BibleTools

Topical Studies

 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


What the Bible says about Keeping Separate
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Notice how strongly God expresses the concept of separation from what is spiritually impure. The Canaanites, and all of the other nations that are mentioned, were to be completely wiped out on religious grounds. This is because religion has such a powerful influence on conduct.

Israel never did this, and the Canaanites were a constant thorn in their side through their false gods. Through Israel's social and business interactions with them, they were persuaded to follow the Canaanites' god's practices—even to the extent of sacrificing their children in the fire.

In order to properly understand this command to exterminate these peoples, it must be understood that, though God was their Ruler, Israel was a nation of this world. Israel was put into the place of God's avenging angels—His agents—to take vengeance on those nations. However, the key is that Israel was a nation of this world, which is something that the church is not. When Jesus was before Pilate, He said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here" (John 18:36).

The lesson for us is that we are to be, as it were, this harsh with ourselves in getting rid of the sin within us. As Jesus says, "Pluck out your eye. Cut off your hand."We know that He does not mean this literally! He wants us to understand the spiritual principle that is involved. We have to be willing to go to that extent—to fight "tooth and nail" the contamination of sin that so easily besets us, which can so easily be picked up from contact with this world.

So the spiritual lesson for us is that God is equally demanding toward us—that we do not allow this world to influence us in any way that will contaminate our holiness, imputed as a result of Christ's sacrifice. Israel did not follow through, and soon no difference could be seen between them and the Canaanites. God's commands to be different make the witness and provide the means, the environment, for sacrifice.

In order to keep from being uncontaminated by the world, there must reside in us a strong measure of religious intolerance, or we will find ourselves compromising. What we call "human nature," and what the Bible calls "carnality," produced this world. It loves this world and is easily attracted to its practices and its attitudes. To attain the Kingdom of God, we cannot tolerate those things in ourselves.



Deuteronomy 8:11-14

What is written in this chapter is one of the things that led to the break-up the Worldwide Church of God, and why its members are scattered all over. Its members forgot a great deal about God's requirements of obedience. This theme of not forgetting runs through the book of Deuteronomy.

Virtually every family of people on earth considers themselves to be the recipients of God's favor. They usually designate themselves by a title to indicate this, especially to themselves. The Germans call themselves Herrenvolk. The Japanese call themselves "sons of heaven." China calls itself "the good earth," and Americans, "God's country."

The Israelites were the recipients of the knowledge of God's purpose, then they were given a land in which to prosper and to use that knowledge. However, whatever Israel received, it was miniscule by comparison to what the church was given. Yet, Israel forgot what God had so graciously bestowed, and what happened to the Israelites? They were scattered to the four corners of the earth. Is it possible, then, that the church forgot what God had given it? It became less and less aware that it, too, had been given the knowledge of God and of His purpose being worked out in its members lives. What did we call ourselves? "God's church"!

However, there is a common byproduct of prosperity: "Lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; then your heart be lifted up, and you forget. . . ."

Yes, a common byproduct of prosperity—one that could destroy the gift of knowledge of God's purpose for mankind—is forgetfulness! Pride in one's prosperity can gradually persuade a person that he gained it himself, but the fact is that the real reason for the prosperity is what he was given.

There are a number of reasons for the Old Covenant rituals, but undoubtedly, one of them is to remind the sanctified ones who they are and what they are to do with their lives. They are a separated people, called to make right use of their gifts and to glorify God in the use of them.

Being aware of our separation is supremely important to us because it is one of the few ways that gives sense to why God requires certain things. The laws of clean and unclean meats should be a constant reminder of this separation. So should the removing of leaven from our homes before Unleavened Bread. It is clear from the Old Testament rituals that cleanliness—spiritual, moral, and physical cleanliness—and purity are the realities that differentiate us from the world, making us distinctive from others.

This is something, though, that is so easy to forget or to overlook, which is why God gives this warning in Deuteronomy 8. Being spiritually undefiled or uncontaminated is a responsibility because it is in maintaining the cleanliness that a visible witness is made—one that can be seen and evaluated by the world. If we allow ourselves to run amok with the rest of the world, then we share the world's contamination through sin, and no witness is made. Who can see the difference? There is no difference, or so little difference that it is unrecognizable.

Thus, it is in the efforts to be made clean and to maintain cleanliness that many of the sacrificial aspects of priesthood are most clearly seen.

John W. Ritenbaugh
New Covenant Priesthood (Part Two)

Deuteronomy 23:6

This statement also appears in Ezra 9:12, and it is an early version of "Come out of her, My people," only here God is telling them to avoid something. God is telling Israel that they are to keep themselves so separate that they are not to even make peace treaties with the other nations. "You shall not seek their peace."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part Seven)

Deuteronomy 23:9

Do we have any idea how dirty warfare is? Yet, even then, God required cleanliness among His people. Though we do not know the reason why God gave every regulation, we do understand the overall principle involved here. There is no doubt that religion draws those devoted to it together, but inevitably, a line of separation will be drawn between the faithful and the unfaithful. Under the Old Covenant, these lines were shown in physical terms.

To many, this might smack of a narrow exclusiveness, but there is a fundamental truth contained within these regulations. Religion does make a difference! God demands—for our good and for the outworking of His purpose—that there be absolute loyalty in the people whom He has cleansed through the blood of Jesus Christ. The loyalty is not merely seen in how one feels inwardly about certain things, but also is manifested outwardly in one's behavior—in how we relate to one another. A Christian must never step out of character, and he must not step aside from what he agreed to in making the covenant with God.

Every time we baptize a person, we make sure that we go through Luke 14 (beginning in verse 25)—where Christ essentially says, "Do I have your loyalty? Am I going to come before your father, mother, sister, brother, wife or husband? Are you willing to forsake all that you have for Me?" And we could add, "Are you willing to keep yourself uncontaminated and undefiled from contact with this world?"

This book of Deuteronomy shows that God's purpose can be worked out only if we are separated from the world around us to a fair degree. It is this separation that greatly aids in keeping us clean and unspotted. Know this, there are not "many ways to God." The people of the earth are not worshipping the same God in different guises and different names. The universalism of Catholicism has no part in God's plan. There is only one way. If there were many ways, each way would produce something different. God's way—His one way—reproduces Himself. Anybody who worshipsa false god will not reproduce in himself the image of the God of Creation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
New Covenant Priesthood (Part Two)


 




The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

Sign up for the Berean: Daily Verse and Comment, and have Biblical truth delivered to your inbox. This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. See what over 145,000 subscribers are already receiving each day.

Email Address:

   
Leave this field empty

We respect your privacy. Your email address will not be sold, distributed, rented, or in any way given out to a third party. We have nothing to sell. You may easily unsubscribe at any time.
 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
©Copyright 1992-2020 Church of the Great God.   Contact C.G.G. if you have questions or comments.
Share this on FacebookEmailPrinter version
Close
E-mail This Page