The PRIMARY reason that God gave the Ten Commandments and Books of the Law to the ancient Hebrews at the time that He did was to establish and maintain the type of society and personal life styles that would honor God, when the Hebrews entered the Promised Land.
The glorification of God has always been and will always be the purpose for the creation and existence of the human race. During each dispensation (period of time) of human history, Man glorifies God by learning and complying with the principles of the Word of God.
Compliance with the Ten Commandments and the principles of the Book of the Law (Genesis/Exodus/Deuteronomy/Numbers) would clearly distinguish the ancient Hebrews as unique among the Community of nations as they brought glory to God.
For the Hebrews, God established a theocracy in which the laws of God and the laws of the land were one in the same.
The Law went into great detail of how the Hebrews were to address violations of The Law, and how, when, where they were to worship the Lord.
For the Church Age believer, worship is a post (after) salvation activity. Accordingly, Church Age worship has n-o-t-h-i-n-g to do with obtaining or retaining salvation, but has e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g to do with the quality of one’s post salvation spiritual life.
Once saved, there is nothing that a born again believer as to do (or have done) to enhance the salvation that he/she has already received the moment he/she was born again. At the same time, there IS much that a born again (John 3: 3) believer can do or fail to do that can diminish the qualityof his post salvation spiritual life.
The mechanics by which one worships God differs from one dispensation to another. Christian "religion" (as opposed to Christianity) has erred by bringing what WAS (past tense) a part of the Old Testament form of worship and activity into the worship practices of the Church Age. In addition to this, Christian Religion has added to the Word of God (Proverbs 30: 6) in teaching and/or practice the traditions of men (Mark 7: 8), as did the Pharisees, rendering much of what takes place within the Christian Community meaningless vanity.
"This people honors me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men (Mark 7: 8 NASB)."
In fact, if all that Christian Religion (as opposed to Christianity) has made a part of worship were to be removed and/or no longer practiced, what would remain would be barely recognizable to many "Christians" who "go to Church" on a regular basis.
We will examine these Church Age issues in greater detail in a later part of this study.
Both the Ten Commandments and the sacrificial rituals of worship outlined in the Books of the Law reflected the character and nature of God, and foreshadowed the NEED for, and the WORK of, the Lord Jesus Christ that was (at that time) still to come. Old Testament believers were saved by placing their faith (trust and confidence) in the coming Savior (the Lord Jesus Christ), whose sacrifice and atoning work were symbolized in the Old Testament rituals. New Testament believers are saved by placing their faith (trust and confidence) in the Person and the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ who has come.
What the Old Testament labeled as SIN, remains to be sin now. As a rule of thumb, all one has to do is to run any given issue through the love filter. Does what one wants to do or wants to refrain doing demonstrate love for God (John 14: 15) and/or love for others (Mark 12: 30, 31). If one has love for God and others, he/she will not do anything that offends God or harms others. Sin always offends God, and sin always harms self and others. The wages of sin results death (Romans 6: 23) in one form or another, be it spiritual death, physical death, or temporal death.
Spiritual death is the status in which Fallen Man comes into this world. One remains in spiritual death if he/she commits the sin of disbelief (John 3: 18). Physicial death is the end of biological life of the body. Post salvation sin by born again believers result in temporal death. In a state of temporal death, born again believers are out of fellowship (2Cor. 13:14) with God and therefore incapable (John 15:5) of executing the TRUE post salvation spiritual life. Temporal death is resolved via confessing the sin(s) to God (1John 1:9), and when necessary, the forsaking of the form of sin (John 8:11) if it has become
a part of one’s lifestyle.
The rituals, rules, and regulations, revealed in the Ten Commandments and in the Leviticus Law were/are to remain in full force until the purpose for them had been or will be completed (Matthew 5:18).
Accordingly, some parts of the Old Testament will have application throughout all of human history, while others, such as the forms of worship prescribed within, have a-l-r-e-a-d-y been fulfilled. The classical example of this is how Church Age Believers do not make animal sacrifices, as did the Old Testament believers.
If a Church Age believer is to be the type of worshiper that God desires (John 4: 23), he/she must learn to discern what activities endorse by Old Testament Scripture are,and what activities endorsed by Old Testament Scripture are not still in force here in the Church Age.
During the Old Testament dispensation, violations of The Law could result in restitution, fines, and/or capital punishment, depending
on the nature and the availability of at least two eye witnesses to the event.
Granted, the Church Age believers are not under “The Law”, but are called to be transformed to the likeness of Christ (Romans 12:2). In order to do so, not only are born again, Church Age, believers called to learn to (2Peter 3:18) and comply (James 1: 22) with ALL the Old Testament commands that remain in force, but with the more than 300 Commandments found in the New Testament, as well. This is a far cry from the idea that eternal security is a license to sin. While salvation can not be lost, it does not mean that there aren't other consequences (1Cor. 3: 15) in store for born again believers who engage in post salvation sin.
Throughout the course of the Angelic Conflict, the devil produces either an alternative or a perverted use of virtually everything that God has established for His glory.
Part of this strategy is to produce a perverted version of what God did say (Genesis 3:1), as well as promote concepts (Genesis 3:5) and activities (Mark 7:7) as having come from God that He never authorized or ordained.
The people of God were well aware of the fact that Moses was in communication with God while on Mount Sinai (Exodus 20: 18-21) during the forty days that Moses was away from them.
Never-the-less, the “people of God”, Moses’ absence and with the help of Aaron, produced an alternative idol and had begun to worship it (Exodus 32).
Note that it was from the gold ear rings that were undoubtedly worn by the worshipers of the moon gods of Egypt and given to the departing Hebrews (Exodus 12:35), that the gold calf idol, symbolic of the moon gods of Egypt, was produced (Exodus 32:2).
In Moses absence, the “people of God”, with the assistance of Aaron made this idol and attributed their deliverance from Egypt to the moons gods of Egypt (Exodus 32:4). When Moses returned to the camp (after receiving the first copy of the Ten Commandments), the first thing he had to do was to address the apostasy that had taken place in his absence.
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Whenever the devil has had success in the Angelic Conflict, it ALWAYS involves his ability to deceive the minds of God’s people, who by nature (Romans 8:7) have a tendency to go astray and follow the age old pattern of previous generations (Romans 1: 8:32). Note that in the case of Adam and Eve, neither one had yet received this sin nature, but still chose to go against what God had clearly made known to them.
Beginning with the generation of Cush (Noah’s grandson), Satan has endorsed the development of false religions, most of which established some connection with a stellar object, be it the moon, our sun, stars or planets.
This should not come to us as a surprise in light of the fact that God displayed His plan of salvation via the stellar universe. This has been referred to by such titles as the Gospel of Stars and/or the Gospel of the Heavens. A line of specific constellations with their individual symbolism reveals God's plan for the human race. Psalms 19 gives Biblical support to this teaching, and Paul referred to same in New Testament Scripture (Romans 1: 20).
"The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse (constellations) is declaring the work of his hands. Day to day pours for speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no (audible) speech, nor are their words; Their voice is not heard (with the ear). (Yet) Their line (or sound) has gone out through all the Earth, and their utterances (messages) to the end of the world (Psalms 19 1-4 NASB italics mine."
"For what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse (Romans 1: 20 NASB)."
Paul was NOT just speaking about the divine creative and sustaining power that can be perceived by examining the order the nature order of things here on Earth or in the stellar universe. By examining such things, one can conclude that there was/is an "intelligence" behind it, but not necessarily identify what or Who that "intelligence" is. One can by examining such thingsthat there is "a" god, but fail to identify who the true God really is, apart from one or more of the many false gods of Psalms 96: 5.
Paul was speaking of the Gospel of the stars/heavens that had been acknowledged and understood by the ancient believers. It is the GOSPEL Message that identifies the one true God and how one is to connect with Him. The Gospel Message that Paul preached in greater detail is the same Gospel Message that was, and continues to be, illustrated in the constellations.
It was to the Gospel Message that God was making reference to when He told Abram (Abraham) to count the stars (Genesis 15: 5). God was not telling Abram to count (1, 2, 3...) the stars, but to take an accounting of the Gospel Message was that was written in the stars, and what part he (Abram) and his Seed (the Lord Jesus Christ) would play in the plan. Old Testament Scripture was inspired and composed in Hebrew. Some things are lost when passages were translated into the English language.
To the surprise of many, God the Holy Spirit did not speak to those He inspired to compose the Bible in the English language. the Lord Jesus Christ NEVER spoke in the English language. It is therefore critically important to interpret and apply the Bible in light of the (Hebrew/Greek/ Aramaic) languages that God chose to use.
Here in the Church Age, we need not wrangle over when or exactly how the ancient peoples came to perceive the Gospel Message in the expansion of the constellations, as we now have the Gospel Message clearly laid our for us in New Testament Scripture (John 3: 5, 7, 16, 18/Romans 8:1, etc.. For those with an open mind and spiritual discernment, the Gospel Message that could be seen in the constellations can still be observed to this very day.
It was through a specific star that God directed the Magi to the birthplace of Christ.
Satan has a long history of taking what God created, and by putting a different spin on them, makes use of them for his own purposes. Horoscopes and astronomical omens are classic examples of how the devil and the forces of evil (Eph. 6: 12) can take what God intended for God's glory (Col. 1: 16) and use it for evil. God did not create the Earth formless and void.
It was the devil's rebellion that took place BEFORE the creation of Man that caused the Earth that God had created to become (Gen. 1: 2/Jer. 4: 23 ) formless and void. The surface of the Genesis 1: 1 earth that God created became formless and void when God "pulled down the cities Jer. 4: 26) that the occupying fallen angels has built here on Earth during the failed attempt by Satan to establish his own kingdom. The prophet saw "no man" on the Earth\ at that time because the human race had not yet been created.
What is often erroneously referred to as the story of "creation. The story of the creation began and ended in Gen. 1: 1 when God "spoke" what we now know as planet Earth and the stellar universe into instantaneous existence." (Gen. 1: 2-31) is actually a Biblical account of restoration and preparation for the Earth's inhabitants; the human race.
There is NOTHING in Scripture to refute the age estimates that modern day scientists promote. Where error has occurred in the scientific world is the timing and means of creation for the human race. Open minded and wise scientists do not hit the panic button when what they had formerly assumed or accepted as indisputable fact is later proven to be in error.
Where error has occurred in many religious schools of thought is the erroneous concept that the Earth and Man was created within 7 days of each other. This is due in part, to a misunderstanding of what the Bible actually teaches concerning what took place in the Angelic Conflict BEFORE Man came on the scene. Unlike most scientists, and to their own hurt, most religious organizations (including many Christian-religious organizations are unwilling to consider the fact that they have misunderstood and made errors when it comes to the interpretation and application of the Word of God.
The human race was created by God the time that God chose in the midst of an ongoing battle with the forces of evil. It has been the devil's desire to lead the human race away from God in order to deny Him the glory that He might otherwise receive. It matters not (to the devil) if he accomplishes this goal (of denying God the glory) via earthly blessings or adversity (Luke 4: 6), as long as either one works.
There is an inherent part of Man to learn what he does already know. There is an inherent part of Man to want to improve his environment. There is an inherent part of Man to seek and to enjoy earthly prosperity. There is an inherent part of Man that desires to avoid adversity. The devil is pleased to promote anything and anyone as alternative means to achieve these goals future or to secure earthly blessings (Luke 4: 6) when such things can take the focus of the one's involved off of God.
For the devil its a win-win scenario. When things turn our "well," the devil's world prospers and personalities (other than God) are praised and receive the glory. To establish a productive kingdom, but one in which God is denied the glory, has been the stated (Isa. 14: 13) of the devil from BEFORE the creation of Man.
Edified Christians acknowledge that apart from God, than can accomplish NOTHING (John 15: 5). If there is anyone to be praised, it is God. The pursuit of all the prosperity in the world is meaningless if it takes one away from his/her spiritual calling (Mark 7: 8).
Keep in mind that devil, through the sorcerers (Exodus 7: 11) was able to accomplish the same miraculous work as did the men of God in the presence of Pharaoh.
Scripture (Matt. 14: 24 )warns us that during the end times of the Church Age,there will be false Christ's and false prophets that, "... will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect (God's people) (Matt. 24: 24 NASB italics mine.
What signs and wonders could be more deceiving than one's that mimic the work of God and/or are sought through prayers made by God's people to personalities outside of the Trinity?
As I see it, even if departed saints and/or other personalities outside of the Trinity could engage in miraculous activity in the here and now, an advancing disciple would not pray to or seek help (in spiritual matters) from anyone outside of the Trinity.
The Lord Jesus taught His disciples to address ALL prayers to God the Father (Matt. 6: 9). He was teaching His disciples HOW to pray (Luke 11: 1) and how NOT to pray (Matt. 6: 7) through "meaningless repetition." All three members of the one Godhead share the same divine attributes. What prayer One hears, They all hear. Christians are to pray to God the Father in the name (authority given by) the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the power of God the Holy Spirit.
Such detailed teaching sounds a little too technical for some, but being a technical student and applier of the Word of God is what being a disciple (m-a-t-h-e-t-e-s in the Greek) is all about.
There is NOTHING that anyone or anything can do for anyone that God will not do, providing fit is within the plan that God has in mind (Phil. 4: 19,20). To desire our will, when it is not HIS will, is evil. When reciting the Lord's Prayer, we pray for HIS will to be done (not ours), and to be delivered from evil. Yet when God, in HIS timing, reveals to us what HIS will is, we get all upset if HIs will does not line up with what ours!
For me, it makes no sense to engage in any activity when there is NOTHING (Mark 7: 8) to be gained and MUCH (1Cor. 3: 15) to be lost. Why takes the risk of offending God by denying Him the glory (Isa. 42: 8)? An advancing disciple will learn to accept God's answers of yes, no, or not right now to the prayer request he/she makes.
"And my God will supply ALL your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen (Phil. 4: 19, 20 NASB).
To the extent that God allows (Exodus 7: 11), the devil and/or a member of the Eph. 6: 12 forces of evil do engage in "miraculous" activity. I do not believe that it is beyond the devil to arrange for events foretold by agents of the forces of evil to "come true" in order to deceive or to give "credibility" to the claims of those who knowingly or unknowingly do the devil's bidding.
Note that following the exile of most of the Jews to Babylon, the remnant that remained rebelled and a group of them assassinated Gedaliah whom the the King of Babylon had placed over them. In fear of Babylonian retaliation, they wanted to flee to Egypt for safety. In addition to seeking safety and refuge in Egypt, they desired to and to seek the earthly benefits of worshiping the pagan gods of Egypt. They rationalized that when they had acknowledged, worshiped, and make burnt offerings to the "queen of heaven" that they received, "... plenty of food to eat, were well off and saw no misfortune (Jer. 44: 17 NASB), and that ever since they have, "...stopped burning sacrifices to the queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have met our end by the sword and by famine (Jer. 44: 18 NASB)."
One does not need to have a whole lot of spiritual discernment to realize that the devil and his Eph. 6: 12 forces of evil had been the forces behind these "blessings" and what their long term objectives had been. Denying God the glory and accrediting blessings from the providence of God as having come from sources outside of the Trinity remains to be part of the strategy of the devil and his forces of evil.
The satanic endorsement and promotion of the moon gods within and among the people of God can be traced throughout the Old Testament history of the ancient Hebrews, and among the many gentile peoples. Such false religions remain in place and will be a part of the background behind the final assault on the nation of Israel in its attempt to secure the world for Allah.
Following the dispersing of Man at the Tower of Babel, the moon god religions took on many different names on a global level, whose concepts can be detected in many different cultures down through the centuries.
In many cases, humans were venerated as being among these gods either during their lifetimes here on earth or after.
At the time of Mohammad, there were many different moon gods, with some being promoted as mediators of the primary moon gods.
In the 7th Century AD, the latest version of the moon god religions was announced and promoted through Mohammad, who claimed to have gotten a message from an angel, unifying the moon god religions by reducing the veneration of the moon gods to there being only one; Allah.
Allah, according to Mohammad, was the one and only true god, and one who would eventually rule the world, calling for the elimination of anyone and everyone who would not acknowledge Allah as the one true god.
This political/military coalition is the "seventh" beast of Revelation. Moving towards it goal of global domination of the known world, it established its presence, occupying much land in the Middle East and Northern Africa, as it made its move towards domination of the known world. This movement was stopped at the Battle of Tours in 732 AD in France.
One of the Islamic concepts is that once something was under the domain of Allah, it was then considered to be his possession, even if it were “temporarily” lost. Accordingly, any land that is secured by Islam believers in the name of Allah remains in their minds, the possession of Allah, with the moral obligation of his people to retake it by ANY means.
The elimination of the present day nation of Israel from the heart of the land that was the domain of the seventh beast, is right at the top of the, “the things to do list” of the 8th beast of Revelation.
The 8th Beast of Revelation is actually the revival of the 7th beast that received what appeared to be a deadly blow at the Battle of Tour in 732 AD. The seventh beat of Revelation has been “brought back to life”, here in the end times in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy!
The presence of “infidels” (Jews/Christians) or any of their allies (USA/UN forces) within the geographical area that had been secured by the 7th beast of Revelation, up to the Battle of Tours, will NEVER be accepted, and in fact will be what brings on the Battle of Armageddon and the manifestation of the Second Advent at their appointed times during the End Time. Just as the Jews and the Christian believe and look forward to world domination in the future, so do the followers of Allah.
One of the main declarations of the Islamic faith is that Allah is the one true God,and that the deity (divine nature) of the "man" Jesus Christ did never existed. Islamic peoples do not dispute that there was a "man" named Jesus, but like many of the Jews of that time (First Century AD), deny His divine nature.
A statement to this effect is what is written within the Islamic structure that Mohammad built and is still standing in Jerusalem in the area where the Temple of God during the Old Testament dispensation once stood. This is what makes it the “abomination of desolation” spoken of Scripture, and identifies Mohammad as the False Prophet of Revelation.
Like the "seventh"beast of Revelation, The “8th Beast” of Scripture is not a single nation or even an empire as we would think of one being today, but is a collective force that unites the peoples of the Arab world to serve the agenda of Allah, even though the nations within the area of the beast are politically independent and have other issues and conflicts with each other.
An accurate understanding of these things has nothing to do with being “saved”, but have everything to do with having an understanding of where we, as Church Age believers, are in the timeline that God has designed for the human race.
We will return to some of these issues when we come to the Church Age segment of our study.
For now, as it pertains to the focus on the current segment of our study, it will suffice for us to keep in mind that the making of the idol and the worship of the moon gods that it represented was what took place when Moses was away on Mount Sinai, receiving The Ten Commandments.
In the absence of strong leadership, an edified congregation can hold its own, but a weaker flock can wander way. The devil, like a stalking wolf will target and attack when given the opportunity.
When Moses returned to the camp, the first thing that he had to do was to address the idolatry that had taken place in his absence.
No further progress in the spiritual realm can be achieved as long as one engages in false religion of ANY kind. This is what the Lord was referring to in Mark 8: 14, 15, and reiterated by Paul in Gal. 5: 9. In the Mark 8 event, it was the religious leadership of that day that were promoting the "leaven" (false teaching). The end result in the Mark 8 incident was full blown idolatry.
Although it should and could have taken only a matter of a few weeks to reach the Promised Land, it would not before (due to divine n-a-t-i-o-n-a-l discipline (Joshua 5: 6) that another forty years would pass before they Hebrews would begin to invade, conquer, and secure what would become their "home" land. Moses himself (because of i-n-d-i-v-i-d-u-a-l divine discipline (Numbers 20: 12) would be denied the honor of leading the people into the Promised Land .
It was during those forty years our in the wilderness that Moses was given and relayed The Law to the Hebrew nation.
Throughout the Old Testament the ancient Jews would experience repeating cycles with periods of success and blessings followed by disaster and discipline.
When they (as a people) lived according to The Law and according to the prophets that were sent to them, they prospered individually and as a nation in the spiritual, military, familial, social, and economic environments.
When they (as a people) disobeyed The Law recorded in the first four books of the Old Testament they were individually or nationally disciplined via such things as military defeat, exile, familial conflict, death of self or others, social disorder, famine, plagues, and economic disaster.
In the course of the Old Testament period, they would be led first by various "judges" who God would raise up to a position of leadership. In time, they would establish a monarchy. The good and the bad decisions that these leaders made would bring on either blessings or discipline on a national level, and individuals would also be blessed or disciplined for the decisions they made.
The level of discipline would be consistent with the level of non-compliance with the Law. God spoke to the leaders, individuals, and the people at large, through the Old Testament prophets whose activities are recorded in several of the Old Testament Books. The prophets of God that always spoke in keeping with The Law, also made announcements of things that would take place in the immediate future, and in some cases, things that would take place thousands of years later and at the end times.
Satan, by no means was idle. Throughout the course of the Old Testament period, the Angelic Conflict continued on as the devil took advantage of every opportunity to dispute, distort, and deny what the Written Word of God had said, or what the prophets of those days were saying to the people. The devil supported every attempt by any one to rebel. He supported idolatry and immorality at every turn. The devil understood well the part that the Hebrew people were, are, and will play in the plan that God had and has in mind for the human race.
Throughout the course of the Old Testament, the Jews continued to hope and to look forward to the coming of a "deliverer," similar to the type of judges that had been raised up by God in their behalf in the past. The difference in the anticipated Deliverer was that He would be one that would p-e-r-m-a-n-e-n-t-l-y restore the nation of Israel.
Most of the ancient Jews totally misunderstood what the Old Testament prophecies had to say concerning the primary mission (the salvation of the entire human race-1John 2: 2) that the coming Messiah would come to fulfill. Satan continues to "keep that ball rolling" among the Orthodox Jews to this very day.
Orthodox Jews on Earth are still looking forward for their Deliverer to come, whereas Christians are looking forward to His return. It is a part of the devil's strategy to eliminate the Jews, and to downplay the Return of Christ.
When He returns, He will be acknowledged by both Jews and Gentiles, and will rule the world for a 1,000 year period from His earthly kingdom that will be headquartered in Jerusalem, Israel. During this 1,000 year period, the devil will be incarcerated in the abyss of Hades. When the the 1,000 year period is over, Satan will be released and allowed to arrange one last political/military coalition that will be destroyed by God when it tries to come against Jerusalem. It is then that the present world will be melt away in some form of intense heat (2Pet. 3: 10), and New World and the new heaven (Rev. 22) will be established in which neither the devil, the forces of evil, nor the sin nature is Man will exist. It is in that environment that born again believers will reside (1Thess. 4: 17).
At this time in our study, we entering the period of 400 years of silence that took place between the time when that last book of the Old Testament () was written, and the First Advent was about to take place.