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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 6

God’s All-Consuming Fire

In Deut. 28:25, 26 Moses shifts his focus to the fact that Israel’s disobedience would cause Israel to be defeated and to flee before their enemies in time of war.

25 The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them, but you shall flee seven ways before them, and you shall be an example of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 26 And your carcasses shall be food to all the birds of the sky and to the beasts of the earth, and there shall be no one to frighten them away.

This is the opposite of the blessing for obedience seen in verse 7. America never lost a war prior to 1948. After 1948 America has never won a war, other than minor conflicts such as Grenada (1983) and Panama (1989). The Korean War never really ended. The Vietnam War was lost. While President Bush declared victory over Iraq in 2003, he failed to mention that the so-called “War on Terror” is a perpetual war that will never end in victory as long as America refuses to repent.

When a nation recognizes the Creator’s rights and obeys His law, God defends the nation. But Lev. 26:40 and 41 makes it clear that when a nation breaks its word and acts with hostility against God, God also became their enemy. The prophet gives us Israel’s example in Isaiah 63:10,

10 But they [the Israelites] rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.

The Example of Jerusalem and Judah

Jerusalem too rebelled against God and violated the covenant. As a consequence, the prophet foretold how God will yet take up arms against Jerusalem to destroy that city on account of its rebellion against God (Christ). Isaiah 29:1-3 says,

1 Woe, O Ariel, Ariel the city where David once camped! Add year to year, observe your feasts on schedule. 2 And I will bring distress to Ariel… 3 And I will camp against you, encircling you, and I will set up siege works against you, and I will raise up battle towers against you.

Ariel is a poetic name for Jerusalem. This name has a double meaning. It was supposed to be the “lion of God” (from ariy, “lion”); but when they rebelled against God, God treated it like “God’s hearth” (from arieyl, “hearth-altar”), where the people would be sacrificed as a burnt offering on the altar of God.

So the rebellious people living in the city of Jerusalem are said to be God’s enemies, the enemies of Christ, and for this reason, God said that He will make war on Jerusalem, raising up other nations as His army. This was partially fulfilled in 586 B.C. when the Babylonians invaded and destroyed the city. It was again partially fulfilled in 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem as Jesus prophesied (Matt. 22:7).

But Isaiah’s description sounds more like a nuclear strike than a conventional invasion. In that scene, Ariel’s “enemies” are its own inhabitants—not the army that God has raised up against the city. God is said to be on the side of those who fight against Ariel-Jerusalem. God Himself claims to be laying siege to the city.

The inhabitants of Jerusalem are the cause of the city’s destruction and are therefore the real enemies of the city. The prophet then says in Isaiah 29:5,

5 But the multitude of your [Ariel’s] enemies shall become like fine dust, and the multitude of the ruthless ones like the chaff which blows away; and it shall happen instantly, suddenly. 6 From the Lord of hosts you will be punished with thunder and earthquake and loud noise, with whirlwind and tempest and the flame of a consuming fire.

Men have misunderstood this, because they do not know the law. They think that the Jews are immune to such judgment even though they have rejected both the Father and the Son. But they are the ones today who have occupied Jerusalem, and their rebellion against God and hostility against Christ has made them the enemies of the city itself. The result of this, Isaiah says, is that God will turn Jerusalem into an altar of burnt offering, using nuclear weapons to destroy the city.

Then will be fulfilled the prophecy in Jer. 19:11, which says that the city will be destroyed in such a way that it will never again be rebuilt or repaired. Jerusalem—“the bondwoman,” as Paul calls it in Gal. 4:30—will be cast out with her children (Jews), so that the true inheritors may rule the Kingdom in the Age to come.

It is important to understand the law of God, so that we know the meaning of Isaiah’s prophecies concerning the earthly Jerusalem.

God’s Enemies as Bird Feed

These principles also affect America and all nations, for there is no impartiality with God. When we expel Christ from His rightful place as King of kings, our hostility toward Him brings hostility in return, for this is the curse of the law. Such hostility does not end until repentance occurs (Lev. 26:40-42).

We have already commented on the fact that since 1948 America lost the blessing of obedience in this regard. America has not won a major war since that time, as America’s hidden rulers never intended for those wars to be won. Their intent was to bleed America by debt in order tighten their control over the nation.

The Babylonian system today is self-destructing, as is all evil, for anything that deviates from the law of God is rooted in death. For this reason, Mystery Babylon, which rules the world today, has sought to enslave the world through debt, but when the debt itself reaches the level where the people can no longer pay, the system itself crashes to the ground. This is what began in 2008 and is continuing even today.

The implication of Moses’ statement above is that if Israel is obedient, their enemies, or oppressors, will be “the food to all the birds of the sky.” This detail was not mentioned in the blessings of obedience in verse 7, but we do see it referenced in prophecy. In the last battle, described in Rev. 19:17, 18 we read,

17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assembly for the great supper of God; 18 in order that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”

Earlier, in Rev. 19:9 we read,

9 And he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb’.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

The word picture depicts the armies of heaven coming with the blessing of God to “the marriage supper of the Lamb,” while their opponents become the feast or “supper of God” for the birds. There is irony in the contrast, for the people of God are invited to dine with Christ, pictured in the marriage feast of Cana (John 2:1-11). There they are like the water that is transformed into wine to be consumed (or assimilated into the body of Christ) at the table of God.

By contrast, those who fight God are consumed by the birds, which, in Matt. 13:19, represent “the evil one.” The metaphor is meant to describe a separation between the evil ones and the righteous, each being absorbed or consumed into a different body. If such a war literally occurs, of course, it is possible also that many dead bodies will be consumed by the vultures and animals—but the meaning is more profound than that.

This last battle is also described in Ezekiel 39:17-20 in regard to the battle against Gog and Magog. Whether or not this is the same battle as described in Revelation 19 is not important for our study here, especially because Revelation 19 does not identify the people or nations being consumed by the birds. It is only in a later battle described in Rev. 20:8 that Gog and Magog are mentioned specifically. Many, however, have identified the people in Revelation 19 to be Gog and Magog on the grounds that the description of the birds eating their flesh is the same as seen in Ezekiel 39.

Our purpose here is to show that the law speaks of birds eating the dead bodies in conjunction with the curse of the law upon the disobedient. The prophets draw upon this law to show its application in prophecy. The deeper spiritual meaning of this indicates their assimilation into the body of evil ones (“birds”) in contrast to the obedient ones being assimilated into the body of Christ.

The Consuming Fire

This situation for the disobedient, of course, is not permanent, for even after these battles there is yet more to the story. The battle with Gog and Magog in Rev. 20:8-10 sets up the next event—the general resurrection of ALL the dead so that they can be judged at the Great White Throne. God judges all by His own “fiery law” (Deut. 33:2, KJV), which disciplines and corrects those in the body of evil ones until the Creation Jubilee sets all men free into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8:21).

The purpose of that divine judgment is to put all enemies under His feet. Even death itself is to be abolished in the end (1 Cor. 15:25, 26). The first death (i.e., mortality) ends with the resurrection of the dead (Rev. 20:14). The second death, which came not from Adam but from our own sin, is judged by the fiery law until it too is abolished. All death is an enemy of God, even though God created it as a judgment for sin. Hence, when all enemies have been put under the feet of Christ, Paul says that death will be the “last enemy” destroyed.

The first death (mortality, received through Adam’s sin) will be among the first enemies destroyed, for it will end at the Great White Throne judgment. The age that follows, however, still includes “enemies” who are being judged and corrected. Some have argued that when they are cast into the “lake of fire” that this fulfills the prophecy that they are now “in subjection under His feet.” But this is not Paul’s intent. Paul goes on to say that only God will be “all in all.” In other words, His full character will be in all men when they are all subjected to Christ in the way that God intends.

But what of all those who are being judged by the fiery law? How can God be “all in ALL” if there are yet billions of people who are left out of this? The goal is not to be all in SOME, but all in ALL.

For this reason, when Paul speaks of abolishing death last as “the last enemy,” it can only mean that the second death will be abolished in the end of time by the mandate of the Jubilee. Those who benefit from the abolition of death are those being judged by the fiery law—not those who benefit earlier at the time of their resurrection.

In other words, those who were previously assimilated into the body of evil—in accordance with the law in Deut. 28:26—will be chastened and trained even as believers are chastened in the present age. By the same process in which we ourselves have been transformed by this baptism of fire from the body of evil ones into the image of Christ, so also will they in that age of judgment. The primary difference is really a matter of timing, for those who submit to the baptism of fire today will avoid it in an age to come.

God is said to be a consuming fire (Deut. 4:24). To “consume” is to eat. The loving character and motive of God is to consume all things into Himself in order to be “all in all.” Therefore, He intends to restore all things to Himself. He has the power to do so, and the wisdom to accomplish His will without violating His holiness or the law. The birds are thus summoned to the “supper of God” to separate the evil from the good, but in the end, the all-consuming fire of God will assimilate all things back to Himself.