1 If there arise among you a prophet [navi], or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign [ot] or a wonder [mofet],
"A prophet" - narbhi The idea behind the word is taken from the metaphor of a fountain, bursting forth from the heart of a man, into which God hath poured His spirit. *
2 And the sign [ot] or the wonder [mofet] come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods [elohim acherim], which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet [devarim of that navi], or that dreamer of dreams: for Yahweh your Elohim proveth [is testing ] you, to know whether ye love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart [ lev] and with all your soul [nefesh].
Israelites were to personally study the Word, so as to recognise when its principles
were challenged. The same responsibility rests upon believers of this age. God permits the uprise of false teachers to prove those who have the truth.*
The Christadelphian Expositor
4 Ye shall walk after Yahweh your Elohim, and fear him, and keep his commandments [be shomer], and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave [have deveykus] unto him.
To walk after Yahweh, is to have His characteristics as the ideal, and therefore to build into one's life, the Divine qualities which He manifests.
First comes fear, or reverence, for that is the firstfruits of knowledge - Prov. 1:7... to obey, ... is the firstfruits of service.
...Finally.. "to cleave unto Him". This word is expressive of a marriage relationship between husband and wife, and which typed the relationship existing between Israel as a nation and God - Isa. 54: 5. To "cleave" unto Yahweh means to embrace Him in love and devotion with the whole heart.
*The Christadelphian Expositor
5 And that prophet [navi], or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from Yahweh your Elohim, which brought you out of the land of Egypt [Eretz Mitzrayim], and redeemed you out of the house of bondage [bais avadim], to thrust thee out of the way [HaDerech] which Yahweh thy Elohim commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil [harah[ away from the midst of thee.
"The Lord trieth the righteous" (Ps. x. 5).
Let us not forget this. The knowledge will comfort and strengthen us in time of need. God tries in a variety of ways. This is also well to remember. Israel was tried by the plausibility of false teachers (Deut. xiii. 3). And are not we? Israel failed. Shall we? Israel failed because they did not "carefully hearken" unto that testimony which 'God established, and to that law which he appointed (Ps. lxxviii. 5).
That testimony and law-enlarged-speak to us to-day, and it is for us to "diligently hearken' - "to take good heed unto ourselves" - for they are the voice of God! He requires us to try every teacher by it. Israel was told not to allow any good thing that might have been done by a false teacher to blind their eyes (Deut. xiii. 2).
All teaching was to be judged by the Word; and those who taught falsely were to be "cut off" (5, 6. vs.) Let us never forget that as error comes to the front, the truth fades away-like the changing scene in a dissolving view.
The Christadelphian - June 1887
Any teaching that contradicts the plain teaching of scripture is apostasy...whether or not it is mentioned in the BASF. The Bible is the standard of Truth.
Uncertain details can be discussed in a brotherly manner but clear scripture teaching must be upheld and defended resolutely.
The punishment for false testimony in Yahweh's name will be revived when the Lord Yahoshua is King in Israel. His rule irresistible, the land will be cleansed of lying prophets.
And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, Then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; For thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord: And his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth
(Zech 13: 3)
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, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
This was an exacting test of loyalty to Yahweh. It was for the welfare of the nation. Violations of the commandments must be exposed no matter how close the personal relationship.
The dealth penalty for worshipping a false Deity was only imposed if there was more than one witness
At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you. (17: 6,7)
Withdrawal of fellowship from false teachers is one of the many current tests of loyalty for spiritual Israel. This may involve ecclesial separation from family and close friends. Division is a consequence of upholding Bible truth as the Lord also taught ...
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matt 10: 34-37)
10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from Yahweh thy Elohim, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
11 And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.
The tragedy of Israel's history is that they were false to their oath. On that account Yahweh, though essentially "a merciful God" (Deut. 4 : 31), had perforce, in vindication of His essential holiness, to be to them "a consuming fire, even a jealous God" (Deut. 4 : 24), and was forced repeatedly to
"avenge the quarrel of my covenant" (Lev. 26 : 25).
Yet, where they have failed, God still remains true to Himself, and His purpose remains unaltered. God declared "I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God". That intention, like all of God's intentions, will be realized in fact, for all Israel's past failure. Their failure merely throws His constancy into relief...
...Israel will yet attain their ideal destiny, like the rest of mankind, and be in reality a holy people, for
"the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself above all the nations that are upon the earth" (Deut. 14 : 2).
True of the past, this is also prophetic of the future for God is faithful and will, as He pledged in the Exodus, bring all His promises to Abraham to pass.
Law and Grace Ch 4
12 If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which Yahweh thy Elohim hath given thee to dwell there, saying,
13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other Elohim, which ye have not known;
14 Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;
15 Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.
"Destroy it utterly"
Such was the edict of God concerning an Israelitish city that abandoned itself to the sin of idolatry. Some cry "shame" on reading it, but the wise will take heed!
"I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right"
- this was the Psalmist's mind and this will be the mind of all who are after God's own heart.
God is exceedingly jealous. To divert to another the glory due to him is a terrible sin. In this lies the very essence of idolatry. Let us be on our guard in this matter. There is more idolatry today than many are won't to think. A covetous man is an idolator (Ephes. v. 5) because he trusts in his riches instead of in God (1 Tim. vi. 17). It is idolatry for one who knows the truth to put his
"trust in princes or in the son of man in whom is no help" (Ps. cxlvi. 3),
for in so doing his heart departs from his Lord (Jer. xvii. 5).
Let us tremble to give God a wrong place. The only safeguard is to cleave to Him by holding fast to the revelation He has given concerning Himself-to stoutly refuse to compromise the truth, whether for friend or foe. Disobedience upon our part will certainly bring death-a cutting off.
Bro A. T. Jannaway
The Christadelphian - June 1887
16 And 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, for Yahweh thy Elohim: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.
17 And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that Yahweh may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers;
18 When thou shalt hearken to the voice of Yahweh thy Elohim, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of Yahweh thy Elohim.