BIBLE STUDY SERIES #464, 465 and 466

15 October, 2000

DEUTERONOMY'S MESSAGE, PART XV

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.

On the last Study, we had a further look at one particular implication of the fact that The Almighty God has seen fit, throughout the Old Testament, to shield members of sinful Israel from facing Him boldly, and as it were confrontationally in His immediate presence by some form of veil or screen. The subject might be beneficially amplified with some further explanations. I John 4:12 states "No man hath seen God at any time", while I Timothy 6:16 explains the same by the description "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting." Exodus 33:20 states that God, speaking in answer to Moses' request, gave a reply which is recorded in the words "And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live."

The reason is that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), and a guilty party, coming boldly into the presence of The Holy God unshielded by some intervening veil will be instantly judged, found guilty and executed. Thus a legally acceptable resource which employs some form of intervening veil has been a merciful provision, for on each occasion when He would meet with His sinful people, such was provided. It was done by a hanging veil in the Tabernacle, and later in the Temple, past which only the high priest might approach, with life-blood of an animal victim in hand, shed as evidence of the animal's substitutionary death on behalf of human sinners, which death is the wages of Sin (Romans 6:23). Hebrews 9:7 states "But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people." A glory cloud even there, in the Holy of Holies, hid the face of God. Such an intervening veil or screen was likewise provided by fire, by cloud, by thick darkness, or His Own hand (Exodus 33:22). On occasion, the glory was masked by the appearance of a human being, as in Joshua 5:13 which records "And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?, while the next verse reveals the figure as captain of the host of the LORD Who accepted worship from Joshua.

We mentioned the veil of flesh which was formed about the physical presence of Jesus Christ at His First Advent. Such veiling formed a manner by which God's full glory would be parted from those who needed time in which to obtain a legally acceptable substitute sacrificial victim to take the punishment for their sins.

As Jesus was hanging on The Cross, we saw that the legal condition imparted to Him was the bearing of the summation of all sin. II Corinthians 5:21 states that He was made "sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Legally He was thus to be viewed as a total sinner. We also mentioned that it was thus necessary in God's plan that Christ must be hidden from The Father's direct sight by darkness which covered the whole land for three hours, and Christ must not see His Father, because the Father must, if directly and boldly faced by such a sinner, take instant action as a holy, severe judge over his son. Such a circumstance, should it take place, would be instantly followed by the execution of Judgment on that sin which He bore, and by His own immediate execution, which we must note, would occur before the necessary shedding of the blood required for the remission of sin. Indeed, Deuteronomy 21:18-21 requires a father to have a rebellious son executed by the appropriate officials who are to organize the death of the son by stoning. Such an execution would not create the required expiry of a sacrifice offered by sinful humanity, by bleeding to death; the shed blood being the proof of death of a substitute, brought to the Holy of Holies as payment of the wages of sin. "Without shedding of blood is no remission." It would not substitute for the death of the sinner for whom Christ was acting as the substitute victim.

This "cutting off" was given verbal witness before mankind as Christ repeated the words of Psalm 22 ("My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" - Matthew 27:46). As time was required for Christ's Blood to be fully shed, the execution of the Sin-bearer before the time was allowed for this to take place would have destroyed the whole reason for the divine plan of Salvation and Redemption, as we explained on the last Study.

We must emphasize this point. Execution of His Own Son by God the Father in His capacity as Judge, prior to the draining of all blood from Christ's body would, it is true, totally defeat the whole purpose of the entire plan because His blood would not be shed completely for the remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22), but this would also be true for another reason which would apply regardless of the time it might take place, and thus such an execution must never be allowed. All of the Old Testament Sacrifices, offered in accordance with the Sacrificial Ordinances of the Law, were the teaching "type" to explain what was happening to the culminating Sacrificial "anti-type", Jesus Christ. The Sacrifice was to be made, not by the Judge's order to execute, but by the actual Sinners themselves, and accomplished by draining the blood of their substitute sin-bearer, so that this shed blood might be offered through their priesthood who would bring it before The LORD as proof of the death payment. A death by the action of God, the Judge, as an act of instantaneous judicial execution would defeat this purpose.

Further, Christ had to be a Kinsman-Redeemer to Israel by fleshly descent from Jacob, and hence legally entitled to make the transaction by which an Hebrew slave was capable of being bought and freed from a foreign slave-owner, by one of his kinsmen in accordance with the Law found in Leviticus 25:47-49. That passage reads:

47. And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger's family:
48. After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him:
49. Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself.

The application of this law would translate because Jesus, the kinsman to the members of sinful Israel, was entitled by that law to force a transaction embodying the purchase of His kin from the foreign bondage-holder, Sin, through paying Sin's cost, the penalty of death. Thus Jesus Christ could become the Redeemer of Sinful Israel. Only a Kinsman was entitled to force such a bond-holder to relinquish an Hebrew slave. but with this explanation, there is a further ramification. The kinsman purchases the bond, and so his family member who is redeemed is still a debtor to whomsoever has bought the bond by which he was held in bondage. The difference is that his debt of bondage is purchased by his kinsman. We may more fully appreciate, therefore, the words of St. Paul in Romans 12:1 which says "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." The mercies of God are found in the redemption of the sinful slave by the death of Jesus Christ with the shed blood which forms the payment. The reasonable service is the obligation of the sinner to pay the debt to his kinsman by service to Him in the form of a "living sacrifice."

Having dealt with this area of investigation at greater length than might have been the case, we have approached the end of today's Bible Study. As there is not time to return to the main theme which we are following through the Book of Deuteronomy today, we shall have to leave that task for our next Study. Let me, therefore, leave with you the thought that as we are sinners, or in other words, law-breakers of God's Laws, (which, indeed, Isaiah 64:4 states that all of us are, and the same is taught in Romans 3:23 and Romans 5:12), we ought to seek the kinsman to whom we ought to bring that living sacrifice, to the end that we be found good and joyful members of His Family. We shall return to the Deuteronomy theme in the next Bible Study.

22 October, 2000

DEUTERONOMY'S MESSAGE, PART XVI

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.

On the last two Studies in this series, we had somewhat digressed into an amplification of the matter of the fire which was used by The Almighty God to hide Himself from direct view by the children of Israel. This, He had done in order to prevent their attempts to emulate the religions of Egypt, in the creation of images of anything which they might substitute for Himself, as a sort of intermediary focus of worship; which is idolatry. Indeed, even in face of this provision, some of the Israelites had fallen into exactly that practice in their impatience at the foot of Mount Sinai, while Moses was far above on Sinai's slopes conversing with The Almighty God. You may remember that they had forced Aaron to create a golden calf, an image, whereby they might practice a form of religious rite patterned after the traditions of Egypt, instead of honouring the God of all the earth. We had shown that by screening Himself from the view of man, God was creating the legal form of a merciful delay in judging these sinners. It applies also, as we have shown, in the particulars surrounding the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ as our substitute sin bearer and sacrificial penalty receiver, that we may be accounted righteous, having been cleared of the guilt of our sin by His payment of His own blood, in our stead.

Now, however, we are to revert to the ongoing portions of Scripture, picking up where we left off a few studies back. At the close of Part XIII of these Studies, we had read to the end of Deuteronomy 4:40, which brought the words given by Moses down to the statement contained in verses 39 and 40:

39. Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.
40. Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.

We can see, from this sample of the address which Moses is presenting to them, the great concern which Moses has that these descendants of Jacob (Israel) must pass the information of the commitments into which their fathers, and they, themselves have entered, to their children after them. These commitments, which are binding upon both Yahweh, the God of Israel, and the people of the nation formed of their tribes, are contained in the Law Code which The Almighty God, their national "husband", has given to them as a national treasure, to be passed down as the heritage of all Israel in the generations to come. Continuing at verse 41:

41. Then Moses severed three cities on this side Jordan toward the sunrising;

Introducing this passage starting with the word "Then" at verse 41, The Companion Bible notes of that word "Emphatic, marking the end of his first address." Where previously Moses had used the pronoun "I" of himself, we see the use of his name, "Moses" here, and on this, the Companion Bible continues, of this usage, "Moses. Change to third person, not because it is now editorial, but because the first direct address is ended."

42. That the slayer might flee thither, which should kill his neighbour unawares, and hated him not in times past; and that fleeing unto one of these cities he might live:
43. Namely, Bezer in the wilderness, in the plain country, of the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, of the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, of the Manassites.

Keil and Delitzsch have some pertinent remarks on these verses. "The account of this appointment of the cities of refuge in the conquered land on the east of the Jordan is inserted between the first and second addresses of Moses, in all probability for no other reason than because Moses set apart the cities at that time according to the command of God in Num. xxxv. 6, 14, not only to give the land on that side its full consecration, and thoroughly confirm the possession of the two Amoritish kingdoms on the other side of the Jordan, but also to give the people in this punctual observance of the duty devolving upon it an example for their imitation in the conscientious observance of the commandments of the Lord, which he was now about to lay before the nation." They continue: "The three towns that were set apart were Bezer, Ramoth, and Golan." They explain "'Bezer in the steppe, (namely) in the land of the level' (the Amoritish table land)."

We now come to what Keil and Delitzsch title "Second Address, or Exposition of the Law", and this heading, they apply to all the Scriptures found from Deuteronomy IV. 44 to XXVI. 19. Introducing this set of passages, they write "This address, which is described in the heading as the law which Moses set before the Israelites, commences with a repetition of the decalogue, and a notice of the powerful impression which was made, through the proclamation of it by God Himself, upon the people who were assembled round Him at Horeb (chap. v.). In the first and more general part, it shows that the true essence of the law, and of that righteousness which the Israelites were to strive after, consisted in loving Jehovah their God with all their heart (chap. vi.); that the people were bound, by virtue of their election as the Lord's people of possession, to exterminate the Canaanites with their idolatrous worship, in order to rejoice in the blessing of God (chap. vii.); but more especially that, having regard on the one hand to the divine chastisement and humiliation which they had experienced in the desert (chap. viii.), and on the other hand to the frequency with which they had rebelled against their God (chap. ix. 1 - x. 11), they were to beware of self-exaltation and self-righteousness, that in the land of Canaan, of which they were about to take possession, they might not forget their God when enjoying the rich productions of the land, but might retain the blessings of their God for ever by a faithful observance of the covenant (chap. x. 12- xi. 32). Then after this there follows an exposition of the different commandments of the law (chap. xii. - xxvi.)."

There now follows a commentary note on the verses 44 to 49, which we will now read.

44. And this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel:
45. These are the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which Moses spake unto the children of Israel, after they came forth out of Egypt,
46. On this side Jordan, in the valley over against Bethpeor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon, whom Moses and the children of Israel smote, after they were come forth out of Egypt:
47. And they possessed his land, and the land of Og king of Bashan, two kings of the Amorites, which were on this side Jordan toward the sunrising;
48. From Aroer, which is by the bank of the river Arnon, even unto mount Sion, which is Hermon,
49. And all the plain on this side Jordan eastward, even unto the sea of the plain, under the springs of Pisgah.

On that Scripture passage, Keil and Delitzsch begin with the heading "Announcement of the Discourse upon the Law", and state "First of all, in ver. 44, we have the general notice in the form of a heading : 'This is the Thorah which Moses set before the children of Israel;' and then in vers. 45, 46, a fuller description of the Thorah according to its leading features, 'testimonies, statutes, and rights' together with a notice of the place and time at which Moses delivered this address. 'On their coming out of Egypt,' i.e. not 'after they had come out,' but during the march, before they had reached the goal of their journeyings, viz. (ver. 46) when they were still on the other side of the Jordan. 'In the valley,' as in chap. iii. 29. 'In the land of Sihon,' and therefore already upon ground which the Lord had given them for a possession. The importance of this possession as the first-fruit and pledge of the fulfilment of the further promises of God, led Moses to mention again, though briefly, the defeat of the two kings of the Amorites, together with the conquest of their land, just as he had done before in chap ii. 32-36 and iii. 1-17. On ver. 48, cf. chap. iii. 9, 12-17. Sion, for Hermon (see at chap. iii. 9)."

We shall leave the next chapter for the following Bible Study.

29 October, 2000

DEUTERONOMY'S MESSAGE, PART XVII

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 a review of the manner whereby The LORD has been guiding and protecting and instructing His Israel people through the years, preparatory to their taking control of the Promised Land as the descendants of their Patriarchs. These tribes of Israel are gathered for this, the last and one of the most important messages the aged Prophet, Moses, will be giving to them before he dies.

We closed our last study, at the end of Deuteronomy 4, but before we say more on this, however it seems desirable to add some thoughts which have come out of the matters which have been discussed in some recent studies regarding the subject of veils used by The Almighty throughout the Old Testament for a very important legal purpose. It is the matter of God's care to veil Himself from His sinful people, lest any sinner, by bold confrontation directly made to the face of God in open court, so to speak, without the interposition of such a veil, incur immediate judgment and execution. We have examined the matters connected therewith on several recent occasions, but there is yet more which can profitably be appended.

Back in Deuteronomy 4:12 we examined an aspect of that matter which was again brought before us at verse 33, in greater detail. Remember that God the Father must avoid a situation of direct confrontation with the figure of Jesus hanging upon the Cross during those awful hours, cloaked as Christ was, with the legal status which He accepted in our place as the summation of rebellious sin of all humanity. Bold confrontation while in that legal condition would draw immediate execution for that sin before the blood required for The Atonement was fully shed and the divine purpose thus accomplished. The Father must draw a veil of darkness, and not be seen by Jesus until the ritual sacrificial ordinances prescribed throughout the Old Testament were fully accomplished in His death. The subject was given some attention in Part X of these Bible Studies, and again in the Bible Studies in Parts XIV and XV of the present series, but a further ramification of the subject which was not amplified at that time may hold a somewhat overlooked extension of the matter.

It will be useful for us to read Psalm 22:1-24, in order to find that further point which, I believe, may hold importance for those interested in our British-Israel thesis, namely, that the vast majority of the present-day descendants of those tribes of ancient Israel, to whom Moses was speaking the words which Deuteronomy records, are found in the generally Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred nations of the world today. Let us see if we can catch the points which are so often overlooked by the generality of readers of this Psalm. The first portion of Psalm 22 is clearly a prophetic statement of the circumstances relative to, and a description of, Christ's Crucifixion at the very hour and on the day when Christ was hanging on the Cross. In repeating those words, He was drawing attention to this fact, but the words were also His Own expression of personal distress in being thus brought to death. Keil and Delitzsch include some 28 pages of commentary on this Psalm, within which they make detailed examination of it from various aspects. While the Psalm is thus a reflection of what transpired during the hours of the Crucifixion, it ends on a note of accomplishment of the task set before Christ at this time.

Keep in mind also that Christ must not receive a preemptive judicial execution relating to the legal cloak of sin upon Him, for He was to be the substitute sacrifice for sinful Israel and also for the rest of humanity, and that purpose must not be aborted. The kingdom parable found in Matthew 13:44 explains the situation: "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field." Israel is the kingdom "treasure", (Psalm 135:4), the field is the world (Matthew 13:38). The man is Jesus (Matthew 15:24). Christ was Israel's sacrifice. I might explain in verse 1 that in Strong's Concordance definition, "roaring" comes from an Hebrew word pronounced (sheh-aw-gaw'), and it is called a distress cry. The Companion Bible, incidentally notes of the word translated "roaring" that it is "lamentation", and that it is "spoken of a lion, and of thunder." Psalm 22:1-24 reads:

1. To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
2. O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
3. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
4. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
5. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
6. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
7. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
8. He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
9. But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts.
10. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly.
11. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
12. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
13. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
14. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
16. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
17. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
18. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
19. But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.
20. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.
21. Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
22. I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
23. Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.
24. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

Did you catch the significance of the animals mentioned in verses 12, 13,

12. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
13. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.

and in verses 20 to 22?

20. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.
21. Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
22. I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

Those animal figures, the lion, the unicorn, the strong bulls of Bashan, and the dog, may be taken as heraldic beasts, some still used today, and they thus represent categories of people. The "woman of Canaan", mentioned in Matthew 15:26-28, who was a non-Israelite, used the dog as her symbolic designation when she appealed to Christ for assistance. But which peoples today are represented by the lion and the unicorn? It is those connected with Great Britain. Other lands of chiefly north-west and to some extent central Europe likewise hold the lion as their historic symbol. The unicorn, or wild ox is a symbol of Ephraim, the birthright tribe in Israel, and can represent all who are connected therewith as British and kindred folk. Those Israelites who had "much cattle", the Tribes of Gad, half of Manasseh, and Reuben, lived east of the Jordan River before the Assyrian deportations, and of these, specifically the first two lived near or in Bashan. Today, those who came to America out of the European lands of Israel are by certain clues of which we have spoken formerly, linked to that area along with some of northern Italy and elsewhere. Thus it was these people who were, unbeknownst to themselves, presenting Jesus Christ as their sacrifice, as they are so designated by that 22nd Psalm! From verse 22 we can understand that they are His brethren.

We shall leave that for your meditation this week.

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