Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 4, 1961

"Let Him Die The Death"

J. D. Tant, Portales, New Mexico

Among the sins punishable by death in the Old Testament, the sin of disobedience or disrespect to parents must be included — high on the list. Christ, in speaking to the scribes and Pharisees, spoke these words: "For God said, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, He that speaketh evil of father or mother, let him die the death." (Matt. 15:4)

To get a complete picture of the heinousness of this sin, let us hear the law of Moses: "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, that will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and, though they chasten him, will not hearken unto them; 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; 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. And all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones: so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee; and all Israel shall hear, and fear." (Deut. 21:18-21)

Jehovah had inspired Moses to write: "For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him." (Lev. 20:9)

Certainly there are few things that will bring disgrace and dishonor more quickly both to child and parent than disobedience. To the Israelite, this sin called for the same punishment as did the sins of adultery, incest, and other like transgressions. Why then, is disobedience held so lightly today? Many children, even among Christians, take disobedience as a matter of course, and parents let them get away with it — often with only a word or two of rebuke, if that much.

Are children more privileged than Jesus Christ? Do they enjoy a superior rank to him, who is Lord of lords, and King of kings? The Scriptures testify of him: "though he were a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered...." ( Heb. 5:8)

It is sad to see the mockery and disrespect in the faces of some young people when they receive a "No" from Mother or Dad. The Wise Man says: "The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it." (Prov. 30:17) "A fool despiseth his father's correction...." (Prov. 15:5) And parents who let their children get away with it come in for their share, also: "The rod and reproof give wisdom; but a child left to himself causeth shame to his mother." (Prov. 29:15)

The Law of Christ says: "Children, obey your parents in all things for this is well-pleasing in the Lord." (Col. 3: 20) "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right." (Eph. 6:1)

If we hold so lightly the commands of our Saviour, what can we expect in light of the principles set forth in Hebrews 10:28ff? "A man that hath set at nought Moses' law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of Grace? It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

It would be preferable to "die the death" rather than "to fall into the hands of the living God." May neither come upon us.