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What the Bible says about Seventh Commandment
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 2:24

Scripture is very clear about the place of nakedness—and it certainly is not in public! Genesis 2:24 establishes the bounds of nakedness: Between a man and his wife, there is no shame. Any exposure beyond these bounds incurs sin.

Leviticus 18 covers laws of sexual morality, using a euphemism, "uncovering nakedness," to represent sexual misconduct. For instance, verse 6, "None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness: I am the LORD." Viewing the nakedness of someone who is not one's spouse, then, breaks the seventh commandment, "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). Jesus amplifies this in His Sermon on the Mount by saying, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). A person sexually aroused by the sight of another who is not his spouse, clothed or not, is guilty of sin.

To some, this may sound prudish and old-fashioned, but it is God's law, which does not "change" or "conform" to the times. The Bible consistently speaks of clothing in terms of righteousness, whereas nakedness represents sin and its corresponding shame. The upright are clothed in fine linen (Revelation 19:8), while the sinful are depicted in various states of undress (see Isaiah 47:2-3; Ezekiel 16:36; Revelation 3:17).

As such, a culture's view of nakedness reveals its proximity to God and the way of godly living. As it publicly strips, our culture exposes itself as far from God and in freefall. We should ask ourselves, "Where do our standards lie on this spectrum?"

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
A Culture in Freefall

Exodus 20:14

The Creator God directly devotes two of His ten great laws to protecting family relationships. In the fifth commandment, we see how important honoring parents is in maintaining a Christian family relationship. God gives the seventh commandment, "You shall not commit adultery," to protect the honor and sanctity of marriage. It is through marriage and the family that we learn how to conduct proper relationships, both with other people and with God. Since it is such an important institution to character development, God does not tolerate its defilement. Within marriage, sex is fully sanctioned by God, but otherwise, its practice causes great harm. In principle, this commandment covers all forms of illicit sex, including fornication, homosexuality, bestiality, and pedophilia.

Martin G. Collins
The Seventh Commandment

Exodus 20:14

The nation has been wringing its collective hands over the pederasty scandal among Catholic priests. Not only have the dangers and foolishness of the doctrine of priestly celibacy been exposed, but the disgraceful situation has also revealed the absolute bankruptcy of biblical morality and ethics throughout the Catholic hierarchy. It presents the picture of a feeble old man holding his hands out in dismay, saying, "What should I do?"

Like most of mankind, even many "Christians," Catholic theologians threw out the Bible as the basis for their beliefs a long time ago. Tradition and the pontifications of the Popes hold at least as much sway as God's Word, and truth be told, probably more—much more. Thus, looking to the Bible for answers to the current crisis will not be a common action.

Of course, the seventh commandment—"You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14)—covers the perversions of pederasty, as it also covers homosexuality, the unmentioned other half of this equation (see Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:27). Though the Bible does not specifically say, "You shall not uncover the nakedness of a child," the underlying assumption is that this would be universally known to be evil. In any case, sexual relations with a minor outside of marriage would be fornication, a sin covered in numerous verses.

What is the proper biblical penalty for pederasty? As mentioned, pederasty is not found in the Bible, but the instructions concerning fornication and homosexuality can give us guidance. Notice Leviticus 20:13: "If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them." The penalty for fornication varied according to the situation. In a case of rape—in which the woman's cries for help could not be heard—only the man was put to death (see Deuteronomy 22:25-27). By combining these two penalties, the child-molester would be put to death, while his traumatized victim would not be punished.

Of course, this solution would never be used in our modern, therapeutic, humanistic society. Even though our good and just Creator God gave these laws to regulate behavior among carnal people, the "wise" and politically correct people of today think of such a penalty as harsh, barbaric, and cruel.

Yet, how else can human society deter further criminal and sinful behavior? The penal law God gave to Israel—based on the "eye-for-an-eye" principle (Exodus 21:23-25), that is, punishment to fit the crime—had four primary characteristics that our system lacks. To produce deterrence, punishments were:

1. applied equally to all people: rich, poor, high, low, Israelite, or Gentile (see Exodus 12:49).
2. executed publicly as an example to the community (see Leviticus 24:13; Deuteronomy 21:21).
3. generally "brutal" to teach the serious effect of sin (see Deuteronomy 13:11; 20:16-18).
4. enacted swiftly to link crime to punishment (see Ecclesiastes 8:11).

Today's sentences vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and sometimes trial to trial; occur out of the public eye, usually in a prison; lack teeth, so much so that in some cases inmates prefer prison life to life on the outside; and descend on the criminal months or years after his crime. Little in the modern system commends itself to true justice or the betterment of humanity.

If we desire a little bit of hope, it is good in these days of continuing decline—what judge Robert Bork called "slouching toward Gomorrah"—to remember the words of Amos 5:15: "Hate evil, love good; establish justice in the gate. It may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph." The bad news is that this ray of hope shines through only after a great storm of grief and destruction—God's justice—that looks imminent. The good news is that, after that, Jesus Christ will establish His truly just government on the earth to rule for all eternity (Isaiah 11:1-5)!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Deterrence

Leviticus 20:22

This verse concludes a section devoted to a variety of sexual sins, stating a major result or penalty of breaking the seventh commandment. This is the Bible's way of saying that when a society unrestrainedly breaks God's laws, nature will rise up as an enemy and make it impossible to live in the land. The inhabitants will be uprooted and thrust out—but not before many die in famine, war, and natural disasters. The natural process of sin will bring that nation to its knees and humble it before the world.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Seventh Commandment (1997)

2 Samuel 13:1-2

The strong desire to be unfaithful to one's clearly stated and understood responsibilities is a drive we have to deal with and overcome. We must learn that there is a living principle that God activated and still enforces in His creation. When this drive controls a person, retribution will automatically follow. Thus, the person is considered faithless. Any time a thing—in this case, sex—becomes an end in itself, it creates an idol, which will provoke a response from God. In addition, as this illustration shows, it also ceases to give the satisfying pleasure God intends. Like a drug, the individual constantly needs more to achieve the satisfaction he desires.

Solomon shows clearly in Ecclesiastes 1:8 that human nature cannot be satisfied: "All things are full of labor; man cannot express it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing." This is not the way God made us; it is the way we have become as a result of Satan broadcasting his spirit and us following its promptings. We have become perverted in our tastes, and our tastes have to be converted in order to enjoy the benefits God intends.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Seventh Commandment

Proverbs 22:8

The first phrase repeats the principle of sin producing fruit and spreading its pain. The second phrase depicts the "law of retribution": The iniquity will rebound, bringing calamity to and perhaps destroying the perpetrator!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Seventh Commandment (1997)

Jeremiah 5:1-3

Prophet after prophet records that Israel has trouble being faithful to anything: God, mate, country, employer, and contracts. Our national mind seems to be like quicksilver. As a people, Israelites are always trying to get the best for the self, willing to bend in any direction to obtain their pleasure. They really work at it. When we think of Jacob's deceitful ways in his early life, we can almost believe that this characteristic is in the genes, though it is not. It is a characteristic absorbed by yielding to a culture saturated with the spirit of harlotry.

Syndicated columnist Sidney J. Harris once wrote:

Most virtues exist on a sliding scale, all the way from excellence to ineptitude, and most of us are tolerably somewhere in the middle, without too much damage to ourselves or others. But there is one virtue that is all or nothing: and that is reliability. You are either reliable or you are not; and, if not, it doesn't much matter how nearly or how often you are reliable.

If I were an employer of any sort, I would be willing to put up with many kinds of personal or professional deficiencies, but never with this. A person who is not dependable is bound to fail you (and himself as well) at precisely the wrong time.

It reminds me of the debonair Viennese gentleman who, when asked, "Have you been faithful to your wife?" replied, "Frequently." It is plain that a man who is frequently faithful is not faithful at all; he might as well never be.

Reliability is one of the hardest character traits to identify by testing or "screening" or anything except personal acquaintance. Some people are "rocks" by nature or training, while others are papier-mâché painted to resemble rocks, who crumble when sudden pressure is applied by circumstances.

If you are married to someone who cannot be depended upon to pull his or her own weight, it hardly matters what other admirable traits your mate may possess, because you can never know when or where you will be let down. It is the same as being married to an alcoholic, who is only "there" part of the time—and usually not when most needed.

Consistency is what is required in the people we associate with: the confident knowledge of what we can rightfully expect of them, barring sudden illness or catastrophe beyond anyone's control. Otherwise, there is no real relationship, but only a shifting accommodation to the winds of caprice and self-indulgence.

It is easy to feel affection for another; what is harder is to translate this feeling into acts, daily acts, that demonstrate steadfastness of purpose in a domestic routine that may not be as dramatic as some heroic rescue, but that keeps the craft afloat no matter which way the wind happens to blow. The deepest and most important virtues are often the dullest ones; they win no medals, and get no glory; but they are the glue that binds society together and makes it work, now and always.

Men seem to be particularly irresponsible and ambivalent regarding sex, but with the unleashing of the feminist movement, women are rapidly catching up. In the July 28, 1978, Woman's Day magazine, an article revealed that 50-70% of all American men commit adultery at least once, while the Hite Report result was 66%. Yet, 67% of all husbands say that adultery is always wrong! The dichotomy between belief and practice is obvious. Clearly, they are confused: They feel it is wrong, but a large percentage is willing to do it if the opportunity presents itself!

This illustrates what God meant through the prophets. No wonder God calls us a faithless people! We are a self-seeking, opportunistic people who are willing to "bend" on principle, standard, tradition, or belief if we can see advantage for ourselves. Even if we can see that the "advantage" is at best short-term—and may even be very risky—we almost always seem to rise to the "bait."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Seventh Commandment

Hosea 1:2

The book of Hosea's dominant theme is Israel's faithlessness. Hosea is especially creative in his use of metaphors to describe the relationship between Israel and God, but the two dominant ones are suggested in this verse. The primary one is Israel as a faithless wife, and the secondary one is Israel as a rebellious child (rebelling against God's law). Harlotry indicates sexual wantonness. If the person committing harlotry were married, it would suggest extreme faithlessness to his or her vows of marriage. In a spiritual covenant relationship with God, however, it indicates idolatry.

In tandem with the metaphors regarding Israel, the prophet uses two main family-relationship themes. In the first, God is shown as a faithful Husband, and in the second, as a loving and longsuffering Parent. In each case, Israel is faithless in carrying out responsibilities within the relationship, which God calls adultery and harlotry. God's judgment was occasioned by Israel departing from duties agreed to in a contract, the Covenant.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Seventh Commandment

Hosea 2:2

Israel is so faithless to her duties, she openly invites adulteries and aggressively chases after her lovers. Her aggressiveness does not merely perpetuate a condition but creates a climate that increases its effects. Paul reveals this principle in Galatians 6:7: "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." It is a law of nature that unless something intervenes to interrupt the growing cycle, more is reaped than is sowed.

The Bible uses a saying to describe this latter principle, "Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind" (see Hosea 8:7). It is like saying, "Fan a breeze and produce a hurricane!" Sowing faithlessness is no different: Unless real repentance interrupts it, it will produce more faithlessness until the spirit of harlotry, an attitude that causes many serious ramifications, permeates the entire nation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Seventh Commandment (1997)

Hosea 7:1-4

God charges that all categories of sinners are adulterers! He uses the normal word for adultery. He then provides insight into one way the spirit of harlotry entered into Israelite culture: "They do not consider in their hearts"! Is this not also true today? Despite all the evidence of how destructive sexual sins are, people will not change! Within marriage and society at large, we see syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, AIDS, broken homes, rebellious children, and children being raised by single parents. How many children are not even sure who their parents are? These sins are tearing the nation apart!

The Hebrew word underlying the word "king" in Hosea 7:3 is sometimes used to indicate leaders in business, education, and government, not just the head of the government. God is pointing an accusing finger at those whose own evil ends are to profit from this cesspool of faithlessness—to make money and gain power. This list can include doctors, lawyers, hospitals, pharmaceutical houses, pornographers, booksellers, moviemakers, etc.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Seventh Commandment

Amos 2:4

God judges the other nations guilty of gross and vicious cruelties in warfare. Israel's sins, though, largely involve national and personal deceit, disobedience to God's commandments, and creating social injustice by being faithless toward fellow man to get for the self.

It is not that other nations do not have these characteristics, but Israel has less excuse to be this way because God gave the Israelites His Word. They should know better! Amos 3:2 drives this home: "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities." God has given no other people the privilege of being faithfully responsible to Him to keep His commands.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Seventh Commandment (1997)

Habakkuk 2:15-17

Fourth Woe: Promoting debauchery and other shameful acts. This breaks the seventh commandment, as it refers primarily to sexual sins. This horrible practice of intoxicating another to perform lewd and abominable acts on another is still taking place in our society, not only using alcohol, but various "date rape" drugs. God predicts a dire end to those who practice such wickedness.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Habakkuk

Matthew 5:27-28

The person condemned by Jesus here deliberately uses his eyes to awaken and stimulate his lust. It is difficult enough to avoid lusting after natural things, but many things in this world are deliberately designed to awaken wrong desires. If certain books, pictures, magazines, movies, places, activities, or people tempt us to lust, we must avoid them, regardless of the cost. Not sinning is that important!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Tenth Commandment (1998)

Matthew 5:27-28

According to the letter of the law, adultery is sexual intercourse outside of marriage, but Christ emphasizes the spirit of the law. If a man even looks at a woman to lust after her, he has committed adultery. This sin so defiles the land and its inhabitants that it must be removed. Thus, the law's penalty for adultery is death.

Martin G. Collins
The Seventh Commandment

Romans 8:7

For months, debate raged over whether a Ten Commandments monument in a state courthouse should be removed. Constitutional attorneys argued over whether the Constitution of the United States restricts the placement of the Ten Commandments in government buildings. A federal judge ordered it removed, and the U.S. Supreme Court seems to consider it a hot potato. One argument is that nothing in the U.S. Constitution or any of its amendments prevents displaying the Ten Commandments monument. The other side claims that it violates the alleged separation of church and state to place the Ten Commandments monument in a state facility.

Everyone is missing the point. Has anyone bothered to read what the Ten Commandments actually say? Are they beneficial to the guarantee of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Do they promote the health of the moral and civil survival of the American people? Or, are they harmful to American citizens? Do they inflict suffering upon children?

The secular laws of this nation, designed to protect the basic rights of each citizen, are founded on the principles contained within the Ten Commandments. What city, state, or nation would not benefit from such rules of conduct?

Most people in the United States are stressed to the limit—suicides and nervous breakdowns are common. Would not the people of this nation benefit if they took one day to rest by keeping the fourth commandment? America's capital city, Washington, D.C., is often called the murder capital of the nation. Would not its people benefit by keeping the sixth commandment? One of the major causes of divorce in marriage is adultery. Would not the families of this nation (especially the children) benefit if fathers and mothers kept the seventh commandment? One of the common crimes perpetrated against families in the U.S. is burglary and theft. Would not the families of this nation benefit if people kept the eighth commandment?

Nevertheless, the arguments ranted in the media and increasingly in courtrooms across this nation spin around the issue of constitutional law and separation of church and state. However, the real issue is that most people flat-out reject God's sovereignty and refuse to do anything He says. The results are obvious. He was kicked out of the family, so parents abuse their children, and children abuse their parents. He was kicked out of the public schools, so the children kill their teachers and each other.

No matter how beneficial God's laws are, human nature still rejects them "because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be" (Romans 8:7). We have a personal responsibility to ask God to remove that enmity. King David said, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10).

In this nation's rejection of anything associated with God, we see a sad indictment of the moral and spiritual condition of its people. We are a nation of arrogant, self-serving fools who profess to be wise and have no excuse for our ignorance (Romans 1:18-22). Who do the people of this nation think they are to determine that the Ten Commandments, the immutable laws of God, are not relevant to our "modern" lives?

The Ten Commandments are laws that enable us to show appropriate love for our neighbors. They govern all relationships between individuals. Maybe it's time people read and apply what they say.

Martin G. Collins
What Does It Say? (2003)

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Adulterers will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But God will forgive an adulterer if he genuinely repents, and He can still give him eternal life ( II Samuel 12:13-14; John 8:10-11). However, the consequences of sin still have their harmful effect, as we see in the death of David and Bathsheba's child. Although forgiven, David and his household endured violence from that point forward because of his adultery and murder.

Martin G. Collins
The Seventh Commandment

1 Corinthians 7:4

The spirit of God's law reveals that all unchaste sexual conduct before marriage, commonly called fornication, is infidelity, unfaithfulness committed against the future mate. Our bodies are not our own. Could God have someone marked out as a mate for those who are single? The fornicator is denying him or her a pure gift. A vital, spiritual reality underlies this principle, for sexual purity is a type of our spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ, our promised Bridegroom.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Seventh Commandment


 




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