But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT
“Honour 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 Apostle Paul quoted this commandment in his letter to the Church at Ephesus. He applied it to BOTH Jewish AND Gentile believers as equally binding under the New Testament (Ephesians 6:1-3).
Why? It is because the Ten Commandments still apply today.
The family under God is central to the Biblical way of life. God created the family when he joined Adam and Eve in marriage. Four of the Ten Commandments deal with the family:
The Fourth Commandment “Honor thy and thy mother....”
The Seventh Commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery”
The Eight Commandment “Thou shalt not steal”
The Tenth Commandment “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife ... or anything that is thy neighbor's.
PARENTS AND PRIVATE PROPERTY
The Eight Commandment “Thou shalt not steal” puts God's stamp of approval on PRIVATE PROPERTY.
Private property is basic to the family under God. Biblical laws of inheritance protect parental authority. Delinquent children could be disinherited.
Modern inheritance and property taxes can only erode parental authority. The power to tax is the power to destroy. God does not give the state authority to tax a family's inheritance, nor to tax privately owned land. These taxes find their root in Karl Marx, an ardent evolutionist, atheist, and the father of Communism.
God placed authority in the parents. As the generations passed, families grew into clans (extended families). The clans grew into tribes and the tribes eventually grew into nations.
Each clan, each tribe, each nation had its own leaders. In ancient Israel, these leaders were called “elders”. Just as God commands us to honor and obey our parents, so He commands us to honor and obey all lawful authority (Romans 13:1-7).
DESTRUCTION OF THE FAMILY
Sinful man has always tried to destroy the family and rebel against parental authority. Arthur Pink wrote, “...in the decay and disappearing of parental authority we have the certain precursor of the abolition of civic authority.”¹
Evolutionists (especially Communists) seek to destroy the monogamous Biblical family. They seek to destroy “religion” (opium of the masses) and “private property” (cause of conflict between the capitalists and the workers).
Marxists want to “emancipate” the woman by making her an industrial worker (or a career woman). This “emancipation” (woman's lib) frees her from the Biblical religion-marriage-property complex. Marxists have been very successful, in China, Russia AND AMERICA.
Liberated women in the workplace are often “open game”. The divorce rate is skyrocketing. Broken homes and single parent families are now commonplace. Private housekeeping has been transformed into a social industry.
The care and education of children has become a public affair. Society looks after all children alike, whether legitimate or not. There has been a gradual growth of unrestrained sexual intercourse (fornication). Public opinion is now very tolerant of sex outside of marriage.
The family is practically abolished whenever the state determines the education, vocation, and discipline of the child. Procreation is the only function left to parents. And, through birth control and abortion, the state sometimes takes even that function away (notably in China).
REBELLION AGAINST AUTHORITY
Rebellion against parental authority is now endemic. And so is disrespect for civil authority. Communism, with its evolutionary view of the family as a relic of the past, has always been in revolt.
Their rebellion is not just against capitalist authority. It is against God. This hostility to obedience and discipline has permeated almost every area of endeavor in modern America.
In art, the ability to master skills in the use of paints is neglected. Instead, modern art uses “spontaneous” and “unconscious” expression, which lacks any reason or form. In music, undisciplined, wild singers with discordant tunes are most highly prized.
In religion, experience and feelings are given priority over sound, Biblical doctrine. Adultery is the stock in trade of soap operas. Hollywood promotes a lifestyle that is openly anti-Biblical. So does the Homosexual community.
Ditto with the Public Schools. Hatred of discipline, obedience and authority is widespread and deep.
PARENTS AS EDUCATORS
But, as R.J. Rushdoony points out, “... the best functioning mind is the obedient and disciplined mind.”² In Puritan America, mothers usually taught their children to read between the ages of two and four -- so they could read the Bible and trust in Christ.
“The best educators are parents under God. The greatest school is the family. In learning, no act of teaching in any school or university compares to the routine task of mothers teaching a babe who speaks no language the mother tongue in so short a time.
“No other task in education is equal to this. The moral training of the child, the discipline of good habits, is an inheritance from the parents to the child that surpasses all others. The family is the first and basic school of man.”³
No wonder God says through the Apostle: “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, KEEPERS AT HOME, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” (Titus 2:4-5) (Emphasis mine)
DUTIES OF PARENTS
Parents have a duty to provide for the children, to support them materially (1 Timothy 5:8) and spiritually (Ephesians 6:4). Christian education, including the Ten Commandments, is basic to this support (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) since ALL Scripture is.... profitable (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
Children should be encouraged to memorize Scripture (Psalm 119:11). Christ answered Satan with memorized Scripture (Matthew 4:4) and we should do the same.
Due to his lack of experience, the young child should be taught to obey his parents without question. Instant obedience may someday save the child's life. ”Spanking” with a rod is sometimes necessary.
The Scriptures are clear on this point of discipline:
“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15)
“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” (Proverbs. 19:18)
“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” (Proverbs 23:13-14)
Until the young child develops, parents STAND (to him or her) IN THE PLACE OF GOD. God holds parents responsible for teaching and directing the child properly. A parent is bound by the Fifth Commandment to make himself “honorable” in order to be honored.
DUTIES OF CHILDREN
Young children have a duty to honor and obey their parents, in the Lord (Ephesians 6:1-3). However, any ungodly commands from parents to lie, steal, commit fornication, etc. are exempt. In these cases, the child's first loyalty must be to the Lord, not to parents.
When children grow up, they still have an obligation to honor their parents. This means not only to show respect to their parents, but also to provide for their parents materially and spiritually, as needed.
Our Lord Jesus provided for his mother while dying on the Cross. He placed her under the care and authority of the Apostle John, who was also a nephew of Mary's through her sister Salome.
“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)
Jesus, the eldest son, made his cousin John the family heir, responsible for his mother Mary. This illustrates Biblical family law; the main heir supported the parents as needed. Our Lord Jesus also condemned those who gave to God, but refused to support their elderly parents.
“And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” (Mark 7:9-13)
Parental authority is important to any society. God identifies Himself as our Heavenly Father. Any rebellion or disrespect for parental authority, or for any other lawful authority, such as police, judges, leaders, is in reality rebellion against God who gave the Fifth Commandment.
¹ Arthur Pink, THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD (Baker Book House: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1930, 1975) p. 16.
² Rousas John Rushdoony, THE INSTITUTES OF BIBLICAL LAW (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1973) p. 195.
³ Ibid. p. 185.
George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows Lamb of God. He and his wife, Christy, have been married 42 years (in 2019). They have 8 grown children. You can contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2002 through 2019 by George Theiss