Margin Notes: Things I scribbled in the white spaces on 4/23/2K8

1 – “But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death. And if he struck him down with a stone tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death. Or if he struck him down with a wooden tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death. The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death. And if he pushed him out of hatred or hurled something at him, lying in wait, so that he died, or in enmity struck him down with his hand, so that he died, then he who struck the blow shall be put to death. He is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when he meets him.” (Numbers 35:16-21, ESV)

RAF: Murder is distinguished from manslaughter by these 3 things. To be “murder” it must bear at least one of these elements:

a. Use of a weapon. b. Predisposition of hatred or enmity. c. Premeditation by lying in wait.

2 – Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death.” (Numbers 35:31, ESV)

RAF: For some sins, there was no ability to bring a sacrifice as a substitute and then to go free – the person must die. This is what is being referred to in Hebrews 9:22 – that under the Law “ALMOST everything was purified with blood,” and in 1 John 5:16 – that there is a sin unto death; and we are instructed not to pray for that. In other words, even in Church discipline, most sins can be forgiven and the person restored. But for the sin of unrepentance for instance, one must be disciplined. Until there is repentance, discipline must be carried out. However, the glory of the New Covenant is that: “and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:39, ESV)

3 – “It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea.” (Deuteronomy 1:2, ESV)

RAF: What was meant to be an 11 day journey took 40 years because of faithlessness and rebellion. Oh Lord, subdue my heart. How little of the inheritance do I possess now, because of my own faithlessness?

4 – “Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.’ And you answered me, ‘The thing that you have spoken is good for us to do.’ So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and set them as heads over you, commanders of thousands, commanders of hundreds, commanders of fifties, commanders of tens, and officers, throughout your tribes. And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him. You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’ And I commanded you at that time all the things that you should do.” (Deuteronomy 1:13-18, ESV)

RAF: Every man ought to be striving to be considered one who might be “commanders” – elders – over 1000’s, hundreds, fifties, or tens. May God’s people have a full compliment of those who know God’s Word and can judge rightly between their brethren. A nation of chiefs, all who can take their place. Rise up O Church!

5 – “And the Lord said to me, ‘Say to them, Do not go up or fight, for I am not in your midst, lest you be defeated before your enemies.’ So I spoke to you, and you would not listen; but you rebelled against the command of the Lord and presumptuously went up into the hill country.” (Deuteronomy 1:42-43, ESV)

RAF: Here is the explanation of the Psalmist’s cry in Psalm 19:18 “keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins.” As here – presumptuous sin is to act like God is on your side, when due to your own sin and rebellion, He will not fight for you until the sin is resolved. You cannot fight one sin in your life – or sin in the world, unless you are willing to deal with all your sins. To keep one and then expect God’s power to resist another will end in defeat.

6 – “Do not contend with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as for the sole of the foot to tread on, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession.” (Deuteronomy 2:5, ESV)

RAF: See God’s faithfulness to His promises to Esau as much as to Jacob. “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” did not mean a total casting off, but a choosing of the one above the other for the carrying on of the covenant. Do not assume then that God cast Esau off – for He did no such thing.

7 – “And the Lord said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab or contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land for a possession, because I have given Ar to the people of Lot for a possession.’” (Deuteronomy 2:9, ESV)

RAF: Once again we are seeing the enactment of what Paul says in Galatians 3:17

The covenant that came 430 years later (the Mosaic covenant) cannot annul the previous promise or promises. Even the promise to Lot has been preserved and is not preempted by the bringing in of the Mosaic covenant.

8 – “ “So I sent messengers from the wilderness of Kedemoth to Sihon the king of Heshbon, with words of peace, saying,” (Deuteronomy 2:26, ESV)

RAF: The common misconception that the Israelites just entered into wholesale slaughter is disproved here, and will be shown many times again. They were always to approach with words of, and and offer of – peace. It was only when the peace was rejected or war against them broke out that they were to utterly destroy their enemies. The Gospel of peace goes out into all the world for generation after generation. Christ will not come back and judge the world without our ambassadorship having gone forth first.

9 – “ And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Not with our fathers did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today.” (Deuteronomy 5:1-3, ESV)

RAF: God’s covenant ultimately rests with those who actually hear and believe – not necessarily with those who heard it with their ears, but did not believe it so as to obtain it. Faith is the victory that overcomes the World.

10 – “Go near and hear all that the Lord our God will say and speak to us all that the Lord our God will speak to you, and we will hear and do it.’ “And the Lord heard your words, when you spoke to me. And the Lord said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken. Oh that they had such a mind as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:27-29, ESV)

RAF: God is not fooled by our outward responses to the glory of His revelation. He knows full well that no matter how great the revelation, unless there is an inward work – a mind truly captive to Him, we will stray no matter how simple, no matter how clear, no matter how doable the external code might be.

11 – “And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers.” (Deuteronomy 6:23, ESV)

RAF: We must never forget we were brought out – to go in. Our deliverance from the bondage of sin is not an end in itself. We were brought out of our sin that we might go on to live in holiness. We were brought out of the World that we might live in the Heavenlies. Do not imagine you were just brought out – God’s intention is to take you in to the fullness of His promises.

12 – “and when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire.” (Deuteronomy 7:2-5, ESV)

RAF: It is not enough for us to simply be God’s people, and then to ignore the culture. We are to be about the business of ruining its idol worship and exposing its false gods, and bringing down its temples to sin and self.

13 – “and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face.” (Deuteronomy 7:10, ESV)

RAF: This may be one of the most terrifying verses in the whole of holy writ.


13 thoughts on “Margin Notes: Things I scribbled in the white spaces on 4/23/2K8

  1. The Reformational and Reformed Christians realize that “In Christ Jesus” they are forgiven and are sealed, etc. “in” (ev, Gk) or by Christ Jesus who lives above..Risen, Ascended for His people (Holy session etc.)…Eph. 1:3-11; 1 Tim. 2: 5-6, etc. Of course this whole life from top to bottom, is lived in faith…Rom. 5: 1-5. And the demands of the law have been met in Christ also…Rom. 10:4.

  2. In my opinion, the OT law books can only be applied to the Christian by the grace and revelation (NT), and this is both by illustration and appilcation, i.e, typical/typological. I am an Anglican rector. I taught for several years both theology and philosophy, and for what its worth I have both the D. Phil. and Th.D.

  3. Thanks for stopping by “Irish” – it a pleasure to meet you. I am partial to “Rectors”, since it is my wife’s maiden name. Good to have that base covered – eh?

    As to your first comment, I could not agree more. What a glory to live this side of the Cross. What a glory to live our lives before Him in gratitude, rather than in any sense trying to gain His favor through our works.

    As to your second – I’m not exactly sure of your point except to agree that we must be careful with how we apply the OT this side of Calvary. While at the same time, we must treat every word God has spoken and preserved as precious. Worth our time and consideration. And while we do not look to the Mosaic statues as binding, we do see in them how our God thinks and how He views matters. They are most instructive as we see Him interacting with a people and gain great insight into His heart and mind. While I speak many words which are for my daughter only, nevertheless, in occasions where she observes me interacting with others, she too gains deeper understanding into my thoughts and ways of reasoning. We draw from the OT the principial elements which remain true in all contexts. Hopefully. If we do it well.

    Congratulations on your degrees. I have 2 as well. Both Fahrenheit and Celsius. 🙂

  4. Well put, my point was a bit theological, indeed in the OT we always have moral order. But our Holy God gets the last word! His moral may not always be ours..and is certainly not a worldly wisdom! I only mention my education, cuzz many on here are so blog overt. I am not a hard blogger really. Just perhaps a hard headed Irishman! lol But how we think and reason does matter. And your posts are good. I too have two son’s both born in me 40’s. So at my age I have to try an keep on the curve…that’s ahead of them! lol
    Keep the faith!

  5. Truly my friend – a pleasure to get to know you. I am grateful. And ah yes – the joy of blogging. The Margin Notes is just something I tap out each day mainly meant for my own congregation. This way they know where I am reading and what went through my wee brain while at it. I have continued blogging simply because the discipline of writing something each day is good; because I never want to come away from God’s Word without anything; and, with the hope that something may be of use to cause others to see Christ. I am certain you and I share such things.


  6. It is my pleasure too mate! In our postmodern mess, it is good to see another pastor-teacher “thinking” and caring about his people! I have so many long-hand notes (before the computer! Or I used it much lol) And yes, we share much In Christ! Here is a verse I keep close to heart & mind: 1 Tim. 4:16! I know you will say amen!

    PS And just for the record, I am one who sees the historic Pre-Mill position. To my mind, Rom. 11: 28-29 (and still some OT verses) point this way. Just mention this cuzz I know there are few of us! lol See also Rom. 1:16. I don’t say this to make waves, just to let ya know a bit, where my biblical mind-set is. And I am not unaware of 2 Pet. 3. I am always seeking to learn from God’s Word! We always must be willing and ready for change! And yes I was A-Mill for years. I still cannot rule that out either! Well just to chat mate. God Bless!

  7. Question: Is there a renewal of some evangelicals toward Eastern Orthodoxy in the USA? There is in Great Britain. Like CS Lewis, they see Hell as some kind of non ontological reality. The idea that is more the soul’s inability to see God’s love, etc. So to them, hell is more of a metaphor, as real punishment. I am not so certain on this? But I do have some close Orthodox friends.

  8. Indeed, there is a movement in that direction. It comes from 4 sources that I can see. a. Postmodern approaches to the Scripture see things like the concepts of Heaven and Hell as allegories, not actual destinies. They rejct such notions of God’s actually punishing anyone for anything. In fact, it goes so far as to deny substitutionary atonement which they liken to cosmic child abuse. Who would punish one child to save another? they ask. b. The second is as you mentioned, a move toward Eastern Orthodoxy. I have a friend who went that whole route and was eventually ordained EO. I struggle with this because of its focus upon justification mingled with works. c. Authors like Edwin Fudge are arguing that an eternal Hell is both over-punishment for some, and immortalizes sin. In this case I fear the cure worse than the disease. It makes no room for God’s being able to administrate Hell in proper degrees (some will beaten with many stripes and others with few) so we must just cast it aside. It makes less of sin, and thus diminishes the need for the death of Christ. And, it fails to see God could eliminate the existence of sin, and nevertheless continue to meet out just retribution. d. Good men like John R. W. Stott – a fellow churchman I believe, have trouble reconciling it with a full orbed concept of God’s love. I think all the problems can be met with a truly biblical understanding – but there is no doubt Hell is on the way out in any number of circles. The fascination with EO grows too with a growth in a more tangible and ritual oriented religious experience. For us, that would be found in the Emerging or Emergent Church movements.

  9. Thanks for this. I have been trying to keep friendship and some continuity with my close Orthodox friends and those Anglican’s leaning that way. I wrote a small blog on their Trinitarian sense and history. Leaving aside the Filioque for the moment. They have their new Orthodox Study Bible coming out, with the OT based off the Septuagint. Which should be interesting. I have always told my Orthodox friends, that they seem to lack in the area of exegesis, i.e. the Text! And I would agree that their sense of God’s holy nature and righteousness is more mystical than biblical. But I value some of their writers. One is Alexander Schmemann. His statement of the nature of evil is much more biblical. He notes that evil is personal, though it is not like God; “it must of necessity be fulfilled in negation, hatred and rebellion.” Your insight is good, and demands more thought! (Your postmodern ideas -in their case- will be some sparks for sure! But we need it!)

    Indeed, Stott has fallen prey to what many Anglicans have done, some kind of annihilationism. Sad.. Even the pagan Plato said the soul was immortal! I have to run my brother, would love to chat later.

    Peace of Christ,

  10. Irish – Historical pre-mill eh? Well, aren’t WE a couple of dinosaurs. There aren’t many of us around. But a few! Glad to hear it.

  11. Ya Reid, WE are in the real minority. But there were a few early church fathers who were also, i.e. pre-mill. I like the way you seek to honor the TEXT, there are many who say they do, but their practice and lack of exegesis says something different. None of us are infallible, but to live and toil over the Word/Text, to me this will always bring blessing! I have always told my A-Mill friends, if Satan is bound, he sure does have a long chain! lol I hope that can be expressed in fun? I have heard my share for my position. What do ya make of Isa.60:21-22? Seems to be future to me! As Zech.13:9-chap.14. and Isa.66:8.

  12. Israel as a “nation”, even in unbelief (Rom.11:28), will be 60 years old in May! I don’t see how we can bury our Christian heads in the ground, since Israel has become a Nation? I am not into “pop” culture prophesy, but the Jewish people in their land is factual and providential! God is sovereign!

  13. Pingback: Resources for Deuteronomy 1:42 - 43

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