Proverbs 22:6 says:“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”. This verse is perhaps the most familiar verse in the Bible when it comes to rearing our children.
In this Proverb, Solomon emphasizes the importance of training a child beginning from his youth, for he states “when he is old, he will not depart from it”.
In other words, in the ultimate end a person will remember the early training that he received as a youth whether good or evil. Therefore it is very important to teach the good things of God very early in life.
In this physical life this is a general principle, not an absolute, for people do have free will and there are those who no matter how godly their upbringing was, still choose to rebel and live according to the ways of the world. Nevertheless, when they are old and once they have their chance and their eyes are opened to spiritual things they will remember what they have been taught in their youth. Those who were taught righteousness in their youth will remember that knowledge once they are also called to God.
We are exhorted by this verse and so many others that it is our responsibility as parents to bring up our children to the best of our ability to fear God, [have reverent awe and respect for Him] to be obedient to Him and always and to walk in all His ways. Thus we are preparing the child to grow up to be a spiritually mature Christian and eventually to become a child of God, eternally a member of the Family of God.
God has included within the Ten Commandments, the fifth commandment which commands that sons and daughters are to honor their father and mother. Why? The commandment itself has the answer: “that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee”.
Deuteronomy 5:16 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 [the physical promised land being analogous to the spiritual Promised Land of eternal life] which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
In Ephesians 6:2, the apostle Paul designates the fifth commandment as “the first commandment with promise.”
Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 6:3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
The general principle is that if children are taught to obey and honor their [godly] parents, it will foster the habits and character that brings about long life. A child trained in biblical principles and in God’s way of living will generally avoid foolishness, violence, immorality and the breaking of God’s laws. They will also not have to reap the consequences of living in rebellion against authority and breaking the civil laws of the land which often result in criminal acts that lead to premature death, injury or imprisonment.
If we teach our children to live by every Word of God, including the commandment to honor their parents, they will most likely come to live a pattern of life that results in stability, being responsible adults, and much more fulfillment and success in their personal and community life. They will not suffer the consequences and hardships that come to those who are rebellious, stubborn and who live lawlessly.
Deuteronomy 4:40 Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever. (See also Deuteronomy 5:33; 6:2; 11:8-9)
Solomon also reiterates this principle by exhorting all children to abide by the instruction that they receive from their father which stresses the importance of seeking after wisdom, understanding and not forsaking the keeping of God’s commandments. He adds a promise to those who will listen and do what he says, that they will be preserved and protected.
Proverbs 4:1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. 4:2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. 4:3 For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. 4:4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. 4:5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 4:6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.
Solomon is teaching a general rule that parents who train their children in the right ways of God are in fact providing a hedge of protection around their children. Proverbs 4 continues as a message from a Solomon to his son or as an allegory of our Father in Heaven who calls and then teaches his sons and daughters the ways of wisdom. It is the duty of parents to diligently teach our children to live by every Word of God.
Proverbs 4:10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. 4:11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.
We can read Proverbs 4 as it is a message from our heavenly Father who is instructing His spiritual children. Also in Psalm 91 God gives us similar promises. He promises to protect us and to be with us when we face trouble and to deliver us from it; the ultimate deliverance will be from eternal death if we belong to Him. (See all of Psalm 91)
Psalm 91:14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. 91:15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
God Himself urges His children to keep all of His ways “that it may go well with them.” Yes, there will be trials, hardships, and eventually sooner or later death in our physical lives, but if we have been taught to keep all of God’s ways and go on to become one of His children by applying the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and committing to sin no more; our lives will be abundantly enriched and we will be given the spiritual riches that will endure forever. We truly want that for our own dear children as well.
The Importance of the Fifth Commandment
When we observe how the Ten Commandments are arranged, it appears that they begin with the most important of all the commandments, and that is to have no other gods before the true God. If we break this first one, we will invariably be led to break all the others resulting in complete disregard for God and for all that He commands us to do.
Deuteronomy 5:7 Thou shalt have none other gods before me.
The first commandment acknowledges that God is the Sovereign Creator and Ruler of His creation and we are not to worship and give the honor that is due to Him to any others.
As our Father, He will not allow us to worship other gods, including our own selves; it only brings confusion, darkness, frustration, perverseness resulting in emotional and physical pain, and ultimately death to all those who worship any gods other than Him. If not repented of, it forfeits God’s whole purpose for those who refuse to keep this commandment and there remains no more hope for them.
The first four commandments define our relationship with God as our spiritual Father and how we are to worship Him, obey Him, and honor Him. They encompass the magnitude of God’s power and His great name [reputation], and they exhort us to focus our time and energies on His purpose, plan, character, and promises, as well as on our vital part in the completion of His creation in us as individuals. We need to set Him first in our hearts and let Him be the main reason for living and seek to become made into His image for that is what He created us to do.
The last six commandments make up the second section of the Ten. The fifth commandment to honor our father and our mother is placed first among those commands that governs our relationships with God our Father in heaven first, and then applies secondarily to our physical parents who are to be obeyed “in the Lord”.
The ramifications of either keeping or failing to keep the first and the fifth commandments are huge and determines how well we will keep all of the other commandments. Not only is the fifth commandment very important in this regard, but it serves as a link between the two sections; one section of which is toward God then connecting it to the other section toward our fellow man. For if we learn at an early age to have reverence and obedience toward our earthly parents, that will in effect carry over to having the same kind of reverence and obedience toward God who is our Creator and who is our ultimate Parent.
The fifth commandment as written in Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16 says that we are to HONOR our father and our mother.
The Hebrew word for “honor” is kabad or kabed (Strong’s #3513) and means: to be heavy, i.e. in a bad sense (burdensome, severe, dull) or in a good sense (numerous, rich, honorable); causatively, to make weighty, be rich, be (go) sore, stop.
The English definition gives us an even clearer understanding. “Honor” (Verb): to regard with great respect, to esteem, respect, admire, defer to, look up to, appreciate, value, cherish, give credit to, adore, reverence, revere, venerate, worship, put on a pedestal or give special recognition
To honor God our Father and our physical parents suggests a life-long, continuous respect for them and to value them for who they are and to always show appreciation for the fact that they devoted their lives in bringing us up and for providing for us when we were young.
We are commanded by God to respect, esteem, cherish our parents throughout our lifetimes and then to care for them when they become elderly.
To respect and to reverence ,are words included in the English definitions for “honor” and the meaning of these words helps us to realize the profound implications of the fifth commandment.
Respect means to have or show deferential regard for; esteem or admiration, to treat with propriety and consideration; to regard as inviolable.”
Reverence indicates a feeling of profound awe and respect and often adoration.
The Penalty for Not Honoring Parents
How important is it for children to honor their parents? God tells us in Exodus 21:15, 17,
Exodus 21:15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.
Exodus 21:17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.
And again when Moses expanded on the Ten Commandments he gave these judgments and the penalties for breaking the laws pertaining to the fifth commandment.
Deuteronomy 21:18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
21:19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 21:20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21:21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
In our liberal modern times these statements are shocking and abhorrent to us. Yet this was God’s mandate in the ancient nation of Israel and showed the seriousness of any kind of abuse or mistreatment toward God the Father himself or towards any physical parent or for the spirit of rebellion and of having addictions.
Even though we are not to punish our children or carry out the death sentence in this way in this dispensation, it does show how much God regards the commandment to honor parents and to treat them with respect. With this kind of penalty for abuse, rebellion and lust on the part of one’s children, the parents had to have been very diligent to make sure that they did their part in teaching and instilling proper behavior in their beloved children or else they too would suffer the loss of their children in this way.
Disobedience to God the Father or mistreatment of a physical father or mother through striking, cursing or even treating them contemptuously were to be placed on a par with murder and adultery and were to come under the same kind of penalty.
The cursing (as in Genesis 12:3) of parents is considered such an infraction because it proceeds from the same disposition as the other seemingly greater crimes; all were to be punished with death, because the greatness and holiness of God was violated in the persons of the parents who act as His representatives in the family order of His government on earth.
The fifth commandment takes on an even more ominous meaning when seen it in this light: “12 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).
Why did these infractions meet with such severe retribution to the point of death for doing these things?
All we have to do is to look around us to see the consequences of children who have not been taught to honor their parents.
Today our world is so full of rebellion, abuse towards our heavenly Father, our physical parents and others, drug and alcohol addictions and has become an evil and perverse generation to the point that God will have to intervene to save us from ourselves at some point in the future. (Matthew 24:21-23). We hear news reports all the time of children, sometimes grown children who not only smite or curse their parents but go as far as to murder them for some petty reason, just because they got mad at them for disciplining them or keeping them from having something they wanted.
Do we pass off the disobedience of children to their parents as just a light thing that really has very little consequence or significance in the health and safety of society around us?
How often do we see even little children blaspheme God and allowed throw temper tantrums in the supermarket, screaming and yelling because they are denied some toy or trinket that the parent will not buy for him or her? And when the children reach teen age years the parents have lost all control over them.
We see in the western nations the drug related problems, the reports of violence, crime, gangs, rioting and looting to the point of now we have flash vandalism and looting by gangs of kids that go into stores or malls and just take over and steal whatever they can get their hands on. Today our youth appear to have no conscience whatsoever. Could it be that most of this kind of behavior can be attributed to a lack of proper child training in our modern time?
Was it not because Satan did not honor nor respect his Creator Father which led to his pride and rebellion against God?
As a result he became the originator of sin and rebellion and was the cause of a third of the angels also rebelling against God and it is they who influence to sin and rebellion in mankind.
That is why God puts such a high premium on the obedience of children to their parents; and in ancient times, the death penalty served as a deterrent for both parents and their children to train them up in the way that they should go. For if the rebellion were not checked these children would act as Satan did in leading others to follow suit and their rebellion would most likely eventually cause their own or others death if not stopped at an early age.
In our day, hardened criminals that are not stopped will go on to destroy the victims of their future crimes; by stopping them when it first becomes evident that they will not repent, will prevent many innocent people from being injured or to die at their hands.
In the blessing and cursing chapter, dishonoring one’s parents is listed as one of the things that God would curse a person for.
Deuteronomy 27:16 Cursed be he that setteth light by [dishonors] his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. (or treats his father or mother with contempt.)
We can dishonor our parents through stubbornness, mocking, scorning, angrily talking back to them, being contemptuous of them and refusing to help and care for them when they need us. Most just do not realize the seriousness of this kind of mistreatment but God holds us accountable for how we treat our parents Through their own carnal greediness, the Pharisees encouraged financial neglect of parents to enrich the treasury. This was a hypocrisy that Jesus also condemned among other things that the Pharisees did.
Mark 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 7:10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: 7:11 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. 7:12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
It is because the parents are representatives of God and when children disobey and abuse their parents they are really disobeying and abusing God, which if left unchecked leads to the corruption of a whole nation. Could it be that we are receiving the curse, [divine punishment] in our nations because of this very thing? All we have to do is watch the news reports and see the awful things that are happening as a result of our rebellion against the laws of God and how it is affecting our children.
God thunders to His people:
Malachi 4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
Parents Awesome Responsibly as God’s Agents
From the time our children are babies we need to be teaching these things and showing them that they are to have this kind of respect for God our Father and for their physical parents. We are like God to our children, until they are old enough to understand the concept of the invisible God who is Creator of all. What I mean by this is that the parents represent God for they are God’s instruments in caring and providing everything for the child.
Children come into the world completely helpless and must depend on their parents for their every need. God has placed the parents as the ones that are in charge over the child. Those whom the child can see and who interact with him by caring for him and showing him love and in this way represent God to him.
The parent is the one that provides for, protects, nourishes, instructs, and makes all the decisions for the child. A little child does not have to worry about paying the mortgage or earning money for food and clothing. He learns to just trust that his dad and his mom knows what is best for him and he in turn grows to respect and show reverence for his parents. But we, as his parents, are responsible for instilling this respect and reverence into our little ones, and in so doing, this same kind of respect and reverence will be transferred to other authority figures as the child grows and enters school and the workplace. But most importantly that respect will be transferred ultimately to God as the child comes to know Him and to adore Him as his heavenly parent that is worthy of the utmost in respect, honor, and reverence. And if that happens, then the child will grow to be an adult who will be in awe and reverence of God and will desire to serve and obey Him for the rest of his life and on into eternity if he attains to the resurrection of the just.
In the eyes of God and in the eyes of a small child, a parent stands in the place of God Himself. They serve as God’s agents in the physical realm because the parents are the ones who act as the child’s giver of life by physical birth, they are his provider, lawgiver, teacher, and protector. A child’s response to this relationship, whether it is positive or negative, will in large measure determine his later response to all of his relationships in society and beyond that to God Himself.
The fifth commandment then by direct implication is that if as parents we represent God to our little children, it becomes our obligation to live lives worthy of honor. Ultimately, the responsibility for keeping this commandment falls on the child for God has granted that each person has the right of free choice. However, parents by carrying out their responsibilities as God has ordained for parents, will clearly lay the foundation for which the child will keep this commandment and all the other commandments.
If each generation would do this, with parents passing on this training to their children and then the children, when they have grown, pass it on to their children, would make an incredibility impact on our communities and then the world at large.
This is not going to happen in this present evil world ruled by Satan, for we know that it will take the return of Christ to implement this kind of reverence and turn the hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.
God has called some in the past and is calling some who are alive now in the present day, to learn these things and pass them on to their children. It will start with the few who will then teach it to others until the whole world is honoring God their Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. This will be made possible when Jesus becomes the undisputed ruler of the whole world when He comes back and sets up His Kingdom.
Malachi 4:6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
So even though the fifth commandment appears to be directed to the children to honor their patients, the commandment also, by implication, is directed to the parents who are to be worthy of that honor; therefore the commandment is directed to everyone.
The parents are to diligently train their children to show honor and respect toward them and to other legitimate authority figures, but most of all to God and in showing honor and respect to Him, desiring to keep all of His other commandments as well.
By teaching our children to honor their parents, God then expects a transference of that same kind of attitude of respect and honor directed toward God himself derived from keeping this commandment from one’s youth.
If a child learns to regard with great respect, to esteem, respect, admire, defer to, look up to, appreciate, value, cherish, give credit to, adore, reverence, revere, venerate, worship, put on a pedestal or give special recognition to the Eternal, then by doing so, he or she will have the FOUNDATION of which they can then go on to build the character and manner of living that God desires for them.
Bring Them Up in the Nurture and Admonition of the Lord
Just after Paul exhorts children to obey their parents in Ephesians 6, he then addresses the fathers (and mothers) that they are not to provoke their children to anger, but to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 6:3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
The context shows that these verses in Ephesus are addressing both the children and the parents. Paul makes it plain that children have a responsibility before God to obey their parents but also lets them know that that keeping the fifth commandment has definite blessings for them. This also supports Deuteronomy 4:340 in the verse we quoted earlier.
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture [feeding with godliness] and admonition [instruction] of the Lord.
This verse does not in any way imply a child is to be browbeaten into submission and forced to honor the parents. But this verse is intended to show us that it is a serious and tremendous responsibility to train up a child that is godly, who not only grows up to be a well rounded responsible adult, but who also will grow up to live a life that glorifies God.
The English word for “nurture” indicates caring for and providing proper instruction. The definition of the Greek word for nurture more generally involves educational provision or instruction, as if in teaching one for the purpose of learning a trade or a discipline.
Therefore the word indicates careful instruction and making use of exercises and lessons that are needed to bring forth godly character in our children. Paul is not advocating any kind of treatment that would be considered harsh or cruel. However, he is pointing out the need for parents to follow an organized and consistent plan in the admonishing of their children.
As parents, it is our responsibility is to follow God’s guidelines (and His example) in child-rearing and in the training of our children. Our heavenly Father is kind, patient and generous with His affections and mercies, yet He also gives correction in due season and in right measure to those who stray or for those who are stubborn and rebellious.
Paul is clearly teaching parents that training of children in the Lord is very important and is something that is not to be regarded lightly. When we become parents we take on a very sacred responsibility to bring up our children to know God and to be in awe and reverence of Him so that they will fear to disobey Him in a right way. We are to be consistent with right teaching principles that will bring about the gradual development of understanding and the godly wisdom in our children. Our teaching of them will help procure the promised long life and prosperity and other blessings contained in the commandment to honor their father and mother; and in this way we will encourage our children to live lives that glorify God throughout the rest of their lives even into old age.
We do need to bring attention to the fact that Paul qualifies the admonition to obey our parents with the qualifier by implication that if the parents demand submission beyond the bounds of Christian conduct, if they themselves demand rebellion and disobedience to God’s laws, or to any of God’s commandments and ordinances, then that is not obeying parents “in the Lord” .
God appoints parents as His representatives, His agents, and if they in turn demand disobedience to the laws of God from their children, they have forfeited their right to expect honor and obedience to them from a child; and most assuredly any elder who teaches contrary to the Word of God has forfeited any and all authority and is NOT to be respected. obeyed or followed.
In such circumstances the child’s choice should be to submit to every Word of God rather than to wicked parents or elders. “We ought to obey God rather then men”. (Acts 5:38) This principle carries over to any authoritative figure, including any church leader that requires us to summit to them even when they are in violation of God’s standards and want us to turn from God’s Word.
Submitting to God’s commandments, ordinances and sound doctrine trumps submitting to any authority figure, including our parents, if they demand that we submit to any obedience to them that is beyond what God commands us to do. The phrase “in the Lord” makes all the difference in the world and is not just a light suggestion that we are free to chose as to what constitutes to “obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right”. Yes, children are to obey their parents, but only “in the Lord” and this of course pertains to all the other verses in the Bible that tell us to obey others.
Also, when one marries the obligation to obey their parents is overshadowed by God’s command to leave and cling to one’s spouse. And godly parents will recognize this as they realize that now their child’s first attention must be given to his or her spouse, but the mandate to honor, respect, and care for the parents in their old age is still intact and godly children will obey God in this respect throughout the remainder of their parents’ lives.
A person who has properly obeyed his parents in childhood can later express his honor for them by repaying them when the parent will need care and help from their children. This honor expresses itself in courtesy, thoughtfulness and helping them in the physical things that they may no longer be able to do..
Any parent, especially a widowed or disabled parent, should be repaid by their children for the care the parents gave them as they grew up. Even in His dying moments, while suffering an agonizing death, Jesus set an example for us when He honored and loved His mother by asking John to take her in and to care for her after His death. God our Father is well pleased with us when we obey this sacred commandment to honor our parents no matter what age they are.
Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
Righteousness Exalts a Nation (And a Family)
The parents are to teach respect by being respectful of others including their children as well, and the more respectful each family member is toward the rest of the family, the greater the degree of respect that will carry beyond the immediate family and into strengthening the community. When children are taught to honor God their Father and their physical parents, it produces strong families which are the basic building blocks of a healthy strong society. This has a profound ripple effect, for the stability of the family is essential to the stability of the communities in which they live; and the strong, stable communities will contribute in making the nation stable and strong in a right way.
Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
And if the nation is righteous then that too will tend to provide for a healthy safe society in which to rear healthy families. To build righteous families builds a righteous nation and to have a righteous nation will lend itself to providing the environment to have righteous families. The commandment makes for self perpetuating sustainability but then the opposite is true too. Can we see how important this commandment is in teaching all people to honor their parents which will spread out to engulf the whole nation if everyone is keeping this commandment?
The fruits of keeping the fifth commandment is not just for an individual, but for the family, the community and eventually the whole nation. This was God’s original intent for families in the beginning. But as we know this has not happened for very often or for very long and is not happening in our present time. The opposite is happening and it is because parents are not teaching their children these principles nor are they teaching them to obey all of God’s commandments, including the fifth.
But as God’s people we are to be teaching these things to our children for we are practicing for the time when the whole world WILL be keeping God’s commandments under the rule of God the father and Jesus Christ in God’s Kingdom. In other words, one basic reason we are to teach our children to honor their parents is that the family is the building block of the Kingdom of God. We are to learn godly principles and develop the character of God within the human family unit here on the earthly plane which is a forerunner of the spiritual Family of God.
The State of the World Today
Maliachi 2:11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lord which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god. 2:12 The Lord will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the Lord of hosts.
2:13 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. 2:14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 2:15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
This passage is directed toward the people of Judah and also specifically toward the priests, for they were supposed to be the leaders of the Jewish people. Malachi spoke in a time when the institution of marriage was crumbling, becoming corrupt because the people and the the priests were abusing it. Idolatrous marriages with foreign women were common, as was divorce from their wives of their youth so that they could marry whomever they wanted, including those that were outside the faith.
This is a dual prophecy and is indicative of what is happening in our nations and in the Ekklesia today. Even those who say they are Christians, find flimsy excuses for divorcing so that they can marry someone that is more appealing to them; and then there are others who say they are Christians but then marry those who are unbelievers and who care nothing for following the ways of God.
Today, in our time, marriage is very much under attack in the before mentioned ways, but now in even more perverse ways with people of same-sex wanting to marry and to form “family unions” and even seeking to enact laws that make it legal. Not only that the people are demanding that laws be passed that make it illegal for others to oppose or even to object to the validity of so called marriages.
His answer to them and in extension to us who make up the modern day Israel of God and also to the spiritual people of God is that their idolatrous marriages and covenant-breaking divorces and the turning away from Him and His laws were putting a curse upon them and their seed. He specifically states that a purpose of marriage is that He wants godly children to be produced. These marriages were not producing godly children and we see in our day that godly children are becoming a rarity because of the examples of the adults and because they are not being taught to honor and respect their parents.
In this chapter of Malachi, God is condemning Judah and today’s brethren, for forsaking God’s standard of holiness in how we are to conduct ourselves in our family and community relationships. The keeping of God’s commandments, especially the fifth and the seventh ensure that families will produce a godly seed, which is a term for God-fearing holy children. God in His Word is putting tremendous importance on this aspect of marriage, that in it we are to produce “godly seed”. This provides the foundation for regulating social norms in our communities.
Therein lies a major purpose for keeping this commandment. The relationship God intends within the family is an exact type of the Christian’s spiritual relationship with our espoused Husband Jesus Christ who expects His collective Bride to be faithful and honorable.
Leviticus 19:1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 9:2 Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy. 9:3 Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the Lord your God. 9:4 Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the Lord your God.
God gives all of this instruction with one common goal in mind: to produce holiness and good family relationships. To be godly means to be respectful and reverential toward the things of God and holiness follows that kind of reverence, which means to be living a holy life as God lives. This is what God wants us to instill in our children to set them apart that he may use them for holy purposes.
Leviticus 20:26 And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.
Why does God say? “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” This is God’s way of saying we are to imitate Him, after all we are His spiritual children and we are to look to Him as our model, our example. We are to follow in Him in the way we bring up our children.
Unfortunately, most of the modern day children of physical and spiritual Israel are not fulfilling God’s purpose for families.
Isaiah 3:1 For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water.
3:2 The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,
3:3 The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator. 3:4 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.
3:5 And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.
Isaiah 3:12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.
To fail to teach our children to honor God our Father and our physical parents and produces wicked children, which in turn also produces wicked leaders. In this chapter Isaiah is decrying the examples of adults in positions of authority, but these adults who have become the leaders are still acting like children that never truly matured.
This is the picture of our society in these end times. These verses show the results of not teaching children to honor their parents or to honor God our Father in heaven and to have respect for His commandments.
When dishonoring parents – particularly God the Father – becomes the norm of the households in a community or organization, it tends to foster anarchy which then quickly infects that community like an infectious disease.
Anarchy is defined “1. a state of society without government or law, 2. political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control: 3. lack of obedience to an authority; insubordination: 5. confusion and disorder: Synonyms for anarchy: chaos, disruption, turbulence; license; disorganization, turmoil, disintegration. lawlessness, disruption.
The Bible also describes anarchy as every person doing what is right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25) and that pretty much sums up the affairs that are in the world. Lawlessness that does not recognize authority or any code of ethics, with each person doing what ever he pleases and making up his own rules and laws are the fruits of refusing to keep the commandments of God.
Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
James 2:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 2:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Listen to what the prophet Jeremiah had to say to ancient Israel and this is what God is saying also to the modern day stubborn descendants of Israel. It is because of our stubbornness and hardness of heart in listening to and hearkening to our heavenly Father and it is for this cause that correction is coming to our nations.
Jeremiah 6:10 To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it. 6:11 Therefore I am full of the fury of the Lord; I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days. 6:12 And their houses shall be turned unto others, with their fields and wives together: for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord. 6:13 For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.
6:14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. 6:15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord. 6:16 Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. 6:17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. 6:18 Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. 19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.
What does God want from His people at this time? “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls”. The warnings are going out to turn back to the ways of God and to return to the keeping of God’s commandments, including the command to teach our children all of His ways. And what would be the result if we were to do this as individuals, families, communities and as a nation?
Isaiah 32:17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
James 12:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 12:18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
God Offers the Chance to Repent and to Get it Right
But there is always hope, for at any point in one’s life, he or she can call out to God for help and forgiveness. God says that we can be restored and healed if we come to a sincere repentance and genuinely want to change our lives.
Proverbs 1:23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Ezekiel 18:21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 18:22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. 18:23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
The world we live in looks very bad and it appears that there is just is no hope for a brighter tomorrow, things just seem to be getting worse every day. Our problems are so huge now that there is really not much one can do to bring about any kind of change that would make for a better world. Yet, that is exactly what Jesus Christ is going to do in just a few short years. He is going to bring about holy, righteous change and the families of the earth will then produce “godly seed”.
God is calling a team of people who do honor and respect Him and His Father in all of their ways and they are in training right now (in addition to those who have died in the faith and were trained in their life times) to teach the children of Israel and then will expand to all the peoples of the earth to “have no other Gods other than the true God” and to “honor their father and mother that they may live long upon the earth” which prepares them to heed, respect and obey God in all of His other commandments.
This is going to happen and the events that are happening and the rebellion that we see in the world today will soon be a thing of the past.
Here in Isaiah 66, we read of a prophecy and a promise and this will be the wonderful results of calling a people and children now to become “godly seed”, children that will do all that the Father wills for them to do and they will be the ones that will help Christ to restore the earth to a beautiful garden once again.
Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
61:4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
61:5 And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
61:6 But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.
61:7 For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.
61:8 For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
61:9 And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.
In spite of all of the evil and rebellion that we see in the world today, God is going to cause the earth to break forth into peace and righteousness and we will greatly rejoice to see all this finally come together.
HE is going to do it; we as humans are unable to do it through our own efforts.
Isaiah 66:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
66:11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
If we will keep the fifth commandment by obeying God to show honor to our parents, which is in reality showing honor to Him, and we fulfill all the requirements to attain to eternal life, then we will see the blessings that are going to be rained down from above and we will live long, long lives and it will go well for us in the land, in God’s Kingdom!
James Malm and Constance Belanger
Note- Constance submitted the original rough draft of this article in 2016, which I then completed for posting.