(Reviewed and added to, December 24- , 1991, reviewed again as I go through Exdus verse by verse, October 14-22, 1992.)
This chapter contains various laws concerning theft, #Ex 22:1-4, concerning damage done to fields and vineyards by beasts, and to corn in stacks or standing, by fire, #Ex 22:5,6, concerning anything or creature deposited in the hands of a neighbour, and they be stolen or lost by one means or another, #Ex 22:7-13, concerning anything borrowed, and it comes to any damage, #Ex 22:14,15, concerning fornication, #Ex 22:16,17 concerning witchcraft, bestiality, and idolatry, #Ex 22:18-20 concerning oppression, and affliction of the stranger, fatherless, and widow, #Ex 22:21-24 concerning taking usury and pledges, #Ex 22:25-27, concerning irreverence to magistrates, #Ex 22:28, concerning the offering of firstfruits to God, #Ex 22:29,30 and the chapter is concluded with a prohibition of eating anything torn by beasts, #Ex 22:31. (Gill)
Notice that these practical applications of the law deal with sin. They tell how neighbors are to treat each other. These people love each other, and as we read through the laws, we might be tempted to say, "I would never do that; steal from my neighbor or lie to him." But the Lord realizes our sinful nature. He tells us how to make things right when we do slip from our professed love for our neighbor. If every one treated their neighbor as they would want their neighbor to treat them, there would be no need for these applications and how to make things right. Nor would there be any need for the 10 commandments.
The law is given in ch. 20. Approach to the Lord through the sacrifice is also presented in 20. Then 21, the basic relationships of man to man are given; master-servant, husband-wife, fighting, death, man-stealing and many other principles of responsibility, accountability and restitution. The Lord started with the most violent relationships in ch 21; now He moves down to someting not so violent, thieft.
Chapter 22 expands on what has already been established, as well as many applications. The Lord has established what to do about accidents, murders and irresponsible careless action. Now He is going to give instructions concerning thief and what to do with the thief.
1. The thief, if caught without what he stole in his hand, is to restore: 1) five-fold (five returned for the one taken) for an ox; 2) four-fold for a sheep. The ox represents the farmer's living and would be difficult to train as a work animal. On the other hand, the sheep would not require the investment and effort to train as the ox did; thus, the different value in restoration. In other words, the tools of one's trade are worth the greatest amount to the owner, so they require more restitution. The comparison in our area here at Linden would be the farmer who has a beef and a tractor stolen; the beef requires the thief to restore 4 times its value and the tractor requires restoration of 5 times its value (see also Pro. 6:31).
2. On the other hand, if what the thief stole is found alive and well in his possession, he restores double to the owner. The law here is much easer on the thief if what he stole remains in his possession because he stole for his own use, not for profit. Furthermore, the owner has his own goods returned to him, thus minimizing his loss. Furthermore, restitution is to the owner, not to the state. But when the state claims to be god, owner of heaven and earth, it will demand restitution for all crimes to itself with no consideration to the victim.
3. If the thief is caught and is unable to make the required restitution, he is sold to pay off the debt. The thief must be repaid if necessary with the person himself.
There was no way to avoid lawful restitution; even if the thief had to be sold, he had to pay his debt. The rest of Exodus 22 builds upon this basic law of restitution: returning to the owner what is removed from him by thief or carelessness.
4. If the thief is caught breaking in at night, he can be killed with no guilt on the killer; the killer would not even have to go to the city of refuge. In the dark, the intruder's intentions are unknown; the person may be armed with murder in his heart, so the Lord doesn't require the one protecting his property to check first. But if the thief is killed in the light, then the killer is guilty of murder because in the light, his intentions can be more plainly seen. But whatever force necessary can be used for self-protection.
The Lord Jesus clearly placed His approval upon this law when He said, When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace, Lk 11:21. The next verse is interesting: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. (Ff. Matt 12:29; Mk 3:27.) Observe these two clear references:
A) The strong man, the devil, Eph 2:2; 6:12. The head of the house, the dad, must be strong in the Lord or his family will be victims of the enemy, and dad will be held accountable.
B) The strong man cannot be restricted to a spiritual strong man protecting his household against his spiritual enemies. The reference by the Lord in Mt, Mk & Lk (three of the four gospels) is clearly to the law of Moses which speaks of an individual's right to use whatever force necessary to protect his goods from a physical intruder, Exodus 22:1-4. Furthermore, the implication is that the stronger the "intruder," the stronger the householder must be.
1 Timothy 5:8, tells us that if the householder does not provide for those he is responsible for, he is worse than infidel.. without faith or trust. Thayer lists several implications under infidel: 1) Thomas disbelieving the news of the resurrection of Jesus, Jn 20:27; 2) those who refuse belief in the gospel, 1 Cor 6:6; 3) its usage in 1 Tim 5:8 holds the added idea of impiety and wickedness, 2 Cor 6:14 sq.; 4) it contains the thought of a Christian denying the faith as in Titus 1:15. Point 4 brings to mind James' words: But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves, 1:22, & For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also, 2:26.
Thus, if we follow our Lord's words through and based (as was His every thought, word and deed) upon the law of Moses, we see that God requires the godly householder to use whatever force is needed to protect his house and those under his authority. Furthermore, those who do not take every precaution necessary to protect their homes from both the spiritual and physical intruder from any source, are worse than those who have denied faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Observe these two points in conclusion:
First, restitution to the owner by the thief is required for a godly society to exist. Second, part of faithfulness to the law-word of God is the requirement for the householder do all that is humanly possible to protect those under his authority from the intended evil of the wicked (men or spirits). These two points are some of the most basic for a godly society.
The neighbor's animal is not dangerous, so he lets him roam freely. This passage would also cover an animal which escaped from the owner. Any time the animal feeds at the neighbor's expense, the owner must repay from the best that he has.
An application for our day what we hear about is children. Not long ago I read of a child in a doctor's office who got hold of some contaminated needles and caught a contagious disease. The parent sued the doctor for not protecting the child from the needles. According to the law here the doctor could sue the parents for not having their child under control. It is the parents responsibility (or the owner of an animal) to have their child under control at all times. Any damage done by a child (or animal) is to be repaid by the parent.
Another example: If a child breaks something in another's house, the parents are to replace what is broken with something of equal or greater value. If the child does damage to, say, a carpet, the parents must pay to have it cleaned or replaced.
And of course, the basic principle in these two chapters is with an animal. If my dog kills something of the neighbor's, I must replace that damage. If my dog is a dangerous animal - such as the Pit Bulls we hear about today - and he injures someone, I must pay for the healing and time lost. If he kills someone and I have been warned, life for life or pay whatever ransom the judge would determine. If my dog damages anything of my neighbors, the damaged object is to be replaced with something at least of equal value.
A few months ago the buisnessmen in Crawfordsville were complaining about teens using their parking lot and leaving it in a mess. Someone should get the kid's numbers and hold their parents responsible. We keep hearing about how the community should provide something for the kids to do. That is the parent's responsibility and if the kids do misticife, the parents pay.
V. 6, expands upon holding the careless responsible. A fire got out of control and damages the neighbor's property: Restitution is required. Thus we see restitution required even if the damage to the other's property was accidental and beyond control. A person is responsible at all times for everything which is under his authority, even a fire, with very few exceptions. Someone is always responsible.
Vs. 7-13, makes determination between neighbors. Notice how
closely our Lord followed this in Mt. 18 (take it before the church
first..., then the civil judge).
V. 7, one neighbor leaves something for safe keeping in the hands of another. If it is stolen from the one who is keeping it, and the thief is caught, the thief is to make double restitution.
V. 8, if the thief is not found, the master of the house which was keeping the thing for the neighbor, is examined by the judges to determine if the master took the goods. Note, master: The owner cannot lay the blame on anyone. He is the one in charge, and he will be held responsible even if he personally is not the one at fault.
This is true concerning the family also. The husband and father will be held accountable before the Lord for all that goes on under him by his wife and children. It expands to all in any kind of authority, and with the greater authority comes greater responsibility.
This would make one wonder if one of the reasons that no one wants to be responsible today, is because the laws are so unjust. If a person was confident that they would receive justice, would they be more willing to take responsibility and to be held accountable?
V. 9, the charge is made against the one keeping whatever the thing might be. (Raiment would be something of great value back then. There was no cloth as we know of today. They would all, of necessity, have been made by hand out of wool, silk or skins. This would be a very expensive and time-consuming process.) But then again, maybe there was nothing delivered to the one being charges and the one making the charge sees this as an opportunity to get something for nothing. (The context of For all manner of trespass would require that the trespass be restricted to the subjects being discusses.)
V. 9, also identifies the contested object as something that is lost. Maybe an animal was found wandering about and the neighbor brought him home. The one who lost him sees what he thinks is his lost animal at his neighbor's house, so he claims the animal. The person in possession denies that the animal is the neighbour's.
Both parties come before the judges for righteous judgment. The judge cannot be respecter of persons, either of the poor or the rich, stranger or local. If it is determined that the contested goods which are in the neighbor's possession actually belong to the one bringing the charge, then the master of the house must make double restitution. On the other hand, if it is determined that the charges are false, the one bringing the charges must make double restitution, Deuteronomy 19:16-21. If this were enforced today, this would certainly stop a lot of false charges!
Note that the master of the house is held responsible for the actions of all those under him.
Another point here would be stolen property. If one is found with stolen property in his possession, he must make restitution as though he is the one who stole it if the thief cannot be caught.
The reason the restitution is restricted to double is because the goods themselves are returned.
Vs. 10, 11, gives a little different light on the matter. If the animal that is left in the care of another, while it is at pasture, dies or is hurt or stolen, no man seeing it: then an oath is to settle the matter. The Lord always makes provision to deal with hidden sin. (See below, the hidden sin of adultery.)
The one charged could take an oath before the Lord: "The Lord as my witness.." would ask the Lord to take vengeance upon him if he is guilty. There were no witnesses, only the Lord, so the Lord is asked to make a righteous judgment, and the owner bears the entire loss. This would assume two things. A) The one accused is agreeing that the Lord would do the same to him and more also if he is guilty. B) The one making the accusation is willing to leave it in the Lord's hands to render righteous vengeance.
Vs. 11, 12, would indicate that the one taking the oath is agreeing that the Lord would judge double if he were at fault. The common term would be, and more also. (Cf. Ruth 1:17; 1 Sa. 3:17; 14:44, & c.)
Leviticus 6:2-5, deals with false swearing, perjury. When the sin is confessed, restitution is to be made with 20% added to the value. Why did the guilty finally make the sin right? Because in his oath he had asked the Lord to do the same to him and more also if he was lying. The injured party left it in the Lord's hands, and the Lord took care of it, Hos. 10:4; Zech. 5:4; 8:7. The Lord did what the one taking the oath asked Him to do and judged righteously. The resulting price became too high, either in the guilty partie' conscience or in his pocketbook. He must make it right with the one stolen from and then make his peace with the Lord.
Application: How much more should an oath before the Lord settle matters between Christians today, Hebrews 6:16? The reason that it doesn't is because neither can leave it in the Lord's hands. Would this not be a lack of faith that the Lord will judge justly?
Vs. 12, 13, continues on with the animal which was left for safe keeping in v. 10. If the animal was stolen, the one who was to provide safe keeping was to make restitution. The law takes for granted that he could have prevented the theft. He accepted the responsibility when he agreed to watch the animals, therefore, he is held responsible if he fails.
This would do a couple of things:
a. Make him think twice before he would be willing to safe-guard his neighbor's property.
b. Make him watch over and protect it as his own. When these requirements are missing, there is no motive for protecting what has been committed to him.
V. 13, but if he can prove that any damage to his neighbor's goods was beyond his control, he was free. He had to provide the torn body to show that he himself did not set his hand upon the animal.
Vs. 14, 15, deals with something as simple as borrowing from another. If the thing borrowed does not have the owner with it to see that it is used properly, it must be returned in the same condition as when it was borrowed. But: 1) If the owner is with it, the owner is responsible to see that it is used properly, or he could see that the damage was beyond human control. 2) If it was rented, no matter how small the amount of rent, any damage is the owner's responsibility.
An illustration could be a garden tiller. If it is borrowed and breaks, the one who borrowed it must repair it. If the owner came with the tiller, either watching or using it himself, he would know that the damage was beyond control; the borrower would not have to make it right. If the borrower rented the tiller, then the renter would not have to make it right. The rent paid for the damage.
It is absolutely amazing how this passage, vs. 7-15, applies to the today's financial situation. There would be two parts here.
First; the depositor seeks safety for his money with a savings account. God's law holds the owner of the bank (including the board of directors), responsible for all the employees under him. If any employee steals from the depositors, the one who stole is required to make double restitution. But if the thief cannot be caught (maybe he is still employed but his trail is well covered), the owners must make double restitution as though they themselves stole it. God's law always holds someone responsible for every violation!
On the other hand, if the loss was something beyond the owner's control, with no human element involved, such as a storm (Ps. 148:8), then the bank would be guiltless. As we see today, the vast majority of loss is to theft in one form or another. God requires the owners of the bank to be held responsible, not the FDIC (unless the FDIC was truly a self-insurance company, which it is not).
As we watch the reports of banking scandals unfold before our eyes (S&L, which will be small potatoes compared to what is starting to unfold in the Banks), we are amazed at the profits reaped by the owner's frauds for all involved: owners, directors and friends of these institutions. They may receive a slap on the wrist or a period of time in jail, yet they do not have to return the tens of millions of dollars which they stole.
Because the thieves are not held responsible and they do not have to make restitution, thievery proliferates, and someone else is left with the horrendous debt. Rather than the thieves having to make double restitution, the ones stolen from must pay twice; once with the loss of their deposits, then through the taxpayer funded FDIC.
Secondly; when the money is borrowed from the individual investor by a company with the expressed purpose of using it to make money (stocks, &c.) and the business fails and the funds lost, then no restitution is required unless fraud is involved. The lender took a chance for which he was to be paid interest.
Notice that these practical applications of the law deal with sin. They tell how neighbors are to treat each other. The neighbours love each other and work together, and as we read through these laws, we might be tempted to say, "I would never do that; steal from my neighbor or lie to him." But the Lord realizes our sinful nature; He tells us how to make things right when we do slip from our professed love for our neighbor. If every one treated their neighbor as they would want their neighbor to treat them, there would be no need for these applications and how to make things right. Nor would there be any need for the 10 commandments.
Men are born with a fallen nature. The Lord knows this, so He made provision for keeping this nature under control and tells what to do when that nature is allowed to be out of control. When His method is departed from only chaos can develop because the fallen nature controls all things.
Sadly, I heard J.V. McGee say on the radio as he was talking about the clean and unclean animals for food: "These animals are peculiar to that area, therefore, this diet does not apply for our day." Now, such a statement is ludicrous. It is obvious that we have cattle, sheep, deer, swine, rabbits, &c., today world-wide. Can you imagine someone who is reputed to be a marvelous Bible teacher saying such a thing? Fallen man will grasp at the faintest straw to avoid being accountable to the word of God. Thus, these laws of accountability and restitution are as binding today on all of mankind as they were the day the Lord gave them to Moses.
There are those who would say that because Israel was a farm economy, the principles which God established in His law are for a farm economy, not for an industrial economy such as we have today.
It is any wonder that theft is rampant, for which professed Christians have no answer. He is cut off from the God's law which would enable him to deal with these things by the legions of false teachers.
Vs. 16, 17.
("The seduction of a girl, who belonged to her father as long as she was not betrothed, was also to be regarded as an attack upon the family possession." Keil. It seems cruel to us to think that a girl and woman always is regarded as belonging to some man, as would an animal. But there is more to it than that. The woman, because of the fall, was always to be under a man's authority, either her father or her husband. The word of God protects her in this position, but as soon as she departs from this, she loses her god-given protection. Any decision she made could be overridden by the one over her. On the other hand, the widow was placed under the protection of a church, but her word stood. She is placed there for her one protection, and the law gives her great protection if she will remain there.)
If the privileges of marriage are going to be taken, then the responsibility of marriage must be taken, along with the price of marriage (the dowry). If the girl is not betrothed, he must pay the dowry and marry her.
The point that stands out in this passages is that it is the male that is responsible before God for the morality of a society, not the female. He enticed the maid, therefore, he is responsible to pay the price. It says nothing about role of the maid in the enticement. We will make one point, then return to this passage latter.
V. 17, according to the dowry of virgins. This does not say that she was a virgin. Apparently every time a man would be caught with this one unmarried girl, he would have to pay the dowry. This could be quite profitable to the family (this would be expensive whoredom). But Deuteronomy 22:28, requires that she must be a virgin to receive this dowry.
Now, to go into a further development of this passage, Deuteronomy 22:13-30. We'll divide this passage into two parts.
I. Deut. 22:13-21. There are two things considered here; one for the man's protection, one for the woman's.
First, the man's protection. The woman deceived her prospective husband into thinking she was something she was not, pure. Maybe this was done so she could get a larger dowry, or that she could get the man she wanted, or whatever. He finds out on his wedding night that he was deceived. Provision is made for his protection.
The second, the woman's protection. His desire for her is now satisfied, and he wants to be rid of her (cf. Amnon, 2 Sam. 8:15).
He brings charges against her concerning her purity before marriage. The controversy is brought before the judges, and the evidence presented to the elders of the city, v. 15. The evidence proves the woman to have been morally pure before the marriage, and the charges by the husband false, v. 17. He is chastised, fined 100 sheckels of silver (which is given to the girl's father, thus out of the husband's reach) and he loses any right of divorce, v. 19. This double dowry of a virgin (probably about 6 years wages for the average man) gave her financial security. Furthermore, his loss of the right of divorce would make this man her slave. Thus, she is protected from false charges (they were serious, requiring death to the wife) and unholy desires from her husband. He had better be sure of his stand before he bring any charges against his wife.
On the other hand, if it is determined that the woman did intentionally deceive her husband, she was put to death, vs. 20, 21.
Observe three points:
1. The girl is not put to death for not being pure before marriage. As we see in Ex 22:16, 17, provision had been made for a girl who had been seduced before marriage.
2. The girl is put to death for deceiving the man; for some reason she claimed to be something she was not.
3. The law here shows the importance of beginning a marriage relationship with complete honesty. The practical application would be that the Lord forbids one from passing themselves off as something they are not. This would not require opening up every detail of our past life to the other, unless it would be needful for them to know.
A good example of this would be Paul. We know very little about his past life, only what is needful. But he never passed himself off as something that he was not.
Update in MO file when I finnish this. Also uses SM, 1/5/92
Good message on a man's responsibility
From Ex 22:16, 17.
II. The second part of this passage expands on the situation found in Ex 22:16, 17, Deuteronomy 22:22-29.
1. The man had to be found with her. There had to be witnesses. Never is just one person allowed to bring a charge against another which might result in the death of the one charged, Deut. 19:15-21.
2. Vs. 22-27, a betrothed virgin is treated as a married woman. If the forcing took place where there was a chance that others could hear and help, both were to die. This took for granted that the woman cried out, and that someone would hear her and come to her rescue. If it was in a lonely place, this took for granted that the woman cried out and there was no one within hearing range. Therefore, only the man was to die. Rape is equated with murder, v. 26.
Notice the phrase in vs. 25, 28, if a man find a damsel.., indicates that this evil was not preplanned. Whereas, v. 22, if a man be found lying with a woman married.. indicates that this was prearranged.
a.) Leviticus 19:20-22, gives a different standard for the bondmaid.
This bondage was mentioned in Exodus 21:7-11, where the conditions for her freedom without the redemption price being paid are given (see our notes there). Here she is in bondage, and she is seduced. The result is not death as in Deut. 22, but scourging for both parties (marg, they shall be scourged, which would fit the context). She was not as free, therefore she is not as responsible as a free woman is, but she is still protected under the law. Again, the man is primarily responsible, vs. 21, 22.
(The dowry in this case went to the father who could redeem her under certain conditions. As a free-woman the dowry went to her for her security and to be passed down to her children.)
3. If the damsel is not betrothed or married, AND the maid is a virgin, the guilty man had to pay the father 50 shekels of silver (about 3 years wages), the dowry of a virgin. The Lord protects the family. On the other hand, if the maid is not a virgin, the man would not have to pay the dowry. But then we get in to the girl playing the part of a harlot.
a.) Lev 19:29. The daughter is under her father's authority, but the father is limited in that authority by the law of the Lord. He is forbidden from prostituting his daughter. The law is obvious: No matter who is in authority, they are restricted by the law of God in their authority. The ones under authority are also restricted in their obedience. They only obey within the limits of the law.
b.) The daughter of a priest who played the whore was to be burnt, Led. 21:9. But the law says nothing about burning one who is not a priest's daughter. The priest's daughter is to set the example of purity for the people.
c.) Deut. 23:17, identifies whoredom with sodomy. The command here reads in such a way that both are to be removed from the congregation of the Lord. Furthermore, Leviticus 20:13 requires the death penalty.
d.) The NT speaks specifically about fornication: Such persons are to be removed from the congregation of the Lord, having no part in the Kingdom of God, 1 Cor. 5 & 6; Eph. 5:5, & c.
4. This is an extremely important point. If the father of the girl permitted the marriage, the man had to marry the girl. He, not she, lost all right of divorce. He took marriage rights before marriage, therefore he loses any option after marriage. Because of his lack of freedom from his passions before marriage, he loses his freedom after marriage. He had no self-control before marriage, so now she controls him after marriage. He seduced her into a compromised position before marriage, now she has him in a compromised position after marriage. (Of course, adultery on her part after marriage would solve his problem. How tempting would it be for the husband to try to work something out along this line.)
a. Under this point is that the man is the one responsible, at all times. There is no mention of, or provision for what the woman might have done to entice the man (remember Adam!). The book of Proverbs covers this well, chapters 6 & 7. The man is responsible before God to be the moral backbone of a society. He pays the price and loses his freedom for his moral failure. When he fails, society fails. He is a slave to his passions first of all, and freedom without dominion over his passions is impossible, John 8:32, 36. It is equally obvious that this moral fiber must emanate from the word of God. There can be no 'saving' morality for society without the word and Spirit of God.
And by passions we must include far more than just the area of morality. A man may be as moral as the Lord Himself, yet be out of control in his passions.
Let us not think for a moment that the enemy of our souls doesn't know this. If he can break the backbone and cause the man to lose his self-control and moral fiber, he has gained society. Everything we see around us today is geared for this: Pornography, advertising, TV shows and media of all kinds, & c.
Notice that the enemy's attack is primarily against the man, tearing down the self-control in his heart, 1 Corinthians 10:3-5. This is why our Lord stressed the self-control of the man, Matthew 5:27-29 & 15:18-20. A defiled man will produce a defiled society. It is impossible for a man who is not free from the control of his passions to have a free society. A man who is a slave to his passions will reap from God an oppressive society, Galatians 6:3-8.
(Gal. 6:3, the person has confidence that he is in control, yet his spirit and passions are out of control - he is deceived. V. 4, every one is to prove their spirit by their works, the fruit of the Spirit of God, or the fruit of the spirit of the flesh [Gal. 5:19-25]. V. 5, no one can blame anyone else for his failures - each must bear his own fault. V. 6, pay well the teacher of God's word. Vs. 7, 8, the most blunt and easiest to understand Scripture in the word of God: Whatever spirit [5:19-25] that a person sows, that is what they will reap. Therefore, a person or society which is captive to the spirit of the flesh will reap captivity. This is a law of God which cannot be avoided. Only the power of the resurrected Christ can free from this captivity, 6:14-16.)
Of course, this applies equally to woman, but the responsibility falls on the man. Woman will reflect the attitude of the men in society.
Therefore we cannot emphasize enough the importance of self-control on the part of the man, especially before marriage, but also after marriage.
5. If the father did not permit the marriage, the dowry was to be paid anyway. This would give her a double dowry upon marriage. The seduction was an attack against the family; it robbed the father of what was his, a virgin daughter; it robbed her of her value to the man of her and her father's choice. Restitution had to be made to the family. This double dowry would make her an attractive prospective bride.
6. This also assumes that the man is not an incorrigible person (habitual offender). They were severally dealt with, Deuteronomy 21:18-21.
It would be impossible for one of these laws to stand alone. They are all intertwined.
John 8:1-11, the woman taken in adultery
The law provides justice and mercy
We would be remise not to cover the trial of jealousy at this point. As we see, the woman either had to confess or had to be caught in the act for the charges to justly hold up against her. The Lord makes provision for the husband who feels that he has been wronged.
Numbers 5:12-31, gives the trial of jealousy. (V. 14, the spirit of jealousy come upon him, the husband. Did the Lord send the spirit? Where did the spirit come from?) There were no witness, yet the husband suspects something. She denies any wrongdoing. This spirit of jealousy, if not dealt with, will destroy the very foundation of society, the family. Therefore, the Lord makes provision for this to be dealt with.
The Lord Himself will intervene with righteous judgment. (V. 15, her husband brings an offering of memorial, asking the Lord to bring the secret sin to remembrance, or to memory and into the open, so that the Lord might judge it.)
An important point which needs to be made here is that it is
the husband's responsibility to bring the charges against his
wife, and he is not required to bring the charges. This provision
of the Lord is only if the spirit of jealousy overtakes the husband,
and he wants to peruse it.
Keil makes an interesting point about the dust which was to be used (The Fourth Book of Moses, pg. 31). "The dust was strewed upon the water,.. as an allusion to the fact, that dust was eaten by the serpent as the curse of sin, and therefore as the symbol of a state deserving a curse, a state of deepest humiliation and disgrace."
Note that in the first sin, the woman was enticed, deceived, or seduced by the serpent. The curse was that he would eat of the dust from then on. Here the woman was enticed to enter into this sin of adultery also, therefore the dust in the water.
Keil also identifies the dust from the floor here before the alter of God's presence, as symbolic of the Spirit of God. If this is true (which the context would confirm, as well as the usage of this law by our Lord), this means that the priest is asking the Spirit of God to make the proper determination in this secret matter. The woman and her husband are also agreeing for the Spirit make the proper judgment in the matter.
The priests brings the charged wife before the Lord and gives instructions to her, vs. 18-22. The woman agrees to the curse and blessing of the Lord by saying, Amen, amen, v. 22. The priest records the whole matter before the Lord, then symbolically claims the Lord's supernatural intervention by blotting the record with the water which the woman is going to drink, vs. 23, 24.
The sin was a secret sin; one that only she, the man and the Lord knows about. Therefore, the judgment takes place in the secret parts; she must drink the water, vs. 24-26. The Lord makes the judgment, vs. 27, 28. If He determines she is free from guilt, she will supernaturally conceive (as payment for the turmoil she had to go through, Ex. 21:10?), v. 28.
If the Lord determines she is guilty, He will take action. He will causes the curse (her belly swell, her thigh rot), and her punishment is that she shall be a curse among her people, not death as in Deuteronomy 22:22. (Josephus says that she agrees "that she might die thus." Antiquities, vol II. Book III, ch. xi [pg. 221]. In other words, this would be a slow painful death, brought on by the Spirit of the Lord. She asked for, and submitted to the Lord for righteous judgment.)
This provision for the husband would seem to be one-sided, so we need to keep some things in mind.
First, as foreign as it seems to our Western Christian minds, more than one wife, as well as concubines, were permitted. (Today we kill the man with more than one wife, but protect the sodomite, adulterer, whoremonger and encourage fornication.) Therefore, the husband would only be guilty if he had an illicit connection with another man's wife.
Second, the husband who's family had been violated could proceed against the adulterer also, "in order that he [the other guilty party] might receive his punishment too." Keil.
Third, all parties are asking the Lord to make a righteous judgment according to the secrets of the heart. This means that they are asking for the Lord to take all things into consideration according to all the facts of the situation and according to His total law-word. Therefore there are other laws which the Righteous Judge will take into consideration.
One of the major points that the Lord would consider would be His principle established in Deuteronomy 19:16-21 (which significantly comes before ch. 22, and the conflict between a husband and wife). This law establishes the principle concerning any controversy between two individuals. The controversy is brought before the priests and judges. If one party is found by the priests and/or judges to be an intentional false witness seeking to harm the other for his (or her) own benefit, the false witness is required to suffer whatever he is seeking to do to the other. All parties in Numbers 5 are asking the Lord to be the Righteous Judge in the matter.
All parties are submiting to God's penality against false witnesses.
The priests and the judges.. The presence of the man of God would speak of: 1.) The presence of God at the judgment. 2.) The controversy is just as much a religious matter as it is a civil matter. Only when every matter is treated as a religious matter, can there be any civil justice. It is impossible to have justice apart from the application of the law of the Lord. 3.) The Lord is being asked to judge the secret thoughts and intents of the heart.
There is another interesting applicable requirement of the law.
The whore and whoremonger, adulterer and adulteress were to be killed, but before any capital punishment charge could be enforced, there had to be witnesses. But, if the witnesses were found to be false, they were stoned, Deuteronomy 19:15-21 (see above, Deut. 22:22-29).
If the witness caught the woman in adultery and reported it, the witness would also have to report the man. Then both would be guilty, under the penalty of death. (January 7, 1992, a brother of a brother-in-law of one of our ladies [Ruth Pagdett], shot and killed his wife last week. He also shot the boyfriend who he caught with her. She was about 45, the whoremonger was about 25. Now, God's justice would have required the civil authority to deal harshly with them both, and the husband would find restitution. Obviously, he should not have shot them, but on the other hand, the civil government should deal with the situation. There must be just laws of restitution or we have this very thing; people demanding restitution and taking the matters into their own hands. Society disintegrates into anarchy.)
In Numbers 5, there were no witnesses, so the Lord is asked by all parties to come forward and be a righteous witness.
Let's sum this up a little:
First, if the husband intentionally brought false charge against his wife in order to rid himself of a wife which he does not want any longer, he is asking the Lord, as the Righteous Judge of the inner secrets of the heart, to do the same to him that he is seeking to have done to his innocent wife.
Second, if he is guilty of the same sin of unfaithfulness to his wife, he cannot expect the Lord to judge the one he is charging. There is an additional consideration in Ex. 21:10. If he bought her as a bondmaid to be his wife, and he is not preforming his husbandly duty for her, she is free.
Therefore, this trial of jealousy against the woman would assume three things: 1. The husband's motives are right. His motive is to see the law of the Lord protected, not personal feelings, Deuteronomy 13:6-10. He loves his wife, but he loves the Lord more. The issue being dealt with is the Holiness of God, and His covenant people. 2. He is pure of the sin which he is charging his wife with. 3. He is desiring the Lord to provide righteous judgment in secret matters, whether that righteous judgment would be against him or his wife. ("The Lord as my witness. The Lord do so to me and more also, if am not innocent of this sin." Did he drive her to do it, & c?)
Third, for a charge of adultery to require the civil penalty of death at the hands of men, there had to be human witnesses.
We must keep in mind the context. In chapter 7, which takes place the day before which was the feast of tabernacles with a lot of people present, the Lord had gone to the temple. He went, as it were in secret, because the Jews sought to kill Him. About the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. His teaching was so strong that the Jews sought to lay hands on him, but couldn't because of the crowd. The religious leaders sent officers to take him, but were unable to because so many people were following and believing on Him. The officers returned on the last day of the feast without Christ (v. 37), which upset the leaders who sent them.
The next day after the feast, Jesus went back to the temple and continued His teaching. While in the court of the temple, the woman is brought before Him by the scribes and Pharisees and placed in the midst of the crowd where Christ was teaching. The crowd had prevented their evil efforts thus far against Jesus, now they attempt to turn the crowd against Him so they can take Him. These evil men refer to the law of Moses. (Isn't it amazing how people can become so concerned about Moses when they see a chance to advance their cause.)
Let's consider some things here.
1. For the civil law requiring stoning to be enforced, there had to be true witnesses, who's motive was the protection of the holiness of God. There were witnesses in this case, but they did not bring the other guilty party, John 8:5. Obviously, they were evil witnesses, intent in pursuing their own evil cause. Therefore under the spirit of the law, they were to have done to them what they were seeking to have done to the woman. The same law would require both parties of the adultery to be stoned, as well as the evil witnesses.
2. The witnesses to an evil act were to cast the first stone, Deut. 13:9; 17:6, 7.
3. If there were no witnesses, the husband was the only one who could bring charges against the woman for adultery. In doing this, the husband was saying that his motives were pure, that he is not guilty, and that he is asking the Lord to make a righteous judgment between the two of them, according to the integrity of his own heart. He is saying that there are no alterer motives other than wanting to see God's justice done, and His holiness upheld. The motive of these men was obvious, v. 6.
These men confront the Lord. These were the scribes and Pharisees, the experts in the law of Moses. They knew all these requirements and implications, but evidently they did not think that Christ did. After all, He had not been to their school. The people around them know this.
These men were bringing charges against this woman without the other guilty party. Therefore they were claiming the position of the husband. In that case, all that was required of the husband would be required of them.
Rather than answer them, Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, apparently ignoring them. It is extremely significant that this takes place in the court of the temple, where the jealous husband was to bring his wife if there were no witnesses. He is writing in the dust on the floor from where the priest took the dust to make the bitter water which caused the curse. This signified the Spirit of God making righteous judgment concerning the thoughts and intent of the hearts of the husband and wife.
They continued to press the issue, so in v. 7, the Lord asked the witness to step forward and cast the first stone. Now, this witness was in a fix. He would have to identify the other guilty party so both could be stoned. Or, if he did not identify the other party the only way he could bring charges was by taking the part of the husband. This required godly motives, as well as many other things. If he took this part and stepped forward, he would be saying that he agreed to meet the requirements of the same law which required her stoning.
The Lord again stooped down, and wrote on the ground, v. 8. When the Lord did this, these religious leaders and experts in the law could not miss the implications of what they were demanding, and the demand which was upon them. If they pressed the demands of Moses upon this woman, then they were also pressing for the demands of Moses against them.
This they could not do, because Moses convicted each one of his own sin. They departed, leaving the woman alone in the midst of the crowd with Jesus. (No wander they hated Jesus so much. For three and a half years He had called them hypocrites and had forced them to prove that they were just what He said they were. He did that here.)
Now Jesus looks up at the woman who had been left standing alone among them. She is left with no accusers to condemn her, v. 10. What can the Lord do except tell her to go her way and stop her sin, v. 11? All He did in this situation was insist that the ones who were clamoring for law to be followed, follow the law themselves. This they were not able to do because of their own sin. (Remember Kennedy at the Clarence Thomas hearings? He admitted that he was silenced by his own 'shortcomings.' No one had to say a thing to him about his sexual behavior. All anyone would have had to do was make some kind of motion with their hands and his own conscience would have quieted him.)
The following exchange between Christ and the Pharisees confirms what just took place with the woman and her accusers. Christ tells them that He is the only light in the darkness of this world. What these enemies of Christ tried to do with the woman was darkness, which fled when confronted with the light. The result of the confrontation between the darkness of this world, and the true Light, was justice for the woman.
The Light dispelled the darkness when truth stepped in. And truth is the total of the law, not just a part of it. This is an important point: It was when all of the law was applied to the situation (as Christ did), and not just a small portion of it (as the enemy tried to do), that justice and mercy was accomplished for the woman.
In order to undermine His words, they accuse Him of being a false witness because He had no one to confirm His story. He tells them that He has another witness, the Heavenly Father. His judgment is just because His power and authority to judge comes from the Father.
The conclusion here to Exodus 22:16, 17, is that only as the total of God's law-word is applied to a given situation will there be any justice and mercy.
V. 18, witchcraft is a personal attack against the Lord Himself. It seeks to replace His word with mans. I deal with the principle of witchcraft in my study on the first commandment. It is also the mailout for Nov. 91. Therefore, we will not go much into it here. We will only say a few things about this.
Witchcraft is using any means other than the applied law-word of God to influence our neighbor.
This command is not quite as strong as the one found in Leviticus 20:27. There, all, man or woman, who have and use a familiar spirit (a supernatural spirit which can see or foretell the unknown, even the future), are to be put to death; with special mention of a wizard. Why the difference? This verse in Exodus 22, follows vs. 16, 17, the enticement of a woman, with the blame placed squarely on the man. He is always responsible to keep himself under control. V. 18, follows the same thought.
By far the more prevalent sex which is involved is the female, being easily enticed to enter into this evil. She is also more easily removed from it than is the man. If she will give it up, she can live. (Remember Saul and the witch. She had given it up so she could stay in the land. Saul promised her safety if she would rekindle the old fire.) In addition, much that is passed off as witchcraft is no more than "jugglery," Keil.
The Lord takes for granted that the man was not enticed to enter into the unholy union, whether with the maid in v. 16, or with the powers of darkness in v. 18. Therefore, he is held accountable to a greater degree. The Lord takes for granted that the woman was enticed, so she is permitted to turn, while the man is put to death.
Again and again, we are confronted with the fact that the man is responsible and accountable far more that is the woman. This is why the woman was placed under the man in the garden. Cf. 1 Tim. 2:14. Even if he, we might say, is enticed, he is held far more accountable. The Lord made him strong enough to withstand the enticement.
Leviticus 20:6, 22 tells us that if society will not deal with these evils in the manner prescribed, the Lord will. The problem is though, that when it is left up to the Lord to deal with these evils, He also destroys the society which tolerated the evil. (See my notes on Led. 20 here.)
Ungodly men want the authority which comes with being a man, but few want the responsibility.
V. 19, leaves the realm of enticement. There is no toleration at all here. There are a great many laws which speak of God's ordained order, and what is to be done to protect it. They include His word about mixed cloth in garments, mixed seeds in the field and garden, mixed breeding of animals, sodomy, & c. In this verse, 19, both the man and woman have departed so far from God's ordained order that both lose any chance to turn.
I think there might be a reason for this hard and firm, harsh penalty, death. The woman can be enticed into some flim-flam in vs. 16 & 18, but there is no room for any enticement here. This departure from God, as well as sodomy, is so contrary to nature that there is no room for any toleration, Leviticus 18:22, 23; 20:15, 16. She is held as firmly responsible as is the man, unable to say that she was enticed or deceived.
I think there may be another point here in the connection with familiar spirits, Led. 20:27. The Lord takes for granted that the person can tell when they are under the influence of an evil spirit, witchcraft, as easily as they can tell when they are involved in bestiality or sodomy. In other words, God's ordained order, whether in the spirit world or in the natural realm, is so clear-cut, even in his heart, that man is without excuse when he violates it.
This law against bestiality is also given in more detail in Lev. 18:23-30 (Deuteronomy 27:21.) The Lord points out that this was a common practice among the pagans. In both Leviticus chapter 18 and chapter 20, this evil is connected with the violation of the proper family relationships. (See my notes there.) The passage in Lev 18 clearly tells us that if society tolerates such evil activity, the Lord will not, and both the workers of this evil and the tolerant society will face His destructive wrath.
(in first commandment)
Exodus 22:20-31. Up to this point, human authority was given to enforce the laws and statutes of the Lord. Now we move into the ones which have little or no human authority for enforcement. They do have attached to them the Lord's commands and promises. He promises blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience.
V. 20, would appear to be a transition verse in this chapter. The preceding verses gives human authority to enforce the laws. The following verses have no human authority of enforcement; only the Lord. This verse has both human and Divine enforcement.
V. 20, would fall under the category of the first commandment, giving the penalty against service to other gods; he shall be utterly destroyed. This is dealt with several more times. Note that the service could be open or concealed. Open service would require godly action against the sinner; secret service would reap God's action against the individual. Either way, the person will be destroyed.
First, let's look at an obvious literal meaning: He that sacrificeth unto any god... The word sacrifice conjures up an image of building one's life around something, or investing one's time primarily in that particular thing. Many sacrifice everything for their job, their hobbies, their family, even to their church.
(I know a man who sacrifices everything to his wife. He is afraid to take the stands which He feels that he should because of her. I know another who will not take a stand with his own children. Sad to say, I believe that another lady fits in here. I believe that she sacrificed her daughter to her job which she loves so much. In fact, I am finding that she will sacrifice all she has to that job. She volunteers to work far more than she needs to. She is probably trying to escape from the home responsibilities.)
Everything for these "idolaters" revolves around these maybe even good things, rather than around the Lord and what pleases Him. They are sacrificing to these other things other than the Lord God; they are either already being destroyed, or they will be destroyed.
Second, let's look more at the contextual meaning:
Numbers 25:2, Israel joined with Baalpeor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. Twenty four thousand died in the resulting plague. Deuteronomy 17:2, if it was heard that a man or woman served and worshipped other gods, the sun, or mon, or any of the host of heaven, then diligent inquiry was to be made. There had to be two or more witnesses, and if the charges were found to be true, the witnesses were to place their hand on the person(s) who were then stoned to death.
Deuteronomy chapter 13 deals with this much more in depth. This chapter is divided into two parts, vs. 1-11, vs. 12-18.
Vs. 1-11. The Lord raises up a prophet from among His people, giving him dreams and words which supernaturally come to pass, Matthew 7:22. To make the prophet's message appear to be confirmed by the Lord, maybe his crowds increase as they heard his message; maybe events lined up just as he said they would. Regardless, his hearers said, "Everything points to the fact that he is of God."
But his message is not according to the total of the law-word of God. He offers another way to serve God, speaking revolt against the command-word of the Lord. (Compare vs. 3 & 4 with Mt. 22:37 & Jn. 14:15.) God's purpose in raising this false prophet up is to see if His people will follow His word over the temptation to follow after this false prophet. V. 5, gives the reason that the false prophet to be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God (marg. spoken revolt against the Lord).
The Lord continues on, listing every close personal tie which is not allowed to interfere with the fulfillment of this death penalty against the false prophet. If that person tries to influence another to depart from his commandments, they were under the death penalty. (Question: how about turning people away from God's command-word to "universel life principles?" Gothard.)
The Lord allowed this person to rise up and prosper, in order that He might prove His people. Will they take the commandments of the Lord over the message of this false teacher? (Cf. Mt. 24:24; 1 Cor. 11:19; 1 Thes. 2:11.)
Destorying the devoted thing.
The next division is Deut 13:12-18. This expands upon Deuteronomy 17:2. In Deuteronomy 13, the report is of an entire city which has gone after other gods. The report is to be checked out and, if found to be true, the entire city is to be destroyed, heaped in a pile and burned to the ground. Even the cattle are to be killed, showing us that we are not to profit from evil.
This would forbid the use of confiscated drug money for "drug enforcement." It is only be a matter of time before the ones desiring the money come up with false charges which would allow them to confiscate the desired estates.
The illustration which comes to mind is Ahaz, Jezebel and Naboth, 1 Kings 21. Ahaz coveted Naboth's vineyard. Jezebel had a plan; use the law of God to obtain what Ahaz wanted. So false charges were filed against Naboth. The charges stuck, and Naboth was put to death according to the law. But the vineyard was confiscated contrary to the law. The law would have required the destruction of the vineyard if Naboth was the idolater that the false witnesses claimed he was. This is exactly what develops when the confiscation of the property of an evil doer is permitted.
On the other hand, the property can be confiscated in order to make restitution to the victim. The state is not the victim, unless the crime was literally against the state; ie, Naboth damaged Ahaz's property.
Another point here is that the word of God, removed from its
context, can be used to justify anything. If the law had been
left in its context (forbidding the confiscation of the property),
there would have been very little motive to have Naboth killed.
How many people today are being slaughtered by the word of God,
TAKEN OUT OF ITS CONTEXT?
Again, we see this principle in action; laws will not solve the problem. Sinful, fallen, covetous man is the problem. Proper laws are required to keep sin under control, but no law, or combination of laws, will solve the sin problem.
It is a sad day for Biblical Christianity when professed Christians look to civil law to solve society's problems. Now, there is nothing wrong with "return to the Constitution, study the Constitution," in and of itself, but when this is viewed as a means for solving our society's problems, then this has become another god. Corrupt men will corrupt the best of laws, even God's law. Any law can and will be misused by covetous men, just as Jezebel used the law of God to kill an innocent man and take his estate.
The answer? Development and application of the total of God's word into society, then depend on the Lord to change the hearts of those around us, 1 Corinthians 15:34; 1 Peter 3:1.
[moved from above] January 8, 1992. A point in passing. I know
many people who will get together with great dedication and much
time and even money, to study the constitution and civil law and
how to protect themselves. But I know of no groups who get together
to study laws like these to see why the land is going to the devil
and is spewing out its inhabitance. We need to be getting together
and developing these laws, their implications and how to implement
them into society. But no one wants to hear this.
Personal: I suppose that this is the most difficult problem that I have with the many protests movements. They are developing the laws of the land and how they can be used to gain their goal, rather than developing the law of the Lord to see how His law applies, how to apply it and what He promises if it is properly applied by His people.
Mercy, it all seems so hopeless. Only the grace of God can enable one to continue on in the face of the masses of Christians seeking a political answer, or an answer within them selves. Personal question: Why has the Lord seen fit to allow me to see these things? And really this is none of my business. My business is to develop these things as much as He will allow me to and then present them as He opens the door. Only He knows what His divine providence holds. My job is to be faithful. [to here])
Back to Ex. 22:20, and the Divine enforcement of this law. There are times when enforcement against the service of other gods was left in the hands of the Lord. As we said, this verse could go either way, and either way the offender will be utterly destroy. This sin of service to other gods in a "Christian society," more often than not, is a sin of the heart. The heart has gone after other gods, yet the outside appears to be serving the Lord alone.
(I am certainly finding out that those who are committed to the other gods cannot be confronted; they will only resist and become angery. All that can be done is maybe mention it to them and leave it in the Lord's hands.)
The book of Ezekiel uncovers this sin, with chapter eight the most revealing. The people of God were professing a desire to know and obey the law of the Lord (Ez. 20; 33:31, 32), yet in their heart they were serving the gods of their imagination. As a result, the Lord was being provoked to anger. This anger resulted in His judgment, utter destruction. (Cf. Ez. 14.)
Ezekiel eight makes an important point. This service to the false gods was being done in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem. It was not in Samaria under the image of the calf of Jeroboam, nor was it in the land of Babylon under the image of Nebuchadnezzar, or in any other pagan nation. This idolatry in the heart was taking place in the city of Jerusalem in the temple of God between the porch and the altar, v. 16. Observe that though they were in the temple, they stood with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east. They thought that no one saw what was really going on in their heart.
Therefore, it is obvious that the Spirit of God is revealing through Ezekiel what is in the heart of God's people as they go through the outward motions of serving Jehovah God, even while sitting in a church service. Our Lord pointed this out to the woman at the well when He said, God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth, John 4:24. The sin exposed in Ezekiel eight is the sin of going through the outward religious actions of worship and service of the Lord, and the heart going after the idols around us.
This sin also involves worshiping and serving the 'Lord' in the manner which might seem best to the individual, with little or no regard for the instructions of His law in the matter.
The Lord makes it clear to Ezekiel that these religious men were hypocrites serving and worshiping the Creator in any manner which seems best to them. The nation was being led in their idolatry by its religious leaders. They were serving and worshiping other gods in their heart, and the Lord shows Ezekiel the coming wrath that He is sending upon them, chapter nine.
As soon as the ten commandments are given in Exodus 20, the Lord warns of the consequences of violation of the first, he shall be utterly destroyed, Exodus 22:20. The Lord will do the destroying, because only He knows what is going on in the heart. Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them, Ezekiel 8:18.
For our day: The heart's departure from the law of God, led by those in authority, can be only dealt with by the Lord, and it will be. On the other hand, those who openly depart from the law-word of God and attempt to take others with them, are to be dealt with as a dead person. He is to be warned twice about his departure then removed from the church. He is subverted and will subvert others to follow, Titus 3:10, 11. (Sinneth.. see 1 Jn. 3:4.) If it is someone close to us, they must be avoided when they try to persuade us to join them in their revolt against the commandments of God.
And it should go without saying that all professed teachers of Scripture who are in revolt against the commandments of God are to be avoided. The false teachers and their followers are under God's curse of destruction which will be accomplished.
Now we come to vs. Exodus 22:21-30, and the section that only the Lord is permitted to enforce. ("The Israelites were not to offer sacrifice to foreign deities; but a foreigner himself they were not only to tolerate, but were not to vex or oppress him, bearing in mind that they also had been foreigners in Egypt." Keil)
I think that it is interesting that the Lord gave this instruction of one law, v. 21, BEFORE they came out of Egypt, Exodus 12:49. He told both Israel and the non-Israelite that they all would have to abide by the same law. "Anyone can come out of Egypt through the Passover, but all will have to abide by the same law which I will give."
In v. 20, any person, stranger, alien, or Israelite, was to be put to death for sacrificing to another god, but the stranger could not be vexed for not believing in the Lord God, v. 21. As we mentioned earlier, the problem was when either an Israelite or a stranger tried to get others to follow in their unbelief, Deuteronomy 13.
This would appear to mean equal job opportunities for the unbeliever, as long as he did not try to get others to follow in his unbelief. These equal job opportunities would not extend into any kind of temple service.
The reason these laws can only be enforced by the Lord is because they prove His people's love for Him. By there being no human authority to enforce them, His people would have to keep them because they love Him and want to do the things which are pleasing in His sight. Do we love Him this much??
An interesting thought here in this chapter is v. 19, the law against bestiality. This law is not expounded on at all in the NT, yet it is still recognized as binding today. Obviously, this shows us that all the law of God is very much in effect in the heart of man. Again, the deceitfulness of the fallen nature: V. 19, will be strongly adhered to, yet v. 18, as well as this whole chapter, is totally ignored.
Vs. 21-27, the Lord protects those who could not protect themselves, and had no one else to protect them. (The poor of vs. 25-27, would be at the mercy of the one who had the means to help him. It would be tempting for the one with the means to help to take advantage of the situation.)
The law of God is family based. The power of society was held by the family. The family was required to take care of its own. They were to provide welfare when needed (within the guidelines of the word of God); they were to protect one another (blood avenger); among the many other things explained by God's word. In a word, if you messed with one member of a family, you messed with them all (and they were quite large).
But the stranger, widow, fatherless and poor would have no family to stand behind them. Therefore, it would be exceedingly tempting for them to be robed and murdered for whatever reason. It would be very tempting for them to be ignored when they are in need. They had no one to turn to for help, so the Lord makes special mention of them throughout His law.
The Lord warns that they are to be treated and protected just like a family member, because they are a family member. He will take vengeance against any one who doesn't treat them properly.
V. 22, vex.. oppress, would be to fail to obey the word of God toward them. v. 23, afflict.. #6031. To force or To try to force submission - see twot, 1651. The Lord's purpose with Israel in the wilderness was to afflict them, de 8:23. Note the Soul was to be afflicted at the day of atonement. Israel cried out to the Lord in Egypt when the Egyptians were afflicting them. The Lord heard them, but it was hundreds of years before He did anything about it. This reminds me of Solomon's words that because the sentience against an evil work is not done speedily the hearts of evil men are determined to do evil.
The context here of Ex. 22:21-27, would be that if we vex, oppress or afflict the helpless, they will cry out to the Lord. In His good time, He will hear and move against the ones not doing right toward the helpless.
V. 24, gives the horrible results of this evil toward the helpless. Notice that the Lord will bring a sword against them. That means that He will bring a strong enemy against them that will be able to kill all their men.)
The stranger... When Moses divided the promised land among Israel, the Levities received no inheritance. Rather their inheritance was the tithe, the tenth of all the rest of the tribes (of which a tenth of the tenth went to the priests, the line of Aaron). The tithe was the Levite's personal reward for his service in the tabernacle of the congregation, just as though it was an increase in a farmers crops. It was also his income to enable him to carry out his godly responsibilities throughout the land, Numbers 18:20-32.
The stranger is identified with the Levite, the fatherless, and the widow, all of whom God commanded Israel to remember because they had no inheritance, Deuteronomy 14:28, 29. This identifies the stranger as a dweller among the children of Israel, maybe a new-comer, and usually was a proselyte, who, unlike the native born Israelite, had no inheritance. "The root means to live among people who are not blood relatives.. (TWOT) Therefore, he had no property rights.
But, according to Gen 15:2, Abraham's servant would have been heir to his estate if he did not have a child. Thus we see that a stranger could be such a complete member of the covenant people that he would inherit the property of his master. But, obviously, the property would remain within the tribe of that master.
He could participate in every rite and ritual of Israel, including the Passover, if he were circumcised. All of the laws and ceremonies given to Israel applied to him, except one. The native born Israelite, though he could not eat anything that died of itself or was torn, could give it to the stranger (but not the Levite. The Levite was to get the best according to Num. 18). Or the Israelite could sell such an animal to an alien, Deuteronomy 14:21. The alien would be someone who is not living among them; maybe just passing through.
I find it strange that the stranger was required to obey the law in every other area, and was permitted to participate in the rites and rituals, yet here he is permitted to eat meat forbidden to the native Israelite. Maybe this is because he has no inheritance. I don't know (nor does anyone else mention a reason that I have checked.)
I am inclined to think that this is referring to an uncircumcised stranger who is dwelling among the nation (as MH suggests). He is living here, but has not become a proselyte. Whereas, the alien would be some one passing through, maybe a tradesman. We are told too many times that all of the law applies to both the native born Israelite and the stranger, even the Passover for the circumcised stranger.
The context of different passages would lead us to say that there were several types of strangers: a circumcised proselyte living among the nation but not actually part of it. Maybe he desired to be identified with the God of Abraham, but he did not want to be an Israelite. There probably would not be many of this type of strangers because of the advantage of being considered as one born an Israelite; a proselyte not actually a blood descendant of Abraham, but as one born of Abraham. This would seem to be the most prevalent. Obviously, if he inherited property it had to remain within the tribe; one who was still uncircumcised and in unbelief, but living among the nation Israel; one who was passing through, although this one was probably identified as an alien. There is another stranger identified in Numbers 1:51. This is the one who is not of the tribe of Levi. Thus, someone from outside a given tribe could, at times, be identified as a stranger. The context of a passage would tell which is being referred to.
Though all strangers were under the same requirements responsibilities and protection of the law, ie., thou shalt not..., only the circumcised would be able to participate in the rites, rituals, offerings, sacrifices and ceremonies of the law with the native born Israelite. The diet would apply as much to the circumcised proselyte, as it did to the Israelite.
Deuteronomy 10:18, refers to this law also. This verse falls within the context of vs. 12-22, is a passage along this line worth looking at.
Vs. 12, 13, the requirement of the Lord upon His people:
to fear the Lord thy God,
walk in all His ways,
to love Him,
to serve Him with all thy heart and soul,
to keep His commandments, and His statutes.
The heavens and earth belong to the Lord, therefore: He has the right to rule from the heavens as He pleases, and to tell the inhabitance of the earth how to behave.
V. 15, the Lord chose His people because of His delight in and love for their fathers, not because of any good in them. Abraham must have been some man, but we know that he was no different than any one else. He was an idol worshiper as were most all others of his day. Job lived about the same time as Abraham, so why didn't God chose to give the promise to Job? God chose to love Abraham, and work in him. Why? God chose to work in and through Abraham for His good pleasure, and not for any works of righteousness on Abraham's part.
V. 16, gives us the OT command to circumcise the heart. This is the true circumcision, and speaks of keeping the heart tender and receptive to the word of God. The contrast in v. 16, is with a stifneck, a proud and stubborn attitude that goes in its own way.
V. 17, contains a reminder of the greatness of the Lord and that He is no respecter of persons, nor can He be bought off. This would be contrasted to the evils of fallen man, as he deals with others.
V. 18, all of this is building to the fact that the Lord is
the defender of the defenseless. The principle contained in this
verse is referred to many times in the NT, Rom. 2:11; Gal. 2:6;
Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25; 1 Pe. 1:17, & c.
The most interesting to me is Eph. 6:9, And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him. and Col. 3:25, But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. Of course, we also have Heb. 10:30, For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. (De. 32:35, 36. V. 35, their foot shall slide in due time...)
We are clearly shown here that the people of God are to enforce what they can of the law of God, then what they cannot, they leave up to Him to enforce. He will, in due time. Both the ones who are trying to please Him, and the ones who are indifferent to him, need to keep this in mind; the law of the Lord with its blessings and curses, will be enforced. Either it will be enforced by man or by Himself. That enforcement will be just and righteous.
The problem being dealt with here in Deuteronomy 10:18, would be the one mentioned back in Exodus 22:21-27, the temptation to not treat the ones who are defenseless as the Lord would have them treated. In other words, there is no human authority to enforce this portion of God's law, so the temptation is to ignore it.
The same temptation holds true today. There is no human authority to enforce a very large portion of God's law (because human authority is fallen and departing farther and farther from God's law), therefore the fallen nature believes it can violate it with immunity, because there is no civil punishment against its violation. The Lord is warning that He is the God of gods, and Lord of lords, and a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward. He is just in His judgments against those who fail to do as He instructs, regardless of what human authority does (De. 10:17, 18).
V. 18, the Lord watches over the defenseless, and provides their food and raiment. He does this through His law by making provision for them. When others fail to follow His instructions, then His justice is against the violator. I would say that His providence is on the side of the defenseless to supply their needs.
Deuteronomy 10:19, the Lord reminds them that they were at one time defenseless strangers in Egypt. Therefore, treat the stranger as they would have liked to be treated in Egypt. Notice that Israel, as strangers in Egypt, cried out to the Lord under the oppression of Egypt. The result was that in the Lord's good time, He judged Egypt. He finally destroyed their first-born, then their entire military might. Similar destruction is promised against Israel if they oppress the helpless among them, Exodus 22:24.
Deuteronomy 10:20, God's people follow His way because they fear Him, Pro. 8:13 (The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.) It is the fear of the Lord which will cause fallen man to serve Him when there is no human authority to enforce the way of the Lord.
Vs. 21, 22, His people have so much to be thankful for, therefore, they should gladly serve Him without the fear of human authority.
reviewed and added to, January 17, 18, 21, 22, 1992
Exodus 22:25-27, proper action toward the poor is defined. (See my notes in Ex. 21:1-6.)
(I think that it is significant that the Lord, though Moses, seems to give a disproportionate amount of instruction concerning poverty here in these first few chapters after the giving of the law. He covers some basic principles again in 23:3. Why? Probably because He realizes the power of the god of mammon, so He cuts off its power right at the start.)
V. 25, says, if thou lend money to any of my people... Further instruction is given in Led. 25:35; Deut 15:1-11; 23:19: 24:6, 10-13.
One might be tempted to say, "Since I cannot charge interest, I will not loan to the poor." But this will not work, because Leviticus 25:35, says then thou shalt relieve him.. If we have the means, and the one in need is trying to do right, we must help.
We should point out that "If the loan fails, then the poor man becomes a bondservant, except that, although technically such, he is a bondsman with the jubilee in prospect; he is a brother destined for liberty." RJR, Institutes, pg. 248. Thus, both the poor and the ones with the means are protected; the poor from among God's people are protected from interest, and the ones with the means are not left at the mercy of the poor.
Furthermore, there are many Biblical guidelines concerning this help to the poor. Did he waste his money? Is he lazy? Is he consistently trying to be right?
Although Exodus and Deuteronomy indicates that only a fellow Israelite was entitled to this help, Leviticus 25:35, indicates that one could be a believer without being an Israelite. The purpose of this help in Leviticus 25:35, was that he may live with thee. Evidently this person who now finds himself in poverty was intent on living among Israel. He was trying to do right, but things just didn't work out, so the native Israelite was to help him.
Now, let's look at some of the other passages. The first one we will look at is Leviticus 25:35-38. (Most of this, especially vs. 39 on, we deal with in Ex. 21. This is just a short review.)
V. 36, no interest could be charged on any loans to the poor member of the faith. The reason is given in v. 38, the Lord provided the increase which enabled His people to help the poor. The word of God is even stronger in the NT, Eph. 4:28, Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. This tells us that one of the reasons for working hard is to have money to give to him that needeth.
In other words, the Lord brought His people out of bondage into the land of Canaan and prospered them because of His undeserved favor (free grace), Led. 25:38. One reason for their prosperity was so they could help the poor dwelling among them.
The passage in Deuteronomy 15 would appear to be the most complete treatment of this. We'll cover this chapter then pick up some details from other passages.
Before we point out the obvious things, we should mention that all desire to help anyone must be done within the guidelines of the law-word of God. Personal emotions are never permitted to enter into the action toward another. On the negative side, the heart can not be hardened toward the plight of the poor. If one has the means, and a poor person who is a brother in the faith approaches him, he is to help. On the positive side. The poor can not be helped beyond the principles of the law. Remember the principle of the prodigal son which we have already developed.
Deuteronomy 15 opens with instruction concerning the sabbath year. At this time, every debt was to be released (forgiven). Obviously, the creditor would lend according to how many years remained until the release. If there were 6 years remaining, he would lend a larger amount than if there were only 2. After the seventh, all his claims to the amount owned were settled. One of the major complaints against the covenant people was that they failed to do this, Jeremiah 34:14-20.
(Compare with Deu. 15:9. Notice the fulfillment of Exodus 22:24, And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. in Jer. 34:17, Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbor: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the LORD, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth...)
First, v. 7 (Ex 22:25-27), it should be noted that the poor are among thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land.. They had to be living within the land. No such thing as foreign aid; it only aids the pagans to overthrow Christianity.
I would say that this requirement that the poor live among the people was so those who had the means would see the truth of the situation of the poor. Did the poor squander their money? Were they slothful? What were the circumstances of their poverty? In other words, this law which says that the poor are to be helped can not be taken as a blanket statement, any more than any other law can. There were many other things which were to be taken into consideration.
We see what happens today when the welfare system is governed by Washington DC. The laws come down from someone totally removed from the situation. Not only does this result in horrendous waste, but the ones controlling who must receive the 'assistance' has no idea what is going on. This is one purpose of the county trustee. He knows the personal story behind each case. Of course, welfare spending is the local church's responsibility which they have trued over to the state. The farther away from the poor the control gets, the more that system will be abused.
Second, v. 7, the ones with the means could not turn a deaf ear to the cry of the poor. If the individual had the means to help, he was required to help his poor brother. (But we must keep in mind the principle of the prodigal son, Ex. 21:1-6).
The main concern is with fellow believers, but those outside the faith could be included in this help, as long as they were not actively standing against God's kingdom, and they met the same conditions as the believer would be held to.
Third, v. 8, would indicate that the fellow believer in need could approach the one with the means to help and ask for a loan. The one being asked could require repayment, but no interest could be charged. Or, the one with the means should ask the one in need if he could help. If the one borrowing because of his need was unable to repay the loan, it had to be released (forgiven) at the sabbath year.
V. 9, the one with the means could not say in his heart, "The sabbath is near, therefore, there is little chance of being repaid. I won't loan the money, I won't offer to help because I will probably lose it."
Vs. 9, 10, deal with the heart. The heart is to be right toward man in order to be right with God. Both the OT and the NT deal with the inner man, the heart.
Fourth, v 3 (Deut. 23:20), the sabbath release from debt, nor the interest free loans, did not apply to those outside of the family of faith. The one outside of this family were still in bondage to his flesh. Freedom from debt would not change a thing for him. The sabbath release did not apply, and he could be charged whatever interest the traffic would bear.
The Lord speaks harshly against debt; it was not to be the normal way of life for the covenant people, Pro. 22:7. He also takes into account that all things will not go right all the time, even for the godly person who is doing his best under the Lord. The godly could borrow in time of dire emergency and were required to be treated as a family member. The Lord made provision for his freedom with the sabbath year. See Exodus 21:1-- for a treatment of this.
Fifth, v. 6, the Lord God promised blessings upon His people who would not allow their covetousness and love for money to hinder their obedience to His commands concerning the poor. His blessings would far outnumber any loss they might sustain from helping the poor.
When a nation (or person) obeys the Lord with its wealth, they will be a leader on the world economic scene.
Today we see Deuteronomy 15:6, fulfilled. The individuals are in bondage to covetousness. The lender is right there to lend him what he desires. The result is that the nation is a debtor nation; it owes its soul to other nations (Japan). What Japan could not do with military strength in subduing the Western World, it is doing with financial strength. But Japan is not the problem. The problem is the covetousness among the Americans. An area where this covetousness is evident is in the area of the civil government, as they give to the people what the people demand.
I started a school at IV Tech for english. There was a scholarship available, paid for by the state. When I told the lady I could not accept it, she was confused and saw no reason why not. I tried to explain that I could not stand against high taxes and accept things like this. Another example is the new town hall being built here in Linden. Linden is a town of 600 and is having a town hall built at great expense. Why? There is federal tax money available, so they feel they must spend it.
This is exactly the attitude which is allowing nations like Japan to rule over us. And this rule will not stop until the covetousness is dealt with. The Lord has clearly told us, covetousness leads to long term debt on the personal level. This debt will result in having other nations reign over us.
Note: sin has forced us into a society built upon debt. As recent as just before WWII, debt was unheard of, even in businesses. Now, however, all the saved up cash has been spent, and people are borrowing as far into the future as possible, e.g., Dad's business (worth $100,000 in 1940, today worth $1,150,000 [http://woodrow.mpls.frb.fed.us/economy/calc/cpihome.html] was paid for before WWII. If he wanted to expand, he had the cash to do so. His son today has spent the 100,000 and borrowed another 1,000,000 and probably has less than dad had. Thus "dad's" generation spent the equity he inherited from his father plus what he could borrow from the bank for the next 30 or so years.
Sixth, v. 11, would tell us that because of sin, poverty will always be with us. The Lord permits poverty to remain to test the willingness of His people to obey His word toward the poor. Is their heart right with God? If so they will help the poor with a cheerful heart.
Seventh, Deuteronomy 24:10, a pledge could be required by the lender, but he could not go into the house and get it. The borrower had to bring it out. A man's home is his castle.
Vs. 11-13, if the item pledged was a necessity of life, such as the garment which the man slept in, it could not be kept overnight. The only way that I see that this will work is that the borrower needed the money. The lender gave it to him on a daily basis. The borrower promised to work it off that day and gave the pledge as proof that he would. The loan was to be paid back that evening at pay time, and the pledge returned. The Lord says here that even if the loan was not repaid on time, if the pledge was needed, it was to be returned.
Vs.14, 15, would confirm this principle. (For the NT use of this, see my notes back in ch. 21.)
In conclusion, the principles concerning the treatment of the poor contained in these OT laws are the basis of the NT teachings in this area.
1. Deuteronomy 15:8, is clearly quoted by our Lord in Matthew 5:42 & Luke 6:34.
Matthew 5:42, Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. We must keep in mind that the Lord ALWAYS spoke in the context of the law as given to Moses, and this would be no exception. He gave the proper understanding of it as it was meant to be, and that it had been corrupted away from by the religious leaders and teachers of the law.
In addition, a further context of our Lord's words would be who He was talking to. He never wasted words; He always had a purpose behind every word. In His sermon on the mount, He was speaking to a great multitude from all points of the land, including from Jerusalem, Judaea, and from beyond Jordan. This means that there would have been many scribes and Pharisees among His hearers, Matthew 4:23-5:1.
One of the things which the scribes and Pharisees were known for was their ability to devour widows' houses, covering their evil with long, nice sounding prayers, Matthew 23:14. They were proud of their heritage to Abraham and their knowledge of Moses. They were the teachers of the law of Moses, and they looked down on all who did not attend their school in Jerusalem. (See my notes about Galilee, Isa. 9:1, 2.)
Therefore, when the Lord said what He did in Him sermon in Mt. 5:42, He changed nothing. What He did was to openly rebuke the religious leaders who were doing the exact same thing which the leaders in Nehemiah chapter 5, were doing.
In Nehemiah we have the record of the ones who returned to the land of Israel. Most people returned from captivity to Jerusalem in poverty. They had to borrow money from the nobles and rulers to see them through. The lenders were taking advantage of the situation and not only charging 1% interest (12% per year), but taking the land as collateral, vs. 10, 11. Nehemiah was very upset at them, and made them promise to stop this sin.
My Bible's margin notes cross reference to Deuteronomy 15:8, for Mat. 5:42, which would be correct. As the Lord did so many times, He quoted the spirit of the law, not necessarily its words.
He did not give license to the poor to hold the rich hostage, nor did He release the rich from their responsibility to help the poor. He called both back to a proper use and understanding of the law of Moses, openly rebuking the religious leaders for their misuse of Moses for their own gain.
2. Paul tells us to be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another. Then he gives us one method of doing this, distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality, Romans 12:10, 13.
3. The council at Jerusalem, when they made their decision concerning circumcision, spoke against circumcision being a requirement of the law upon Christians. But they did tell the new church that they should remember the poor. Paul said that he had already commanded this of the new Christians, Galatians 2:10.
4. Paul, in his letter to Ephesus, tells them that one of the purposes of diligent labour for the Child of God, is that he would have the means to help his Christian brother who is in need, Ephesians 4:28.
5. The royal law of James 1:8, is given in the context of proper regard for the poor. James proceeds with some very harsh words along this line, 3:17.
6. The apostle John gets stronger yet, saying, But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 1 John 3:17.
The Lord will protect the ones who are at the mercy of others, the ones with no family, and the ones who circumstances have forced them to borrow. God tells us that He will judge harshly all those who take advantage of people in these desperate situations, Nehemiah 5.
Conclusions in closing this section of Exodus 22:21-27.
The ones with money would probably seek to loan to the non-members of the faith because they could charge interest. This would be a reason that the Lord forbids their turning a deaf ear to their brethren in the faith.
The Lord promises to bless abundantly all who will place Him above their love of money, Deuteronomy 23:20.
The standard to which His people are held in Exodus 22:27, is the grace and mercy of God.
If God's people do not hear the cry of the poor (remember the context of poor), the Lord will not hear their cry in their hour of need.
The ones with the means were not permitted to take advantage of, thus profit from the desperate situation of their fellow believer.
Exodus 22:28, be careful how you speak about those in authority. Now, we can say that this only refers to authority that is godly, but Paul referred to this law as he stood before the ungodly high priest, Acts 23:5. Peter referred to this law when he pointed out that those who walk after the flesh, despise government, and are not afraid to speak evil of dignities, 2 Peter 2:10. [Dignities.. the majesty (glory) of angels, as apparent in their exterior brightness, Lk. ix. 26; in a wider sense, in which angels are called ... as being spiritual beings of preeminent dignity: Jude vs. 8; 2 Pe 2:10. Thayer.] Jude goes on to say that Michael the archangel did not rail against the devil.
In other words, we are forbidden to speak evil and disrespectful against any one in any place of authority. This even included the devil. Obviously, we are not required to obey them when they are contrary to the word of God, any more than Michael was required to obey the devil.
All power comes from God. If anyone has any power, it is of God, regardless of how they use or misuse it. He has established each and every one, even the devil. He has them there for His purpose. Therefore, to speak evil against them is to speak evil against God. Contempt for men who God has permitted to be exalted is contempt for God.
We cannot cut the Book of Daniel out of our Bibles. Daniel shows us a proper attitude toward wicked rulers who desire to enforce emperor worship-state worship, and world-wide control. Daniel never compromised as he stood for His God, nor did he ever speak disrespectful to his oppressors.
The evil ones in the place of authority may be there to prove God's people, as we see in Deuteronomy 13. They may be there to see if we love Him and His law more than we love life. How would we prove this if there were not those in authority who would demand unscriptural obedience or death? Who will control our tongue and emotions, the word of God or the actions of wicked men?
1 Peter 1:6-9 (Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.) contains a very interesting thought. As we follow Peter on through this chapter, we find the call to holiness, vs. 13-16. (Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.)
We mention Peter's exhortation because Exodus 22:28 concludes with v. 31, and a call to be holy men unto the Lord, 1 Pet. 1:15, 16. If there were no evil rulers, how would the faithful be tried with fire? Peter connects holiness with fiery persecution from evil authorities. In other words, holiness is far more than clean living. Holiness includes refusing to submit to unscriptural demands from evil persons in places of authority in the face of total destruction. Will we stand against the unscriptural demands of ungodly authority with a respectful attitude? Daniel did, and was considered a holy man in God's eyes.
God commands that all men be honoured, 1 Peter 2:17. He DOES NOT command that all men be obeyed. God alone is to be obeyed at all times.
FIRST RIPE FRUITS
Vs. 29, 30. (This will be found in the first commandment under Christian Giving..)
Exodus 22:29, 30, comes under the first commandment. Here we have the requirement for the people of God to give the first of all their increase to Him after they came into the land. Note that this is not the tithe on the increase. Deuteronomy 14:22-29, list 3 required tithes: 10% off the top on the increase, the feast of rejoicing, and the poor tithe every three years. (Some of the passages dealing with the offering of the firstfruits: Ex. 22:29, 30; 23:19; Lev. 2:12-16; Num. 18; Deut. 12:17 sq.; 15:19 sq.; 16:2 sq.; 18:4; 26:1 sq.)
Something that this command reminds me of is that it is easy to promise to give the Lord something which we do not have and is based upon His promise. Example: God promised to bless Israel abundantly when they got into the land. They were commanded to give the first and the best, as well as ten percent of all the increase, to the Lord. It was easy for them to say, "Great, we'll gladly do than." But when the Lord fulfilled His promise, and blessed them abundantly, they had second thoughts.
The same goes for the sabbath of the land and for the people. When they were in the wilderness, the promise was easy to make. When they got into the land, the promise was extremely difficult to keep.
When we have very little it is easy to make great and swelling
promises to the Lord. When we increase, the promises become more
difficult to keep.
The various and sundry laws concerning this offering makes it difficult to understand, so what we will do is look for some general principles which this law presents. Lev. 23:14, tells us that the new crop could not be used for personal use until this offering was made. Thus, according to Oehler, the Israelites considered the new harvest unclean until this offering was made. (Theology of the Old Testament, T. & T. Clark, 1873, pg. 298. [Reprint by Klock and Klock, 1978.])
Lev. 2:16, out of this offering of the firstfruits of the land, only a portion was burned before the Lord. Num. 18 apparently gave all the firstfruits of the land and first born of the animals to the Levites. Deut 18:1-4, seems to clear this offering up a little. Apparently, a particular portion (v. 3, the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw) was given to the priest and Levites, while the rest was used by the offerer.
To help clear up the muddy water a little, let me quote Oehler:
1. ..."Of unclean animals, the first-born were to be redeemed at the valuation of the priest, with the addition of a fifth of the worth, [Num.] xvii. 15, Lev. xxviii. 26 sq.; while of clean animals, on the contrary, the first-born, if without blemish, were to be sacrificed within a year from the eighth day after birth [Note, this would mean that the people would only have to make one trip a year to the appointed place to give the first-born to the Lord]. Of this sacrifice, as of the peace-offering, the breast and right shoulder was allotted to the priest; the rest was used for a sacrificial repast [feast] (Num. xvii. 17 sq.; Deut. xii.17 sq.; xv. 19 sq.) (1). If the animal, however, had any blemish, the owner was to eat it at home (Deut. xv. 21 sq.)....
3. As the first-fruits represent the blessing to be received, the tenth was, properly speaking, the fee which the Israelite had to render to Jehovah, as Lord of the soil, for the produce of the land.... The Deuteronomic tenth is of a another character; for Deut. xiv. 22-27, comp. xii. 6 sq., enjoins that the tenth of corn, wine, and oil, shall be brought either in kind, or if the distance be too far, in money, to the sanctuary, and there used for a feast of rejoicing. Every third year, however, the tenth was to be left at home, and a great feast of tithes made, to which the Levites, strangers, widows, and orphans of the place were to be invited. It is this tenth of the third year that is referred to in Amos iv. 4 (3). That the tithe of the middle books and that of Deuteronomy existed contemporaneously, cannot be denied in the presence of Jewish tradition... This latter tithe was, as above remarked, no tax in the proper sense of the word, but, by the necessity it involved of laying by a certain portion of the income, was a means of meeting the expense of the pilgrimages to the sanctuary, and of promoting the exercise of benevolence (5)...." Ibid, pg. 298.
Now, some things about this offering:
1. It was required at harvest time, and it was more important than getting the crops to market; thou shalt not delay, Exodus 23:29 (Deut. 26:2).
2. It was considered part of the tithe; therefore, it was as much required as the tithe, but it was in addition to the tenth, Deuteronomy 14:23.
3. A portion was to be burned for an offering unto the LORD, Leviticus 2:16.
4. It was a time of rejoicing and was given to the offerer for him to enjoy. He was to eat it himself, sharing it with the Levite and stranger, Deuteronomy 26:11 (Num. 18:12).
5. It was to be done as a reminder of the goodness and grace of God in His redemption of His people, and His prospering of them, Deuteronomy 26:2-11.
6. The first portion represents the best and the whole. Therefore, there was no set amount required; rather, the requirement was that it be given with a thankful heart. The amount given was determined by the thankfulness of the individual.
In the above we see God requiring that man enjoy the fruit of his own effort with a thankful heart to the Lord, and with a willingness to share with others. Solomon tells us that a man is to rejoice in his labour and enjoy its fruits, Ecclesiastes 3: 12, 13, 22. But that rejoicing and enjoyment must be according to the principles of His word. God tells us to rejoice and enjoy the fruit of our labour in a way that brings glory to Him.
(As a note: The hard working person is to set aside the very first for the Lord in tithes and offerings. Then he is to set aside a portion for his own enjoyment, maybe a vacation or pursing a hobby; something he enjoys doing. Debt prohibits this. When a person is in debt, his first responsibility is to the one he is debtor to.)
Used the above as a message, take a vacation. 1/26/92.
7. Furthermore, this offering represented redemption. It spoke of the firstborn of the Egyptians which were slain, and the firstborn of Israel which was spared by God's grace, Exodus 13:11-16. The first-born of man (sons) and beast was to be given to God on the eighth day, Exodus 22:29, 30.
8. At times this law allowed for and required the firstborn to be redeemed. Any unclean beasts (such as an ass) was to be killed, or a clean animal substituted for it or it could be bought back with a 20% added value, Exodus 34:20; Numbers 18:15-17.
Leviticus 27:26, refers to the firstborn. This chapter is dealing with making a vow (which was not required of God's people) and setting something apart for the Lord (Mk. 7:11). Maybe a person was pleading for something from the Lord and said; "Lord, if you will bring this to pass, I will give you thus and such." The thing vowed to the Lord could be bought back from the Lord for its estimated value (the priest shall estimate it), plus twenty percent. Anything could be vowed to the Lord except what already was His, v. 26-33.
In other words, a person could not vow to pay his tithe or to give the first-born to the Lord, because they already belonged to Him.
Numbers 18:15, tells us that the firstborn of man and beast belongs to God, period. The firstborn of man cannot be put to death, so he must be redeemed (Lev 27:29), after the shekel of the sanctuary. In the case of Hanna, Samuel's mother; the first born, Samuel, was to be redeemed with an animal. But she gave Samuel to the Lord for service.
Obviously, this speaks of Christ redemption of the sinner, but there is an interesting point here. In Judges 11:34 sq., we have the record of Jephthah devoting his daughter to the Lord. There was nothing wrong with this, it was according to the law. But, the problem is that he did not follow the rest of the law. He should have redeemed her according to the law.
An animal which was claimed by the Lord, including a tithe animal, could be bought back with a 20% increase of its estimated value. The example given in Lev. 27:32, is that yearly, when counting a flock or herd, every tenth animal under the rod belonged to the Lord. Suppose this tenth animal was good breeding stock. It could be redeemed.
If the vow consisted of an unclean animal there were three things that could be done: First, the one who vowed it could buy it back for the value estimated by the priest, plus twenty percent. Second, it could be given to the Lord and the priest could sell it for his estimated value. Third, it was killed, Lev. 27:29.
In addition, note these two things. First, all trade in buying and selling was according to the shekel of the sanctuary, Lev 27:3. Weights and measures were a function of the religious leaders. Second, the priest established the value of the thing vowed. It was not the open market which established value, but it was the man of God according to the word of God. Property value is a religious function as is every thing else. The priest, with no inheritance, had no reason to manipulate the values of property (unlike the bankers of our day).
Another important point here. Lev. 27:8, allows the priest to change the value downward. This shows us that the Lord is more interested in the spirit of the law than in its letter.
9. The Levities were taken in place of the firstborn of Israel, Numbers 3:12, 13. The Levities were the substitute for the rest of Israel. Thus, the first-born spoke of the redemption of His people out of bondage, through the death of the firstborn of Egypt. Because He spared the first-born of His people, God laid claim on all the first-born, Exodus 13:2, 12. Circumcision on the eighth day also spoke of this claim, Genesis 17:12.
Christ is the firstborn; the firstfruits for the whole of God's people, 1 Corinthians 15:23. Christ, as the firstfruits of the redeemed, is a reminder that it is all of God. Christ, as the firstborn, is the substitute for the redeemed. The Spirit of Christ raises up the dead in Christ, and they all belong to Him. But this would not change one of the principle contained in this giving of the first-fruits to the Lord; the principle of remembering the goodness of God toward His people.
When the first is given to God it is the admission that He gave the power to gain wealth and that He owns all. It admits that He provided everything by His grace and mercy, therefore, it all belongs to Him. This is reflected throughout the 5 Books of Moses. To fail to give the firstfruits was to forget God and His goodness to His people.
10. One more point which would fit in with the thought that the offering of the firstfruits spoke of rejoicing is this: This offering pointed to the coming Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, the NT cause for rejoicing is Christ.
Exodus 23:19, The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God. Notice that this is followed immediately with Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. This second part would come under honor thy father and mother, but it is placed here with good reasons.
First, God's word leaves nothing to the imagination of man. Everything is important to Him. Second, He is the Father of Lights from whom all blessings flow, James 1:17. Therefore, He has the right to tell man how to use these good things. The first-fruit offering shows that He is honoured as the Provider of all good things, Proverbs 8:9.
Man has a problem remembering God when times are good. This offering of the first-fruit would be another reminder that the Lord alone gives the increase, and He is the cause for rejoicing, Deuteronomy 8 (17-20). When this is forgotten, there is a sure promise, ye shall surely perish. The pagans were destroyed out of the land before Israel for this very reason: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful... Failure to give to the Lord is one of the first areas where forgetting God shows up.
Exodus 22:31, as the congregation sanctified their first-fruits and first-born, they were also to show their separation from death and defilement by their diet.
The forgoing and following laws explained God's standard of
holiness. If the people wanted to be holy, they would have to
follow God's standard of holiness. It is amazing how many times
the command is presented for God's people to be holy even as He
is holy. These laws present His holy standard. His command is
for His people to obtain to this standard to holiness through
His provision of His spirit of Grace. His mercy provides forgiveness
when we fail. (1 Thes. 4:7; 1 Pet 1:15, 16; Ex. 19:6.)
Notice what is added here in the law of holiness; it fits under both the second and the sixth commandment. The Lord mentions the diet by forbidding eating of anything that is killed by other animals, Leviticus 17:15. That which dies of itself cannot be bled. Deut. 14:21, permits selling such animals to the alien or the stranger, to those outside of the covenant. The reason it can be sold to the pagans is that their problem is not their diet, it is their basic covenant relationship with Him. The person who is not going to set himself to glorify God in all he does is foolish to think that a correct diet will give him a longer and healthier life. He has no such promise from God.
Deut 14:21 reads very similar to Exodus 22:31, but it adds a statement: Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. This statement is found again in Exodus 34:26 attached to the offering of the firstfruits. This prohibition is mentioned three times; thus, we see the feelings of the Lord about this matter. We are really not told why the Lord is so strong against this practice, but I will speculate that it is again a reminder of the sanctity of the home. Whatever the Lord's reason for giving this prohibition, He feels very strongly about it or He would not have given it three times.
One last point, Ex 22:31: notice the abhorrences that the Lord's people are to have toward death all through the dietary laws. They are not to touch a dead body without considering themselves unclean (for which uncleanness they had to go through a ceremonial cleansing. Christ did away with that ceremony, but He did not do away with good health practices). His people represent life, so they have no business messing around with death. As a side note: The preoccupation with death education in our schools is a natural result of removing God and life: They that hate me love death.
Basically, the law forbids God's people from eating any meat that represents death. The issue is over life and death; will His people represent life in every area of their lives or will they partake of death?
Our call by the mercy and grace of God is a call unto holiness and separation from death to life, whether in our eating or in our drinking, our call is to bring glory to God, 1 Cor 10:31. Does Christ expect any less from His people today than He did 3,000 years ago? Has His standard of holiness changed? I think not; rather, His grace enables to desire to be holy and then empowers them in that holiness.
Lev 11 is the primary chapter which describes clean and unclean animals. Notice that this chapter falls in the midst of the sacrificial laws. Lev 10, Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, offered "strange fire" upon the alter and died for their transgression. Obviously, they felt that they could define what was clean and what was unclean. The Lord's judgement against their assumption was swift and sure. Notice v. 6, there was to be no mourning for them, but they were to mourn the burning of the Lord.. Note: we should not mourn for the sinner who dies in open defiance of the Lord, but we should mourn over the fact of the sin which he was slave to.
V. 10, note the distinction between the clean and unclean is to be so obvious that all can see it.
Vs. 12-15, the priests and their families are commanded to eat the meat which is offered to the Lord: it shall be thine... Of course this spoke of the priest bearing the iniquity of the people, but it is important that the Lord commanded them to eat meat. Thus, the teaching going around today that meat is not good for you is a false doctrine. Now, like everything else, we can overdo eating meat, but evidently man needs meat since the flood or God would not have provided it and even commanded that his priests eat it.
Vs. 16-20, expands on the sin offering and mentions Aaron's refusal to eat the meat.
Then we come to chapter 11. This chapter defines clean and unclean meat. It defines of fish, fowl and land animals what is accepted by God and has been provided for man's well being.
This chapter covers the diet of God's people in detail. Lev 11: 44 identifies holiness with refusing to defile one's self with certain unclean animals. Follow the command to be holy into the NT! The NT authors do not restate the OT dietary laws as such, but they give some very pointed references to them.
lev 11, notice that basically the law forbids God's people from eating any meat which represents death in anyway. Any bird, fish or land animal which will eat something that is dead; thus, all scavengers are forbidden. Although He does forbid animals like rabbits and squirrels. They do not feed off of death, but they are forbidden anyway.
The issue is over life and death; will His people represent life in every area of their lives or will they partake of death?
Lev 11 (Deut 14):
Vs. 2-8, the land animals are divided thusly: Only those that both divide the hoof and chew the cud are clean. But any animal which does not do both is unclean. V. 8, and their carcase shall ye not touch.. I do not think that this forbids removing a dead animal because v. 28 makes provision for such a situation; rather, this forbids raising them for resale to others who will eat them. Deut 14:8, forbids touching their (swine's) dead carcase. This shows the anamatha that God's people are to have against such
Vs. 9-12, the fish are divided thusly: Only those that have both fins and scales are clean. This describes fish that are active and move in the water, and excludes scavengers. Again, their carcases are abominable to God's people; they cannot raise them for resale.
Observe a few interesting points:
1) the crowd that will live and die by the abomination of Deut 22:5 will preach against the abomination in this verse. Strange!
2) fish are never mentioned as an acceptable sacrifice. Obviously because they do not have blood in them as such.
Vs. 13-20, basically cover fowls. They can be divided into scavenger and non scavenger groups because all the ones mentioned here are scavengers. But this is not always true. The chicken, a clean fowl, scavenges as bad as a pig. But the chicken has a gizzard which breaks down the food. The Lord lists the unclean birds, so it is best to just live by His list.
Vs. 21-24, basically covers insects. The only ones permitted are those which fly, and then not all flying insects are clean. The clean ones are listed as the grasshopper, the locust and the beetle. Every thing else is to be considered so unclean that if one touches they, they are unclean until evening.
Vs. 29-31, 42, basically covers all that creep upon the earth. Everything is forbidden.
Vs. 32-38, basically deals which what to do with the dead bodies of the above mentioned creeping things. The emphasis is on separation from death.
Vs. 39-40, deals with death of a clean animal. This corresponds to Lev 22:32.
V. 43, Ye shall not make your selves abominable with any creeping... This is a personal command spoken directly to the people.
Deut 14:21 reads very similar to Exodus 22:31, but it adds a statement: Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. This statement is found again in Exodus 34:26 attached to the offering of the firstfruits. This prohibition is mentioned three times; thus, we see the feelings of the Lord about this matter. We are really not told why the Lord is so strong against this practice, but I will speculate that it is again a reminder of the sanctity of the home. Whatever the Lord's reason for giving this prohibition, He feels very strongly about it or He would not have given it three times. In Deut He gives it with eating meat that died on its own. Thus, it is as much a part of the dietary laws as is the prohibition against swine.
Lev 11:44, 45, specifically the Lord says that the dietary laws are part of the laws of holiness. Note the marg, Rom 14:17. The kingdom is not meat and drink, which is true, but it is righteousness and holiness. The kingdom is much more than what one eats; it is every aspect of one's life. His whole life is to be holy, Rom 12:1; 1 Cor 6:11. Furthermore, the parallel passage in Deut 14 opens with v. 2, For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.
Furthermore, note the cross references: 1 Thes 4:7 (the word, uncleanness), and 1 Pet 1:16, Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. Peter is calling for holiness in God's people and he verbatim from this command to holiness in the dietary laws, v. 44.
How can we get around the fact that these laws are for His people even though they are under law of Christ? I just do not see how they can be dismissed. (Did Christ's death sanctify these unclean beasts also. Did it change their consistency to where they are now healthy for an individual?)
[Personal note: I am weary of Baptist (and other) authors who try to dismiss the OT law binding upon the covenant-people of today. It seems as though they all have their version of Darbyism. I have been reading (October 21, 1992) Kenneth Good's book, Are Baptist Reformed. I understand his argument concerning Reformed; the word came out of the reformation movement under Luther and Calvin and the other reformers. I agree that Baptist are not Reformed, mainly because they do not trace their roots to the Reformation. The problem is that he also seems to be against any idea that a person under the grace of God through Jesus Christ be under any obligation to the law. One reason he seems to be against this idea is because those who claim to be Reformed of our day say that we should be true to the OT law. I do not know what men such as Good will do with passages like Deut 14:2 & Lev 11:44, 45. Good is calling for "scholarship" within the Baptist community, but he also dismisses any attempt to tie the OT law requirements with the NT Church. I do not see how the Baptists can have scholarship without tieing together the OT and the NT. Of course, they cannot. I get the impression that these people want Baptist Scholarship which will defend their close to antinomian and anti-covenant attitude. Of course this they will not find.]
Peculiar in the OT: possession, property, valued property, peculiar treasure, always of people of Israel (the Lord has chosen to take to himself). In the OT is only used 8 times, and two have to do with literal treasure:
Ex 19:5, 6, Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people:P for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation... (Marg cross ref, 1 Cor 10:26; 1 Thes 5:27, &c.)
De 7:6, For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. (Marg cross ref, 1 Cor 6:19, 20. See also 6:16.)
14:2, For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.
26:18, 19, And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments; and to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the Lord thy God, as he hath spoken.
Ps 2:8, Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. (Speaking to the Son, Christ, of course.)
Mal 3:17, And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
Peculiar in the NT
1) The word is used once under 4041, that which is one's own, belongs to one's possessions: a people selected by God from the other nations for his own possession, Tit ii. 14. Thayer then gives Deut vii. 6; xiv. 2; xxvi. 18 as an OT cross reference.
2) The word peculiar is also used once under 4047, possession, one's own property: 1 Pet ii. 9 (Is. xliii. 20 sq.); Eph i.14 [purchased possession]. Note: I love this definition; the Elect are His peculiar people (1 Pet 2:9, marg. a purchased people, Deut. 7:6) because He purchases them by His own blood.
The conclusion that I must come to, regardless of what the covenant-theologians, the Reconstructionist, the Reformed thinkers or the antinomian Baptist say, is that the NT Church replaced the OT Israel in the covenant. The promises of a peculiar people have been transferred to the Church. Note Ex 19:5, 6: The Lord purchased OT Israel with the blood of the lamb; He gave the heathen Egyptians for their redemption. The purpose of their redemption was so Israel could be a peculiar people unto Himself. Their purchased redemption provided the means and the opportunity and the responsibility to be the Lord's peculiar people; it did not make them such. There are just too many ifs involved, eg. Ex 19:5, 6.
On the other hand, He purchased the NT Israel with His own blood. I just do not see any way that the NT authors would have reached back and pulled the OT precept of peculiar people forward for the Church without also bringing forward the context of what made the peculiar people.]
Deuteronomy 14 gives the dietary requirements for God's people. They are, of course, not binding for salvation, but they are binding if His people want to be His peculiar people. Israel was still God's redeemed people even though they refused to abide by the ifs of Ex 19:5, 6. [I just do not understand how Bible Schoolers can separated NT quotes from their OT context, but they sure do. I suppose that it is a good thing that I haven't been to Bible College; that is probably where folks learn to do such foolishness.]
Dietary laws... They are mentioned in many places in the OT, and they are given in detail twice. Both times their detail is given, the passage is opened with a reminder that the people to whom the law is given are a holy people chosen out of all the nations of the earth unto the Lord.
We should also deal with some of the NT passages. But first let us be reminded the context of the NT. It is written to specifically to Christians in the midst of a very pagan culture before 70 AD. The new Christians everywhere were surrounded with pagan open pagan worship of all kinds, including Judaism. It is NOT WRITTEN TO TODAY'S CHRISTIANS, although obviously the laws given apply to God's people of all times. It is important that we sort out what is given to deal with specific questions and problems unique to that period of time 2,000 years ago, and what is given in an "ageless" fashion.
1) Probably the strongest verse which leaves the dietary laws in effect is 1 Cor 10:31. Paul said that whether we eat or drink, we are to do all to the glory of God. He specifically mentions eating, thus, diet. Let's develop this a little. How does one bring glory to God in their daily life. Is it by speaking and preaching to everyone they meet? or is it by living according to the revealed word of God? What is the standard they are to live by? Paul made their standard clear when he told Timothy that all scripture was given by inspiration and was profitable for reproof, correction and instruction in right living. Paul held Timothy to the OT laws and precepts for his life after Christ rose from the dead in fulfillment of the law and the prophets. Therefore, we bring glory to God with our life by living according to the revelation of God as contained in primarily in the Old and also New Testament.
Logically then, we bring glory to God in our eating and drinking by doing both according to the totality of Scriptures, both Old and New Testament.
2) The first objection which comes up is Peter's vision, Acts 10. Acts 10:28, Peter tells Cornelius specifically that the vision had to do with taking the gospel to the Gentiles who were considered unclean beasts by the Hebrews. Those of the circumcision contended with Peter because he went to the Gentiles; Peter's defence was the fact of the vision. Those who questioned Peter's actions of going to the Gentiles accepted his vision as God telling him to go to the Gentiles, Acts 11:1-18. Therefore, there is absolutely no way that his vision can be construed as a vision doing away with the OT dietary laws.
3) One of the most significant passages which sets the context of the NT teaching on diet is Paul's instruction to the new Christians at Correnth, 1 Cor 8:1ff & 10:19-28. (Note that this is not given as specific instructions for 2,000 years later, although there would be situations arise in the world today which would match closely what Paul is dealing with, eg. missionaries say in a nation which has open pagan worship.
A) First, the meat which Paul is addressing in chapter 8, is meat offered to idols. He is not even considering clean and unclean according to Lev 11 & Deut 14. The meat had been offered to idols, and then it was sold in the market place. According to v. 10, evidently the pagan temples had "fundraisers" in their temples where they sold meals consisting of the meat which had been offered to the temple's idol. There were boastful Corinthian Christians who prided themselves in the knowledge that the idol was nothing, so knowing that the idol was nothing, they shamelessly ate the meals served in the temple. Paul acknowledges their Christian freedom to eat the meat in the temple, but he points out that if their eating that meal causes the weaker brother in Christ problems, then Christian love will leave that meat alone. The sin is to knownly and proudly do something in the name of Christian liberty which causes another person problems who has not obtained to our level of spiritual growth. V. 13 must be taken in this context.
B) Next, the meat Paul is addressing in chapter 10, is meat bought from the temple and taken home and eaten, v. 17-33. We need to introduce this thought with v. 23. If we take it at its face value with no consideration for the context, Paul is saying that murder and adultery is lawful under Christ, which some do. So he must be kept within the context of lawful and unlawful meat.
Vs. 18-23, Paul admits that their argument is good; those who ate the meat offered on the alter to the Lord God most certainly were partakers of the alter and the God of the alter. And yes, the Gentiles (unsaved) most certainly do sacrifice to devils if they are not sacrificing to the Lord God. Then he hits them with a question: Do we try to serve both the Lord and the same devils which the unsaved serve? Let's quit worrying about meat and worry about our provocation of the Lord by trying to serve both Him and devils.
V. 23, All things are lawful for me... Come on Paul, you know better than that. So he must be talking about the meat offered to idols. V. 24, must be viewed the same: my standard for my life cannot be what others expect of me; it must always be what the Lord expects of me.
Vs. 25-29, the temple had a good deal on a good cut of meat. A person buys the cut of meat from the temple and serves it a meal which they invited the believer to. The host makes no mention where the meat came from and it is clean meat, so don't ask questions. But if the host makes special mention of the source of the meat, then don't eat it. They probably mentioned the source for a reason: to see what the guest who professes to be a member of the peculiar people, would do.
V. 30, Paul gives thanks over the meat because he realizes that it came from God and not from the pagan idols.
V. 31, we refereed to this above.
V. 32, 33, Give none offence... Again this must be taken in the context of meat offered to idols because Paul most definitely gave offence. He was stoned, run out of town, imprisoned and finally killed for Christ. He offended many people.
C) I'll go ahead and place Rom 14 under this point. Let's notice these things.
V. 2, weakness of faith leads one to a vegetarian diet, but if he is weak in the faith, let not those who know better condemn or judge him, vs. 3-13.
Vs. 14-22, again the context must be restricted to meat offered to idols. Evidently idols were everywhere and the meat offered to these idols flooded the market. The weaker brother cannot break the connection in his mind between the meat and the false god to which it was offered; therefore, the mature Christian, even though to him it is no problem and because he loves the brother, leaves the meat alone.
Let me conclude this particular thought by mentioning that I just do not believe that the new Christians, made up almost exclusively of Hebrews saved out of OT judaism, would even have considered the possibility of partaking of OT defined unclean meat.
4) The next passage which raises questions would be 1 Tim 4:3-5. First, Paul gives Timothy two marks of seducing spirits and demons' doctrines in the last days: 1) forbidding to marry, and 2) abstain from meats. Furthermore, notice that Paul says that God created meats for man's use, "with thanksgiving." V. 4, is not telling us that "all meats" are now useable; note the next verse, v. 5. The meat for man's use is determined by God's word.
4) I do not think that we can even consider that the Lord, while He walked here on earth, would have violated Lev 11 in any way, and His people are to follow in His steps.
New Testament conclussion:
Paul does tell the new first century Christians to eat whatever
is set before us, but it is in the context of meat offered to
Paul's rebuke of Peter (Gal 2:11ff) was over his eating and then not eating with the Gentiles; Paul says nothing about what the Gentiles were or were not eating.
Leviticus 11: Reasons...
There are many views of types and symbols from these clean and unclean animals, some views extreme to the point of spiritualizing all practical meaning away. Furthermore, all the unclean have been proven to be unhealthy, some more than others. We mentioned above J.V. McGee's statement on the radio as he was talking about the clean and unclean animals for food: "These animals are peculiar to that area, therefore, this diet does not apply for our day." Now, such a statement is ludicrous. It is obvious that we have cattle, sheep, deer, swine, rabbits, &c., today world-wide. Can you imagine someone who is reputed to be a marvelous Bible teacher saying such a thing? Fallen man will grasp at the faintest straw to avoid being accountable to the word of God. These men, as the Pharisees of old, make the word of God of none effect.
We can read many reasons into the Lord's dividing line between clean and unclean; some of those reasons are Scriptural and good, while others are ludicrous bordering on heresy. But we are clearly told in both texts, Lev 11 & Deut 14, that God's people are to make the distinction because God makes the distinction. His people are to be a holy people separated from the world in their lives; their separation unto the Lord is to evident in every area of their lives: words, actions and diets. God's people are called to be a peculiar people in every area of life above all the people of the whole earth. Therefore, one of the most obvious areas of separation is the area of their diet.
We are told elsewhere that the Lord loves His people, so we can rest assured that His separation into clean and unclean is for their benefit. He promises them good health if they will be a holy people unto Himself, Ex 15:26; De 7:15, and a meaningful part of their holiness is in their diet.
He gives no other reason than He made the separation between clean and unclean. We need to accept this for face value and follow His dividing line.
I think that it is significant that the turtle-dove and pigeon are clean fowls; they could be used for offerings and food. Thus we see that the Lord God of heaven and earth cares enough for the poor and needy to provide them with something to sacrifice and flesh to eat; the pigeon and turtle-dove are everywhere. (Such were offered by Mary, the mother of Jesus.)
One last point, Ex 22:31: notice the abhorrences that the Lord's people are to have toward death all through the dietary laws. They are not to touch a dead body without considering themselves unclean (for which uncleanness they had to go through a ceremonial cleansing. Christ did away with that ceremony, but He did not do away with good health practices). His people represent life, so they have no business messing around with death. As a side note: The preoccupation with death education in our schools is a natural result of removing God and life: They that hate me love death.
V. 31, our call by the mercy and grace of God is a call unto holiness and separation from death to life, whether in our eating or in our drinking, our call is to bring glory to God, 1 Cor 10:31. Does Christ expect any less from His people today than He did 3,000 years ago? Has His standard of holiness changed? I think not; rather, His grace enables to desire to be holy and then empowers them in that holiness.