|BIBLE STUDY SERIES #119, 120 and 121|
27 February, 1994
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
Our Bible Studies have followed the unfolding story of God's Great Plan of regeneration, through the Biblical Book of Genesis and a part of the Book of Exodus. Today, we have come to a study of the Fifth Commandment, as set forth in Exodus 20:12, which pertains, in part, to the respect and honour which parents ought to be shown by their children and the younger generation, in general. We shall also find a deeper additional intent in the meaning of this Commandment as we study it. The Fifth Commandment, as we read it in Exodus 20:12, says this:
12. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Deuteronomy 5:16 repeats the Law thus:
16. Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
The Companion Bible notes that this Fifth Commandment completes the first five which relate to piety, and which "are thus separated from the five that relate to probity. The first and fifth begin and end the five with honour to God, and to our parents whom He honours. They have nothing to do with our neighbours." Thus the Companion Bible distinguishes the first five as these relate towards deity, while the second set of five relate, as a dictionary explains, to "uprightness: honesty: virtue that has been tested."
This Law, commanding honour towards father and mother, being one of the well known Ten Commandments, has taken its place in many a church service, and on the wall of many a home in Christian lands. Deplorably, it seems that it is no longer permissible to display it on the walls of classrooms in schools run by the politically correct under a secular administration. Is there conceivably a connection between that fact and the increasingly vicious forms of behaviour exhibited by socially maladjusted youths in our present day society? We will find that there definitely is a connection as we carefully study this Law.
The Fifth Commandment is a law which is repeated and amplified in other parts of Scripture. When challenged by scribes and Pharisees of Jerusalem concerning His disciples' conduct which, they complained, transgressed the traditions of the elders, in Matthew 15:1-6, in an incident reported also in Mark 7:10, Jesus made reply, using this Commandment, "Honour thy father and mother" to challenge these same men for allowing those traditions of the elders to distort and twist the commandment so that it held no effective value.
In Matthew 19:16-19, and in Luke 18:18-20, Jesus is approached by a young man, questioning "what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" In reply, Jesus said "...but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." Upon being asked "Which?", Jesus said "Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Thus, Jesus relates this Fifth Commandment as one which is needful in order to enter into life.
In Ephesians 6:1-4, we read the words of St. Paul:
1. Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
3. That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
In Leviticus 19:32, we read: "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD." In Proverbs 16:31 we read: "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness."
What does the word "Honour" mean? Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary yields this definition: "the esteem due or paid to worth: respect: high estimation: veneration, said of God: that which rightfully attracts esteem: exalted rank; distinction: excellence of character: nobleness of mind: any special virtue much esteemed: any mark of esteem: a title of respect: (pl.) privileges of rank or birth: civilities paid..."
Young's Concordance explains the Hebrew word "kabed", used in Exodus 20:12, by the words "To make heavy, weighty, honoured" and in another context, this word is explained as to be or become honoured or mighty. The meaning would appear to envision the placement in their hands and upon them of a great amount of honour, so that they might be laden with honour.
But let us look deeper. "That thy days may be long upon the land..." may refer to an individual, to a community effort on behalf of the older generation, or collectively, to the whole nation itself.
The Law applies to individuals who, in their youth, cared for their parents, and who now, as parents, will, in their own turn, themselves require the honour, the care and assistance of the grown children of their own family. We ought to remember that a very beneficial stimulation for the elderly which tends to prolong life, can be found in the family unit. It is the contact and inter-action between the elderly and the young children and grand-children. A card to a distant mother or father on Mother's Day or Father's Day doesn't really accomplish the desirable blessing.
Today, society collectively attempts to meet certain needs of the elderly which individual families no longer provide. We seek this through welfare, old age pensions, and the provision of all the numerous organized services which the elderly require, including nursing homes, and similar enterprises. The effect becomes chilling as over-burdened staff becomes withdrawn from the personal nature of support which is required by this Law.
Nationally, there is a very crucial importance which this inter-action of grand-parents and children yields to national cohesion. The religious, historic and cultural roots that are required by succeeding generations are passed on by such means. Through the last seventy-odd years, for example, I understand that it was frequently the "babooshka", the Russian grandmother of the family, who faithfully and quietly passed on her Christian faith to her grand-children and who thus formed a vital link with the generations of the past thousand years of Christianity in that nation, preserving a Christian heritage for her family while the communistic philosophy prevailed among officialdom.
The New Bible Commentary, contains this statement in reference to the Fifth Commandment: "The best commentary on this verse is the book of Proverbs and Eph. vi. 1-3. Respect for parents includes not only attention to their commands, wishes and advice, but also the care of them in their need (Mk. vii. 10-12) and the cloaking of their faults (Gn. ix. 23; Pr. xxx. 17). The promise 'that thy days may be long' cannot be taken as a guarantee to every individual, but it asserts that the right order within the family is the foundation of both national and individual continuance and prosperity, and in general its literal fulfilment is to be expected."
In The New Bible Commentary (Revised) the notation reads "This is our first duty manward, and the family unit is the foundation of social order and peace. The observance of it reveals a well-ruled character, and augurs well for the future security of individual and nation. God's blessing rests upon the observance of this to the effect described."
This Law can also apply to respect for Abraham and Sarah by their descendants, for Isaiah 51:1-2 says "...look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you." Thus the roots of the nation are to be honoured, for it is this which yields to God's people a racial and cultural cohesiveness and strength; observing the same customs, perpetuating the same laws and the same acceptable manners of inter-action, the same, agreed, history of the people of Israel, and the remembering God's promises which were given to the people through their patriarchal family.
Keil and Delitzsch present this very important aspect of the Commandment in a commentary one page in length. In part, it says that "The FIFTH WORD, 'Honour thy father and thy mother,' does not refer to fellow-men, but to 'those who are the representatives (vicarii) of God. Therefore, as God is to be served with honour and fear, His representatives are to be so too...'"
That commentary proceeds to indicate from Leviticus 19:3 that reverence towards parents is placed on an equality with the observance of the Sabbath. Fellow-men or neighbours, it states, "are to be loved (Leviticus xix. 18): parents, on the other hand, are to be honoured and feared; reverence is to be shown to them with heart, mouth, and hand - in thought, word, and deed. But by father and mother we are not to understand merely the authors and preservers of our bodily life, but also the founders, protectors, and promoters of our spiritual life, such as prophets and teachers, to whom sometimes the name of father is given (2 Kings ii. 12, xiii. 14), whilst at other times paternity is ascribed to them by their scholars being called sons and daughters (Ps. xxxiv. 12, xlv. 11; Prov. i. 8, 10, 15, etc.); also the guardians of our bodily and spiritual life, the powers ordained of God, to whom the names of father and mother (Gen. xlv. 8; Judg. v. 7) may justly be applied, since all government has grown out of the relation of father and child, and draws its moral weight and stability, upon which the prosperity and well-being of a nation depends, from the reverence of children towards their parents."
A footnote at this point adds "In this demand for reverence to parents, the fifth commandment lays the foundation for the sanctification of the whole social life, inasmuch as it thereby teaches us to acknowledge a divine authority in the same."
The Keil and Delitzsch passage continues: "And the promise, 'that thy days may be long (thou mayest live long) in the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee,' also points to this. There is a double promise here. So long as the nation rejoiced in the possession of obedient children, it was assured of a long life or existence in the land of Canaan; but there is also included the promise of a long life, i.e. a great age, to individuals (cf. Deut. vi. 2, xxii. 7), just as we find in 1 Kings iii. 14 a good old age referred to as a special blessing from God. In Deut. v.16, the promise of long life is followed by the words, 'and that it may be well with thee,' which do not alter the sense, but merely explain it more fully.
Keil and Delitzsch end their note with the words: "As the majesty of God was thus to be honoured and feared in parents, so the image of God was to be kept sacred in all men. This thought forms the transition to the rest of the commandments."
We shall continue our studies on our next programme.
6 March, 1994
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
We have been following God's Great Plan for the restoration of His Creation, as found in the early Books of the Bible, Genesis and Exodus. Presently, we are taking up each of the Ten Commandments in turn, as given from God on Mount Sinai, to Moses, to be taken by him, down to the tribes of the Children of Israel gathered on the ground stretching out from the foot of the mountain. These Commandments are recorded in Exodus 20, and today, we have arrived at the Sixth Commandment, which we find in verse 13. It is a very short commandment, which states:
13. Thou shalt not kill.
In the parallel account, found in the Book of Deuteronomy, we find the wording as reviewed by Moses before a subsequent generation of Israelites prior to their entry into the Promised Land, and there, the identical wording is used.
The New Bible Commentary, in reference to this commandment, states as a heading: "The sanctity of human life (xx. 13)." It proceeds: "Read with RV 'Thou shalt do no murder'. A general safeguard of the sanctity of human life is here first laid down. Later provision is made for excusable (xxi. 13), accidental (Nu. xxxv. 23), or justifiable homicide (xxii. 2). War for the Israelites, whether attack or defence, was always by the direct command or permission of God."
The premature termination of a life is an exceedingly serious thing, and so this Commandment is of very great importance. Keil and Delitzsch introduce their comments on this section containing the last five of the Commandments by stating that they are "The other Five Words or commandments which determine the duties to one's neighbour, and which are summed up in Leviticus xix. 18 in the one word, "Love thy neighbour as thyself." They continue: "The order in which they follow one another is the following: they first of all secure life, marriage, and property against active invasion or attack, and then, proceeding from deed to word and thought, they forbid false witness and coveting. If, therefore, the first three commandments in this table refer primarily to deeds; the subsequent advance to the prohibition of desire is a proof that the deed is not to be separated from the disposition, and that 'the fulfilment of the law is only complete when the heart itself is sanctified'... Accordingly, in the command, 'Thou shalt not kill,' not only is the accomplished fact of murder condemned, whether it proceed from open violence or stratagem... but every act that endangers human life, whether it arise from carelessness... or wantonness ..., or from hatred, anger, and revenge... Life is placed at the head of these commandments, not as being the highest earthly possession, but because it is the basis of human existence, and in the life the personality is attacked, and in that the image of God... The omission of the object still remains to be noticed, as showing that the prohibition includes not only the killing of a fellow-man, but the destruction of one's own life, or suicide."
The value which we place upon something may be calculated by noting the value of the payment we exact for its theft. A society which will not apply the death penalty, even for murder, places the lesser value of a few years of prison upon an innocent life. In the sight of The Almighty God, on the other hand, an innocent life is so highly valued that its theft is only repayable by the life of the thief.
It is also important to realise a very logical restriction in regard to punishment and forgiveness. Only the wronged party has the right to forgive the person who has done the wrong to them. Let us consider three people whom we shall call by the initials A, B and C, and let us suppose that the person called A steals something valuable, perhaps a great amount of money, from B. The third person, we call C cannot legitimately come along to A later, after this theft has taken place, and say "I forgive you for stealing B's money. You are free to go if you pay me a small consideration!", because C is not the wronged party. It is only B who can forgive A for stealing B's money. True, B conceivably might forgive A in an outpouring of Christian love. However, if what is stolen is B's life, so that B can no longer grant that forgiveness, there is no human way that A can legitimately receive forgiveness beyond joining B in the grave because no other fallen human being can stand in the place of B to forgive A's sin, least of all, a secular society. The final penalty must be applied to A; the sole exception being the arrangement whereby that penalty is diverted from A to a surrogate, Jesus Christ Who, by divine appointment, offered Himself in the place of a murderer, Barabbas (Luke 23:18-19).
Let us be perfectly clear about this. The Sixth Commandment does NOT forbid the execution of a murderer. The whole of the Scriptural record assures us of this.
In the Scriptures, we find that many Biblical heroes were, at some point, responsible for taking the life of at least one, and sometimes many, other human beings. Abraham, did so in a war to save his nephew Lot, in Genesis 14:14-17. Simeon and Levi did so at Schechem, to avenge the defilement of their sister, Dinah, who had been raped, in Genesis 34:2 and 25. Moses killed an Egyptian to defend a brother Hebrew, in Exodus 2:12. All the Israelite tribes were engaged in a bloody war against the Amalekites that had attacked the trailing Israelites as they moved through the wilderness, in Exodus 17:10-13. Phinehas of the Tribe of Aaron, slew Cozbi and Zimri for committing whoredom in Numbers 25:8, 14-15.
Joshua, when leading the Israelites into Canaan, came under God's direct orders in planning the attack on Jericho, in Joshua 5:13-6:21. The account starts in these words:
13. And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
14. And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
15. And the captain of the LORD's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
There followed the instruction concerning the encirclement of the walls of Jericho, and the final assault. Many wars followed against the peoples of the land of Canaan, by the orders of The Almighty, beginning with Ai, in Joshua 8:1.
Gideon led 300 Israelites, selected by God, to victory against their Midianitish oppressors, and later slew Zebah & Zalmunna, kings of Midian, in Judges 8:21. Samson slew thirty men of Ashkelon to acquire the clothes needed to pay his obligation to his wedding guests for answering his riddle, in Judges 14:19, and a thousand with the jaw bone of an ass, in Judges 15:16. When blind, his strength returned and pushing upon foundation pillars, he brought the house down, killing more at his death than in his life in Judges 16:30.
The Prophet Samuel slew Agag, king of the Amalekites in I Samuel 15:33, and Jonathan slew a garrison of about twenty men in I Samuel 14:13-14, while the young David killed Goliath. The Prophet Elijah, following God's demonstration of approval by fire on Mount Carmel, as reported in I Kings 18:40 slew the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and of the groves, four hundred.
As we examine each of these, we find that God ordered or assisted His followers in performing such executions. Those who died at the hands of these people of God had been in general, responsible for the deaths of innocent Israelites or had incurred condemnation as enemies for similar reasons.
Thus, in returning to the matter of the Sixth Commandment, the investigation of a murder and the penalty to be taken is absolutely and clearly ordered by God's explicit instruction consistent with the rest of Scripture. God must exact that penalty from the guilty party or that party's surrogate.
Should that party become incorporated as part of Christ's body, then, by the power of Christ's Resurrection, the prospect is for all Christ's body of followers, even including a murderer, to join Him at the time appointed for the revival of life in each of them, at the General Resurrection. Failing that, the prospect for a murderer is dim indeed! It is by such an arrangement that Saul of Tarsus, who supervised at the stoning of Stephen, in Acts 7:58, 8:1, might receive his reprieve on the Damascus road (Acts 9:3), and be called to serve The Lord under his new name, Saint Paul.
God has by the Sixth Commandment, demonstrated the divine will in regard to murder of the innocent. He has by sundry laws and amplifications thereto, which we will study as we arrive at those portions of Scripture, ordered that His nation of Israel, which received and agreed to live by His Commandments, should carry out the removal of a murderer from society. There are other Laws enjoined by The Almighty, the breaking of which also involve the death penalty, and we shall also be examining these in our later studies.
I ought to point out, however, that we cannot apply one of God's Laws apart from the rest of God's Law code. We cannot pick and choose which of God's Laws we will implement for they are inter-dependent, and must be applied together. For example, by God's Law, if a witness is discovered to have given perjured witness, God's Law requires that the penalty which an accused faces must be applied to the lying witness who seeks to bring an innocent person to that end. This law must apply during the interrogation of witnesses at a murder investigation.
We might, then ask some questions. Who is deemed an innocent person, who is to be protected? If God knew David (Psalm 139:15-16), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5) and John the Baptist (Luke 1:15) before birth, such unborn are indeed to be numbered among the innocent.
We might ask, "Why would God, who desires that all should find life, order anyone to be killed?", to which the answer might be "Christ, though innocent, died to bear the murderer's punishment. Had there been another way, Christ's prayer in Gethsemane would surely have found it (Mark 14:36).
Who is authorised to kill, and under what circumstances? The answer has to be "the appropriate national authority, under God's direct command, must initiate inquiry, and where a multiplicity of truthful witnesses attest a matter, thereby it is established, and the penalty must be carried out or those who fail may themselves be responsible for further deaths which follow.
This Sixth Commandment, repeated and confirmed by Jesus Christ in Matthew 19:18, stands as God's eternal will for His people. We shall pick up our studies of the remaining Commandments on future programmes.
13 March, 1994
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
We have been following God's Great Plan for the restoration of His Creation, as recorded in the first two Books of the Bible, Genesis and Exodus. Presently, we are taking up each of the Ten Commandments in turn, as delivered to Moses by The Almighty God on Mount Sinai, and written on stone tablets to be taken by him, down to the tribes of the Children of Israel gathered at the foot of the mountain. These Commandments are recorded in Exodus 20, and today, we have arrived at the Seventh Commandment, which we find in verse 14. Like the Sixth, Eighth and Ninth, it is a very short commandment, which states:
14. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Parallel repetitions are found in Leviticus 20:10: "And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death", and in Deuteronomy 5:18: "Neither shalt thou commit adultery."
When we studied the Third Commandment, "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain", I spoke of that law as forming a strict warning to the whole nation of Israel against breaking the commitments being undertaken at Mount Sinai, and I explained why this was so. That Law is not simply a stricture against mouthing the name of God dis-respectfully, although as an individual, one who does that would be repudiating his or her part in the national contract of marriage to God, and would thus be endangering their future participation in Israel's coming glory, in the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 21:2).
In the Wilderness at the foot of Sinai, and in the awesome presence of Yahweh (Jehovah) the Almighty God of their Patriarchal forefathers, the entire nation of the Children of Israel was at that moment undertaking a national marriage contract with The Almighty God Himself, through the assent given by her national tribal leaders.
In a traditional Christian marriage ceremony conducted in accordance with the form laid out in the Book of Common Prayer, it is first established that no impediment to the marriage exists. Then, the man having made his commitment to care for the woman, the first question asked of the bride is this: "Wilt thou have this man to be thy wedded husband, to live together according to God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou love him, comfort him, honour, and keep him, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto him, so long as you both shall live?" The woman answers "I will."
The man and the woman are each then asked to repeat the vow of marriage. The bride repeats her vow in the words "I (giving her name) take thee (naming the man who is partner to the contract), to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth."
The customary traditional wedding proceeds with the husband stating "With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee honour, and all my worldly goods with thee I share: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen." That, in essence, was what The Almighty God was promising to Israel; to honour her with His body, and to share with her all His worldly goods.
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary defines the word "vain" in the words "unsatisfying: fruitless: unreal: silly: conceited: showy: vacant, worthless"
In becoming God's Wife, Israel was therefore, like a bride, receiving the name of her husband. In the case of the nation, an act of national adultery against The Almighty God would be the taking of His name, the name "El", in the form "Isra-El", in vain. In later centuries, Israel broke this law, just as surely as a person who is an husband or wife who is unfaithful to the wedding vow breaks God's Law.
I explained that the reason why the Third Commandment was a law against national adultery was that Israel was God's bride. The same Law must apply to the whole nation as to the partners, husband and wife, in one family. Thus, when we come to The Seventh Commandment, we see that it applies, in the same manner, both in an universal, national application, but now also, and more particularly, to a personal one relating to faithfulness within the marriage bond between a man and his wife.
There are many scriptures which demonstrate this parallel application against adultery. Describing Jerusalem in Ezekiel 16, that prophet compares the activities of her inhabitants to those of an adulterous woman, saying, in 16:31-32, that she "...hast not been as an harlot, in that thou scornest hire; But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband".
Describing both Aholah (Samaria, capital of Israel) and Aholibah (Jerusalem), Ezekiel (23:37) speaks of both, "That they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery, and have also caused their sons, whom they bare unto me, to pass for them through the fire, to devour them."
Hosea 2:2, says of Israel, "Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts", and in 3:1 The LORD tells Hosea to illustrate the condition of Israel through a personal demonstration in his personal life. "Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine."
Jeremiah 3:8-9 says "And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also."
Jeremiah 5:7 says "How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses." and in 7:9 we read: "Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?"
Jeremiah 29:23 states: "Because they have committed villany in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbours' wives, and have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I know, and am a witness, saith the LORD."
Thus we find the Third and the Seventh Commandments addressing similar attitudes and activities of adultery on the national and individual scales, and frequently merging these in words of condemnation.
Proverbs 6:32 states: "But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul." A family ought to be an intimate relationship wherein the members know all one another's faults and failures, yet love holds each to the others unreservedly anyway.
Regarding Adam and Eve, Matthew 19:4-5 records the words of Our Lord: "And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female. And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh." He repeated in verse 9 what He had stated in Matthew 5:32: "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." In Mark 10:11-12, like Luke 16:18, Christ reinforces this theme
Adultery can be either physical or spiritual. James 4:4 may be interpreted either way: "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
In Matthew 5:27-28 Christ had stated: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." To Peter and other disciples, Christ explained in Matthew 15:19 "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." Mark 7:21 tells us that Christ explained to His disciples, privately "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders." Galatians 5:19 records: "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness."
The Old Testament penalty for adultery was not changed by Christ when, in John 8:3-4, the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman taken in adultery to test Him. The penalty required two or three witnesses to testify in court. In verses 10 and 11 we find, after Christ had spoken, that no man condemned her, possibly because to do so would require casting the first stone of the execution which would have violated Roman Law, for only Rome could order such an execution.
However, death breaks the force of the law against adultery. Paul, in Romans 7:3, says "So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man."
Thus Christ, being the incarnate expression of The Almighty God of Sinai, and husband to Israel, died that the adulterous nation might find release from the death penalty for her adultery.
Our studies will continue next week.
RETURN TO BIBLE STUDY
RETURN TO B.I.W.F. HOME PAGE