In the aftermath of last weekend’s Las Vegas massacre, Democrats came out almost immediately and called for new gun control regulations. Republicans came out and defended the Second Amendment, and back and forth we went.
When a maniac in a Dodge Charger drove into a crowd in Charlottesville, we began fighting over what statues were now deemed too racist to stand. The media blamed Trump for bringing racism back to America, and the GOP reflexively started defending the First Amendment.
These types of reactions and counter-reactions make up the political dance we’ve become accustomed to. Allegations and arguments are becoming so tired and shallow that it takes only a new voice, rather than new idea, to seemingly supercharge political partisan hacks.
Rather than rally for gun control, healthcare reform, or ending racism, why are there no calls for revival?
We live in a nation that, as of last year, claims to be 77% Christian, though only about 20% seem to take it seriously enough to go to church once a week. Yet when a sadistic mass murderer spends $50,000 on weapons and ammo so that he could spray bullets into a crowd of innocent concert goers, not one talking head called for people to get saved. Some on CNN and Fox News called for A savior, but no one called for THE Savior.
Did the evangelical political hero, President Donald J. Trump, mention one word about turning to God? Where was Osteen? He tweeted out a general platitude, like most Christians, saying to trust in the Lord. Other politicians sent “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and their families. This is a lovely gesture, and as a resident Las Vegan, I appreciate prayers. Prayers work. However, prayer is not salvation. While everyone has been concerned with the physical health and safety of all in Las Vegas, it seems like few, if any, have been concerned with our souls.
In a “Christian” nation, millions of people should have been out in the streets witnessing for Christ and sending out invitations to church. Instead, we hit Twitter and started arguing about gun rights with complete strangers.
Jimmy Kimmel, a devout practicing Catholic, used his powerful platform to demonize the NRA and legal firearm owners rather than conduct an altar call and preach the gospel. Many others followed this pattern.
There is no more relevant time to witness to the unsaved than after a national tragedy. It’s never “too soon”, but it is often too late to do so.
You never know when an armed gunman will strike where you are.
You never know when a bomb will destroy the building you’re in.
You never know if you’re on a plane with someone who wants to crash it.
You never know when a drunk driver will come from out of nowhere and take your life.
Last Sunday night’s events were a reminder of our fleeting mortality. Life can end when you least expect it. Are you confident in your beliefs on the afterlife? Are you sure you are just going to become worm food? Are you positive that you will be reincarnated until you reach Nirvana?
I am 100% positive that I will be in Heaven with God and Jesus Christ when I die. I will not waver from that belief.
If you are questioning, at all, what happens when you die, talk to me. Yes, I am being an opportunist. I am taking advantage of fear and tragedy. That’s because I want you all to be as sure as I am that your eternity is secure.
Moses is dead, and it is up to Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. God tells Joshua that “The book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8).
Oh, Christian. How prosperous would our lives be if we observed and abided by all the words of The Bible?
Chapter 2 is the story of the two spies who entered Jericho and met Rahab, the harlot. Rahab is an interesting figure because 1) she is a female hero of the Bible, which, we are told, is a completely misogynistic book; and 2) Rahab is taught by many churches (including more than one of mine) to be in the line of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5). However, the Rachab in Matthew 1:5 is not mentioned as “the harlot” as Rahab is in both Old AND New Testaments. Yes, there are differences between Greek and Hebrew versions of names, but the Rahab the harlot is named such in Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25; so why would she not be the same in Matt. 1:5? Because she is probably not the same person. Sorry!
If we go back to the Greek (because that’s what all Bible “scholars” like to do), Rahab is Rhaab and Rhachab is Rachab. Yet the modern perversions of God’s Word translate them both as Rahab, thus, wrongly inserting “the harlot” into the line of Christ.
Rahab tells the spies in Josh. 2:11 of stories of the Exodus from Egypt and conquering of the Amorites, “as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man.” Ironically, the Israelites were scared to conquer a city of men who feared the power of the LORD God of Israel.
As we know, Rahab and her family would be spared during the destruction of Jericho because of her faith in helping the spies.
Another miraculous water crossing occurs in chapter 3, as the Israelites walked across a “heap” of dry land as the priests carrying the ark of the LORD stepped into the Jordan river (v. 13). Here, again, is another supernatural miracle experienced by the Israelites that makes their impending worship of idols so stupefying.
God wants us to hear, learn, and fear the LORD (Deut. 31:12-13). This order is repeated twice. We are to hear and learn the Word of God, then we are to fear Him. I believe this is because the more we learn of God, the more we cannot help but fear him. Unfortunately, our modern churches don’t actually teach the Word of God, and Christians do not fear the LORD.
Why should we fear God? Just look at the threats made to Israel (and the threats have become real since) in Deut. 31:17. God’s anger is kindled, he forsook them, hid his face from them, and devoured them. This sounds like a God you should fear.
God is described as the Rock (Deut. 32:4), which is not the same as Simon Peter (the rock) on whom the Catholic Church has been built (according to them). Our Rock is Jesus Christ, not Peter. The Christian church is built on Christ. Psalm 62:6-7 says “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.”
Again, this is not talking about Peter, but God and Christ.
Deut. 32:8 once again shows the “negativity” of The Bible. It says that the most High (God) “divided,” “separated,” and set “bounds.” These are not inclusive, uniting words. They are divisive. Christians “are not of the world” (John 17:16), and should be divided, separated, and have bounds that we should not cross.
Modern Christians cross those bounds as often as we can, don’t we?
God also warns us of sacrificing “unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not” (Deut. 32:17).
I think this idea of new gods is pertinent to the entire world. When we think of gods, we think of the ancient Roman and Greeks; of Zeus, Jupiter, Apollo, Thor, Odin, Shiva, Buddha, etc. We scoff at the very idea that we would ever worship a god.
However, we worship NEW gods. We pray at the altar of celebrity, sports, and television. We build shrines to Tom Cruise or Jennifer Lawrence. We pray to “the football gods” when our team takes the field. We attend the church that Babe Ruth built.
The statistics on church attendance during football season are staggering. About 40% of men and 18% of women watch more than six hours of football a week, while less than 20% attend church for even one hour, and 22% of churchgoers would skip church for football.
We worship new gods alright.
What America has become is “a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them” (Deut. 32:28). We are walking the same path that the Israelites were on over 3,000 years ago. The very path that led to their scattering, suffering, and destruction is the one that we are gleefully running down.
Why? Because we have forgotten to fear the LORD.
Deut. 32:31 says “their rock is not as our Rock.” Peter, the Pope, Mohammad, Buddha, Odin, Zeus; these are the rocks that other religions are built on. Jesus Christ, the LORD is the Rock that should be our foundation. The Jewish religions missed that mark as well, as they deny that Christ is Messiah. Their only refuge is that they are God’s chosen people whom He promised to restore. Christians, that promise is not given to America. When God destroys our nation, there will be no coming back.
These are the warnings the God gave us through Moses; the only prophet “whom the LORD knew face to face” (Deut. 34:10). No matter the claims from the Vatican or Mecca, none are as great a prophet as Moses who died before entering the Promised Land.
Chapter 27 ends with 12 curses for those who don’t listen to God’s commands. Chapter 28 begins with 8 blessings that come to those who “hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God” (verse 2). The “balance” is 12 negatives to 8 positives (so far). The “balance” goes even further off kilter (according to what our limited understanding would have us believe), as Deut. 28:16-19 piles on 7 additional “curses.”
That’s 19-8 negatives, which, as I wrote in my Notes on Deut. 21-27, is more evidence that the Bible is a negative book.
The rest of chapter 28 is one of the most horrifying passages in all Scripture. God lays out 53 consecutive verses of curses, destruction, and punishments for the children of Israel if they do not heed the commandments of the LORD.
Students of history can see how many of these came true, as there are descriptions of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar that would occur about 1000 years after this was written. There are descriptions of the reign of Titus that happened almost 40 years after Christ’s death. There are VERY detailed descriptions of Hitler’s Holocaust which came almost 3500 years after the book of Deuteronomy was penned by Moses.
First of all, Israel would be “removed into all the kingdoms of the earth” (Deut. 28:25) in each of these historical periods. Other nations would move into Israel, enjoy the fruits of the land, and the Israelites “shalt be only oppressed and crushed always” (verse 33) and “thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations” (verse 37).
We know from history that this has absolutely come true for hundreds of years. The Israelites were kicked out of their own land for almost 2,000 years, they have been “oppressed and crushed” the entire time. No one wants to be a “Jew” in modern society. Shakespeare’s Shylock is an infamous literary character whose very name has become a racial slur. One would not want to be “Jewed” out of their money. As predicted, the Israelites have become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword. They are a cautionary tale.
Deut. 28:49-50 is an extremely accurate prophecy of the German invasion and Holocaust. It begins with “a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand” (Hitler’s symbol was the German eagle, and they spoke a foreign language). Hitler led “A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young” (verse 50). The Holocaust slaughtered over 6,000,000 Jews, including the elderly and children.
By the end of all these persecutions, the Israelites “shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven” (verse 62). The Israelites have been scattered “from the one end of the earth even unto the other” (verse 64) and “among these nations shalt thou find no ease” (verse 65).
Verse 68 says “there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen and no man shall buy you.” In 1945, Adolf Eichmann and Joel Brand offered to sell 1,000,000 Jews for trucks in an effort they titled “blood for goods”, but no one took them up on the offer.
The warning to Israel in verse 63 is chilling. God says “And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.”
God’s love is so absolute that he totally enjoys dishing out blessings. His wrath is so absolute, that he will enjoy bringing those who disobey him to nothing. All this destruction has been poured out “Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things” (verse 47).
This is not just a warning to Israel, but to all nations.
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.
The words of God are of the utmost importance. I was once told that Bible translations are a “secondary doctrine.” In other words, it’s a preference, like hymns vs. contemporary music or chairs vs. pews.
My Bible says “man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live” (Deut. 8:3). God’s word is our food; our nourishment. We are (spiritually) dead without it.
Does that sound like a “secondary doctrine” to you?
God also warns us not to take too much pride in our possessions and forget who gave us such blessing. When our wealth multiplies, we are not supposed to “say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth” (Deut. 8:17), because “it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish: because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God” (Deut. 8:19-20).
This is a strong condemnation of the state of the United States of America as we know it today. From the rampant greed of capitalists to the perversion of “Christian” churches who preach “prosperity doctrine” from the pulpit, America has forgotten that our wealth and prosperity comes from God. His warning is the destruction of nations who forget him.
I think we have lost the idea of God. Our churches focus on Christ, which is the centerpiece of the Christian religion. However, we have gotten away from the part of Christ that was the dominant force in the Old Testament.
We know that Jesus is God, but we do not understand God.
Deuteronomy 10:17 says, “For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward.” Verse 20 says “Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.”
God is a being who can wipe out the entire population of the earth with a word. He did it with a flood, and he will do it again at Armageddon.
God is a being who was willing to wipe out every single member of the children of Israel who escaped slavery in Egypt and start again with Moses and Aaron.
God is a being who can create an entire universe or end it with a whisper.
God is a being who killed those Israelites who complained about him with fiery serpents, swallowing them with the earth, and plagues.
We are supposed to FEAR God, as well as love him.
We barely whimper when God’s Ten Commandments are removed from schools and government buildings.
We are silent when television programs openly mock Christians.
We don’t hold our own politicians responsible for continually trying to “help” Israel by stopping them from building settlements and expanding their borders into territories promised to them by God.
God, whose name is Jealous, must watch as we stare at food pictures on our cell phones and play video games rather than spend time in prayer or reading our Bibles.
We forget the power of God, because he has become a sort of genie for us. We want him to grant us wishes, not judge us according to our sins.
We don’t want his judgment coming upon us, but we take his mercy for granted. He could easily swallow us up into the ground at any given moment, but we’re worried about losing a job or feeling uncomfortable without electricity.
Be honest. We do not FEAR God’s power, but someday very soon all creation will.