadays gambling has become a way of life. In many countries it is impossible to get donations for charities without offering something in return. Lotteries have therefore become very common. Lotteries encourage people to lust for possessions instead of giving out of the goodness of their hearts. It appeals to man's carnal nature and works against the principle of selfless love that Jesus taught.
73. Young people today are learning to steal in an immensely large and organised fashion. Not only are they stealing articles by the thousands from stores, shops, schools, and even churches, but they regularly organise an intricate system of cheating on tests and exams in schools and colleges.
74. Because it is generally looked upon without too much alarm in schools in many countries, this practice is growing at an unprecedented rate. But what the young people may not have been told is that "cheating" is taking a score or mark illegally -- and it is stealing. It is directly breaking the Eighth Commandment of God!
75. Many students who cheat in their exams get certificates and degrees which authorise them to enter responsible professions where they do poor work and sometimes endanger the lives of civilians. There are therefore often many repercussions to cheating which we may not initially be aware of.
76. The industrialist or merchant who uses false weights and measures or a poor quality of material or workmanship to deceive the public is just as guilty of breaking the Eighth Commandment as a common thief. He is trying to get something more than a legitimate return for his product. Such a man is trying to get something extra for nothing. He is simply stealing.
77. Another little-realised method of thievery is the modern practice in growing and preparing foods. Through refusal to let the land lie completely idle every seven years as God commanded (Leviticus 25:3-4), and through the use of water soluble chemical fertilizers, many farmer are robbing the soil of the nutrients which would bring forth health-producing food. Instead, the foods produced on these devitalized fields have been robbed of the natural vitamins, minerals and food elements which God intended should be there.
78. In effect, the people forced to eat these foods are robbed of health, vitality, and in some cases of life itself. There has been an explosion in vitamin and mineral pills to compensate for this theft of the soil; food has been treated or "enriched" with artificially added vitamins which would not be needed if the foods we eat had been properly grown and processed in the first place.
79. The same condemnation is due the processors of food who through greed for "dishonest gain" (1 Timothy 3:8, NIV) remove the health-giving elements from the foods we eat. Or, in thousands of cases, they add chemical "preservatives" to foods which are absolutely dangerous to the health of those who eat them. Many are now believed to cause cancer.
80. There are millions of human beings suffering the effects of man-made deficiency diseases. Though this is partly the result of ignorance of what to eat, it is also the result of sin and greed on the part of food manufacturers who have knowingly robbed our foods of life-giving elements. For all those who steal in this or other similar fashion, there is certainly a day of solemn judgment to come.
81. One of the great commercial sins of our age is the common practice of false advertising. The consumer is led to expect that a certain "pill", for instance, will cause him to lose weight, gain height, increase his potency, restore his thinning hair, or whatever the case may be. Men are led to believe that smoking cancer-causing cigarettes will make them more attractive to women. In most cases this is direct, wilful lying.
82. It is also outright theft from the people who pay money to achieve the promised results. Not only are people robbed of money but they are robbed of their health, happiness and peace of mind. Many a so-called "respectable" businessman and community leader has attained his position largely through this type of mass deception and theft.
83. The apostle Paul said: "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves not the greedy nor drunkards nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, NIV).
84. The Lord desires us to prosper materially so long as they gain it honestly and don't set their hearts on it. The apostle John wrote: "Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and enjoy good health, even as your soul is prospering" (3 John 1:2, LT translation).
85. The principle of the Eighth Commandment is broken again and again in the relations of employers and employees. The apostle James was inspired to warn the dishonest employer: "Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen...which you kept back by fraud cries out: and the cries of (the workmen) have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty" (James 5:4, LT translation).
86. The reverse is also true nowadays, unfortunately, in this age of corrupt unionism, that many a workingman robs his employer. He does this by taking his wage and yet withholding his full share of honest labour. That is stealing! Often one worker tells his fellow: "Slow down, mate, you're working too hard. If you keep on working like that, we'll all have to work hard around here"!
87. God's Word to both employers and employees is this. To the employers: "A fair day's wage for a fair day's work." To the employees: "A fair day's work for a fair day's wage."
88. Well, we have seen how the Eighth Commandment affects man's relationship to his fellow men, but there is another dimension still. In the Book of Malachi God declares: "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me. But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' In tithes and offerings" (Malachi 3:8, NIV).
89. In this passage the Lord was rebuking ancient Israel for not paying its tithes, that is, paying one tenth or 10% back to God. God is the creator of all men and women. He is the creator of the universe and all that is in it. He own everything. In recognition of His rightful sovereignty, God expects His children to return one tenth of all their increase to Him -- one tenth everything that they own and everything that they earn.
90. The Lord continues through the prophet Malachi: "You are under a curse -- the whole nation of you -- because you are robbing Me" (Malachi 3:9, NIV). The whole world is under a curse because it is robbing God. Even worse, most of the Christian world is robbing God by not paying tithes. Very few churches pay tithes today -- maybe half-a-dozen denominations at most -- most pay offerings BUT NOT TITHES. They too are under a curse. They too are robbers, more so than the unbelieving, because they should know better.
91. In the House of Tabal you will be taught more of the Law of Tithing and how to be obedient to it. As you have already been taught today, God owns everything you have. In this Holy Order we go further than the Law of Tithing -- which was instituted in Old Testament times -- by giving God everything back in token of our 100% submission to Him.
92. The Lord gives a promise to the faithful tithe-payer: "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My Temple. Test Me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it" (Malachi 3:8-10, modified by LT).
93. God gives you a challenge here. He says that He will bless you if you begin tithing -- as He commands -- through faith in Him and in His Word. Literally thousands of case histories can be cited to show that God certainly does bless the tither even in material ways, some of which will be related to you in the House of Tabal.
94. He may not always do so immediately. You may have to obey Him and exercise faith for a while. But as you serve Him, obey Him, and trust Him, God WILL keep His part of the covenant promise. So ask yourself the question: "Am I robbing God?" If you are not paying your tithe, then you certainly are, and it is time that you did something about it.
95. Although you are not required to pay a tithe to be a member of the outer fellowship, or local Colonies, you are required to do so to become a member of the Priesthood. The Law of Tithing will prepare you for the higher law of the United Order.
96. Beloved, I hope you can see now that the Eighth Commandment is much bigger than you at first suspected. And if you look deeper, you will find more. Let me ask you some other questions which I will leave you to answer on your own. Have you, for example, been robbing God of your time? How much of your is used in personal, selfish pursuits, and how much in seeking after the Kingdom of God?
97. Have you robbed your husband or wife of the affection, love and attention which they have the right to expect from you? Have you robbed God of the love that is due Him? Have you robbed your parents of the respect and honour that is due them? Have you robbed your church elders of the respect that God expects you to give their offices?
98. Have you robbed your fellow pupils in school of their right to learn and grow in wisdom by disrupting classes? Have you robbed your friend of salvation by leading him or her into ways that are contrary to the Lord's Commandments? Have you, by your silence, robbed your neighbour of the Gospel Message? There are many questions you could ask yourself.
99. In his letter to the Ephesians, 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). There are many lazy and selfish people who steal from the state and therefore from its citizens by receiving social welfare when they could be working themselves. We are to work so that we can acquire wealth to feed our families and bless others.
100. "You shall not steal" is the Eight Commandment. What is the positive form of this commandment? "You shall work and give to others." Working and giving are therefore a most important part of the Way of Life that God expects His children to live.
101. Property and possessions are to be gained by honest work -- not merely to satisfy personal desires and needs -- but so that any excess can be freely given to the brother or sister in need. In the real intent or "spirit" of God's Law, a man not only steals by taking from another that which is his, but by refusal to work in order to share and give to others in need! Even if such a person who was capable of work, and if work were available, were to give his social security money for the blessing of others, he would still be robbing the government and therefore the tax payers who gave him the social security in the first place.
102. Social Security is a God-inspired system for the protection of the weak and poor, the victims of a Godless economical system, but it must never be abused. Unfortunately it is. Let us see the positive things which worldly governments do too in unconscious imitation of the ways of Zion. We should therefore support governments who wish to provide for medical care and other needs, and support the paying of taxes for this purpose, for this is the way of Christ.
103. The true Christian -- and by implication, a Christian government -- should "share with God's people who are in need" and "practice hospitality" (Romans 12:13, NIV). Be generous with others but also be wise. If you have stolen in the past and not made restitution, now is the time to do so. If you have stolen and the person you have stolen from does not know you have done so, and has not missed what you have stolen, return it secretly to him.
104. If he does know, then you must not only return it to him but do so publicly, asking for his forgiveness, and take whatever consequences may come. If you are not able to return in kind you should make financial compensation, perhaps even offering more than you gave to show your contrition and willingness to make right what you did wrong.
105. If you have robbed a boy, girl, man or woman of his or her chastity, or had unlawful sexual intercourse with them, as a newborn Christian it is your responsibility to do all you can to locate them, go to them and repent of what you have done and ask for their forgiveness, whether or not they are offended.
106. Whatever you have stolen -- whether it is material goods or that which is less tangible -- you should do as Christ would have you do, remembering that you are witnessing of His love, forgiveness, and healing. Perhaps you have robbed someone of their self-worth by saying something nasty about them, or stolen their reputation by telling a lie about them, thus destroying their public honour and integrity. If you have, it is your Christian duty to make right.
107. As God's begotten children, we are to become like Him (Matthew 5:48). Jesus said: "My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working" (John 5:17, NIV). The Kingdom of God is a creating, a working, a producing Kingdom. God creates and works in order to give and share with others. So also should we.
108. The apostle James wrote: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father..." (James 1:17, NIV). God's very nature is to work, produce and GIVE. IT IS THE VERY OPPOSITE OF STEALING in every way.
109. The positive lesson on the Eighth Commandment is also summarised in these all-inclusive words of Jesus who said: "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). Beloved children, brethren and sisters: If, through the Holy Spirit, we can truly learn to live by these words, then we will have fulfilled the spirit of the Eighth Commandment.
Question and Answer Session
110. 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)
111. 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. You now understand that every commandment is potentially infinitely deep -- that all connect with each other and are contained within each other. All are living, active principles that are vital for us to understand and implement if we are to have a living relationship with the Lord of Life.
112. May His richest blessings be upon you as you seek to honour the Lord of the Eighth Covenant, is my prayer, in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
First created on 11 July 1998
Last updated on 11 July 1998
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