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Bible Study Eighteen: The Fifth Commandment



In Bible study lesson 18, we will begin our study of the second table of the Decalogue, which contains the last six commandments. These commandments govern man’s relationship with his fellowman. By understanding the broader meaning in each one of these commandments we may learn to love our neighbor as ourselves. As Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40

The commandments are all about being more loving. But they are also about being filled with the Holy Spirit. Consider these words of Paul, “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Hebrews 1:9. Emphasis supplied.

According to this verse, the Father anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit [“the oil of gladness”] above all others [“above thy fellows”]. Why did Jesus receive more of the Holy Spirit? He “loved righteousness, and hated iniquity” more than anyone who had ever put on human flesh.

1. What is “iniquity”? 1 John 3:4

The Bible says, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4.

So when it said that Jesus hated iniquity, it meant that He hated all deviations from those ten moral precepts. Therefore, we could reread Hebrews 1:9 as saying, “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated any and all transgressions of the law.”

Jesus received more of the Holy Spirit because He loved righteousness and hated iniquity. He loved that which was like His Father, and hated those things which were not like Him. He loved the spirit of giving, and hated covetousness. He loved truth and transparency, but hated all forms of deception and falsehoods. He loved honesty and fairness, and hated all forms of cheating and dishonesty.

Now note this very important point, He who hated sin with a perfect hatred, gathered unto Himself the iniquity of us all. We cannot possibly comprehend what it was like for Jesus, who hated sin, to bear the sins of the whole world. Why? Because we have not hated sin as Jesus hated sin, nor have we loved righteousness as Jesus has loved righteousness.
However, the closer we come to Jesus in loving righteousness and hating sin, the more we can and will appreciate what He has done for us. I can think of no higher reason to love righteousness and to hate iniquity than to grow in greater and greater appreciation of what Jesus has done. For to love sin, to cherish sin, be it however small we think it is, is to diminish our appreciation of the cross of Calvary and the intercessory work of Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary on our behalf.

2. What is righteousness?

David said, “… for all thy commandments are righteousness.” Psalm 119:172

In the book of Isaiah we find, “Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law.” Isaiah 51:7

In all capital letters, the Bible calls Jesus, “The Lord our righteousness” Jeremiah 23:6

If we want to know what Jesus loves and what He hates, our assignment is simply. Righteousness is defined by the Ten Commandments and the transgression of the Ten Commandments is sin. So we can find out what God loves and what God hates by meditating upon His holy law. Therefore, let us begin our study of the last six commandments.

3. How does the fifth commandment read? Exodus 20:12

“Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Exodus 20:12

The first four commandments deal with our relationship with God. The last six commandments deal with our relationship with one another. When it comes to the first table of the Decalogue, we are taught to put God first. When we look at the second table, we see that the family comes first. The family is the most important and fundamental unit in society and is therefore the first of the last six commandments.

Respect for parental authority when it does not contradict the will of God is the foundation any nation or society. You might say, “As the family goes so goes the nation.”

The fourth commandment to keep the Sabbath holy and the fifth commandment to honor our father and mother link the first and second table of God’s commandments. As the Bible says, “Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:3.

It is in the home where the children are to learn the lessons of Sabbath rest. As the parents choose to honor God on His holy day, children learn to respect and honor God’s authority as well.
During those very early years of life, children look to their parents for protection, sustenance, and love. In the same way, we as adult are to look to God for all our needs. By doing so, children will grow up learning how to depend upon God.

The commandment tells us to “honor” our father and mother. The word “to honor” means more than showing respect. It means to hold in high esteem. It means to show affection towards our parents. It would direct children to respect their parent’s authority and to guard their reputation. It would also direct them to lighten their cares in old age.

4. Where else does the Bible speak about honoring our parents?

“Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother: which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3.

Love, respect, and being helpful are all life-promoting principles. We will live longer if we do those things that edify. But when we are disrespectful, divisive, and lazy we weaken ourselves, especially spiritually.

The spiritual blessing of keeping the fifth commandment is further expressed in these words of Paul, saying, “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:9-11.

What will we enjoy in honoring our parents? “The peaceable fruit of righteousness” is our gain.

5. What do we know about Jesus and His earthly parents?

The story of Jesus when He went to the Passover at the age of twelve shows how respect of earthly parents leads to respect of our Heavenly Father. Jesus said, “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” Luke 2:49. There is a close connection between Jesus as a dutiful son to His earthly parents, and His desire to always please His Heavenly Father.

While hanging upon the cross, Jesus still sought to care for His mother Mary. “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, ‘Woman, behold thy son!’ Then saith he to the disciple, ‘Behold thy mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” John 19:26, 27.

6. What will it be like in the end of time?

But not all choose to be dutiful children. In fact, one of the signs of Christ’s soon return is disrespect shown to parents. As Paul wrote, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

Disrespect for authority has grown rapidly in our society. If God simply judged us by the fifth commandment where would our culture stand in the eyes of God? Now consider the fact that there are nine other commandments. This should greatly impress us with the need for divine help to live a life that is pleasing to God.

7. What is the responsibility of parents?

Parents will earn respect as they live by the following principles:

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.

“And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4.

“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” Colossians 3:21.

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him quickly.” Proverbs 13:24.