THIRD part of: “Our Regulative Principle of Worship”
This study is a doctrinal subject study with a focus on understanding the distinctions between changing the ‘Word of God’ and Changing the ‘Observance’ commanded both of which result in “Every Abominable Thing Which the LORD Hates”.
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Compiled by JS LOWTHER
Our Regulative Principle of Worship
“Every Abominable Thing Which the LORD Hates”
Deu_4:1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.
Deu_4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Deu 4:3 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you.
Deu 4:4 But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.
Deu 4:5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
Deu 4:6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
Deu 4:7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
Deu 4:8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
Deu 4:9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;
Deu 4:10 Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.
Last bible study we had laid out the 1st and 2nd commandment as the foundation of the regulative principle, that is that the first 2 commandments are the foundation of Deu_4:2 “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it”.
Also what we read in Deu_12:32 “What thing so ever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”
in these 2 statements of the regulative principle we have 2 aspects of regulation which a subtly distinct, but a distinction worth noting:
we could say in Deut 4, specifically 4:2
“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it”.
We have a warning against: A. internal distortions.
Which will lead to walking in the wrong path.
Deu_4:2 : the word which is the command is the objects of focus.
We could say in Deut 12 we are warned of B. foreign admixture.
Specifically in 12:32 “What thing so ever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”
We have the object of focus the observance or the worship, the service that is, the works, the deeds which one does as a result of the Commandment of YHWH God.
The subtle difference in the 2 points of the regulative principle is:
1. Deut 4 is dealing with Changing the word of God or the command of God by addition of subtraction to it which will result in ignorant yet sinful obedience to the faulty command, to the spurious or erroneous or false word of God. In this case the object that has been changed is the regulation or the principle it self.
2. Deut 12 is dealing with Changing the observation by any foreign admixture, that is saying as the text reads ‘How did other peoples serve their gods? even so will we do likewise.’ In this case the ‘worship’ has been changed.
Yes, the command to not add to or take away from the word or command is violated by allowing another source of authority to dictate what is allowed in observance to YHWH, contrary to the Law of God, or if of (an)other god(s), that is to say another god can be worshiped beside the ONE only YHWH God. In this case the object that has been changed is the observance or worship it self which is forbidden by the True God’s word.
So lets meditate upon these two distortions of the regulative principle of worship it self:
Deu 4:3 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did at Baal-peor, for the LORD your God destroyed from among you all the men who followed the Baal of Peor.
So God puts at the forefront the affect of erring from the word by addition or subtraction, as lead to the destruction at baal peor.
Now what was this error of Baal Peor? and how did it come about?
Num_31:16 Behold, these (whorish Midianite women) caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.
That is old news!
God doesn’t care about these old Israelite story’s in this new testament era, what ever that sin might have been which Balam (a prophet) helped the enemy king of Moab Balac to curse the congregation of YHWH:
How about some News then?
Rev_2:13-16 where this warning is given to the New Covenant Christian church in Pergamos:
Rev 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
So God says, what I said in Numbers is relevant for you today Christians, he says:
- I know thy works, and how hard it is to do good work living in the land you live in , even where Satan’s seat is, having the devil as your neighbor,
- and thou holdest fast my name,
- and hast not denied my faith, even having among you faithful martyrs who will die for my faith
But what says the Spirit of God?
Rev_2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
Rev 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
Rev 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
- The church had good works,
- and they even kept the good works when it was hart to
- they held fast to the name of God, to the Name of Jesus Christ,
- They didn’t deny my Faith, saving Faith by Grace was not denied, even unto death, this church of Pergamos would not deny the saving Faith of Jesus Christ,
- but YHWH still had aught against this church, and what he had against them was the same thing He had against Israel , the congregation of YHWH in the wilderness of Moab, when by the council of a prophet Balaam, he taught the Midianite women to sensually subdue Israel.
According to Num_25:1-3 and Num_31:16:
Israel, the Congregation of YHWH began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.
And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and and the people did bowed down to their gods.
And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.
This is no different an admonition in substance to that which we find in Deut 4:
Deu_4:1 hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live…
Deu 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God…
So, we then have the blessings of as offered to the church in Revalation 2 observing the regulative principle, no differently than we find offered to the Pergamonian descendants of Israel in:
Deu_4:6, the Keeping of the word and the doing of the word, the word of God, his commandments will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, and this Word of God is what causes those who do not have it to say: , ‘Surely this is a great nation, a wise nation and an understanding people.’
Deu 4:7 …this word shows YHWH the LORD god to be so near .
Deu 4:8 And being a great nation is witnessed to by statutes and judgments that are so righteous as all the Law which Moses set before Israel as it had come from the mouth and finger of God.
So in short: Deu_4:2 speaks of the affect of having the ability to keep the unchanged word of God, by virtue of its origin with God himself, and the affect that will have upon a people that keep the word of God and do it unadded to and untaken away fromis:
1. keep you doing what it says and not follow another way (Baal Peor)
2. it will be your greatness,
3. your wisdom,
4. and your understanding
5. and your proof to others that YHWH God is near to you.
6. and this will emanate righteousness or justice
So Deu_4:2 is speaking of not changing the spoken word of God as it is written purely, and keeping it’s purity as ones code of law.
And so let’s look at the warning of observing
B. foreign admixture applied to observance or worship.
Deu_12:32 : we have the ‘command’ but it is the ‘observation’ as the object of focus
Where can foreign admixture can come from?
In all cases it is by principally abandoning what was warned of in Deut 4 we can see he relationship, we see even in this aspect being mention in the Baal Peor incident , it was the allowance of whordom, sexual immorality with an unfit people which could not benefit the church, that is what lead even the congregation of YHWH (Church) into a plague of punishment, this was sin allowed into the camp, ignorantly or willfully. And so by the people comiting secret / personal / individual civil sin , in ignoring or allowing whoredom in the camp, the immorality transferred quickly to the worship of the people.
But our focus is how these out sides influence tries to get in to the camp, and how does it affect worship once it is there as a foreign admixture in the peoples worship, one the regulative principle is compromised:
Deu_12:28 Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.
“thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God. ”
See, when we abandon observing and hearing the word of God, we have abandoned “that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.”
So God says: in
Deu_12:30 take care that you be not ensnared to follow (other nations, other peoples ), after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’
Deu 12:31 You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.
So here is what the Lawgiver is saying first and foremost to the individuals of every family, kindred, and tribe in Israel, ‘Do not worship the gods of any other peoples or nations, because it is at this time in the wilderness in Sinai at Horab that I have make by worship known to you because I have set my mercy and grace upon your race, Israel and have given you my Law’.
Psa_147:19-20 says it best:
Psa_147:19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.
Psa 147:20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.
And so for those particular people that love God’s covenant and his law and will obey his voice indeed and have the lord so near them, for all they call upon him for, to abandon this blessing can only result in a horrific error.
and do not worship YHWH like they worship their gods
worship YHWH as YHWH has said to worship Him according to what he has commanded, be obedient and observe to worship as he has spoken.
Now here is how these foreign admixtures come into the Church:
Deu_13:1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,
Deu 13:2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them…”
So here is what we see, we see directly after the general congregation is in focus a Prophet, now we must remember, a prophet is a forth tell, but it also is a Professor as well, one who professes to you divine revelation, a prophet can be a preacher if he is authoritivly proclaiming the word of God publicly or privately, a minister or a priest, a pastor can be this guy. The point is that a prophet is a professor, he he may forth tell (as we often think), but that is not the only thing that makes alone a prophet by definition, this man could claim a particular connection with God or the spirits, or any supernatural force.
Biblically speaking a prophet that engages in forth telling is judged on the truth of the matter:
Deu_18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
Deu 18:21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
Deu 18:22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
So if a man or woman rises up and speaks in YHWH’s name we judge that person by YHWH’s word.
If the prophet rises up and speaks in the name of any other ‘god’ or deity, you know he is condemned, regardless of if he is right about his predictions or wrong about them because he has denied the one and only YHWH God, by saying I speak on behalf of another god.
so here is what the regulative principle says to us concerning this prophet. even though he was true or his sign or wonder appeared to be true, be it in his forth telling, a sign or miracle or some wondrous thing, and it seems or did really come to pass, here is what the WORD of the ONE YHWH God says concerning such a one:
Deu_13:3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deu 13:4 Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
And so beware of those who claim to be prophets, professors, teacher, preachers, pastors and priests, remember what Isa_8:20 said?
” To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
To them we give no heed, no not if it is ‘other gods’, no not if it is ‘YHWH and other gods’, ‘no not if it is YHWH alone without the light of his word, his law and his covenant / testimony.
Deu_13:5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.
But the latter is where we so often subtle, but let me remind you of this:
Moses, was a prophet, he was a professor, he was a pastor, he was a teacher, he was a preacher, he was a Levite priest, and when he said he would bring forth water from a rock as sign from YHWH God and did miraculously, and wonderfully gave a whole nation drink by the grace of God, even that just man Moses was punished because he did not follow te word of God as a law, he did not execute accurately that which YHWH god had spoken to him to be obeyed!
Now past the individual that privately interprets his service to ‘other God’s’ , and now past the prophet or the leader who professes in the name of other god, or in the name of a false YHWH divorced and speaking contrary to scriptural revelation, look at these other people you are not to listen to and why:
Deu 13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly…
This is part of that general congregation, and notice “entice thee secretly…” , this is a private revelation that leads you away from YHWH and His word, and it starts with that fundamental denial of the greatest commandments and the first commandment of the Decalogue and then secretly invites you to violate the 2nd commandment, which will lead to the violation and forsaking of all 10 commandments inevitable.
the next example of how foreign admixture penetrates the Church of Christ:
Deu 13:12 If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,
Deu 13:13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;
Deu 13:14 Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;
Deu 13:15 Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword…
So, what about right in numbers? that is what about if a bunch of people start to worship another of, a whole city? the condemnation which they deserve is no different for a whole city than it is for one crack pot professor/ prophet.
And I want to remind you how this law was interpreted and applied in the history of Israel.
In Jdg_20:1-48 we are told of how the Benjamites, both allowed homosex and rape to pervade their society, so much that this tribe of the people of Israel, resembled the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Gen , and because of this sin and perpetrated against a Traveling Levite and his concubine and that with no recourse or justice done in that tribe, the judges of Benjamin cared not for the light of God’s Law , they may have taken the covenant into their mouth saying ‘they were the son’s of Benjamin’ the beloved son of Jacob Israel heirs to the Covenant of Abraham, but they were not, so upon the breaking of the LAW of YHWH God, this just and righteous execution of divine justice was enacted on the wicked and perverse Benjamites of the seed of Israel’s race by their own brothers st it behind them So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man.
Now here is what I want to point out, Benjamin is not recorded to have ‘worshiped idols’, or ‘other gods’ of wood and stone or metal, not in the sense of a new named or imagined deity, but rather they forsook and then actively positively endorsed the total opposite of God’s Law, so much that justice was foreign to this generation of Benjamites. And this was no different that worshiping another God, ‘whom your father’s have not known.
So always remember, and do not forget it:
12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
- Let it make you wise unto salvation through faith in Christ
- Let it profit you for doctrine
- for reproof,
- for correction,
- for instruction in righteousness:
- Let is make you the man of God that may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
And know you will suffer persecution when you champion God’s unchanged Word and unchanged Observance as the Good works of Christian. Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, they will deceive others and be deceived them selves, but we who accept ALL SCRIPTURE from the Holy Spirit of God and know it has been taught us by he Holy Spirit of God need only to continue in that which only the Holy Spirit can teach in the unchanging nature of the purity of the Word of God and our obedience to it.