Deuteronomy: Holiness Through the Promise

     The idea of holiness was to be a way of life for God’s people. God never intended His people to be like the others in serving false gods, living immoral lives and giving into the lusts of the flesh just because of simple cravings. God’s people were never at liberty to live as others did rather they were to live by a standard set down by God. That standard is reflected in the Law as God had given it to Moses. Part of that law is known as the Ten Commandments which begins with instructions for God’s people to have no gods other than the God of all. This primary instruction, if heeded, allows for no sin because the love toward God would be without barriers alleviating the need for sin.

     Unfortunately man had already proven that his love for God was often fickle at best.  Throughout biblical text God’s people loved Him one moment and seemed to despise Him the next. This is why God had to detail what is now considered the Mosaic Law. There were six hundred thirteen such laws which touched every avenue of life. Yet God knew that man could not adhere to the law without assistance. The real base of the Law was to love God. This is the reason it is the first commandment. Even so, man had a difficult time in following this first and simple mandate. It was extremely evident that man was fickle as the Hebrew children wandered in the wilderness for an extended period of time because of their hard hearts and stiff necks. It is for this reason that Moses looked through the annals of time and saw the coming Messiah.

     Promises of the Messiah were made as early as Genesis chapter three and continued until His manifestation in the Gospels. Moses’ words showed the Messiah as a Prophet in Deuteronomy 18:15. The words “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken” say much about what was to come in the form of a Saviour. It is more than obvious that this Prophet is a direct reference to Jesus the Christ for at least three reasons that are outlined in the verse. The first is that the Prophet would come from the midst of the people. That is to say that this Prophet would be born into the Hebrew lineage. The Prophet would also be elevated by God and that same Prophet would be heard by the people.

     The promise of the Prophet is reiterated in verse 18 with “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” This Prophet was to be sent because the people would not live a holy life on their own. Left to their whims the people would pull from holiness and celebrate not only false gods but their lives would be the very antithesis of what it meant to love God. The love for the true and living God would wax colder and colder whilst love for inordinate affections would be on the rise. With this the Prophet would turn the hearts of the people back to the God that loved them unconditionally. The whoremonging, backstabbing, loveless people would need to be taught how to be holy in the face of unholy surroundings. The Prophet needed to come before man’s false love would be his eternal downfall.   

     Mary was another that received information from on High that Jesus would be born as prophesied in the Second Law. Luke 1:31-33 reads, “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” And so was the birth of Jesus. He not only falls in the lineage of David but also reigns over the house of Jacob even to this day. His Words were not His own rather He spoke in accordance with the will of the Father (John 12:49-50). The will of the Father was and remains simple, to have a people that love Him and are willing to separate themselves from the things of the world in order to live life more fully.

     Holiness was never a suggestion from God rather it has always been a way of life for those that choose to live a life after His mandates. The law dictated how holy lives were to be lived but the law did little to change the hearts of man. As such there was a need for the Father to send His only begotten Son to die in order to restore a right relationship from man to the Father. That relationship has everything to do with holiness of actions as well as holiness of the heart. The promise in the Second Law pointed to the Holy One (Deuteronomy 33:8) while the Gospels show fulfillment of the promise. Recognizing the true intent of the Law and understanding the fulfillment of the promise is the basis to lead all God’s people to a life of love to Him which results in holiness. That holiness is predicated upon resting in the promise of the revealed Prophet Who came in the spirit of restoration.

 

Setting the Record Straight

     The cry has been made time and time again. As soon as a preacher begins to point out the truths of the Scripture someone is bound to take offense as soon as the matter of sin is brought to the forefront. The offended one quickly blurts out that the preacher has no right to judge him or anyone else. The problem is multifaceted in nature but the heart of the problem is usually that the offended one does not want to conform to the Word of God. The fact of the matter is that anyone proclaiming the Gospel is not judging rather is doing the work ordained by God. In this the record is to be set straight in respect to judgment.

     A causal reading of I Corinthians 6:9-11 shows that there are certain that will not see Heaven. The text reads, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” These acts are clearly displeasing to God and thus sin by that very reason.

     It is the job of the preacher (prophet) to warn the people of impending danger (Ezekiel 3:17-21). This warning is not judgment rather it is providing notice that actions deleterious to God’s Word will meet sure and sudden consequences. With this in mind it is evident that the one claiming to be offended by the preachers warning is ignorant of the meaning of “judge” as it is reflected in Matthew 7:1. Simply put “judge” as being discussed in Matthew has to do with condemning others. This is likely a legal term but to discuss etymology at this juncture would be fruitless. Still the fact is that judgment as Jesus was presenting it had to do with the condemning of others which was common practice of the Pharisees.    

     Setting the record straight means that those that proclaim the Gospel in keeping with its purpose are not condemning others rather seeking to prevent eternal damnation to their audiences. Remember the Word of God is an offense to some (Matthew 24:10) but offense and condemnation are far from the same. With this preachers are encouraged to be bold and be strong because the Lord our God is with you. We are charged to preach and teach the Gospel truths even without condemnation. Warning is necessary and has nothing to do with judgment.