Truth, Understanding, Insight


28th December 2008, mgh


2) Laws, Punishment and Judgment: The Israelites

Abraham was found to be a faithful believer in the Creator and he was promised a seed that would be a nation. His descendants were to become the nation of Israel, and would be subject to God's Laws.

The punishment for not Knowing and Obeying the law

The laws that were given to the nation of Israel and known as the Law of Moses established punishment for those who broke those laws. Judgment and justice was the responsibility of the priests of Israel and sacrifices were required of those who sinned and broke the laws. If the nation of Israel failed to respect and obey God's laws, great judgments would come on that nation.

For the nation of Israel, it was imperative that they know the Law of God and his commandments. They were to instruct their children in these Laws and statutes. If they did not obey these laws and if they turned to other gods the nation would be punished. The following verses reveal the importance of the Laws. All the Israelites had to know and obey their Laws. Parents were commanded to instruct their children and they were not to add to or subtract from these Laws.

Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them , that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.   (Deuteronomy 4:1-2)

Obedience to the commandments and Laws is repeated many times, as demonstrated in another chapter in Deuteronomy.

Now thesearethe commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou might fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.
Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it ; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you, in the land that flows with milk and honey.Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shall love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shall teach them diligently unto thy children, and shall talk of them when thou sit in thine house, and when thou walk by the way, and when thou lie down, and when thou rise up. And thou shall bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shall write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.(Deuteronomy 6: 1-9)

The demonstrated Power of God

When the Laws were given to the Israelites, the power of God was seen by all the congregation. The people were exceedingly fearful and trembled at the sight of God's great power.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever touches the mount shall be surely put to death: There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount. ...
And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.(Exodus 19: 9-13, 16-18)

Yet despite the demonstrated power, the nation failed to keep the laws and were sent into captivity.

When Israel returned to their homeland after the captivity of the Israelites in Babylon, the people were made aware of the sins and failure of the nation before their God. The people wept and mourned before their God when the Law was read to them. Their mourning was turned to joy as they re-instated the worship as proclaimed in the Law.

And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. (Ezra 8: 9-10)

Despite the rejoicing of those who returned to the land of their fathers, the following centuries saw the decline of the Israelites' worship of God. Judgment was to again come on the nation. In Ezekiel 5: 11-17 there is the culmination of God's judgment on Israel following centuries of warnings by the prophets.

Wherefore,as I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all your abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee ; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity.
A third part of you shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of you:
and a third part shall fall by the sword round about you;
and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.
Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them. Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations ...So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that are round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the LORD have spoken it. When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you:..So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave you; and pestilence and blood shall pass through you; and I will bring the sword upon you. I the LORD have spoken. (Ezekiel 5: 11-17)

In AD70, the nation of Israel was destroyed by the Romans and those who survived the Roman attack were scattered among the nations of the world. After 1948, the nation of Israel was reborn as proclaimed by the prophets and God has yet to complete his plan with the earth as promised to the Patriarchs of Israel. This will follow a major upheaval and judgment on all nations. And this will involve the whole earth and all mankind.