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Deuteronomy: The Second Law - Speech 6

A commentary on the sixth speech of Moses in Deuteronomy 21-23. The book of Deuteronomy is a series of 12 speeches that Moses gave just before his death at the end of Israel's wilderness journey.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Chapter 9

Unlawful Unions

In Deuteronomy 22:9-11 Moses says,

9 You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, lest all the produce of the seed which you have sown, and the increase of the vineyard become defiled. 10 You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. 11 You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together.

These three laws are all based upon the same principle that reveals the mind of Christ in different areas of life. On a physical level, verse 9 forbids hybridization of crops, and today this would extend also to genetically modified foods, or “Frankenfoods.” Moses gives no reason for this law, other than that such practices defile the land. In other words, it is detrimental to our health.

We only have to see the statistics in America, the land of GMO’s, to see that Americans are among the most unhealthy people in the world, though they spend far more than people of other countries on health care. Yet the government does not want to find the cause of this sickness, because ill health is good for the corporate economy. After all, sick people create jobs, and the pharmaceutical companies make huge profits for their investors.

Genetic modifications often change the number of chromosomes in a plant, which alters its food value. Modern wheat, for instance, is nothing like the wheat of biblical days. It now has nearly double the chromosomes that it used to have, and our bodies are negatively affected by it. Our bodies were made to be compatible with the food that God created, and when man alters that balance, we suffer the health consequences.

“The Grocery Manufacturers of America estimates that 75 percent of all processed foods in America contain a genetically modified ingredient….

“Did you know 18 percent of all genetically modified seeds have been engineered to produce their own pesticides? That alone makes foods grown from these seeds potentially harmful, but there’s more: Research shows that these seeds may continue producing pesticides inside your body once you’ve eaten the food grown from them!”

In India, farmers are now (in 2013) killing themselves at the rate of 1000 per month. Western studies concluded that it was because of draught, but that does not tell the whole story.

“Though areas of India planted with GM seeds have doubled in two years - up to 17 million acres - many farmers have found there is a terrible price to be paid.

“Far from being 'magic seeds', GM pest-proof 'breeds' of cotton have been devastated by bollworms, a voracious parasite.

“Nor were the farmers told that these seeds require double the amount of water. This has proved a matter of life and death.

“With rains failing for the past two years, many GM crops have simply withered and died, leaving the farmers with crippling debts and no means of paying them off….

“Here in the suicide belt of India, the cost of the genetically modified future is murderously high.”

This is an area of study that is too large for our study, but the principle of biblical law is clearly established in Deut. 22:9. The underlying purpose of hybridization (which produces sterile plants) and genetic modifications, is to usurp the place of God and lay claim to creation itself. They think they can destroy or change what God has made and then patent their new product as if it were their own.

In other words, such practices usurp God’s ownership of creation and pretend that their man-made product is better than that which God created. Their standard of what is good and right measures the sweetness or quantity of the yield, rather than its nutrition or quality. Quantity produces greater profits, but also more poison and less nutrition.

Yoking an Ox with a Donkey

In Deut. 22:10 the law against unlawful unions is applied to yoking an ox with a donkey to pull a plow. An ox is much heavier than a donkey, and so it is unfair to either animal to be yoked to the other. The Apostle Paul applies this to unequal marriages in 2 Cor. 6:14, telling us that believers should not be yoked together with unbelievers.

Mixing Fabric

In Deut. 22:11 the same principle of law is stated in terms of mixing fabric. Wool and linen were not to be mixed together in clothing. Again, no reason is stated in the law, yet Moses spoke by divine revelation of things that he could not know at the time. I have heard that mixed fabric tends to interfere with the natural electrical flow of the body, but whatever scientific reason might be behind this law, we do know that its spiritual and prophetic applications are the most important factors.

The priests were to wear linen when ministering to God in the tabernacle or temple (Exodus 28:42). This was meant to convey a spiritual principle, because “fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Rev. 19:8). Priests wore linen while ministering to God to signify the righteousness of their actions and character. Ezekiel 44:16-18 reflects this as well, saying,

16 They shall enter My sanctuary; they shall come near to My table to minister to Me and keep My charge. 17 And it shall be that when they enter at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and wool shall not be on them while they are ministering in the gates of the inner court and in the house…. 18 they shall not gird themselves with anything which makes them sweat.

Here we see that wool is equated with causing sweat. Sweat is associated with the curse upon the ground in Genesis 3:19, which came as the result of sin. Hence, wool and linen are spiritually incompatible, because linen represents spirit or heaven, while wool represents flesh or the earth.

Ezekiel’s prophetic instruction was meant to convey the change of priesthood, based upon the change from Phinehas to Zadok. Even as the priesthood of Phinehas was taken away on account of the corruption of Eli and his sons, so also there was to be a greater change of priesthood from Levi to Melchizedek. Hence, when Solomon replaced Abiathar with Zadok in 1 Kings 2:35, it prophesied of the later change of priesthood that would be instituted by Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

Ezekiel speaks, then, of two priesthoods, one “idolatrous” and the other righteous. The idolatrous priests—obviously a reference to Eli and his sons—were to be limited to the outer court, the realm of flesh, while the sons of Zadok were allowed to minister to God in the temple. Zadok means “righteous,” and he is the prophetic type of the Melchizedek (Melchi-Zadok) Order, of which Jesus is the High Priest.

In this prophecy, we see that the Melchizedek Order is able to minister to God in the temple in heaven by putting on their spiritual garments (linen). The others are limited to the earth and can minister to people only in the outer court, dressed in wool. Wool and linen, then, are prophetic fabrics representing two “tabernacles,” as Paul called them in 2 Cor. 5:1-3,

1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven; 3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, shall not be found naked.

Paul uses the types and shadows of the old priesthood to describe the greater things under the New Covenant. Our earthly “tent” in verse 1 becomes our clothing in verses 2 and 3. In other words, our present fleshly body is our present “earthly tent,” but we long to be clothed with the second “tent,” so that “what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (vs. 4). Our present clothing is of wool, making us the sheep of His pasture; but our future clothing is of linen, the spiritual body that is immortal.

So those who qualify for the first resurrection in Rev. 20:4-6 are made “priests of God and of Christ” and are given immortal bodies by which they may minister to God in the temple in heaven. Ezekiel 44:19 tells us that those overcomers will have the ability to dress either in wool or linen, so that they may minister to men on earth as well as to God in heaven. But they cannot dress in both wool and linen in either realm.

This is why, when Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, He went to such great lengths to prove that He was not a spirit (Luke 24:39). It would have been unlawful for Him to minister to the disciples as a spirit, for Ezekiel 44:19 says, “when they go out into the outer court… then they shall put on other garments.”

After His resurrection, Jesus was given linen garments, which He put on as long as He ministered in heaven, but when He appeared to His disciples on earth, He was required to change clothes and put on woolen garments of “flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). Dressed in flesh, He was able to show them His wounds and to eat with them.

All of this reveals the law of God keeping linen and wool separate. The physical application of the law was a revelation of the distinction between flesh and spirit. It also prophesied of the difference between the two “tents,” that is, the physical and spiritual bodies. By extension, it also points to the two men, Adam and Christ, who have begotten the two “I’s.” Adam has begotten the “old man” of flesh (Rom. 6:6), while Christ has begotten the “new man” (Eph. 2:15) that is our real self.

Like wool and linen, those two “men” in us are incompatible. Paul says that they war against each other (Rom. 7:23), because the flesh man desires to violate the law of God. On the other hand, Paul says, “I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man” (Rom. 7:22). The old Adamic man is dressed in wool that causes sweat, while the new man in Christ is dressed in linen, or the righteousness of the saints.

When Moses revealed the law forbidding certain unions in Deut. 22:9-11, he was conveying physical, spiritual, and prophetic truth on different levels. The most important application of this law shows the utter incompatibility of the Adamic “old man” and the “new man” in Christ.

We are not to walk after the flesh but after the Spirit. To mix the two defiles our land, because it produces the traditions of men. When men try to reform the old man and force him to be spiritual, this only creates religion. Adam has been sentenced to death, and no amount of self-discipline or religious activity will make him acceptable to God or qualify him for immortal life. Only that which has been begotten by our Father in heaven, that new man called “Christ in you” in Colossians 1:27, is part of the body of Christ.

So let us not confuse the two and attempt to clothe the old man with linen, for he will never lose his woolen clothing. If we add linen to his wool, we will only violate the law of God.