Welcome to Expound, our verse by verse study of God's word. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the truth of God, by explaining the Word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregational.
Would you turn in your bibles please to Deuteronomy chapter 13. I almost said 12. That was last week, right? OK. We're in 13, Deuteronomy chapters 13 and 14. I'm an optimist.
Father, we come before you as your children. We will be told as much in the reading of the verses before us of that great honor of being children of God. Thank you, Father. We marvel at the title. We marvel at the cost, what was sacrificed in order for us to become the children of God.
Father, we come up with all of our background, our experiences, throughout the month and the week. For some of us, our day was just packed. And we're tired. And we come up with all that we face, Lord, all that we face in the future, the good things that we expect around the corner, the things that are looming on our horizon, some good, some not so good.
But Father, as we have in these songs, we pour it out before You. We bring it to You. You are able. You are capable. You are our God. And we rejoice. And we're thankful that You use all things to temper us, to grow us, to mature us.
There's a mystery in it, Father. We don't always know what You're up to, but You cause all things to work together for the good of those who love You and are the called according to Your purpose. So Lord, with brothers and sisters, with friends, we come before you. And I pray Your blessing on our gathering tonight. Help us to understand the meaning of the text and its application, even though some of these principles are so far removed from modern life. May we once again grasp the principal that lies behind them. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Well, the world didn't end today. Some predicted that it would. I realize the day is still young. We still have some hours left. But it is the next day on the other side of the world. But not in all world, so I suppose anything's possible.
Some of course, said it would happen on the 13th. Some today said an asteroid would hit the earth. Some are pointing to the 28th. And some are pointing to other dates. I suppose not a day goes by where there isn't someone, somewhere, saying today will be the end of the world. And one of these days, someone's going to be right. If you keep predicting it often enough and long enough, somebody's going to get a right.
But you know, when a company wants to form an ad to get the information out about who they are, what their product is about, or they want to send out a representative to tell you about the company, they go through a very careful screening process. They want to make sure that the advertisement or the person who is the company representative is accurately portraying the message that that company wants to get across.
And so in order to do that, they choose the scripting. They choose the person, the tone. They choose the positioning of it, the timing of when people will hear it or see it. And they will also consider the people to whom it will go. All of that is important, or the company can lose an enormous amount of profit.
I may have told you before that what works in this country doesn't always work in other countries. So we're fond of going through the store and seeing the little Gerber baby food jars on the shelf. And the message to us as we see that cute little baby, that perfect little baby on the front is, the food is intended for that individual. That's what that little picture means. That little baby so innocent, can eat what's inside this jar.
But when you try that method of advertising-- I want to say it advertisement, I'm sounding British now-- when you want to do that over in China, it doesn't work. Because in China, in the past especially, in part of the culture due to the high illiteracy rate, they commonly will put a picture of what's inside the jar or the can on the outside. So that you won't have to read what's there, you just see a picture of it. And you go, that's what I want.
So you can understand why Gerbers did not do well when they first put their product on the shelves on the other side of the world. People walked by that and just gasped in shock and disbelief. How could they do something that cruel?
Or when Pepsi wanted to take the slogan that at one time was very popular in our country. The slogans says, Pepsi brings you back to life. Well, translated into the Chinese language, it's Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the grave. And if you know much about those animistic religions, you know what taboo that would be.
When it comes to a false prophet, a false representative giving a false message, it's like putting the wrong label on a jar. It's advertising what the manufacturer does not want to get across. Chapter 13 is about false prophets. God will spell it out in this chapter, and it's a short one. And then, chapter 18 as well, chapter 18, when we get to it, will actually give us the test. This is how you can determine if that's a false prophet or a true prophet.
But here is a warning, a warning that they will be around, where they will come from, and what the children of Israel were to do about them. I'm going to warn you, what you're about to read or hear will sound very harsh. I don't think there was ever a generation in which it did not sound harsh. Certainly to our Western, affluent, soft, hearing ears, it is even more so that way. But just want to give you that warning. So God tells them what's up.
Do you remember, it was couple years ago, I said that I had been to Ephesus and I bought a fake watch? Well, I still have it. So the story is, I was in Kusadasi, the port outside of Ephesus. And I'm walking down the street, and I see a sign that says fake watches. Just, it stopped me that anybody would be that blatant to just advertise it.
So I was intrigued. I said, I'm going to go check these watches out. And I was with a friend who had some nice watches. He was more of a collector.
But it intrigued me that you could buy a Rolex. Well, I guess it would be a Folex, but it looked like one. It said Rolex on it, for just a few bucks. But again, it was not false advertising. It didn't say it was a Rolex or whatever other brands. There were many of them. It said fake watches. So they knew they were selling them, and they advertised it as such.
So you knew what you were buying. You were under no illusion. And so probably, your expectations were much lower-- mine were. I thought, a week maybe, a month, this thing would be dead, but I bought one. Well, it's been about 3 and 1/2 years, and the thing keeps excellent time. So when people see, go, oh, you have a Rolex, then I feel of the need at that time to let them know the story behind it.
Chapter 13 is the fake watch chapter. And the reason God is doing this, is he care-- here's the principal, God cares enough to hang out the sign. Here's what really is behind these people. Be aware of them. Don't let them fool you.
I appreciate it when people hang out such signs. I like when people hang out the sign, be aware of dog. I'm glad they do that. I think that's kind. I don't think it's mean. It would be more mean, if they had a vicious dog and they didn't hang a sign out. So the sign is good.
I saw a sign, a t-shirt, that said be aware. I'm 16, and I have a driver's license. I think that's kind. I think it deserves a warning.
If there-- verse one-- if there arises among you-- please notice where they're coming from. Not always from the outside, they'll come from among you, friends and family sometimes. A prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying 'Let us go after other gods', which you have not known, 'and serve them', you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
One of the problems we face in a culture such as ours where the church, for the history of the United States, has had pretty much a showing. They've had a sympathy of our country behind it, so that there are many churches. And traditionally, it is expected that whatever you hear in a church, with an open Bible or behind a pulpit by a preacher, is going to be true.
It's wrong to have that assumption. That necessarily, just because somebody is behind a pulpit with a Bible using the name of the Lord, that what is going to come out of that person's mouth is going to be truth. Or because it's on Christian television, it's got to be true. Especially, because it's on Christian television. You may want to be aware. That's just been my experience.
So you're to notice it. And you are to do something about it. Even Jesus said beware of false prophets. They will come to you. That's interesting that he said that. He didn't say you have to go to them and find them. They'll just come to you. They'll find you out.
Beware of false prophets who come to you with sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. So the false profit isn't going to knock on your door and go, blah. My name is Legion, for we are many. He's not going to say, I am a false prophet. Do you mind 10 minutes of your time, that I might deceive you?
No, he's going to knock on the door, or walk up to you at work, or hand you a piece of literature, and say baa, like a sheep. And you're going to look at him, and listen to him, and go, I-- that person is one of God's sheep, believes in the Lord, loves the Lord. That's one of our favorite catch words.
But there are warnings throughout the Bible. This isn't the first one. It won't be the last one. Jesus has many of them.
There are whole books in the New Testament that are warning books. Polemics, we would call them, book of Galatians, book of 2 Peter, book of Jude. All of them have at their heart a warning against the false prophets.
Now here's a deal. Here's something to note with the false prophet. They will often have the same vocabulary you have, but not the same dictionary you have. See the difference? They'll use the same words, God, Jesus, salvation, scripture.
But find out, take a little bit of time to find out what meaning they assigned to the words that are the same. You're using the same words, but you may be meaning entirely different realities. They share the same vocabulary not the same dictionary. What is the meaning they're pouring into the word Jesus? Who is Jesus to you?
So when somebody knocks at your door, or hands you the literature, engages in conversation, it doesn't take very long, really it takes moments. Find out what they believe about Jesus, his person, his work.
What are they affirming or denying? Are they denying the incarnation? Are they denying his substitution? Are they denying his bodily Resurrection, his ascension into heaven, his coming again? Find out what that person means by the term Jesus, just another person or God in human flesh? Doesn't take very long to discern that.
Now, here's the harsh part, verse four. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice. And you shall serve him and hold fast to him.
But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.
Now, that sounds harsh doesn't it. And I will admit, it's harsh to any ear, at any time. But it seems to me, based on this at first blush, that there's something worse to God than physical death. I know, in our culture that's the worst that could ever possibly happen to a human being, or to loved ones, is that they expire.
But it seems that in God's economy, in God's value system, there's something much worse than physical death. And that would be spiritual death. A person actually going to hell is far more offensive to God and worse than anything else. So keep in mind, that when the Bible speaks about deception, it's high on God's hit list, always has been.
You see, if you were blind person and you were walking, and you came to the edge of a cliff and something caused you to stop, you just didn't know what it was. Maybe it was the way the sound wasn't coming back to you as it was before. So you stop.
And you can hear that there are people around you. And you ask someone, excuse me, which is the right direction that I should take? Should I turn right, left, or should I go straight? I'm a little bit concerned.
What would it be like if the person answering you back said, well, it doesn't really matter which way you go as long as you're sincere. Whatever's right for you is the right way. That could be downright criminal. You could send a person to his death.
Or what if you went to a doctor, and you had a disease, a fatal disease. And the doctor said, you know what? It really doesn't matter what you have. Go take two aspirin when you go home, and get a good night's sleep, and call me in the morning. All is well. Again, that would be criminal.
You see in such cases, tolerance is no virtue. And if you're giving someone eternal direction, if you were going to presume to tell a person how to get from Earth to heaven, you better make sure your directions are accurate. You're not doing them any favors by acting tolerant. All you're doing is making yourself feel good in the crowd you're with, because that happens to be the highest virtue in our modern culture. But you're doing someone a disservice by not telling them what's really up.
OK, so the children of Israel never really did this. As time went on, they never really did this. There were certain individuals that did.
There were certain prophets that God raised up during the time of the judges, when the nation was apostatizing away from the Lord. There were certain ones that stood up. And they were the sword of God. But by and large, it never happened.
So that what happened, we know, historically. God's people, the children of Israel, adopted many of the customs and pagan practices of other nations, began worshipping false gods and goddesses. The periods of the judges and the monarchy was full of that as Israel dispersed in their real estate.
So that the Lord caused the Assyrians to overtake them. 722 BC, the Assyrians from the North, Northeast, swept down as God said would happen, if they persisted in idolatry. And when the Assyrians came, because the children of Israel committed adultery, hundreds of thousands of God's people were slaughtered by the Assyrians and the rest taken into captivity. Then as years went by, 586 BC, the Babylonians did the same to the southern kingdom of Judah-- slaughtered many.
So if you were just to look at the slaughter that came by the disobedience, or the initial slaughtering of the false prophet, which would be much fewer and in the long run much more merciful, which is the correct path to choose? Self explanatory. Like a disease, sometimes like a cancer that has to be excised in order for the rest of the body to maintain life, that's how God sees a false prophet. They have to be gotten rid of.
Now, this is an Old Testament practice. This is not a New Testament practice. We don't do this here at the church. Just want to set your mind at ease, if you're visiting for the first time. We don't bring people out to the basketball court or volleyball court and exterminate them, God forbid.
But in that day, when there was a theocracy that was set up among God's people, not for the earth, but among God's people, in this land of Israel that they were going, because it was polytheistic, and because of the kind of worship that was prevalent in Canaan, this commandment was given.
Verse six, if your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is your own, as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods,' which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other, you shall not consent to him, or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him.
But you shall surely kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. And you will stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
Let's fast forward, shall we? Let's just drop it here for a minute, and we'll get back to it. But in 1 John chapter 4, John the Apostle said believe not every spirit. Right? For there are many spirits that have gone out into the world-- or many false prophets but-- not every spirit, but test the spirits.
That's with the text says. Believe not every spirit, but test the spirits, to see whether they are of God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Now there, John draws the link between the force and the source. Believe not every spirit, that's the source. Because many false prophets, that's the human receptacle of the spirit.
The source and the force, so whenever you see some great force, and somebody does something amazing or says something amazing, but especially if they have the ability to ooh and awe you with even some miraculous power. When you see the force, find out the source. Find out the source.
And this is so important, especially as-- and I believe we are moving toward the last days of human history-- I'm not going to presume to give you when the end of the world going to be. Trust me that. But I do believe is it fair to say we're closer than we've ever been. How's that? I'll play it safe.
But as we're moving toward the end of the age, the end of days, there is going to be more deception than ever before. Jesus' promised that. He predicted that. There would be false prophets that would come on the landscape. So we know it's going to come. The Bible predicts it. And we need to be able to test it.
The early church did. You know, part of the problem-- and John was already writing about them when he said believe not every spirit-- part of the problem in the early church is that pastors didn't protect their pulpits enough. That's just historical fact.
That is, there were many itinerant preachers that would come through town, blow through town. And I have a word from God. I have a message to give. And many of them, just naively thinking the best, would invite that person to come up and share whatever's on their heart in front of the crowd. So it could get out of hand. And it did get out of hand in ancient local congregations.
So that, a book was written. Now, I have it. I have an English translation of it at home in my study. But it was called The Teaching. The Teaching of the Twelve, and then it was shortened to just The Teaching. The Didache, The Teaching, that's what it means.
And in part, it's a letter written they said, by the apostles to the church leaders on how to spot a false prophet. And I've always found it a good read. It's a fascinating read.
And there's some good principles that I think we ought to think about resurrecting. Says, if somebody comes into your congregation who claims to be a prophet of God-- and I've had plenty of those over the years.
God told me to tell you. I have a message from God to you. God told me, so now you have to listen to them. Because they just one up-ed you, by saying God told me. And if you argue with them, who you to argue with God. Me and God have a special thing going on. So that's their deal.
So I had a thought, and I just had a senior moment. Because that was going somewhere. Hold on. It may reappear.
Teaching of the Twelve, the Didache, thank you. That's why you have younger men around me to remind me. OK. So let me give you just a little portion of it.
If somebody comes into your fellowship and claims to be prophet, says, thus sayeth the Lord. Let him stay with you one day, two days, three days. If he stays with you more than three days, he's a false prophet. Because it was an indication to them that they're really not an itinerant.
They're really just trying to get whatever they can in terms of financial benefit for their gig. So bring him in, but don't let them wear out their welcome. If they want to stay more than three days they're a false prophet.
If they come in among you, and they say, thus sayeth the Lord, prepare a meal. If they eat of that meal, they're a false prophet. It's one thing to say for prepare a meal, the Lord wants you to cook something up maybe for somebody else. But if they partake of it, now they're just abusing this gift of prophecy for their own nourishment.
If they come in among you, when they leave if they ask for money, if they beg for money, they're a false prophet. I think that book should be circulated among churches, and ministries, radio, television.
Verse 11, so all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you. If you hear someone in one of your cities, which the Lord your God gives you to dwell in, saying certain corrupt men have gone out from among you and have enticed the inhabitants of the city saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods' whom you have not known, then you shall inquire, and search out, and ask diligently.
And if indeed true and certain that's such an abomination was committed among you, you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it, with all that is in it, its livestock, with the edge of the sword. You shall gather all its plunder into the middle of the street, and completely burn with fire the city and all of its plunder, for the Lord your God.
And it shall be a heap forever. It shall not be built again. So none of the accursed things shall remain in your hand, that the Lord may turn from the fierceness of his anger and show you mercy, and have compassion on you and multiply you, just as he swore to your fathers, because you have listened to the voice of the Lord your God-- because you have listened to the voice of the Lord your God, to keep all of his commandments which I command you today, to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord your God. OK.
In chapter 18, we're going to get into more specifics. But let me give you just a little test that I found helpful whenever you hear things, just a little filter, a grid. First is the test of character.
What is that person's character? Not just, does he have a charismatic gift? Or does she have a way of presenting herself that is captivating? What is the character, the test of character?
You shall know them by their fruit, right, fruit. Not just by their gifts, but by their fruit. And Paul talked about the fruit of the Spirit-- love, joy, peace, long-suffering. The fruit of the Spirit is the character of Christ produced by the spirit of Christ in the life of a follower of Christ.
So look at what that person is all about. Is there humility? Is they're godliness? What is the character?
Second test, the test of creed. What are they saying? What is their message? Who do they say Jesus is or is not?
And again, it just takes a few minutes to drill down and get past the veneer. Everybody says God, and the Lord, and the Spirit. And I'm-- just get down and ask definitions. You don't have to be rude. Be polite. But find out the dictionary behind the vocabulary. So test of character and test of creed.
Speaking of the book of Galatians, which I mentioned a few moments ago, in chapter one, the apostle said, I marvel. I marvel that you have so soon been removed or taken back from Christ himself, because there are certain people among you who pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is not another gospel.
But there are some among you who want to pervert it. And then he said, though we, or an angel from heaven, give you any other gospel, let that person be accursed. Anathema is the word, very, very strong denunciation.
So test of character, test of creed, and the third test, test of converts. Look at that creed and how it's influenced people. What is the result of that group of people believing that thing?
When somebody says I have a word from the Lord for you. I want you to tell everybody. Well, first let me observe your life. Allow me to put you under the microscope a little bit longer to see the effect of this teaching in your life.
What is it doing for you? Are you becoming holier? Are you becoming more Godly? Or are you becoming narrow and legalistic or too loose? So the test of the converts.
I was in a bookstore in North Carolina a while back. I was speaking there, and in between sessions, I went to a local bookstore. And I was looking around to see what's on the shelves.
And there was a display of a new book that had come out, a Christian book, by a pastor, by a well known pastor. And I was looking at the display. And I was looking at the book.
I knew something about the author. And I knew something about the book. And I knew enough to not approve of the ministry of the author. And was wondering what effect this book would have.
Well, just then, there was a young lady who came by that display. And she was looking, and there was a man standing there. And as she was looking at the book, this man turned to her and said, oh, you should buy this book. You will love this author.
You'll love him, because you'll feel good when you read the book. He doesn't talk about sin. You won't read this and feel guilty for anything you've done. It'll just make you feel good about yourself. That was the test of convert.
I'm looking at what that author, with that book, with that teaching did to that person. And now, he's saying it's a good thing, if you never confront a person with their need to change and be converted in a biblical conversion. So that will sum it up.
Let's move now into chapter 14. Look we have plenty of time. We've covered entire chapter. Don't get your hopes up.
You are-- verse one-- you are the children of the Lord your God. What a great text. What an honor to be given that title. You're a son or daughter of the living God. John said, behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called the children of God. And that is what we are.
It may be wonderful to have been called your father's son or daughter or mother's son or daughter, depending on their accolades, what they have earned or done in their status. But to be called a child of God is a great honor. So with that privilege, with that honor, comes responsibility for them to act a certain way in the world.
So notice tied to that thought, you are the children of the Lord your God. You shall not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead. I know that sounds so weird to us. Because you're going OK, no problem. I won't be doing that anytime soon. I'm good to go.
So let me just give you a bit of the background of why this was given. It was customary in those days, and again was a long time ago, for religions in the land of Canaan, to as part of their worship system to show honor to their god to hurt themselves, to cut themselves. That might sound bizarre to us. But the prophets of Baal did this.
Some of you will remember when Elijah the prophet was on Mount Carmel, and he chose the prophets of Baal to a contest. And so it says that, from morning until noon, the prophets of Baal were getting very effusive and emotional. And they were jumping up and down, and there were no results whatsoever.
So it says they began cutting themselves with knives and lances until the blood gushed out. It was customary to cut oneself and bleed oneself to show that I am really worshipping this guy with everything that is in me, my life blood. And they also believed it would atone for things they have done. There's even some ancient writings from Ugaritic text that talk about the Baal worshipers cutting off a finger or two and putting it on-- throwing it on the altar of Baal to show their devotion.
So God says, you don't need to do that. I forbid you to do that. Don't cut yourselves. Sometimes in grieving for the dead, they would make markings on their flesh as sort of a reminder. It would be with them, that scar would be with them for a lifetime. Don't do that, God said.
As weird as that sounds, we live in a place that sees that happen. You know Martin Luther spoke about-- before the Reformation, he would go to Rome. And he would crawl on his knees up steps. And he and some of the other monks would bloody their knees to show devotion to Christ.
We live in a state-- and there aren't many like it-- that have an interesting group of people known as the penitentes. That believe in self flagellation, the whipping of oneself, the hurting, the causing of pain, the blood letting, the idea to show real devotion to Christ. So now you know where the roots of that come from.
And how, even in the old covenant, God said, I don't want you to do that when you worship Me. Remember what He said last week, and you shall rejoice before the Lord. Very different approach and style of worship.
So-- for you are a holy people. You are a holy people, verse two, to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for himself, a special treasure. That's what God thinks about you. That's what God regarded them as. You are my treasure, above all the peoples who are on the face of the Earth.
You shall not eat any detestable thing. OK. Now, as we conclude this chapter, and it won't take long. We'll get through this no problem.
We're going to be dealing with diet, not how to go on a diet. You already have enough information in your culture on how to do that. And there are umpteen ones for you to choose from. But what message God is giving is this, the Lord wants to govern every aspect of your life. And as the Lord, he has the right to do that.
Now, these are covenant regulations for the Jews through the wilderness and going into their land. It is for them. It is not for us.
They don't apply to us now. And it always gives me-- oh, I don't even know what word to choose for this. It makes me wonder. It causes me grief. It wants to make me help disciple.
Whenever I meet a Christian, a New Testament believer, especially a Gentile one, who feels the need to go back to the mosaic law and keep all of the rules and regulations. They found something cool to practice and to do. And eventually, I seen some of these non-Jewish people get under the law.
And I just simply want to say, just go home tonight and read the book of Galatians and call me in the morning. And that's like, take two-- that's the asprin that is needed. That book was written for people like you.
So this is for God's covenant people during that era. It does not have to do with Gentiles, you and I, in a New Testament environment especially.
But you shall not eat any detestable thing. And then, he's going to go through things you can and can't eat. Now, I know some of you are thinking, why would Almighty God in heaven care what I had for dinner?
It's more than just dinner. It's more than just a menu. And it's more than just a ritual.
What Moses did not know, and Aaron did not know, but God did know, is that there are certain bacteria, certain parasites, certain problems, diseases, that animals at certain times of the year can carry. And so they didn't have FDA back then. They had G-O-D back then. And he was giving them regulations that would be shown later on to be scientifically admirable in the keeping of these regulations.
If you go back to European history, 14th century if I'm not mistaken, I may be off a century. But when the Black Plague hit Europe, and just thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people were wiped out. Cities were wiped out because of the Black Plague.
What is noteworthy is that the Jewish populations were largely unaffected or much less affected, because of the kosher laws they kept. Because of the very strict dietary regulations that they kept, they were kept from those diseases during that time. And that is one of the reasons they God instituted it back then in the wilderness.
These are the animals which you may eat, the ox. You want to go out tonight have an ox burger, feel free. The sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roe, the deer, the wild goat, the mountain goat, the antelope, and the mountain sheep, and you may eat every animal with cloven hooves, having the hoof split in two parts, and that chews the cud among the animals.
OK that verse is helpful, because it sums it all up. How do you tell a clean animal back then? Cloven hooves, divided hooves, and it chews the cud. If it does one or the other but not both, don't eat it. If it does both, you can eat it. So like a pig has cloven hooves, doesn't chew the cud. Don't eat it, no ham sandwiches.
Nevertheless, verse seven, of those that chew the cud or have cloven hooves, you shall not eat, such as the camel. No problem. I do not have a hankering for camel.
Once, I was in the Sinai desert. I was a young naive, post-teen, maybe just around 20 years old. I'm in the Sinai desert. I'm in a place called Sharm el-Sheikh. And it's by the Red Sea.
And I see this camel kind of on its knees. And I go, cool. A camel, I'd walk a mile for a camel. So I walked up to the camel. And I was just going to get near it and take pictures of it and pet it.
And it spit at me. It was probably about between five to seven feet away from me. And that was its greeting. Now, a loogie is gross. A camel loogie it's bad. So I am not interested in eating a camel.
The hare, that is the rabbit. The rock hyrax, again, I probably won't be eating one of those soon. For they chew the cud, but they do not have cloven hooves. They're unclean to you.
Also, the swine is unclean for you, because it has cloven hooves yet it does not chew the cud. You shall not eat their flesh or touch their dead carcass. So no bacon, it's bad for you anyway so just pass it up.
Now, verse nine, speaking of what you can eat in the lakes or the oceans, these you may eat of all that are in the waters. You may eat all that have fins and scales. So they have to have those two things. No eels, whatever does not have fins and scales, you shall not eat. It is unclean to you.
Now, I've always loved mollusks. I've loved shellfish. You know, if it's a piece a lobster, it's like, yeah. Not just shrimp, but-- I love crab, scallops. Oh man, high in cholesterol, but so tasty, right? Forbidden.
All clean birds, verse 11, you may eat. There were unclean birds. The carnivorous birds, those with unclean habits, you couldn't eat. So if the bird, I guess, unclean habits, if it smoked or if it drank, you know, or any unclean habit, you just want to leave those alone. All clean birds you may eat.
But at these, you may not eat. You can't eat an eagle, a vulture, or a buzzard. So stay away from the buzzards, guys.
The red kite, that's a bird. I mean, I have a blue kites at home, but it's a bird. The falcon, the kite after their kinds, every raven after it's kind, the ostrich.
Now, ostrich is tasty. It's a lean meat. I've had it in Kenya along with all sorts of other things, like wildebeest, and zebra, and giraffe. But an ostrich is a lean meat. And it can be very, very tasty. But they weren't allowed to eat it. You can.
The short-eared owl, the seagull-- dirty things-- the hawk after its kinds, so no hawks. So if you go to a hawk shop, you have to bypass that. The little owl, the screech owl, the white owl, the jackdaw, the carrion vulture, the fisher owl, the stork, the heron after is kind, the hoopoe, which is a yellowish orange bird with a crested feathered crown. It's quite beautiful. It's a Middle Eastern bird.
And the bat, no bats. So if you want bat wings and stuff like that, you can't eat them. Now, you might be a very astute student, or you have a background in this type of thing. You go, ah, I found a discrepancy in the Bible. He's given birds that you can't eat, and he labels a bat as a bird. And we know it's a mammal. Woo.
You're not right. You're wrong, because the Hebrew word translated 'bird' simply is the word means winged thing, winged thing. And a bat is a winged thing. And who wants to eat a bat anyway? I'm good with that.
Now, for all you creeps, every creeping thing that flies is on unclean for you. They shall not be eaten. You may eat all clean birds.
You shall not eat anything that dies of itself. Again, remember, you had to bleed something. Remember, we had covered that in last week and previous weeks.
When an animal dies, you kill it. And you bleed it a certain way. And it's under kosher law, and it is fitting for consumption.
But if something dies of itself, here's what I love about God. He knows that not everybody, not Gentiles, have the same restrictions. And why let the meat go to waste? So he has a plan.
You shall not eat anything the dies of itself. You may give it to the alien, who is within your gates, that he made eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.
Now, I found a very interesting paragraph from a missionary who went to India and studied a lot of dietary regulations and that of the Jews. Here's what he writes. "One of the greatest discoveries of modern science is the fact that a large number of diseases to which animals are liable are due to the presence of low forms of parasitic life. To such diseases, those which are unclean in their feeding will be especially exposed."
He goes on to say, it can also be communicated to humans from animals as well and lists some. "Long ago, as the days when the plague was desolating Europe-- what I had mentioned-- the Jews universally escaped infection, which brought suspicion, which was that of poisoning the wells and springs."
If you know your history, you know that not only did they escape a lot of the diseases, but because they did the Europeans had to blame that on somebody. And they blamed the Jews as trying to kill them off and poison their wells. And that's why they themselves weren't infected. It was fallacious. But that's a little bit of the background. OK.
Look at the end of verse 21. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk. If you come with us to the Holy Land, if you're in Israel, and you go to breakfast at the hotels, first thing you'll notice is, man, there's a lot of food here.
But you'll notice that it's not the kind of food that you may be accustomed to eating. There's a lot of fresh vegetables. And there will be dairy, but you will have no meat at all.
In fact, you will discover, when you eat meals over there, that you will eat meat or dairy, but you will never mix the two. You will never mix meat and dairy. In fact, in a kosher kitchen, there are separate dishes for meat and separate dishes for dairy.
And you may be wondering, why is that? Why do they do that? Where in the Bible do they get that from? This is the text that they base all of that on. You shall not boil a young goat, a kid, in its mother's milk.
I'm glad you're staring at me blankly. You should. Because that's how I looked when somebody tried to explain that to me who was a Jerusalemite.
And I said, you're kidding, right? All of that practice in Judaism is based upon that text? How do you get that from that?
They said, well, when you put a piece of meat in your mouth, and if you were to put some dairy in your mouth, and you're putting it in your stomach. And the stomach acids start eating it away and boiling it, so to speak, churning it in your stomach.
You could be guilty. Because it could be that that milk is associated with that meat. And it could be that you would even boil a young goat in its mother's milk that way. I kid you not.
So I did a little research and found out what I believe is the original intent of this text. In antiquity, in the pagan nations of Canaan, it was a common pagan practice. Because of the superstition that if you were to take either a fetal goat or a newborn goat and boil it in its mother's milk or the substance that nourished it, it would increase your own productivity and fertility. It was part of the fertility worship of the Baals and the Astartes that was prevalent in Canaan. That's what that had to do with.
God is saying, don't cut yourself like them. Don't eat like them. And don't do this practice like them. However, they have taken it in Judaism to mean separate dishes for dairy and meat.
I'm bringing this up. I'm informing you of this, not just because it's an interesting historical background, but to show you this is the tendency, I believe, of people when it comes to religion. They add rules and regulations. So pretty soon, it doesn't even mean what it's supposed to mean.
Remember what Jesus said to the Pharisees? You strain out a gnat, and you swallow a camel. You had to bleed everything you ate. And so, the point is, you're making a mountain out of a molehill. You're changing the plain meaning of the text.
You strain out a gnat. You're really fastidious. Oh, I better not eat a gnat, because it hasn't been bled. So I want to make sure I don't eat than gnat, but at the same time while you're doing it, you're eating a whole camel. Which is unclean, we just found out.
So unfortunately, people do this with religious systems. They add practices and rituals and regulations. And pretty soon, it becomes this huge hierarchy and system. And it has no relationship to the revelation of God. People have done that every religion throughout time.
Enough said. Let's finish the text. And we'll call it a night.
Verse 22, you shall truly tithe. Opp, that's where some of you are going to close your Bible and walk out. You shall surely tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. You shall eat before the Lord your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain, of your new wine-- this is the agricultural tithe-- your oil, the first things of your herd, your flocks, that you may learn to fear of the Lord your God always.
But if the journey is too long for you-- that is to go back to the place where the sanctuary is-- so that you're not able to carry the tithe. Carrying all those animals back to Jerusalem if you live way far north, or if the place where the Lord your God chooses to put his name is too far from you, when the Lord God has blessed you, then you shall exchange it for money. That is, you just take money with you. And then you'll buy that animal when you get there.
Take the money in your hand. Go to the place which the Lord your God chooses. And you will spend that money for whatever your heart desires, for oxen, sheep, or wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires. You shall eat there before the Lord your God. You shall rejoice, you and your household.
So there was the agricultural tithe. And then, just to keep the alliteration, the adoration tithe, that is, you would take a portion of what you grew. And you would take it, and you would eat it in a feast in a meal in the common sanctuary or near in Jerusalem with fellow Jews as Thanksgiving offer, a thank offering to the Lord.
You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you. There's a special tithe just for the Levites as well. At the end of every third year, you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year, and store it up within your gates.
OK. Tithe means 10, 10%, 10% of what you grow, 10% of what you have, 10% of what you earn. You give that 10% to the Lord for his work, for his people, for the Levites, et cetera.
An agricultural tithe, an adoration tithe, and again, to keep alliteration an Aaronic tithe. For Aaron and the sons of Aaron, the priesthood, to be sustained.
The tithe pre-dated the law. Did you know that? It didn't just come with the law of Moses. Did you know that the tithe was in effect before Moses was ever born? Do you remember in Genesis 14 that Abraham or Abram gave a tithe to Melchizedek, the King of Salem? That's where it originated in the Bible.
So now, he's talking about the tithe to the new generation. Now, I'm going to tell you something that blows your mind. Because some people get nervous. When they think, gosh, giving 10%, you know, maybe I'll give the Lord 2%. And 8% is on that cool thing I've been looking at lately. But I'll use it for the Lord's glory, I promise.
Actually, I'm going to blow your mind little bit. It wasn't 10%. If you were to examine the Mosaic law carefully, there was not one tithe. They're just mentioned here. There were three tithes. At some portions during the year, it was not 10% but 30%-- 30%.
Newsflash, God owns 100%. Not 10%, he owns at all. It's all from his hand. You letting go of a percentage is not meant to be punishing or crippling.
It's an expression of faith and trust. God has provided. I believe is going to provide more. I'm letting it go. The Lord gives, and I'm freely letting it go. I'm giving it to him.
Now, in the new covenant, there is no rigid restriction. Let a man give as he purposes in his heart, Paul wrote to the Corinthians. For God loves a cheerful giver, hilarious giver. But the tithe is set out. And it is mentioned again to this generation.
And the Levite, because-- verse 28, at the end of every third year shall bring out the produce of the year, store it within your gates. And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow who are within your gates-- the poor who couldn't take care of themselves, you use that for that-- may come and eat and be satisfied, and the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
Now, it should be mentioned is we close this chapter and close evening, the Bible says that you shall not test or tempt the Lord you God, right? However, there is one area where the Lord tells you, commands you, to test him in. In Malachi, the Lord says, test me in this, says the Lord. And see if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out on you a blessing that you're not even able to receive. And it was in the area of the tithe. Release that percentage, and just see what I will do.
I've discovered you can never out-give God. Well, I don't know. Well, test the Lord and see what he will do. You say, well, it's going to test me if I do that. Well, good, let it test you little, but trust the Lord. See what he'll do. But test the Lord and see if he'll do it.
Let's pray. Father, thank you for a very fruitful evening, exposed to ancient truth that shaped a nation. And as we look back through the halls and annals of history, we see areas in which the children of Israel disobeyed. We see areas in which they stretched the text to mean something different. We see all of those propensities with us. Guard us. Keep us.
And thank you, Lord, for the privilege of being able to go through a larger chunk of scripture than just a few versus, a couple of chapters. What a privilege, to be able to get context and background. I pray we would grow because of it.
I pray you to expand our knowledge, that we would grow, as Peter said, in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lord, as you do consider the heart, I pray that we would. Let every man give, serve, as he or she purposes in the heart. So Lord, search our hearts. Try us. Lead us in the way everlasting.
Lord, I am thankful for your people who gather in the middle of the week with a Bible to understand what is written, what is applicable, what is for another time or another group, to examine the old covenant as opposed to the new covenant, and how we rejoice in the new covenant, in Jesus. That every law, every jot and tittle, fulfilled by the Savior. And the law ended fulfilled in Christ. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus name, amen.
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