Instead, you must eat them in the presence of the LORD your God at the place the LORD your God will choose--you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levite within your gates. Rejoice before the LORD your God in all you do,
Leviticus 16:1-8). Probably the rule was not strictly observed (ver. 8), but in view of the occupation of the land, the prohibition is relaxed. Note -
I. OUR BIGHTS IN THE USE OF FOOD TAKE THEIR ORIGIN FROM GOD. This is taught in the account of creation (Genesis 1:29, 30), in the grant of flesh to Noah (Genesis 9:3, 4), in the Levitical restrictions on animal food (Leviticus 11.), and in passages like the present.
II. OUR MANNER OF THE USE OF FOOD OUGHT TO BE GLORIFYING TO GOD. "Eating and drinking" is to be to God's glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).
1. God's gift to be recognized in food. A motive for thankfulness.
2. God's blessing to be sought upon it. The example of Christ in this respect is noteworthy (Matthew 14:19, etc.).
3. Self-restraint is to be exercised in the partaking of it. The blood was not to be eaten. - J.O.
And what He did unto Dathan and Abiram.Numbers 17). The point which Moses emphasises is the revolt against Divinely constituted authority, and the result thereof. At the head of the civil rebellion were the sons of Reuben, Dathan and Abiram. As descendants of the first-born of Israel they grudged Moses his lofty position. They allied themselves with the Levitical revolt, and under the cloak of asserting the universal priesthood of the people (Numbers 16:3) led many to follow them into the vortex of revolution. This insurrection against the Divinely ordered religious and political order threatened the very existence of Israel. God therefore visited the rebels with special Divine judgment, and the nation was saved. This episode in Israel's history gives us a glimpse of the motives which underlie most revolutionary movements. In these —
I. VICE DECKS HERSELF IN THE APPEARANCE OF VIRTUE.
1. The revolutionaries profess ardent desires for the commonweal, for freedom — to save the "enslaved community," etc. Liberty, equality, etc., is their cry, war against tyranny and oppression. They seek to play the role of unselfish friends of the people.
2. But in their depths such movements are mostly dominated by selfishness. In the revolt here referred to Korah was simply an ambitious Levite, hypocritical and selfish. The Reubenites were moved by tribal ambition. Selfishness, ambition, special interests were the moving springs of this as of other revolutions.
3. The revolution of Dathan and Abiram took its rise first on an ecclesiastical ground; but the political movement was not far behind the ecclesiastical. Men with widely differing opinions joined in opposing constituted authority. The cry for "illumination" is speedily followed by that for so-called "freedom."
4. Revolution is not accompanied by penitence. It never seeks the ground of its complaints in the faults of the people themselves.
5. Most revolutions are dominated by some "phrase" or party cry. Here it was: "All the people are holy." The power of the partial truth in it lay in God's Word: "Ye shall be to Me...an holy nation." But God had appointed leaders in Church and State, therefore it was against His authority Dathan and Abiram rebelled.
II. THE PROPHETIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS TYPICAL EVENT.
1. The deepest fulfilment lies in the future — in the days of antichrist. Then the political and ecclesiastical order will be overturned — when antichrist comes offering promise of deliverance from all ecclesiastical and political ills.
2. But the punishment meted out to Dathan and Abiram with their fellow rebels shall fall more fiercely on antichrist (Revelation 19:20).
3. A veil, however, overhangs this future. Still there are experiences in history which prepare us to understand what shall be. The French Revolution is a striking example. It was not merely a revolt of ruled against rulers. It was first a spiritual revolution. Scepticism had loosened religious authority, and the political crisis speedily followed, as in the rebellion of Korah. So in France ambitious leaders shrieked of liberty, etc. The whole foundations of order were overturned. Then from the Revolution rose one who had no law but his own will. He trod men under his feet; for twenty-five years the storm raged. Here was a faint experience of what will be in the times of antichrist. A respite has been given; but he who has eyes may conceive somewhat of the trend of that great future revolt.
III. WHAT SHALL WE DO IN VIEW OF WHAT IS COMING?
1. Let us ask, guided by God's Word, what revolts in Church and State will lead to. What is the meaning of much of so-called "progress" and "freedom"? "If the Son shall make you free," etc. (John 8:36). What is "culture" if not found in Christ's Gospel? — this is the only "culture" of eternal worth. Modern "progress" does not always mean progress in righteousness.
2. Do not let the hollow "phrases" of the modern age influence us. In God's Word the madness of rebellion, its falseness and hypocrisy are seen, and its terrible end. The way of righteousness is conformity to the Divine order. The sin of participation in rebellion must be shunned. Those who stand on the side of revolution, of the antichristian age, or (in the future) of antichrist, lay themselves open to the punishment of the rebellious Reubenites.
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