"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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Tuesday, May 30, 2023


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

DEUTERONOMY 23: Who is Allowed In The Assembly of the LORD by James Fire; check out the complete teaching here!

INTRODUCTION: Let’s remember that Israel provides for us some insights that we may learn from. This chapter deals with the sanctification of Israel, GOD’s own nation that was to be set apart from the Gentile nations. We likewise as the church are to set apart from the world as GOD’s other “holy nation” comprised primarily of Gentiles – and some Jews, making of the two one new body, classified spiritually as neither Gentile nor Jew but one new man (EPH 2:15).

1 "He who is emasculated by crushing or mutilation shall not enter the assembly of the LORD. 2 "One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD. 3 "An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD forever

In these three verses we read about those who are not allowed to “enter the assembly of the LORD”.

Just as those in the nation of Israel who were damaged, mutilated, deformed with blight, blemish, or mutilation (probably a reference to castration which was a common practice for certain pagan religions that had the offices of eunuchs); these were not allowed to enter “the assembly of the LORD” of Israel (for the purpose of worship of YHWH. “This could also refer to these foreigners participating in political matters of Israel” – [Matthew Poole]). Likewise those who are spiritually damaged, mutilated, deformed in any way are not allowed into the glories of GOD’s heavenly kingdom.

This is why the LORD ensures that any who seek Him, who seek entrance into His kingdom are healed of such spiritual damage caused by sin by becoming “new creatures in Christ” (GAL 6:15). These then become members of the body of Christ, the church – the LORD’s “called out assembly” (ekklesia) in similar fashion to “the assembly of the LORD” of Israel.

Likewise, just as those of illegitimate birth were not allowed in the assembly, neither are those of illegitimate birth allowed into heaven. That is, the only legitimate birth of any soul that enters into heaven is the spiritual rebirth. The LORD told us that only those who are born again (“born from above”, born of the Spirit and of water) shall see and enter into the kingdom of GOD (JOHN 3:3-5).
1 PETER 1:22-23
22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

JOHN 1:12-13
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

TITUS 3:5-6
5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
When it comes to the kingdom of GOD, no foreigners are allowed – only family! The good news is that foreigners can become family if they trust in Christ and receive Him as LORD and Savior for the redemption of their souls!

The next three verses (vs. 4-6) describe others who are not allowed “into the assembly of the LORD”. Verses 7-8 address those who may enter “into the assembly of the LORD”.

4 "because they
[the Ammonites and the Moabites] did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. 5 "Nevertheless the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you. 6 "You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever.

Remember: the Ammonites and the Moabites were nations born from the incestuous union of Lot and his two daughters (GEN 19). GOD’s exclusion of these two nations to enter into the assembly of the LORD was for this reason, but also because the Ammonites refused to offer food and water to the Hebrew ex-slaves in their exodus from Egypt unlike the Moabites and Edomites (but for a price! DEUT 2 [& 3]).

The Moabites were not allowed into the assembly because they hired Balaam the pagan seer (occultist) to curse Israel (NUM 22). Though unsuccessful in their attempt because of GOD’s intervention, the LORD nevertheless brought judgment upon them for their intent on doing His people’s harm.

7 "You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land. 8 "The children of the third generation born to them may enter the assembly of the LORD.

Throughout history the Edomites would witness foreign nations coming against Israel. They would do nothing to come to their aid. More often than not Edom would applaud their efforts if not join the foreign armies against Israel. Nevertheless, the Edomites were the descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob, and so these two nations have family ties.

For this reason they would be allowed into the assembly but only by their third generation.

The same goes for the Egyptian, that for all the harsh treatment they rendered to the Hebrews, for many generations that nation was kindly in their dealings with GOD’s people. Remember that the Pharaoh at the time of Joseph greatly honored Joseph and his father Jacob and his kin: he made Joseph Number 2 in command after himself, the Egyptians gave them the land of Goshen – some of the most fertile land in all Egypt. The Pharaoh ordered a national day of mourning when Jacob passed away.

9 "When the army goes out against your enemies, then keep yourself from every wicked thing. 10 "If there is any man among you who becomes unclean by some occurrence in the night, then he shall go outside the camp; he shall not come inside the camp. 11 "But it shall be, when evening comes, that he shall wash with water; and when the sun sets, he may come into the camp. 12 "Also you shall have a place outside the camp, where you may go out; 13 "and you shall have an implement among your equipment, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and turn and cover your refuse. 14 "For the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you.

Some highlights from the commentary of Matthew Henry:

“With Israel encamped, this vast army, likely to be together for a long time was given specific directions for the good order of their camp in one word: cleanliness.
They must take care to keep their camp pure from moral, ceremonial, and natural pollution.”

I. From moral pollution (vs. 9): When the host goes forth against thy enemy then consider yourselves carefully. Be engaged to keep from every evil thing.
1. The soldiers themselves must beware of sin which takes the edge off of valor; guilt makes men cowards. Those that face danger in battle are concerned to make and keep their peace with God, preserving a conscience void of offence. Soldiers on active duty are capable of horrendous conduct, so they must not gratify the lusts of malice, covetousness, or uncleanness, these wicked things. They must keep themselves from idols, accursed things that they found in the camps they plundered.

2. Those that stayed at home, both the people in general, and every individual, must be careful to keep from every wicked thing, lest by sin they provoke God to withdraw His presence from the host, and give victory to the enemy in correcting His own people. Times of war should be times of reformation, otherwise how can we expect God to hear and answer our prayers for success? PS 66:18; 1 SAM 7:3.
II. From ceremonial pollution, which might occur when a person is unconscious of it, for which he’s bound to wash himself in water, and consider himself unclean until the evening, (LEV 15:16). A soldier, while in constant service and duties in the camp, must aware of the observance of this ceremony. Being in the army, he must leave the camp, to keep it pure from his own impurity, and not return until after sunset.

III. From natural pollution; the camp of the Lord must have nothing offensive in it.
1. Cleanliness, and neatness, even in their camp. Filthiness is offensive to the senses God has endued us with, contrary to the healthy habits. It’s a wrong to the order of human life, and an evidence of a careless, slothful mind.

2. Purity from the pollutions of sin; if there is care taken to preserve bodily cleanliness, much more should we be attentive to keep the mind so.

3. A reverence of the divine majesty of the LORD GOD Who walks by his ark, the special token of his presence, in the midst of your camp. With respect to that external symbol, external purity is required. This teaches us to preserve inward purity of soul, in consideration of God, Who sees all.

4. A regard one to another. The filthiness of one is offensive to many; this law of cleanliness therefore teaches us not to do those things that will be offensive to our brethren.” ~ Matthew Henry.
For the church, such exhortation is the same; uprightness in heart, mind, and action is required in order to obtain a successful outreach or spiritual campaign against the enemy.

15 "You shall not give back to his master the slave who has escaped from his master to you. 16 "He may dwell with you in your midst, in the place which he chooses within one of your gates, where it seems best to him; you shall not oppress him.

The Hebrew word for “escaped” is natsal, and it means, among other things “to deliver, escape, preserve, recover and rescue”. This insinuates that the master treated his slave in an unkind, perhaps even brutal fashion, something forbidden in the Torah, and from which the slave needed deliverance (except where slaves were rebellious and uncooperative, but even there, leniency was to be the rule when such correction was necessary).

We find that the apostle Paul on the one hand, sought deliverance for a slave that belonged to his beloved friend Philemon. He offered to redeem the price of Onesimus and reimburse Philemon for the expense (PHILE 1:10-19).
On the other hand, we see that Paul directed to deliver this wayward soul in the church to Satan (his old master) because of his grievous sin of incest with his mother-in-law, for the destruction of his flesh, that “his spirit may be saved in the day of the LORD Jesus” (1 COR 3:4-5).

17 "There shall be no ritual harlot of the daughters of Israel, or a perverted one of the sons of Israel. 18 "You shall not bring the wages of a harlot or the price of a dog to the house of the LORD your God for any vowed offering, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God.

This is rather self-explanatory in regards to Israel. It was common practice among pagan religions that the price paid to a prostitute (a harlot, being female) or “the price of a dog” (a male prostitute) was given to the temple in honor of their patron gods. GOD here is forbidding such things. Israel was not to learn the ways of the world – and neither is the church of the LORD Jesus Christ…

And yet I find it heart breaking that in the church today, the bride of Christ is prostituted by such false systems as psychiatric therapy, 12-Step Programs (AA that started all of this), New Age mysticism, Humanism, even Marxism being introduced into too, too many pulpits.
There are pastors and pastoral leaders who treat the church like a business, rather than the body of Christ – not looking for the care of souls, but rather for the profits in sales of their latest book, their newest (unbiblical) program, the latest fads and so-called “new move of the Spirit” that’s marketed to prospective buyers - when in fact what’s being promoted are the doctrines of demons, being seduced by evil spirits (1 TIM 4:1).

19 "You shall not charge interest to your brother-interest on money or food or anything that is lent out at interest. 20 "To a foreigner you may charge interest, but to your brother you shall not charge interest, that the LORD your God may bless you in all to which you set your hand in the land which you are entering to possess.

Because usury was allowed by the LORD in regards to Jewish people lending to Gentiles and charging interest, this was a way of bolstering the Jewish economy, and allowing a certain level of prosperity, but never at the expense of their fellow Jews. Charging interest of their fellow Jews would eventually create a class division where the wealthy would become more wealthy and the poor would become poorer.

Jews were violating this commandment in the days of ISAIAH:
Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?

EXODUS 22:25
If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest. (See also NEH 5:1-5; PSALM 15; esp vs. 5).
21 "When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the LORD your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you. 22 "But if you abstain from vowing, it shall not be sin to you. 23 "That which has gone from your lips you shall keep and perform, for you voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God what you have promised with your mouth.
MATTHEW 5:33-37
33 "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.' 34 "But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35 "nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 "Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 "But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed. 5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.
(See also: NUM 30; PSA 50:14; 66:13-14; 76:11)
Integrity as a Christian:

Four Star General Norman Schwarzkopf was once asked what the biggest problem is in America today (this was back in the early 90’s).
His answer: “Lack of integrity”.

A survey was once conducted where the man on the street was asked what the biggest problem in America was: ignorance or apathy? One person answered with, “I don’t know and I don’t care!

Integrity could be called “inward truth” – being righteous when no one but GOD sees you:
PSALM 51:6
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
In the armor of GOD we have “the belt of truth” (EPH 6:14).
1 PETER 1:13-16
13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy.
24 "When you come into your neighbor's vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes at your pleasure, but you shall not put any in your container. 25 "When you come into your neighbor's standing grain, you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not use a sickle on your neighbor's standing grain.
MATTHEW 12:1-2
1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, "Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!

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