JEPHTHAH (A judge [leader and hero] of Israel)

Illegitimate, and therefore not entitled to inherit his father’s property

Jephthah was illegitimate, and therefore not entitled to inherit his father’s property
Judges 11:1-2
11 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.
2 And Gilead’s wife bare him sons; and his wife’s sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father’s house; for thou art the son of a strange woman.
Jephthah was the ninth Judge of Israel. He was born an illegitimate child, but judged over Israel for a period of six years (Judges 12:7). He is listed in the Book of Hebrews as one of the heroes of faith (Heb. 11:32). After his death, he was buried in a city of Gilead. Read Jephthah’s story in Judges, chapter 11, and chap. 12:1-7. The Heavenly Father used him in spite of his birth.

I am not sure how we can know these children are illegitimate. It requires deeper study.
https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Illegitimate_Children/
Other Examples of illegitimate children:
Deuteronomy 23:2 “A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord.”
Hebrews 12:8 “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.”

Escapes the violence of his half-brothers; lives in the land of Tob

Judges 11:3

3 Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.

Recalled from the land of Tob by the elders of Gilead

Judges 11:5

5 And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob:

Made captain of the army and head of land of Gilead

Judges 11:5-11

5 And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob:

6 And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon.

7 And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father’s house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?

8 And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.

9 And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the Lord deliver them before me, shall I be your head?

10 And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, The Lord be witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words.

11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the Lord in Mizpeh.

His message to the king of the Ammonites

Judges 11:12-28

12 And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to fight in my land?

13 And the king of the children of Ammon answered unto the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land, when they came up out of Egypt, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and unto Jordan: now therefore restore those lands again peaceably.

14 And Jephthah sent messengers again unto the king of the children of Ammon:

15 And said unto him, Thus saith Jephthah, Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon:

16 But when Israel came up from Egypt, and walked through the wilderness unto the Red sea, and came to Kadesh;

17 Then Israel sent messengers unto the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land: but the king of Edom would not hearken thereto. And in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab: but he would not consent: and Israel abode in Kadesh.

18 Then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, but came not within the border of Moab: for Arnon was the border of Moab.

19 And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said unto him, Let us pass, we pray thee, through thy land into my place.

20 But Sihon trusted not Israel to pass through his coast: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and pitched in Jahaz, and fought against Israel.

21 And the Lord God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they smote them: so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country.

22 And they possessed all the coasts of the Amorites, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and from the wilderness even unto Jordan.

23 So now the Lord God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and shouldest thou possess it?

24 Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess? So whomsoever the Lord our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess.

25 And now art thou any thing better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them,

26 While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years? why therefore did ye not recover them within that time?

27 Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me: the Lord the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon.

28 “Howbeit the king of the children of Ammon hearkened not unto the words of Jephthah which he sent him.”

Leads the army of Israel against the Ammonites

Judges 11:29-33

29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.

30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,

31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.

32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands.

33 And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.

His rash vow concerning his daughter

Judges 11:30-31

30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,

31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.

Judges 11:34-40

34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.

35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.

36 And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon.

37 And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows.

38 And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.

39 And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel,

40 That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.

Falsely accused by the Ephraimites

Judges 12:1

And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire.

Leads the army of the Gileadites against the Ephraimites

Judges 12:4

4 Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Ye Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites.

Leads Israel for six years, dies, and is buried in Gilead

Judges 12:7

7 And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.

Faith of

Hebrews 11:32-40

32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

(Outline is from Nave’s Topical Bible, Electronic Database Copyright © 1990 by Biblesoft, Inc. and TriStar Publishing)

Beth Johnson

Chennai Teacher Training School

Women’s Studies

Muliebral Viewpoint

Articles and Books by Beth Johnson

HARD QUESTIONS – HARDER ANSWERS

Can members of the LORD’s body, the church, take each other to court?

1 Corinthians 6:1-8 KJV Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. 7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? 8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

Christians have a higher law. Their lives are governed by principles not known to, or accepted by the world. As you read the following scriptures, ask yourself if worldly people would pay any attention to these commands.

Matthew 5:9-12 KJV Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Matthew 5:21-22 KJV Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Matthew 5:23-26 KJV Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

Matthew 5:27-30 KJV Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Matthew 5:31-32 KJV It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Matthew 5:33-37 KJV Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Matthew 5:38-41 KJV Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

Matthew 5:42-48 KJV Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. 43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Matthew 7:1-5 KJV Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

It is a well-known fact that doctors and medical personnel must be careful not to reveal personal information about patients? Even employers are held to strict rules regarding employee privacy.

There might be many other situations where people have a right, according to civil law, to bring a suit against a medical person, an employer, or even a personal friend when their privacy has been breached.

As far as the world is concerned, the HIPPA laws and FERPA laws regulate our physical privacy, but who is there that will protect our spiritual privacy? What can a Christian do about malicious character assassination?

Shouldn’t preachers and elders be held to more strenuous standards when church members entrust them with personal information about events in their private lives? Should a preacher or elder spread news about sins when members have confessed and asked for help? If such privacy is disclosed, and the brother’s reputation is destroyed, what can the man or the church members do to help make peace and save that soul?

Matthew 18:21-22 KJV Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

We humans tend to assume the worst about our fellowman, but what if the man offended has determined to live above his past sins? What if he is genuinely trying not to repeat his error? Would public disclosure so discourage him that he could not lift his head in public?

While asking first one Christian and another how they felt about this issue, more than one said they would definitely feel compelled to warn everyone who might come in contact with the offender if the sin were financial dishonesty, sexual assault or pedophilia.

In one congregation we had worked with for a while, the treasurer was exposed for misappropriation of funds.  We were in the mission field and knew nothing about the matter first hand, or so we thought.  As it turned out someone from that congregation contacted us to ask if we had recently lost several sources of support.  Sure enough, a man whom we had hired as a printer for our tracts and Bible course lessons, used to take liquor to the local postman and in return get mail and US addresses from the postman. The printer used the information he gathered from our mail to write to each of our supporters and have the money directed to himself. How did that pertain to the treasurer in the US? The men who were auditing the books realized those checks were not coming through the treasury anymore, and they assumed the treasurer was the one who had cashed them. That accusation against him was false, but as it turned out, he was proven guilty of embezzlement in other ways. That rather lengthy research exposed two men—one in the mission field and one in the US.

The treasurer in the US congregation did not confess his sin at that time. He simply decided to move his membership to another congregation. When they thought the treasurer was not in any way repentant, several men of that congregation wrote letters to us and to the new congregation to warn that he could not be trusted with financial affairs. But what if he had repented and confessed early on? No doubt he feared he would be forced to return the money, so to try to help him repent and to make peace, the men told him they were not going to demand a repayment.  At that point he confessed and went forward to ask for forgiveness.

Was this situation dependent on his confession? When he tried to hide his sin, the men were still doing their best to search out the gigantic loss of funds.  However, after he confessed and repented, there was no reason to talk about it anymore.

What if the treasurer had confessed right away? What if he had confessed specific sin and been forthright about what he did with the funds? Why would anyone need to spread the news farther?

Back during the Boston-Crossroad movement, there was a man who came to a congregation where we worked and of courses he had to sing better, work harder and baptize more than anyone.  He was quite professional at making converts within the state prison facility. He had had experience at converting men who stood to gain the most from being released. He taught them how to stay out of trouble until they got rewards for good behavior.  Then, when they were released he quite often prevailed on members of the church to invite them to stay with them in their homes until their probation time was over. Of course there was always the emotional appeal of the baptism and the “recovery” history.  Many things were said that did not need to be said if the person had truly repented and wanted to leave that past behind.

I know one preacher who delights in retelling what all he gave up or left behind when he became a Christian—almost as if he is proud of those things. There seems to be no shame.

REGARDING SEXUAL SINS…

If anyone’s past includes documented sexual sins; marriage divorce and remarriage records; and such like, his history will be posted on searchable government records also HERE and HERE.  An individual may warn others merely by passing along a public website.

John 8:3-9 KJV And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

SOMETHING TO PONDER FROM THE OLD LAW:

Deuteronomy 19:15-21 KJV One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. 16 If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; 17 Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; 18 And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; 19 Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you. 20 And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you. 21 And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Proverbs 16:32 KJV He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

Beth Johnson

WHAT IS PERFECTION IN THE SCRIPTURES?

  • 2 Peter 2:1-3 KJV But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

MANY today try to use the word ‘mature’ instead of the word perfect or any of its synonyms, but ‘maturity’ is not a synonym nor a definition of the word ‘perfect.’ It is not even a word used in Old Testament or the New.

NOTICE THAT MATURITY IS NOT A SYNONYM OF PERFECTION.

https://www.freethesaurus.com/maturity (see a graphic example of synonyms)

Webster defines maturity thus:

Synonyms & Antonyms for maturity

Synonyms

Antonyms

Examples of maturity in a Sentence

His behavior shows a lack of maturity.

He reached emotional maturity late in his life.

According to Strong’s Concordance, SYNONYMS OF PERFECT OR PERFECTION are COMPLETE, COMPLETED, FINISHED.

Look at all the Scriptures that mention perfect, perfectly or perfection and see that the meanings all agree:

Matthew 5:482 Corinthians 12:9Hebrews 9:11
Matthew 14:362 Corinthians 13:9Hebrews 10:1
Matthew 19:212 Corinthians 13:11Hebrews 10:14
Matthew 21:16Galatians 3:3Hebrews 11:40
Luke 1:3Ephesians 4:12Hebrews 12:23
Luke 6:40Ephesians 4:13Hebrews 13:21
Luke 8:14Philippians 3:12James 1:4
Luke 13:32Philippians 3:15James 1:17
John 17:23Colossians 1:28James 1:25
Acts 3:16Colossians 3:14James 2:22
Acts 18:26Colossians 4:12James 3:2
Acts 22:31 Thessalonians 3:101 Peter 5:10
Acts 23:151 Thessalonians 5:21 John 2:5
Acts 23:202 Timothy 3:171 John 4:12
Acts 24:22Hebrews 2:101 John 4:17
Romans 12:2Hebrews 5:91 John 4:18
1 Corinthians 1:10Hebrews 6:11 John 4:18
1 Corinthians 2:6Hebrews 7:11Revelation 3:2
1 Corinthians 13:10Hebrews 7:19
2 Corinthians 7:1Hebrews 9:9

Some also try to say that when someone wants to obey Matthew 5:48, that he/she is actually talking about becoming ‘sinlessness’ (quoting Romans 3:23 and Romans 5:12) “all have sinned.” Instead of acknowledging that Scripture does not define the word that way nor does it teach that perfection is sinlessness anywhere, these unlearned people claim ‘sinlessness’ is the meaning, and that is why Christians can never become perfect.

We know the apostle Paul sinned when he was covetous in Romans 7:7-9, yet he was finally able to overcome that sin and become complete (fight the good fight, finish his course, keep the faith) before he died (2 Tim. 4:7-8). And there was a crown laid up for him.

  • Matthew 5:48 KJV “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
  • Romans 7:7-9 KJV “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. 8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”
  • 2 Timothy 4:7-8 KJV “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

GOD HEARS HIS HOLY PRIESTHOOD

“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). Several metaphors are used to show the relationship between Jesus and His church or the “called out” ones. We often read of Jesus as the Good Shepherd with Christians being His sheep. We are children with God as our Father and Jesus as our older Brother. We are God’s husbandry and His building (1 Corinthians 3:9), Christ’s household (Hebrews 3:6). Other analogies speak of Jesus as the Vine and His disciples as the branches (John 15:1-5). The church is called His body (1 Corinthians 12:12-27Ephesians 2:22-233:64:4-16Colossians 1:18), with Jesus being the Head of that body. Scriptures are replete with lessons about the kingdom (Matthew 13:38-4216:15-19Mark 9:114:25Luke 17:20-21John 3:3-5Ephesians 2:19Acts 1:3) with Jesus being the King of that kingdom. A deeper study of the church reveals about ten such metaphors with each comparison given to help us see our position or relationship to each other, to God and to Jesus.

Focusing on the temple analogy, we see Christ is the chief corner stone (Ephesians 2:20-221 Peter 2:6-9), and we are “lively stones” in that one temple (1 Peter 2:51 Corinthians 3:9-111 Corinthians 3:166:19Revelation 3:12), while the apostles are the foundation (Isaiah 28:16Ephesians 2:19-22Revelation 21:14). We are called “living” or “lively stones” in His holy temple.

Under the Old Testament Law, the stones of a building had to be cleansed if they became “infected” to be sure the whole building was not polluted (Leviticus 14:34-57). In a similar way today, we cleanse the “living stones” of the spiritual temple (the church) or deliver them to Satan for the benefit of the whole congregation (1 Corinthians 5:1-72 Corinthians 7:12). We must purge out the leaven (sin) so the whole building/temple/body comprised of other living stones can be saved.

Christians also serve as His holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), and it is our duty to offer up spiritual sacrifices (Psalm 50:1423141:2John 4:23-24Romans 12:1Hebrews 13:15-16), because this is acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:114:18Colossians 3:171 Peter 4:11). Using the analogy of a royal priesthood, we see our relationship to our own High Priest. First of all, the priests in the Old Testament, chosen from the tribe of Levi (specifically the sons of Aaron), were continually serving God in the tabernacle (prior to the Temple), and He dealt with them there (Numbers 3:3-102 Chronicles 13:1026:18Luke 1:5-23). Today, we are a holy priesthood, a chosen people of God (Romans 8:28-291 Corinthians 1:27-29Ephesians 1:3-5James 2:51 Peter 2:9), and we serve Him in much the same way Aaron’s sons served under the Old Covenant, except that our sacrifices are primarily spiritual rather than physical (John 4:24).

As priests, we not only have a right to pray directly to God, but it is our duty to pray as part of our spiritual sacrifice (Hebrews 13:15). Like the priests in the Old Testament Temple, our prayers are heard because we have authority to go to God directly (John 16:23Ephesians 2:18). We are priests of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched (Hebrews 8:29:119:22-24) and Jesus is our high priest (Hebrews 2:17-183:1).

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Beth Johnson

Chennai Teacher Training School

Women’s Studies

Muliebral Viewpoint

Articles and Books by Beth Johnson

CLEANSING OUR HOUSE

Beth Johnson

REVIEW OF LAWS CONCERNING LEPROSY:

         •       Deuteronomy 7:12-15 KJV Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers: 13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. 14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. 15 And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.

         •       Deuteronomy 24:8 KJV Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that thou observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded them, so ye shall observe to do.

         •       Numbers 5:1-3 KJV And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead: 3 Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell.

THE LAWS CONCERNING LEPROSY (Leviticus 13:1 – 59)

The laws concerning leprosy may seem confusing to us today, but probably made perfect sense to a society that had experienced leprosy firsthand where they had lived in slavery for the past 400 years—the land of Egypt. Now again, in the land of Canaan, there was white flesh, yellow flesh, red spots, white hair, yellow hair, burns, getting rid of infested clothing, breaking and disposing of infected pots or even the wall of your house…Wow!

We must keep in mind that the Israelites (the promised children of Abraham) “inherited” the cities and everything in them from the people who previously inhabited Canaan. The Heavenly Father promised Abraham he would drive out those nations when they became completely evil. Genesis 15:1 KJV, gives the prophecy to Abraham we can see being fulfilled before our very eyes. Abraham asked for a child, and the LORD said his children would be like the stars in the sky for number (Genesis 15:5-6). In Genesis 15:7, God promised to give the land of Canaan to Abraham, but not right away. He gives a reason why there would be a delay in Genesis 15:16—“because the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”

So what can Abraham expect in the meantime? What will fill up the time until the iniquity of the Amorites is full?

         •       Genesis 15:13-14 KJV And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs (EGYPT), and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

         •       Genesis 15:18-21 KJV In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

         •       Exodus 23:27-28 KJV I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee. 28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.

         •       Deuteronomy 6:10-13 KJV  And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, 11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; 12 Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 13 Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

To me, the bottom line in all of all this was that disease, especially disease that could cost someone his or her life, must be detected, avoided, and destroyed at all costs. One does not want disease to infect his/her family, friends, or neighbors. Hmmm…kind of sounds like sin doesn’t it? Detect it in your surroundings, avoid it like the plague, and destroy it with prayer, the word, and faith coupled with obedience. God will be glorified and you will live!

PLAGUE OF LEPROSY IN A GARMENT OR IN THE HOUSE

         •       LEVITICUS 13:47-59 KJV  The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it be a woollen garment, or a linen garment; 48 Whether it be in the warp, or woof; of linen, or of woollen; whether in a skin, or in any thing made of skin; 49 And if the plague be greenish or reddish in the garment, or in the skin, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; it is a plague of leprosy, and shall be shewed unto the priest: 50 And the priest shall look upon the plague, and shut up it that hath the plague seven days: 51 And he shall look on the plague on the seventh day: if the plague be spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in a skin, or in any work that is made of skin; the plague is a fretting leprosy; it is unclean. 52 He shall therefore burn that garment, whether warp or woof, in woollen or in linen, or any thing of skin, wherein the plague is: for it is a fretting leprosy; it shall be burnt in the fire. 53 And if the priest shall look, and, behold, the plague be not spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; 54 Then the priest shall command that they wash the thing wherein the plague is, and he shall shut it up seven days more: 55 And the priest shall look on the plague, after that it is washed: and, behold, if the plague have not changed his colour, and the plague be not spread; it is unclean; thou shalt burn it in the fire; it is fret inward, whether it be bare within or without. 56 And if the priest look, and, behold, the plague be somewhat dark after the washing of it; then he shall rend it out of the garment, or out of the skin, or out of the warp, or out of the woof: 57 And if it appear still in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; it is a spreading plague: thou shalt burn that wherein the plague is with fire. 58 And the garment, either warp, or woof, or whatsoever thing of skin it be, which thou shalt wash, if the plague be departed from them, then it shall be washed the second time, and shall be clean. 59 This is the law of the plague of leprosy in a garment of woollen or linen, either in the warp, or woof, or any thing of skins, to pronounce it clean, or to pronounce it unclean.

         •       LEVITICUS 14:33-57 KJVAnd the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 34 When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession; 35 And he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, It seemeth to me there is as it were a plague in the house: 36 Then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house: 37 And he shall look on the plague, and, behold, if the plague be in the walls of the house with hollow strakes, greenish or reddish, which in sight are lower than the wall; 38 Then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days: 39 And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and, behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house; 40 Then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city: 41 And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place: 42 And they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other morter, and shall plaister the house. 43 And if the plague come again, and break out in the house, after that he hath taken away the stones, and after he hath scraped the house, and after it is plaistered; 44 Then the priest shall come and look, and, behold, if the plague be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean. 45 And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the morter of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place. 46 Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even. 47 And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes. 48 And if the priest shall come in, and look upon it, and, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the house was plaistered: then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed. 49 And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: 50 And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water: 51 And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times: 52 And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet: 53 But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean. 54 This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall, 55 And for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house, 56 And for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot: 57 To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.

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What does SIN do?

We are human beings, made in God’s own image (Gen. 1:27; Gen. 9:6). We are also stewards (Luke 16:1-13), and we must struggle against corruption of any form. Protecting our domain from plague and disease is authorized by Jesus (Heb. 12:14). We are priests and kings made through the covenant of OBEDIENCE (Matt. 28:19-20; Rev. 1:5-6). As such we are called to make a clear evaluation of both good and evil states (Heb. 5:14), since we know that we will judge the angels (1 Cor. 6:3). As sons and daughters of the living God (1 John 3:1-2), we will tear away the pitted, leprous spot, removing sin’s uncleanness from our ways (1 John 1:9).

The book of Leviticus is one of those books that make us appreciate the favor we enjoy today as a Christians. A chapter-by-chapter study is possibly the only way to read Leviticus all the way to the end. Few would be patient to finish each chapter because the temptation to skip to the end seems to be very strong. God took so much time to address every tiny detail that ordinary men and women would term very insignificant and repetitive. Yes, our Heavenly Father is interested in the details; all of them, and He wants his people to understand them too.

The first seven chapters of Leviticus go on and on about various kinds of offerings to God and how to go about that service. The next three chapters tell in detail how the priests went about their priestly obligations. Next, the reader finds regulations about food to be eaten, purifications after childbirth, skin infections and bodily discharges. Our attention might be deeply drawn into chapter 14, which talks about leprosy in the house because we can actually relate that to the disease in people or even to cleansing the stones (1 Pet. 2:5) in the spiritual temple of the New Testament (1 Cor. 5:11-13).

Even as a child, I understood leprosy was a dangerous skin disease, and I was told lepers are kept outside society like outcasts to prevent the spread of the disease. As adults, when my husband and I travel, I see some people along the highway whom I understand to be lepers—especially when I see their fingers and toes. I have even seen some in the society from a close range. At first all I knew was that the sight of the affected skin was hideous- something that could make me feel nauseated instantly.

The Bible however, uses the term ‘leprosy’ for a range of diseases affecting the skin like we see in chapter 13 of Leviticus. Then it addresses the fungus or mildew in chapter 14 as leprosy in the house. The affected part of such a house is to be broken down and reconstructed to eliminate the blight. Fungus, mold, mildew, or even dry rot in the timbers, thrives in a damp environment and is likened to leprosy because it grows and spreads.

God instructed the Israelites to report any case of leprosy they observe to the priest. Before the priest comes to examine the house, it must be emptied. If, on examination, it is certified as infected, the affected wall is to be scraped off, thrown out of town and replaced with new wood, bricks, or stones. Then it is plastered again. An infected house was tagged ‘unclean’ until it was corrected and the required purification rites were carried out. Today, under the Law of Christ, there are no purification rites but the process is quite similar. The root cause is to be discovered and fixed before trying to correct the deformed wall. Otherwise the problem recurs. It’s like the initial treating of symptoms of cancer and ignoring the cancer itself—death will come soon.

SIN IS AN INFECTION

We can apply this to our lives as Christians. First of all, how does an infected house look? Unattractive, right? Yeah, that is how sin makes you look before God. Hence, the need for cleansing. Sin in the life of a Christian is an infectious disease like leprosy. It starts somewhere, and if it is left unchecked, it spreads. When you find yourself repeating a wrong thing over and over again, you should check for the actual problem you have in your heart and work on it. (See 1 John 1:9—paying particular attention to the process.  Notice it is not just forgiveness but cleansing too.  Our God is faithful to forgive AND to cleanse us.)

         •       Romans 7:15-19 KJV For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

Paul went further and exclaimed “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of this death?” Was this supposed to justify sin? Who are we kidding? Paul answered himself in the next chapter.

         •       Romans 8:1-2 KJV There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death (the Mosaic Law).

SIN IS CURABLE

If you truly understand the work of the Spirit of the living God today, his inspired words in the scriptures set you free from the bondage of sin. The Spirit, through the wisdom in the written word of God, reveals a way out of the devil’s schemes. Underline the various sins you see in these verses.

         •       Mark 7:6-13 KJV He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: 11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

         •       1 Corinthians 6:6-10 KJV But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. 7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? 8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. 9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

         •       Ephesians 2:2-3 KJV Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

         •       Titus 3:1-3 KJV Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, 2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. 3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

         •       Titus 1:15-16 KJV  Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

         •       1 Peter 4:1-3 KJV Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

         •       Revelation 21:7-8 KJV  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.  8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

These are just a few among many sins people easily fall prey to. The solution is to find the root cause of any sin you find yourself repeating. If you find yourself always doing something wrong when you are in the company of someone or some people, social distancing comes in handy here. Avoid their company by all means. In 1 Corinthians 15:33 KJV we read, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”

What about a sin that nobody physically encourages you to commit, yet you find yourself there all the time? Seek help. Remember God’s instruction earlier? If a man notices the plague in his house, he is to report to the priest. Today we do not have priests to report to, but there are people in the congregation who are more godly and spiritual than we are.  GAL. 6:1 KJV says “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

If or when anyone covers sin, it festers and the devil is exalted. Proverbs 28:13 KJV says, “He that covered his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaken them shall have mercy.” Decorating a wall infested with mildew is not the solution. It will look good for a few days, but the infested lines come back again. In the same way, wearing expensive clothing is not the cure for body odor.

YOU CAN DO BETTER

I urge you to examine your life today. Use a flash light or torch (the word of God) into the dark areas of your life and see if there is a mildew growing somewhere within the walls. Repair and clean it before it totally destroys you. A recurring sin in anyone’s life is an indication of a deeper problem lurking secretly in the heart. Take it to God in prayer and confide in a spiritually mature person (Galatians 6:1-2) who can hold you accountable and keep you in check.

What about our homes as parents? How attentive are you to the conducts of the members of your home? Could there be someone of questionable behavior that could influence the others? Ask for your Heavenly Father’s intervention through prayers, and take necessary actions to correct such conduct in love. Above all, read the scriptures daily. New Testament Christians have a promise that those living under the Law of Moses did not have.

         •       1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.