BIBLE STUDY SERIES #467, 468 and 469

5 November, 2000

DEUTERONOMY'S MESSAGE, PART XVIII

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 of passages in the Book of Deuteronomy at the end of Deuteronomy 4, so we will today be taking up our studies beginning at Deuteronomy 5:1. In this chapter we will be reading one of the two passages of Scripture which record the Code of God's Laws which are known as The Ten Commandments. (The other record is found in Exodus 20, if you want to compare the two records of this Code.) In light of the apparent direct determination by the "politically correct", the Humanists, the governing Houses of Parliament, and other forces of officialdom, we are presently being directed to divest ourselves of all official recognition and understanding of these divine obligations. It is not only unwise to do this, but it is a direct act of rebellion against The God of Israel to do so, and we allow the process to be perpetuated at our peril as the people of The Almighty's choosing. After we read these potent words, of which Jesus made plain His total agreement therewith on many occasions, we will have some recourse to commentaries on the subject. We must understand that Divine Authority lies behind every word with the force of invincible power from Our Creator, and we allow them to be dismissed at our peril. The very act of rebellion involved in the rejection of these Laws is prophesied by Christ Himself in the Kingdom Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen in Matthew 21:33-46: which He spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people. The stone which the builders rejected, to which reference is made in verses 42-44 is Christ, and the "kingdom of God" of verse 43 is formed by obedience to God's Laws, as it is these which join the people in solemn compact to their Sovereign God.

1. And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.
2. The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.
3. The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.

The Companion Bible explains that in verse 2, "The LORD our God is "Jehovah our Elohim", and the word "made" is in Hebrew, "cut, because covenants were made by cutting the sacrifice in twain and passing between the parts. At verse 3, it states that "our fathers = our fathers only." Continuing:

4. The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire,
5. (I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to shew you the word of the LORD: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying,
6. I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
7. Thou shalt have none other gods before me.
8. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:
9. Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,
10. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
11. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
12. Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.
13. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:
14. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.
15. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
16. Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
17. Thou shalt not kill.
18. Neither shalt thou commit adultery.
19. Neither shalt thou steal.
20. Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.
21. Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's.
22. These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.
23. And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders;
24. And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth.
25. Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die.

We do well to mark the words of Moses, in stating the circumstances under which these words were imparted to God's people. God's manifest presence not only wrote these words on stone, but spoke them in the hearing of All Israel! Our God is a Living God, and His words are worthy of all acceptance by His Creation.

Both Keil and Delitzsch and The New Bible Commentary can be consulted with benefit by the student of these words. Perhaps, for today, we may gainfully derive some insight by consulting the opening passage in the latter reference. Under the heading "i. The Ten Commandments (v. 1-21)" it begins: "The ten commandments are the kernel of the law and the basis of God's covenant with Israel. The whole of chapters xii-xxvi may be looked upon as an application in detail of the principles they contain to the life of the people in the land of Canaan. When Christ bade the young ruler keep them if he would 'enter into life' (Mt. xix. 17), He constituted them a rule of life for all His followers; and when He spoke of them as the 'commandment of God' in contrast with the traditions of men (Mt. xv. 3) He recognized their binding force. Only the grace of God can enable man to keep them; but it is exactly in order that man keep them that grace is given. Law and grace are thus bound together."

Passing to the words in verse 1, "Hear O Israel", it continues "These words, repeated in iv. 1, vi. 3, 4, ix. 1, xx. 3 and xxvii. 9, make the beginning of a new appeal. This call to listen is also a call to obedience." At the words of verse 1, "Statutes and judgments", it says "See iv. 1n." and then it adds "These follow later in chapters xii-xxvi, after chapters v- xi dealing with the ten commandments and with the exhortation based upon them." Also in verse 1 it notes of the words "And keep and do them", "Observe to do them" (RV). It adds that this is a characteristic phrase repeated in 18 other reference verses, which it lists. After a note at verse 2 on the words "Made a covenant with us in Horeb" by which Moses recalls the actual place to bring home to them their responsibility and privilege, it continues "Not ... with our fathers, but with us (3). According to the Hebrew idiom this means 'not only' with our fathers, 'but also' with us. Moses emphasizes their individual responsibility as the pioneers of the new national existence."

We may have further in succeeding Bible Studies, but as our time has nearly elapsed for today, we might just re-focus our attention on the paramount importance of these Ten Commandments to any nation which aspires to greatness, as it is only through the grace of Our Father that we can hope to achieve the concord and unity of purpose which His divine Laws will bring. Satan's lie to ourselves, as to Eve in Eden in Genesis 3:5, suggests that we can match the omniscience of The Almighty God, and "be as gods". A "one-world" plan which totally and pointedly ignores these Commandments will crash sooner rather than later, for, as I Corinthians 3:11 so clearly puts it, "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." The faithful can take heart in the knowledge of the truths contained in these words of Scripture. May you also find peace and contentment in knowing the verities which Scriptures afford to the righteous.

12 November, 2000

A SALUTE TO REMEMBRANCE

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

As this broadcast is slated to be aired during the time in the year when many folk in various lands pause to remember those who have fallen in numerous wars and in related actions, we do well to cease from other duties in order to focus ourselves for some brief moments upon the deeper thoughts of life which arise therefrom. These thoughts will doubtless cause many of us to assemble in communities all across the land, to hold together in common cause, and to revive within ourselves, those common themes regarding the loss of loved ones, together with all their potential progeny within our times, and to ponder on what might have been, had world events fallen to a different pattern.

Remembrance Services speak to our deeper selves of our heritage and tradition, of patriotic unity in our common ancestry or culture, and of honest pride in what others of our kin have done, or sought to do. Today such things are oft-times relegated by others, of humanist and internationalist bent, to the memory hole of political incorrectness. These new unhappy lords are they who fear that observance of race or clan, of gender, age or a multitude of other signs of unique distinctiveness in the individual or the smaller group may inhibit their drive to an egalitarian malleability in the ultimate designs of their new world order. That scheme is one wherein no sovereign national entity or religious focus can be tolerated which is not held to be common to all, regardless of stark realities which contest the concept. Jesus Christ is to them a figure to be ignored or despised; His words of wisdom and of proclamation, let alone His inestimable offer of Grace flowing from Golgotha's dark travail and death, and His Resurrection glory and Ascension, are all anathema to their souls for they speak of impending judgment upon their errors.

Their vision is one wherein the past is something to be trashed, so that the site of a new Tower of Babel may be cleared and a monstrosity arise which dictates to all while claiming to do so that all may be free. Yet upon Remembrance Day, those acts of character and strength, of sweat and pain, and other honourable things which do persist in our rememberings, are feats of valour which our neighbours and our relatives, and our friends of younger times accomplished, that we might live to breathe deeply and to appreciate our blessings, and to understand something of the deeper purposes of God.

We receive therein a challenge and a calling to emulate their self control when catastrophe drew near, and all their future life spun into the darkness of a damaged soul and the gift of their mortality. We note the times, through years now gone, when life has been given up in sacrificial conflict, and we thereby draw our attention further onward to consider strident facts of our past, and an awesome potential for repetition of the same in that which stretches before us into the future, should we fail to rise to the challenges which now impend.

Thus, it seemed appropriate, once again, to insert into the regular sequence of our ongoing Bible Studies some respectful moments wherein we may join ourselves to others of our own kind, for the purpose of paying respect to individuals who were once so filled with the promises of life, and who gave up their future to a cause thought more important than their own life itself.

By saying those words, "our own kind" I would not have the listener to suppose that only one "kind" has the claim to make a respectful acknowledgment of such meritorious valour, for in various lands, where language differs from our own, and faces are drawn to a different mask, the inward understanding yet finds agreement in these thoughts, and memory is not the inheritance of one kind alone. But there are reasons to place ourselves apart with those of like mind for a service of Remembrance as the very actions we remember speak of bonds of unity which drew many to work as a team and to care for one another, and in this to pursue the wider purposes to which all were harnessed for a period of time. During such wars and related activities, it often fell to some lone individual, or a small group of individuals to act in ways which were extraordinarily brave, for something which, as others might view the matter, was quite intangible and would count for naught in the economy of history.

We know that youth is ever willing to chance the times in order to achieve their mark upon the record books, and to make for themselves a name, which will be recognized and remembered in their times. All of this, however, would be inadequate if we left matters at this hanging and uncertain thread. Those astute enough to mark the times and seasons which God has placed in His Own hand, will know of a certainty that Satan's most violent struggle to achieve a clean coup of worldly domination has but one end, and that is indelibly marked in the prophetic climax of the ages. Scripture testifies that all will have a certain end to which the whole assemblage is moving. Yet for many the future is but a cloudy question mark to which there is no certain answer. And yet even for these, there speaks at a Remembrance Day Service the trumpet call of Reveille in the silence of a darkened room or the cool winds near a cenotaph where flags are draped or fluttering, and wreaths are laid with poppy-red to represent the silence of a distant cemetery or the unmarked resting place of those who await the promise of our Scriptural affirmations.

Thus, for us, it seems appropriate to mark out for ourselves a place amidst the patriotic of a former generation and the freshness of youth who, we trust, will not walk the same path trodden through the years that have gone into the history books or become the themes of films and the stimulus to violence by multitudes whose time for clamour and angry cries resounds within our media outlets. We see about us the turmoil of which prophets wrote, and mark the hours during which travail impedes us in our tasks. But we own a victory not of our creation, and a time not of our own selection, wherein glory reposes and attainments beckon. Scripture speaks of verities and certainties, for He who marked the movements of a prophet's pen with Spirit from on high has never yet proved false to any man or woman, boy or girl in all the exigencies of our past. We are blessed by The Almighty with certainties, the more we learn of Him, and we attest the verities of The Divine Law which blesses all nations which dare to follow it.

This said, we must reaffirm that God has used the Consecrated Seed of Abraham and Sarah, the promise reposing in Isaac and Rebekah, the Sons which emerged with energy in the progeny of Jacob, divinely renamed Israel, and those multitudinous Tribes of Israel, to fulfill His purposes and promises. Of such there is even now springing from that quiet seed-bed of God's Kingdom the growth of many nations to fill the earth with kindness and blessing from on High.

However, we of the British-Israel-World Federation testify to evidence that the generally Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred peoples of today form the chief national groups of modern day descent from Israel of old time, and we know that our people have nationally erred from God's will in many ways and at times too numerous to mention throughout their history, and the present day is no exception. There is a promise contained in Scripture which is most appropriate for us to read, therefore, when we see ourselves in such dire straits. It is found in Leviticus 26:44-46, which says this:

44. And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God.
45. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God. I am the LORD.
46. These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.

To remember, is to see the way which we have trod, and particularly to note the manners whereby we have nationally transgressed God's Laws. To remember is to realise the affirmations dwelling upon us for that which shall yet be, and what devolve upon us by way of obligations in service to the King of kings. Remembrance inhibits the tendency to squander benefits, and assists us to preserve that which holds great value. To remember is to find the direction aligning our past through the here and now, and onward into our destiny, that it be not neglected and destroyed by those at enmity with its direction. By remembering, we see by which ways we have come, and hence how we must proceed to fulfil our part in the grand cavalcade of time. If we know the One, Who is the Potentate of Time, we also have assurance of our destiny in His miraculous handiwork in the structure of the years, and the essence of ourselves. To know Him is to know ourselves more perfectly, and thus to achieve more perfection through His work and His example in ourselves, for He has promised to dwell within His people, and that marks no idle promise to our souls.

Proverbs 25:3 says "As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters." May the benefits of all that we have reviewed this day be unto you a blessing from on high, as we search the Scriptures for our verities and the mark of our high calling.

19 November, 2000

DEUTERONOMY'S MESSAGE - PART XIX

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our ongoing Series of Bible Studies, beginning with the Genesis 12 Call by God to Abram and Sarai in Ur, to leave their people, began a family history which saw blessings promised to his progeny, Isaac, Jacob (Israel) and the Tribes descended therefrom. Sojourning in Egypt to the time of their Exodus, and then to Sinai where they received God's Law upon nationally becoming His wife, Israel has now neared The Promised Land and Moses is, in Deuteronomy imparting his farewell addresses to these Israelites before they cross the Jordan River. We had reached Deuteronomy 5:4, wherein God's Laws are to be reviewed, and we had read the verses covering this set of laws down to verse 25, together with some comments found in The New Bible Commentary. Today, I want to share some comments which we find in Keil and Delitzsch, but before I do, perhaps I should repeat those laws, so you know what they have in view when they make their comments. Verses 4-25 yield the following important Laws from the voice and the hand of The Almighty Himself, with Moses acting as His appointed intermediary:

4. The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire,
5. (I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to shew you the word of the LORD: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying,
6. I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
7. Thou shalt have none other gods before me.
8. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:
9. Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,
10. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
11. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
12. Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.
13. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:
14. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.
15. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
16. Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
17. Thou shalt not kill.
18. Neither shalt thou commit adultery.
19. Neither shalt thou steal.
20. Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.
21. Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's.
22. These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.
23. And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders;
24. And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth.
25. Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die.

Here are the comments by Keil and Delitzsch on that passage: "The exposition of the law commences with a repetition of the ten words of the covenant, which were spoken to all Israel directly by the Lord Himself. - Vers. 1-5 form the introduction, and point out the importance and great significance of the exposition which follows. Hence, instead of the simple sentence 'And Moses said,' we have the more formal statement 'And Moses called all Israel, and said to them.' The great significance of the laws and rights about to be set before them, consisted in the fact that they contained the covenant of Jehovah with Israel. ..." Following a discourse on views concerning various persons who have been supposed parties to this covenant they continue in the words: "But the covenant was made not with the particular individuals who were then alive, but rather with the nation as an organic whole. Hence Moses could with perfect justice identify those who constituted the nation at that time, with those who had entered into covenant with the Lord at Sinai. ..." Of verse 5 they observe that Moses used this introductory sentence "for the purpose of showing the mediatorial position which he occupied between the Lord and the people, not so much at the proclamation of the ten words of the covenant, as in connection with the conclusion of the covenant generally, which alone in fact rendered the conclusion of the covenant possible at all, on account of the alarm of the people at the awful manifestation of the majesty of the Lord. The word of Jehovah, which Moses as mediator had to announce to the people, had reference not to the instructions which preceded the promulgation of the decalogue (Ex. xix. 11 ssq.), but, as is evident from vers. 22-31, primarily to the further communications which the Lord was about to address to the nation in connection with the conclusion of the covenant, besides the ten words... ."

In other words, Keil and Delitzsch are pointing out that Moses was stating that Jehovah was paving the way to all that body of law which would be following those ten primary expression of His Law, later in this Book of Deuteronomy. Regarding those verses 6-21 which we have just been reading, Keil and Delitzsch say this: "the ten covenant words are repeated from Ex. xx., with only a few variations, which have already been discussed in connection with the exposition of the decalogue at Ex. xx. 1-14."

We have, in our series of Bible Studies through the recent years, already covered the Exodus rendition of those laws, and our comments are to be found on them, on our web page on the internet, which is found at www.british-israel-world-fed.ca, so we might ask those who would wish to see them to find them there, or to write in to our Headquarters, and ask us for a printed copy of the same series of talks extracted from the past copies of The Prophetic Expositor Magazine which carried them at that time.

Keil and Delitzsch do make some additional comments thus: "In vers. 22-33, Moses expounds still further on the short account in Ex. xx. 18-21, viz. that after the people had heard the ten covenant words, in their alarm at the awful phenomena in which the Lord revealed His glory, they entreated him to stand between as mediator, that God Himself might not speak to them any further, and that they might not die, and then promised that they would hearken to all that the Lord should speak to him (vers. 23-31). His purpose in doing so was to link on the exhortation in vers. 32, 33, to keep all the commandments of the Lord and do them, which paves the way for passing to the exposition of the law which follows."

God, in verse 22, is described as speaking with a great voice, following which the words appear "And He added no more", to which the comment is made "God spoke the ten words directly to the people, and then no more; i.e. everything further He addressed to Moses alone, and through his mediation to the people. As mediator He gave him the two tables of stone, upon which He had written the decalogue ... ." They further explain that this statement is repeated in its actual historic sequence at Chapter 9, verses 10-11, so mentioning it here "somewhat forestalls the historical course."

We shall leave the remainder of chapter five until the next Study, when we might pass on to the next Scriptures as well. The statement that God Himself addressed the whole people of the gathered Israelite Tribes from Sinai is very impressive, for all the people heard them with great fear. They certainly would witness to the truth of this to the next generation, and some who stood before Moses at this time might have been personally witnesses to that event.

There can be little doubt that this incident happened for yet another reason. The hearing of that Law at Sinai was on the date in the year which we call Pentecost, and the people ran from God's voice speaking that Law at Sinai. Centuries later, on the anniversary of that day the word of God spoke through The Holy Spirit at the Pentecost experience recorded in Acts 2, to those assembled in the house. Their message, through the words of Peter immediately following that incident, to those who gathered about them, was of the one who provided the means of redemption from the curse of that same Law. If two incidents appear linked by time measures, and by some meaningful linkage of intent, it would appear to mark design, and control of the course of history, to establish this. It is certainly something to consider when we contemplate what occurred at each event.

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