On-Line Bible Lessons

Deuteronomy - Chapter 13, Lesson 1

Pastor Ovid Need

In chapter 12 we saw that the law of God is actively engaged in warfare against all of those who are opposed to it. The Canaanites were involved in every type of ungodliness which can be imagined and Israel was going to be used by God to execute judgment against their "every abomination." Everything which the Lord hates they had done in the name of their gods.

1. In chapter 13 we see this thought carried further. There are three cases mentioned in this chapter which call for the death penalty. Maybe we should say, three places where this sin could come from. Can you name the three places where this sin came from, v. 1, 6, 12?
(1) __________________________________________

(2) ____________________________________

(3) __________________________________________

All of these places were "from among you", showing that the danger was not from the Canaanites, here, but from among the congregation of the Lord. This is affirmed several times over in the NT in passages such as II Pet. 2:1- 3.

2. What are these false prophets attempting to do, v. 2, 5, 6, 10, etc.?

a. Our Lord identified these people. He indicates these can be saved people, but what do they do, Matt. 5:19? _______________________________________________________________________

This could easily be a reference to the modern day Antinomians who say, "God's law is not for us in this age of grace." (THE AXE - "Grace".)

3. We saw from chp. 11 that love toward God is ALWAYS associated with action. 11:1, "love--and keep," 13, "love--and serve," 22, "love--and walk." As we saw in many other places, including the NT, places such as James 2:17-26 and I John, love and service, or action, CANNOT be separated. Love toward God and obedience to His total Word cannot be separated, Jn. 14. With this in mind, in Deut. 13:1-5 this false prophet is attempting to do this very thing, separate love for God from obedience to God. Who does this passage here identify as the one who will allow this false prophet to raise up, v. 3?


a. This is a necessary part of the Christian life, Why, v. 3; I Cor. 11:19? (See THE AXE "Why Does God exalt the Ungodly?") _________________________________________________________

Our Lord warned us that there would be this trial of our faith. Here we see that this trial will come, I Pet. 1:7.

b. These false teachers with their message which is designed to turn God's people from Him (Deut. 13:2, 5, 6, 10, etc.) will come with what kind of works, Matt. 24:24?__________________

c. The exposing of these teachers goes even further in the NT. What will they look like, II Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 1:8? ___________________________________________________________________

We see here that the only thing which will expose them is God's Word (Deut. 13:5) and this is confirmed by our Lord in Matt. 5:19. These are "hard sayings", yet this is the Word of God.

4. We have already covered the fact that the Christian cannot enforce laws like Deut. 13:5, but what are we commanded to do with this one who attempts to win others away from God's Law-Word, II Jn. 10; I Tim. 6:5? ___________________________________________________________________

What would be some marks of a false teacher?
(1) Gal. 1:6-9 __________________________________________________________________
(2) Matt. 5:19 __________________________________________________________________
(3) I Tim. 6:1-6 ________________________________________________________________
(4) II Tim. 2:25 ________________________________________________________________
(5) II Tim. 3:1-8 _______________________________________________________________
(6) II Pet. 2:1-3 _______________________________________________________________

The sum total of it all would be found in I Ki. 13 as the prophet of God listened to another prophet which spoke not according to the revealed word of God, v. 18. Death was the result.

If we say we have faith, and James identifies faith with works (Ja. chp. 2), then we can rest assured there will be some 'perfect' teachers who will attempt to separate the two, thereby bring­ing down God's wrath against His people. Strangely enough, many of these teachers will use II Chron. 7:14. It is difficult to see how they can make that passage stand alone but they try to. Deut. 13:3 ties "love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul" together with v. 4, "ye shall walk -- fear -- keep -- obey -- serve -- and cleave unto him." These false prophets will "prove" (test) that love we claim to have for our Lord God by trying to convince us it isn't necessary to move on to v. 4 here and that we can live in v. 3. This does not line up with the Words of our Lord, nor with Peter, nor with James, nor even with John. Even Paul stood against this kind of teaching (see above for these passages).

Also, here in Deut. 13:1-5, the signs and wonders may be allowed to come to pass to prove His people. Will God's people accept these nice looking and sounding prophets? There are more groups than one can count where God's people cannot accept His Word over emotion experience and nice soothing words. These prophets are permitted and even raised up by God. But, this does not mean their message is correct. Only God's Word determines this. There are many experience oriented messages which will teach God's word any way man wants to hear it.

Included in this passage 1-5 is any attempt to know the future. This is reconfirmed again by our Lord in Matt. 6:24-34 where He condemns worrying about the future. Our concern is for today, serving Him the very best we can today, making our decisions today in terms of His total Word, and, as we do, He will take care of our future. We sow according to His total Word today and He will provide the rich, abundant harvest tomorrow, Matt. 6:32; Gal. 6:7-9. Now, we should make our decisions in terms of answering to Him one day (II Cor. 5:10) and how they will effect the future generations (Ex. 20:5), but this is the only future event we are absolutely assured of. These false prophets might even be able to tell a little about the future, but, if they do, this is permitted by God to test our faith in His Word.

5. What is to be done with this prophet who attempts to do v. 5 and 10?

Again, this cannot be done today by the church, but the church can "put the evil away from the midst of thee," I Cor. 5:13. This must include anyone and everyone who would try to subvert God's people away from His Word. This is the most fearsome of crimes in God's eyes.

We might make a point here. We would say, "My, what a harsh penalty against so little." This is viewing sin from our view point. We would think that crimes like Richard Speck committed would be much more deserving, or even crimes like the Walker family as they sold military secrets to our enemies would be much more deserving, or even crimes against a family, but our Lord here emphasizes sins against Him and His law. This is totally ignored today. Those who attempt to subvert the hearts of God's people contrary to v. 4 are under the wrath of God. We need to regard this sin as God regards it. Again, this is confirmed by our Lord Himself.

Another thing here in this chapter. There is no mention here of the individuals private beliefs. Only when he tries to influence others with his anti-God beliefs was he to be put to death. God's Word does NOT tolerate at all any such activity. All we have to do is look around and we can see the result of this toleration today. We tolerate the Mormon Missionaries (etc.) and it is one of the fastest growing "isms" in the world today -- built with "Christians" who tolerated them.
6. God not only prohibited this teaching from the false prophets, but who else does He prohibit false teaching from, v. 6? ________________________________________________________

We see that personal relationships, no matter how close, cannot enter into our responsibility to God's Word. Anyone or anything which would seek to undermine our relationship to Him and His Word must be removed. Again, the penalty is very harsh, v. 9.

a. This was a public execution for something which was done in secret, v. 6. Why was this to be done, v. 11?

Keep in mind that there had to be more than one witness, 17:6. We will see this later on.

b. What would be a NT equivalent to this, I Tim. 5:20?________________________________

(1) Why is this to be done? __________________________________________________________

When was the last time anyone heard of this being done? We have gotten away from the scrip­tures in this and our churches show it. If we would start doing this two thirds of our people would flee rather than get the sin out of their lives. They would fear all right; not fear over their sin, but fear public exposure of their sin which we hold so dear and enjoy so much.

7. Now the third section, vv. 12-18. V. 15 could not be carried out without what, v.14?

a. What was to be done if it was true, vv. 15-16?


Now, let's observe something of interest here. Jerusalem absolutely refused to turn to her Lord God, Matt. 23:34-39. Rather, they chose to continue on in what was now idolatry. Christ ful­filled all. They insisted on continuing all of the rites, rituals, and ceremonies of the now old, out dated Jewish religion. Now it's an abomination to God because it is a rejection of His only Son, Jn. 3:36. There was a man named Jesus, who from about 63 AD to 70 AD went about the city crying out "WOE WOE to Jerusalem" and that judgment was coming. Titus came, and when he finally broke into the city he killed all of the inhabitants, even digging up the streets to get them out of the cisterns and sewers. Titus then heaped the town together and burned it totally "that every vestige of it might be obliterated from the face of the earth." It and every living inhabitant was totally destroyed. The only thing which was removed was the gold, silver and slaves who could be sold for a profit. The slave market was so "glutted" that the captives were of very little value. This, of course, was the pay for the armies of Rome who conquered the city. ("The Siege of Jerusalem By Titus" by Thomas Lewin. Published by Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts and Green, 1863, pgs. 16, 17, 94-96). No doubt this is just a coincidence but as you read the above descrip­tion it fits almost verbatim with Deut. 13:12-16. See your Bible marg. on Deut. 28:65.

An illustration of this law, vv. 15-16, would be found in Judges 19 and 20. There we find sodomy (and immorality) in the city of Gibeah which belonged to Benjamin. A call went out to all Israel to gather together to obey this law of Deut. 13:12-18. Israel burned the city in accor­dance to this law. If we will follow on into Judges 21 we will find that the men of Jabashgilead did not join in the battle against the sin. By not joining Israel, Jabashgilead was guilty, also, and paid the price. God's people today will suffer the same judgment against sin because we haven't stood up to it as we should have.

In this chapter of Deut. we see that God cannot and does not tolerate anything contrary to His Word. When we do, then our heart has been won away from our Lord God. We must keep our heart with all diligence, at all times, because it is so easily swayed from our Lord, Prov. 4:23; 13:4; II Pet. 1:10.