"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Monday, September 19, 2022


Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez, and James Fire

NUMBERS 31: “VENGEANCE IS MINE, SAYS The LORD” James Fire; check out the video teaching here!

INTRODUCTION: In the minds of people the world over, and in the dogmas of various religions, the portrayal of GOD’s nature is fashioned, not in truth, but by the imaginations and, or the desires of mankind.
Some believe God to be vindictive, blood thirsty and vengeful; others see God as a loving grandfatherly sort.
Scripture tells us that GOD is love and seeks to save sinners (1 JN 4:8; EZ 33:11) and that He is also holy and will not leave sin unjudged or unpunished (1 PET 1:16; EZ 18:20). He freely offers His grace and truth, His peace, and tender mercies, to the meek and contrite, those who repent and turn to Him for salvation.
He will also render justice, judgment, and wrath upon the proud and the rebellious here on what I call “planet Rebel”, who refuse to obey the Gospel:
…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
GOD is both Judge and Savior. Yet this world thinks that it can thumb its nose at GOD, mock His Word, ridicule, and persecute His people, and they believe that they can commit all manner of atrocities with absolutely no accountability. This is why evolution is so popular: if that theory is true, and there is no GOD, then there’s no accountability to GOD and no judgment!
“Therefore I can do whatever I want”, they say boastfully.
They couldn’t be more wrong! As I’m often saying. “There is no such thing as eternal injustice!”

Vengeance belongs to GOD (DEUT 32:35; PS 94:1); He owns vengeance, It has GOD’s Name on it – and He isn’t interested in selling!

Balaam as you recall tried to curse Israel not once, not twice, but three times – but the Spirit of the LORD wouldn’t allow it; instead GOD put His words in Balaam’s mouth and this prophet for hire spoke blessings instead, not blasphemies over Israel. Once he, king Balak and all the other kings of the surrounding tribes realized they failed, they all went home.

But Balaam had a backup plan which we already read; we saw how it was carried out in
He persuaded king Balak to turn his loose Moabite women loose on the Hebrew men encamped around the Tabernacle, to seduce them, and while in sexual ecstasy, they brought out their idols and they all committed spiritual fornication as well as physical fornication.

Once that happens, Balaam realized, a curse on Israel wouldn’t be necessary, for GOD Himself would judge His people – the false prophet no doubt believed GOD would wipe them all out – but as always, GOD tempers His judgment: He targets only those who committed this atrocity and preserves the righteous (2 PET 2:9). And the LORD is going to judge Balaam, just as He is going to judge the Midianites!

NUMBERS 31:1-6
1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2 "Take vengeance on the Midianites for the children of Israel. Afterward you shall be gathered to your people." 3 So Moses spoke to the people, saying, "Arm some of yourselves for war, and let them go against the Midianites to take vengeance for the LORD on Midian. 4 A thousand from each tribe of all the tribes of Israel you shall send to the war." 5 So there were recruited from the divisions of Israel one thousand from each tribe, twelve thousand armed for war. 6 Then Moses sent them to the war, one thousand from each tribe; he sent them to the war with Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, with the holy articles and the signal trumpets in his hand.

GOD had enough of these Midianites: It was the Midianites that took Joseph when his brothers sold him into slavery; they brought him to Egypt where he was in turn, sold to Potiphar.
It was the women of the Midianites that seduced the men of Israel and led them in worship of their false gods in NUMBERS 25.
You remember, the LORD sent a plague among the children of Israel because of this great sin, and that plague was stopped when the son of Eleazar, who was the high priest after his father Aaron died, Phinehas was his name, and he impaled one of the Hebrew men who brought a Midianite women into his tent “in the sight of Moses and all the congregation” and he killed the woman as well.

In NUMBERS 24, we saw Balaam trying to lay a curse on the people of Israel at the bidding of king Balak, who ruled the Moabites, and they formed an alliance with the Midianites in bribing Balaam to curse Israel.
Later in history, during the time of the Judges of Israel, the Midianites will once again prove to be a thorn in Israel’s side.
See this GOTQUESTIONS article for more on this

But now the time of GOD’s judgment upon these pagan nations has come and the LORD is using His people Israel as His hammer that will strike these people and bring about their destruction. The LORD spoke to Moses, and Moses relayed GOD’s orders to Israel.
The LORD Jesus Christ, awaits the Word of the Father, and when it comes, the Messiah of Israel, granted the authority by the Father to judge all of this guilty world will arrive at the time appointed (JN 5:27).
And we’ll examine this point later on…

NUMBERS 31:7-12
7 And they warred against the Midianites, just as the LORD commanded Moses, and they killed all the males. 8 They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of those who were killed - Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. Balaam the son of Beor they also killed with the sword. 9 And the children of Israel took the women of Midian captive, with their little ones, and took as spoil all their cattle, all their flocks, and all their goods. 10 They also burned with fire all the cities where they dwelt, and all their forts. 11 And they took all the spoil and all the booty-of man and beast. 12 Then they brought the captives, the booty, and the spoil to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the congregation of the children of Israel, to the camp in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho.

Consider the very first act of Moses who we know as the Deliverer of Israel and the Law Giver:
EXODUS 2:11-12
11 Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
Moses saw this Egyptian afflicting a Hebrew slave, and once he saw no one was watching, he killed the Egyptian. According to ACTS 7:25 he thought his fellow Hebrews would understand that GOD intended on using Moses to deliver them – but they didn’t.
And he operating in the flesh, was unsuccessful in delivering Israel.
Yet when GOD had His way with this man, working on him for forty years, only then was he ready: GOD got Egypt out of Moses just as He got him out of Egypt- and as pastor Sonny pointed out, GOD got Moses out of Moses too – and he became the meekest man in all the world (aside from the LORD JESUS!); once GOD was finished, then Moses operated in the Spirit for forty years of faithful ministry.

What we read here was to be his final assignment before he died, but here, he wasn’t taking out a single Egyptian, but all five of the kings of Midian, along with their armed forces.
Balaam, the false prophet for hire was also finally killed. The cities were consumed in flames, as well as their fortresses.

For this among many reasons, I have a deep respect for Moses, who began well when the LORD authorized his ministry, sending him to Pharoah, and here he ends well – even though he took a misstep by misrepresenting GOD in NUMBERS 20, when he struck the rock twice that brought forth water for thirsty Israel, when GOD ordered him to speak to the rock.

Such men of GOD like pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel, John MacArthur of Grace Community Church and locally, Dan Gutierrez of Drexel Heights Baptist church, who have served the LORD faithfully for many decades, as well as pastor Danny Islas of The ELW church, and many other pastors I’ve known that have served long term for many decades who have run the race well!

The prizes of war were taken and brought to Moses – but something else: the women and the little children (“toddlers and on up”): this was contrary to the LORD’s command.

NUMBERS 31:13-18
13 And Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the congregation, went to meet them outside the camp. 14 But Moses was angry with the officers of the army, with the captains over thousands and captains over hundreds, who had come from the battle. 15 And Moses said to them: "Have you kept all the women alive? 16 "Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. 17 "Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man intimately. 18 "But keep alive for yourselves all the young girls who have not known a man intimately.

Considering that these Moabite women were the tools used to seduce Israel and lead them into sin, these should have also been slain by the judgment of GOD, and yet they were kept alive at the decision of the officers of Israel’s army.

As disciples of Christ, we are to be dead to sin (ROM 6:1-4); spiritually speaking the disciple should be and needs to be dead and buried where sin is concerned; just as these women should have been.
GOD the giver of life, as the Holy Judge is also the taker of life, and He determined that these women were to be slain – judged, found guilty, dead, and buried.

Yet the children of Israel compromised; GOD stated that He judged these Midianites, that they should die, and He made no exceptions. The Hebrew officers of the army made this exception, and this led to terrible consequences later on in their history.

Anytime we compromise with sin, when we sever most of our sinful ways off, but we keep certain pet sins secretly, it will spell defeat. We can’t afford to keep any. We have to be merciless where it comes to our sin nature: no compromise, no treaties, no truce nor acceptance of white flags.
Death to sin nature is the only option, and if we think our continual practice of sin won’t bear consequences in the future, we’ll learn some bitter lessons just as Israel did during the times of Gideon, when the Midianites were their cruel oppressors (JUDGES Ch. 6-8).
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Regarding the killing of the little (male) children – This is always difficult to read - because we are very sentimental about children and have the instinctive need to protect them. Yet GOD in His sovereignty declared that these should die. GOD gives life to all, and as the Giver of life, He is free at any time to take life.
Leaving the male children alive would allow them to grow up with bitter hearts, desiring revenge on Israel for the slaughter of their people, and so killing them would prevent such action.

And there are other reasons besides that our All-knowing GOD is aware of, and we are not.
Archeologists learned that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were inundated with all kinds of venereal diseases. They were a cross roads for trade routes, so people from around the entire region visited there. Had they not been destroyed by GOD for their rebellion and sin, these diseases would have wrought havoc in the world’s population. We do well to obey GOD, and not to second-guess or question Him: He is the LORD!

“…these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the incident of Peor…”

Balaam was told by GOD not to curse Israel, and after failing three times, he came up with this plan and counseled king Balak on this fiendish plot; his greedy heart was determined to ruin Israel, contrary to the LORD’s command and get the riches promised him (JUDE 1:11). I see in these words the heart of those who rebel against the will of the LORD:
PSALM 2:2-5
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, 3 "Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us." 4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. 5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure:
NUMBERS 31:19-24
19 "And as for you, remain outside the camp seven days; whoever has killed any person, and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves and your captives on the third day and on the seventh day. 20 "Purify every garment, everything made of leather, everything woven of goats' hair, and everything made of wood." 21 Then Eleazar the priest said to the men of war who had gone to the battle, "This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD commanded Moses: 22 "Only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, 23 "everything that can endure fire, you shall put through the fire, and it shall be clean; and it shall be purified with the water of purification. But all that cannot endure fire you shall put through water. 24 "And you shall wash your clothes on the seventh day and be clean, and afterward you may come into the camp."

After this destructive deed of judgment, everyone involved in the killing and touched the slain required purification of garments. Likewise as we die to self, and are rid of filthy garments of sin, we are in the process of purification, and note the manner of purification:

Fire and water. Are we not refined in the fire of the Holy Spirit and by the washing of the Word of GOD?
1 PETER 1:7
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,

26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
Now we have a tally of the plunder, the gain of war which, if we examine this in the light of truth, the Creator GOD of all things is transferring the ownership from these pagan nations to His own sanctified people Israel, who are really only stewards of that which rightfully belongs to GOD – the creator of all gold, silver, and any other precious things.

We need to remember, anything that we gain, we hold as stewards, because everything we have, even our own souls, belongs to the GOD Who purchased us with His own blood! This is one of the reasons we “pay tribute” to the LORD in our tithes, offerings, and gifts: to show that of all that GOD gives us, we render His due out of thankful hearts of worship.

NUMBERS 31:25-31
25 Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 26 "Count up the plunder that was taken-of man and beast-you and Eleazar the priest and the chief fathers of the congregation; 27 "and divide the plunder into two parts, between those who took part in the war, who went out to battle, and all the congregation. 28 "And levy a tribute for the LORD on the men of war who went out to battle: one of every five hundred of the persons, the cattle, the donkeys, and the sheep; 29 "take it from their half and give it to Eleazar the priest as a heave offering to the LORD. 30 "And from the children of Israel's half you shall take one of every fifty, drawn from the persons, the cattle, the donkeys, and the sheep, from all the livestock, and give them to the Levites who keep charge of the tabernacle of the LORD." 31 So Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD commanded Moses.

Observe that the plunder is divided between those who went to the war, and those who remained in the congregation.
In the church, there are those who are on the front lines: those pastors, elders, Bible teachers that teach others of all ages, from tots to teens and older, evangelists and missionaries – these are those who go to war over the souls of mankind, and seek to equip soldiers and ambassadors to wage war against Satan and his kingdom and implore the rebellious to reconciliation with GOD through the Gospel. Indeed, War and Peace is our mission.

Then there are those who – in a sense – stay behind, and through intercessory prayer, and financial support of church and mission societies are nevertheless a vital part of the church. We all get a share in the inheritance by faithful obedience to whatever calling GOD has placed us in.

NUMBERS 31:32-47
32 The booty remaining from the plunder, which the men of war had taken, was six hundred and seventy-five thousand sheep, 33 seventy-two thousand cattle, 34 sixty-one thousand donkeys, 35 and thirty-two thousand persons in all, of women who had not known a man intimately. 36 And the half, the portion for those who had gone out to war, was in number three hundred and thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep; 37 and the LORD'S tribute of the sheep was six hundred and seventy-five. 38 The cattle were thirty-six thousand, of which the LORD'S tribute was seventy-two. 39 The donkeys were thirty thousand five hundred, of which the LORD'S tribute was sixty-one. 40 The persons were sixteen thousand, of which the LORD'S tribute was thirty-two persons. 41 So Moses gave the tribute which was the LORD'S heave offering to Eleazar the priest, as the LORD commanded Moses. 42 And from the children of Israel's half, which Moses separated from the men who fought- 43 now the half belonging to the congregation was three hundred and thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep, 44 thirty-six thousand cattle, 45 thirty thousand five hundred donkeys, 46 and sixteen thousand persons- 47 and from the children of Israel's half Moses took one of every fifty, drawn from man and beast, and gave them to the Levites, who kept charge of the tabernacle of the LORD, as the LORD commanded Moses.

NUMBERS 31:48-54
48 Then the officers who were over thousands of the army, the captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, came near to Moses; 49 and they said to Moses, "Your servants have taken a count of the men of war who are under our command, and not a man of us is missing. 50 "Therefore we have brought an offering for the LORD, what every man found of ornaments of gold: armlets and bracelets and signet rings and earrings and necklaces, to make atonement for ourselves before the LORD." 51 So Moses and Eleazar the priest received the gold from them, all the fashioned ornaments. 52 And all the gold of the offering that they offered to the LORD, from the captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, was sixteen thousand seven hundred and fifty shekels. 53 (The men of war had taken spoil, every man for himself.) 54 And Moses and Eleazar the priest received the gold from the captains of thousands and of hundreds and brought it into the tabernacle of meeting as a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD.


While the United Nations, the EU and all the world demands Jerusalem be made an international city, not under the sovereign rule of the Jews, the Muslim nations have repeatedly vowed that they would drive the Jews into the sea and destroy them, while at the same time, demanding that they give up more land for Palestinian control:

Concerning Abraham and his progeny GOD declared blessings on those that bless Abraham and His curse on those who curse Abraham (GEN 12:3): GOD declared to all the nation of Israel the following:
"So it shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build,
(see also: DEUT 1:8).

JOEL 3:1-2
1 "For behold, in those days and at that time, When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land.
The LORD will bring His vengeance on all those who persecute Israel, who divide the land, for the sake of His Holy name (EZEK 36:22) and His promise He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

A woman on video marched out of an abortion clinic with raised fist and a defiant expression, shouting out, “I just had an abortion, and I can’t WAIT to have another baby, so I can abort that one too!”
PSALM 139:13-16
13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.

PSALM 106:37-40
37 They even sacrificed their sons And their daughters to demons, 38 And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with blood. 39 Thus they were defiled by their own works and played the harlot by their own deeds. 40 Therefore the wrath of the LORD was kindled against His people, So that He abhorred His own inheritance.
(See also JER 1:5; PROV 6:17).
The Bible says, You shall do no murder (EXOD 20:13) and that all souls belong to GOD (EZEK 18:4).

GOD’s vengeance will be upon those who take life and murder the innocent; life was given by GOD Who alone has the ultimate authority to take life.

“That Jesus suffered as a substitute for us because of our sins is a pre-civilized barbarity…theories of the atonement [that is, Jesus shed blood on the cross] are in my judgment a theological disgrace.” ~ Harry Emerson Fosdick

“Part of the problem with continually insisting that one of the absolutes of the Christian faith must be that ‘scripture alone’ is our guide. It sounds nice, but it isn’t true…When people say that all we need is the Bible, it is simply not true” ~ Rob Bell

People think Emergent/Progressive Church folk downplay or undervalue Jesus, but Brian McLaren protests: “We have a very high regard for Jesus; in fact, I’d go so far as to put him right up there with Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr.!

GOD will have vengeance on those who are enemies of the Cross and who count the blood of the atonement as an accursed thing, who seek to add to, or take away from the precious Word of GOD or who deny the Deity of Christ:

Judgment upon enemies of the Cross:
18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame--who set their mind on earthly things.

Those who deny the atonement by the blood of Jesus:

HEBREWS 10:29-30
29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The LORD will judge His people."

Those who would seek to add or take away from the Word of GOD:

19 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Those who would deny the LORD’s incarnation as Deity:

1 TIMOTHY 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

(see also IS 7:14; 9:6; 2 PET 2:1-2; 1 JN 1:1).
All of us have sinned and the just and Holy GOD must judge all sin and punish those who have broken His Law, and the only escape is salvation through Jesus Christ, by faith receiving forgiveness of sin and surrendering to His LORDship.

Those who refuse to do so, who reject the Gospel and the sacrifice that was made for them will know GOD’s vengeance, including this one Atheist who had this to say about the crucifixion of Christ:

“I hear more and more Christians saying that Jesus is coming back, and boy, I sure hope they’re right! Because when he shows up, I’m going to nail him back on that cross where he belongs!”
…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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