BIBLE STUDY SERIES #455, 456 and 457

13 August, 2000

DEUTERONOMY'S MESSAGE, PART VI

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our ongoing series of Bible Studies, which began with the Call by The Almighty God to Abram in Ur of the Chaldees, in Genesis 12, has taken us through the sequence of subsequent Biblical passages which relate the family history of the generations of the Patriarchs and tribes of his progeny as they entered Egypt, and later emerged through The Exodus into Sinai, heading eventually towards their Promised Land, under Moses and by the direction of The Almighty God.

Presently, we are studying Scripture passages in The Book of Deuteronomy, wherein Moses is giving the people of a younger generation an account of the manner whereby The LORD has been guiding and protecting, but also instructing His Israel people through the years. This is preparatory to their taking control of the Promised Land which they must occupy in order to form an established national entity to serve Yahweh, Himself. That land had been promised to Abraham, and hence down through Isaac and then to Jacob (Israel), and now to the descendants of that Patriarch, the Tribes of Israel who are gathered for this, the last and one of the most important messages the aged Prophet, Moses, will be giving to them before he passes into the history of his people.

We must periodically remind our listeners that we, of the British-Israel-World Federation hold, with what we consider sufficiently convincing evidence, that the vast majority of the descendants of those ancient Tribes of Israel are found today in the generally Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred peoples. We trust that our Bible Studies will be understood in the light of that concept.

On the last study, we had taken note of the particulars relating to the words found in Deuteronomy 2:25-33, which speak of the review Moses was giving of recent history as it pertains to the conquest of the lands which the Amorites held at the time of Israel's approach to the Promised Land. The succeeding verses continue the theme regarding that conquest. They state, of Sihon, king of the Amorites:

34. And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:
35. Only the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took.
36. From Aroer, which is by the brink of the river of Arnon, and from the city that is by the river, even unto Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us: the LORD our God delivered all unto us:
37. Only unto the land of the children of Ammon thou camest not, nor unto any place of the river Jabbok, nor unto the cities in the mountains, nor unto whatsoever the LORD our God forbad us.

The New Bible Commentary notes, of the expression "utterly destroyed" that the Hebrew means "devoted". It then states: It is important to grasp the full meaning of 'herem' which is thus translated. It is used in Deuteronomy in connection with persons or objects consecrated to the worship of false gods. These are to be regarded with abhorrence (as sin should be), as corrupt and corrupting, like a plague-infected garment, fit for nothing but utter destruction lest the ban upon them fall on those who spare them.

Here, the geographic details are more easily understood if a map of the lands lying on the east bank of the Jordan River is before the listener. The Jordan River, flowing from north to south, and into the Dead Sea is joined some distance north of the Dead Sea, by the River Jabbok which comes out of the eastern landscape, while the Arnon River enters from the east, directly into the Dead Sea at about the mid-point of that rather elongated salty sump from which waters must evaporate to find escape. We are thus looking at essentially three segments of land. The southernmost part, south of the Arnon River is occupied by Edom in its southern extension, and Moab in its northern portion. North of that river, Moab used to occupy the "Plains of Moab" which were wrested from the Moabites by the Amorite invaders, and it is this portion which Israel has, in turn, now taken from those Amorites. The Israelite invasion then worked its way northward towards the River Jabbok, but as the Ammonites lived in the more easterly headwaters area of that river, Israel did not at this time push into their hill territory.

The consequence of Israel becoming the new occupiers of the Plains of Moab is that the Tribe of Reuben took up occupancy of land still bearing that Moabitish title. This will form an insight required when we attempt to decide the racial ancestry of Ruth, for she lived in a land once previously occupied by Moabites, but long since passed into the possession of the Israelite Tribe of Reuben! Thus she might designate herself by the name of the land, yet not by any means belong to the racial group from which the land originally gained that name. Indeed, considering the law recorded in Deuteronomy 23:3, (and repeated in essence in Nehemiah 13:1),"An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever." we can be absolutely certain that Ruth was definitely a full Israelite by race, or else she would not have been acceptable as wife to Israelites like Mahlon and Boaz (Ruth 4:10).

We can now return to the account which we are following in the Book of Deuteronomy, at Chapter 3. We might begin the first seventeen verses of this chapter, by reading a few verses at a time, and then we might stop to ponder the comments presented by some references for explanations and insights.

1. Then we turned, and went up the way to Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei.
2. And the LORD said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.
3. So the LORD our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to him remaining.
4. And we took all his cities at that time, there was not a city which we took not from them, threescore cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan.

At verse 1, The Companion Bible points out that "came out" means that Og was the aggressor. The New Bible Dictionary, item "Bashan" begins with a useful comment: "A fertile region east of Jordan lying to the north of Gilead, from which it was divided by the river Yarmuk. The name, nearly always written with the article (habbasan), had varying connotations. In the wide sense it was counted as extending northwards to Mt. Hermon and eastwards to Salecah... . Here, The New Bible Commentary begins by pointing out that the word "Bashan" means 'fertile'. The pastures of Bashan were famous for their richness (xxxii. 14). Explaining the name 'Argob', it states "The LXX translates this by 'Trachonitis' but the identification is doubtful." Keil and Delitzsch, under the heading "Chapter iii. 1-11. The help of God in the conquest of the Kingdom of Og of Bashan" makes this comment: "After the defeat of king Sihon and the conquest of his land, the Israelites were able to advance to the Jordan. But as the powerful Amoritish king Og still held the northern half of Gilead and all Bashan, they proceeded northwards at once and took the road to Bashan, that they might also defeat this king, whom the Lord had likewise given into their hand, and conquer his country... . They smote him at Edrei, ... without leaving him even a remnant; and took all his towns." Explaining that the three definitions, "sixty towns, the whole region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan" all refer to the same country, they then mention that the "region of Argob" is probably derived from Hebrew for stone heaps. Further, they tell us that "The Targumists have rendered it correctly ...(Trachona), from (the Greek), a rough, uneven, stony district so called from the basaltic hills of Hauran." In their customary detailed fashion, they proceed to give some notes regarding the geology, topography, and related geography, along with some comments on the ruins of settlement therein. We pick up the reading at verse 5:

5. All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; beside unwalled towns a great many.
6. And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.
7. But all the cattle, and the spoil of the cities, we took for a prey to ourselves.
8. And we took at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites the land that was on this side Jordan, from the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon;
9. (Which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion; and the Amorites call it Shenir;)

The Companion Bible note at verse 8 explains that the term "on this side" is a neutral term, which means "across" and "Herman = high mountain", and at verse 9, "Sirion = breastplate" and "Shenir = coat of mail." Here, The New Bible Commentary notes of 'Hermon', 'Sirion', 'Shenir', that "Sirion ('glistening') is a Sidonian name and may have been used by the Sidonian colony (Jdg. xviii. 7) which had settled at the foot of this snow-capped range. It is found without explanation in Ps. xxix. 6. The name Shenir... was known to the Assyrians, and was used for a part of the range."

As we have about reached the end of the time for today's study, perhaps we could leave the account of Moses' words as he reminds the Israelites of the manner in which The Almighty has been granting them strength to carry forward His plans which will eventuate in due time in blessings for all peoples.

20 August, 2000

DEUTERONOMY'S MESSAGE, PART VII

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our ongoing series of Bible Studies, which began with the Call by The Almighty God to Abram in Ur of the Chaldees, in Genesis 12, has taken us through the sequence of subsequent Biblical passages which relate the family history of the generations of the Patriarchs and tribes of his progeny as they entered Egypt, and later emerged through The Exodus into Sinai, heading eventually towards their Promised Land, under Moses and by the direction of The Almighty God.

Presently, we are studying Scripture passages in The Book of Deuteronomy, wherein Moses is giving the people of a younger generation an account of the manner whereby The LORD has been guiding and protecting, but also instructing His Israel people through the years. This is preparatory to their taking control of the Promised Land which they must occupy in order to form an established national entity to serve Yahweh, Himself. That land had been promised to Abraham, and hence down through Isaac and then to Jacob (Israel), and now to the descendants of that Patriarch, the Tribes of Israel who are gathered for this, the last and one of the most important messages the aged Prophet, Moses, will be giving to them before he passes into the history of his people.

Today, we are approaching the Scripture passage beginning with Deuteronomy 3:10, wherein the review of the recent past history of the successful assaults upon those Canaanites who were previously occupying the lands east of the Jordan River is being recounted before the assembled Tribes, and we can imagine that we are listening as Moses picks up his account. In order to get the flow of the passage we will start at verse 8:

8. And we took at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites the land that was on this side Jordan, from the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon;
9. (Which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion; and the Amorites call it Shenir;)
10. All the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, unto Salchah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan.
11. For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.

Keil and Delitzsch point out that in verses 8 to 11, "Moses takes a retrospective view of the whole of the land that had been taken on the other side of the Jordan; first of all (ver. 9) in its whole extent from the Arnon to Hermon, then (ver. 10.) in its separate parts, to bring out in all its grandeur what the Lord had done for Israel. The notices of the different names of Hermon (ver. 9), and of the bed of king Og (ver. 11), are also subservient to this end. Hermon is the southernmost spur of Anti-libanus, the present Jebel es Sheikh, or Jebel et Telj. The Hebrew name (was) not ... first given by the Israelites to this mountain, which formed part of the northern boundary of the land which they had taken; but ... was a name which had long been current at that time, for which the Israelites used the Hebrew name ... 'the high, eminent, ... though this name did not supplant the traditional name of Hermon." After more details, they continue, concerning verse 10 and specifically the term "the field of Moab", they note that this was land "that had originally belonged to the Moabites." The whole of Gilead was divided into two halves by the River Jabbok. The southern half, which had belonged to the kingdom of Sihon was now assigned to the Reubenites and Gadites; "whilst the northern half, which is called 'the rest of Gilead' in verse 13, ... was assigned to the Manassite family of Machir."

12. And this land, which we possessed at that time, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, and half mount Gilead, and the cities thereof, gave I unto the Reubenites and to the Gadites.
13. And the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, being the kingdom of Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob, with all Bashan, which was called the land of giants.
14. Jair the son of Manasseh took all the country of Argob unto the coasts of Geshuri and Maachathi; and called them after his own name, Bashanhavothjair, unto this day.
15. And I gave Gilead unto Machir.
16. And unto the Reubenites and unto the Gadites I gave from Gilead even unto the river Arnon half the valley, and the border even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon;
17. The plain also, and Jordan, and the coast thereof, from Chinnereth even unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, under Ashdothpisgah eastward.

The Companion Bible notes on the word "Chinnereth" in that last verse, "Afterward called Gennesaret, cp. Num. 34.11, Josh. 19.35." and adds "So called from its shape, 'kinnor', a harp." In the same verse, of the term "Ashdothpisgah", it gives us the explanation that this name "= springs of Pisgah." Now concerning the Reubenites, the Gadites, and that half-tribe of Manasseh which had been given their lands east of the Jordan, Moses had granted this, which they had requested, on condition that they would place their armed forces with those of the rest of the Tribes of Israel which had yet to cross over the Jordan and then to take their Tribal allotments from the Canaanites who still dwelt between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. We pick up the Scripture at verse 18:

18. And I commanded you at that time, saying, The LORD your God hath given you this land to possess it: ye shall pass over armed before your brethren the children of Israel, all that are meet for the war.
19. But your wives, and your little ones, and your cattle, (for I know that ye have much cattle,) shall abide in your cities which I have given you;
20. Until the LORD have given rest unto your brethren, as well as unto you, and until they also possess the land which the LORD your God hath given them beyond Jordan: and then shall ye return every man unto his possession, which I have given you.
21. And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, Thine eyes have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto these two kings: so shall the LORD do unto all the kingdoms whither thou passest.
22. Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God he shall fight for you.
23. And I besought the LORD at that time, saying,
24. O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might?
25. I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.
26. But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.
27. Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan.

We ought, at that point to interject an explanation of the event to which that last statement related. Those who have followed our broadcasts through the years will remember that, when we were dealing with the question regarding the Stone, known as "Jacob's Pillow", or "The Stone of Israel", and otherwise called "Bethel", we presented Scriptural evidence that this Stone was carried down into Egypt with Jacob's Family, and that later, when nearing death, Jacob had, among the Tribal Blessings distributed among his sons, made mention that Joseph was to be "the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel", thus placing that stone in Joseph's Tribal charge. It would thus without doubt have been the sacred stone upon which God had said (Exodus 17:6) that He would stand at Horeb, which is Mount Sinai, while Moses struck it with his staff. This was in order to bring forth water from that rock, for all the Israelites who were complaining at a lack of this in the vicinity. Moses had, indeed struck that rock there, but later, on the occasion when the Israelites were first approaching The Promised Land, at Kadesh Barnea, again, the occasion presented itself when the people required water (Numbers 20:11). On the second occasion, Moses was not to strike, but only to speak to, that rock. In an intemperate over-stepping of this order, he had also, as on the first occasion, struck the rock. This was not a small blunder, but caused the breaking of an exceedingly symbolic type-to-antitype correspondence, for by standing upon the rock, God identified Himself with the Stone, which was an anointed, or "christed" rock, (which is the meaning of the word). Thus Moses had broken the set of types which referred prophetically to the two Advents of Jesus Christ. It was for this great Sin that God refused to Moses the privilege of leading the Tribes of Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land.

28. But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.
29. So we abode in the valley over against Bethpeor.

That is the end of Chapter 3 of Deuteronomy, and it forms a good place to stop for today's Bible Study. We might contemplate the thought that every misstep we make, even when it seems a rather inconsequential mistake to ourselves, can be tremendously important to The Almighty God.

27 August, 2000

DEUTERONOMY'S MESSAGE, PART VIII

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our ongoing series of Bible Studies, which began with the Call by The Almighty God to Abram in Ur of the Chaldees, in Genesis 12, has taken us through the sequence of subsequent Biblical passages which relate the family history of the generations of the Patriarchs and tribes of his progeny as they entered Egypt, and later emerged through The Exodus into Sinai, heading eventually towards their Promised Land, under Moses and by the direction of The Almighty God.

Presently, we are studying Scripture passages in The Book of Deuteronomy, wherein Moses has been giving the people of a younger generation an account of the manner whereby The LORD has been guiding and protecting, but also instructing His Israel people through the years. This is preparatory to their taking control of the Promised Land which they must occupy in order to form an established national entity to serve Yahweh, Himself. That land had been promised to Abraham, and hence down through Isaac and then to Jacob (Israel), and now to the descendants of that Patriarch, the Tribes of Israel who are gathered for this, the last and one of the most important messages the aged Prophet, Moses, will be giving to them before he passes into the history of his people.

Near the end of the last Study, we had seen that Moses was not permitted, himself, to enter the Land of Promise. The New Bible Commentary notes of Deuteronomy 3:23, and the words that Moses had "besought the Lord", that "The thought of his own exclusion arises in Moses' mind, and he recalls his prayer. He requested two things, that he might go over and that he might see. One was refused, the other granted." At verse 29, mention of "Beth-peor" draws the comment "The house (temple) of Peor" and the addition "Here the people had fallen into grievous sin (see Nu. xxv; Ps. cvi. 28ff.), and near here Moses was buried (xxxiv. 6)."

Today, we are approaching the Scripture passage beginning with Deuteronomy 4:1, wherein the review of the recent events in Israel's history has been sufficiently completed, and Moses is now to begin giving an introductory comment to the statute laws which he wishes to review for this younger generation of Israel. In a sense, it is a preparation which includes a review and warning concerning the various spiritual perils which Israel has experienced during their wilderness wanderings.

On Chapter 4, The New Bible Commentary note under the heading "A call to obedience (iv. 1-40)", contains the sub-heading "i. The purpose and value of the law (iv. 1-8)", followed by a note on the words "Hearken, O Israel" at verse 1. This states "Moses now calls all the people to attention, as he prepares to expound to them the law of the Lord." The call to "hearken" and the need for obedience to God's voice are frequently repeated. We begin with verse 1:

1. Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.

With attention to the word "Statutes" in the first verse, it points out that the word huqqim comes from a root meaning to engrave, and hence denotes permanent and prescribed rules of conduct, as addressed to the individual or national conscience. Coming to the word "Judgments", it says "A judgment (mishpat) represents a decision. The word is cognate with that for a judge (shophet) who issues the judgment." Mentioning a reference at i. 16, 17, it notes "The 'case law' of Ex. xxi - xxii. 17, doubtless intended for judges, affords an example. The word is also used of the decisive acts of God, judging the wicked and vindicating the innocent. Hence 'statutes and judgments' together cover all the laws and the precepts." On the words "that ye may live", it explains "Every word of God is the 'bread of life (viii. 3) and His words point the way to eternal life. Cf. Mt. xix. 17; Jn. vi. 63."

At the first verse, The Companion Bible gives two useful definitions for the terms "statutes" and "judgments." It explains "statutes = ordinances: Godward. Ex. 12.24, 43; 30.21. Heb. 9.1" and "judgments = duties and punishments: manward." Moving forward to verse 2:

2. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Here The New Bible Commentary states "Ye shall not add (2). Cf. xii. 32. This peremptory command creates a sharp distinction between the word of God and the word of man. It is scarcely conceivable that the writer of these words should have been guilty of disobeying them. Christ Himself emphasized the same distinction (Mt. v. 17-19, xv. 6); and when the oracles of God were completed a further warning was added (Rev. xxii. 18, 19)." Moving to the word "Commandments" it notes "The English word here closely corresponds with the Hebrew miswah, and covers any command, whether temporary or permanent, general or particular. In iv. 13 and x. 4 the word used is dabar (word) not miswah. Hence the marginal reading 'the ten words'." Continuing to verses 3-4:

3. Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you.
4. But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.

Here, The New Bible Commentary notes at the words "Your eyes have seen" that Moses frequently appeals to the experience of his hearers, reminding them of what they had seen, ... heard ... and known. It adds of Baal-peor "That is the Baal worshipped at Beth-peor ... . Many Baals are mentioned in Scripture and their worship was attended with gross immorality. Cf. Ho. ix. 10.

Of the words "That ye should do so in the land" it notes "It is important to understand that the law, whilst intended primarily for Israel, was also written for the Christian believer." At this point, however, I believe that the writer of the comments strays, for a declaration follows at that point which is not consistent with the British-Israel recognition that many non-Jews, who descend to form the Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred peoples out of the Northern Tribes of Israel of old time are yet children of Israel as well as Christians, and that for these, in particular, there is an obligation connected to the Old Testament Law of a category which is ignored in the Commentary. It was to the great numbers of later Israelite descendants of those with whom the Sinai Covenant was made specifically that the promise of Jeremiah 31:31-34 applies. That reference in Jeremiah reads:

31. Behold the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people
34. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Here, we have just seen that it is specified that the "New Covenant" is to apply to those who descend from the people with whom the Old Covenant of Sinai was made, (hence the use of the terms "Old" and "New"), and the words are given at a time of national calamity, and therefore a confirming provision of heavenly witnesses for national continuance is joined to the passage. This passage thus forms a tremendous unconditional and unbreakable prophesied promise by The Almighty Yahweh, Himself, who by use of that name, (specifically applying to continuance with the nation of Israel), thereby signifies that it is He, the God of Israel, Who speaks this unbreakable prophecy.

For the remainder of our time today, I shall simply read on to verse 10, although we shall have to return to those verses for our Bible Study next week.

5. Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
6. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
7. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
8. And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
9. Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;
10. Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.

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