Deuteronomy 13

Sunday Evening Bible Study

September 27, 1998

Introduction

The name Deuteronomy means "second law".

It is Mosesí final address to the people. It covers the last 1 Ĺ months of Mosesí life. Heís 120 years old. He can still see and hear very well.

Heís rehearsing the work of God in Israelís past history, and giving them a review of Godís law before they cross into the Promised Land.

One of the major themes weíre going to see through the book is that of Godís love for His people.

Deuteronomy 13

:1 If there arise among you a prophet,

Weíre going to get a specific test of telling whether or not a person was a prophet of the LORD or not.

:2 the sign or the wonder come to pass,

Note that there is something miraculous happening. Either a predicted thing comes true, or some miracle occurs.

Lesson:

Miracles donít prove truth.

I think much of our society has fallen into the trap of thinking that if something miraculous occurs, that it must be God.

The truth is that there are more spiritual beings that have power than just God.

Be careful when you see people pointing to miracles as the reason why something should be followed.

Donít misunderstand me here! Iím not saying that miracles arenít important. God indeed is powerful and nothing is impossible for Him. Iím saying that the reason for following somebody should be deeper than just miracles.

:2 Let us go after other gods

Hereís the thing that should stop us.

Lesson:

Correct theology proves truth.

Itís back to the idea of the "central sanctuary".

I think itís important to mention that this should include more than just "gods" with a different name. Itís more than just staying away from Hinduism or the worship of Baal.

There is more than one "Jesus"

(2 Cor 11:3-4 NLT) But I fear that somehow you will be led away from your pure and simple devotion to Christ, just as Eve was deceived by the serpent. {4} You seem to believe whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach about a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.

The Mormon Jesus is a different Jesus. Their Jesus was the half brother of Lucifer.

The Jesus of the Jehovah Witnesses is a different Jesus. They claim that He was Michael the archangel, a created being.

There is more than one "gospel"

(Gal 1:6-9 KJV) I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: {7} Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. {8} But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. {9} As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Paul, in writing to the Galatians, was dealing with the Judaizers. These were Jewish believers who taught that a person had to become circumcised and follow the Law as a full Jew in order to be saved. They didnít teach salvation as a gift from God, but rather that it was something you earned. Legalism is a "different gospel".

So how can we tell which Jesus or which gospel?

Stay in the Word. Keep going to the "central sanctuary".

For a young Christian, it may seem confusing since these people are also quoting the Bible. The difference that they make up their doctrines by picking one verse here, another verse there, and patching it all together to make a different message.

Example:

The Mormon missionaries will use this passage to show you that Joseph Smith was prophesied about in the Bible Ė

(Ezek 37:15-19 KJV) The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, {16} Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: {17} And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. {18} And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not show us what thou meanest by these? {19} Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.

Theyíll point to the name "Joseph" and say, "There, itís right in the Bible!"

For a young Christian, or a person not familiar with the Bible, itís a pretty confusing thing to answer to.

How do you answer it? Know your Bible. Read the entire passage.

If you were a person who read their Bible all the time (maybe even once a year???), youíd already know a few things:

1) Ephraim was the name of one of the tribes. When the Israelite kingdom split under Solomonís son Rehoboam, the northern ten tribes were known either as "Israel" or as "Ephraim" which was the major tribe of the ten.

2) The tribe of Ephraim was descended from a man named Ephraim, one of the two sons of Joseph. Not Joseph Smith, but Joseph the son of Jacob, the guy that became real important in Egypt.

3) Ezekiel lived during the time of the Babylonian captivity. The northern kingdom of Israel had already been destroyed, and the southern kingdom of Judah had been living in Babylon.

If you were a person who read their Bible all the time, you might have the notion to read a little bit before this passage, and a little bit after it as well, to make sure you understood the entire passage that these few verses are a part of. You would find:

1) The passage before (Eze. 37:1-14) is the prophecy of the valley of "dry bones". It was a prophecy about the re-establishing of the nation in the land of Israel.

2) The passage after clinches it:

(Ezek 37:20-23 KJV) And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. {21} And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: {22} And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: {23} Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.

The passage has NOTHING to do about Joseph Smith, but is simply talking about the taking of the two nations, the southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel (also known as Ephraim, or as Joseph his father), two nations becoming one nation again back in the land.

Lesson:

Stay in the book.

Thereís no better way to make sure you are following the correct God.

:3 for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

This is a difficult truth, but itís right here.

Lesson:

God allows times of testing to see if you really love Him.

Why did God allow Satan to be in the Garden of Eden?

To give mankind a choice of whether to love and serve God, or whether to serve Satan.

Why does God allow temptation in my life?

Because He wants you to CHOOSE to love Him. If thereís no choice, then itís not real love.

Keep in mind, God never allows temptation that is greater than we can handle:

(1 Cor 10:13 KJV) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

:5 shall be put to death

Interesting. God considered false doctrine to be a capital offense.

:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul,

The temptations can come from sources a little too close for comfort.

:9 thou shalt surely kill him;

I think we can take this spiritually. But the result is still the same. We need to die to the source of temptation.

This is kind of what Jesus had in mind when He said:

(Luke 14:26-27 KJV) If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. {27} And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

The point is that your family or friends should not be taking you away from the Lord.

:13 the children of Belial,

could be translated "children of wickedness", or "children of Satan"

:14 Then shalt thou inquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth

Lesson:

Check it out first.

Iím afraid to say it, but Christians are some of the most gullible people on the face of this planet. We believe just about anything anyone says.

1) Reno quote

There was a story being passed around on the Internet by some of the pastors, a supposed quote by Janet Reno:

"A cultist is one who has a strong belief in the Bible and the Second Coming of Christ; who frequently attends Bible studies; who has a high level of financial giving to a Christian cause; who home schools for their children; who has accumulated survival foods and has a strong belief in the Second Amendment; and who distrusts big government. Any of these may qualify [a person as a cultist] but certainly more than one [of these] would cause us to look at this person as a threat, and his family as being in a risk situation that qualified for government interference." -- Attorney General Janet Reno, Interview on 60 Minutes, June 26, 1994

The sad thing is that this was a hoax. She never said this on 60 minutes.

2) Computer virus warnings

Iím constantly getting people send me "warnings" about the latest Internet virus that is coming through e-mail. Theyíre all hoaxes. You can only get a virus through e-mail if thereís an attached file thatís infected, and you open the file. Not through e-mail itself.

I think the real virus we ought to be careful about is the "Gullibility Virus", where we tend to just believe everything we hear or read.

Gullibility Virus Spreading over the Internet!

WASHINGTON, D.C.--The Institute for the Investigation of Irregular Internet Phenomena announced today that many Internet users are becoming infected by a new virus that causes them to believe without question every groundless story, legend, and dire warning that shows up in their inbox or on their browser. The Gullibility Virus, as it is called, apparently makes people believe and forward copies of silly hoaxes relating to cookie recipes, email viruses, taxes on modems, and get-rich-quick schemes.

"These are not just readers of tabloids or people who buy lottery tickets based on fortune cookie numbers", a spokesman said. "Most are otherwise normal people, who would laugh at the same stories if told to them by a stranger on a street corner". However, once these same people become infected with the Gullibility Virus, they believe anything they read on the Internet.

"My immunity to tall tales and bizarre claims is all gone", reported one weeping victim. "I believe every warning message and sick child story my friends forward to me, even though most of the messages are anonymous." Another victim, now in remission, added, "When I first heard about Good Times, I just accepted it without question. After all, there were dozens of other recipients on the mail header, so I thought the virus must be true". It as a long time, the victim said, before she could stand up at a Hoaxes Anonymous meeting and state, "My name is Jane, and I've been hoaxed". Now, however, she is spreading the word. "Challenge and check whatever you read," she says.

Internet users are urged to examine themselves for symptoms of the virus, which include the following:

The willingness to believe improbable stories without thinking. The urge to forward multiple copies of such stories to others. A lack of desire to take three minutes to check to see if a story is true.

T. C. is an example of someone recently infected. He told one reporter, "I read on the Net that the major ingredient in almost all shampoos makes
your hair fall out, so I've stopped using shampoo". When told about the Gullibility Virus, T. C. said he would stop reading email, so that he would not become infected.

3) Y2k

This is when the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2000. Many older computers and computer chips were built to only recognize the date of a year with a two digit number, and so the number "00" is 1900, not 2000. Some are predicting widespread calamity as utility companies accidentally shut down, or banks lose records of their customer accounts. Others say itís nothing but the latest hype to create fear in peoplesí hearts.

Is it a real problem? Look at the news from the Associated Press:

Panel gives government a 'D' for 2000

By TED BRIDIS
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Like a disapproving school teacher, a House panel gave a barely passing "D" grade to the federal government's overall efforts to fix the Year 2000 computer problem.

It predicted more than one-third of the most important computer systems won't be fixed in time, and it estimated the government will spend $6.3 billion on the problem. That's much higher than a $5.4 billion estimate the Office of Management and Budget made last week.

OMB said it didn't include agency estimates that it hasn't already approved as "appropriate." That amount includes $550 million for the Health and Human Services Department and $295 million for the Treasury Department.

Five agencies criticized in the past for their lack of progress earned individual "F" grades, although the Defense and Transportation departments improved slightly since June to a "D." The Justice Department fell to an "F."

"This is not a grade you take home to your parents, and it is definitely not a grade to take back to the voters and taxpayers," said Rep. Stephen Horn, R-Calif., who is chairman of the technology subcommittee for the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.

Other agencies earning an "F" from Horn's subcommittee included the Health and Human Services, Energy, State and Education departments, along with the Agency for International Development.

Three agencies earned an "A": the Social Security Administration, the National Science Foundation and the Small Business Administration.

Iíd say thereís a good potential for a problem. There should be a cautious, but legitimate concern.

"...Bible commentator Chuck Missler, who formerly ran Ford Motor Co.'s computer operations, tells listeners to his daily radio programs to avoid two extremes: ignoring the Y2K problem and thinking it will go away, or panicking. He advises balancing Proverbs 22:3, which says "The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, but the naive go on, and are punished for it," with 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.""

Check it out.

:15 Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword,

I believe that this is what the Israelites were doing in Judges 20 when they gathered together to come against the wickedness in one of the cities of Benjamin.

:16 thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit,

When an idolatrous city like this was to be destroyed, there was to be no spoil taken. Instead, everything in the city, including everything valuable, was to be burned and destroyed.

This was to make sure that the reason they were attacking this city was out of obedience to the Lord, and not because they just wanted to plunder the city and get rich.