"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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Wednesday, April 26, 2023


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

DEUTERONOMY 19: A TRUE WITNESS FOR CHRIST, OUR REDEEMER – by James Fire (April 5th); check out the complete teaching online coming soon!

INTRODUCTION: We covered this biblical role of a kinsman redeemer or kinsman goel previously in LEVITICUS 27, the entire chapter deals with this dual role of the kinsman redeemer and the avenger of blood, that ties that person to their family relations.

It’s mentioned here again in abbreviated form by way of reminder.
And by way of reminder for SHINE BRIGHT saints, let me share again what I spoke on when I taught the third chapter of DEUTERONOMY:

This book can be seen as three distinct sermons given by Moses to the next generation of Israel (you remember that the first generation, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb (and all of the Hebrews twenty years old and younger) all perished because of their lack of faith in their faithful GOD of truth and grace).

The first sermon is from Ch 1 to Ch. 4.

The second sermon: from Ch. 4 to Ch. 26 (so from chapter 4, up to now, we are still in Moses’s second sermon, and it continues on for another eight chapters!). Next time you feel like complaining about a long sermon, remember this one given by Moses!

The third and final sermon: Ch. 27 to Ch. 34.

So let’s continue in this second sermon of Moses, reminding the children of Israel of GOD’s awesome and eternal truth!

1 "When the LORD your God has cut off the nations whose land the LORD your God is giving you, and you dispossess them and dwell in their cities and in their houses, 2 "you shall separate three cities for yourself in the midst of your land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess. 3 "You shall prepare roads for yourself and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, that any manslayer may flee there. 4 "And this is the case of the manslayer who flees there, that he may live: Whoever kills his neighbor unintentionally, not having hated him in time past- 5 "as when a man goes to the woods with his neighbor to cut timber, and his hand swings a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies-he shall flee to one of these cities and live; 6 "lest
the avenger of blood, while his anger is hot, pursue the manslayer and overtake him, because the way is long, and kill him, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated the victim in time past. 7 "Therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall separate three cities for yourself.'

Along with dwelling in the homes and cities of the Canaanites after they were slain or driven from the land, the Hebrews were to build roads leading to these special cities: six cities in all, these cities of refuge where those who committed manslaughter – accidental deaths – and were in need of protection from the dead person’s kinsman designated as the avenger of blood. These men were obligated to seek out the killer and render justice upon them (there were no police forces in those days). The edict upon which this GOD-ordained policy was based upon first came in the days of Noah from GOD Himself.

Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man

Modern man believes he is too sophisticated, much wiser than the Bible, and sees capital punishment as barbaric and ineffective (both assertions are wrong).

Human life is so costly that the only thing that can pay the price is another human life – anything less is insufficient. GOD intended that this command would be implemented in any society, any civilization.

This differs from those who offer insult or injury to others on a personal level. We saints are commanded to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us (MATT 5:38-48). Yet if any soul is murdered, in order to keep order in society, the slayer must be slain. That is justice!

As for being a deterrent to murdering people: if you execute the murderer, he can’t go out and commit more murders! I’d say that’s deterrent enough!

I used to be a pen pal to a man on death row; his name was Sammy. He came to faith soon after incarceration and he fully admitted his guilt and understood that his execution was righteous. In 1991 he passed from this life and into heaven by lethal injection.

If anyone killed another and it was not intentional, premeditated murder, he would flee to one of these six cities of refuge and attempt to convince the city fathers that he was innocent of murder, and if they believed him, he could remain in the city of refuge so that the avenger of blood couldn’t touch him.

How long did he have to stay in that city before he could safely return back home? The avenger of blood would often camp out and wait to see if the guilty man would try to make a run for it – if he did, he was fair game for the avenger of blood.

But if this one particular incident occurred while the killer (not murderer) was residing in the city of refuge, he could leave that place, go home, and no longer be in danger from the avenger of blood. What was that one incident?

The death of the high priest of the Aaronic priesthood. Strange rule, wouldn’t you agree? What could the significance of this possibly be?

We were all guilty sinners who intentionally hated – which is murder at heart and were in danger of judgment by THE Avenger of Blood – the Judge of all the Earth, the One to Whom the Father has committed all judgment to (JOHN 5:22), the LORD Jesus Christ! Yet when any sinner repents, and comes to Christ, then the LAMB of GOD, the propitiator of our sins becomes our high and strong tower, our refuge that keeps us safe from the wrathful judgment of GOD.

And we are no longer in peril of being slain by that judgment and condemnation of GOD and are now able to walk in freedom and liberty – how? By our High Priest, the LORD Jesus Who has died, having taken our sins with Him, and has risen from the dead, sending forth the Spirit Who empowers us to live godly in Christ Jesus.

Now listen carefully: it was our sin that nailed Jesus to the Cross; He died because of our sin – GOD’s justice demands that the soul who sins, it shall surely die (EZEK 18:20; ROM 6:23a). But in sparing us, GOD’s justice had to be carried out on His Son, the LAMB of GOD for this sacrificial death.

But was our slaying of the Son of man murder or manslaughter? Was it premeditated or slaughter in ignorance? Remember what Christ Himself said from the Cross?
LUKE 23:34a
"…Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do…"
Even in the Jewish leadership, there were some among them who didn’t truly realize what they were doing, as the apostle Paul relates:
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Yet there were certainly some of those who did know, or at least had reasonable evidence to prove who Christ was, otherwise, they wouldn’t have been guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit – something that they did in refusing to recognize Christ and attributed His miracles to Satan rather than the Father (MARK 3:22-29). For such as these, it seems rather obvious, as they plotted and conspired, that they were guilty of premeditated murder.

But we are no longer in danger of the second death and hell fire, having liberty in Christ in this life – free from the condemnation of our sin, being freed increasingly from the bondage of sin, and free to love and serve GOD Whom we are privileged to call “Abba, Father”! That liberty will be known in the full when we receive our glorified bodies, no longer burdened with the sin nature, but completely holy and incorruptible: spirit, soul, and body!

But that liberty is given already to the church, and available to the same degree that we surrender our lives, every part, to Christ.

A.V.R.A.S. = Absolute Victory (in life) Requires Absolute Surrender (to Christ). Victory of what kind? Financial success? A luxurious life? Perfect and robust health? The kind of victory I’m talking about equals the nature of Christ exhibited supremely in the life of a believer, success in evangelism, raising up true disciples, defeating sin, loving as Christ loves, possessing a wealth of wisdom and compassion. Having an impact as salt and light in this corrupt and dark world. This kind of victory will mean the LORD pronouncing over you, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your LORD!” This is the kind of victory I want – if He adds any of that other stuff, praise GOD, but I’m perfectly content without it!

Few of us have managed absolute surrender in every area of our lives, but to the degree that you surrender to Christ, in any area of your life, to that same degree you will experience victory in that area of your life.

This is why we don’t see the church in general having observable spiritual victory, because many will accept Christ as Savior, but few know Him as absolute LORD over all of their lives and over all of their hearts.

As you may recall, the Avenger of Blood also has the title of Kinsman Redeemer:

The book of Ruth details this whole concept of the kinsman redeemer, who in this account was Boaz, a near relative of Naomi – the mother-in-law of Ruth.

In Israel, if a family member lost their property or was brought into servitude due to a debt they couldn’t pay, a relative could purchase back that land, or the servant’s freedom. But it had to be a relative: not a neighbor, not a friend, not a coworker – it had to be a relative.

We had a debt we couldn’t pay. And we lost the land of this whole world to Satan who stole the stewardship over the Earth from Adam. This is the purpose of the incarnation of Christ, the kinsman redeemer: to redeem ALL of that which was lost. He is our kinsman, our relative:

He is the Son of man, a relative of humanity, so He could redeem us (Gentiles).
He is the Son of Abraham, a relative of Abraham’s so He could redeem Israel.
He is the Son of David so that He could redeem the kingdom of Israel as the rightful heir, being the Son of Abraham, the Son of David.
And He is the Son of GOD, the Only One Who could pay the debt of sin of the entire human race!

In REVELATION 5:1-9, we see GOD the Father sits with a scroll in His hand: the title deed of the Earth. The question was asked: “Who is worthy to open the scroll and loose the seals thereof?” No one was worthy except for the One Who shed His blood – not just to redeem us to GOD, but even the Earth itself which was under the curse of sin.

In MATTHEW 13 we have several parables, and there is the hidden treasure parable in which a man finds and sells all He has to buy the field where this treasure was buried (MATT 13:44). The “field is the world” it says in vs. 38. So not only did the LORD Jesus come and gain that hidden treasure – us – but also the whole planet.

Incidentally, all of the evil we witness today, how its growing darker and more powerful is an attack on the order that GOD created that includes the clear roles of men and women, husbands and wives, their children as well as the sanctity of life and life as GOD created it. Satan through human agencies is attacking and (temporarily) bringing down GOD’s order, replacing it with his own disorder – his own satanic new world order.

BUT when the LORD returns to this planet, there will be a change of management!
No longer under the management of the usurper, Satan, the current ‘god’ of this world (2 COR 4:4) with all of his devilish management but under Jesus’ own Messianic management, bringing everything back into GOD’s perfect order.

So if anyone complains to you about the chaos, the injustices, the pain, the suffering of this world and blames or even blasphemes GOD, you be sure to clarify it for them, that they blame the god responsible for it, the god of this world!

8 "Now if the LORD your God enlarges your territory, as He swore to your fathers, and gives you the land which He promised to give to your fathers, 9 "and if you keep all these commandments and do them, which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and to walk always in His ways, then you shall add three more cities for yourself besides these three,

GOD’s promise to the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) was the land grant of Canaan that stretched all the way from the river Nile to the river Euphrates: A land mass the size of Texas. Right now, Israel is about the size of New Jersey. So the land they were promised is about 35 times larger than the land they now possess!

What will dictate their increase in land at this point during the Old Testament history is their obedience to the Law under the Mosaic Covenant. What will be given to them in the Millennium will be by grace, according to both the Abrahamic Covenant, and the Land Covenant, that land mass the size of Texas!

10 "lest innocent blood be shed in the midst of your land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, and thus guilt of bloodshed be upon you. 11 "But if anyone hates his neighbor, lies in wait for him, rises against him and strikes him mortally, so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities, 12 "then the elders of his city shall send and bring him from there, and deliver him over to the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. 13 "Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with you.

For murder, there is no mercy under the Law. All liars are guilty of violating the Law of GOD just as seriously as those who murder their father or mother (1 TIM 1:10).
7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers [recreational/hallucinogenic drug usage], idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
So those who claim to not be “that bad, because after all, I haven’t murdered anyone” will still be chargeable under the Law and condemned for the lies they’ve told. Salvation by our own merit, apart from Christ means having to obey the Law perfectly, every day, for one’s entire life – in thought, word, and deed: salvation this way is hopeless (ROM 3:20). Our only certain hope is on Christ, the solid Rock on which we stand by faith.

14 You shall not remove your neighbor's landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess.

Let’s talk about land ownership.
Creator GOD created the heavens and the earth (GENESIS 1); the Creator in Ch. 1 is referred to as “GOD”. In GENESIS 2 He is referred to as “LORD GOD”. He owns everything created, He is sovereign over His creation – He is the “Boss”; what He says goes, and He has a right to do so.

It's worthy to note that when Satan addressed Eve, he didn’t refer to the Creator as LORD GOD, but simply GOD. Satan didn’t recognize and render due respect for the sovereignty of the LORD GOD.

GOD established Adam as His steward over the earth and when he rebelled against his Maker, disobeyed His command regarding the tree of knowledge of good and evil and partook of the forbidden fruit, he surrendered that stewardship to Satan, who then became “the god [ruler; JOHN 12:3,11; 14:30; EPH 2:2] of this world” 2 COR 4:4.

GOD became Man, and the Word made flesh became our kinsman redeemer, and redeemed our souls from sin and death, condemnation, and eternal death; the LORD Jesus Christ also redeemed this Earth. The LORD Jesus was always LORD of heaven, and since He redeemed the Earth, He has once again become LORD of earth as well (MATT 28:18; ACTS 17:24).

GOD instituted the idea of private property when He allocated the land inheritance to each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Prior to that, when He confused the languages at the tower of Babel, people grouped together based on common language and they migrated across the planet and became the nations as we see them in GENESIS 10, all with their distinct borders over which they are sovereign.

Having private property makes those who own their land, miniature sovereigns who have freedom to exercise liberties without anyone else’s interference. And if any conducts themselves in a manner not to the land owner’s liking, they have the right to say what? “Get off my land!” So we can equate land ownership with freedom, with liberty.

This is why Socialism as conceived by Karl Marx has as one of their objectives, the abolition of property. If no one owns their own land, they have no sovereign rights, over the place that they live and are then subject to the powers of government.

Unfortunately we buy property with US Dollars in this nation, and since US currency is not owned by our government – which is supposed to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people” – but rather owned by the Federal Reserve (an illegal, privately owned bank), anything we buy technically belongs to that private, central bank, not to private citizens. This is a horrible, offensive evil that the LORD is going to ruin once He returns and sets things right.

You shall not remove your neighbor's landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess.”

Essentially the LORD is forbidding theft of land and it’s for the reasons mentioned above.

Did you know that the Declaration of Independence originally did not say “…that among these [rights] are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness” but rather, “…Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Land”? – because our founding fathers understood the necessity of private property and how it’s inextricably linked to Life and Liberty!

“Removing your neighbors landmark” – theft of property. The Federal government has been guilty of this for nearly a century, using your tax money to buy up land, placing it under Federal rule, essentially owned by the US government – which is illegal, and for what purpose? Not for the good of American citizens, I can assure you.

The day is coming, when every unlawful act, every rebel against the King of heaven and earth who have violated His Law, His Order, will no longer be able to trespass on His property – that is, all of this world, and will be removed, and only the meek and the righteous shall dwell in the land of the LORD, inheriting the Earth!

15 "One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established. 16 "If a false witness rises against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing, 17 "then both men in the controversy shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who serve in those days. 18 "And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, 19 "then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you. 20 "And those who remain shall hear and fear, and hereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you. 21 "Your eye shall not pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Two or three witnesses is an absolute necessity in ascertaining judicial matters of innocence or guilt. Two is good, three is better. This principle was established for Israel, but also for the church (2 COR 1:1- 3). And generally it’s a good rule when it comes to establishing doctrinal issues for the church as well!

If any doctrine is found in the Gospels – that’s one witness. If that same doctrine is found in the book of Acts – that’s two witnesses; that stands firm as biblical doctrine. And if that doctrine is also found in the epistles – that’s three witnesses and best as it stands firm as doctrine for the church!

Water baptism was taught and practiced in the Gospels, also in Acts and in the epistles. Foot washing however was taught and practiced in the Gospels, but not in either Acts or the epistles. So water baptism is established as necessary doctrine, but foot washing is not.

Bearing false witness is against the Ninth Commandment. We are to be people of truth, not given to lies, slander, and deception.

And yet Christians at times employ a work-around that Commandment. They get on the phone with “a prayer need”, but they want the person they’ve called to be “informed on how to pray” for the person they’re calling about – and with suggestive language, innuendo, and hints that will paint that “person-to-be-prayed-for” in the worst light possible, they tear them down, under the pretense and hypocrisy of “caring”.

I’ve had people call me and use such language (no one here at this church!) and my response was “click”. That’s nothing but gossip with a religious handle and it’s just as wicked and hateful as an outright lie. They would sometimes call me back outraged that I would hang up, and I had to inform them that GOD is outraged with them bearing false witness against their neighbor and they need to repent.

Understand that our words bring life or death, healing or hurt, deliverance or damage. We will be judged for our words:
MATTHEW 12:36-37
36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

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