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Deuteronomy: The Second Law - Speech 8

A commentary on the eighth speech of Moses in Deuteronomy 27-28. 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 10

Locusts are God’s Army

Moses continues telling Israel of the curses for disobedience in Deut. 28:38-40,

38 You shall bring out much seed to the field, but you shall gather in little, for the locust shall consume it. 39 You shall plant and cultivate vineyards, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm shall devour them. 40 You shall have olive trees throughout your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives shall drop off.

In ancient times, swarms of locusts would come periodically to consume everything in their path. In Exodus 10:12 this was one of the ten plagues on Egypt. In 2 Chron. 7:13 Solomon refers to locusts as part of the curse of the law, saying,

13 If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Verse 14 is well known in most Christian circles, and is often quoted to advocate repentance in America. It is strange, however, that they do not seem to make the connection between sin and lawlessness. It is a paradox that they sincerely call the church to repent, and even list some specific violations of the law from which to turn, and yet when they discuss the law as a whole, they often say that it has been put away.

Having spoken with many such Christians, I have taken notice that they usually ignore the actual definition of sin given by John himself. 1 John 3:4 says, “sin is lawlessness.” While many agree that abortion is murder and that homosexual behavior is fornication—because the law says so—they usually reserve for themselves the right to put away whatever laws they do not understand or those they wish to disobey. The feast of Pentecost is thus seen to be a realm of mixture between sin and righteousness, for it is a leavened feast (Lev. 23:17), made acceptable to God only by the baptism of fire.

Solomon said that divine judgment would be overturned when “My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray.” The burden is not upon the unbelievers or the Babylonian rulers. Things will change when genuine Christians repent, or change their way of thinking. When they give up the right to violate whatever law they think has been put away, God will then heal the land, for then they will see the importance of studying the law itself.

Nehemiah’s Revival

We should remember the Revival story in Nehemiah 8, where Ezra read the law to the people and gave them understanding in Neh. 8:8,

8 And they read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.

The Judean people coming out of Babylon were ignorant of the law, having lived in the Babylonian culture for generations. Nehemiah the governor and Ezra the priest then read the law to fulfill the feast of Tabernacles. The people were so convicted of sin that Ezra had to comfort the people, saying in verse 9, “Do not mourn or weep. For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law.”

I believe some day the church will hear the words of the law and realize how lawless they have been without realizing it. When they weep over the discovery of their own lack of understanding, this will be the turning point when God reverses our present captivity.

Metaphorical Locusts

Moses spoke about locusts as a curse for disobedience, and Solomon said that God would “command the locust to devour the land” when Israel was disobedient. But insects are not the only way in which this curse may come upon the land. Locusts can take many forms, especially when the prophets apply the law spiritually. The prophet Nahum speaks of the princes and merchants of Nineveh as being locusts, for we read in Nahum 3:15-17,

15 … Multiply yourself like the creeping locust, multiply yourself like the swarming locust. 16 You have increased your traders more than the stars of heaven—the creeping locust strips and flies away. 17 Your guardsmen [minnezar, “princes”] are like the swarming locust. Your marshals [tifsar, “governors”] are like hordes of grasshoppers settling in the stone walls on a cold day….

From the prophet’s description, we learn that these traders are locusts in that they strip people of their wealth and then fly away. Hence, God raised up Nineveh as the curse of the law upon the House of Israel. Likewise, also Joel prophesies of locusts (Joel 1:4) as a judgment from God. In Joel 2:25, God calls them “My great army which I sent among you.”

This locust army is a metaphor for the armies that God sends upon Israel when He judges them for their disobedience. God took credit for raising up the Assyrian army against Israel. He took credit again for raising up the Babylonian army against Judah. He took credit again for raising up the Roman army against Jerusalem in 70 A.D. These armies are “locusts” that fulfill the word of the Lord against a lawless nation.

Today the locusts are the men of Mystery Babylon, whom God has raised up to devour what we produce. They devour through a multitude of taxes, leaving barely enough for men to make a living. Then, in order to extract more from the people, they pushed women into the workforce in order to increase the tax revenue. It is now hardly possible to sustain a family on a single income, due to the great increase in taxes. Not content to enslave men, they took note that women are great workers, and so they coveted their labor as well. Thus, they have effectively enslaved women by promising them “freedom” and “the right to work.”

While Christians today often oppose the high tax rates imposed upon the people, they often miss the connection between taxes and tithes. Because few study the law, they do not comprehend clearly that the tithe is the Kingdom tax. If they had studied the law and had taught the people not to put away the law, as Jesus instructed in Matt. 5:17-19, then God would not have raised up His army of locusts to cover the land. The solution is not to fight the locusts, but to repent of our own disobedience. When we repent, God will remove the locusts, for they are “His army” and will do His will at His command.

Not Owning our own Children

Moses continues in Deut. 28:41, 42,

41 You shall have sons and daughters but they shall not be yours, for they shall go into captivity.

This verse seems to be out of place, but when we understand that the locusts are God’s foreign armies sent to conquer the people and put them into slavery, then verse 41 makes perfect sense. These armies enslave our sons and daughters as well. They enslave them as part of the labor force, but also in their education in the ways of Babylon.

Likewise, it should be noted that the government created marriage licenses, not so much to regulate marriage itself, but rather to become a third parent in the marriage. This is how the government’s “Social Services” is able to take children from their parents according to their definition of “child abuse.” While it is certain that many children are abused, there are also many examples of government abuse. Gradually, they are moving toward a time when they may lay full claim to all children and declare Christian teaching itself to be “child abuse.”

The Babylonian government has also created birth certificates, which are commercial papers sent to the Department of Commerce to register slaves. The baby’s footprint, like a fingerprint, serves as its signature, and the child is given a slave number. These papers are then traded among the super-rich and “elite” of Babylon, for each baby has a commercial value, based upon its future labor and production. In this way, they buy and sell the “bodies and lives of men” (Rev. 18:13, The Emphatic Diaglott).

The Babylonians have refined their system of slavery to the point where parents no longer own their own children, for they have been brought into captivity almost as soon as they are born. The primacy of the family unit—so valued under biblical law—has been put away along with the divine law, and children are now owned by Babylonian masters.

42 The cricket [tselatsel, “whirring, buzzing; repetitious sound”] shall possess all your trees and the produce of your ground.

There are various words translated “locust” in Scripture. In Deut. 28:38 the word used in arbeh, “locust swarm.” The focus is upon their great numbers. In verse 42 the word is tselatsel, which is a word that focuses upon the repetitive sound that they make.

And so, while Moses uses a different word to describe the locusts of Babylon, he is again employing the metaphorical language of prophecy to describe how the oppressors come to “possess all your trees and the produce of your ground.” Trees are men (Deut. 20:19), and men are made of the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7). Moses’ words, then, encompass more than literal trees and fruit. It includes all of the people and their labor.