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Deuteronomy: The Second Law - Speech 2

A commentary on the second speech of Moses in Deuteronomy 5-8. The book of Deuteronomy is a series of 12 speeches that Moses gave just before his death at the end of Israel's wilderness journey.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Chapter 13

Agreeing with God’s Judgments

After telling us in Deut. 7:11 that we are to keep God's commandments, statutes, and judgments, the next verse promises blessings for obedience:

12 Then it shall come about, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers.

We understand, of course, that Moses' intent included the commandments, statutes, and judgments. However, the word itself focuses upon “these judgments,” as if to imply that putting the judgments aside would cause God to set aside “His covenant and His lovingkindness” in return.

Men have always disagreed with God's judgments. The judgments are the penalties of the law that the judges were to render when men were found guilty of violating the law. The judgments include restitution, or working off debts incurred through sin. It includes whipping for such crimes as hooliganism where no particular restitution is required. It includes the death penalty when restitution is not possible due to the nature of the crime—or when the criminal refuses to make restitution.

True Justice in God’s Judgments

The judgments follow the basic principle found in Exodus 21:23-25,

23 But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

In other words, the judgment must always fit the crime. Of course, the lawbreaker and the victim should always negotiate and come to an agreement on their own if possible. It is only when they cannot come to a satisfactory monetary agreement that the judges would impose a literal “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” penalty. And, of course, the victim always carries the right to forgive any or all of what is owed him.

The judgments of the law do NOT include eternal torture in “hell.” The only time that any form of torture might be used is if the lawbreaker was a torturer himself. In such cases, what he did to his victims would be imposed upon him in equal measure, unless the victim (or his guardian) saw fit to forgive.

Hence, if a churchman has burned someone at the stake, he will receive the same penalty at the Great White Throne. The Church in past centuries burned people at the stake for “heresy,” thus violating the judgments of the law. They justified their torture on the grounds that God Himself would do this—even though God never prescribed torture for any heretical view, much less unending torture.

Their misunderstanding of the fire of God caused them to disconnect the fire from the law itself—as if God had put away His own judgments and substituted eternal torture in its place. For a fuller study of God's “fiery law” (Deut. 33:2) and how fire was a metaphor for the law itself, see my book, The Judgments of the Divine Law.

Moses said that if they violated the judgments of the law, that God would not keep covenant with them nor show them His lovingkindness. The doctrine of hell as eternal torture is a clear violation of the judgments of the law. No one was burned alive under God's law. The worst that could happen was that their bodies were burned after they were stoned, as we see in the case of Achan (Joshua 7:25), whose sin had caused the deaths of 36 Israelites. It says, “and they burned them with fire AFTER they had stoned them with stones.”

Many Christians today recoil at God's judgment of stoning, but show no concern over the idea of eternal torture. It is as if stoning is unthinkable, while eternal torture in a fiery furnace is considered to be perfect justice! They have even consigned men to a special place on God's hate list who dare to assert that the judgments of God were designed to correct sinners and that in the end all men will be saved when God is “all in all.”

See my book, The Restoration of All Things.

Deut. 7:12, then, says that we break God's covenant when we refuse to judge according to the law of God and when we prefer to judge according to the traditions of men. In so doing, we cut ourselves off from the blessing of God.

The Blessings for Obedience

The blessings for obedience are given to those who hear and do His judgments in Deut. 7:13-15,

13 And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you. 14 You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall be no male or female barren among you or among your cattle. 15 And the Lord will remove from you all sickness; and He will not put on you any of the harmful diseases of Egypt which you have known, but He will lay them on all who hate you.

Because we as a nation have set aside God's judgment against the premeditated murder of children (abortion), we have destroyed over 55 million of the next generation (as of 2013). To compensate for this loss of workers supporting the elderly, we must then import workers from other countries to pay into the Social Security fund to keep it solvent.

Because we have set aside God's judgment on Monsanto, allowing them to alter seeds and make them sterile, we allow men to usurp the creation of God. Now it is becoming illegal to grow one's own garden.

In the guise of protecting the public from food-borne illness, the government wants to ban gardens along with regulating all food production in the country.

In Phoenix, AZ it is illegal to give out water bottles to people without government permission, even when the temperature is 112 degrees.

Why are we having this problem? Moses says it is because the people have refused to agree with the judgments of God. When we do not judge sin, the sinners are multiplied in the land, and the righteous perish. But when we implement the laws and judgments of God, we are blessed. Our food is blessed with nutrients and can be distributed without government restrictions or corporate patents on unlawfully-created frankenfoods. But under the Babylonian system, both food and people are becoming sterile or homosexual. People are then told that all of this is “normal.”

It may be normal in Babylon, but all sin, degeneration, and disease is abnormal in the Kingdom of God.

The Justice of Pity

Deut. 7:16 says,

16 And you shall consume all the peoples whom the Lord your God will deliver to you; your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.

This does not mean that Israel (or anyone else) had a mandate to kill all infidels without pity, as some have interpreted it. Under the Old Covenant, when Israel was carnal and had only physical weapons at their disposal, their mandate was to kill or expel the Canaanites. But the New Covenant mandate equips us with the Sword of the Spirit, by which we kill “the flesh” in a very different manner.

Even under the Old Covenant, God did not allow Israel to kill all of the Canaanites. As we have already seen earlier, Judges 3:1-4 shows that God took credit for not allowing the Israelites to destroy the majority of the Canaanites. God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, for He sent Jesus Christ into the world to save them, not to condemn them (John 3:17). The law was not faulty, but its Old Covenant application did not fulfill the heart of God fully.

Under the New Covenant, the heart of God is fully expressed and fulfilled, whereby all men will die to self (the old man), so that they may be raised to new life in Christ.

The Kingdom of God will grow until it fills the whole earth (Dan. 2:35). His glory will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14). In that way, the Kingdom of God will “consume all the peoples,” that is, it will assimilate all people and save all mankind in the end.

Moses' admonition in Deut. 7:16, “your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods,” is applicable to us as well, but in a New Covenant context. A Kingdom nation cannot allow religious freedom, for that would bring confusion in violation of the First Commandment. Only believers can be citizens of the Kingdom.

Those citizens must comply with the laws of the Kingdom or suffer the consequences. If they prefer to follow other gods and their laws, they are free to change their citizenship from the Kingdom of light to one that is yet in “outer darkness.” But if they remain in a Kingdom nation, they will be subject to judgment for any infraction of the law. This is to protect the public from those who would violate their rights or property.

In other words, all believers will be expected to be law-abiding citizens of the Kingdom. If they think the law has been put away, they will soon be disavowed of that opinion when the law forces them to pay restitution for sin against their neighbors.

If so-called “believers” refuse to comply with the law, the law will have no “pity” upon them but will enforce its provisions to restore the lawful order between neighbors. The judges are not allowed to have pity, for pity is the prerogative of the victim alone. The judge is called to discern justice in the case and has no right to impose a stiffer or lighter sentence than the law prescribes. He cannot be partial (Ex. 23:3). Only a victim has the right to forgive.

The law may sound harsh to those who do not understand that God's law always gives the victim of the crime the right to be merciful. No judgment is without the possibility of mercy and grace. But the right of mercy and grace is given to the victim in order to ensure that the law respects his right to justice.

Faith to Overthrow Babylon

Deut. 7:17-19 continues,

17 If you should say in your heart, “These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?” 18 you shall not be afraid of them; you shall well remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt: 19 the great trials which your eyes saw and the signs and the wonders and the mighty hand by which the Lord your God brought you out. So shall the Lord your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid.

Like Israel of old, we now stand at the crossroad of history. We find ourselves living in a time comparable to Israel's Jordan crossing under Joshua. Even as the Israelites may have wondered how they could possibly overcome the seven nations of Canaan, so also might we ask how we might overcome Mystery Babylon, the great city that has overcome the kings of the earth.

The answer is simple: by faith. This is not our battle. The battle belongs to Jesus Christ. We cannot fight this battle in our own strength, but in the strength of faith. Because faith comes by hearing, we have walked in the wilderness, hearing His word and learning the divine plan. We understand where we are in the history of the Kingdom. We have learned the lessons of past generations, so we know what NOT to do. The knowledge of His word gives us faith, and this faith gives us confidence. Our faith is not wishing and hoping, but knowing and expecting.

We know that victory is ours. We have already seen it by faith even before it is visible in the earth. Our faith is the evidence and conviction of things not yet seen (Heb. 11:1). For this cause we engaged in spiritual warfare to prepare the way for the results to emerge visibly in the earth. We have fought the battle of Jericho, and we have won. As Babylon's government falls, its legislators hasten to pass more ungodly laws in the attempt to stop its collapse.

Their political efforts are in vain, because history is now at the time of harvest, and the Kingdom is bearing fruit. God will no longer be denied the precious fruits of the ground (James 5:7). The fruitless tree has been chopped down. All usurpers, pretenders, and contenders for Kingdom dominion have been disqualified. The divine investigation has been completed and the verdict has been rendered.

Therefore, we do not fear Babylon, for we know what God did to Pharaoh. We have an advantage over Moses himself, for we have seen many more examples of divine deliverance since his day.

And we remember.