“These things I have spoken to you in parables, but the hour is coming when I will no more speak to you in proverbs, but will announce to you plainly concerning the Father.” - John 16:25
Kempton New Church

Week 4    Day 1


The Sixth Commandment

Exodus 20:14

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

TCR 313. In the natural sense, this commandment means not only not to commit adultery, but it refers also to not willing and doing obscene things and thinking and speaking about lascivious things. That merely to lust is to commit adultery, is evident from the Lord’s words:

You have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say to you, that everyone who looks on another man’s wife to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matt. 5:27, 28).

The reason for this is that when lust enters the will it becomes, as it were, a deed. For allurement enters only into the understanding, but intention enters into the will, and the intention of a lust is a deed....

TCR 314. In the spiritual sense, “to commit adultery” means to adulterate the goods of the Word and to falsify its truths. That “to commit adultery” means this also has been unknown before, because the spiritual sense of the Word has been concealed until now. That such is the meaning in the Word of “to commit adultery,” “to adulterate,” and “to commit whoredom” is evident from the following passages:

Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and seek if you can find a man who executes judgment and seeks the truth. When I had fed them to the full, they committed adultery (Jer. 5:1, 7).

In the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible stubbornness in adulterating and walking in a lie (Jer. 23:14).

They have wrought folly in Israel, and have committed whoredom, and have spoken My Word falsely (Jer. 29:23)....

Because the Jewish nation had falsified the Word, it was called by the Lord:

An adulterous generation (Matt. 12:39; 16:4; Mark 8:38), and the seed of the adulterer (Isa. 57:3)....

TCR 315. In the celestial sense, “to commit adultery” means to deny the holiness of the Word, and to profane it. This meaning follows from the preceding spiritual meaning, which is to adulterate its goods and to falsify its truths. The holiness of the Word is denied and profaned by those who in heart ridicule all things of the church and of religion, for in the Christian world all things of the church and of religion are from the Word.

TCR 316. There are many causes which make a man to seem chaste, not only to others but also to himself, when in fact he is wholly unchaste, since he does not know that when a lust occupies the will it is a deed and cannot be removed except by the Lord after repentance. A man is not made chaste by abstaining from doing, but by abstaining from willing because it is a sin, when the doing is possible.

So far as anyone abstains from adulteries and whoredoms solely from fear of the civil law and its penalties; from fear of the loss of reputation and thus of honor; from fear of the diseases arising from them; from fear of the wife’s beratings at home, and the consequent intranquility of life; from fear of the vengeance of the husband and relatives, or of being beaten by their servants; or because of avarice, or any infirmity caused by disease or abuse or age or any other cause of impotence; even if he abstains on account of any natural or moral law, and not at the same time on account of spiritual law, he is nevertheless inwardly an adulterer and a fornicator. For he nonetheless believes that adulteries and whoredoms are not sins, and therefore in his spirit he does not make them unlawful before God. And thus in spirit he commits them, even if he does not commit them in the body before the world. And in consequence, after death when he becomes a spirit, he speaks openly in favor of them.

Furthermore, adulterers... may also be compared to rank he-goats, or to dogs that run about the streets, looking about and smelling for female dogs to satiate their lasciviousness; and so on. When they become husbands, their virility may be likened to the blossoming of tulips in spring, which in a month lose their flowers and wither.

Questions and Thoughts for Reflection
  1. Pornography is a widespread problem. What can one do to avoid addiction to internet or other pornography? How can we protect our children? What can one do to escape from such an addiction? (Have you seen the movie Fireproof?)
  2. In TCR 313 at the end, note the difference between allurement, which only enters the understanding, vs. intention, which enters the will. Can you picture this distinction? Have you felt it?
  3. TCR 314: Adulterating means abusing the Scriptures (or the Doctrine) to make them seem to give you some selfish and worldly benefit, just as in adultery, a man and woman do not truly love each other, but are just using each other selfishly. True love comes only from the Lord. “No others come into this love (conjugial love) and no others can be in it but those who go to the Lord, and love the truths of the church, and do its goods” [that is, the good things the church teaches from the Word] (CL 70).
  4. Maybe the clearest example in Scripture of adulterating the goods of the Word is the one the Lord points out in Matthew 15 and Mark 7. The Jewish leaders said that the fourth commandment, to honor your father and mother, means mainly to care for them in their old age. Then they said that you could take the money saved up to care for your aging parents and give it to the church instead as “Corban,” or “a Gift.” And after that, the leaders would not let you do anything more for your parents, thus making the commandment of God have no effect by their tradition. It took the love and honor out of the commandment, made it about money, and directed the money to themselves.
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