Date: Thu, 26 Jan 1995 18:28:12 +0100 Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: Deuteronomy 12 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1. Introduction 2. Explanation 3. Questions 1. Introduction ------------------------------------------------------------------------ This is an issue of a continuous explanation of the Bible-book Dvarim, that is Deuteronomy. If something is unclear in the explanation, ask the editor. The Bible-text is taken from the King James version. Deuteronomy 12. Title: The only sanctuary. The eating of meat Short contents: Moshe commands to exterminate all idolatry in Kenaan. They have to fit up the external religion according to God's guidelines, at the place, which He chooses. Moshe says what they may eat, with whom, and where. He again says that they must keep the true religion, and not follow the idolatry. 2. Explanation ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1 These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth. They shall do these statutes and judgments, all the days. Not only one day in the week, but all the days. They must not just serve God when they have got old, but already in their youth. All the days of their life. This applies also to us. 2 Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: All things, which remind only a little of the idolatry of the heathen, have to disappear totally. The heathens served their gods on the high mountains. For there, they were closer to their gods, they meant. However, Israel did not need this. Their God was near. "For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?" Dvariem / Deuteronomy 4:7. Also we must not think that our prayer will earlier be heard in the place of the meeting of the assembly, then else. Each prayer, prayed in truth, will be heard at God's time. 3 And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. The whole heathen idolatry, including the attributes and the places, had to be exterminated. 4 Ye shall not do so unto the LORD your God. The LORD is totally different from all the idols. Therefore, also His serve must be totally different. Like the heathens did, you shall not do so unto the LORD. There have to be a clearly visible difference between the heathen idolatry and the service of the LORD. This difference has to be there always. This will prevent mixture. Also now, a great difference has to be and to stay visible between the community of God and the world. This prevents from a mixture, which would merge the community in the world. The members of the community may not do as the world does. In later times, the nation Israel has not observed this rule. With all results of that. They mixed themselves, and became infected with the idolatry. After that, God made rule the enemies over them, but this helped at best for a short time. Next, Israel was carried away out their land, but later, God brought them back into their land, in grace. 5 But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: The LORD wanted that the people would come to that place, which He would choose. There had to be one place. This promotes the unity of the religion. When everyone would offer on his own place, this would lead to schism in the religion. This is not good. The LORD is One, and also the true religion is one. To that one place, "thither you shall come". Moshe also says: "unto His habitation shall you seek". They must not seek several errors, but they have to be studiously, to know what is the will of the LORD. With this, also all the self-willed religion is forbidden. Also the prophet says this. "Thus saith the LORD: Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said: We will not walk therein," Jirmejah / Jeremiah 6:16. Many erring prophets, also in present times, want to make us believe several new things. Let we not listen to that, but walk in the old paths. These old paths, which are the good ways of God. So you will find rest for your seeking soul. "Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore," Thilliem / Psalm 105:4. 6 And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: The complete religion must happen on that place, which the LORD has chosen. 7 And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee. Moshe calls this place a place "before the LORD". This means that God was present there in special way. Therefore, surely is there a reason to be glad there. "Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing," Thilliem / Psalm 100:2. It is not pleasantly before the LORD, when the people come before Him with surly faces. However, a surly face is totally different from a sad face. God will comfort the sad people, but He will remove the surly and evil people from His face. The LORD wants that one is glad about all the work, which He has blessed. 8 Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. 9 For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you. In the desert, they always had to go on. There was still not an established place for the religion. Therefore, they offered everywhere. Everyone offered there, where he thought it right. But this loose and free form of religion was allowed only on the journeys. When they would have come into the rest, then it was over. Then they had to stay at that place, which God would choose. This lesson is useful also for us. Living in a place where the religion still not is established is different from living in a place where it is established. What in the one situation is allowed, is not allowed in the other case. On the one place, it can be that there are few or no rules. Then, "every man" does "whatsoever is right in his own eyes." But in the established place, everyone must go to the same place, en must do according to the will of the LORD. This promotes the unity of the religion. 10 But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; Until now, they were still wandering, but they would come in the land, and there, they would live in safety. This living in safety, that will happen when they obey God. "But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil," Mishlee / Proverbs 1:33. 11 Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD: The LORD Himself will choose a place for His Name. However, the ark has still wandered around through the land during many centuries, until God chose a definitive place. Which place has the LORD chosen? "Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseef, and chose not the tribe of Efrajim," Thilliem / Psalm 78:67. "But chose the tribe of Jehudah, the mount Zion which he loved," Thilliem / Psalm 78:68. The LORD has chosen Jerusalem to His place of living. The people had to go up to that place, to practice the religion there, and to serve God. 12 And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you. The whole family will go up to that place, which God has chosen. Also the menservants and the maidservants will go with them. Also the Levite will go to that place. He has no inheritance, and therefore no income. For the Levite has to give all his time in the service of the LORD. He lives on the gifts of offering. 13 Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: Here is written: "every place that you see". For the people are inclined to select the most beautiful place for their religion. They pay more attention to external beauty then to the truth. This is not right. 14 But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee. They must not pay attention to the external beauty of the place, but they must submit themselves to the will of God. They must go there, where God wants to live. The later king Jarovaam sinned very much against this rule. "And Jarovaam said in his heart: Now shall the kingdom return to the house of Davied. If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rechavaam king of Jehudah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rechavaam king of Jehudah. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them: It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, o Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt," Mlachiem A / 1 Kings 12:26-28. The king Jarovaam is very branded by this disobedience, because in seventeen places in the Bible, he is called that king, "which made Israel sin". This rule of Moshe applies also to us. Also we may not go to our own place. We may not do our own liking. We have to go to that place, of which we see that God wants to live there. 15 Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee: the unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and as of the hart. May they eat flesh only in the place, which is chosen by God? That would be very far away for some people. No, the people also may eat flesh in their own place. Not as an offering, but "as of the roebuck, and as of the hart". These beasts were never offered. Their flesh was common flesh, and could simply be eaten. 16 Only ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as water. Only the blood could never be eaten. The LORD had already given this commandments to Noah. "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat," Bereshit 9:3,4. The LORD wanted that they would spare the animal blood. With this, the LORD wanted to deter them from cruelty. For, when they had to spare the blood of an animal, how much the more had they to spare the blood of a man. God will punish the shedding of innocent human blood, both to people and animals. "And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man", Bereshit 9:5,6. To keep the people far away from the shedding of human blood, they were even not allowed to eat the blood of animals. This admonishes us to handle carefully with the life. A man is not an unimportant being, but he is created to God's image. 17 Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil, or the firstlings of thy herds or of thy flock, nor any of thy vows which thou vowest, nor thy freewill offerings, or heave offering of thine hand: 18 But thou must eat them before the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates: and thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God in all that thou puttest thine hands unto. Here, Moshe again repeats this. The service of God is so important, that this must be diligently taught to the nation. The offerings may not be brought in the own place, but only "before the LORD thy God". The whole family must go up to that place, and the servants. They shall rejoice in all the good things, before the face of God. 19 Take heed to thyself that thou forsake not the Levite as long as thou livest upon the earth. The Levite did not get a heritage as land, but as the tenths of the proceeds. Moshe exhorts the people to give the Levites the needed livelihood. The future has learned us how necessary this exhortation was. It happened often that the Levites lacked the things because the people did not give them the tenths. Also in the time of Nechemjah. "And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field," Nchemjah / Nehemiah 13:10. Here, this amazes us all the more, because the people had just returned from the exile. Were they again disobedient now? In the time of Chaggai / Haggai, the people lived in splendid houses, but the service of God was neglected. "Is it time for you, o ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?" Chaggai / Haggai 1:4. This was not good. That is why Chaggai / Haggai prophesied against that. God did not bless them, because they did not give to God. When they would give, voluntarily, then God would pour out them a blessing from heaven. The spur of Moshe and Chaggai / Haggai is useful also for us. Also we may not make lie waste the house of God, but we have to give voluntarily. However, we have to keep in mind that the service of God not exists in giving much. Important is that God is served with the whole heart. Therefore, only the giving is not enough, but one has to give voluntarily, with a whole heart. 20 When the LORD thy God shall enlarge thy border, as he hath promised thee, and thou shalt say, I will eat flesh, because thy soul longeth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after. The LORD had promised that their land will become very great, and He also will do it. 21 If the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to put his name there be too far from thee, then thou shalt kill of thy herd and of thy flock, which the LORD hath given thee, as I have commanded thee, and thou shalt eat in thy gates whatsoever thy soul lusteth after. When the land will have become great, the yourney to the place of the religion could be too great. When they want to eat flesh, they may do this in their own place. They must not eat it like an offering, but as common flesh; as is written in the next verse. 22 Even as the roebuck and the hart is eaten, so thou shalt eat them: the unclean and the clean shall eat of them alike. Here is written that both the clean and the unclean may eat it, so this flesh is not an offering. It is not holy flesh, but common flesh. 23 Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh. 24 Thou shalt not eat it; thou shalt pour it upon the earth as water. 25 Thou shalt not eat it; that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD. Moshe repeats the ban to eat the blood, "for the blood is the life". That means, the blood is a sign of the life. 26 Only thy holy things which thou hast, and thy vows, thou shalt take, and go unto the place which the LORD shall choose: 27 And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, upon the altar of the LORD thy God: and the blood of thy sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the LORD thy God, and thou shalt eat the flesh. There had to be only one place of the religion. The LORD wants that there is unity among the people. The flesh must be offered on that place, if the blood will be poured out. 28 Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God. Here, the LORD commands that we observe and do His words. He promises a good pay to them who do it. This is very righteous of God. They, who transgress the law, miss their pay. Who are they, who transgress God's commandments? These are all the people. We all transgress God's commandments. We do this by our deeds, in our speaking and thinking. It is not necessary that somebody says this to us, because we are well convinced of it by ourselves. There is written that we must do, not what is well before the people, but "which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God". These eyes see many more than the eyes of the people. God's eyes go through the whole earth. "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him," Divre Hajamiem B / 2 Chronicles 16:9. Because we do not what good is in God's eyes, we have deserved punishment. Nevertheless, God gives pay to some people. This comes forth from nothing else but His grace. Also Moshe teaches this to us. "And he said: If now I have found grace in thy sight, o Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance," Shmot 34:9. 29 When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; 30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying: How did these nations serve their gods? Even so will I do likewise. It is dangerous to meddle with the idolatry. Before we know it, we will be snared therein. Moshe admonished us even not to enquire after their idols. We must be satisfied with the simple, clear Word of God. We must flee from all the idolatrous additions, as from an infectious disease. All idols are snares, in which we will be caught. However, this applies not only to the idols as an image. That these images are contrary to God's laws is more then clear. But the more subtle idols are also mentioned here. Other things, on which we rely besides God are also idols. We are full of these idols. One relies on his good job. The other has much money; he thinks that nothing can happen to him. The wife relies on her husband, but not on God. Another relies on the medical science. All these are idols. According to Moshe's words, we will be snared by these. Therefore, it is necessary that we no longer put our trust on the vain things, but build only on God. "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him," Thilliem / Psalm 28:7. 31 Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. They may not do as the heathens did. There has to be a clear difference between God and the idols. "For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens," Thilliem / Psalm 96:5. What have the heathens done? They did "every abomination to the LORD, which He hates". As disgusting example, Moshe mentions the burning of the innocent children. The idolatry leads to these abominations. The idolatry dazzles the people so much, that they do this. But "you shall not do so". 32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. How is a man protected against the idolatry? When he takes the Word of God as the only foundation, and when he not only knows this, but also does it. Here we see how important is a thorough knowledge of God's Word. Not only the knowledge, but also the doing. Here, Moshe forbids to add something to the Word. All human writings, no matter how old, when they not totally agree with the Scriptures, they add something to the Word. Moshe forbids it. Also, you may not take away something from it. Well, many people will keep the Word with their mouth. But their deeds? With their deeds, they take not only a little away from the Word, but they tear great pieces of it. This admonishes us to carefully watch ourselves, and to compare our doctrine and our life with the Word. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them," Jeshajah / Isaiah 8:20. Everybody, who goes through himself concerning this point, will find many idols. What has he to do? He has to pray God for grace. "O remember not against us former iniquities: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low. Help us, o God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake," Thilliem / Psalm 79:8,9. 3. Questions ------------------------------------------------------------------------ If you want to gain more benefit from the explanation, you could consider to answer the questions and do the tasks. You can send these to the editor. He will look at it, and return them to you with his comments. Questions. 1 How many time of our life must we serve God? 2 Why did the LORD want one place for the religion? 3 What is the benefit for us when we ask to the old paths, to the good way? 4 In the desert, why was there more freedom concerning the offerings than in Kenaan? 5 a. In which way did Jarovaam put Israel to sin? b. Is it possible that we are the cause that others sin? 6 Why was it not allowed to drink the blood of the animals? 7 a. What was the sin of the people in the time of Chaggai / Haggai? b. What do you learn from this for yourself? 8 Are little sins, which nobody sees, allowed for God? 9 What is the danger of the examining of the other religions? 10 How can we be saved from the sins? Tasks. 1 Read verse 2 and 3. They have to exterminate all the idolatry, and may never join therein. a. Have they done this? b. Seek in Jechezkeel 6, Jechezkeel 20, Hosjea 4, Jirmejah / Jeremiah 3, what the judgement of the Lord to this nation was, because of this matter. 2 Read verse 12, where is commanded to come in gladness before God's face. Write down the reason of that gladness, from texts in Melachiem A 8, Divre Hajamiem B / 2 Chronicles 29, Divre Hajamiem B / 2 Chronicles 30, Nechemjah 8. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Chr-Exp, a Christian explanation of the Tanach and the New Testament Editor: Teus Benschop - firstname.lastname@example.org No copyrights on this publication Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands .