Richard Agee

Deuteronomy 13-14: Destroy false ‘true’ prophecy; tithe in the third year

God’s severe instruction for dealing with someone who has dreams or receives messages that come true and who performs miracles is sobering. It was not a problem for a prophet or dreamer outside the Levitical community to perform miracles or have visions. It became a problem if that person spoke out against the Creator and Redeemer revealed in the Bible or spoke for a false god.

Other texts: 1st Kings 18; Jeremiah 40–41; Leviticus 19–21, 25

In Deuteronomy 13–14, God told Israel that even if the idolatrous prophet or dreamer were a family member or closest friend, one was to turn them that person over for trial and execution. Then the one who turned in such a person was supposed to throw the stone for execution (cp. Matt. 23:36–38; Luke 13:33–35; John 8:1–11). 

There’s no way this would have been an easy law to fulfill. It would have been heart-breaking. The way of God is not easy. Yeshua said the true way is narrow and very difficult (Matt. 7:13-14). 

So far as we can tell from writings of Israel’s leaders over the eons, this law was rarely followed. The consequences of the people’s reluctance to follow this law caused the decline of the people of Israel to the point that it divided the Israelite people and caused their exile from the land. 

God wants us to know about Him and He will test us as He tested the Israelite people. None of us have been tested to the degree that Yob (Job) was tested, yet Yob passed the test (Job 1:1-2:10). 

We read what God wants the people to do when an entire city succumbs to idolatrous practices. First there is a thorough investigation and if the investigation confirms that the city’s inhabitants have succumbed to idolatrous practices, the entire city and all its inhabitants are to be burned into a heap and the city is never to be rebuilt as a testimony and warning not to turn away from God. 

God also warns the people not to imitate the ways of the current inhabitants of the land on how to mourn for the dead. 

At the beginning of chapter 14, God told the people not to shave their heads, trim the beards, cut themselves, whip themselves and do other things to draw their own blood as a memorial to the dead (Deut. 14:1–2). God vehemently forbade it. He said Israel was to be a special and holy — set apart for His purposes — people because God is the God of the living, not the dead. So the people of Israel were not to worship God as though He were dead. 

The people already in the Promised Land and were obsessed with death and wallowed in it. God told the people of Israel not to dwell on death but to love life.

The chapter 14 ends with instructions on how to use the tithe of the produce and flocks when one lives far from the city where God will choose for the Temple (Deut. 14:22–29). There is a three-year cycle for tithes. Some of the offerings are to be taken to the Temple, and some are sold for money to be brought to the Temple. In the third year, the people are to take the tithe to the “gates” of the city.

In some cities of ancient Israel, this would have been at a literal gate to a walled city. But in small agricultural areas, the gate would have been wherever the capital or the center of commerce was enacted. The tithe is to be brought to such a place and enjoyed by the Levites and by the townspeople who could not ever afford to go to the Temple for the the Lord’s pilgrimage festivals: Pesakh (Passover), Shavu’ot (Pentecost) and Sukkot (Tabernacles/Booths).

Read also: “The Truth About Tithe” by Daniel Agee.

Reader: Dave De Fever. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.

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