This is the entire article written by retired Judge Donald West that will be featured over the next several weeks of the Harrison Daily Times.
An effort has been made in the last couple of columns to connect the dots between Israel’s history of obedience and God’s blessings; and Israel’s history of disobedience and God’s curses.
Obey me, God says, and I will bless you, Israel, beyond measure; but disobey me and I will bring unmitigated catastrophe upon you, Israel. Good buts and bad buts literally abound throughout scripture, both New and Old, of the alternatives to God’s will and way. (e.g. “For the wages of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23; “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, BUT the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36). GOOD BUTS and BAD BUTS, they are everywhere. Be on the lookout!!!
So, what are God’s will and ways? What are His standards, precepts, ordinances, judgments, and commandments; the adherence to which bring blessings and the non-adherence to which bring curses? Not surprisingly and in keeping with God the Father’s desire for his creatures to know and love Him, and enjoy His blessings forevermore, God has not been derelict in advising us, encouraging us for the good life; and yes, warning us as to the alternative; but since we will not read His love letter to us, we remain abysmally ignorant, willfully disobedient, and grotesquely wayward.
The delivery of God’s written laws to Israel began with His forty-day “mountain side chat” with Moses almost immediately subsequent to Israel’s exodus from Egypt in approximately 1446 BC; and continued throughout Moses forty years of leadership until his death and Israel’s entry under Joshua’s leadership into the land of Canaan in approximately 1406 BC.
Moses writings, the most quoted scripture of all the scribes by Jesus in His earthly ministry, are referred to by the Jewish people as the Torah (Hebrew meaning “The Law”), and by Christians as the Pentateuch (Greek, basically meaning “five-fifths of the Law” which kind of means absolutely all) are contained in the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy of the Bible. It is within these five Books that the nation of Israel and a later civilization which embraced the Old (Judeo) and New Testaments (Christian), now dead; BUT referred to in its day as Judeo-Christian civilization (Western Europe, and by virtue of exploration and emigration, the Western Hemisphere) received notice of God’s immutable standards. The world then had the choice to take it or leave it. Each with its own consequences, however.
In 1446 BC, Israel had, after God’s divine display of ten calamitous and destructive acts and plagues (humm, did you note that under our present circumstances) directed at Egypt and its Pharaoh (Exodus 1-12), made its exodus from her tormentors and arrived in the region of the southern Sinai Peninsula.
Remember, this was not just an escape from a bad situation that Israel had endured for approximately 430 years (12:40), but was merely the first step, though obviously absolutely necessary and highly dramatic in context, in God’s leading these descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel back to the land of Canaan which God had promised Israel’s Patriarchs and their descendants forever 600 years earlier. God directs Moses to lead and school Israel in His precepts, codes, laws, ordinances and judgments; and in the months and the following forty years Israel will receive those instructions determined by God as essential for their individual and national well-being.
“Then (Lev.18:1) the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2. ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: I am the Lord your God. 3. According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances. 4. You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the Lord your God. 5. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them; I am the Lord.’”
In verses 6-19, God speaks to the family and family units of Israel in the way in which members of each family should behave in regards to other family or extended family members in the realm of sexuality: both its decency and goodness; the propensity for wickedness and perversion thereof; as well as the now scientifically (got that, all you scientists) proven genetic inheritance difficulties that come from incest. Then we arrive at some instructions that obviously neither Israel nor our nation, 3,000 years later, have decided are necessary to adhere to.
As we read these God given instructions, correlate and compare the history of the last sixty years of this nation with these instructions and Israel’s national history with the same and the consequent consequences. It is not pleasant reading, as one might suspect, with the results even immensely less so. Note, too, the use of some form of these words: defile (8); abomination (7); vomit (4); adultery (3); perversion (1); carnally (1); iniquity (1); harlotry (1); prostitute (1); and abhor (1).
Lev.18:20: “Moreover you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor’s wife, to defile yourself with her. (21) And you shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech (that is, child sacrifice; today we could refer to Molech as the god of convenience), nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the Lord. (22) You shall not lie with a male as with a female. It is an abomination. (23) Nor shall you mate with any beast to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before a beast to mate with it. It is perversion. (24) Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled which I am casting out before you. (25) For the land is defiled, therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants (and if you have read the Book of Joshua, you will comprehend that that is exactly what happened to the Canaanites when God used Israel to annihilate this child-sacrificing, idolatrous, and sexually promiscuous, perverted nation.) (26) You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; either any of your own nation or any stranger who sojourns among you (27) (for all these abominations the men of the land have done who were before you, and thus the land is defiled, (28) lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it as it vomited out the nations that were before you (and that is exactly what happened to the Kingdom of Israel, the Northern ten tribes in 722 BC by God’s use of theAssyrian Empire’s conquest thereby leaving the diminished Southern Kingdom of Judah and Benjamin, two tribes, to carry on until God could no longer tolerate or abide its rebellion either, when in 586 BC by God’s use of the Babylonian empire’s conquest and exile to crush that kingdom.) (29) For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off (put to death) from among their people. (30) Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God.’”
In Leviticus 20:1 God further states: “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, (2) Again (some more of that reiteration stuff), you shall say to the children of Israel: Whoever of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel, who gives any of his descendants to Molech, he shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones. (3) I will set My face against that man, and will cut him off from his people, because he has given some of his descendants to Molech, to defile My sanctuary and profane My holy name. (4) And if the people of the land should in any way hide their eyes from the man, when he gives some of his descendants to Molech, and they do not kill him, (5) then I will set My face against that man and against his family; and all who prostitute themselves with him to commit harlotry with Molech … (7) Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy for I am the Lord your God … (10) The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death … (13) If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. (22) You shall therefore keep all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them, that the land where I am bringing you to dwell may not vomit you out. (23) And you shall not walk in the statutes of the nations which I am casting out before you; for they commit all these things, and therefore I abhor them. (24) BUT I have said to you, ‘You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the Lord your God, who has separated you from the peoples … (26) And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you shouldbeMINE.”
We know, We know! And, besides and so what! This is all old, old, old stuff; it is in the Old Testament, which has no bearing upon us or our modern society. It is just a mere footnote in history, if it is even that; but which has no implications for us today, right? We are the modern man/woman or one of the hosts of other genders which our society has conjured up since 2018, right? We need only look and discern the writings of the New Testament, right? And there is nothing to heed from that which has just been quoted, right? Besides our nation has improved its outlook, become more modern, more diverse, more loving, more tolerant, more acceptive and receptive, far more progressive than the draconian laws and behavior of those ancient, primitive, and neanderthalic people and their bloodthirsty god of which we have just read, right? WRONG!!!!!!
And, just for a “little” emphasis, redundancy, and correlation with the New Testament, let's read what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:18 et seq: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (19) because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. (20) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse, (21) because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (22) Professing to be wise they became fools, (23) and changed the glory of the INCORRUPTIBLE GOD into an image (mental or physical) made like corruptible man ... and birds and four footed-beasts and creeping things. (24) Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, (25) who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (26) For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. (27) Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. (28) And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; (29) being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whispers, (30) backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, (31) undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; (32) who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”
The Emmanuel (God with us) of the Old Testament and the Christ of the New Testament, who, by the way, are one and the same, Jesus: God in the flesh, image of the invisible God, and all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, had this to say about that: Matt.5:17: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets, I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill. (18) For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. (19) Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” GOOD BUTS and BAD BUTS.
Guys, keep in mind: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23.Whether in the Old or the New Testament, sin produces death; and unforgiven sin at the time of physical death produces eternal separation from our God. For being created in the image of God as we are, you have an attribute and a characteristic of God: an eternal spirit which will exist forever. Eternity awaits us all, but where we spend eternity depends upon our decision regarding His Son, Jesus. Sin is the ultimate terminator. The only cure for sin; the only remedy for sin; the only antidote for sin that can change death to life is the forgiveness that only comes through His Son Jesus Christ.
All sin means death, and since all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), death is our due. Jesus Christ’s ultimate mission to this earth, which He utterly fulfilled, was to extirpate the consequences of all sin for all time, and that required the death of God!!!!!! Acceptance of Christ, God’s Son, and His atoning, redemptive, reconciling death, and obedience to Him and His Father through the power of God the Spirit means forgiveness, acceptance, and eternal life. Rejection of Christ and disobedience to Him and His Father means unrelenting permanent guilt for our sins, rejection by the Son and the Father, and eternal separation from all that is good, and an immersement into all that is horrific.
The offer of adoption by our Holy Triune God is there, BUT the consequences of rejection of Their offer are too terrible to contemplate!!!!!! A Holy God demands and requires justice. Either the justice He rendered upon His Son for all us wretched abominable wretches; or the justice we must and will endure ourselves because we refused His Son’s vicarious, substitutionary submission to death for our justice.
REMEMBER: There will be no “by-gones will be by-gones.”