BIBLE STUDY SERIES #140, 141 and 142

24 July, 1994

A HORNET TO THE ENEMY

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

The present series of Bible Studies is one in which we have been studying the Great Plan of Almighty God for the restitution of His Creation. We began this present series with the Call of Abram, and we have now reached the account of his descendants through Isaac and Jacob, the Israelites who have now emerged from bondage under the Egyptians into the freedom of The Exodus and following this, the new undertaking of service to The Almighty God at the foot of Mount Sinai.

The passage which we are presently studying is found in the Book of Exodus, and we are going to read from Chapter 23:27-33 in a moment, but first I would like to include a brief review of Exodus 23:22-24. I think this will be beneficial even though we dealt with those verses on our last programme as these verses lead into today's thoughts on the subject at hand. The Almighty God had just spoken to the people through Moses, stating in verses 20 and 21, "Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him." With those words in mind, let us review Verses 22-24:

22. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
23. For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.
24. Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.

On our last programme, we looked at some of the implications of those last verses, and the thoughts which they convey. There is, and logically can only be, one truth, and only One True God, the Planner and Creator of all Creation. All other religious opinions, however many people may be inclined to follow them, must be false in at least some respect, and therefore they do not provide the proper association of a person and the world in which that person lives. The Canaanites were followers of exceedingly corrupt religious practices which, in their desire for fertility of family, herds and crops destroyed their own children in the fire, in vain attempts to placate their false fertility deities.

Jesus Christ explained this to His followers in the Sermon on the Mount, in a passage found in Matthew 7:13-20:

13. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

When reading that passage in the AV, we must keep in mind that where the word "strait" occurs in this passage, it is a gate which is being described, and, like the description of the road, it is simply another word meaning "narrow." It may surprise some to realise that it does not necessarily describe the course of the route to be followed; a course which may contain many twists and turns, leading as God directs, moment by moment as we progress! Christ is, in fact, telling those who want to find the right way that they must be very "narrow minded", for they must not choose alternative routes that appear "broad minded"!

Any scientist will acknowledge that precision is a most necessary attribute for finding a truth in science and the easiest way to make mistakes in a scientific discipline is to be careless in matters which require precision. Christ is simply telling us that if we would find the truth in matters of religion, the selection of Him and His Way is likewise a matter of utmost precision. We are not to drift towards the false route simply because the majority, seeing that it is the road beaten wide by many travellers about them, thinks that road is the correct one to follow! Migrating lemmings stream after one another in vast numbers to their deaths in the ocean when moving without perception beyond the immediate moment.

Now let us examine further of the passage which forms today's study.

27. I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
28. And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.

Mention of that word "hornets" leads us to consult the New Bible Commentary, wherein we find that "Swarms of such stinging insects would materially assist the Israelite soldiers in their attacks on the enemy, or the phrase may be metaphorical for some invading power such as bands of Egyptians, whose badge was a species of hornet." Keil and Delitzsch note that, "If the fear of God which fell upon the Canaanites, threw them into such confusion and helpless despair, that they could not stand before Israel, but turned their backs towards them, the stings of alarm which followed this fear would completely drive them away." We continue at verse 29:

29. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
30. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.

We find in The New Bible Commentary the words "The dangers from having too much land to occupy all at once (29, 30) are exemplified by the large number of lions which appeared in Syria." That Commentary then suggests a further reference be made to II Kings 17:25. This is a verse which speaks of those whom the King of Assyria brought from Babylon, Cuthah, and Ava, from Hamath and from Sepharvaim, placing them in the cities of Samaria to occupy the land recently vacated by "all the seed of Israel" (verse 20). Those Israelites had all been recently deported and the newcomers, people whose descendants would, in later generations, be called "Samaritans", evidently found none remaining of any of the populations of the ten and a half tribes of the deported Northern Nation of Israel who could inform them about "the God of the land." The verse in question reads: "And so it was at the beginning of their (that is, the Samaritans) dwelling there, that they feared not the LORD: therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew some of them."

That verse, incidentally, provides evidence sufficient to answer any who seek to mis-lead their flock by stating that most of the Northern House of Israel were never deported; a version of "history" which is simply an attempt to evade the obligation to trace where Israel went after deportation, and to acknowledge the faithfulness of Almighty God, in showing that God's promises to the Patriarchs were, indeed fulfilled in the Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred Israelites in their new lands. Continuing with verse 31:

31. And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.

The name "Red Sea" is from a Greek rendering, "The Edomite Sea", as that water washed their shore. The original says "Yam suph", meaning weedy or reedy. The Companion Bible note equates "The sea of the Philistines" with the Mediterranean, or "Great Sea", "the desert" with "the desert of Shur" between Palestine and the Sinai Peninsula, and "the river" with "The Euphrates." The boundary thus stated is in accord with God's promise to Abram's descendants in Genesis 15:18, but the totality of Abram's descendants would include Ishmael's descendants, the Arabs. If Bible teachers persist in equating the present inhabitants of Palestine with the prophesied fullness of God's innumerable Israel of the last days, that verse will understandably raise apprehensions among non-Jews in neighbouring lands! Keil and Delitzsch indicate the desert mentioned here to be that of Arabia, as Deuteronomy 11:24, a prophecy, conditional upon Israel's obedience to God, includes "every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread", and Israel had trod the wilderness to the east of the Jordan River. We shall finish today's reading with verses 32-33:

32. Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
33. They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.

How much trouble and death to Israel's own descendants would have been avoided, had they strictly obeyed the orders of The Almighty God in this matter! However, they took the softer, easier way out and allowed these idolaters to stay among them, to the later corruption of their land and nation, and ultimately their own deportation therefrom just as God had warned them that it would happen.

Our Lord's command, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" must not be so interpreted as to ignore the "first and great commandment" (Matthew 22:36-38), which is "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." That strict admonition does not leave any grounds for argument in favour of tolerance of alien beliefs in an Israel land! We shall pick up these studies on our next programme.

31 July, 1994

ONE GOD, ONE LOYALTY

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our long-time listeners will know that this series of Bible Studies is taking us through the Scriptures which are recorded in Genesis and the earlier part of Exodus, in order to trace the unfolding Great Plan of The Almighty God for the re-constitution of His Creation into a more perfect accord with Himself. We began the present series, essentially, with the Call of Abram, and we have seen how his descendants through Isaac and Jacob have developed into a group of tribes lately under Egyptian bondage from which the Almighty God of their fathers has arranged their Exodus. He has now brought them unto Himself, at the foot of Mount Sinai where they are receiving the laws which they will require if they are to form a nation to serve Himself.

Our most recent radio broadcasts have now brought us to the point at which the Children of Israel, standing at the foot of Mount Sinai, must make a decision; such a decision as no nation had made prior to this time. They must answer the question whether or not they are willing to become God's special people. In fact, they are being asked if they will, as a nation, become the wife of Yahweh (Jehovah), the God Who has so recently rescued them out of Egypt.

Last week, we finished up by reading the last verses of Exodus 23, in which we found God demanding a certain exclusiveness on the part of those who would follow Himself as His nation of Israel, and perhaps, before we read today's passage, we might benefit by repeating that short excerpt, Exodus 23:32-33 which speaks of Israel's future relationship with other peoples who do not serve and worship the Only True God. It said:

32. Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
33. They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.

The reason ought to be obvious. False gods or ideas concerning deity must lead people to actions which lie at cross-purposes to, or directly in antagonism against, the loving wisdom and injunctions of the only True God of all the earth, the Maker, and hence the only One Who truly can give instruction regarding co-existence within the realities of His Creation. Today the generally Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred peoples, whom we of the British-Israel-World Federation hold to be the direct descendants of those same Israelites at the foot of Mount Sinai, have been led to ignore this command by reason of the constant persuasions of multi-cult enthusiasts. This has led us to our present peril as a people, for we have in consequence allowed, in modern guise, every perversion known to those ancient peoples to re-form within our own nations, and I believe that certain disaster awaits us, even as God's warnings described so long ago, if this is not corrected. Ancient Israel, ignoring these words of God's direct command, sought to be "good guys" who were "tolerant" and not "bigoted" towards those who despised their God, and, as a result, they lost their status as God's people, and their national home in the Promised Land. Will we learn by their experience or not? That is a very serious question which we must answer while we yet have a few hours of time in which to make amends to our God.

In continuation of the same Biblical theme, we are now starting a passage taken from Exodus 24, beginning at verse 1, and perhaps I ought to explain that, as is our usual practice, I shall insert appropriate comments as we read these verses.

1. And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.
2. And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.
3. And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.

A note in the Companion Bible lists this as the fourth ascent of Moses up into Mount Sinai on behalf of the people. Previous ascents are recorded in Exodus 19:3, 8 and 20. There will yet be two further ascents, recounted later, in Exodus 32 and Exodus 34. The Companion Bible notes that this one, the fourth, and also the sixth ascent which we will study later, are the fullest, and receive special expansion.

The New Bible Commentary tells us that at this point, "Moses was still on the mount, having received all the laws of the covenant. He then went down to the people, recounted the laws to them (3), sealed the covenant with the blood of the sacrifice, and returned to the mount with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Aaron's two sons, and the seventy elders, who were the heads of tribes and families... . The conditions upon which the covenant was ratified were as follows. The Lord promised to be their God (xx. 2) and consequently to visit them with His favour, if they on their part would adhere to His commandments and submit to His judgments. This they wholeheartedly promised to do (3, 7), and the covenant was thereupon sealed in blood."

The New Bible Commentary (Revised) puts the matter thus: "Moses... having received all the laws and recounted them to the people... returns at God's bidding with the people's submission and their divinely-chosen representatives, who have together sealed the covenant by sacrifice. Then Moses is called on by God to wait upon Him for the engraved laws on tablets of stone. Nadab and Abihu are the two sons of Aaron; they and the seventy elders constitute the representatives and witnesses of the people. The people are to remain at the foot of Sinai; the representatives are to ascend part of the way, but Moses goes up to the clouded, fiery summit... He recounts and records the laws of the Lord, and to them and their Author they submit in a legal and formal, yet gracious and blessed, covenant."

4. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
5. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD.
6. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
7. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.
8. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.

The Companion Bible comment on the phrase "all the words" lists these as (1) The Ten Commandments. Ex. 20.1-17. (2) all the judgments, chaps. 21-23. The New Bible Commentary states "The altar (4) represented the presence of the Lord, and the blood, being half sprinkled on the altar (6) and half on the people (8), symbolised the union between the Lord and His people in this covenant. The blood was necessary because, willing as the people were to obey the commandments, their present sinful nature and their subsequent actual breaking of the laws debarred them from real union with the holy God except through the medium of an atoning sacrifice. Thus the first covenant, based as it was on the Law, nevertheless foreshadowed the new covenant based only on the grace of God through the atoning merits of His Son."

The New Bible Commentary (Revised) explains that: "An altar is built surrounded by twelve pillars symbolising the twelve tribes, and the covenant is ratified by blood sacrifice. Covenants were ratified in various ways; by eating salt together (Nu. 18:19), by partaking together of a sacrificial meal (Gn. 31:54; cf. v. 11), or by passing between the divided pieces of a slaughtered sacrifice (Gn. 15:10, 17; Je. 34:18f.), but especially by the use of blood."

"Here God and the people are joined together by the sacrificial blood cast against the altar (representing God), and sprinkled on the people. The significance of blood is that of atoning death; see on the Passover which is the key to the whole sacrificial system of Israel. The blood is first sprinkled on the altar, for the primary need is always propitiation, the quieting of the wrath of God. When the people have committed themselves to a life of obedience, the blood is then sprinkled upon them, for it is in the context of their attempt to walk the way of holiness that God's people become aware of their need of the atoning blood. Cf. 1 Jn. 1:7-2:2. The burnt-offering is described in Lv. 1 and symbolizes the entire submission of the offerer to God in confession and consecration. The peace-offering emphasizes the same truth but includes the added feature of a feast of communion between God and man through sacrifice."

Of the words "young men", a Companion Bible note mentions that to this point, "The whole nation as yet were priests, represented in the fathers and elder sons" and indicates of these that they were "Probably the redeemed firstborn from all the tribes." Later, in Numbers 3:12, we find that the LORD at that time took all the Levites as His "firstborn" instead of the firstborn in each family of all the tribes of Israel. Regarding verses 5-8, I might perhaps mention that that reference also says "This is the subject of Heb. 9.15-23, where 'testament' should be rendered covenant, and the word 'men', which is not in the text, should be 'over the dead sacrifices' referred to here. (Gr. epi nekrois.) The AV does not print the word "men" in italics, which is the normal procedure where words are interpolated, but a check of the Greek appears to confirm the Companion Bible note at this point.

There is a long passage in Keil and Delitzsch which I want to use in connection with the great significance of what is stated in today's reading, but we will have to leave examination of that reference until our next programme. As we close, let me just stress that the word of God tells us that "the life of the creature is in the blood" (Leviticus 17:11), and thus, the significance of what we are now examining is of the greatest importance for those who desire the life which is promised to all those drawn by The Holy Spirit to make agreement with The Almighty God through Christ's Crucifixion. Let us prayerfully accept the fact that blood must be involved where the sinner meets his Creator. We shall continue this study on our next programme.

7 August, 1994

BLOOD COVENANT OF SINAI

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our present series of Bible Studies is examining those Scriptures which are recorded in Genesis and the earlier part of Exodus. Therein, we are tracing the unfolding Great Plan of The Almighty God for the re-constitution of His Creation into a more perfect accord with His own perfect will. We have come to the Exodus description of the scene at Mount Sinai, wherein Moses is the intermediary, receiving God's Laws and Judgments for the People of Israel. These Laws and Judgments form part of the agreement or Covenant that is in the process of being consumated at this time between Yahweh (Jehovah), The Almighty God, and the now forming Nation of Israel. At this time Israel is, in a very real sense, about to become God's wife by this Covenant, which we might term The Mosaic Covenant.

Last week, we started to examine Exodus 24, and at that time we read the first eight verses of the chapter, making a number of digressions to various useful Commentaries along the way. I mentioned at that time that there remained one rather extended, but most instructive commentary on this scripture; that of Keil and Delitzsch. The item concerning Exodus 24:3-8 covers nearly three pages, and thus, due to lack of time, I had to postpone any use of this particular Commentary until today's study. I felt, however, in spite of their combined length, that as their insights are so well presented we might well benefit by including at least a couple of passages out of that reference in today's study.

Perhaps, before reading what the Commentary has to say about this scripture, it would be appropriate to review once again the actual Biblical passage which we are studying, Exodus 24:1-8, for those who did not hear our last programme.

1. And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.
2. And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.
3. And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.
4. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
5. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD.
6. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
7. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.
8. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.

The Commentary by Keil and Delitzsch on Exodus 24:1-8 forms, as I said, a rather lengthy passage. It is, however, so informative that I felt led to quote the following large portions of their words in connection with this Biblical passage for today's study.

Under the heading "Conclusion of the Covenant", they make these comments:

"The ceremony described in vers. 3-11 is called 'the covenant which Jehovah made with Israel' (ver.8). It was opened by Moses, who recited to the people 'all the words of Jehovah' (i.e. not the decalogue, for the people had heard this directly from the mouth of God Himself, but the words in chap. xx. 22-26), and 'all the rights' (chap. xxi.-xxiii.); whereupon the people answered unanimously..., 'All the words which Jehovah hath spoken will we do.' This constituted the preparation for the conclusion of the covenant. It was necessary that the people should not only know what the Lord imposed upon them in the covenant about to be made with them, and what He promised them, but that they should also declare their willingness to perform what was imposed upon them. The covenant itself was commenced by Moses writing all the words of Jehovah in 'the book of the covenant' (vers. 4 and 7), for the purpose of preserving them in an official record. The next day, early in the morning, he built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and erected twelve boundary-stones or pillars for the twelve tribes, most likely round about the altar and at some distance from it, so as to prepare the soil upon which Jehovah was about to enter into union with the twelve tribes. As the altar indicated the presence of Jehovah, being the place where the Lord would come to His people to bless them (chap. xx. 24), so the twelve pillars, or boundary-stones, did not serve as mere memorials of the conclusion of the covenant, but were to indicate the place of the twelve tribes, and represent their presence also.-Ver. 5. After the foundation and soil had been thus prepared in the place of sacrifice, for the fellowship which Jehovah was about to establish with His people; Moses sent young men of the children of Israel to prepare the sacrifices, and directed them to offer burnt-offering and sacrifice slain-offerings, viz... 'peace offerings... for Jehovah' for which purpose... bullocks, or young oxen, were used. The young men were not first-born sons, who had officiated as priests previous to the institution of the Levitical priesthood, according to the natural right of primogeniture... nor were they the sons of Aaron...: they simply acted as servants of Moses; and the priestly duty of sprinkling the blood was performed by him as the mediator of the covenant. It is merely as young men, therefore, i.e. as strong and active, that they are introduced in this place, and not as representatives of the nation..."

Further on, Keil and Delitzsch continue in these words: "The blood was divided into two parts. One half was swung by Moses upon the altar..." Here, Keil and Delitzsch point out a distinction. They use the word "swung" to show that the action was actually a pouring out of the blood, not simply a sprinkling of it.

They continue: "...the other half he put into basins, and after he had read the book of the covenant to the people, and they had promised to do and follow all the words of Jehovah, he sprinkled it upon the people with these words: 'Behold the blood of the covenant, which Jehovah has made with you over all these words.' As several animals were slaughtered, and all of them young oxen, there must have been a considerable quantity of blood obtained, so that the one half would fill several basins, and many persons might be sprinkled with it as it was being swung about. The division of the blood had reference to the two parties to the covenant, who were to be brought by the covenant into a living unity; but it had no connection whatever with the heathen customs... in which the parties to a treaty mixed their own blood together. For this was not a mixture of different kinds of blood, but it was a division of one blood, and that sacrificial blood, in which animal life was offered instead of human life, making expiation restoring the fellowship between God and man which had been destroyed by sin. But the sacrificial blood itself only acquired this signification through the sprinkling or swinging upon the altar, by virtue of which the human soul was received, in the soul of the animal sacrificed for man, into the fellowship of the divine grace manifested upon the altar, in order that, through the power of this sin-forgiving and sin-destroying grace, it might be sanctified to a new and holy life. In this way the sacrificial blood acquired the signification of a vital principle endued with the power of divine grace; and this was communicated to the people by means of the sprinkling of the blood. As the only reason for dividing the sacrificial blood into two parts was, that the blood sprinkled upon the altar could not be taken off again and sprinkled upon the people; the two halves of the blood are to be regarded as one blood, which was first of all sprinkled upon the altar, and then upon the people. In the blood sprinkled upon the altar, the natural life of the people was given up to God, as a life that had passed through death, to be pervaded by His grace; and then through the sprinkling upon the people it was restored to them again, as a life renewed by the grace of God. In this way the blood not only became a bond of union between Jehovah and His people, but as the blood of the covenant, it became a vital power, holy and divine, uniting Israel and its God; and the sprinkling of the people with this blood was an actual renewal of life, a transposition of Israel into the kingdom of God, in which it was filled with the powers of God's spirit of grace, and sanctified into a kingdom of priests, a holy nation of Jehovah (chap. xix. 6). And this covenant was made 'upon all the words' which Jehovah had spoken, and the people had promised to observe. Consequently it had for its foundation the divine law and right, as the rule of life for Israel."

Those passages of the Commentary were, as I said before, unusually long, and some of the thoughts and themes contained therein may require a bit of meditation. The general theme is that of Covenant. The blood of sacrificed animals which was shed on this occasion portrayed the covenant relationship which was being sealed between The Almighty God and His Israel wife. This ceremony was also performed as a symbolic act which pointed down the centuries to Calvary; teaching God's people in each subsequent generation of the supreme sacrifice which The Almighty God would, in Jesus Christ, be making once only, but making effectual for all time. It was to purge Israel's sin, to renew the life-giving relationship of God with His people and to allow for the acceptance of all whom the Holy Spirit would move to participate therein.

May we review our own participation in that gift of life through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, for, at His Second Advent, that relationship will preserve us from rejection. We shall continue these studies on our next programme.

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