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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Deuteronomy 18

 

 

Verses 1-22

14. The Rights of the Priests and the Levites, the True and the False Prophet

CHAPTER 18

1. The rights of the priests and Levites (Deuteronomy 18:1-8)

2. Forbidden things (Deuteronomy 18:9-14)

3. The true and the false prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15-22)

The priests, the Levites, were the servants of Jehovah and had no inheritance with Israel, but Jehovah Himself was their inheritance. How the people were to minister unto them is now commanded by Moses. They were both dependent on the Lord and closely identified with Him. And this is true of us, who are in Christ constituted priests and called to the Levite service.

Of great interest are verses 9-14. The nations who possessed the land practised evil things, through which Satan manifested his awful power to lead astray and to corrupt. His people were to beware of these things. We, too, are warned not to intrude into those things which we have not seen (Colossians 2:18). Moses puts together the words which the language contained for the different modes of finding out the future and discovering the will of God. Passing a son or daughter through the fire, the awful Moloch service, is forbidden once more (Leviticus 18:21). Then follow all the abominable things. There are seven of them mentioned, which come under the term “divination”: 1. Observer of times, predicting good or bad things by observation of the heavens and circumstances; 2. Enchanter. The Hebrew word is _menachesh connected with _nachash the Hebrew word for serpent. It means one who murmurs enchantments; 3. Witch; 4. Charmer; 5. A consulter with familiar spirits; 6. A wizard, who has access to an unlawful wisdom; 7. The necromancer, who asks the dead. These abominations existed then and they exist today. Clairvoyancy, palmistry, astrology, soothsaying, fortune-telling, spiritualistic seances, theosophy, the formulas and treatments of “Christian Science” are a few of the modern names of this ancient demonism. It is awful to see their growth as the end draws near. What is claimed to be “Psychical research,” studying “occult phenomena,” is nothing less than stepping upon the same territory of evil. And Satan uses these wicked things, his familiar spirits, and asking the dead to prepare the way for the great delusion of the end, with its signs and lying wonders. Spiritualism with its demon-possessed mediums, Psychical research, theosophy, Christian Science, are Satan-cults. They are an abomination to Jehovah and His righteous judgment will soon fall upon them. We add here the solemn warning of another.

I take this opportunity of solemnly warning every soul--more particularly the young--from levity in hankering after that which they do not understand, and very especially in the way of giving up their will to any but the Lord Jesus. This is the essential point of danger. I do not raise the smallest doubt that there are powers in the natural world which lie quite beyond the explanation of men. It is not my wish therefore to excite a kind of hue and cry against that which may not be yet explained. Let us avoid the presumption of supposing that we can account for everything. But in our ignorance (which the wisest most feel and own) this wisdom at least ought to belong to the least of God’s children, that they know in whom they believe, and they have His word and His Spirit, and can count on infinite love and power as well as wisdom on their behalf. They can well afford therefore to leave what is beyond themselves or any others in the hands of God their Father. They with sorrow see others rush in who have nothing higher, who have no God to count on or look to. But above all beware. Whenever any one asks you to give up your mind or will to another--were it but for a moment--there is the evident hand of the devil in it. This is no question of physical powers, or of what is naturally inexplicable. What is behind giving up yourself, your will, to any one but God, is plain enough in its character and consequences; it is too easy to understand it. The divine axiom is that the Lord and He alone has a right to you. Consequently such a demand proves that Satan is taking advantage, it may be of what is natural, but certainly of you (W. Kelly).

The Prophet promised in verse 15 is the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 3:22-23 refers us to this prophecy. Acts 7:37 also confirms the fulfilment of Moses’ prediction in the person of Christ.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 18:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/deuteronomy-18.html. 1913-1922.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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