336 Is killing in self-defence a violation of the Fifth Commandment?


Yes, even killing in self-defence is a violation of the Fifth Commandment.

337 What does the commandment say about killing in war?


Killing in war is a violation of the Fifth Commandment. For the individual, the commandment implies a responsibility to avoid killing wherever possible. In individual cases it may be that one’s actions barely incur any guilt before God in such situations.


Guilt before God: see Question 230→

338 Is euthanasia a violation of the Fifth Commandment?


Anyone who provides active euthanasia— that is, who performs actions that lead to the death of a dying person— violates the Fifth Commandment.

Passive euthanasia—that is, the decision not to take any measures to prolong life—is not considered a violation of the Fifth Commandment, provided certain strict conditions are met. The decision to abstain from taking any measures to prolong life is first and foremost up to the patient himself. In the event there is no advance medical directive, this decision should be made solely in consultation with doctors and relatives after a responsible assessment of the patient’s best interests.

339 How should the death penalty be assessed from the perspective of the Fifth Commandment?


No human being has the right to end a human life. Thus the death penalty is a violation of the divine order. In addition, the New Apostolic Church does not recognise the death penalty as a suitable deterrent or means of community protection.

340 Does the Fifth Commandment also apply to the killing of animals?


No. The killing of animals is not covered by the Fifth Commandment. God expressly allows for animals to serve as food for human beings (cf. Genesis 9: 3). Nevertheless, even the life of the animals is to be respected. This derives from mankind’s responsibility to preserve the creation.

341 What is the Sixth Commandment?


“You shall not commit adultery.”

342 What is the meaning of the Sixth Commandment?


Marriage is the lifelong union between a man and a woman as desired by God. It is based on an act of free will which is expressed in a public vow of fidelity.

Any married individual who has sexual intercourse with anyone other than his / her spouse commits adultery. Likewise, anyone who has sexual intercourse with a married person commits adultery.

343 What is the significance of the Sixth Commandment in the Old Testament?


Already at the time of the Old Testament, marriage was considered a covenant protected by God and blessed through prayer. At that time, adultery was punished by death.

“And after they were both shut in together, Tobias rose out of the bed, and said, ‘Sister, arise, and let us pray that God will have pity on us.’ Then began Tobias to say. ‘Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers, and blessed is Thy holy and glorious name for ever; let the heavens bless Thee and all Thy creatures.”  Tobit 8: 4-5

344 What is the significance of the Sixth Commandment in the New Testament?


Jesus Christ gives unequivocal support to monogamy (marriage to one partner). This is the form of matrimonial cohabitation of man and woman desired by God and appropriate to believing Christians.

Jesus also expanded the interpretation of the Sixth Commandment beyond its original meaning. In the Sermon on the Mount He said: “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). This means that “adultery of the heart”, in other words, adultery played out in thought, can occur despite an outwardly blameless conduct of life.

‘Monogamy’ describes the situation where a man is married to only one woman and a woman is married to only one man.—The Old Testament often speaks of ‘polygamy’ (marriage to several partners) in the sense that one man was married to several women.

345 What does the New Testament have to say about divorce?


In the New Testament, divorce is considered a violation of the Sixth Commandment: “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10: 9). The only exception in which divorce was permissible was in the case of adultery committed by one’s spouse (cf. Matthew 19: 9).

The New Testament’s statements concerning divorce served, above all, to improve the situation of the woman, who only had very limited rights in antiquity. The woman was thus to be protected from being arbitrarily cast aside by her husband.

346 What does the Sixth Commandment mean for us today?


Marriage is intended to be permanent (cf. Matthew 19: 6; Mark 10: 9). In view of this, it is advisable to protect and promote marriage.

The commandment also implies that both partners should be devoted to one another in faithfulness. The obligations arising from the commandment include the sincere endeavour on the part of both partners to pursue their path of life together in love and the fear of God.

347 What is the position of the New Apostolic Church toward divorced individuals?


Divorced and separated persons have their place in the congregation and are cared for by their ministers in unbiased fashion. Divorced and separated persons are not excluded from receiving the sacraments.

Divorced persons who wish to remarry will receive a wedding blessing upon request. This is intended to give them the opportunity to make a new start.


It should always be kept in mind that Jesus did not treat people with harsh punishment, but rather with love and grace (cf. John 8: 2-11).

348 What is the Seventh Commandment?


“You shall not steal.”

349 What is the meaning of the Seventh Commandment?


It is forbidden to take the goods or possessions of another person. One is not permitted to unlawfully acquire or damage the property of others.

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350 What is the significance of the Seventh Commandment in the Old Testament?


Originally the commandment against stealing applied first and foremost to kidnapping. There the purpose was to protect free men from being kidnapped, sold, or held captive. While it was possible to redress property offences by material compensation (atonement), kidnapping was punished by death in Israel: “He who kidnaps a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 21: 16).

The theft of another person’s property was also punishable. The Mosaic Law required compensation: “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep” (Exodus 22: 1)

351 What is the significance of the Seventh Commandment in the New Testament?


Jesus described theft as a sin. Theft has its source in the heart of the individual: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man” (Matthew 15: 19, 20).

352 What does the Seventh Commandment mean for us today?


In the literal sense, theft occurs when material or intellectual property is taken away from others. However, usury, exploitation of a situation of need, embezzlement, fraud, tax evasion, corruption, and squandering money entrusted to one’s care must also be seen as violations of the Seventh Commandment.

In addition, the Seventh Commandment instructs us not to rob our neighbour of his honour or reputation, and not to attack his human dignity.

Usurers take advantage of others by demanding an excessive, unreasonable price for goods or services.

Embezzlement occurs when a person misappropriates the assets of others which were entrusted to his care.


On one hand, the term ‘corruption’ refers to services performed (but primarily money given) in order to obtain something one is not entitled to obtain (bribery). On the other hand, corruption also occurs when a person allows himself to be bribed.

353 What is the Eighth Commandment?


“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.”

354 What is the meaning of the Eighth Commandment?


“False witness” is an untrue statement with respect to someone else. Every “false witness” is a lie. The heart of the commandment is the instruction to speak and act truthfully.

355 What is the significance of the Eighth Commandment in the Old Testament?


Originally the Eighth Commandment applied to false statements made in court. Both false accusation and untrue testimony were considered “false witness” in the sense of this commandment. If the court discovered that a witness had made a false statement, this witness would receive the punishment which would have applied to the defendant had he been found guilty (cf. Deuteronomy 19: 18-19).

356 What is the significance of the Eighth Commandment in the New Testament?


Jesus Christ referred to the Eighth Commandment on several occasions. He pointed out that the violation of this commandment is an expression of an improper attitude and that it defiles a person (cf. e.g. Matthew 15: 18-20).

357 What does the Eighth Commandment mean for us today?


Today the meaning of the Eighth Commandment transcends the original prohibition against untruthful speech and actions. White lies, half-truths, and statements intended to conceal the true facts, as well as slander, are thus also violations of the Eighth Commandment. Bragging and exaggeration, duplicity and hypocrisy, spreading rumours, defamation and flattery are likewise expressions of untruthfulness.

Everyone is called upon to strive for sincerity and truthfulness. Our conduct in society and in business should also be oriented by the Eighth Commandment.

Untrue assertions about another person which do him harm, do injury to his honour, or offend him are described as defamation or slander.

358 What duties result for Christians from the Eighth Commandment?


Christians are called upon to give true witness by believing in the gospel, proclaiming it, and conducting themselves in accordance with it.

359 What are the Ninth and Tenth Commandments?


“You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbour’s.”

360 Why are the Ninth and Tenth Commandments often summarised into one?


The last two of the Ten Commandments are very closely linked in content. They are thus often counted as one commandment.


There are various versions of these two commandments in the Bible. Exodus 20: 17 mentions the neighbour’s house first, while Deuteronomy 5: 21 mentions the neighbour’s wife first.

361 What is the meaning of the Ninth and Tenth Commandments?


The core of the Ninth and Tenth Commandments is the statement: “You shall not covet”. This does not prohibit every form of human desire, only the sinful lust after the wife or property of one’s neighbour.

If this desire is directed at that which is dear and valuable to another person, or that which belongs to him, it becomes sinful lust. Then it will have a destructive effect. Desire can develop into greed and most often has its source in envy.

362 What is the significance of the Ninth and Tenth Commandments in the Old Testament?


Since the beginning of time, Satan has sought to tempt human beings to sin by awakening within them the desire and lust for forbidden things.

The Old Testament relates an example of the extreme consequences that resulted from King David’s desire for the wife of his neighbour. This desire eventually led him to deceive, commit adultery, and commit murder (cf. 2 Samuel 11).

363 What is the significance of the Ninth and Tenth Commandments in the New Testament?


If sinful craving is not restrained, it will soon be put into deed. The consequences are described in James 1: 15: “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

Galatians 5: 19-25 shows that sinful cravings lead to sinful actions. These are described as the “works of the flesh”. The Bible counters these cravings with the term “self-control”. This is manifested in moderation and abstinence.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practise such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  Galatians 5: 19-25

364 What is the meaning of the Ninth and Tenth Commandments for us today?


The Ninth and Tenth Commandments assign mankind the task of watching over the purity of their hearts. They are to fight off any temptation to sinful actions.

“As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”  1 Peter 1: 14-15