|BIBLE STUDY SERIES #470, 471 and 472|
26 November, 2000
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
In our present series of Bible Studies, we have been tracing, from Holy Scriptures, the account of the Great Plan which The Almighty God has followed in order to draw His Creation into its desirable condition. We have followed the story of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their descendants, who were later formed into thirteen tribes in Egypt, where they became bondsmen to the Egyptians. At a time of God's choice, and by His methods, these same tribes, the Children of Israel, were released from their captivity through The Exodus.
Presently we are studying Deuteronomy 5, which contains a nearly identical re-statement of the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20, which we studied nearly seven years ago. Thus it is convenient to repeat that series. Headed "The Law - Of Dice Or Deity", the first of those will form a useful preamble, and I will quote with minor editing the text used at that time.
The Almighty God had instructed the eighty-year-old Moses through the Burning Bush on the slopes of Sinai, to return into Egypt; there to be His spokesman to Pharaoh for the release of the children of Israel. God had further ordered that, when they were released, the children of Israel should be led to the slopes of Mount Sinai, whereupon they would worship God Almighty Whose name, Yahweh, would be explained to them by the term "I AM THAT I AM". By this Name, we may understand the meaning as The EVER EXISTENT and absolutely independent One, Who remains constant, always consistent with Himself. This, Moses has now done.
The setting was one of rocky grandeur very different from the deltaic flats of the Nile. It was majestic, yet perhaps also very frightening with that cloud shrouded radiance of manifest power and glory settled upon the wild summit of those rocky slopes.
We had sought to explain why God would lead so many people out into the wilderness for this encounter. As part of the answer, we saw that this setting would set the people apart from all the distracting influences which they had left back in Egypt, along with their bondage restraints of those former days.
This was to be a time of drawing aside to meet with God, and the site must be holy. Indeed, the occasion was, in fact, to mark the formation of a national agreement of marriage between Israel and God. Sharp focus was to be imparted to this new experience by a formal Covenant. It formed, indeed, the legal establishment of their new national covenanted relationship with the God of their forefathers, and a convincing manifestation of glory and power would give assurance that God's authority and majesty would be able to accomplish their Salvation and blessing as they observed their part in this agreement.
In the formation of a Nation, great importance must be placed upon a Code of Law by which the whole structure of the nation will be created and held together. Thus, the central matter in the establishment of Israel as God's peculiar, that is to say, His special people, is now about to take place. It is the codification and giving of the Law to this nation by Their Almighty God through the writing of the Ten Commandments, and the subsequent elaboration thereof in sundry laws and judgments which would follow.
We are about to review each of these laws. Thus we first need to think about the whole subject of the place of Law in the Plan of God.
We see about us an Universe, throughout which a relationship of cause and effect is apparently the rule. All the phenomena which we can observe and examine by experiment appear to the mind of the thinking rational human being to be regulated. That is to say, the whole appears to be unfolding in a related manner in all the concourse of time and space throughout the history of all things. There does exist the possibility of a particular apparent exception to this situation which is important, and which I shall mention in a few moments.
We have come to expect certain results to follow certain pre-set circumstances. We call this set of observations the "Laws of Nature." But if this understanding is correct, and we project those relationships back through time, then Logic would thus point us to the concept that all the concourse of exact cause and effect relationships, all of history, indeed every infinite precise detail even including all of our own thought processes, when traced back, and back further and further to the initial cause would have been produced as one total design from the instant of the first cause!
This would be true whether that first cause was a, thus-far unexplained, bursting forth of a primeval, so-called, singularity in the "Big Bang" which is theorised by scientific minds, or the Biblical "In the beginning God...", or perhaps even a combination of the two, answering to the questions concerning Creation, "How?" and "Who?"
The first postulate would demonstrate the result of a sort of ethereal dance of an almost infinite chorus of multi-faceted dice which, with concerted uniformity, rang up the correct combination of order on the only throw allowable.
On the other hand, we read the Biblical view of a Deity, Who designed the whole process as a divine and perfect artist, predestinating the totality which forms "all things" through "The Word" of John 1:1-5. That passage reads:
1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2. The same was in the beginning with God.
3. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.
4. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
In either case, there is, and can be, only one reality, one truth to which all accords, and to which everything ultimately relates. We may think of "Law" as the name of that relationship to Truth. It is apparently the "Nature" of phenomena to act by such law. We might remember that, in answer to Thomas, Christ spoke those resonant words of John 14:6, "...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
The ordered universe I describe is an essential prerequisite, not only to cohesion of the natural phenomena of matter and energy flux, but also to logical thought processes regarding the same, and the projection of probable consequences of all choices. We would otherwise experience a constant hallucinatory minefield. No logical thought process could develop outside of a context of natural laws.
Ability to choose is a prerequisite if one is to give expression to motives of preference for or against something. Both "love" and "hate" of some degree are involved in every choice, incidentally, for they are the two aspects of the choice being expressed. If mankind is to experience the power to make choices and to give expression to such by taking action of some sort, then, only a rational universe of natural laws can be permitted to form his environment, for the expected consequence of each possibility, in accordance with natural laws, must contribute to the process of making that selection.
It follows that Mankind must become responsible for, and accept the consequences of, all choices that it lies within his power to make. Further, mankind must, in short, be enabled to make at least some choices which are not ultimately beneficial to himself or to others. He must, in fact, be capable of Sinning against his own ultimate benefit!
This observation leads us to consider again our two possibilities. We can expect that both the postulated "first causes", Dice and Deity, will prepare a logical universe of cause and effect relationships wherein mankind may make choices and bear the consequences thereof.
Thus an humanistic scientist would demonstrate a total lack of logical thought process at the critical foundation level of his theory if he assumed that by researching and documenting natural laws of cause and effect to the ultimate reaches of knowledge he would have conquered and extinguished the domain of a non-existent god of the superstitious and ignorant! I rather suspect that many scientists of the last century were led to that assumption in university, and the theory persists even now as a sort of religion of man's own creation; a manifest rebellion against God by the un-thinking.
The two postulates may be tested, but not in the hands of one devoid of mountain-top experience, for the litmus test is the presence of miracle within the texture of time and space at points chosen, not by man in his laboratory, but by deity. If such miracles are categorically to be excluded from court on the pretext that science cannot accept such witness, the judge is blinded and the conclusion will be predictable.
As, in practice, there can be only one reality, one true situation, so only one adaptation of man to that truth will suffice to bring positive beneficial relationship. Here we must at once point out from the Biblical record that The Almighty God desires to elicit that beneficial response by mankind towards Himself. If mankind seeks to extend experience of conscious joy and wonder in prolongation of life, mankind must make choices which accord with that ultimate long range objective of his desire.
Choice is the basis of all the desirable characteristics of the human being; love, honour, loyalty, gracious forgiveness, and the rest. If these choices are human possibilities, they must also be characteristics of the all-powerful Creator who designed all things.
We shall be examining each of the Laws called the Ten Commandments on subsequent studies in the present series, but as our time has expired for today, I shall leave the continuation of this short preamble to our next programme.
3 December, 2000
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
In the present series of Bible Studies, we are attempting to trace the course of Almighty God's preparation of a people through whom He will eventually work to bring in The Kingdom of God upon the earth as a blessing to mankind. To this point, we have followed the history of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the emergence of the Children of Israel out of Egypt in the Exodus to Mount Sinai where The Almighty God made a Covenant with the whole people of the thirteen tribes of Israel which would, in essence, upon acceptance by the people, make that nation God's wife.
As we saw on our last Bible Study (a repeat, with minor editing, of one in the series given about seven years ago, when studying the Decalogue in Exodus 20), Law is an essential ingredient of the whole of creation, both in its natural unfolding through time, and in the essence of God's work with His creatures. Today, we are continuing to quote from the series of Studies and comments made regarding Exodus 20, for that sequence is likewise applicable to the present Studies in Deuteronomy 5, regarding the whole subject of Law, and preparatory to a more detailed look at each of the Ten Commandments which were codified by God from Mount Sinai.
A nation is, in essence, a people under an agreement with a central authority. We may think of that agreement between an authority and the citizenry as a contract legally binding upon both parties, for such an agreement will stipulate what the authority contracts to do if the designated conduct is followed, and what will, on the other hand, occur if transgression should take place.
Among fallen humanity, there is a natural tendency to take easy shortcuts to effect individual, and frequently selfish, short-term purposes. Those shortcuts may be in areas which are forbidden, because the long-term effects of such shortcuts, although the full ramifications may not, perhaps even be understood or seen by the sinner, will eventually bring pain or disaster to those concerned or to other innocent parties. Good laws are set in place to deter such transgressions, but natural man is impatient to reach selfish satisfaction, and so it oftimes happens that temptation over-rides wisdom in circumstances which appear to hide the transgression from immediate observation. The authority must expose such sin and exact an appropriate penalty in order to teach adherence to the lawful order for the ultimate long-term benefit of everyone concerned.
Under human authority, which is generally limited in its power to observe and by its nature inclines towards selfishness, terror must strengthen application of the law, in order to reach to the hidden places in society in which sin may otherwise move unhindered. The desirable Godly alternative to such application of authoritarian terror is a self-regulating conscience, operating in each citizen through constraint which is motivated by a true sense of identification with God and a true love for others. Only the latter will be constantly effective beyond the sight of human authority.
Asked a question concerning the Law, Jesus made a valuable answer in Matthew 22:35-40. The passage states:
35. Then one of them, (the Pharisees) which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36. Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38. This is the first and great commandment.
39. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
It is significant that Jesus did not say "these two generalities yield a good feeling which will replace those old hard-to-keep Old Testament laws"! Nor did He say "The Old Testament Law is to be nailed to my Cross so you won't have to keep it any longer"! He accepted the question, although it was asked in an attempt to trip Him up, with deep perceptive honesty. Note that He stated that "all the law and the prophets" of the Old Testament (for that was, and remained the only law under discussion) was dependent upon the strict keeping of these two foundation principles. A person must love God totally, and likewise love one's neighbour as oneself in order to insure that the rest of the Commandments would be fully applied without looking for Pharisaical legal loop-holes! That is the sense of the discussion.
The Greek word for law is "nomos", and there has arisen, particularly of late, an erroneous antinomian teaching by numerous pastors; the idea that the law, of which Christ spoke, was somehow nailed to the Cross where He died. The law which was "nailed to the cross" was that law which pertained to the ordinances relating to sacrifice as a substitutionary death for sin. To make it plain that Christ did not do away with The Laws of Sinai, we have but to turn to Matthew 5, the Sermon on the Mount, verses 17 through 19:
17. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Note here, first, that this law of which Christ speaks is the Old Testament Law given on Mount Sinai, and that both parties, those who obey and teach the law, and those others who do not, are mentioned as being "in the kingdom." How will those who failed to obey and to teach the law get there? As St. Paul stated in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God", and in Romans 6:23, "the wages of sin is death" so it is by grace through Christ's substitutionary sacrifice that all such will have gained entrance to the kingdom of heaven. But the two groups, both having arrived in the kingdom of heaven, are strictly severed one from another in status within that kingdom on the basis of the keeping of the (Old Testament) law! Now heaven and earth have not passed out of existence, so by the words of Jesus Christ in this passage, that law still applies.
If we still harbour doubt concerning this matter, consider this: Sin is the transgression of the law (I John 3:4), and if the Old Testament Law given on Mount Sinai itself has been done away by being "nailed to the Cross", there could not be any subsequent sin through the breaking of that Law, hence no condemnation thereof, and thus Christ's sacrifice would no longer be of consequence to subsequent generations. However Christ's death is as a substitute sin-bearer for one whose sin would otherwise condemn that person to death, even to this present hour.
We are dead to the demands for punishment BY THE LAW, through association with that body of Christ which hung on that Cross. The LAW itself IS NOT DEAD. Further, we must remember that the Law given on Mount Sinai was a national undertaking, as well as individual.
Now, let us take a brief look at what is to come. I might mention that a study of the matter of Biblical Law can be facilitated through the acquisition of several references. I have found the following to be of service in this regard:
"A Handbook of Bible Law" by Charles A. Weisman, "Digest of the Divine Law", by Howard B. Rand, "The Institutes of Biblical Law", Volumes I and II, by Rousas John Rushdoony.
Our British-Israel bookrooms in Toronto and Vancouver stock these and other references on the same general topic. A small booklet containing the transcript of a Convention talk which I gave a few years ago, entitled "The Law Abiding God" is likewise available from the same source.
The Ten Commandments, which we are about to examine, beginning on our next Bible Study, are not the whole body of LAW. The TEN themselves are but a summary. Many other Old Testament laws hang upon, or are dependent upon, the ten general principles enunciated herein, just as these Ten, in their turn, are dependent upon the two which were enunciated by Our Lord in the passage we examined today for their full effectiveness.
It might be a good idea, before the next study, if you were to get out the Bible, assuming one is at hand, and read these ten laws, found in the first seventeen verses of Exodus 20. We are, after all, commanded to do this in Deuteronomy 6:6-9, which says of God's Ten Commandments:
6. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
8. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house and on thy gates.
By what measure we fail to follow that commandment, we shall surely reap the results. You may judge how far we have fallen from the keeping of that injunction by considering the present degree of application thereof within the walls of government institutions wherein our youth are taught. It is here that civic responsibility is supposedly cultivated. The crime statistics in our cities testify to the result, as we exclude the Commandments of The Almighty God in a hopeless attempt to placate the multicult sector among us! The full ramifications of that statement must, however, await another of our Bible Studies.
10 December, 2000
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
In these Bible Studies, we are tracing the course of God's preparation of a people through whom He will eventually bring in The Kingdom of God upon the earth as a blessing to mankind. To this point, we have followed the history of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the emergence of the Children of Israel out of Egypt in the Exodus to Mount Sinai where The Almighty God made a Covenant with the whole thirteen tribes of Israel which would, in essence, upon acceptance by the people, make that nation God's wife.
As we saw on our last Bible Studies (repeats, with minor editing, of those in the series given about seven years ago, when studying the Decalogue in Exodus 20), Law is an essential ingredient of the whole of creation, both in its natural unfolding through time, and in the essence of God's work with His creatures, and while the laws contained in the ordinances for sacrificial presentation before God were nailed to that Cross, the Ten Commandments and related civil laws were to continue until beyond the passing of heaven and earth (Matthew 5:18, Luke 16:17). They are as valid today as when Christ commanded their keeping during the days of His First Advent. Today, we are continuing to quote from the series of Studies regarding Exodus 20, for that sequence likewise applies to the present Studies in Deuteronomy 5.
The Law Code of The Almighty God sets forth in Holy Writ not only His explanation of correct inter-action between ourselves and God Himself, but also that of the corporate life of the nation.
When seen in this light, God's Law is, in its entirety, an expression of love. It is the gift of wisdom to the prudent. In the Authorised Version, Psalm 119 contains 176 verses on The Law.
The Almighty God is a Creator Who loves His Creation. He desires that mankind possess, as human beings, an equivalent capability to understand, to reciprocate, and to reflect that divine love. Mankind's freedom to choose attitudes and actions is an essential capability, needed in order to express love of any sort, either towards our God or towards other people. This freedom leads to a learning experience involving inevitable unwise choices which unavoidably eventuate in the catastrophe called Sin.
For this reason, there must also exist within God's Law Code a provision for that eventuality, giving expression to The Creator's concern that our inevitable errors, which began on the human level with Adam and Eve, might not irretrievably destine us to death.
We read in Revelation 13:8, of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and we understand that this was that required provision of a remedy, foreseen as essential within the design of Creation. The expression of God's love is recorded in the well-known verse, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Thus, when seen in the light of this amplification, the whole Wisdom of The Law forms the highest expression of His loving concern for His people, and their corresponding wisdom is to obey that Law.
Jesus said, in John 14:15, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." He likewise explained, in Matthew 5:19, that "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." The commandments of which He spoke were the Old Testament, or Mosaic commandments, as all will, I think, agree.
As all have sinned, all who participate in the kingdom of heaven must do so by Grace, not works. However, some people carelessly preach that "the Law was nailed to the Cross", without explaining that the law designated in that passage (Colossians 2:14) is specifically the "handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us", and it related to the necessary sacrifice for Sin, and that it was Christ, (as the culmination to which all previous animal sacrifices for a sin offering pointed forward), Who bore the penalty in our place for transgression of the Law, and Who thus allowed us to escape that penalty. Such preachers, who confuse the whole body of The Commandments, God's loving will for mankind, with the penalty provisions may thus expect, as we have just seen in Matthew 5:19, to be called "least" in the kingdom.
The same Commandments found in Exodus 20, are repeated in Deuteronomy 5:6-18, followed by sundry laws covering particular amplifications and details, all of which were delivered by way of repetition before Israel entered the Promised Land. Also, The Companion Bible notes that the Hebrew word translated "God" in the words "God spake" of verse 1 is Elohim, "Not Jehovah, for this (latter) title would have limited the law to Israel."
Also, Keil and Delitzsch examine alternative traditions regarding the points of separation of each Commandment from the next, among these Ten Commandments. While I have adopted the form customary in my experience, others may wish to consult this reference for further information in that regard. With that explanation, let us now read from Deuteronomy 5:6-7 the First Commandment, found in almost identical words in Exodus 20:1-3.
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.
The words of this Commandment indicate the existence of other so-called gods, like the imagined deities honoured by the animal-headed images of ancient Egypt, false concepts, inadequate visions, even satanic powers, but Israel, having been drawn forth, out of the Egyptian bondage, is to be devoted to her one Supreme Being, Yahweh, or Jehovah, her own Kinsman-Redeemer, Who has so recently moved, through the Exodus, to demonstrate His supremacy over all other gods.
We, of the British-Israel-World Federation believe that the generally Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred peoples of today are the actual descendants of those ancient tribes of Israel, and thus we fulfil God's everlasting promises covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and to King David. Certainly no other peoples answer to all the Biblical earmarks of the prophesied progeny. If we are not those Israelites, a frustrated God has given false promises to the Patriarchs, and cannot be relied upon for Christ's terms of Salvation. It is thus of supreme importance to our own nations of Israel today to observe this First Commandment.
National Service by Israel to God, the ONE LORD means we must not serve a pantheon, a multiplicity of gods, as did the Egyptians, and as did the ancient Greeks and Romans, among others. The sin of Solomon, the wisest of kings, was that he married many strange wives in his later years, and for each, he built a temple honouring her choice of god. It was for this sin that The Almighty God rent the kingdom asunder. Let us read the passage from I Kings 11:1-12:
1. But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
2. Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.
3. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
4. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.
5. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
6. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.
7. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
8. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.
9. And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,
10. And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.
11. Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.
12. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.
Perhaps it will emphasize the similarities with our own situation if I point out that worship of Ashtoreth, goddess of fertility, love and war, according to The New Bible Dictionary, "was depraved in the extreme." Here I immediately bring to mind a modern culturally pervasive "wood", together with its "Sex goddesses"; the modern equivalent of the ancient wooden images of the Canaanite goddess "Asherah". It is called "Hollywood."
Molech, according to the New Bible Dictionary, "was associated with the sacrifice of children in the fire", while the same reference states, of Chemosh, "The sacrifice of children as a burnt offering was part of his worship." Israel of Solomon's day waited until the child came to term. We call our children "tissue", or "fetus", abort them before term, and cannibalise or burn the remains. Will God judge us guiltless for permitting this to happen?
Today, God's Israel peoples are making exactly the same accommodations to the feelings of aliens, stating that we ought, in effect, to serve their god instead of following the First Commandment of Our God. This same error is today given the new label of "multi-cult." While, our long-suffering God refrains from instant vengeance, the practice of granting other gods precedence before Him, is just as much the object of fury to our God as it was when He displayed His displeasure and supremacy over the gods of Egypt in the Exodus; imposing death upon Egypt's firstborn, both of people and of animals in retribution for the murders of Israelite children.
There are those today who still serve animal gods, and other ancient fallacious religious ideas perpetuated from ancient times, in the days when Israel was called to be a nation apart, a peculiar people, dedicated to the God of Israel. Today, we, the children of those same Israelites, are falling for the same demands, yielding to the same pressures, as Israel did in old time, and we must correct the drift to disaster by national effort of a concerted kind bringing ourselves and our children back to serve the One God of our people, in spite of the threats and anger of those who would divert us to a form of multi-cult religion under the United Nations and the so-called New World Order.
We shall continue our examination of God's Commandments on subsequent programmes.
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