Fifth Commandment = Honor to God and parents?
Is this a dual Command?
Many times in life we humans tend to honor ourselves and our thoughts and ideas above everything else, even the word of God and what it says.
When this Commandment was given to Israel, it had a promise that came along with it, so let us read it here now, as it is found in Exo.20:12. It says; "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.” (NKJ—thru-out unless otherwise noted)
These same TEN COMMANDMENTS are given again in Deuteronomy but may be worded slightly different. For example in Deut.5:16; 'Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.”
So now after reading this rendition, a little different perspective is gained. “Honor your father and mother” is definitely the Command and is clear, but the rest of it is not quite the same. Israel was to keep all of the Commandments and other commands that their God gave them, as a nation, in order to prosper in the land and have a more productive life, is also clear. That is revealed in Deut.28, the Blessing and curses chapter.
Certainly God, by this Command expects us to honor and respect our physical parents, but is it possible there is a more Spiritual meaning to this Commandment as well? By this being the middle Commandment, does it show love (Honor) to God and to man in the same command? That would mean that five commands show love and honor to God and five show honor and loving respect to neighbor or fellow man, Parents being the first of those. After all, the second Great Commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself”, but what about the first? (See Matt.22:36-40)
The first four commands that we have already seen clearly show love and respect to God so isn’t it possible this one is meant to as well? Notice these statements from the God of Israel; Deut.32:6 “Do you thus deal with the LORD, O foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, who bought you? Has He not made you and established you?”
Again we see this recorded while they are in Egypt; Exo.4:22 "Then you (Moses) shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD: "Israel is My son, My firstborn.” So now maybe it is a little more recognizable why the 5th Commandment is worded the way it is and given where it is—right in the middle! God is to be the center of our lives as true Christians and expects Honor that is due Him, just as parents are the center of a growing child’s life!
We depend on our parents while growing up, for support, sustenance, protection, training and loving guidance—even correction at times to keep us in line with what is best for us. We are to honor them for that service they render to us. (Of course in our world today many parents are of such low standard of mind and actions they hardly deserve any honor, but there are always exceptions to the rule it seems.)
Our Father in heaven is always honorable, the giver of all good gifts, as we read in James 1:16-18; “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures.”
The apostle Paul writes of true Christians today, that they are; --- “all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” (1Thes 5:5-6)
As sure as God is our Father in heaven, the 5th Commandment is also given to show Honor to Him, through belief, obedience and respect, as well as it does for our human and physical parents. As Creator, He truly is our first parent. Christ mentioned the keeping of the 5th Commandment in various places in the physical sense, but also referred to our Father in heaven numerous times. However, we should understand that the Spiritual trumps the physical, as Christ made clear when it comes to Christianity. It is not the other way around—no physical family ties take precedence over the Christian and Spiritual one, especially not obedience to God the Father. Christ gave us this example;
Luke 14:26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate (Love less by comparison) his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” When we read such examples as; Matt 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,---or 2Cor.6:17-18 “Therefore "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you." 18 "I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."---so from all of these passages, we should come to understand that the 5th Commandment is dual in application. There is a higher plain and a lower. We must Honor them both, but the Spiritual Father & God realm comes first. To keep the 5th Commandment is to first Honor God and then physical parents, just as all Scripture revelation shows. It is a dual Command.