The Second Commandment – Introduction
This is my eighth post on the Ten Commandments using Buddy Dano’s study: FOR THE LAND OF THE FREE: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF FREEDOM and the first part of two dealing with the second commandment (“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…”). In this excerpt Pastor Dano touches on the themes of soul slavery, God’s possessiveness of us, and His temporal punishment of those who disobey His word.
This is all setting the stage for the second post on the second commandment, probably next week, where Pastor Dano will develop the doctrine of the four generation curse. The four generation curse is pronounced on families who continue to hate God generation after generation. This curse can destroy families (“destroy” as in wipe them out) but when a nation is full of families under the four generation curse it can also destroy the nation.
Here is Pastor Dano:
THE SECOND COMMANDMENT
‘‘Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the Earth beneath, or that is in the water under the Earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; AND SHOWING MERCY UNTO THOUSANDS OF THEM THAT LOVE ME, AND KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS.’’ THE PATTERN OF SLAVERY.
This is a rather long passage and it deals with some very important doctrine. In verse 4, ‘‘Make’’ means to construct something out of something. Literally, to make something out of existing materials. In this case, reference would be to the manufacturing of idols out of such materials as wood, metal and stone. ‘‘Graven’’ indicates that the materials used were formed into something of one of the types now mentioned.
‘‘Likeness of anything which is in Heaven above or that is in the Earth beneath, or that is in the water under the Earth.’’ The various graven images under the expression ‘‘any likeness’’ category would include many things such as angels, birds, snakes, fish, people, and often in combinations thereof.
This Philistines, for example, worshiped a fish-god called Dagon, which they carved into a form that was half fish and half human. Also, every ancient people involved in the practice of idolatry worshiped the female form. They called this form anything from Venus and Aphrodite, to Ishtar and Ashtharoth,which is the name mentioned in the Old Testament.
In verse 5 the verb ‘‘to bow down’’ is reflexive, and the concept being that you do this to yourself. You practice idolatry because your soul is in slavery. And the volition of your soul is acting in obedience to your soul slavery. When free will operates to a pattern of slavery, and in this pattern, you actually bow down to a carved form that either you yourself or some other person, perhaps of inferior intellect, has carved out for that purpose. The idiocy of this is the slavery of it. By bowing yourself down of your own free will, you have enslaved yourself.
The next phrase says ‘‘nor serve them.’’ This verb is in the passive voice, meaning to be caused to be enslaved, or to receive enslavement.
THE PRINCIPLE: When people, by their own free will, practice idolatry, their body becomes subservient to an enslaved soul. Enslavement of the soul leads to the enslavement of the body. That is why a degenerate or an emotionally enslaved people, such as those in Jeremiah’s day, always, invariably, without exception, had some form of overt manifestation of their soul slavery. In our so-called sophisticated society, our idols are sometimes a little more difficult to recognize, but of course, we still have them.
Our passage continues with these words. ‘‘For I am the Lord Thy God, am a jealous God.’’ The word ‘‘jealous’’ in the Hebrew means ‘‘to permit no rival.’’ Now this word has two connotations. One: The well known attitude of mental attitude sin of jealousy. Two: A reference to a proper possessiveness. Here, of course, it refers to the Lord’s proper possessiveness.
God’s possessiveness is based on the fact that He has purchased every believer out of the slave market of sin. With the exception of Christ, all men are born into the slave market of sin, or into slavery, because all men are born with an old sin nature. Romans 5:12, ‘‘Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.’’
The one exception is the Lord Jesus Christ, who was born free, without an old sin nature. This is the virgin birth of Christ emphasized. And as a free man He was qualified to purchase our freedom. He did so by paying for our sins on the cross. Galatians 3:13, ‘‘Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.’’
We are born physically, the first time, into slavery, but by believing in Christ we are born again, into freedom. John 8:36, ‘‘If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.’’
THE BELIEVER IN THE CHURCH AGE IS GOD’S POSSESSION. In the Church Age, one of the many assets you receive at the point of salvation is union with Christ. And that union is eternal. Christianity is based on a relationship. As believers, each of us are one with Christ. John 14:20, ‘‘At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.’’ Ephesians 2:6, ‘‘And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.’’ And therefore Christ possesses us. In fact, we are said to be His possessions in Ephesians 1:14, ‘‘Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.’’
That connotes the exclusiveness of Category 1 love. But the fact that God loves us with a perfect love does not in any way guarantee our response. Since Category 1 love is exclusive, GRACE demands maximum capacity for love response. The capacity to love comes through the principle of GRACE. And this is accomplished through the Bible being taught and taken in and understood by means of the filling of the Holy Spirit. We should be thankful for God’s possessiveness, for it includes His faithfulness, which is the provision of the Word and happiness for all believers.
But it is impossible to respond to God’s love when under soul slavery. You cannot bow down to idols and at the same time respond to God’s love.
EXODUS 20:5, JUDGMENT OF NEGATIVE VOLITION TO THE WORD OF GOD.
Now here God states a principle with His possessiveness. ‘‘Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me.’’ In order to understand this principle, it is necessary to look first at the last four words in this verse. ‘‘Them that hate Me.’’ Soul slavery causes the believer to hate God. The word ‘‘hate’’ is used by God for negative volition to Him and His Word. Rejection of God’s love is negative volition to the Word of God. Although God loves us with a perfect love, He will not violate the volition of the individual. However He states very clearly in His Word that such negative volition, ‘‘iniquity,’’ will be visited upon the third and fourth generation.
The word ‘‘visiting’’ indicates a Divine law and really means to punish. Punishing the iniquity of the fathers upon the children down to the third and fourth generations.
But note the qualifying phrase, ‘‘of them that hate Me.’’ The Hebrew word here for ‘‘hate’’ indicates that a father hates, then his son hates, and so on down the line, to the third and fourth generation. Each generation does its own hating. In other words, a father’s hate does not cause the fourth generation to be punished. Each generation must do its own hating. Deuteronomy 24:16, ‘‘The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.’’
What this passage is saying is that the negative volition never goes past four generations, or the human race would wipe itself out. If you have four generations of negative volition, there is going to be a break. Now, because of such general confusion on this point, let’s look at the four generation curse categorically.