Tuesday, January 21, 2014

False Prophets and Judgment

"If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, 'Let us go after other gods,' which you have not known, 'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams.  For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.  You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk.  So you shall purge the evil from your midst."  Deuteronomy 13:1-5 ESV

"For what have I to do with judging outsiders?  Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?  God judges those outside.  Purge the evil person from among you." 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 ESV

"For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" 1 Peter 4:17 ESV

Explanation for Deuteronomy 13:1-4 from The MacArthur Study Bible, page 267.

13:1-18  After the general prohibition of involvement in Canaanite worship (12:29-31).  Moses discussed three ways in which the temptation to idolatry was likely to come to Israel: 1) through a false prophet (13:1-5); 2) through a family member (vv. 6-11); or 3) through apostates in some Canaanite city (vv. 12-18).

13:2 the sign or wonder. . .comes to pass.  Miraculous signs alone were never meant to be a test of truth (cf. Pharaoh's magicians in Ex. 7-10).  A prophet or a dreamer's prediction may come true, but if his message contradicted God's commands, the people were to trust God and his word rather than such experience.  Let us go after other gods.  The explicit temptation was to renounce allegiance to the Lord and go after other gods.  The result of this apostacy would be the serving of these false gods by worshiping them, which would be in direct contradiction to the first commandment (Deut. 5:7).

13:3 The LORD your God is testing you.  God, in his sovereignty, allowed the false prophets to entice the people to apostasy to test the true disposition of the hearts of the Israelites.  And while the temptation was dangerous, the overcoming of that temptation would strengthen the people in their love for God and obedience to his commandments. Cf. 6:5.

13:5  purge the evil from your midst.  The object of the severe penalty was not only the punishment of the evildoer, but also the preservation of the community.  Paul must have had this text in mind when he gave a similar command to the Corinthian church (cf. 1 Cor. 5:13; also Deut. 17:7; 19:19; 21:21; 24:7).

Explanation for 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 from The MacArthur Study Bible, page 1690.

5:12-13  outsiders.  Paul never intended himself or the church to be judges of unbelievers outside the church, but to judge those inside (cf. 1 Pet. 4:17).  Those on the outside are for God to judge and believers to evangelize.  Those who sin on the inside, the church is to put out.  First Corinthians 5:13 is quoted from Deut. 17:7.

Explanation for 1 Peter 4:17 from The MacArthur Study Bible, page 1896.

4:17  judgment. . .household of God.  Not condemnation, but the purging, chastening, and purifying of the church by the loving hand of God.  It is far better and more important to kingdom work to endure suffering as the Lord purges and strengthens the church, than to endure the eternal sufferings of the unbeliever in the lake of fire.  And, if God so strongly and painfully judges his church, which he loves, what will be his fury on the ungodly?

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  I lift up those reading this to You today.  I pray that You will protect our hearts and our minds so that we will not be deceived by false prophets or false gospels.  I pray that the truth of the Bible will be made evident to all.  I say these things in Jesus' name.  Amen.


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