November 22, 2012
Scripture and Commentary, Friday after the Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity
Morning - Ps. 69, Lev. 26:1-13, Phil 3
Evening - Ps. 80, Dt. 18, Mt. 28:1-10
Commentary, Deuteronomy 18
The tribe of Levi is set apart for the services of the Tabernacle of God. They will own no land and have no income as the other tribes will have in Canaan. They will be completely dependent on the tithes and offerings of the people for their food, housing, and raiment. Deuteronomy 18:1-8 teaches the other tribes to provide for the Levites.
Verses 9-14 forbid adopting pagan religious practices, which God calls abominations. Making sons and daughters pass through the fire (18:10) is the very first thing mentioned, and refers to burning children alive as religious sacrifices. God understandably has a particular hatred for this practice. Other forbidden practices are looking for spiritual guidance in any place outside of God. The things mentioned were thought by pagans to be able to tell or influence the future as the mediums of the gods. It is because of these practices that the wrath of God is come upon the Canaanites (18:12-13).
Israel will not need human sacrifices, divination, fortune tellers, star gazers, spell casters, or messages from the dead. God will raise up a prophet (18:15-22) and will speak to His people through the prophet. Moses was such a prophet. Future prophets and their messages will be measured against the revelation of God given through Moses. The Biblical prophets of the Old Testament always expounded the Law of God and called Israel to keep the Covenant. Any prophet whose words contradicted the Law was known to be false. This is important because some false prophets would have abilities to work signs and wonders (Dt. 13:1-3), as did some of the fortune tellers and mediums (1 Sam. 28:7-25) . Prophets will also be measured by the results of their words (18:22). If one says, in the name of the Lord, that something will happen, but it doesn't happen, Israel will know his words are false. Such a prophet has falsely presumed to speak for God; a terrible and abominable sin with a terrible and abominable penalty (18:20).
18:15 refers to a continuing succession of prophets to guide His people. Ultimately it refers to The Prophet, which is none other than Christ our Lord (Jn. 5:4-47, Acts 3:22-23, Acts 7:37). He is the full revelation of God, which He committed to His Apostles to give to the Church through their preaching and writings. His revelation is preserved in the Holy Bible. The Church is blessed by having all that we need to know about God and salvation in the Bible. Those who lead His Church and teach His people must first be called and lawfully ordained to the task. They must second teach only in accordance with the Bible. No person is allowed to add to or subtract from the words of Holy Scripture. Ministers in Christ's Church today do not give new revelations, they teach and preach the Bible.