Notes on Deuteronomy 14-20

The Israelites are a “peculiar people” (Deut. 14:2), which is why it is silly for Christians and Americans today to think that all the laws of the Old Testament apply to us. It is why anti-Christians always want to point to the Pentateuch in order to lecture us on our hypocrisy. They are fools to believe that because modern American Christians do not follow laws meant for ancient Israelites, we are hypocrites.

Some of what is found in these books, however, does apply to us. The notion that one witness is not enough to put a man on death row (Deut. 17:6) is the same policy that our own justice system has today. Anyone who has studied memory and cognition knows that eye witness testimony is easily dismissed. The only time that a court takes it seriously is when there are two or more witnesses. God knew the fallibility of an eye witness a couple thousand years before our courts recognized it.

Chapter 17:14-20 gives a great picture of a great leader as well. A king (in our case, Congressman or President) should not use his office to multiply his wealth or sexual proclivities. A good leader reads the law every day and fears the LORD. He keeps this law (the Bible) in his heart and applies them to his life.

The problem with our leaders today is the same as those back in the Old Testament, they all abandon the teachings of God and use their power for personal gain. They are selfish; therefore, they are not good leaders. Not even Solomon and David met the standards put forth by this passage. In fact, Solomon became the poster child for doing the exact opposite of this, as he amassed the greatest fortune ever known and had 1000 wives and concubines. Yet, even Solomon came to realize that “all is vanity” (Eccl. 1:1).

Chapter 18 lists nine abominations: child sacrifice (to Molech aka Nimrod), divination, “observer of times” (astrology), enchanter, witch, charmer, consulters with familiar spirits (familiar spirits may appear as animal guides, historical figures, or family members — but they are none of these things), wizard, and necromancy. These are “spiritual gifts” in a manner of speaking, though they are not the same gifts as those given by God in the New Testament. These are dark gifts brought about by worshiping false gods, and consulting with demons and evil spirits. This is an explicit warning against messing around with psychics, Ouija boards, witchcraft, and opening yourself to the supernatural.

Deut. 18:15-18 predicts Jesus Christ, who is a Prophet who is like God (v. 15) AND like man (v. 18) who will speak the words of God and save people from the fire (v. 16). Those who pretend to be a prophet of God, but do not speak his words are doomed to die.

This is a warning against Mohammad, Antichrist, and all of the “Christian” ministers who wear the right label, but fail to preach the right words. We must be vigilant in our understanding of the Word of God, so that we may rightly divide the word of Truth (II Tim 3:15). We do not want to follow these wolves in sheep’s clothing into destruction.

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