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Why your soul's salvation hangs on the inerrancy of the Bible
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First let's get something clear about erroneous notions of Paul and his founding a new religion, which he didn't. True, the halakhah of his Judaism switched from the Pharisaic oral law to the Ruach Hakodesh, but his religion was still one of the Judaisms of the time, not a new non-Judaism Gentile religion.
II Thessalonians speaks of the Apostasy or religious rebellion of
the people of G-d in the last days, an event that ushers in the
revelation of the Anti-Moshiach, whom only the Second Coming of
Moshiach Nagid HaShofet (Moshiach Prince the Judge) can destroy.
But here in Judges we see the Apostasy of Israel. And we notice
that haMa'al (the treachery, defection, apostasy, revolt), each
time it occurs, receives a divine answer as G-d raises up another
Judge to effect Israel's deliverance from the bondage of idols
and foreigners with their foreign gods.
The period of the judges begins roughly around 1370 B.C.E. and
lasts about 300 years until the reign of King Saul. The judges
listed in this book are Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah/Barak,
Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and Samson (we
will hear about two more judges when we read I Samuel--namely Eli
and Samuel). There is no monarchy during this period. One of
the sons of Gideon, Abimelech, makes an abortive attempt to set
up a dynastic kingship after the death of his father Gideon, but
this evil despot fails ingloriously and shares Sisera's shameful
fate (4:21) of being put to death by a woman (9:53). One of the
crimes of Abimelech was killing all his rivals, that is, the
seventy sons of Gideon. However, one escaped (Jotham) and on
Mount Gerizim delivered a withering diatribe satirizing the
monarchy (see 9:7-21), his curse (9:20) being fulfilled in 9:49.
All of this warns about evil kings ahead and also points to the
need for a "shepherd" king after G-d's own heart which was
idealized in David and in the Moshiach.
Judg. 21:25 states a theme of the book as well as a warning
against independent-minded religion: "in those days there was no
king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes."
Judg. 18:30 shows how syncretistic heretical religion not
grounded in the inerrant Bible led to idolatry which would in
turn later lead to eventual exile and destruction. There are
those who trust their feelings in religion and don't care about
the rational-historical underpinnings of our faith. These are
the ones who waste no time on careful interpretation of the Bible
and do not discipline their feelings in careful submission to the
Scriptures. On this, see Judg. 18:20 where a religious man
experiences joy in the deadly doctrines he carelessly believes,
proving that feelings are an unreliable index of the truth. This
theme is noticeable in chp 17 as well: a rootless Levite, who is
completely independent from the larger religious body of Israel,
wanders around and eventually gets mixed up in heresy. In this
way a center of false religion was set up in the newly settled
city of Dan that rivaled the tabernacle at Shiloh. From this we
learn to beware of spiritual isolation: it says they "had no
relationship with anyone else" (18:7b). Many people today are
isolated in an independent congregation and loyal to a flock only
as long as it takes to get their needs met; then they break
fellowship and depart. Similarly, in this book we see that
Israel was willing to submit to its judges only long enough to
eliminate Israel's oppressors. Such wayward and temporary
submission amounted to no true accountability to G-d. Israel
during this period was constantly returning to her apostate
submission to the Canaanite g-ds, Baal and Astarte.
The people of Gibeah, which belonged to the tribe of Benjamin,
committed an unspeakable crime similar to those committed by
Sodom and Gomorrah. The Benjaminites refused to allow their city
to be punished, causing a civil war in which their population was
so depleted that the survival of the Benjaminite tribe was
threatened. Judg. chps 19-21 tells this story and how a new
source of marriage partners was provided for the tribe of
Notice that one must inquire at the ark of the Word of G-d
(20:26-28). This means that everyone, even the finest maggid
needs to be sitting under preaching and needs to be submitted to
leadership (Heb. 13:17). The L-rd's kehillah in Judg. 20:2 is
presented as an eschatological war muster, and 21:9 shows that
G-d keeps attendance. Some are willing like Gideon to "put out a
fleece" before they make decisions, but are otherwise uncovered
and unaccountable in the major decisions of their lives. Pray
for the Spirit of G-d to come upon you when you minister (see
3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; 14:6,19; 15:14).
Look at the picture of second generation nominalism in 2:10. The
young people in the congregation pose this threat and this
challenge, and give the congregation the opportunity to know
spiritual warfare (3:2).
In 6:29-32 we see that the fertility, sex-cult g-d Baal is
impotent and can no more protect his own altar here than he can
when challenged by Elijah in I Kings 18. This point explains how
Gideon got his name "Jerubbaal" ("Let Baal contend with him").
Samson was from the tribe of Dan. In 14:12 we see Samson the sage
or wise man. This aspect of him typifies Moshiach the Hakham
(Sage) as does also Solomon and the book of Kohelet
(Ecclesiastes) and all the Wisdom Literature in the Bible
(Proverbs, Job, etc).
Samson and Samuel and Yochanan of the Tevilah of Teshuva were
under a vow for their whole lives, as is anyone called to the
ministry. In the case of Samson and Hosea, it was G-d's
permissive will for G-d's prophet to marry an unbeliever, but
don't you try it (14:4). Intermarriage with the heathen led to
idolatry and apostasy, which in turn triggered G-d's anger and
resulted in G-d allowing an invasion of enemies and plunderers
(Aramaeans, Moabites, Ammonites, Amalekites, Canaanites, and
Philistines), and these were punishments for Israel's faithless
disobedience to G-d's command to go in and subdue the land and
cleanse the land of idolators and idolatry (see Ex. 23:33;
34:12-16; Num. 33:55; Deut. 7:2,5,16; Josh. 23:7,12). See the
notes on Jude 5-7 in the Greek section, and notice in Genesis the
"sons of G-d" (Adam, Abel, Seth, Enosh, Enoch, Noah, Shem,
Arphaxad, Shelah, Eber, etc) and you will see the weight of the
exhortation that Samson's parents are giving him in Judg. 14:2-4.
The secret of Samson's strength was in his uncompromised
commitment to G-d and His Word, symbolized by a secret vow. When
he lost that, the strength of G-d left him and he became an
ordinary man again, as every backslider knows. The tears from
the Ruach Hakodesh (Psalm 126:6) and the zeal for the Word of G-d
are all we as believers have. If we lose these, we are weak as
ordinary men and will be "ruled by the Philistines" (15:11).
Samson's weakness was impetuosity and lack of self-control in
regard to his flesh. The book of Proverbs was written to keep
others from making his mistakes.
Delilah betrays Samson for money. Moshiach Yehoshua was a judge,
the World Judge, who was also sold and betrayed for money by his
friend. Throughout this book we are told about each judge, that
he died, but Moshiach Yehoshua lives! Samson, like Moshiach
Yehoshua, is led off to judgment as weak as any man. There is a
Messianic paradox in the way this Judge's life ends: Samson is
mocked like Moshiach Yehoshua on the day of his death, a time
when he is ironically victorious in G-d (16:25). However, for
Samson as for Moshiach Yehoshua, there is weakness before
strength and humiliation before exaltation (16:21-22). Messianic
Psalm 110:3 says "from the womb of the dawn you will receive the
dew of your youth" (see also Isaiah 53:10-12).
In contrast to Delilah, Devorah is a role model for women in
spiritual leadership, an Em b'Yisroel (mother in Israel--5:7).
Look at Judg. 13:22. Notice that the Malach Hashem (the Angel of
the L-rd) was more than an angel. He was a theophany of G-d
himself (see Gen. 16:7,13), as the Word took on visible presence.
This was the Word of G-d before He came on the scene as Yehoshua
the man. His name is a mystery, an open secret that must be
disclosed in the knowledge of salvation by the Ruach Hakodesh to
the heart. "Yehoshua" (meaning "the L-rd is salvation" or "the
L-rd G-d of salvation") is revealed throughout the Bible. See
13:18 and the notes on Joshua and also Zechariah. Read the whole
Samson story starting at chapter 13. See Judg. 13:13, where the
Angel of the L-rd has the same name in Hebrew as the Moshiach
Himself in Isaiah 9:5-6, which is PAY SEGOL LAMMED SEGOL ALEF
Notice Jephthah in chapter 11, even though he subdues the
Ammonites, makes a rash vow that is not grounded in the Word of
G-d and in G-d's will and it costs him dearly. This teaches us
to watch and pray in all our decisions.
In the book of Judges, whenever there is a crisis and the people
need to be rescued, G-d raises up a Moshi'a (Deliverer, Savior)
(from the verb YUD SHIN AYIN). However, the people seem to be
their own worst enemies. They fail to separate themselves from
the g-ds of the people of the land, which were a snare to them
(see 2:1-2). Since G-d himself is the Moshi'a (Deliverer) (He is
also the Judge--see 11:27), He allows the odds to be stacked
against those who are his servants, so that G-d himself will be
more obvious as the deliverer in the situation, that it is He
alone (Yachid) (11:34) who is the true Moshi'a. See the story of
Gideon starting in chapter 6.
Judg. 19:22. As in ancient Greece and in many modern cities,
homosexuality was common in Canaan.
Notice: Judah, because she is the tribe of the Moshiach of the
nations (Genesis 49:10) must go first (Judg. 20:18) and have
And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of
G-d, and asked counsel of G-d, and said, Which of us shall go up
first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the
L-rd said, Judah shall go up first.
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