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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 18

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-22

Chapter 18

Now again he repeats how the tribe of Levi is not to be given any portion of the land but they will eat the offerings that were given unto the Lord made by fire as their inheritance for the Lord is their inheritance. And thus the priest, when he offered a sacrifice, they were to give the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks and the maw.

Also they were to give to the priest the first fruit of their corn, and of their wine, and of their oil and the first of the fleece of thy sheep shalt thou give to him ( Deuteronomy 18:4 ).

Now, God required really a tenth. He considered that as His. And the tenth was always to be the first tenth was to go unto God. Now when you would bring an offering that the priest would sacrifice the offering for you, the priest always got the shoulder and the cheeks and the maw. That was his, that was his sort of fee, or not really a fee but that was just his, his allotted share from the sacrifice.

Now later on in their history when Eli was the priest, he had some greedy sons. And the people would come to offer sacrifices and, hey, these greedy sons, they would put their hooks in and grab the tenderloins, the sirloins and the finest of the steaks and everything else. And if the people would go to object, you know, then they'd order them out of the place, so that they actually, by their greed caused people to begin to resent sacrificing unto God. And Eli would not actually correct his sons, and thus God dealt very harshly with Eli and his sons because of their greediness in the ministry caused people really to resent God. Seeking the best for themselves, looking out for themselves and more concerned with their own wants and selves than they were really with the people, and thus God dealt very severely with Eli and his sons.

But there was a portion that was to be given to the priest. And then the firstfruits of their fields, the firstfruits of their grapes and so forth, they were to be given unto the priest.

For the LORD thy God hath chosen him out of the tribes, to minister in the name of the LORD, and thus they shall have light portions to eat ( Deuteronomy 18:5 , Deuteronomy 18:8 ).

Now again God forbids that the people follow after the abominations and the practices of those people that were already living in the land that they were to drive out.

The practices were using divination, or an observer of times, [The observer of times is actually the practice of astrology, the use of horoscopes.] or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer or a consulter with familiar spirits, [so spiritism] or a wizard or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and it's because of these abominations that God is driving the people out of the land. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God ( Deuteronomy 18:10-13 ).

The word perfect there is "Thou shalt be completely towards the Lord". You're not to have other gods in your life, so to speak. Your heart is to be completely towards God. Not to be divided with these other interests and issues, but just a heart that's completely towards God.

For the nations, which you are gonna possess, they hearkened unto these observers of times, to the diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God has not allowed thee to do it ( Deuteronomy 18:14 ).

Now here we find a great prophecy concerning the coming of Jesus Christ.

The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of your brothers, like unto me; unto him shall ye hearken; According to all that you desire of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth: and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him ( Deuteronomy 18:15-18 ).

Peter, in his message in the third chapter of the book of Acts, declares that this was a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ. Now the Jews knew the prophecy of Moses, and thus they were looking for their Messiah. They believe that this is a prophecy of the coming Messiah, that God is gonna raise up another spokesman to speak God's word to them. "I'll raise up another Prophet like unto myself". So that when they came to John the Baptist saying, "Who art thou?" they said, "Art thou that prophet?" And they were referring to this particular prophecy. "Are you that prophet, the prophet that we are to look for like unto Moses through whom God will speak his word to the people?" John said, "I am not". "Are you the Messiah?" "No." "Who are you?" "I'm just the voice of one and crying in the wilderness prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his path".

Now, the Jews today are still looking for their Messiah and they are anticipating that He is coming very soon. But they told me, "We believe that the Messiah will be just like Moses". That's this prophecy they're referring to. That He will not be the Son of God. They say, "Now you say the Messiah or that Jesus was the Son of God. We do not believe that the Messiah will be the Son of God. We believe that the Messiah will be a man just like Moses was a man. A man from amongst us that God will raise up to speak God's word to us."

And so the Jews today are looking for a man, a Jew, who will be able to come and to help them to rebuild their temple and to bring them peace. And the minute that man arises on the scene and brings them peace and helps them build their temple, they are, all of them ready to acclaim him as their Messiah. Now of course, there are other scriptures that refer to the Messiah being "God with us, "Thou shalt call his name Emmanuel" which being interpreted is "God with us"( Matthew 1:23 ). "Behold, I'll give you a sign. A virgin shall conceive and bear a son and call his name Immanuel, God with us"( Isaiah 7:14 ). But the Jews are not looking for the Son of God; they are looking for a man.

Now, that man is coming and he is coming very soon and he will arise out of western Europe. He will make a covenant with the nation Israel whereby he will help them to rebuild their temple and they will acclaim him as their Messiah. We're right on the borders of these events. It's tragic but Israel will acknowledge this false leader as their Messiah. Jesus said, "I have come in my own name. You did not receive me." He said "I have come in my Father's name, you did not receive me. There's another one who's gonna be coming in his own name and him you will receive"( John 5:43 ).

They're gonna be deceived for three and a half years. But after three and a half years when they have rebuilt their temple, started again their daily prayers and sacrifices, he is going to come to Jerusalem. He's gonna stand in that rebuilt temple in the Holy of Holies and he's gonna proclaim to them that he is God. He's gonna stop their daily sacrifices, their daily prayers. He's gonna claim that he himself is God and demand that they worship him as God. At that point the Jews will realize that they have been deceived by this man, that he is not the Messiah. And those who are sharp in the scriptures will flee to Jordan to the Rock City of Petra where God will preserve them for three and a half years. Those that do not flee will be put under terrible persecution by this leader who comes to Jerusalem at this point.

So, it is interesting that if you talk to an Orthodox Jew today about his messiah he'll tell you that the Messiah is not the Son of God; he is a man. He'll be like Moses that God will raise up from among the people, but not the Son of God, just a man like Moses. And that's who they are looking for today to come and to lead them out of this current dilemma.

[Now, God declares] if a prophet presumes to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken? [Very easy] if a prophet prophesies something in the name of the LORD, and it doesn't come to pass, he's a false prophet ( Deuteronomy 18:20-22 ).

It's very easy to point out a false prophet. The simple rule to see if what he says comes to pass. If it doesn't come to pass then just mark him as a false prophet. Now there are some people who are so gullible that even though the Jehovah's Witnesses have prophesied about three or four different times when the Lord was gonna come and He hasn't come on any of those prophesied dates, yet they still don't have enough sense to realize that these leaders in New York are false prophets.

Now, my heart goes out to these people who come around door to door. These people are very sincere. I wish that, many times, Christians were as dedicated as they are. They are sincere in their dedication to God, but they have been deceived by their leaders in New York. And I cannot help but believe that it is deliberate deception by their leaders in New York, because of their-the mistranslations of the scriptures could not just be accidental. They are deliberate mistranslations of the scriptures by which they are deceiving these people. And thus, my heart goes out to the people who come door to door because of the fact that they've been deceived. Oh, that they would see the truth that is in Christ Jesus and they would come to know the grace of God and the love of God through Jesus Christ our Lord and would come to trust in Jesus for their salvation rather than their works for Jehovah.

Now, Peter gives us another sign of the false prophet. In second Peter, chapter two warning there of false prophets said, "Who through feigned words will seek to make merchandise of you"( 2 Peter 2:3 ). So whenever any man seeks to make merchandise of you, seeks through gimmicks to encourage you to give through pressure, through various antics, gets on big money kicks; he's a false prophet. Who uses computerized typewriters for their mailing lists so that it appears like the letter has been written personally to you with statements such as, "I have been thinking about you lately, wondering how you are", those are feigned words and the purpose is to make merchandise of you. And I have no hesitation declaring they are false prophets according to the word of God. You say, "Oh, but they've done so much good".

I may have a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill and someone may come to me and say, "Chuck, my family needs help. I lost my job, we don't have any money and my children are hungry". So I give him this counterfeit twenty-dollar bill, not knowing that it's counterfeit. So he goes down to the store and he uses the twenty-dollar bill to buy some hamburger and some bread and some milk and he feeds his hungry children. And the merchant, the store, who takes his twenty-dollar bill for the merchandise, goes down to the electric company and he pays his electric bill with the twenty-dollar bill.

And the electric company gives that twenty-dollar bill in change to you when you pay your electric bill. And you in turn use that twenty-dollar bill to go down and buy yourself a new sweater. And that merchant gives the twenty-dollar bill to the gas company to pay his gas bill. And the gas company goes to the bank to deposit the twenty-dollar bill and the teller says, "I'm sorry. I can't take this twenty-dollar bill; it's counterfeit." Wait a minute, that bill has done a lot of good. It's fed the poor, it's paid the light and gas bill, and it's bought a new sweater. Look at how much good it's done. "What do you mean you can't take it, it's counterfeit?" Well, it's counterfeit.

The argument that it is done so much good is not a valid argument. Now this is the argument that a lot of people use for false prophets or even false religious systems. But look at how much good they've done; they're counterfeit. When it comes to the final deposit, not gonna make it. So, God is warning against the false prophets. God had very little-well, really God doesn't appreciate it when a person comes along and says, "Thus saith the Lord" and he speaks out of his own heart and really isn't saying God's word.

I don't know. You know I think that the days of computerized typewriters were a great curse to the church. I've gotten more computerized letters from these. Someone's put me on the mailing list, I don't know who it was. But you got my name in the pot and these guys buy mailing lists from each other. And if they have a mailing list that they get a certain amount of percentage of returns then they sell your name. If you write in a check then your name is sold at a premium price to the others.

And I got this letter the other day, some guy named Popoff. And here's a personal prophecy in the thing, "Thus saith the Lord, I am pleased with thee and I am going to bless thee" you know, and just share the blessing kind of a thing, you know, and all of this stuff.

Well, I wrote him back a letter and I said, "Thus saith the Lord, I am against the false prophets that prophesy in my name saying 'Thus saith the Lord' when I have not spoken" and I knew that the Lord was saying it because I was just quoting him right out of the word. But then I added my own little appendage, I didn't put this under the 'thus saith the Lord'. But I put under my own little appendage "thy name has been Popoff but even as the name of Saul was changed to Paul so your name is to be changed from Popoff to Rip-off". No doubt my name will be deleted from his mailing list shortly.

But there are a lot of rip-off artists who are going around disguising themselves as prophets of God. And as I said, God doesn't appreciate a person speaking for him when he hasn't spoken. And thus the false prophets in those days were to be put to death.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 18". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/deuteronomy-18.html. 2014.
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