Deuteronomy by Charles Clough
Duration:57 mins 22 secs

Deuteronomy Lesson 1

Biblical Importance of Deuteronomy: Theological and Philosophical Controversies

Fellowship Chapel
13 October 2009
Charles Clough
© Charles A. Clough 2009

We’re going to start our class in Deuteronomy. You should have the handout for session one; you should also have a booklet, the booklet I will mention in just a moment but I just want to get over some of the preliminaries here. If the class time changes or something I’ll try to get it to Mike and the office so that it will be on the church website, this is like for snow and that kind of stuff because this is not going to be a short series. Last time I did this, thirty-five years ago, it took a year and a half, but it may not take that long time this time. But to go through the Old Testament carefully, this particular book, which is an anchor volume in the entire Old Testament, it’s not some material you can just rush on through as I think you’ll see tonight. The announcement that we have in the bulletin summarized the big idea of this class.

This isn’t just a Bible study, this is going to show some of the implications of this Old Testament book in many, many different areas, and I’ve listed on here, Crime control, economics, education, environmental protection, family welfare, foreign relations, labor management, public health, taxation, and you could go on with the different topics associated with this book, and the reason for that is that Deuteronomy is a sermonic exposition of God’s policies for a nation. It is absolutely unique in history. No other place, no other time, in all of human history has there ever been a situation like that on the giving of the Law and we’ll go into that. It’s an anchor book in the Old Testament and as I’ve said in the announcements I tried to think about how to phrase this so that it makes sense to what’s going on in contemporary thinking. I’ve asked some of our college students, I’ve been in dialogue with them over the last few months about some of the issues that they’re running into in the classroom. Some of those issues are issues that have been going on for decades. But there is an emphasis today at the community colleges, both at Harvard and elsewhere with a certain kind of emphasis that I want to engage as we go through this.

One way of talking about it is to think in terms of a contemporary word, or terminology that might introduce us as to how to think about this is the term “social justice.” This is played around by politicians today and people in the media, it’s always the talking heads on TV who are always talking about everything in terms of “social justice.” What is “social justice.”

And the book of Deuteronomy is a definition of what real social justice looks like. And the reason for it is that as we’ve entitled this whole series, “When God ruled a nation,” remember, Israel is not like the Church. The Church is a trans-national entity, made up of different races, different cultures; this is not true of Israel, Israel is not the same as the Church. Israel is a national entity that had historic existence, who had crime, who had the need for education, and these things were underneath the dominion of Yahweh. So we have policies articulated in the book of Deuteronomy for that nation at that time in history.

So in a quick summary, then, in the preliminaries here, “When God ruled a nation” is a good way of thinking of this as a foundation for understanding what the Kingdom of God looks like. The Church is not the Kingdom of God, although theologians have tried this identity it just doesn’t work. The Kingdom of God is something coming in the future and the whole Old Testament motif in Israel is a forward look at what happens when God intervenes in history and says I am ruling this piece of real estate, I am dictating My policies to everyone in that nation and the leadership of that nation.

So the book of Deuteronomy turns into a gold mine of information about what the Kingdom of God looks like. And I also want to point out that in the course of tonight, particularly, it’s all preliminary to getting into the text. We’ll get into some of the Bible but this is all preliminary introductory material and some of you who have not engaged with the younger people and the educational system may find, particularly tonight, sort of irrelevant to your concerns. But I want to forewarn you that there are at least two incidents that have happened here in the chapel that have made me quite determined to address

these issues. Several years ago we had a fellow in our congregation going to an apparent Christian college and he wrote to Jerry, Jerry mentioned this in his class earlier. Why I want to read this to you is because this a letter written by a fellow who grew up in the chapel, went to college, parents sacrificially saved their money to pay for the tuition, and he helping them I’m sure, to go to a so-called “Christian campus,” end quote. This is what happened.

“My text for Old Testament survey is the New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. That should have warned me. Thus far I have been taught that the majority of the Old Testament is a bunch of myths to teach theological truths. Did you know, for example, that there were three Isaiah’s. Also, prophecy really doesn’t tell the future, it was just written to the people of the time and came to be viewed in that light later. Moses didn’t write the Pentateuch, by the way, it’s amazing how God used evolution to create the universe. After a while I began to question some of the things I was being taught and confronted my teacher with these doubts. He said I was putting God in a box by conforming Him to the historical and scientific truth. I guess I’m just narrow-minded.” So that’s a real life situation.

And prior to this particular case there was another one here, a family who come to the chapel, they began to put out their money and their daughter had helped them with the tuition going to a Christian campus up across the state line here, and she comes back after the first semester having been taught Wellhausen classical liberalism of the Old Testament, which I’m going to cover and address tonight, basically it says that the Old Testament, particularly the book of Deuteronomy is ultimately literary fabrication, and this is being taught by a Christian campus. So that’s when I came up with the slogan that I use several times in teaching, that if you’re going to get unbelief in college go to a secular university, the tuition is cheaper; because you’re not on your guard when you go to a Christian campus, you’re assuming that what you’re going to get is Christian biblical truths. If you go to a secular campus then you’re automatically on your guard and there’s less deception there, frankly.

So that’s the preliminary, that’s a little bit of background of why I’ve chosen this particular book, and now I want to go into point 2, the biblical importance of Deuteronomy, and then we’ll go into some of the controversies that have occurred because of this.

Dr. Eugene Merrill who’s still teaching Old Testament at Dallas Seminary points out that this book is very, very frequently quoted by other authors of the Old Testament and also in the New Testament. If you go through the Old Testament this book, Deuteronomy, is quoted 350 times, so obviously the people in the Old Testament are referencing this book. He says that it is the third most frequently quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament; number one, the most frequently quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament is Exodus; the second most frequently quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament is Genesis, and Deuteronomy is number three. So let’s turn to another point; that’s a citational evidence, the citational frequency shows you that the book of Deuteronomy is fundamental in understanding both the Old and the New Testament. It’s a foundational book.

Now if you’ll turn in your Bible to Deuteronomy we’ll go to the second item of biblical importance and that is in Deuteronomy 6; it is in the book of Deuteronomy where we have the classic definition of Judaism. In Deuteronomy 6 we have the Shema, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” That is the axiomatic core of Judaism. If you go to a synagogue, in almost every service you’ll hear that chanted in Hebrew: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Now that, you can see, could be used against the Trinity but when we get to exposit that you’ll see that that really doesn’t make it the Trinity. But the idea there is that the word “LORD,” notice it’s capitalized in the English text, when you see that capitalization L-O-R-D, it’s the Hebrew word Yahweh; so that’s the proper name of their God: “The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”

And then verse 5 gives you the corollary; verse 4 is the theological statement, verse 5 is the follow-up, and if you look at the next few verses, 5 and following, you’ll see immediately the inference. “You shall love the LORD your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” So that’s comprehensive covering; the word “love,” ahavah הבהא, there, is a word that we might define as show loyalty, or align yourself with. So it’s a choice, it’s not a feeling, a choice, a conscious choice recognizing an obligation to love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul. And so all the different commandments, the case law, all that stuff in the book of Deuteronomy dealing with gender issues, dealing with slavery, dealing with economics, all of that is part of loving God with our heart and our soul. So you can see that in the Old Testament the definition was encompassing, it was universal throughout all society.

And then you’ll notice in verse 6 the next implication. Once you have the confession of verse 4, then in verse 5 the implication of that confession, and immediately, “These words I command you shall be in your heart,” well now, how does it get into the heart, and the answer is in verse 7, “You will teach them diligently to your children, you will talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.” So it’s 24/7 teaching. Now the nuance here in that verse isn’t necessarily to tell Bible stories all the time, it’s that they deal with life as it comes from the biblical perspective. We might translate it: talk in terms of them on a 24/7 basis. So the Word of God was considered to be a comprehensive address. I mention that because today we have a split; it’s a little tricky thing that goes on. In our contemporary society the word “religion” often connotes your subjective opinion and the objective in public factual areas of knowledge, history, science, economics, banking, how to run a business, that’s all (quote) “the real world,” but the religious area is this little compartment, the subjective opinion area. Well, that’s not what you see here. Clearly, from verse 4, 5 and 6 you have a comprehensive address. There’s no separation of the religious from the irreligious, no separation of the sacred and the secular; it’s all woven together as a unity.

So that’s the second biblical importance. First was the citational frequency, the second is the fact that you have Judaism’s central core of theology here and if you’ll turn to Matthew 4 you’ll see that it is precisely the book of Deuteronomy that Jesus uses in the temptations against Satan. It’s interesting, of all the books quoted it’s repeatedly quoted on each of the temptations of Jesus. For example, in Matthew 4:4, “But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God,” Deuteronomy 8:3 as you can see in your margin. And that’s taken from a section within the book of Deuteronomy that we’ll go through where Moses is dealing with the attitude, the heart attitude. So Jesus picks that up and uses that in His battle with Satan. And this is His humanity now, Jesus is God, Jesus is man, He has two natures. But in the attack upon Him He is relying upon the Holy Spirit filling His human nature, and that’s the collision that’s occurring here, and in order to do that, He goes back to the Scriptures and of all the Scripture to go back to it’s the book of Deuteronomy.

Then in Matthew 4:7 you have the second testing, the second time he quotes the book, “Jesus said to him, It is written again, You shalt not tempt the Lord, your God,” that’s Deuteronomy 6:16, as you can see from the marginal references. So again, the emphasis Jesus places on this book. Matthew 4:10, “Jesus said to him, Away with you Satan; for it is written, You shall worship the Lord, your God, and Him only you shall serve.” And that’s Deuteronomy 6:10. So the third biblical important reason is that Jesus clearly models the day to day practical use of this book in spiritual conflict.

Now I have two slides I’m going to show here tonight, let’s see if I can describe them to you. One was a map, you have those in the back of your Bible probably, because I want to speak to the fourth important thing about Deuteronomy, and that is the theme. The theme of this book is that Moses, it’s Moses’ farewell address to the nation, and he’s concerned about what the second generation is going to do because we know what happened to the first generation, they were basically a generation of losers. And so they lost out, they were excluded from the land, and Moses doesn’t want the second generation to go through what the first generation did. So we refer to that as covenant renewal, and there’s going to be a ceremony that the nation does after the book of Deuteronomy is finished; they’re going to cross the Jordan, they’re going to invade the land, and when they get a foothold or a beachhead in the land, a beachhead large enough to establish a place of worship, they’re going to renew their covenant. This is the covenant at Mount Sinai, but it’s going to be renewed in the second generation. So let’s trace that theme.

The second slide I had was going to be a photograph of Mount Ebal and Gerizim, I’m standing on Mount Gerizim looking over at Mount Ebal, just so you can see they’re two big hills, we would call them, but that’s the place in central Israel where they were to have this covenant renewal. So we’re going to look now at some of the verses in Deuteronomy that anticipate this and then we’ll go to the ceremony itself.

If you’ll turn back to the book of Deuteronomy, we’re going to look toward the end of it because it’s toward the end that Moses addresses this need to renew the covenant. In Deuteronomy 27:1-8, here’s Moses now, just before he finishes. “Now Moses, with the elders of Israel, commanded the people, saying: ‘Keep all the commandments which I command you today, [2] And it shall be on the day when you cross over the Jordan to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, that you shall set up for yourselves large stones, and whitewash them with lime. [3] You shall write on them all the words of this law, when you have crossed over, that you may enter the land which the LORD your God is giving you, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey,’ just as the LORD God of your fathers promised. [4] Therefore, it shall be, when you have crossed over the Jordan, that on Mount Ebal you shall set up these stones, which I command you today, and you shall whitewash them with lime. [5] And there you shall build an altar to the LORD y our God, an altar of stones; you shall not use an iron tool on them. [6] You shall build with whole stones the altar of the LORD your God, and offer burnt offerings on it to the LORD your God.” So there’s a formal ceremony that ratifies the covenant.

Now that we may think accurately about this, let’s correct a vocabulary word. The word “covenant” has come to mean kind of a religious thing and in the history of religious theology there’s developed a thing called covenant theology and what they mean by covenant is not what we’re talking about here actually. This is sort of a subset of the big covenant according to some reformed theologians. We’re not interested in that. The best way of understanding this covenant renewal is to think in terms of a contract or a constitution. It is as though the United States would hold a constitutional renewal ceremony, which we need badly in this country, to get back to read the Constitution. I was just talking, it’s about the third or fourth time I’ve had this conversation with a lawyer, and every one of the lawyers that I have talked to that have been educated in law school over the last ten years, fifteen years, point out that not once in the three years of law school are they ever given one assignment in the Constitution… not one assignment in three years of law school. Now is there something wrong with this or not? What happens is that lawyers are trained in case law how to convince juries and go through hoopla, but a lot of the training is case law, meaning they’re training on judicial decisions that are based on judicial decisions that are based on judicial decisions that ultimately were based on the Constitution. It would be as though Mike, or any pastor gets up and teaches the Word of God that they never read the Bible, they’re just reading commentaries on the Bible, or commentaries on the commentaries on the commentaries on the Bible, but we never have any assignment in the Bible. Now that’s where the legal profession is right today. We wonder why we have screwy conclusions at the court of appeals, the federal circuit courts and these other things. Well, you get what you trained for. Nobody is trained in this.

Well, Moses isn’t going to have this. He is going to, notice, he is going to write it. Now some of the classic liberals don’t even believe writing occurred in Moses’ day, but here obviously they are writing it and we would say they put it on a big poster. You know, font 35 or 50 or something so everybody could read this. The emphasis, obviously, is what the Law said and everybody in the nation was supposed to understand this. So we have a public thing of it, they didn’t have Bibles, they couldn’t pass out paper because they didn’t have paper, so they made it a public thing, if you wanted to check out what the covenant was all about, go read it, it’s there, it’s up there on the hill of Mount Ebal.

Deuteronomy 31:24, “And so it was when Moses had completed,” notice, “writing,” again, that has implications for some of the controversies, by the way. We’re talking about covenant renewal, our fourth point under biblical importance, “And so it was when Moses had completed the writing the words of this Law in a book, when they were finished, [25] That Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD, saying, [26] Take this book of the Law, put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be as a witness against you. [27] For I know your rebellion and your stiff neck; if today, while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the LORD; and how then, much more, after my death!”

There’s something very humble about the Bible. It isn’t a self-exaltation of the nation Israel. As one professor I had at Dallas Seminary said, when God paints a picture of man He paints it warts and all. And here you have a depiction of the natural heart of this nation is to apostacize. There’s nothing inherently righteous with them. So Moses wants the Word of God, because it is the Word of God that is the standard…, see, because people rebelled against the Word of God, our flesh doesn’t like it, we’re going to distort it, we’re going to go our own way. So there has to be a standard, and the transcendental standard is the revelation of God in the Word. That’s why there is such a call back to the covenant or the contract. By the way, as Albright said, there’s only one nation in human history that ever had a contract with their gods; that was Israel. There were some… the code of Hammurabi claims to have been given by the gods and so on but it’s not the sense of a contract relationship. We’ll get more of that later. So here we have Moses again looking forward to that covenant renewal.

We turn to Deuteronomy 32, we have the Song of Moses and we’ll get to that some day, hopefully, Lord willing, but this is a song that was meant to be sort of a national anthem. It was a song written by Moses and it was sort of corresponding like we have The Star Spangled Banner except our national anthem looks back to Baltimore harbor and what happened there during the Revolutionary War, so it’s a look back. But the book of Deuteronomy 32 and the Song of Moses, this anthem not only looks back, it looks forward in history. It is a prophetic anthem; it goes all the way to the end of history.

And so in 32:1, “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.”

That is a loaded section, we’ll call the witnesses to the treaty and who those witnesses are, we’ll have to deal with that later. Further on through in Deuteronomy, all the way down to the end of the song, after he gets done, verse 44, Deuteronomy 32:44, “So Moses came with Joshua, the Son of Nun, and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people. [45] And Moses finished speaking all these words to all Israel. [46] And he said to them, Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe all the words of this law.” Notice right here, and we’ll get into it more, what is the primary conduit in a society of culture? It’s not the state.

It’s not the civil government. The primary conduit of culture from generation to generation is a God ordained family structure. That’s the conduit. If that fails the society falls apart, the government cannot be a surrogate family agency. The educational system cannot substitute for family. Ask any public school teacher and they’ll all tell you that if the parents aren’t behind the kids, forget it, if there’s no support, the teacher has absolutely no support whatever if their parents aren’t involved in the education of their children. It goes all the way back here, we’re talking something that’s thirty centuries old, like we have to learn this again all over.

So these are the lessons that were there in the text. If we go to Deuteronomy 34:1 and at the very end of the book Moses is going to die. By the way, he does not inherit the land because of discipline upon him, and so he’s going to die before they cross Jordan, and there’s some strange things that happen here.

Verse 5, “Moses, the servant of the LORD, died there in the land of Moab,” and God is going to put him to sleep. Notice what it says in verse 5, “Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. [6] And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab,” now who’s the subject of the verb buried?” It’s God, and we have a strange text in the New Testament that says the angels were fighting over the disposition of the body of Moses. What a strange thing that was; something odd is happening in the text here. We don’t know what all is going on. Moses had one of the strangest funerals of all time in that the heavenly powers and principalities warred over his body.

And then the text says, [7] “Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim, nor his natural vigor diminished.” So he didn’t have a health problem; Moses was basically put to death at that point by God Himself, “his eyes were not dim, nor his natural vigor… [8] And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days.” And by the way, look at the note in verse 6 at the end, the last clause in verse 6, “but no one knows his grave to this day.” Now it’s interesting, that little notice tells you that this book, later on the prophets pulled this book together and sort of edited it because that’s a post Mosaic reference, obviously, Moses is already dead. So anyhow, “the children of Israel wept for Moses” for thirty days. [9] “Now Joshua, the son of Nun, was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him, so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses.” Now we have a transition in leadership from Moses to Joshua; the baton is handed over.

And to culminate the last of these references we’re going through here on covenant renewal, the last one I want to take you to is in Joshua 8, the very next book, Joshua, and in chapter 8 this is when that ceremony happened. And you’ll see that Israel was faithful, the second generation, after they went through the Jericho episode and the Ai episode, the long day they’re going to go through, the Gibeonites, they haven’t got to that yet, but here they’ve got the beachhead in the land and now here they do, [30] “Joshua built an altar to the LORD God of Israel in Mount Ebal, [32] As Moses [the servant of the LORD] had commanded [the children of Israel], as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses,” by the way notice the text attributes the Law to Moses, “‘an altar of whole stones over which no man had wielded an iron tool.’ And they offered on it a burnt offering to the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings. [32] And there in the presence of the children of the LORD he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses,” so there’s the official re-establishment of the covenant or the contract that God had with the nation. So that’s number 4 of the biblical importance of Deuteronomy.

And finally, 5, just a comment about why this book is so important, why it is quoted so often in the spiritual sense, private personal sanctification, it’s because, as we’ll see, the book of Deuteronomy is sermonic, there’s a set of sermons in here and it contrasts in style to Leviticus and Numbers; Numbers is the story of how the nation Israel, why it wandered around for forty years and some of the activities, and the book of Leviticus, which gets into the fine decimal point issues of the Law is basically written to the Levites; it was written for the priests, it was written so that the details, all the minutia and sacrifices would be given. But Deuteronomy is Moses’ exposition of it. When we get into the first part here there’s a Hebrew expression used for expository preaching; Moses is expositing the details of the Law for the average person. So you might call the book of Deuteronomy, and one reason, probably, why it’s so popular among biblical writers, it was the common man’s version, it was the common version of the Law that people could understand. It has less of the technical minutia that some of the other texts have.

Okay, that completes the biblical importance of Deuteronomy. Does anyone have a question before we go on to the controversies. If there are questions that take a long time to answer we’ll have to do them afterwards, but if there aren’t we can go on to the next section.

Okay, the next section is theological controversies. Now this is why I said what I did back in the preliminaries. We believers have to be able to engage and if you’re going to quote the Bible to somebody, today’s society, they’re going to come back at you and you have to be prepared for why you’re quoting the Bible; what’s the Bible all about. And when we had a situation, Carol and I were in our house in the kitchen one day and a relative of ours who graduated with all A’s from the University of California at San Diego, and we had just been talking about the movie, The Passion, we got home from The Passion, and this girl, a graduate, looks at us and says, “um, is Jesus the guy that rose from the dead?” This is secular education that we pay $30,000 to $40,000 for. So that’s where people are so we need to have a little bit of a background.

So one of the first theological controversies that I want to present to you so that you will be equipped here is the higher critical view of the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy, like Isaiah and Daniel, is one of the three big targets that the liberals have trained their guns at, because of certain features of the book. We don’t have to fear this. One of the great benefits I’ve learned over the years is to listen to liberal critics of the Scriptures, because you know, they force you to ask questions of the text that you might never have asked, and so it’s a great discovery time because it just generates {?}, well, {?} make that accusation and I have a question, so I’m going to go back to the text and I’m going to dig around until I find the answer. And I’ve found that to be very beneficial in my faith. So let me expose you to some of the higher critical issues here and hopefully this will drive you into the text because this is the sort of thing that your college students are going to get, whether they’re in your family, whether you’re neighbors or they’re people that have just gotten all this stuff from their college experience.

Higher criticism is a term that is applied to critiquing the Bible as to its origins. Higher criticism came into existence as a scholarly pursuit in the 1700s and 1800s, which tells you, by the way, for 17 centuries it wasn’t fully engaged. Now if you’ve heard those dates, 17th century and 18th century, and you know your history in Western Europe, what happened around that time, the 16th and 17th century in European history? The Enlightenment, so-called. Now right there you have a very interesting stint on history. Unbelief always likes to rewrite history. And it’s intriguing that when you go to school you hear two terms; that which preceded the 16th and 17th century, the Dark Ages, and that which follows is the Enlightenment, two very prejudicial… like people were going around stupid in the Middle Ages? That’s what they would have you believe, but actually there were some great things being done in the Middle Ages. Look at all the cathedrals that were built that preceded that. How did they build all those things? They had a great warming, global warming occurred in the Middle Ages, and it wasn’t a disaster, the Dutch still lived in Netherlands under sea level, so I guess the Arctic ice caps didn’t melt.

See, the point is that history is a little stranger than what you get in school. Enlightenment is actually a reverse. What happened was you had a man by the name of… several, all kinds of guys when you get into the philosophy of it, but the idea was that the Bible was a product solely of human origin. Once you grant that premise, that the Bible is solely of human origin, then it becomes… well, it’s just opinion, subject to other people’s view. Now right there, before we go any further, that’s the kind of thing you want to learn to grab onto because I just gave you a target you should be shooting on when I said they’re saying that the Bible is solely of human origin. But the Bible claims what for itself? That God spoke into history. So if somebody is arguing, giving you all this pizzazz about higher criticism based on the assumption that the Bible is solely of human origin, they’re begging the question, logically speaking because what we’re arguing is that God has spoken and therefore it’s revelatory. So if you deny that assertion at the very start of the argument you haven’t answered it. What you’ve done is you’ve denied my axiom and proceeded to build your building on top of that but you haven’t engaged me, all you’ve done is dance around the question. The question is obviously whether God has ever spoken in history and you’ve said no. Why do you say that? And that’s the open door for this discussion: how can you say that God never spoke in history? That’s a question the unbeliever has to be asked and pressed for.

So the Enlightenment went on and a man by the name of Wellhausen came up with a theory of the origin of the Bible; he and a number of other people but I’ll just mention him, W-e-l-l-h-a-u-s-e-n, any college course on the Bible will mention that. He came up with what is called documentary hypothesis, JEPD theory of different authors and streams of thinking. The anchor of his entire system was the book of Deuteronomy, and here’s where he went.

Turn to 2 Kings 22:3, the reign of Josiah. And this is about the 7th century BC. Watch it now, what century is Moses in? 15th century BC. This is 6th, 7th century, around that time so we’ve got about seven, eight hundred years here separating them. On the one hand, if Deuteronomy is Mosaic, it happened six hundred years prior to this chapter, but if Wellhausen is correct, here’s his idea what happened. He reads in 2 Kings 22 down in verse 3, “It came to pass, in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, that the king Shaphan the scribe, the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to the house of the LORD, saying, [4] Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that me may count the money…” and so forth. Verse 8, “Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD.’” Now because the book of Deuteronomy gives a very advanced, evolutionary speaking advanced picture of the nation, Wellhausen says ahhh, that’s where, that’s what got started this book of Deuteronomy, it was a fabrication that Hilkiah, or some prophet invented to try to cause a policy change in the government, he hid it in the temple so they would find it. And this becomes one of his sources “D,” the letter “D” as in dog.

So Wellhausen’s “D” source is a literary fabrication that was founded, supposedly by Hilkiah, in the temple. And it’s late, 600 years after, 700 years after Moses because on the evolutionary idea of progressive development of religion, this is so advanced that we see here in Deuteronomy that it couldn’t possibly have been way back then in Moses’ day; that was primitive and the primitives couldn’t think in these advanced terms. And of course all this is the idea that man originates, remember the Bible is the soul result of human thinking, and on that basis this is advanced so therefore it couldn’t be early.

Well, now let’s go back to a key chapter in the book of Deuteronomy that Wellhausen and others use and let’s compare the text with their theory. Deuteronomy 12. Their argument is that things we so bad in the kingdom of Judah at the time that reform was greatly needed, and they needed a book created that will be authoritative to centralize worship in Jerusalem and cut out all the other Fauntleroy that was going on in the country, so this is a literary fabrication that was founded.

And Deuteronomy 12 was one of the passages that said this shows you an advanced state of the situation of their worship system, of their cultists, or their organized worship. And Deuteronomy 12:5 they say, “But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name there for His dwelling place; and there you will go. [6] There you will take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices,” in other words, centralized worship, Deuteronomy 12. Wellhausen and his people say well, there wasn’t any centralized worship until David got things started at Jerusalem, which was 1000 AD. So they’re arguing that the argument of Deuteronomy is for centralized worship, government control, organized society, and all this was fabricated by some unknown guy that left the text in the temple so Hilkiah could discover it.

Well, here are some counters to that. First of all, chapter 12 isn’t mentioning Jerusalem. And the first place where they had centralized worship wasn’t in Jerusalem at all, it was at Ebal and Gerizim where the covenant was renewed. And there are a number of other places in the history of Israel, in Samuel, Judges, that you’ll read where they had worship, where they had altars. The point in Deuteronomy 12 is just go to the place, wherever the place is, that God calls you to worship in; that’s the point, over against the Canaanite high places. The issue is authorized worship versus unauthorized worship. That was the key. The issue was not literally the real estate where it occurs.

Okay, now here are some counter arguments that have eaten away at the Wellhausen theory, although liberals still believe that the Bible is solely the result of human causation. Albright, who is one of the fathers of American archeology here at Johns Hopkins argued from all the evidence of the Ancient Near East there is very few… very few examples of literary fabrication. In the Graeco-Roman period you have literary fabrications. But that wasn’t true in the Ancient Near East, so right away Wellhausen is proposing something that doesn’t fit with a lot of the evidence from the Ancient Near East.

Furthermore, Albright pointed out the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32 has a vocabulary and structure that is at least as old as 1000 BC. So just on those texts alone something is wrong with what Wellhausen said.

Then another, which I think is fascinating, here’s an example of why, when you allow the conversation to force you back into the text you discover some neat things that were sitting there in the text all along and you just never, never saw them. But here’s an interesting point. Throughout the Ancient Near East, whether it’s in Syria, whether it’s in Babylon, whether it’s in Egypt, there was a tendency to disregard codes, legal codes. The Code of Hammurabi was never paid attention to. The judges, when they would make decisions in the Ancient Near Eastern culture they’d go by custom or by popular feeling, or their own feelings, sort of like something else happens today. And the law codes had very little effect on the human societies. Why? When Josiah found the law code he implemented it and it had a profound effect on the nation.

So now we are discovering something interesting. There’s something in the Jewish community, in this sociological group that is very much oriented to transcendental law code. Gee, I wonder why; what was it in their social historical experience that led them to that belief. Well, who spoke on Mount Sinai. See, there’s a tradition of revelation on Mount Sinai. If you had been there with a digital voice recorder, what a recording that would have been. You could have recorded the voice of God Himself speaking in the Hebrew language. Can you imagine getting a recording like that? And you wouldn’t even need Cecil DeMille to do it. You actually have God’s own voice speaking. Now that’s a bombshell. If that has ever really happened in history, then it alters everything; it totally challenges the idea that the Bible is solely the result of human origin.

But now the crowing achievement in the study of Deuteronomy has come in the last thirty or forty years, and that’s the discovery in archeology of Hittite treaties; suzerainty-vassal treaties have been found. Suzerain is just a noun that refers to a great king like Pharaoh, and the vassal would be like the King of Moab, and the idea was the superpower, the suzerain, would make treaties with the vassals. And the treaties would have a form which we’ll go into later, that almost mimicked directly the book of Deuteronomy. Now isn’t that stunning; it seems like when Moses exposited the Law he exposited it and taught it as a unitary treaty.

What does that do to higher criticism? Now what happens, and I have a quote on the slide from Dr. Meredith Kline who did all the work, he taught right up here… I think he’s retired now, but taught at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, and he made this book, The Treaty of the Great King. That’s the name of the book, the author is Kline, K-l-i-n-e. Meredith Kline wrote the book, The Treaty of the Great King. It’s a fundamental work that has altered our entire view, the liberal view, the conservatives did not need to have their view altered because they derived it from the text to start with, but here’s the important thing: It argues that the whole book is at unity, you can’t have fragments of the book; all the fragments are fitting into a treat format. We’ll see the amazing parallels as we go on. But here’s what Kline concluded his study with: “Now that the from critical data compel the recognition of the antiquity,” …the antiquity, remember what we’re saying here, when was the liberal saying that the book was devised? Back in 600-700 BC.

When was Moses? 1500 BC, 1480 BC somewhere, so now we’re talking a big gap. The suzerainty-vassal treaties are back here, second millennium, not first millennium, and they have a format analogous to Deuteronomy. So he says: “…recognition of the antiquity not merely of this or that element within Deuteronomy but of the Deuteronomic treaty in its integrity, any persistent insistence on a final edition of the book around the 7th century can be nothing more than a vestigial hypothesis,” and that’s exactly the point, why we can be so confident of this book.

One other point that is interesting from responding to the liberal view, and that is all the prophets are familiar with the book because they quoted from it. Joshua quotes from it, Kings, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, Amos, Hosea, Micah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zephaniah, where are these guys getting it if it was a late generation. So there’s the point. The point is that you have a treaty format now of the book, the higher critical view of the Old Testament, really, as far as Deuteronomy goes, is very easy to refute.

One other question that has come up, a theological controversy, is the Lordship salvation versus Free Grace argument in the 70s and 80s and that is what is the gospel saying that we have to believe. And largely the figures that occurred twenty years ago, thirty years ago when this argument came out with John MacArthur in California and Zane Hodges of Dallas Seminary went back and forth, back and forth, arguing about this issue. And it seems to me that the issue got… I think both men were talking by each other, because John MacArthur ministered the gospel in a very flakey culture, so don’t refer to the California culture of the 'Left' Coast for nothing. And Max Rafferty said it best when he said the United States was tipped, all the loose nuts roll to California. The idea there is that MacArthur had this corruption going on inside the Christian community and he wanted to root it out, so he came on hard in line that you’re saved if you show fruits, and you have an inevitable persistence. The problem with that is you have people like Solomon, you have carnal Christians recognized in the Scriptures, but then how do you deal with corruption within the Christian community.

I think the answer is quite simple and it comes out of the framework of events in the Bible. Which came first, the Exodus or Mount Sinai? The Exodus did, that’s the picture of redemption. Now the people that came out in that redemption probably weren’t too well schooled; in fact, in included a lot of mixed multitude and everyone else. Where they got straightened out was at Mount Sinai; it was at Mount Sinai where you have lordship given. And God comes to them and says now I redeemed you, but there’s a little catch here; He says I’m going to discipline you so that if you disobey Me there are going to be consequences. And of course, Hebrews 12:8 tells us that, if we be without chastisement, if we be without discipline when we disobey the Lord, then there’s a question about our salvation because the Father disciplines. For some reason He missed out on all the child-raising literature of the early 20th century.

We come now to the fourth area, and since we started a few minutes late we’re going to end a few minutes late, but I just want to address the philosophical issues. I have some slides I’ll show you next time about… when you’re engaged in this thinking about the Bible and you’re actively engaging educated people and their view of the Bible, you need to understand a basic strategy.

Here’s the deal; the strategy means that whose strategy envelops the other person? Are you perpetually going to be on the defense with the other person taking the offense, hitting you with question after question after question and you’re not responding in such a way that you begin to cause doubts and questions on their foundation, you’ve lost the battle. So strategically we need to envelop unbelief and not let unbelief envelop us. See, that’s the point of higher criticism, we let Wellhausen, Hegel, Kant and the Enlightenment people with their axiom that the Bible can only be solely from human sources, it originated solely from man’s mind, we allow that, then we’re running all over the battle field trying to put out fires, when what we should have done was attack the central strategy, which is if God has spoken in history, then you have some accounting to do; what are you going to do with this, with this, with this, with this, with this, with this, and stop begging the question and dancing around the pole here.

So the philosophical controversies, we’ll try to show more details of that as we go on, but we want to point out that if the Bible originated, if everything originates from man’s mind there are a number of very, very serious questions and they’re never treated. I went to two grad schools, I went to a very good under graduate school and I can tell you that at no time in the secular courses that I took was I ever exposed to presuppositions. The teachers simply assumed the material and went on. I doubt any of you have ever been challenged in any classroom, ever had some just honestly expound, here’s our starting point, here’s our basic assumptions, here’s what we do. The only course that ever did that for me was plain geometry and solid geometry; they laid out the axioms and told me what they were. But what happens here now we have all these cute little things dancing around about language. Language is socially conditioned, and I’ll just mention this in a few minutes because this is the center key of the whole Bible controversy right now that’s going on.

Today people argue that ideas are produced by socio linguistic communities, that that is the {?}, in other words, all of us get together and we kind of bump into each other and we talk to each other and we generate our profiles, and the profiles are gender based and race based or something else based, sexual preference based, and out of that we get out own lifestyle. And that’s because language is a product of human mind and human interaction, so obviously when we speak, we think, we’re just a product of human society. Well, the answer to that goes back, we think of Genesis, who spoke when? God spoke the universe into existence. So language is the basis for reality. Now granted, it’s divine language, and we can’t crack that divine language, we can see evidences of it in design, and by the way, before that language, what was the prior language? If we have a Trinity, was the Father speaking to the Son in eternity past before creation? He carried out a conversation in John 17; the Father and the Son were speaking forever in eternal existence. So language is a product, an undeniable product or characteristic of the Triune God. Then this God speaks the universe into existence, leaving evidences everywhere of His design.

And then a third question, who taught Adam to speak? God did. And what was the language that Adam spoke? Probably some proto-Hebrew language, because the jokes and the nuances in the Genesis text make sense only in the Hebrew text—ish and isha. So the first language was God-given. Does that suggest to you that language is so terribly insufficient to convey divine truth? Well, God Himself created the language to speak divine truth. Now addressing the post-modernist with their idea that gender, race, our power and privilege in societies come about because of social interaction, let’s turn it around. Why do you suppose God superintended Israel before the Church comes along? What was God doing all down through the centuries of the Old Testament, with a series of events here, there and everywhere? And every time there was an event, what did God also do? He gave the event and He also gave His interpretation of the event, did He not. He would summarize in the large scale a very simple summary. History is God’s show and tell… history is God’s show and tell. He shows us things and to make sure we understand them He teaches us the interpretation of those things.

Language is not limited, and we make the argument, and there’s some degree of truth that the idea of gender and race and so on come out of the community’s standard, the question then is, who controls the community? Providentially it’s God, isn’t it. Who was it that providentially controlled Israel’s history so as to produce a divine understanding of man, woman, family, faith, money, judicial procedures and so forth? It was God superintending Israel.

All right, we’ve run over tonight and so we are going to end.