This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Weiland Part 3
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. (Exodus 20:17)1
Correcting a Common Misconception
Because some Bible teachers apply the Seventh Commandment (“Thou shalt not commit adultery”) exclusively to miscegenation or race mixing, the Tenth Commandment (“Thou shalt not covet or lust”) is thus limited to adultery, as it is usually thought of, that is, to marital infidelity. But because the Tenth Commandment not only forbids coveting thy neighbor’s wife but also thy neighbor’s possessions, consistency then demands that the Tenth Commandment would also be the commandment that condemns theft. Consequently, the Eighth Commandment (“Thou shalt not steal”) would also need to be reinterpreted to mean something other than how it is usually understood. This erroneous misinterpretation of the Tenth Commandment comes first from not correctly understanding the full scope and intent of the Seventh Commandment, which condemns not only miscegenation but all manifestations of adultery, including infidelity, incest, sodomy, bestiality, and all other biblically condemned sexual perversions. The Tenth Commandment does not itself condemn physical infidelity and theft. It is a commandment, which condemns heart sins, which often leads to infidelity and stealing and other sins of the flesh.
“How can intent alone be a violation of Yahweh’s law?,” someone may ask. To begin with, simply because Yahweh2 says it is and because Yahweh principally looks, not to men’s outward appearance or conduct, but to men’s hearts. When Samuel was sent to anoint a new king over Israel, why was David chosen over his eldest brother Eliab? If you were to answer because of David’s heart or that he was a man after Yahweh’s heart, you would only be partially correct. David was chosen for his heart but also because of Eliab’s heart. The following that Yahweh revealed to Samuel was aimed more at Eliab than it was David:
But YHWH3 said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for YHWH seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but YHWH looketh on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
Yahweh chose David because He looks at the heart (the only one that can look into the heart of men) and because Eliab’s heart was not what Yahweh was looking for.
The Pharisees in Yeshua’s4 day demonstrated that a man can outwardly look righteous but be rotten to the core, whitened sepulchers, full of spiritual rotting corpses – alive outside but dead inside.
It is no different today. Many of today’s Pharisees go by the appellation “politician.” Every four years, America’s provided groomed candidates who are made to appear outwardly “righteous” (by contemporary man’s standards) but who are proven time and again to be rotting corpses with no moral compass whatsoever. This is another reason for someday dumping America’s counterfeit Constitutional Republic and its fundamentally flawed election process and reinstating Yahweh’s system of appointments, which places the choice of any two or more biblicallyqualified candidates squarely and solely in the hands of Yahweh who knows the hearts of all men. (See Chapter 5 of Bible Law vs. The United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective for more regarding appointments versus elections and throwing lots –Yahweh’s means of choosing those He wants to lead His people.)
Regulating, Prosecuting & Punishing Matters of the Heart
Some expositors are hesitant to apply the Tenth Commandment solely to heart sins because of man’s attempt to regulate, prosecute, and punish matters of the heart. These heart “sins” are often identified as thought or hate crimes. Invariably, these “crimes” are not what Yahweh identifies as sin but what men take upon themselves to label as thought or hate crimes, which usually amounts to calling evil good and good evil. An example of this transposition is contemporary society’s increasing proclivity for labeling, regulating, and prosecuting those who preaching against sodomy. While such concerns are valid, as finite men we are not permitted to adjudicate matters of the heart. This is why it is important to guard ourselves against presumption and judging others’ motives, something which is impossible, unless the other person has revealed to us his motives. This is why Yahweh reserves the right to judge and punish sins of the heart, which only He can see. For this reason, the Tenth Commandment – the only Commandment focused solely on heart sins – has no accompanying judgment by which man can punish it. Therefore, for man to attempt to punish heart crimes – even those identified by Yahweh – is an act of humanism and, thus, a usurpation of Yahweh’s place as God. Yet non-Christians and Christians alike are often guilty of this form of usurpation.
Ten Commandment Order
The order of the Ten Commandments makes perfect sense. The beginning of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding is the fear of Yahweh and, therefore, Yahweh begins with Himself: Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. He culminates the Ten Commandments with us, that is, with the very essence of you and me – our hearts, without which we too are nothing more than whitened sepulchers. Yahweh wants our hearts as much as any husband desires the heart of his wife. Consequently, He requires that what we do for Him and His kingdom be not merely mechanical obedience but, instead, expressions that originate in and are animated from our hearts. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us to not only address the outward violations of Yahweh’s Commandments but also the root cause – hearts not given fully to Yahweh. Without doing so, sin has yet to be really dealt with. All heart sins – lust, greed, jealousy, and envy – are interrelated to covetousness. Even sins such as grumbling and complaining (Philippians 2:14), although not heart sins, emanate from these heart sins. They are all either manifestations of the same thing, related sins, or the consequence of covetousness. Therefore the commands forbidding these sins are Tenth Commandment statutes.
Envy is a manifestation of covetousness. In modern English vernacular, covetousness is usually aimed at another’s possessions, which often culminates in principally Eighth Commandment and sometimes Sixth and Ninth Commandment infractions. For example, King Ahab’s coveting Naboth’s vineyard ended in bearing false witness, murder, and theft (1 Kings 21). Lust is usually aimed at another man’s woman or man, which often culminates in Seventh Commandment violations. And envy is usually aimed at another’s position, achievements, success, or notoriety, which often culminates in Ninth Commandment violations. Solomon had the following to say about envy:
A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones. (Proverbs 14:30)
Envy invariably leads to resentment, begrudging of others, and usually hate. Today’s English Version translated Proverb 14:30 as “Peace of mind makes the body healthy, but jealousy is like a cancer.” Someone described jealousy as poisonous envy. It was jealousy that precipitated Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery:
And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him. (Acts 7:9)
Instead Joseph’s brothers should have practiced what the Apostle Paul admonished the Roman and the Corinthian Christians:
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. (Romans 12:15) That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. (1 Corinthians 12:25-26)
Christians5 are one body in Christ and, therefore, if one member is exalted, the body and all its members are exalted with it. As with a family, if one child is honored, the entire family is honored. Envy was part of the root cause for why the Pharisees and scribes were so intent on killing Yeshua:
But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? For this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation…. Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. (John 11:46-53)
It was also because of envy that the Christians were persecuted:
But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also. (Acts 17:5-6)
The Jews’ world was being turned upside down by Christianity and the Christians were on their way to the top and, thus, the Jews were envious of the Christians. We can expect the same response today whenever 21st-century Christianity begins to once again turn today’s world order upside down.
Like lying, bribery, and covetousness, there is also such a thing as righteous envy or jealousy. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church regarding his godly jealousy:
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2)
In 1 Kings 19, Elijah is described as being jealous for Yahweh and the Old Testament relates Yahweh describing Himself as a jealous God over that which belonged to him, particularly regarding His wife and her affections. Like covetousness, jealousy is not inherently evil. It depends upon what it is focused on. But when it is an evil fixation, it needs to be shunned in all of its varied forms:
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking. (1 Peter 2:1) Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
Paul not only focused upon the flesh but also the spirit, that is, not only on our actions, but our heart motives.
Whereas greed can be the impetus behind covetousness and eventually stealing, it is also another form of greed itself. Covetousness is the inordinate desire for what belongs to another person. Greed, on the other hand, may have nothing to do with another person’s possessions. Nonetheless, greed was involved in Achan’s covetousness of the silver and garment that no longer belonged to another human but was devoted to Yahweh (Joshua 7). Greed was also the sin that Elijah’s servant Gahazi committed when he pursued after Naaman for two talents of silver and a change of clothes, for which he himself became a leper (2 Kings 5). 17th-century Puritan preacher Thomas Watson described some of the more grievous consequences of covetousness and greed:
A man is given to covetousness when he so sets his heart upon worldly things [not necessarily someone else’s things], that for the love of them, he will part with [the] heavenly; for the “wedge of gold,” he will part with the “pearl of price.” When Christ said to the young man in the gospel, “Sell all, and come and follow me;” … “he became sorrowful.” Matt xix 22. He would rather part with Christ than with all his earthly possessions.6
Greed was also the sin of the rich young ruler who, although he claimed to be obedient t all the Commandments, was nonetheless required by Yeshua to sell his possessions and give the
proceedings to the poor. Why? Because Yeshua knew his heart and that his sin was greed. Greed, not for the wealth of someone else, but for what he himself possessed. Actually, his greed, as with anyone greedy concerning their own wealth is greed for belongs to Yahweh. That what he possessed was in fact Yahweh’s was demonstrated in that Yeshua had the authority to command him what to do with it. Greed is, therefore, a sin that may or may not involve other men’s possession and that may lead to theft. Or it can simply be an inordinate desire to protect what you already have at any cost or an dissatisfied desire for more – what is sometimes described as the love of money or materialism. Covetousness and greed supplant Yahweh’s place in our heart and for that reason, they are identified by Paul as idolatry:
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness [greed, NASB], which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5) For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)
Bear in mind that not all idolatry is covetousness or greed, but all covetousness and greed amount to idolatry – heart idolatry (Ezekiel 14:3). In Matthew 13:22, in the parable of sower, the deceitfulness of riches is described as choking the written Word of God, but can also chose the Word of God made flesh (John 14:6) right out of our lives. Idolatry amounts to our will, our pleasures, our desires or lusts versus Yahweh’s. Consequently, idolatry is at the core of covetousness and greed. It is a sin that amounts to seeking our own kingdom versus seeking Yahweh’s kingdom. It is the difference between what is described in Luke 12 and the parable of the rich man who made no provision for his soul and Yeshua instructs us in Matthew 6:
And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (Luke 12:15-21) But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon…. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:20-21, 24, 33)
It is the difference between those who are willing to exchange the pearl of great price for a wedge of silver and those who understand that their soul alone is worth more than the entire world (Matthew 16:26). Thomas elaborated further:
He may be said to be covetous not only who gets the world unrighteously, but who loves the world inordinately.7
Covetousness entails both. It can also be described as the desire for more at others’ expense without the responsibility that otherwise accompanies it.
1. All Scripture is quoted from the King James Version. Portions of Scripture have been omitted for brevity. If you have any questions regarding a passage, please open your Bible and study the text to ensure it has been properly used. 2. Yahweh is the personal Hebrew name of the God of the Bible. “The Third Commandment,” a more thorough explanation concerning the sacred names of God, may be read at www.missiontoisrael.org/3rdcom-pt1.php, or the book Thou shalt not take the name of YHWH thy God in vain may be ordered from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363, for a suggested $4 donation.* 3. Where the Tetragrammaton – the four Hebrew characters transliterated “ YHWH” and representing the personal name of God – has been unlawfully rendered the LORD or GOD in Scripture, I have taken the liberty to correct this error by inserting YHWH where appropriate. For a more thorough explanation concerning the sacred names of God, “The Third Commandment” may be read at www.missiontoisrael.org/3rdcom-pt1.php, or the book Thou shalt not take the name of YHWH thy God in vain may be ordered from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363, for a suggested $4 donation.* 4. Yeshua is the English transliteration of our Savior’s given Hebrew name. Jesus is the
English transliteration of the Greek Iesous, which is the Greek transliteration of the of Savior’s Hebrew name Yeshua. For a more thorough explanation concerning the use of the sacred names of God, “The Third Commandment” may be read at www.missiontoisrael.org/3rdcom-pt1.php, or the book Thou shalt not take the name of YHWH thy God in vain may be ordered from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363, for a suggested $4 donation.*
5. Not everyone claiming to be a Christian has been properly instructed in the biblical plan of salvation. Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-41, 22:1-16; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-27; Colossians 2:11-13; and 1 Peter 3:21 should be studied in order to understand what is required to be covered by the blood of Yeshua and forgiven of your sins. For a more thorough explanation concerning baptism and its relationship to salvation, “Baptism by the Scriptures” and “Fifty Objections to Baptism Answered” may be read at www.missiontoisrael.org/baptismbythescriptures.php and www.missiontoisrael.org/objectionstobaptismanswered.php, respectively, or the book Baptism: All You Wanted to Know and More may be ordered from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363, for free. 6. Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments (Edinberg, United Kingdom: Billing & sons Limited, 1890, first printed in 1692 as a part of A Body of Practical Divinity) p. 175.
7. Ibid, p. 174. *We are admonished in Matthew 10:8 “freely ye have received, freely give.” Although we have a suggested a price for our books, we do not sell them. In keeping with 2 Corinthians 9:7, this ministry is supported by freewill offerings. If you cannot afford the suggested price, inform us of your situation, and we will be pleased to provide you with whatever you need for whatever you can send. Read more at www.missiontoisrael.org
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.