BIBLE STUDY SERIES #536, 537 and 538

3 March, 2002

DEUTERONOMY 32: 1-43 - THE SONG - PART II

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our series of Bible Studies on the Great Plan by which The Almighty God is steadily drawing His Creation towards the perfection of His Kingdom reveals that this plan centres upon the formation of one selected line of people chronicled in The Scriptural Record, which descends through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and thence through the whole history of the nation of Israel, and therein to provide, in the person of Jesus Christ, the focal point of His mighty purpose. This series has brought us from the call of Abram in Genesis 12, down to today's study which moves to the second of the final four chapters of Deuteronomy.

We now continue with the reading and study of Deuteronomy 32, of which we had scanned the verses down to verse 43, but of which we left some comments for today's review.

You might wish to have your Bibles open to that 32nd Chapter of Deuteronomy, and follow as we read today's Bible Study Scripture, the better to understand the comments based thereon. Keil and Delitzsch had commented that &Quot;Directly after handing over the book of the law Moses directed the elders of all the tribes, together with the official persons, to gather round him, that he might rehearse to them the ode which he had written for the people. The summons, was addressed to the persons to whom he had given the book of the law. The elders and officers, as the civil authorities of the congregation, were to put the ode in the mouth of the people, i.e. to take care that all the nation should learn it.

The Companion Bible comments may be briefly noted. Verse 4, &Quot;Rock,&Quot; a name for The Lord is used five times in the ode, which is the number of Grace. At verse 8, the division was a pre-determined inheritance, At 10, &Quot;the apple of His eye,&Quot; the Hebrew for apple actually means the hole, gate, or door of the eye. In 15, Jeshurun = the upright one and &Quot;kicked&Quot; = trampled under foot. At 20, &Quot;froward&Quot; = perverse, and at 27, &Quot;behave themselves strangely&Quot; = mistake it, and at 36, &Quot;judge&Quot; = vindicate. Verse 42, &Quot;from the beginning&Quot; = from (the flesh) of the chief leader of.

Keil and Delitzsch devote some 27 pages of commentary to those first 43 verses which we read on our last Study, so we will be hard pressed to meet our objective of relative brevity within the confines of our time today.

They begin: &Quot;In accordance with the object announced in chap. xxxi. 19, this song contrasts the unchangeable fidelity of the Lord with the perversity of His faithless people. After a solemn introduction pointing out the importance of the instruction about to be given (vers. 1-3), this thought is placed in the foreground as the theme of the whole: the Lord is blameless and righteous in His doings, but Israel acts corruptly and perversely; and this is carried out in the first place by showing the folly of the Israelites in rebelling against the Lord (vers. 6-18); secondly, by unfolding the purpose of God to reject and punish the rebellious generation (vers. 19-23); and lastly, by announcing and depicting the fulfilment of this purpose, and the judgment in which the Lord would have mercy upon His servants and annihilate His foes (vers. 34-43). The song embraces the whole of the future history of Israel, and bears all the marks of a prophetic testimony from the mouth of Moses, in the perfectly ideal picture which it draws, on the one hand, of the benefits and blessings conferred by the Lord upon His people; and on the other hand, of the ingratitude with which Israel repaid its God for them all.&Quot; They then draw in a quotation from another source to amplify upon their own thoughts thus: &Quot;This song, soaring as it does to the loftiest heights, moving amidst the richest abundance of pictures of both present and future, with its concise, compressed, and pictorial style, rough, penetrating, and sharp, but full of the holiest solemnity, a witness against the disobedient nation, a celebration of the covenant God, sets before us in miniature a picture of the whole life and conduct of the great man of God, whose office it pre-eminently was to preach condemnation.&Quot;

Keil and Delitzsch then continue: &Quot;It is true that the persons addressed in this ode are not the contemporaries of Moses, but the Israelites in Canaan, when they had grown haughty in the midst of the rich abundance of its blessings, and had fallen away from the Lord, so that the times when God led the people through the wilderness to Canaan are represented as days long past away. But this, the stand-point of the ode, is not to be identified with the poet's own time. It is rather a prophetic anticipation of the future... .&Quot;

Here, Keil and Delitzsch are careful to point out the error of those who approach the words of Moses from the standpoint of the higher critic who claims, on the basis that there can be no such thing as prophetic knowledge, that any writing which purports to convey such must originate after the events pictured by the prophet. They continue &Quot;The assertion that the entire ode moves within the epoch of the kings who lived many centuries after the time of Moses, rests upon a total misapprehension of the nature of prophecy, and a mistaken attempt to turn figurative language into prosaic history. In the whole of the song there is not a single word to indicate that the persons addressed were 'already sighing under the oppression of a wild and hostile people, the barbarous hordes of Assyrians or Chaldeans'... . &Quot;The Lord had indeed determined to reject the idolatrous nation, and excite it to jealousy through those that were 'no people,' and to heap up all evils upon it, famine, pestilence, and sword; but the execution of this purpose had not yet taken place, and, although absolutely certain, was in the future still. Moreover, the benefits which God had conferred upon His people, were not of such a character as to render it impossible that they should have been alluded to by Moses. All that the Lord had done for Israel, by delivering it from bondage and guiding it miraculously through the wilderness, had been already witnessed by Moses himself; and the description in vers. 13 and 14, which goes beyond that time, is in reality nothing more than a pictorial expansion of the thought that Israel was most bountifully provided with the richest productions of the land of Canaan, which flowed with milk and honey. It is true, the satisfaction of Israel with these blessings had not actually taken place in the time of Moses, but was still only an object of hope but it was hope of such a kind, that Moses could not cherish a moment's doubt concerning it. Throughout the whole we find no allusions to peculiar circumstances or historical events belonging to a later age, - On the other hand, the whole circle of ideas, figures, and words in the ode points decidedly to Moses as the author.&Quot;

After pointing to specific terms used by Moses as bearing the imprint of most ancient usage, they begin an account of the parts, which are then examined in much greater detail than we have time to follow in this Study. Indeed, where I shall give each segment a synopsis in a few words, the Commentary may literally occupy several pages for each sub-division, so if you are interested in those details, you might profitably consider obtaining the whole Commentary for further investigation. The sections are as follows:

Verses 1-5, Introduction and Theme, in which Moses summons heaven and earth to hearken to his words because the instruction which he was about to proclaim concerned both heaven and earth.

Verses 6-18, which forms an expansion of the theme according to the thought expressed in verse 5, namely the Lord's goodness repaid by rebellious apostasy of His people. This sub-divides into verse 6, a reproachful question, supported in 7-14 by an enumeration of the benefits conferred by God, and in verses 15-18 which describe the ingratitude of the people.

Verses 19-33 convey the fact that, for this foolish apostasy, the Lord would severely visit His people.

Verse 34 commences the description of this judgment. &Quot;Yet for His name's sake the Lord would have compassion upon it, when it was so humiliated with its heavy punishments that its strength was coming to an end.&Quot; The Commentary marks this verse as transitional between what goes before and what follows.

Verses 35-36 explain that vengeance belongs to God. The Lord will punish the sins of His people in due time.

Verses 37-39 convey the fact that The Lord would then convince His people of the worthlessness of idols and the folly of idolatry, and bring it to admit the fact that He was God alone.

Verses 40-43 explain that The Lord will show Himself as the only true God who slays and makes alive, etc. He will take vengeance upon His enemies, avenge the blood of His servants, and expiate His land, His people. &Quot;With this promise, which is full of comfort for all the servants of the Lord, the ode concludes.&Quot;

We shall leave the remainder of the chapter for the next Study, and make a temporary closure by simply reading the next four verses.

44. And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun.
45. And Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel:
46. And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.
47. For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.

10 March, 2002

DEUTERONOMY 32: 44 - 52

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our series of Bible Studies on the Great Plan by which The Almighty God is steadily drawing His Creation towards the perfection of His Kingdom reveals that this plan centres upon the formation of one selected line of people chronicled in The Scriptural Record, which descends through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and thence through the whole history of the nation of Israel, and therein to provide, in the person of Jesus Christ, the focal point of His mighty purpose. This series has brought us from the call of Abram in Genesis 12, down to today's study which concludes the second of the final four chapters of Deuteronomy.

We now continue with the reading and study of Deuteronomy 32, of which we had scanned the verses down to verse 43, but of which we left the concluding passages and comments for today's study.

You might wish to have your Bibles open to that 32nd Chapter of Deuteronomy, and follow as we read today's Bible Study Scripture, the better to understand the comments based thereon. Keil and Delitzsch had commented that &Quot;Directly after handing over the book of the law Moses directed the elders of all the tribes, together with the official persons, to gather round him, that he might rehearse to them the ode which he had written for the people, ... with orders to take care that all the nation should learn it.&Quot; Now, at the end of this chapter, we find the scene changing somewhat as Moses concludes his oration to the assembly with further final admonitions concerning what has transpired.

Let us read the Scripture portion which follows that ode, starting at verse 44:

44. And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun.
45. And Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel:
46. And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.
47. For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.
48. And the LORD spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying,
49. Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession:
50. And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people:
51. Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribahkadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel.
52. Yet thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel.

Perhaps we might, following our usual practice, find an explanatory definition in The Companion Bible, and following that, learn what comments Keil and Delitzsch have to tell us about this passage.

The Companion Bible notes of the name &Quot;Hoshea = the old spelling of Joshua. Later it was 'Jeshua' (Ezra 2:2). This was adopted by the Sept., and ultimately became 'Jesus'.&Quot;

The closing verse of the ode written by Moses, verse 43, states &Quot;Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land and to his people&Quot; and the words of Keil and Delitzsch upon that sentence may make a suitable prelude to what follows. They state this of verse 43: &Quot;For this retribution which God accomplishes upon His enemies, the nations were to praise the people of the Lord. As this song commenced with an appeal to heaven and earth to give glory to the Lord (vers. 1-3), so it very suitably closes with an appeal to the heathen to rejoice with His people on account of the acts of the Lord. 'Rejoice, nations, over His people; for He avenges the blood of His servants, and repays vengeance to His adversaries, and so expiates His land, His people.' 'His people' is an accusative, and not in apposition to nations in the sense of 'nations which are His people.' For, apart from the fact that such a combination would be unnatural, the thought that the heathen had become the people of God is nowhere distinctly expressed in the song (not even in verse 21); nor is the way even so prepared for it as that we could expect it here, although the appeal to the nations to rejoice with His people on account of what God had done involves the Messianic idea, that all nations will come to the knowledge of the Lord... . The reason for this rejoicing is the judgment through which the Lord avenges the blood of His servants and repays His foes. As the enemies of God are not the heathen as such (see at ver. 41), so the servants of Jehovah are not the nation of Israel as a whole, but the faithful who were persecuted, oppressed, and put to death by the ungodly. By this the land was defiled, covered with blood-guiltiness, so that the Lord was obliged to interpose as a judge, to put an end to the ways of the wicked, and to expiate His land, His people, i.e. to wipe out the guilt which rested upon the land and people, by the punishment of the wicked, and the extermination of idolatry and ungodliness, and to sanctify and glorify the land and nation ... .&Quot;

We now turn to the close of the message by Moses. At verses 44-47. &Quot;It is stated that Moses, with Joshua, spake the song to the people; and on finishing this rehearsal, once more impressed upon the hearts of the people the importance of observing all the commandments of God. This account proceeds from the author of the supplement to the Thorah of Moses, who inserted the song in the book of the law. This explains the name Hoshea, instead of Jehoshuah (Joshua), which Moses had given to his servant (Num. xiii. 8, 16), and invariably uses ... .&Quot;

We now come to verses 48-52. &Quot;That self-same day,&Quot; viz. the day upon which Moses had rehearsed the song to the children of Israel, the Lord renewed the announcement of his death, by repeating the command already given to him (Num. xxvii. 12-14) to ascend Mount Nebo, there to survey the land of Canaan, and then to be gathered unto his people. In form, this repetition differs from the previous announcement, partly in the fact that the situation of Mount Nebo is more fully described (in the land of Moab, etc., as in chap. i. 5, xxviii. 69), and partly in the continual use of the imperative, and a few other trifling points. These differences may all be explained from the fact that the account here was not written by Moses himself.&Quot;

Perhaps, as it is not distinctly covered in that commentary, I might once again explain some things which can be important to our understanding of the whole passage. First, the great sin which kept Moses out of the Promised Land, to which his whole life's direction and purpose had been bent those many years previous, was to strike the same rock twice: once at Horeb (Mount Sinai), (Exodus 17:6), and again at Kadesh (Numbers 20:11) where the &Quot;water of Meribah&Quot; was provided. It had to be the same rock which was carried from one spot to the other by the Israelites because otherwise the symbolism is totally evaded and lost if we hold that two different field-stones or rock-outcrops native to the two different localities had been struck at two separate locations to provide water for Israel. Jacob's Pillow Stone, Bethel, which means &Quot;God's House&Quot; had been anointed with oil by Jacob and could thereafter be called a &Quot;Christ Stone&Quot;, using the meaning of the adjective &Quot;Christ&Quot;, which simply means &Quot;anointed.&Quot; In Egypt it was passed by Jacob (Israel) to the care of Joseph (Genesis 49:24). As Yahweh, The LORD Who was also &Quot;The Anointed&Quot; (Luke 4:18, Acts 4:27; 10:38, Heb. 1:9) had identified Himself in symbolism with the Rock by standing upon it while it had been struck at Horeb, we can understand that this was a symbol of what would happen to Him at His First Advent. Basing a spiritual gloss on the actual occurrence, Paul makes reference to the duality of meaning in I Corinthians 10:4. Understanding this, we can now see why, on the second occasion, the Rock, (the same anointed Rock) was to hear Moses words, but not be struck, for that second occasion at Kadesh, nearing The Promised Land, was to represent His Second Advent, when He comes, not as a Suffering Servant, but as King of Kings to lead His people into the fullness of His Kingdom. Moses' great sin was to break the intended symbolism in the two events by saying &Quot;must we fetch you water out of this rock?&Quot; as he struck the same rock a second time (Numbers 20:10-11).

Then also, we, of the British-Israel-World Federation expound our reasons for holding that the present-day descendants of those same Israelites of the days of Moses are chiefly found in the generally Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred peoples of the north-western portions of Europe, and their latter-day overseas descendants, and include also those whose lines of descent are derived out of the scattered populations of the same folk who migrated across Europe and along the sailing routes of the Mediterranean and connected waters to their appointed places (as prophesied in II Samuel 7:10). Thus, the dire warnings which Moses gave to Israel so long ago apply most strictly and indeed specifically, to these same peoples today. They are to hold the Commandments which were transmitted by Moses as amplified in Christ, in accordance with that New Covenant which is recorded in Jeremiah 31:31-33. With those considerations we will close today's Study.

17 March, 2002

DEUTERONOMY 33: 1-29 - TRIBAL BLESSINGS

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our series of Bible Studies on the Great Plan by which The Almighty God is steadily drawing His Creation towards the perfection of His Kingdom reveals that this plan centres upon the formation of one selected line of people chronicled in The Scriptural Record, which descends through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and thence through the whole history of the nation of Israel, and therein to provide, in the person of Jesus Christ, the focal point of His mighty purpose. This series has brought us from the call of Abram in Genesis 12, down to today's study which is comprised of the second-last chapter of Deuteronomy, namely, Deuteronomy 33. You might wish to have your Bibles open to that 33rd Chapter of Deuteronomy, and follow as we read today's Bible Study Scripture, the better to understand the comments based thereon.

In the Plains of Moab, east of The Jordan River, Moses, has addressed the assembled Tribes of Israel gathered there, prior to their entry into The Promised Land. He has delivered to them an ode designed to reinforce an understanding of their situation before The LORD. The Almighty, Who had brought them out of Egyptian Bondage by great signs and wonders, and had guided them through the Sinai Wilderness, would grant them and their descendants national blessings for reverence and obedience, but would rain curses upon them for their rebellious disregard of Him and His Laws. The Ode which Moses had written would witness against them and their children in the years to come. The words of Moses in the oration had now concluded. The 33rd Chapter, the one we are to study today, will establish the prophetic blessings to each of the gathered Israelite Tribes and the following one, the last, will record a concluding account of the transfer of authority from Moses to their new leader, Joshua, who will provide the inspired leadership needed in the campaigns ahead. Let us read the Scripture portion from Deuteronomy 33:

1. And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.
2. And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.
3. Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.
4. Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.
5. And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.
6. Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.
7. And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.
8. And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah;
9. Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant.
10. They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar.
11. Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept the work of his hands: smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.
12. And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.
13. And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,
14. And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,
15. And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,
16. And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.
17. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.
18. And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents.
19. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.
20. And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head.
21. And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the LORD, and his judgments with Israel.
22. And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion's whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.
23. And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the LORD: possess thou the west and the south.
24. And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.
25. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.
26. There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.
27. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.
28. Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.
29. Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.

The New Bible Commentary contains some insights worth noting. &Quot;The wording of verse 1 implies that it was written after the death of Moses, but what follows may have been written previously, by Moses himself, or by one who heard him. The 'blessing' is a prophetic utterance of prayer and praise (cf. Lk. ii. 28). Like Jacob's blessing (Gn. xlix), Moses declares in poetical form the favours of God bestowed upon each individual tribe.&Quot;

The Companion Bible yields certain clarifications: In verse 2. &Quot;saints&Quot; = holy ones i.e. angels, and this is supported by The New Bible Commentary with the words &Quot;Lit. 'from the myriads of holiness'. The LXX substitutes 'angels' for 'saints', and this is probably the true meaning. (Cf. Acts vii. 53.)&Quot; Keil and Delitzsch agree with this interpretation.

In verse 7, The Companion Bible reference to &Quot;Judah&Quot; includes Simeon; &Quot;for their inheritance and blessing were one&Quot;, in 8, for &Quot;Thummim ... Urim&Quot; - See Ex. 28:30, Num. 26:55. Here The New Bible Commentary adds &Quot;The LXX translates the two words as 'light' and 'truth'... They seem to have been precious stones which were instrumental in revealing the will of God.&Quot; The Companion Bible, at 14 states &Quot;Moon&Quot; is put for months, an interpretation with which Keil and Delitzsch disagree. At verse 16, both The Companion Bible and Keil and Delitzsch relate the &Quot;bush&Quot; with the burning bush on the slopes of Sinai (Exodus 3:2). In 17, The Companion Bible notes &Quot;Horns&Quot; is put for Ephraim and Manasseh, while in 26, Jeshurun = upright i.e. the ideal Israel as the upright nation, possessed of all these laws. In verse 28, at the words &Quot;Israel ... Jacob&Quot;, the name of a man put for his posterity. Note the name &Quot;Israel&Quot; connected with Divine safety, and &Quot;Jacob&Quot; with earthly substance.

The New Bible Commentary notes at verse 29, &Quot;their high places&Quot; that the Hebrew word (bamoth) is applied in the books of Kings and Chronicles to the places where idolatrous or irregular worship was practised (I Ki. xii. 31). Here it bears its earlier and literal sense of 'lofty heights'... .

Keil and Delitzsch have over 21 pages of notes on this chapter, and convey more than we can include in our broadcast today. I might make an observation from my own perspective on their approach to these tribal prophecies. They tend, in my view, to seek a Palestinian fulfilment of the distinct tribal blessings, rather than giving due weight to ongoing historic experiences destined to specific lines of tribal descent in the last days, and in geographically diverse lands, as we find them in Jacob's words in Genesis 49, augmented by God's words to King David in II Samuel 7:10, to which I would direct the attention of the listener.

In Gen. 49, Deuteronomy 33 and in the symbolic vision of Revelation 21:1 - 22:2, we find three prophetic sources which witness together to the historic fact that the distinct progeny of each of the separate tribes of Israel must continue, without disappearing in a miscegenated racial amalgam at any point, down through the entire history of Israel to the Second Advent of Our LORD and beyond. If any other construction than racial descent is to be substituted in the intent of these words, it means that The Almighty God lied to the Patriarchs who clearly record the racial nature of the covenant and prophetic promises of The Almighty, and through them, God would then have lied to the entire concourse of history. This He would never do.

We shall be moving to the final chapter of Deuteronomy next week.

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