Saturday, July 7, 2012

Curses and blessing under the law.

Matthew 5:18: "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (KJV).

We have been discussing the interconnecting subjects, of how the heaven and earth passed away. In this article we will go back into the old testament to see some of the elements of the law (Torah) (Hebrew: תּוֹרָה, "Instruction"), also known as "The Pentateuch", a.k.a. The Five Books of Moses that had to be fulfilled before heaven and earth passed away.

In these lengthy chapters of Deuteronomy 28 to 31 God describes in great details in (the Torah)  what would happen to the nation of Israel if they obeyed His words, and what would happen if they disobeyed Him.

Contained within the law were curses and blessing.  In this section God set life and death cures or blessing before the nation of Israel.   Deuteronomy 30:19  I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.  Moses implored the people to make a choice.  Choose – The Hebrew verb bahar means “to choose, to pick, to take a keen look at.”

If they wanted to choose life, then they absolutely have to know what the Torah says.   Verses 2-14 point out the specific blessings for obedience. They would include food in abundance (verses 4-5), safety from enemies (verse 7), healthy children and abundant livestock and produce (verses 11-12).

These blessings would also enable Israel to give to many other nations, without having to borrow from them (verse 12).   All in all, Israel would become a "holy" people (verse 9), "the head and not the tail" (verse 13).

On the other hand, disobedience would bring about severe punishment. And that is just what happened. We know from history that ancient Israel later suffered  the specific courses listed, including military attacks, when the Roman  Empire besieged and conquered  Jerusalem and enslaved the nations.   God used this dreadful curse spelled out in Deuteronomy 28 to 31 as well as military attacks and enslavement.

Because of the large amount of curses that were (written in the law) and fulfilled upon the nation of Israel, for time and space we will look at just some of them.   Warning some are given is graph details.

Deuteronomy 28: 49-50  The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down, a nation whose language you will not understand,  a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the young.   Jesus mentioned this coming time in Luke 19:43-43 "For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side.  "And level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."

The context makes it clear that Jesus is referring to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman  Empire.  Jesus bemoans over the fact that the people of this city are ignorant of what is needed to make peace.  This meaning is supported by Zacharias' prophecy, "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He (has visited and redeemed His people), and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began..." (Luke 1:68-70).  (emphasis added)

Zacharias prophesied two things.  He prophesied that the King of all people would come. From verses 68 to 69, he prophesied with joy that God did not forget His promises and that Jesus, as God promised to Abraham, was born to the Virgin Mary in order to save his descendants from their enemies' hands. (Luke 1:74)    

There would be famine due to food shortages and destruction through locusts, worms and other natural disasters, unhealthy livestock, and droughts (Deuteronomy 28:17-18, 38-42).      Famine in Palestine, is mentioned when Paul and Barnabas went from Antioch to Jerusalem to bring relief to the Believers in Judea. (Acts 11:27-30)    This was shortly before they were sent out on their first evangelistic journey (Acts 13:2-3).

They will be conquered by a foreign power and become slaves-some of them will be sold  as captives of war to distant lands, including Egypt, never to see their country again (verses 32-33, 41, 68)  Josephus tells us everyone over the age of seventeen was sent in bonds to work the Egyptian mines. (Josephus 37:B.C A.D. 70 p. 230)

Some would resort to cannibalism Deuteronomy 28:52-57  "You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters whom the LORD your God has given you, in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you. "The sensitive and very refined man among you will be hostile toward his brother, toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the rest of his children whom he leaves behind, "so that he will not give any of them the (flesh of his children whom he will eat, because he has nothing left in the siege)  and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates. "The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because of her delicateness and sensitivity, will refuse to the husband of her bosom, and to her son and her daughter  "her placenta, which comes out from between her feet and her children, whom she bears; for (she will eat them secretly for lack of everything in the siege)  and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates.
(emphasis added)

This actually occurred during the siege of Jerusalem in A.D. 70   One women who had lost everything but her baby to blood-thirsty Jews, then killed her baby son, “and then roasted him, and ate the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealed.” When the seditious men smelled “the horrid scent of this food, they threatened her, that they would cut her throat immediately if she did not show them what food she had gotten ready. She replied, that she had saved a very fine portion of it for them and uncovered what was left of her son. She said this is my own son and he was killed by my own doing. Come, eat of this food; I have eaten of it myself. The men left, trembling and frightened and the all the city came under distress when they heard about it. (Josephus pp. 443-444.)

So every jot and tittle of the law, was fulfilled by the time all the curses of disobedience came upon the nation of Israel.   The new heaven and earth was in place.