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.
Father, with anticipation, we come. Father, we come as your people. We have heard much truth in our lifetime, but father we long to hear more. And in particular, a word to our hearts, a word in due season. We don't ask for a new revelation. We ask for a new application of the old revelation. We ask Lord that you would answer questions that we've been dealing with, particular circumstances we're going through. We have seen you answer us in times past, and I had seen you do it through Bible study such as this. Would you do that for your people, Lord. As we gather tonight to study, to reflect, to learn the whole council of God. Thank you for men and women who are willing to give a portion of their week, Lord, to be committed to being with one another, going through the word chapter by chapter and verse by verse. Give us grace as we seek meaning from scripture, in Jesus' name. Amen.
Well today is a very, very special day and I'm not talking about a blood moon. Today's a special day. Today is "Back to the Future" day. Did you know that? How many knew that? OK, so it's been on the news, Back to the Future day.
You see, in Back to the Future Two, back in 1989, Marty McFly was given the day that he would go into the future. And the day happened to be October 21, 2015. Today, is the day that that movie was based upon, what he would see on October 21, 2015.
Well, much of what he foresaw has actually happened. For if you recall that movie, almost 30 years ago, people were wearing glasses that were like computer screens, like Google Glass. And that was predicted way back then and it has come to fruition, today. Also, they were talking about video conferencing in Back to the Future Two. And people have been doing that now for a few years.
Now, I understand that there were certain things in the movie that haven't happened yet, like the hover board. Wouldn't it be great to have a hover board? But Lexus is releasing a hover board and we saw a little video, before the service, of them trying it out in a skate park. And it's not perfected yet, but they're making a hover board, and I've seen footage of one. So, that's in Back to the Future Two. Now the flying car, that's a little much. We're still waiting for that one.
But what's interesting to me, of all of it, is that that movie predicted that the Cubs would win the World Series. And it just happens to be fascinating that, tonight at Wrigley Field is another game that the Cubs are in against the Mets, in the World Series. Now they're way behind and it would ha-- it would be miraculous if they could pull it off, but it has been done before. And I just thought that you would find that interesting that Back to the Future day predicted, almost 30 years ago, that the Cubs would-- you know, that was-- they were predicting a long shot back then. But the cubs are now in the World Series.
Of course, they were making predictions of what would happen, oh in the next 30 years from 1989. But the Bible, through predictive prophecy, speaks about thousands of years in advance. And the accuracy of the scripture is impeccable. It's incredible. No wonder, Peter said that prophecy is like a light that shines in a dark place.
So the Bible makes incredible predictions and one of those predictions is found at the end of chapter 18 regarding the prophet, singular, the prophet like Moses, who would come in the future. And if we get to that by tonight, you will see a really amazing prophecy tucked back here in the Old Testament, book of Deuteronomy.
But as we begin chapter 17, we begin with the verse that speaks about the value of a sacrifice. The value of a sacrifice is all determined by the value that the worshipper places upon God. If you place a high value on God, then what you would render to the Lord, you would do it gladly. If you don't place a high value on God, then what you offer to the Lord would just seem like too much that you couldn't part with it.
So it's all about the value that the worshipper places on God because the sacrifice the worshipper is to bring is to be the very best. It is to be without spot. It is to be without blemish. So we all have to deal with our values our priorities. Will we give to got the best and we'll take whatever is the rest or will we keep the best and give whatever is the rest to God? That's always an issue we have to deal with.
You may remember when David was buying a threshing floor in Jerusalem. There was a plague that happened to the people of the city. And God told David, if you want to stop this plague, go buy that raised threshing floor on the hill, which is today the Temple Mount, by the way. It's where the Dome of the Rock stands. It's where the temple once stood.
But back then it belong to a man named Araunah, and David went there to buy that threshing floor to build an altar to sacrifice to the Lord. So he goes to the owner, Araunah, and he goes, I'm here because I want to buy your threshing floor. I'll pay good cash for it, 50 shekels of silver.
And the owner said, David, if you want to give this to the Lord, then I'll just give it to you free. It's for a good cause, it's for a godly cause, it's for the best cause. You don't have to pay me for it. I'll give it to you. And David said, no, I'm here not to get a gift, I'm here to make a deal. I'll pay you for it and then I'll build the altar. And the owner again said, No, no please. Why pay for it when you can get it for free?
Now that might be our logic. Now why would you argue with somebody when they say I want to give you something. Oh no, no, no. I want to pay for it. OK, I'll take it.
No, David wasn't like that. He wanted to pay full price and here's his rationale. He said I will not sacrifice to the Lord of that which cost me nothing. You see David understood the value of a sacrifice.
Why would you call it a sacrifice if there really is no sacrifice? So a sacrifice the cost you nothing is a sacrifice that's worth nothing. It's gotta pinch a little bit. It's gotta legitimately be a sacrificial gift. I'm not gonna give to the Lord of that which cost me nothing. And so in verse 1 of chapter 17, that principle emerges. You shall not sacrifice to the Lord your God a bull or sheep which has any blemish or defect. For that is an abomination to the Lord your God.
According to the prophet Malachi, that is the last book in your Old Testament, the little prophet of Malachi. He speaks about the detestable offerings that the people of Judah we're bringing to the Lord. They were sneering at making an offering. They were bringing the lame animals, the blind animals, their cripple animals they were sacrificing to God. And the idea is that it's detestable to the Lord, if you're gonna give Him something that isn't your best. Right? You want to give Him your best time, your best efforts, your best talent, your best treasure, the first fruits, you want to give Him the very, very best.
So imagine a farmer who has a bull or a sheep and he loves it, and it's his own, and it's gonna be part of his money making industry. Imagine what it would be like if that animal suddenly gets sick and then he says to his tenant farmers, Hey guys, crate that thing on a carriage and take it to the temple let's just sacrifice it to God. It's gonna die anyway. That's what they were doing when Malachi said that's detestable to the Lord. It's not a real sacrifice. So when you're gonna offer something, no spot and no blemish.
Now, that's verse 1, but in verse 1 is a principle that Peter picks up on in the New Testament regarding Jesus Christ. And I will read it to you. 1 Peter chapter 1, he says, "Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your father's, but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Peter is using the language of substitutionary atonement. He's heralding back, hearkening back to the old covenant when people would bring a lamb or a bull as a sacrifice. And just like God said through Moses, in Deuteronomy, bring your best, no defects. Peter says that's what Jesus was. God gave His best. When He sent His son into this world, when it came to the transaction that would take away our sin God gave His best, like a lamb without blemish and without spot.
The idea of sacrifice doesn't appear first in the law of Moses it goes all the way back to the beginning, right? When Adam and Eve sinned and they covered themselves up with foliage, God decided they needed to be covered up with the skins of a lamb. We remember the story in Genesis chapter 4. So it was one lamb for one person, one for Adam and one for Eve. They were killed, the death atone for their sin, and they covered themselves with the skin of the lamb. It was one lamb for one person.
We move ahead a little bit further, and we come to the law of Moses. We come to the exodus of the children of Israel out of Egypt. And we come to Exodus 12 when it's the Passover evening and God says, Take a lamb and take its blood and put it on the lentils and door post. And now let's one lamb not per one person, but it's one lamb for one family.
Then we move on a little bit further to the celebration of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. And on the Day of Atonement it's one lamb sacrifice for the entire nation of Israel. So it begins by one lamp for one person, then one lamb for one family, then one lamb for the entire nation.
By the time we get to the New Testament and John the Baptist sees Jesus coming, he says, "Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world." Now it's one lamb that is sufficient to take away the sin of every one. And so Peter sees that. Peter knows that. And he speaks of Jesus as a lamb that is precious without blemish and without spot.
Now, in verse 2 of Deuteronomy 17, "If there is found among you, within any of your gates which the Lord your God gives you, a man or a woman who has been wicked in the sight of the Lord your God in transgressing His covenant. Who has gone and served other gods and worshipped them, either the sun or the moon or any of the hosts of heaven which I have not commanded, and it has told you and you hear of it then you shall inquire diligently. And if indeed it is true and certain that's such an abomination has been committed in Israel then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who is committed that wicked thing and shall stone to death that man or that woman with stones. Whoever's deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses. You shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness."
Now, we have already dealt with this capital punishment in dealing with some of the structure of the first five books of Moses, but let me just reinforce a couple truths. Idolatry threatened to destroy the nation of Israel. I've told you before how that was true and it almost did. And so God gave 10 commandments. And the very first commandment is, I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other God besides me or before me. This is the practical out working of the first commandment. Idolatry which can threaten your very existence, if it comes into your land, this is how you are to practically deal with it.
And we understand from reading the law that there were 18 different crimes for which capital punishment would be the fitting punishment that would match the crime. Whether it was sacrificing a child, as you'll read here, or fornication or adultery or kidnapping. There were 18 different crimes that, according to God, necessitated a capital punishment. It was never viewed, by the people of Israel and certainly not by the God who gave it, as murder.
So some people say, well why would God inaugurate capital punishment when that same God said, thou shalt not kill, literally it's you shall not murder? So why would God say don't murder and then he says murder these people? This wasn't seen as murder. Capital punishment was never regarded as murder. It was regarded as judicially administered or righteously administered judicial action. And it was the punishment fitting the crime.
By the way, the idea of capital punishment doesn't come from the law of Moses. It predates Moses. It predates the nation of Israel. Way back in Genesis chapter 9, after the flood God said, whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed. For the Lord made them in his image. And so whoever is deserving of death, shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses. He shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness.
I find it interesting, concerning capital punishment, that Paul the Apostle in the New Testament was not opposed to the idea of a capital punishment for himself. It always struck me-- you know it's one thing to sort of sit in the armchair and say well you know my belief on capital punishment is this, this or that. But when you're the one on trial and they gavel goes down and it's against you, your view on capital punishment may be a little different then.
When Paul was on trial he said, in the courtroom, if I have done anything worthy of death, then fine. Execute me. But if not, then I demand a fair trial and I appeal to Caesar, in Rome. But I've always found Paul's defense very interesting in that he was willing to face capital punishment if the crime necessitated it. If it could be proven in a law of court. Of course, it wasn't and he went to Rome and then he was put in jail and then eventually, according to history, he was killed anyway.
So, verse 7, "The hands of the witnesses shall be the first against him to put them to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. You shall put away the evil from among you." This is sort of what Jesus said, you remember when they brought to him a woman caught in adultery and they said, this woman has been caught in the very act of adultery. So that infers that they are the ones that caught her in it. And that's sort of interesting, in and of itself, because where's the man? I mean, if she's caught in the act of adultery, it does take two to commit that act. And they only brought her, not him, just her. And so Jesus, following the law, said OK then he who is without sin among you cast the first stone.
If a matter arises which is too hard for you to judge, between degrees of guilt for bloodshed, between one judgment or another, or between one punishment or another, matters of controversy within your gates. Then you shall arise and go up to the place which the Lord your God chooses-- We'll discover that will be the city of Jerusalem. That's where the Temple will stand eventually. --the central sanctuary and you shall come to the priests, the Levites, and to the judge there in those days and inquire of them.
They shall pronounce upon you the sentence of judgment. You shall do according to the sentence which they pronounce upon you in that place which the Lord chooses. And you shall be careful to do according to all that they order you, according to the sentence of the law in which they instruct you, according to the judgment which they tell you you shall do. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left from the sentence which they pronounce upon you. Now the man who acts presumptuously and will not heed the priest who stands to minister there before the Lord your God or the judge, that man shall die. And so you shall put away evil from Israel. And all the people shall hear and fear and no longer act presumptuously.
So you have a tough case, you need to bring that to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court in those days were the religious leaders at the central sanctuary which would eventually become Jerusalem. Now here is the principal God is instilling, it's the principle of authority. In your cities and in your lands throughout the land, you can adjudicate cases in the gates of the city. But if that case is too difficult for you and you need to make an appeal to a higher court, then you bring it to the court and whatever they decide you abide by their authority.
You may not like it. You may not agree with it, but after all you appealed and you went and so they're gonna make the final judgment. You have to live with that. It's the principle of authority because without authority you have, you see, anarchy. And even though everyone wants to do what is right in his own eyes, if you do that at a national level, you will have anarchy. And so there are laws and you can get tickets and you can get thrown in jail for certain crimes and you do have to obey the laws and our structure, our governmental system. Because without authority there is anarchy.
But it's intriguing that the ultimate law back then was done by people who knew the law of God. They were well versed in the scripture. These were the priests and the judges who are governed by the laws of God at the central sanctuary.
Verse 14, "When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you and you possess it and you dwell in it and you say, I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me. You shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses. One from among your brethren, you shall set as King over you. You may not set a foreigner over you who is not your brother."
God knows us. The Lord knows His people and the Lord, way back then before they even came into the land, hundreds of years before it even happened, knew what the future would be and anticipated what would occur in 1 Samuel chapter 8.
When the people of the land of Israel wanted a monarchy, they didn't want to have a Theocracy, that's how God set up the nation of Israel. He wanted to rule over them through prophets and priests and judges, but they kept failing in that regard. It got a little bit too unique for them, a little bit too troublesome for them. And they looked around at nations like Syria and Moab and Ammon and they thought well all those people have kings. They've got like a royal court, a monarchy. So not being content with the Theocracy-- which is how God wanted to rule and will rule eventually, on the earth for 1,000 years --not being content with the Theocracy, they wanted a monarchy.
And they came and they said to the prophet, we want a king set over us like other nations. And so the first monarch of Israel, to first king was a guy by the name of Saul. It wasn't the Lord's choice, I believe, it was the people's choice. He was their American Idol. He fit the bill. He looked like a King, he was handsome, he was tall. He was charismatic, and he was dynamic and the people chose Saul. That wasn't God's choice. We know that because way back in Genesis chapter 49, there's a prediction that the scepter, the right to rule the kingdom, the kingship will not depart from the tribe of Judah, it says.
So God predicted a king would come from the tribe of Judah. Saul was not from the tribe of Judah, he was from the tribe of Benjamin. Now the next king will be from the tribe of Judah, that will be David, but the people wanted a king, and they got Saul. And he was, as I said, handsome and charismatic and looked like royalty.
And though he was tall and stature, he was small in character. And he became unpredictable and childlike, childish in his mannerisms and eventually he is rejected by God. And so the Lord, now it's His turn to make a choice, and He chooses a man after His own heart. A young boy named David, who interestingly was not spotted by the prophet who went to choose a king.
We know the story, how that the prophet Samuel went to the House of Jesse because the Lord told him to bring a horn of oil and anoint the next king. And so, he said, hey, bring your sons here and have them pass before me.
So all of the seven sons of Jesse pass before Samuel, and the first guy in line, the oldest, was a man by the name of Eliab and Samuel looked at him and said now that guy looks royal, like a king. He was tall also, he was good looking also, like Saul. And he was ready to anoint him and the Lord spoke to the prophet and said, no, no, no. I didn't choose him. Don't look at the height of his stature or at his outward appearance, for I have rejected him. For the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.
So Samuel thought, OK well, bring the next one. So the next son comes and stands there. His name is Aminadab and the Lord rejected him. And the next one is Shamah, that's the third son. He's rejected, and so this happens with one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. He doesn't get a green light from God with any of those, so he finally says to Jesse, wow, well, I'm drawing a blank here. Are these all your sons? And interestingly, Jesse says, well yeah really for all practical purposes, you saw them all. There is however, the youngest and he's out watching sheep.
Samuel said bring him here. That was David, and that was the one that the Lord chose. The foolish things of this world, the leftovers, the one that nobody thought would ever be the King, certainly his own dad marginalized him. So to the prophet Samuel, the criterion for being the king was height of stature. For Jesse, being the King, the criteria was age because he said he's just the youngest. But for God, the criteria was the condition of the heart.
God sees what you and I don't see. Don't you think God is able to do with you and raise you up and use you according to what He sees in your heart? Sometimes we go, you know, God, people should pay more attention to me. I really am awesome. You know that and I know that. I don't know why anybody else doesn't see that. I need to find a place where people think I'm more awesome. Well God knows how awesome and not awesome you are. And the Lord will raise you up. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and in due time, He will raise you up. Let Him develop you, let Him develop character in you and at the right time at the right place the Lord will raise you up.
So God saw a king was coming. The first king, the people's choice, Saul. The second king, God's choice, David, a man after God's own heart.
Verse 16 tells us what he's to do and what he is to be like. "But he, the king, shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses." The best horses in the world, in those days, where the thoroughbreds of the Egyptians. The temptation would be to go back down to Egypt where they had come from at one time, delivered from, and get the best horses. Why didn't God want them to multiply horses? Because that was to trust in their military strength. That's what the horse was used for. Now that's trusting in your own progress, your own power. So don't multiply horses, because you're going to start saying I have a great standing army. I am so powerful.
"For the Lord has said to you-- verse 16 --you shall not return that way again. Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away. Nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.
Now we talked about the first two kings of Israel Saul and David, but by the time we get to the third King of Israel, the son of David, King Solomon. And we read what God says don't do, now we go uh-oh. Because I remember, what God said don't do, Solomon did in spades. Right? He violated every single one of these. He multiplied horses unto himself.
If you go to Megiddo, and some of you will come with us when we take our tour to Israel in a few months, we will take you to the valley of Armageddon. And you will see the ancient city of Megiddo and we'll be able to show you some of the remnants of the stables of Solomon. It's estimated that altogether he had 20,000 stables for horses. He multiplied horses to himself. Not just in Megiddo, but in other chariot cities and under the Temple Mount itself, to this day there are archaeological remains of the stables of King Solomon.
Of course the Muslims don't say it belongs to Solomon. They've just uncovered these things and they use it for prayer rooms and part of their lower Mosque. But these are all ancient ruins from the stables of Solomon. God said don't do that, Solomon did that.
Next notice in verse 17, "He shall not multiply wives for himself."
You know I've always thought, one wife is plenty. She gives me everything I'd ever want, everything I'd ever need, no need to look anywhere else. God said, It's not good that man should dwell alone. I believe that. And so God selected one wife for one man for one lifetime.
But Solomon saw things a little bit differently. He thought, well, if I only had a few more wives. So he had 700 wives and princesses and the 3,000 concubines besides. So he had 1,000 different women in his life. And eventually, they will turn his heart away from the Lord.
One of the reasons God says don't have many wives is because in those days the tendencies of kings to insure hegemony in regions was to have intermarriages. Marriage of a daughter of a king of another country would be brought to the court of the king who's up and coming. And that would form an alliance, and that alliance would be binding. So there wouldn't be war between those two nations in the future. So it was an idea of many wives many marriages to insure political strength.
Again, just like God said I don't want you to trust in your military, He's saying, I don't want you to trust in other nations. I really want this king to trust only in the Lord. I don't want him to have strings and attachment to other loyalties.
Also, when he sits on the throne-- Oh, also, it says in verse 17, "nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself." Go back, not now, but go back sometime and you read the book of Ecclesiastes. It says that Solomon made silver and gold like common stones in Jerusalem. He multiplied so much silver and gold. Originally, he was collecting taxation money to furnish the temple. It was all for the Lord, you know, it's oh I'm doing it for a good cause. It's all for God's house.
But eventually, he saw the revenues that were coming in and he thought, well, I could use this to line my own pockets as well. And so, the taxation becomes so exorbitant it actually cripples the nation. The taxes were so high. So that when Solomon is gone, his son Reheboam is approached by a contention of people saying, look you're dad, Solomon, brought in so much silver and so much gold with that taxation he crushed us. We weren't able to live, we couldn't survive. So if you want to have all the people on your side. If you want to have people who love their king, ease up on the taxes. Don't let the taxation crush us.
He comes back and he said, my little finger will be heavier than my father's waste. If you thought his taxation was bad wait till you see what I'm gonna do to you. Now when he said that-- it all stems back to Solomon's greed of multiplying silver and gold --when Reheboam said that, the nation began to split in two. Then Jeriboam came in and the nation split, the northern 10 tribes, the southern two tribes. All because of this. So God said don't do it, Solomon did it all.
Verse 18, "Also it shall be-- I love this next part --when he sits on the throne of his kingdom that he shall write, for himself, a copy of this law in a book from the one before the priests, the Levites. It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life. That he may learn to fear of the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes. That his heart may not be lifted up above his brethren. That he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right hand or to the left. That he may prolong his days in the kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel."
So what I love about this is that the king had to be sort of a scribe and a scholar. He had to be a Bible student, he had to read the Bible. But it's not like, go down to the Bible bookstore and buy a scroll, go to parchments and buy like whatever scroll's on sale. No, this king has to write, by hand, a copy of the law of Moses.
Imagine sitting down with a pad of paper-- well you and I would need several pads of paper, reams of paper. You begin with Genesis 1 and you have to copy the first five books of Moses, with a pencil or pen, word by word, word by word, word by word, word by word. All five books, you have to do that. And that is your copy of the scriptures that you are gonna read from. That was the prerequisite to be a king in Israel.
God wanted his king to be a Bible student, wanted to get up every morning and have is devotions what the Lord his God. To read it, to stay humble before God. The only one we know who really took this seriously, at least that we can prove, is Josiah.
When he finds a copy of the law of God, in the temple of God. And it's been, sort of, kept under the dust for so long nobody even knew it existed. And he brings it out and they start reading and everybody weeps and he tears his clothes and said, oh boy did we blow it. We have erred so far from this law and he starts taking seriously, once again, the law of God. But that was the prerequisite for the King. That he would write it and that he would read it himself.
"The priests-- verse 1 chapter 18 --the Levites, all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part in the inheritance with Israel. They shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire and His portion, therefore, they shall have no inheritance among their brethren. The Lord is their inheritance, as he said to them. And this shall be the priests due from the people from those who offer a sacrifice, whether it's a bull or a sheep, they shall give it to the priest, the shoulder, the cheeks, the stomach-- If you were from Scotland, the haggis. You eat the stomach, oh boy. --the first fruits of your grain, your new wine, your oil, the first of the fleece of your sheep, you shall give him.
For the Lord your God has chosen him out of all your tribes to stand, to minister in the name of the Lord, him and his son's forever. So if a Levite comes from any of your gates, from where he dwells among all of Israel, and comes with the desire of his mind to the place which the Lord chooses,-- which again will eventually be Jerusalem, the central sanctuary. --then he may serve in the name of the Lord His God as all of his brethren the Levites do who stand there before the Lord. They shall have equal portions to eat-- in other words, he will receive remuneration like all of them. --besides what comes from the sale of his inheritance."
OK so you remember that in this tribe there were three main families, right? There were the Coethites, there were the Gergeshites and there were the sons of Merari. I'm not holding you accountable to remember them. I was even have a hard time calling them to mind. But these three families had responsibilities within this tribe the responsibilities revolved around the sanctuary, the Tabernacle. They would carry different portions of it, they would set up and have activities with certain portions of the Tabernacle, in the wilderness.
When they settled into the land of Israel and the tribes were divvied up among, the allotments given to the tribes. The tribe of Levi was given no land allotment. The only thing they were given were 48 cities, called Levitical cities, that were scattered throughout the 12 tribes. 48 cities would average about four cities per tribe, but the way it really worked out is the larger tribes got a few more cities than the smaller tribes. So anyway, the 48 cities were scattered throughout the entire tribal allotment from north to south.
Levites lived in those towns. They taught the law. They gave the judgement at the gates. But it might come into the heart of a Levite, you know, I live up here in this different portion but the action is down in Jerusalem. The action is down in the temple. I really wanna serve the Lord in that area.
So he sells his house. He doesn't have any land the sell, but he has property, he sells it. He can keep the prophet from the sale of that, go down to Jerusalem be remunerated like all the ones that are ministering already in that area. Because all of them have sacerdotal functions, priestly functions, ministerial functions.
And so God said, they will take portions of the sacrifices they get to eat that. They will also get cities free of charge. If they want to leave the city they can also go down and be part of the action and in the main city down in Jerusalem.
By the time we get to David, the priesthood will be divided into 24 courses. So that a priest in different parts of the land will be assigned to the central sanctuary. They will have their time to spend down there and it was always something they looked forward to doing.
When you come-- verse 9 --into the land which the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes a son or daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjure spells, or a medium, or a spiritest, or one who calls up the dead. For all of these things-- or excuse me --For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord. Because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, for these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers--
Now the word soothsayers, literally in Hebrew, means cloud gazers. These are people who looked up in the sky and they would see clouds form something and go, oh that looks to me like-- and I believe that's saying--. They would look for stars, they would look for omens in the skies.
--and diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you. The Lord wanted his people to know the difference between pagan sorcery and, listen, prophetic certainty.
As we close out the chapter, and we will in just a moment. We'll get to it. We will have the time as I predicted.
What the nations leaned on for guidance is not what God's nation was to lean on for guidance. The pagan sorceries of the nations that were being dispossessed from Cannon we're different than the prophetic certainty. God would send them prophets throughout their generations that would speak a true, authentic word of the Lord. Look for that, the Lord would say, not the sorcerer's, not the dividers, not those who practice witchcraft.
By the way, do you realize that in our country, currently, there are 200,000 registered witches. Now those are registered. They have some kind of registry, they have some kind of communication. They must have some kind of gatherings that they meet at and some kind of hierarchy. 200,000 registered witches, I imagine there are many more unregistered witches who practice Wiccan witchcraft. But there are 8 million people, it is estimated, in our country that actively practice witchcraft, in the United States of America.
Now something that was done back then, that isn't practiced now, is something that is mentioned in verse 10-- "anyone who makes a son or daughter pass through the fire". You will read in the Old Testament of a god named Molech who was worshipped by those people who lived on the other side of the Jordan River. The way Molech was appeased or worshipped is that it was a little metal god with arms stretched out hands pointing up. And they would set that metallic image in a fire until the hands got red hot and then white hot. And when they were heated to their maximum, they would take their little babies and they would place the baby on the arms of Molech and it would burn the child to death and then be consumed in the flames. And this was quite common.
And down in Tunisia, present day Tunisia the ancient city of Carthage, they've discovered-- this was in the New York Times science section a while back. They have discovered a cemetery, outside of Carthage, where thousands of infants were burned alive. Thousands, upwards of 20,000 over a period of several years. Now the idea is that, if I sacrifice the offspring of my body to this god or goddess it will greatly bless me. It will go well for me. I will become prosperous, I will become wealthy. The gods will look favorably upon me. So in order to enrich and enhance my life, I'll sacrifice the fruit of the womb in the fire.
Now that practice isn't done in the same manner today. But think about all of the babies who have been aborted, in the wounds of mothers, on the altar of convenience. It's not convenient for me to have this child, oh they're not burned on a fire of Molech, but with the saline solution that is injected into the womb or with the forceps, torn apart. The amount of children who have been sacrificed, so that I could have a life like I want to live, is not dissimilar. And I would say the Lord is also displeased, and would see that as an abomination to sacrifice children, like He says don't do back in those days.
It is a blight upon our society. It is a blight upon our nation, and in many regards the collective conscience of this country is seared to that. At one time, Christians were up in arms about that. Now it is just so common that-- Well, I hope some of those videos of Planned Parenthood have served to wake some people up. And hopefully even those within judicial ranks because it's a blight.
Verse 15, let's close this off. "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me, Moses said, from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear according to all you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb and that day at the assembly saying, let me not here again the voice of the Lord my God nor let me see this great fire anymore lest I die. And the Lord said to me, what they have spoken is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet, like you from among their brethren and will put my words in his mouth. And he shall speak to them that I command him and it shall be that whoever will not hear my words, which he speaks in my name, I will require it of him.
Now it is true, the Lord will send many, many prophets to the nation of Israel in the years to come. But all of those prophets would be training the ears of his people, the Jews, to eventually hear the prophet, the ultimate prophet who would come, the Lord Jesus Christ. For I want you to notice, He doesn't say I will send you many prophets, though He will, but he says the prophet, a prophet. It's done in the singular and the pronoun is singular that's why in your Bible, I think, I know in my Bible the word prophet is capitalized. Capital "P", do you see that?
That's because the translators from the Hebrew into English, understanding the meaning of this, believe this is a reference to Jesus Christ, the ultimate spokesperson for God the Father. The Prophet. So, this is how I know that's true.
By the time we get to the New Testament, John the Baptist is down in the Jordan River baptizing, the Jews come to him and they say, are you Elijah? And he says no. And then they say, are you the Prophet?
Remember that? Are you the Prophet? They're referring to this text because there was a prediction of the Prophet that was coming. And he said, no I am not the Prophet. I'm not the Christ. I'm not Elijah.
In the book of Acts, in chapter 7, when Stephen preaches his message, he quotes this passages of scripture. And he quotes this that Moses said this in Deuteronomy chapter 18 as being fulfilled in Jesus Christ. So it was understood, that the Prophet would be the Messiah. Stephen said that was Jesus.
And then Philip, when he tells his brother Nathaniel, remember when he says, hey, I have found the one that Moses wrote about in the law and said would come, Jesus of Nazareth. When did Moses write about somebody who would come? Right here. The Lord will raise up a Prophet like me and you and all of the people shall hear. And if not I will require that-- verse 19 --I will require that of him.
Jesus is similar to Moses. When Moses was a child the powers of Egypt attempted to kill him. His mother saved him alive. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The powers that be in Jerusalem, Herod, attempted to kill him. And he escaped into Egypt.
Moses was in the royal court of Egypt and he turned away from the royal robes and the royal meals and all of the accoutrements of the court, and to identify himself with the people of the Jews. Jesus left the royal courts of heaven and divested himself of His glory and came to this earth in a greater way than Moses.
Moses made intercession for his people, prayed for his people. In the wilderness, Jesus made intercession for his apostles, John chapter 17. For the thief on the cross is predicted in the book of Isaiah.
Moses was the mediator of the old covenant, Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant. Moses was not recognized by his people until he came the second time. Jesus wasn't recognized the first time, and according to scripture won't be recognized by the Jewish nation, till He comes the second time.
So when Moses said another Prophet will be raised up like me,-- in many ways Jesus was like Moses but in an even greater way. He is the ultimate word. The ultimate voice of God.
Do you remember how the book of Hebrews opens up? It says God who at various times and in various ways spoke to our fathers in times past, by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His son. Whom He made err of all things and through whom also, he made the world's.
God spoke, in times past, through the profits collectively. He has in these last days, spoken. In Greek, arist active indicative. It's done, it's over. It's the ultimate final word of God to mankind.
God is not speaking anymore to humanity in regards to salvation. Jesus is the final word. He is the word made flash, John chapter 1 tells us.
But verse 20 will finish out the chapter. "The prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak or speaks in the name of other gods, that profit shall die." Now this is a heavy verse.
Be careful when somebody says, wait a minute the Lord has spoken something to me. You may want to back up just a little bit, just in case lightning strikes him from Heaven. The Lord may indeed be speaking, but don't be so sure, just because somebody says it. I've had, over the years, many, many special delivery messages from God who didn't turn out to be messengers of God.
"And if you say, in your heart, how shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken? When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if that thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously you shall not be afraid of him."
Easy test, if somebody predicts something, it doesn't happen, false prophet. So it wasn't like you have to have a 98% success rate, You had to have 100% success rate. So if you want the job description of a prophet you better understand that if you're wrong, if you have a bad prophet day,--
--you didn't get your antenna up quite right. You're not really hearing from God, but you thought you were. It was just really pizza.
That you might die by the end of the day. Those are big shoes to walk into and of the Lord sets out the difference between these pagan abominations in the prophetic certainty of his revelation, His truth.
Father, thank you that we have, like Peter said, a more sure word of prophecy which we do well to take heed to because it's a light that shines in a dark place.
Father, we laugh at things like Back to the Future because such minuscule predictions, some which were similar to what we have today but not quite totally accurate, seen not even 30 years ago. An easy guess to venture at the rate of technology. We compare that with the prophets of the Old Testament. The incredible accuracy, the incredible detail.
We realize that we hold in our hands, in terms of the Bible, something sure. Something that is a foundation that we can build on. Something that we can rest our lives on. Something that we can rest are marriages on. Something that we can trust completely in. Help us to rightly divide it and to be obedient to it.
Thank you, Lord, for those who are in our midst, some on paid staff many who are volunteers who are helping us grow and understand your truth and how to apply it in the world in which we live. Bless each one, each small group leader, each usher, each man and woman in security, each Sunday school teacher, each of the staff pastors. Give us your strength, Lord, to be true representatives of the true and living God. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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