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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 2

The First Great Commandment

When a lawyer asked Jesus about the most important commandment, we read in Matthew 22,

37 And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

The first five commandments express the manner in which we are to love God, while the last five commandments set forth the manner in which we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Any nation that keeps these commandments will be given God’s favor, blessing, and protection. In fact, these are the laws of the Kingdom of God, and anyone who claims to be a citizen of that Kingdom ought to be following those commandments even now.

If enough people from a nation demand that their government follow those commandments as the basis of their political, economic, social, and legal systems, they will not be far from the Kingdom of God. Conversely, when nations actively remove God from govern-ment and refuse to recognize God’s law as the law of the land, then human governments usurp the place of God and trample upon God’s right to rule that which He has created.

As ambassadors of Christ and His Kingdom (2 Cor. 5:20), we are here on earth to represent Christ’s interests and His claim as King of the whole earth. Our concern is to assert God’s rights, not our own rights.

The First Commandment

The Great Commandment includes five individual parts. The first part, known in the law as the First Commandment, says, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Deut. 5:7). This is the prime directive of the Kingdom of God. With Israel of old, God redeemed them from bondage under Pharaoh, and for this reason God had the right to be served by the Israelites. Prior to this, however, God created the heavens and the earth and therefore had the right to rule all that He owned by right of creation. Any man or nation that refuses to recognize God’s right to rule is a usurper of God’s rights.

All “secular” governments are usurpers by definition, for they assert man’s right to rule himself, make his own laws according to his own desires, and to remove God from all public life and education.

The first law of the Kingdom of God is that the Creator owns all things and has the right to be worshiped and obeyed. When governments refuse to recognize God and His rights, they usurp His rightful place for themselves. They bestow upon themselves the right to legislate according to their own will. They assume ownership of all land, water, air, and life itself—and then they often sell it to their servant corporations.

When government claims land, they claim the right to tax those who live on it. When government claims water, they claim the right to tax the rain itself. When government claims the air, they claim the right to tax it, as if it is a government privilege to breathe. And when government claims life itself, they enslave all men and give themselves the right to determine who lives and who dies. Such governments classify men as another species of beast.

The First Commandment is the most basic of all moral laws, without which it is impossible to rise above the level of a beast. The First Commandment establishes Faith as the factor that distinguishes men from beasts. Beasts live by instinct; men are to live by faith (Hab. 2:4).

The Second Commandment

The Second Commandment says, “You shall not make for yourself an idol,” or a graven image (Deut. 5:8). This commandment governs our ability to hear His voice and to obey Him. Whereas the First Commandment establishes God’s right to legislate and tell us how to conform to His image, the Second Commandment governs our response and our ability to hear and obey His voice. Following this commandment means that our concept of Him and His character is consistent with reality.

The big problem is not that men worship physical idols. The big problem is that men worship the idols of their heart, which prevent them from hearing His voice properly. Those idols demand submission to them and cause His voice to be distorted in their ears. As a result, they think God is leading them to sin or to cast aside His law in general.

Christians often think that God has given them the right to sin under the New Covenant, not realizing that the idols of the heart demand a different life style than that which comes from the mind of God. Idols cause us to misinterpret His law and apply it in ways that God never intended. Jesus dealt with this problem among the scribes and Pharisees, who had interpreted the law according to the idols of their heart and thereby had put away the law in many ways. We read in Mark 7:6-9,

6 And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. 7 But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ 8 Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” 9 He was also saying to them, “You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.”

When men’s understanding of God differs from who God actually is, they follow an idol of the heart. An idol is man’s perception of God that differs from reality. The problem of heart idolatry is the main theme of Ezekiel 14 and is seen also in the story of Micaiah in 1 Kings 22. For a complete study on this topic, see chapter 2 of my book, Hearing God’s Voice.

The Third Commandment

The Third Commandment says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” This Commandment governs a Kingdom judicial system, whereby justice may be done in EVERY case that arises.

In the biblical system of justice, all have the right to seek justice from the earthly court that God has established. But judges are imperfect, and evidence is not always available to establish justice. And so, any time a man or woman feels that justice has not been done, he or she may appeal to the Supreme Court by means of an oath. All biblical oaths invoke the Third Commandment.

We are given an example of this in Numbers 5:11-31. “If a man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him,” but he does not have sufficient evidence to prove his case, he may take her to the priest, who would appeal the case to the Supreme Court of Heaven.

The woman was to swear innocence before God (Num. 5:19-22), in essence, invoking God’s righteousness as her own insofar as the accusation was concerned. The righteousness of God was thus identified with the one swearing an oath of innocence. This demanded the judgment of God in case the oath was false.

Under biblical law, God functioned as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, according to the First Commandment. In the above case, the jealous husband was duty-bound to leave the case with God, and the dispute ended, as we read in Hebrews 6:16,

16 For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute.

Hence, any time a man believed that justice is not done, either because of a lack of witnesses, or because of false witnesses, or because of a corrupt judge, he had the right to appeal the case to the Supreme Court. If the accused were actually guilty, then it was understood by faith that God would judge the case thoroughly according to His perfect standard and in His own timing.

 Of course, there will be some cases where justice is not done until the Great White Throne at the time of the general resurrection (Rev. 20:11-15). Nonetheless, justice will always be done in the end.

Part of the Third Commandment involves the law of public adjuration found in Leviticus 5:1,

1 Now if a person sins, after he hears a public adjuration to testify, when he is a witness, whether he has seen, or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt.

In the Kingdom of God, when a case arose where there might be witnesses who have not volunteered to testify, the judge may issue a “public adjuration.” When such a public notice is given, any witnesses who refuse to come forward to testify are turned over to God for judgment.

The Kingdom of God has no Fifth Amendment right to refuse to testify. The biblical court exists to unveil the whole truth and nothing but the truth. An adjuration puts the entire populace under oath to testify. If the witness refuses to testify, and if his action causes injustice to occur, then the witness is judged by God as a false witness, according to the law in Deut. 19:18, 19,

18 And the judges shall investigate thoroughly; and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother.

A public adjuration obligates all witnesses to testify, but since the court itself may not know all the witnesses, it is left to God, who knows all things, to judge those reluctant witnesses.

In the case of Achan (Joshua 7), he did not come forth to confess his sin until he was discovered by the urim and thummim, the so-called “lots.” We are not told specifically if Joshua had issued a public adjuration, but we presume that he did so, since the law was yet freshly given, and the people had not yet had time to lose their copy.

Achan was judged, along with his family, because they all knew of the sin and did not volunteer to testify at the public adjuration.

In the story of Micaiah in 1 Kings 22, the prophet was summoned to speak the word of the Lord, whether or not the kings of Israel and Judah ought to make war with Syria. King Ahab’s prophets all gave a positive word that they should go and that they would defeat Syria. Then Micaiah was called to testify.

Micaiah at first gave the kings the same word that their other prophets gave, because he was answering them according to the idols of their hearts. In other words, they had already decided to go to war, as their heart idols had directed, and they were merely seeking the true God to be in agreement with their heart idols.

In that context, we read in 1 Kings 22:16,

16 Then the king said to him, “How many times must I adjure you to speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”

When Micaiah was adjured to speak the truth, he was placed under oath to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. He then did so, not only telling them to refrain from war, but also testifying that he saw God send a lying spirit into the mouths of the king’s prophets to entice the kings to go to battle and to be defeated.

We see here that Micaiah took this adjuration very seriously, because it placed him under oath before God to tell all that he had seen and heard.

The only other example we have of this is when Jesus was being tried by Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. Jesus was silent until the high priest adjured Him to speak in Matt. 26:63, 64,

63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure you by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless, I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Up to then, the witnesses against Him contradicted themselves and testified falsely (vs. 60). The high priest was frustrated, because he could not find suitable testimony to convict Jesus. Then he adjured Jesus to speak. Jesus knew the law and testified truthfully. This is what the high priest used to convict Him.

Of course, Jesus was unjustly accused and convicted, because the high priest assumed that Jesus’ testimony was untrue. To give false testimony under oath was blasphemy, and Jesus was sentenced to death as a blasphemer. Yet if the high priest had followed the law, Jesus testimony under oath should have ended all dispute and controversy (Heb. 6:16). He should have given Jesus’ case to God for judgment, rather than assume He was guilty and sentence Him to death.

Caiaphas violated the law of God by taking the case back into his own hands and passing judgment upon Jesus. This was not proper lawful procedure. What if a jealous husband did that when his wife gave an oath of innocence? What if the priest assumed she were guilty and then sentenced her to death for blasphemy? This is not biblical justice. The testimony in such cases of adjuration is to be left to God for judgment. If Caiaphas had done this, he would not have crucified the Messiah, but would have allowed God Himself to condemn or to vindicate Jesus.

Of course, we know that Jesus had to be crucified in order to be the Sacrifice for the sin of the world. But even so, the case perpetrated an injustice only because the law was violated. The law’s system of justice is perfect, but the judges do not always judge according to the mind of God.

Even so, Jesus had been adjured, and so His case was already in the hands of the Chief Justice of the Universe. It will therefore be adjudicated properly in God’s time and in God’s way. Justice will be done in the end.

Hence, the Third Commandment governs true justice in the Kingdom of God. The administration of this perfect system will begin on a large scale when the saints take possession of the Kingdom, as prophesied in Daniel 7:22. By definition these overcomers have the mind of Christ and know the law of God. They know how to apply justice and mercy where appropriate.

The Fourth Commandment

The Fourth Commandment says, “Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy” (Deut. 5:12). It is the basis of God’s calendar, governing all time and prophecy in the divine plan.

God’s Creation Jubilee Calendar prewrites history according to the Jubilee cycles, the rest-year cycles, and all Sabbaths, whether they be feast days or seven-day cycles.

When we study biblical history, we see how God’s calendar determined Israel’s departure from Egypt, as a prelude to their call to enter the Promised Land on the 50th Jubilee from Adam. Israel refused to enter at the appointed time, however, and so they were required to spend an extra 38½ years in the wilderness. Hence, when they finally entered the Promised Land and began to count the years toward the Sabbath years and Jubilees, their entire system was off by 38 years. God told them in Lev. 25:2-4,

2“When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a Sabbath to the Lord. 3 Six years you shall sow your field… 4 but during the seventh year the land shall have a Sabbath rest.

If they had gone into the Promised Land on the 50th Jubilee, they would have started counting their Sabbath years and Jubilees at the 50th Jubilee from Adam. In other words, their calendar would have matched the Creation Jubilee Calendar. Their first Jubilee would have coincided with the 51st Jubilee from Adam.

However, they were 38 years late, and so a study of biblical history shows how God has delayed the full manifestation of the Kingdom until the two calendars were synchronized from 1986-1996 with the 120th Jubilee. See details in my book, Secrets of Time.

Because of sin and lack of faith, God’s calendar is only now being implemented at this end of the age. If Israel had had the faith to enter into God’s rest (Sabbath) at the appointed time, they would have seen the full plan of God implemented at that time. Theoretically, they would have heard God’s voice at Sinai and received the promise of Pentecost. The 12 spies would have encouraged the people to enter the land on the 50th Jubilee, and the people would have then fulfilled the Feast of Tabernacles. The sons of God would have been manifested, and Canaan would have been conquered by the glory of God within that same week without bloodshed.

Instead, because of their lack of faith, the Kingdom was delayed for a long time. God extended the feast days into three ages: the Passover Age from Moses to Christ; the Pentecostal Age from 33-1993 A.D., and then (after a transition) the Tabernacles Age for the next thousand years. Even so, we see the Sabbaths established even in Daniel’s 70 weeks (i.e., 70 Sabbaths) from the decree of Artaxerxes in 458 B.C. to the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross in 33 A.D.

We see another 40 Jubilees of the Pentecostal Age, corresponding to Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness and to Saul’s reign of 40 years. Likewise, we see the 21 years of Jacob’s trouble, along with its long-term prophetic cycle of 210 years and 12 x 210 years (or 2,520 years).

These are all basic cycles of time, governed by the Fourth Commandment, which governs all of the timing of God’s plan as prophesied. Much more could be said about this, but our space is limited. For a more complete study, see chapter four of my book, The Ten Commandments.

The Fifth Commandment

The Fifth Commandment says, “Honor your father and your mother” (Deut. 5:16). It is the commandment that governs the sons of God and their inheritance.

The first step toward sonship is to acknowledge one’s father and mother. All sons have two parents. It is the same in the Kingdom of God, and the pattern is Jesus Christ Himself.

Jesus had an earthly mother and a heavenly Father. The virgin birth of Christ is an essential factor in understanding sonship. Because sin was passed down through Adam, it was important that Jesus have a different father in order to qualify as the unblemished Lamb to be offered at Passover for the sin of the world.

Yet Jesus had an earthly mother as well, so He had genetics from both heaven and earth. Hence, He was the Son of God on His Father’s side, but Son of Man on His mother’s side. His mother was a direct descendant of King David, qualifying Jesus as the Heir to David’s throne on earth. In this way, He merged heaven and earth to begin a project known as the New Creation Man.

John 1:12 says that we have the power and the right to become sons of God. The next verse says that this is not a process of natural childbirth, nor of flesh and blood, but of God. In effect, we become sons of God by the same spiritual process by which Jesus was the Son of God. Even as the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary to conceive Christ in her, so also does the Holy Spirit come upon us to beget Christ.

That Christ in us has a heavenly Father and an earthly mother, for every son has two parents. Hence, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27) is not Jesus Christ, whose mother was Mary, but is part of the body of Christ having YOU as its mother.

The final result of this birthing process is that, like Jesus, we will share in His authority in both heaven and in earth (Matt. 28:18). The sons of God will have the ability to live and move in both realms, heaven and earth. Ezekiel 44:17-19 shows that this was foreshadowed by the two sets of garments that the priests wore when ministering to God in the sanctuary and to men in the outer court. In their linens they ministered to God; in their woolens they ministered to men in the outer court (i.e., the earth).

Sonship requires that we honor our heavenly Father and our earthly mother, as the Commandment says. But the matter is complicated further by the fact that we might honor the wrong mother and thereby be disqualified. In Galatians 4, Paul speaks of Hagar and Sarah as being two mothers of the sons of Abraham. They represent the two covenants (4:23) and the two Jerusalems. The old Jerusalem, Paul says, is Hagar and is not qualified to bring forth the sons of God. The New or Heavenly Jerusalem is Sarah and is the only mother that qualifies to bring forth the inheritor.

The question then arises about which mother we are to honor in order to fulfill the Fifth Commandment and thereby bring forth the rightful inheritor. Those who honor the old Jerusalem (or Hagar), believing that she will be the mother of the Kingdom of God, are honoring the wrong mother. To become a manifested son of God, one must claim Sarah as one’s mother. Hagar may be the mother of believers, but only Sarah is the mother of the inheritors.

Hence, the Fifth Commandment defines how God requires us to love Him in order to qualify as the sons of God who are destined to inherit all things with Christ.