Deuteronomy--Moses' first speech, Part 21
Jul 09, 2012
Deut. 4:21, 22 says,
(21) Now the Lord was angry with me on your account, and swore that I should not cross the Jordan, and that I should not enter the good land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. (22) For I shall die in this land, I shall not cross the Jordan, but you shall cross and take possession of this good land.
The apparent cause of God's anger with Moses was when he struck the rock instead of speaking to it. In that action, he violated the prophetic type, for in the second coming of our "Rock," Jesus Christ, He did not need to be smitten again, but came to preach the Word with boldness to convert the world.
Moses' disobedience also set the pattern of disobedience for the rest of Church in the latter days leading up to the second coming of Christ. Hence, the Church would understand the New Testament significance of the Lamb being smitten, but they would largely fail to understand the purpose of the second coming of Christ. Perhaps this misunderstanding was best expressed in the bumper sticker that I saw once on a car: "Jesus is coming soon--and boy is He mad."
In the story of Jonah, which speaks of the two comings of Christ, the only one who was angry in the end was the prophet himself. This reflects the heart condition of the Church today, and the big lesson of that story is bound up in God's statement to the prophet: "Do you have good reason to be angry?" (Jonah 4:4). So also today, many Christians are angry with "Nineveh," the world system and do not want the Ninevites to repent. They want them to be destroyed, and so they have set up an eschatological reason for God to be angry with people of Nineveh.
While it is true that God will destroy the system, He will do so in order to save them (John 12:47). The purpose of the outpouring of the Spirit is not to save the righteous, but to bring sinners to repentance.
We today are still affected negatively by Moses act of disobedience. That is what disqualified him from entering the Promised Land. This is what caused him to fall short of receiving the promises (Heb. 4:1). Moses understood this, for he said in the verse above, "The Lord was angry with me on your account." In saying this, Moses was not trying to pass the blame upon the people, as if it were their fault that he struck the rock in disobedience. Certainly, their complaints were the occasion for Moses' sin, but God judged Moses for not sanctifying Him in the sight of the people (Num. 20:12).
(23) So watch yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which the Lord your God has commanded you. (24) For the Lord your God is a consuming fire; a jealous God.
Neither Israel nor any other nation under heaven has the right to replace the true God with some other deity as its source of law. The God who revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai and later to Moses as Yahweh (Ex. 6:3) is the Creator of the Universe and the Owner of the heavens and the earth. We must sanctify Him as Creator, recognizing Him as the Supreme Sovereign everywhere.
He is a jealous God, and will not tolerate man's self-proclaimed freedom to worship whatever god he makes in his own image. America's Declaration of Independence recognized the Creator as the highest Sovereign over nations, the Source of all rights. They wrote, "all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." The Supreme Court referenced this in the 1880's, saying that government has the authority to grant or take away privileges, but all rights come from God and cannot be restricted by the governments of men.
For the same reason, government cannot grant rights where God has not done so in His law. Many today are appealing to the government to grant them "rights," ignoring the Declaration of Independence, which stands above the Constitution itself. Lawmakers today have confused the founders' distinction between rights and privileges in order to usurp God's place over the nation.
This was precisely what Moses warned Israel not to do when they should enter the Promised Land. And so, the conflict of the ages has always centered around the right of Jesus Christ to rule the nations. The nations prefer their own idols, made in their own image, and the apex of such idolatry is Humanism, the idea that man is his own god and has the right to decide his own laws.
This gradually became the mindset in Israel after they entered the Promised Land. In fact, the theme of the book of Judges is found in its final verse, Judg. 21:25,
(25) In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Israel did indeed have a King in heaven, but the Israelites abandoned His law and set up their own standard of righteousness according to the idols of their heart. This condition has been repeated in the Church for a very long time among those who put away the law of God and follow new definitions of sin and righteousness. Many of them claim to be "led by the Spirit," while at the same time they sanctify lawlessness such as the prison system, usury, gay rights, abortion rights, and genetically modified "food."
The Holy Spirit does not lead men to become lawless. One of the main purposes of the Holy Spirit is to convict men of sin. Gal. 5:16 says also,
(16) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
Moses warned the Israelites against the fleshly tendency to be lawless. Jesus gave the same warning to the New Testament Church which was soon to be established (Matt. 5:19; 7:23). Moses prophesied in Deut. 4:25,
(25) When you become the father of children and children's children and have remained long in the land, and act corruptly, and make an idol in the form of anything, and do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord your God so as to provoke Him to anger, (26) I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you shall surely perish quickly from the land where you are going over the Jordan to possess it. You shall not live long on it, but shall be utterly destroyed.
If the laws of God were followed according to the mind of Christ, any nation would prosper. Evil men would be restrained or leave for other parts of the world, there would be no market for harmful drugs or pornography, and the wicked would not be enriched and empowered. Yet a humanistic culture, ruled by heart idolatry, ceases to restrain the lusts of the flesh in the guise of "freedom" and eventually makes it illegal to call such things "sin." Humanism accommodates the sinful tendencies of fallen man and hastens the day when the rotten fruit of sin poisons the land and makes the nation ripe for judgment.
Spirit-filled Christians were called to be the witness of God and to provide leadership in understanding the righteous laws of Scripture. Even before Mystery Babylon was manifested in its final form in 1913, God poured out His Spirit upon the people in order to establish righteous authority in the land to counter the insidious evil that was about to come. But those who experienced Pentecost at that time became so infatuated with miracles of healing that they neglected the study of the God's law. Hence, legalism replaced lawfulness, as they focused upon dress codes, hair codes, lipstick, and jewelry instead of being concerned with the weightier matters of the law. They strained at gnats but swallowed camels.
And so they were unable to meet the challenge that Mystery Babylon posed.
This is the twenty-first part of a series titled "Moses' First Speech." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones