Deuteronomy Chapter 3: Og the King of Bashan the Giant, Possessing the Land, Moses Cannot Enter the Land

Jan 29th, 2010 | By | Category: Deuteronomy, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Deuteronomy Chapter 3: Og the King of Bashan the Giant, Possessing the Land, Moses Cannot Enter the Land

Deut. 3:1 Then we turned, and went up the way to Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei.

When the 40 years in the Wilderness of Sinai are considered as a whole, the Israelites stayed many years in one location, and then they went on a long, scorching journey down the Arabah to the Red Sea. Afterward they came back and went around in circles, getting nowhere.

Therefore, the “wanderings” aspect of the term “wilderness wanderings” aptly describes the 40-year experience of the Israelites. Seeming to go around in circles and getting nowhere has a parallel with the experiences of spiritual Israelites down through the Dark Ages.

Verse 1 focuses attention on a specific battle that the Israelites had with Og, the king of Bashan. When the Israelites started from the south end of the Dead Sea and turned and went around the Edomites, they traveled progressively northward into the plains of Moab opposite Jordan.

As they continued on before entering the Promised Land, they went up into Bashan, which is in the land of Gilead far to the north. Thus this warfare took place in the northern portion of land on the east side of the Jordan River. At Edrei, King Og came out to battle against the Israelites. When the kingdom of Israel was divided in two, Rehoboam, the king of Judah, occupied the land to the south, and Jeroboam, the king of Israel, occupied the land in the north, where he instituted the worship of golden calves at Dan and Beth-el. We now have a general geographic description of the journeying of the Israelites.

Deut. 3:2 And the LORD said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.

God said not to fear King Og, for He would deliver the king and all of the people into the hands of the Israelites, as had happened with King Sihon of the Amorites. The account singles out these two kings on the far side of the Jordan River. King Og was way up north, and the Ammonites were south of Bashan at the northern part of the Dead Sea. Thus the progression was from the south end of the Dead Sea, going north step-by-step, up to parallel where the Ammonites were and on up into Bashan. Then the Israelites came back down to the south and were ready to cross the Jordan after Moses’ decease. (Lest there be confusion, King Sihon occupied the land of Ammon, even though he was an Amorite. Moab and Ammon were given to the sons of Lot with those names. These two personalities were a real trial to the Israelites.)

Deut. 3:3 So the LORD our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to him remaining.

Deut. 3:4 And we took all his cities at that time, there was not a city which we took not from them, threescore cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan.

Deut. 3:5 All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; beside unwalled towns a great many.

Deut. 3:6 And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.

God delivered Og, the king of Bashan, into the hand of the Israelites, who smote until no men, women, or children remained. All 60 walled cities were taken plus many unwalled towns.

The Apostle Paul was a Hebrew, and with regard to a Hebraism, much of his reasoning started from the bottom and went up; then it turned around and went from the top to the bottom.

Instead of his repeating the same thing in the same sequence, sometimes the sequence went in one direction, and then, without warning, it went in the opposite direction. Purposely done in the Jewish language, this type of teaching, which we of the West are not accustomed to, was very good. Depending on what period of history is being considered, the Asiatic peoples have been trained to read from the bottom up and from the top down. This type of reasoning was used to see if the listeners were paying attention. And our Heavenly Father also used this method of teaching on different occasions to wake us up to the fact that there is some importance to what is being stated, even though the subject may be rather monotonous.

Deut. 3:7 But all the cattle, and the spoil of the cities, we took for a prey to ourselves.

Only the cattle were taken as a spoil. Note: Verses 8-11 will be discussed after the explanation of the “giants” (the Rephaim).

Deut. 3:8 And we took at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites the land that was on this side Jordan, from the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon;

Deut. 3:9 (Which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion; and the Amorites call it Shenir;)

Deut. 3:10 All the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, unto Salchah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan.

Deut. 3:11 For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.

Instead of the word “giants” in verses 11 and 13 of the King James, the Revised Standard uses “Rephaim,” as follows: “(For only Og the king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbah of the Ammonites?

Nine cubits was its length, and four cubits its breadth, according to the common cubit.) … the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, that is, all the region of Argob, I gave to the half-tribe of Manasseh. (The whole of that Bashan is called the land of Rephaim.” The “im” at the end of Rephaim indicates plurality, the word being a general term for a people or a race.

The Hebrew term Rephaim includes the Anakims, who occupied the land of the Amorites; the Emims of Moab; the Horims of Edom; and the Zamzummims of the Ammonites. Previous to these were a people called the Avims, but the Caphtorims of the island of Crete came to land, to the shore, and destroyed the Avims, even though they were on the other side of the Dead Sea. Others have tried to explore the period of the Caphtorims, but it is a big blank in history.

The subject is of some interest, however, for in another place, the Lord made an intriguing statement about them, which we will not discuss now.

When all of these “ims” are lumped together, they are the Rephaim. Thus Rephaim is an allembracive term that combines these peoples as being the progeny of the fallen angels. Because the subject is in God’s Word here in Deuteronomy, we will now discuss it.

The creation of Adam was a startling event—to see God’s creation of a physical, material being in diminutive or miniature form that was a likeness of spirit beings, who are of an ethereal, spiritual nature. When the angels looked down, they saw a tiny physical being with one head, two eyes, two ears, a nose, a mouth, two arms, and two legs just like they had! In other words, human beings are a resemblance of angelic beings but are in a physical format. Being surprised at seeing Adam, the angels sang with joy because they realized he could speak and reason, and he was handsome. How startling to behold! And then God created a woman out of the side of the man. This event was perhaps even more startling because angels had never seen a female before. Eve must have been very beautiful. Later, when Adam and Eve had children, both sons and daughters, the human race began to multiply.

Without particularly endorsing their methodology, God allowed the spirit beings, the angels, to materialize and come down here to try to lift man out of the mess that resulted from Adam’s disobedience to God. Evil was predominating and beginning to generate in the human family, causing a deterioration in morals, character, and so forth. Seeing the interest and the empathy of the holy angels for the human race, which was now in a sick condition, God allowed them to see what they could do. Pastor Russell enlightened us with this fact and opened the door to an entirely new concept of what happened in the First World; namely, spirit beings were allowed to see what they could do to lift the human race out of their cesspool of degradation. However, the angels were unsuccessful. Then Satan became the god of the Second World (2 Cor. 4:4).

As time went on in the First Dispensation, that is, before the Flood, and the angels observed the human family and saw women and children, they began to realize that they, as spirit beings, were only males. The whole spirit realm is described as the “sons of God,” and as far as we know, the female generated down here on the human plane was unique. The angels also observed human males and females having familiar relations, one with the other, in connection with bringing forth offspring. This observation fascinated the angels, and in time, it began to divide their sentiments. Some of the angels now started to entertain unwarranted meditations and began to reason among themselves. Not only was the human family made in the likeness of their Creator, although in a physical sense down here, but the angels observed a comparison with their own being. The angelic host noticed that they, too, had organs of reproduction, whereas previously they had known only that these appendages were used to eliminate liquid waste from their bodies. Just as humans down here have to eat and drink and also excrete the poisons of their bodies in two processes (in both liquid and solid form), so spirit beings, we reason, have to do the same thing. Angels eat food and have a diet to sustain their life. A proof text is Psalm 78:25, which speaks of “angels’ food.” Since angels do not have life within themselves, they have to eat, drink, and sleep (John 5:26).

As some of the angels reasoned on the fact they have organs exactly like the human males, and as they observed the bizarre and evil behavior of the degenerated portion of the Adamic race that was not of the Noachic seed, their own passions were inflamed. The thought came to them that their organs could be used for reproductive purposes, and so they took unto themselves wives of all they desired (Gen. 6:2). Being of such a superior nature, these angels could do whatever they wanted. In the meantime, God did not interfere with their actions. In the beginning, the angels knew with their conscience that this activity was unauthorized, but little by little, following Satan’s lead, they felt they could have relations with human females with impunity. Thus this element among the angels delighted in their evil passions and brought them to a fruition; they went astray and left their first estate, choosing to remain down here rather than to return to their heavenly abode (Jude 6). This new experience so thrilled and enamored them that they persisted in it. We can see how excruciating and severe this test was on the holy angels, who maintained their virginity and integrity. The Scriptures henceforth speak of these holy angels as having passed the test—they will not die.

The sixth chapter of Genesis tells that when these angelic beings took unto themselves wives down here, they brought forth children, who became giants in the earth called nephilim (Gen. 6:4). To repeat, the progeny of the holy angels were mighty men of renown, nephilim. When the Flood came, it did not destroy the disobedient angels because they could dematerialize and return to spirit nature. The only thing is that they could not return to heaven, for they were incarcerated in tartaroo, that is, between the upper and nether realms, as it were. Hence they were not allowed to go back, with their degrading habits, to God’s abode. God’s will is done in heaven now and was done back there; God’s will was never violated in His holy heaven.

However, the Flood did destroy all of the nephilim offspring completely. Now a problem arises. The question is, If the progeny of the fallen angels were all wiped out at the Flood, why does Deuteronomy hint and use expressions to suggest that the “giants” in the days of Moses were somehow related to the nephilim? There has to be an explanation for the reality that there was a connection between the giants after the Flood and the nephilim. The Bible assures us that Noah and his male progeny (his three sons) were not contaminated with angelic seed but were separate from all others. But what about the wives? We believe that Noah’s wife was faithful, as well as the wives of Shem and Japheth. Therefore, Ham’s wife is suspect.

The Pastor felt that the nephilim race could not generate their own children. He considered them to be sterile like the mule, incapable of producing a second generation of their own progeny. Although this general concept has prevailed, we do not think it is necessarily true because science now shows that with regard to genetics, scientists can take two women and alter the genes of the one so that in the test tube, as it were, there is the potentiality of not even needing a male to reproduce. The science of genetics would like to prosper that goal.

We believe Satan is still trying to do what he originally intended when he deflected—he wanted to bring forth a mixed (or hybrid) race that could not die. Being a genius in his own thinking, Satan realized the potentiality. We do not think that a mixture of angelic and human beings can be compared with the mixture of a horse and a mule. True, the Bible does state that any mixing of species would normally become sterile, but the angelic and the human are not a proper comparison. We will try to show that there is an implication along this line.

When the angels materialized down here and took unto themselves wives, they did bring forth seed. In other words, the angels in heaven had these organs not only of elimination but also of generation. When God created the angels, they had that ability, but being all males, they did not know about that ability. Thus there was no thought of regeneration prior to the creation of human beings. For angels to have illegitimate children means that in their creation, God gave them, without their cognizance, the ability to reproduce. To repeat, angels could not have had children when they materialized and were familiar with the daughters of men unless God had created them with this ability. The situation became a great test on the holy angels, who kept their virginity of thought, mind, action, and deed. Questions arose: Why did God allow angels to take human wives and have offspring? Why didn’t God stop the disobedience?

Satan was self-deceived through the serpent. When he saw that the serpent was wiser than all of the other “cattle” created down here, he thought it had obtained wisdom by eating the fruit of the forbidden tree. The serpent ate of that fruit with immunity; it did not die. However, God had created the serpent to be wise, that is, without its having to eat of that fruit (Gen. 3:1).

The fallen angels were also self-deceived, whereas the holy angels maintained their integrity by reasoning along the following line. “Since God is the Creator, we want to do His will, and we do not want to wander into unauthorized paths in questioning Him and doing our own thing.”

The holy angels had innate reverence and respect for the Creator, even though they could not understand why He did not destroy Satan and the other fallen angels. The holy angels did not question whether God had the ability to destroy the disobedient angels. Rather, they knew instinctively that He had a reason for allowing the disobedience. Similarly, Abraham did not question God when he was asked to slay his son Isaac. Abraham was ready to unquestioningly obey this extraordinary request because he had innate faith in the Creator. He would have reasoned, “Since it was the wonderful Supreme Deity, the Creator, who made this request, He has a good reason for doing so.” Abraham would also have reasoned, “If God wants to raise Isaac back to life again, He certainly can do that.” Not only did Abraham not act against his own will, but he got up very early in the morning to go on the journey to slay Isaac as a sacrifice. God uses the same underlying methodology to test the angels, Abraham, and us. He has allowed certain things to happen in the true Church and to the truly consecrated to see if we obediently wait for His answer.

Another question needs to be addressed. In the case of the Anakims, Emims, etc., on the far side of the Jordan River, why did God instruct that every man, woman, and child was to be exterminated? The purpose was to rid the human race of this genetic irregularity that developed after the Flood and entered the human family. Although the progeny passed through the Flood, this particular genetic factor was exterminated during the lifetime of Moses.

When Og and his people were destroyed in the land of the giants way up to the north, that race was completely eliminated east of the Jordan River.

The Pastor reasoned correctly that as new creatures, we are to ruthlessly destroy the spiritual nephilim in our own character, purging out from our inner beings all these workings of the old nature. The Apostle Paul mentioned that we fight “not against flesh and blood [merely], but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). If we root out these giants to the extent that we can—if that is our real intent—God will supplement the balance and bring us forth to victory.

On the other hand, if we allow little acts of disobedience, they will multiply and grow and take over the new creature. However, this spiritual lesson, although vital to the new creature, is secondary. The primary lesson is literal, and the literal application gives a reason for the extermination of these peoples without any thought of mercy. Even babies and children had to be killed in order to eliminate the genetic illegitimate mixture that continued after the Flood. In His own way, God slowly accomplished the elimination.

A climate of doubt is beneficial if we are properly exercised, for faith grows in opposition to an atmosphere of doubt. If not confronted by doubt, we would have no exercise of trying to do what God wants us to do and of developing spiritual muscles of character development. To one class, doubt becomes a stepping-stone because faith surmounts that doubt. However, to another class, doubt causes their downfall because they do not have the necessary depth of consecration. Thus doubt has a separating influence.

Not understanding the reasoning behind the slaughter of all men, women, and children at times in the Old Testament, the world and even many professed and true Christians have much more affection for Jesus than for God. They think more highly of Jesus than of Jehovah because of the gospel of mercy in the New Testament, and they find fault with the Law. Of course it is true that the Law will kill us if we try to justify ourselves by its deeds. The gospel of Jesus Christ, which is one of mercy and forgiveness, prevails in the Gospel Age for those who are properly motivated now, and to a certain extent, it will apply in the Kingdom Age. At that time, mankind will be judged according to their works, according to the deeds of the flesh; however, mercy will be given from the standpoint that when mankind is awakened from the tomb, they will have to unlearn and rid themselves of sinful habits that are almost like a part of their being. Therefore, a merciful arrangement has been provided for mankind to be under the tutelage of The Christ in the Kingdom Age, primarily of Jesus as the Head, the Messiah. At that time, the Father will not deal with the human race in the personalized sense that He deals with us now. Instead the Son will do the administration. However, mercy will cease to exist for those who enter into the age beyond the Kingdom. Our first reaction to this statement might be to disagree, but the reason for the permission of evil is to demonstrate to mankind not only that sin is infectious and very dangerous but also that it has been permitted for a short time down here on earth as an everlasting lesson to all future beings, who are yet to be created.

In the future, after the Kingdom Age, there will be no more mercy. Any individual who then sins will die right away. No longer will God wink the eye in the toleration of sin. He has designed an everlasting lesson through the experiences with sin here on earth, the first planet where He made physical, human beings. Eventually human beings, yet to be brought forth, will occupy other planets of the universe. Therefore, technically speaking, the Law of Moses is superior to the gospel of Jesus Christ. If it were not for the gospel of Jesus and his dying on the Cross for mankind, we would have no hope, for the Law would kill us. However, that fact does not mean the Law is not perfect. The Law is of God. God instituted the giving of the commandments, etc., and the Law will prevail forever. After the Kingdom Age is complete, His Law will take over, and it will be the standard for those who enter the ages of ages. God’s Law will also be the everlasting standard for every created being who ever enters life in any other abode in the physical universe. No more will there be the gospel of grace and peace. Actually, then, the Father’s Law is supreme and perfect, whereas the gospel of Jesus Christ, arranged by God Himself as a secondary factor, is meant to be only temporary. At the same time, we should keep in mind that God’s attributes are Love as well as Justice, Wisdom, and Power.

To those who are not called in the present life, it may seem that God lacks mercy, but the Bible shows otherwise. A wonderful blessing is that we were born with at least some natural faith, for without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). Although not necessarily cognizant of the fact prior to consecration, all who have been called did have some natural faith. If obediently followed with conscience, natural faith eventually leads to repentance and salvation for those who are called. God could have sent the gospel eastward to other peoples, but He chose the Western Hemisphere, generally speaking, for the selection of the Bride class in the Gospel Age. We were blessed in having a kernel of natural faith in our inner being when we were born. Listening to and being motivated by our Creator, and considering that He is superior to us, have had a stabilizing effect on us that we should ever keep in mind. Not only do the heavens declare the glory of God, but our conscience approves of the moral law, and how wonderful it is!

Unfortunately, we, as brethren, are inclined to disparage the Law. Many have never read it in its entirety. Daily, day and night, the Psalmist David thought on the principles of God’s Law (Psa. 1:2; 40:8; 119:16,24,35,47,77,174). He benefited from studying the universe and nature with a different perspective than that of his son Solomon. Although David was not eligible for the high calling, he was a man after God’s own heart in spite of the flesh (1 Sam. 13:14; 1 Kings 14:8). Having been born in sin and shapen in iniquity, just like us, he was hampered by the flesh (Psa. 51:5). We should be very thankful that we were born after Christ and in the United States of America, for these factors have been helpful in our being led by the Spirit of God into the consecrated state.

In summary, the test has been, Why is God so patient? Truly, He is the God of all patience (Rom. 15:5). Even now He has had long patience in waiting for the last members of the Little Flock. We are nearly 100 years past 1914, and the Church is not yet complete. “Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth,  and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain” (James 5:7). God has long patience even  for the gleaning work of the last members of the body of Christ. He wants the Very Elect to be a tried and true

people, whom He can implicitly and everlastingly trust with the divine nature.

The Rephaim

Q: What is the relationship of the Rephaim and the Anakims (Deut. 1:28; 2:10,11,21; 9:2)? How do the later accounts in Joshua fit in since they talk about the sons of the Anakims being still alive at that time? Does Deuteronomy 3:11,13 indicate that the last of the Rephaim were destroyed? The verses in Joshua read as follows:

“And the border went up by the valley of the son of Hinnom unto the south side of the Jebusite; the same is Jerusalem: and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley of the giants northward.” (Josh. 15:8)

“And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites, and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.” (Josh. 17:15)

“And the border came down to the end of the mountain that lieth before the valley of the son of Hinnom, and which is in the valley of the giants on the north, and descended to the valley of Hinnom, to the side of Jebusi on the south, and descended to En-rogel.” (Josh 18:16)

A: No, the third chapter of Deuteronomy does not indicate that all of the Rephaim (giants) were destroyed. Only those in that location east of the Jordan River were killed. The Rephaim west of Jordan were still living and were encountered by Joshua later. In other words, Rephaim were on both sides of the Jordan, that is, in the Gaza Strip, in Israel proper, and in Transjordan.

Q: Genesis 6:4 states, “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” Does this Scripture bolster the reasoning that the giants were not limited to Noah’s day but were a continuing problem both pre-Flood and post-Flood?

A: Yes, and we can go a little step further. We had previously accepted the Pastor’s explanation that the Flood destroyed all of the giants, but now we would answer the question the way it appeals to us. Genesis 6:4 uses the word nephilim for “giants” instead of Rephaim. Then in Moses’ day, which was after the Flood, an unusual statement was made in Numbers 13:33. The time setting was when the Israelites were told to enter the Promised Land from the Kadeshbarnea area, but they declined to do so because of the unfavorable report of the ten spies.

“And there [in Israel proper] we [the ten spies] saw the giants [the nephilim], the sons of Anak, which come of the giants [the nephilim]: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” We know of no other Scripture that closely approximates Numbers 13:33 from the standpoint that an unusual word is mentioned twice in the same verse. God’s Word used the principle of verification by a second or third witness. Accordingly, Numbers 13:33 tells that the sons of Anak were of the nephilim, and then the statement is repeated right away. The only other (consecutive) verses that approximate such an important issue are Exodus 12:40,41 about the 430 years that the children of Israel sojourned in Egypt. “Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.” This time period from the covenant with Abraham to the day the Exodus took place was so important that the Holy Spirit saw the necessity to verify it emphatically through duplication. Not only was the time period mentioned twice, but it was emphasized with the phrase “even the selfsame day.”

Similarly, the statement about the nephilim was repeated. In other words, nephilim did come after the Flood, yet a question arises because definite Scriptures say that none of the Nephilim survived the Flood—period. However, if they all perished, how could they have lived after the Flood? It is important to notice an unusual silence; namely, the Bible specifically states that Noah and his three sons were of pure Adamic stock, but nothing is said about the four wives.

Not even their names are given, and that fact alone is unusual because in many instances in later genealogy, the wives’ names are mentioned. Therefore, the only possibility for the nephilim seed to survive after the Flood would be through the females. Of the four women, we feel instinctively that Noah’s wife must have been pure. In regard to the three sons, Shem was given the most credit of authority, Japheth was next in rank, and Ham, who was listed last, was blacklisted. Thus the intimation is that the nephilim seed could only have come through one of the wives, that is, the wife of Ham.

The next thing to note is that Ham had a son named Cush. Cush himself was not black, but his son Nimrod was to be black as a mark of disfavor by God. The lineage of the sons of Cush in the first chapter of 1 Chronicles shows five sons in one verse and then the sixth son, Nimrod, in the next (separate) verse. “And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabta, and Raamah, and Sabtecha. And the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan” (1 Chron. 1:9). “And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be mighty upon the earth” (1 Chron. 1:10). An artificial division was purposely made. Much tradition and mythology indicate that Nimrod was black. He wore a leopard skin and had many concubines, but the account is silent about his progeny. In other words, Nimrod had progeny, but they are not mentioned, just as the account is silent about the names of the wives of Noah and his sons. Therefore, the only possibility of the nephilim being carried over was through Cush and then Nimrod, who, the Bible states, was a giant and had progeny according to mythology.

The Bible definitely mentions that nephilim seed survived after the Flood. Based on Scripture, we made deductions on this subject about 40 years ago, and since that time, the study of genetics has developed greatly. All of the nephilim were destroyed by the Flood, but their seed was inherent in one of the wives of Noah’s sons and, in that way, was carried over beyond the Flood. What we are saying here is really only the beginning of the story.

The word nephilim, translated “giants,” is used only three times in Scripture: once in Gen. 6:4 and twice in Num. 13:33. Rapha, the basic word for Rephaim, is mentioned 13 times: Deut. 2:11,20 (twice here); 3:11,13; Josh. 12:4; 13:12; 15:8; 17:15; 18:16; and 1 Chron. 20:4,6,8. Raphah is used four times: 2 Sam. 21:16,18,20,22. Rephaim(s) is mentioned in plurality another eight times: Gen. 14:5; 15:20; 2 Sam. 5:18,22; 23:13; 1 Chron. 11:15; 14:9; and Isa. 17:5. Thus altogether, the basic word for Rephaim is mentioned 25 times in the Old Testament.

The word rapha, as a noun, is usually defined as “fearful one” or “giant.” In the four instances in 2 Samuel 21, the consonant “h” terminates the word: raphah. Basically, rapha and raphah are the same, although there is a slight connotation of difference. The uses of rapha in Deuteronomy, Joshua, and 1 Chronicles, which all translate the word as “giant” or “giants” in the King James, pertain to the same nephilim seed, even though the names changed. The seed progeny of the nephilim who survived were also called “giants.”

The term nephilim is somewhat synonymous with Rephaim, for they have basically the same  idea or connotation. The “giants” were given different names in different territories. Forexample, the Amorites on the west side of Jordan had one name, and the Ammonites, Moabites, and others were given other names, but they were the same seed.

Rephaim, used in the plural, takes on a slightly different meaning than just “giant,” for it has the added meaning of “darkness” or “shades of death.” The word is used both as a noun and as a verb, and where it appears, it takes on the shade of meaning based on the context. Basically, then, one of the reasons for Rephaim being used is that these are fallen ones. They were sons of light and favor at one time, but through their change of character and disobedience, they became children of darkness. Both fallen angels and their progeny are given that slant. No longer are the fallen angels the sons of God as they formerly were, that is, before their disobedience in the days of Noah.

The foregoing was a long explanation without going into the details of genetics, which, we believe, would support this view. A female can bring forth either a male (son) or a female (daughter). Not only were the children of the fallen angels initially of superior quality and health, but also they were not under condemnation of death. To repeat: No death sentence was inherent in the fallen angels before they materialized, and after they materialized, there was still no sentence of death on them, so their health and superior qualities were passed on to the children, who were all sons. When the fallen angels took unto themselves wives of their own choosing, the offspring were all sons. But now we are talking about the children of the sons, the children of the nephilim, who were the Rephaim, the Emims. When women brought forth children of the Rephaim, the offspring had in their own chromosomes, in their own genetic genome, as it were, the discrepancy of Adamic stock and nephilim seed. Therefore, whatever seed entered the womb—depending on what the womb accepted—could develop into a human child of Adamic origin or a child of nephilim origin.

Bro. Russell had startling revelations in certain statements he made, but he did not feel that the offspring of the fallen angels could reproduce. However, even many years ago, before the human genome was studied, we could not accept that thought because of Numbers 13:33. Today the sex of the fetus in the womb can be determined scientifically. The distinction between a male and a female is only one slight difference in the chromosomal material. For want of a better term, we will say that a difference of one atom, or one little unit, determines the difference between a male and a female.

In regard to this account in Deuteronomy, Moses made sure that during his lifetime, all of the nephilim seed was exterminated, but he himself never entered the land of Israel. Therefore, in the Book of Deuteronomy, we are reading only about the experiences of the children of Israel in the wilderness and on the far side of the Dead Sea. When they went northward, God instructed Moses to wipe out every man, woman, and child where this suspect seed would be. However, this extermination did not affect those on the west side of the Jordan River. When Joshua subsequently went into the Promised Land, he started to do the slaying, but the time frame was only six years. Thus the nephilim seed after the Flood was not fully exterminated. Many years ago we read a remarkable book entitled Ages of Chaos, written by a Jew who was fluent in Arabic, Hebrew, and the Egyptian language. He called attention to the fact that during the days of Saul, the nephilim seed was being exterminated, but the king did not finish the matter. Saul was used of the Lord in one of his battles in the south when he was fighting against the Egyptians, but he did not wipe out all of the nephilim seed. Then David, who would be the next king, slew Goliath, who, we believe, was of the nephilim seed. With the slaying of Goliath, whose hometown was Gath in the Gaza Strip, the nephilim seed was narrowed down. On another occasion, later in life, David utterly exterminated the last of the nephilim seed, which now no longer exists. The remnants dragged on for years, but the seed was finally wiped out.

Although there is no definitive instruction along these lines, a sufficiency of scriptural information enables us to reason from the known to the unknown because of the limited parameters of these terms. Thus we can come to a reasonable conclusion, which we are trying to explain in our own poor and hurried way. To write a treatise or a book on the subject would involve careful thought that would present the matter much better.

Q: Does the Scripture that God visited the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation have a bearing in a natural way because of genetic pollution?

A: There is a relationship, but it is not specifically pertinent.

Q: The preceding reasoning brings up a right-to-life issue from the standpoint of the Ransom.

Obviously, the pre-Flood offspring of the angelic and human female union have no right to a resurrection because Jesus did not die for them, but what about the children of the nephilim offspring? Since there was no Adamic continuity through the father because the grandfather was an angel, wouldn’t all the children of Ham and his wife be ineligible for a resurrection?

A: Only the nephilim part would be affected. If we understand the principles of divine government, it would take ten generations for the nephilim seed to be released, and certainly those individuals were wiped out within ten generations. None survived.

Q: Wouldn’t the gene, whether dormant or dominant, be carried on in the offspring of each generation until the dominance was worn off?

A: Billions of genes are in the sperm, and only the single sperm that the womb accepts becomes a fetus. And even if the sperm is of the proper origin, the fetus has to come out of the womb and get the breath of life in order to become a viable being that will get a resurrection. Only children of pure Adamic stock who have had the breath of life—be it for an hour, a day, or a month—are guaranteed a resurrection because Jesus died as a ransom for the children of Adam.

Q: Certain of Ham’s children had to have this nephilim gene, whether or not it was dominant, for example, through Cush and Nimrod. Would those who became the Rephaim not be eligible for a resurrection?

A: Carrying the gene and coming to birth are two completely different subjects. Genes have flaws. One does not become a soul until he is born and receives the breath of life. Just carrying that gene does not mean the person will not get a resurrection.

Q: Wouldn’t the individual carrying the nephilim gene comprise two different natures?

A: No. Diseases and deformities are also carried inherently in the blood, but these have nothing to do with the nature of the fetus until it becomes a soul. Therefore, the right-to-life reasoning is wrong. Many brethren think the fetus has a right to life, but we do not agree. The actual birth with the breath of life must take place first. In considering this subject, we should not go onto the other side of the page and reason backwards. The fetus does not have a right to life. In fact, because of Adam’s disobedience, no one has a right to life.

Q: Is the following a correct appraisal of what has been said? After the Flood, those in whom the nephilim gene was dominant so that they were born as Rephaim are not eligible for a resurrection, but those in whom the gene is recessive so that they retain a normal human appearance are eligible.

A: Yes. For example, Cush had five sons who will get a resurrection, but one son, Nimrod, will not.

Comment: It is hard to understand that a mother could have two children, one an Anakim and the other a normal human being. The former will not get a resurrection; the latter will.

Reply: There is a distinction and a separation.

Comment: In regard to the genetic code, one child is Adamic offspring, and the other is illegitimate offspring.

Q: With the fallen human race, everyone’s genetic code has flaws. Therefore, couldn’t the “illegitimate offspring” be just another genetic aberration because of the introduction of the angelic seed prior to the Flood? In the Kingdom Age, genetic aberrations will not occur.

A: The very fact God so emphatically instructed that every man, woman, and child was to be destroyed answers the question.

Comment: The subject of genetics is very complex—much more so than man realizes at the present time. However, what is understood shows that there is a method by which “giants” could develop. Genesis 6:4 plainly states that there were giants both before and after the Flood.

With “giants” being the word nephilim in that verse, a definite association crossed over after the Flood.

Comment: It is interesting that Young’s Analytical Concordance says Goliath was “a famous giant of Gath, probably a descendant of the Rephaim.”

Now we will return to Deuteronomy 3:8 and discuss that verse and succeeding verses, which were temporarily postponed for an explanation of the Rephaim.

Deut. 3:8 And we took at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites the land that was on this side Jordan, from the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon;

Deut. 3:9 (Which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion; and the Amorites call it Shenir;)

Verses 8-20 can be confusing to one who is not familiar with the geography east of the Jordan River. Selecting certain verses, beginning with verse 8, will help to clarify the meaning. “And we took … the land that was on this [east] side Jordan, from the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon.” “From the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon” was the full extent of the land, going south to north, that was to be given to the 2 1/2 tribes of Israel. The river Arnon was the northern border of Moab. Starting in the south and going north, the geography was Edom, Moab, and the river Arnon. The land from Arnon up to Mount Hermon became the possession of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh. The other details merely describe what part of this parcel each tribe occupied.

Generally speaking, for the sake of brevity and clarity, the northern third of this long parcel of land was given to half the tribe of Manasseh, which occupied not only the land called Bashan to the north but also a large portion of Gilead to the south of Bashan. Therefore, the middle section of Gilead was given to Manasseh, and the rest of Gilead to the south was given to the tribe of Gad. The land south of Gad all the way down to the river Arnon was occupied by the tribe of Reuben.

The previous chapter of Deuteronomy gave the incorrect impression that the Gadites and the Reubenites were scrambled together and that they occupied the bottom two thirds of Gilead. However, the upper part (the middle third) was occupied by the Gadites, and the bottom part (the lower third) was occupied by the Reubenites. Way up to the north was one half of the tribe of Manasseh.

Deut. 3:10 All the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, unto Salchah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan.

Deut. 3:11 For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.

Q: What is the thought of Og’s being the only one who “remained of the remnant of giants”?

A: Og was the last of the giants on the far (east) side of the Jordan River. The account is silent here with regard to the west side of Jordan.

Q: King Og’s bedstead was of iron. Is that detail significant because of his weight? Did his great size require a more substantial bed?

A: There were several reasons for the iron bed, one being his stature. Another reason was that iron is better than wood. One problem was that worms infested the wood as it aged. Even in the United States a number of years ago, furniture that was considered very substantial would collapse after 20 or 30 years due to insect infestation. Another problem was the tendency of long pieces of wood to warp. Back there the people did not have mills, where a tree was put on a conveyor belt and cut into planks. Also, it would have been difficult to find wood nine cubits (13 1/2 feet) long. Moreover, on the far side of the river Jordan, most of the lumber was acacia wood, which has been described as being “more crooked than a dog’s hind leg.” Therefore, to get a bed long enough with a single piece of lumber would have been a problem.

Comment: With the “cubit of a man” being 18 inches, the dimensions of Og’s bed were 13 ½ feet long by 6 feet wide. This iron bed was mammoth!

Reply: Yes, and the implication is that this king was about 12 feet tall—more than twice the height of a normal man! The expression “cubit of a man” signifies the old-fashioned cubit of 18 inches, which extended from the elbow to the tip of the forefinger (the index finger). Also, a span was 9 inches long, a handbreadth was 4 inches, and a finger breadth was 3 inches—all measurements being based on the human anatomy.

Deut. 3:12 And this land, which we possessed at that time, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, and half mount Gilead, and the cities thereof, gave I unto the Reubenites and to the Gadites.

Relatively speaking, the land given to Reuben extended from the river Arnon, which was at the middle point of the Dead Sea on the far side of Jordan, northward to the northern end of the Dead Sea. From there, going farther northward, the land was ascribed to Gad. The land divisions for the 2 1/2 tribes are repeated multiple times in chapters 2 and 3.

Deut. 3:13 And the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, being the kingdom of Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob, with all Bashan, which was called the land of giants.

Deut. 3:14 Jair the son of Manasseh took all the country of Argob unto the coasts of Geshuri and Maachathi; and called them after his own name, Bashan-havoth-jair, unto this day.

Comment: The word “coasts” is translated “border” in the Revised Standard.

Deut. 3:15 And I gave Gilead unto Machir.

Deut. 3:16 And unto the Reubenites and unto the Gadites I gave from Gilead even unto the river Arnon half the valley, and the border even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon;

Deut. 3:17 The plain also, and Jordan, and the coast thereof, from Chinnereth even unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, under Ashdoth-pisgah eastward.

Chinnereth is the Sea of Galilee.

Deut. 3:18 And I commanded you at that time, saying, The LORD your God hath given you this land to possess it: ye shall pass over armed before your brethren the children of Israel, all that are meet for the war.

Deut. 3:19 But your wives, and your little ones, and your cattle, (for I know that ye have much cattle,) shall abide in your cities which I have given you;

Deut. 3:20 Until the LORD have given rest unto your brethren, as well as unto you, and until they also possess the land which the LORD your God hath given them beyond Jordan: and then shall ye return every man unto his possession, which I have given you.

A spiritual lesson can be drawn from the land division of the 2 1/2 tribes. The land that the Israelites conquered from Sihon, the king of Heshbon, and Og, the king of Bashan, was promised to the 2 1/2 tribes on the condition that the men of war of those tribes cross the river Jordan and assist the other 9 1/2 tribes to conquer the land of Canaan.

The 2 1/2 tribes east of the Jordan River represent three classes who will be given a spiritual inheritance. The half tribe of Manasseh pictures the Ancient Worthies, who will get a spiritual resurrection at the end of the Kingdom Age. Gad (“a troop,” hence a great multitude) represents the Great Company, and Reuben (“son of my right hand”) pictures the Little Flock.

The fact the 2 1/2 tribes did not get their inheritance in the full sense of the word until after the Promised Land was conquered has an antitypical lesson. Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh could not return to the land that the Lord had graciously given them, at their request, on the far side of Jordan until the 9 1/2 tribes had taken control of the main land of Israel on the west side of Jordan. In the Kingdom Age, these three spiritual classes will be very busy doing Kingdom work. The Ancient Worthies, as the princes in the earth, will be the representatives of the Church, an invisible spiritual class in heaven. The Great Company will be the messengers

between the Church in glory and the Ancient Worthies. As messengers, the Great Company will convey instructions and transmit detailed information to the Ancient Worthies, the governing agents down here on earth. Thus during the Kingdom, the Little Flock, the Great Company, and the Ancient Worthies will be busy—working, working, working—doing Kingdom work, but after the Kingdom Age is over, the Ancient Worthies will be given a spirit nature. In addition, the Little Flock and the Great Company, having a respite from active work, will be given an explanation of God’s intention for the future beyond the Kingdom Age. Such information would not be proper at this time or even during the Kingdom Age because these two classes will be busy with the work at hand. The Little Flock will be made acquainted with God’s purpose for all of the galaxies. Then, their work of the Kingdom Age having been completed, they will be able to more fully enjoy the divine nature with its glory, honor, position, and security. All the foregoing mechanical explanation given here in Deuteronomy beautifully conveys spiritual connotations.

Q: In addition to the Pastor’s suggestion that the Rephaim represent character defects the Christian has to overcome, wouldn’t they also suggest fighting against principalities, powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12)?

A: Yes, Christian warfare in the Gospel Age against principalities and unseen powers is pictured by the battles on the east side of Jordan against King Og and King Sihon.

Q: Does verse 19 have a spiritual application? The wives, the little ones, and the cattle were left in the cities while the men of war of the 2 1/2 tribes went to fight in the land of Israel.

A: From a different perspective, a principle is shown in Hebrews 11:35, “Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.” In other words, there will be female Ancient Worthies, even though they were not in the forefront with those of the male gender. If we apply this principle to the Gospel Age, the Little Flock will comprise sisters as well as brothers, even though sisters do not have the prerogatives of, say, an elder. Faithful sisters will get a similar reward.

Q: Do the men in battle picture the Christian in his own personal battles? Do the left-behind wives, little ones, and cattle represent encumbrances that would not be taken into the battle?

A: Yes, that application would be another proper perspective. In other words, the Christian is to forget his “father’s [Adam’s] house” (Psa. 45:10).

Deut. 3:21 And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, Thine eyes have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto these two kings: so shall the LORD do unto all the kingdoms whither thou passest.

“At that time” was near the end of the 40 years in the wilderness, after the Israelites had defeated the two notable kings Sihon and Og. Giants were involved in most instances—much superior forces—but the Lord helped Moses and the people to overcome them. The Israelites were not yet close to the river Jordan, where they would be at the very end of the 40 years, when Moses went up into Mount Nebo. There was a period of time, a few months, in the fortieth year, the last year of the wilderness wanderings, between their victory over the two kings and the crossing of the Jordan River.

As was done to the two kings, “so shall the LORD do unto all the kingdoms whither thou [the Israelites] passest [over Jordan].” Moses was encouraging Joshua that success over the Israelites’ enemies would continue.

Comment: In saying in verse 21, “I commanded Joshua at that time,” Moses was hearkening back to Numbers 27, when Jehovah instructed him to anoint Joshua as his replacement. “And he [Moses] laid his hands upon him [Joshua], and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses” (Num. 27:23). The solemnity of the moment struck Moses forcefully, leading to his petition to enter the Promised Land (see verses 23-25).

Deut. 3:22 Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God he shall fight for you.

Although Joshua had great faith, as manifested when he spied out the land 40 years earlier and gave a favorable report along with Caleb, Moses now helped the people to have confidence in Joshua as a leader by publicly encouraging him here. Moses’ comments had a beneficial effect on the Israelites by saying in effect, “God will go with Joshua as He did in the past with me in my ministry.”

Comment: Spiritually speaking, God helps Christians fight the good fight of faith. We cannot fight in our own strength. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

Deut. 3:23 And I besought the LORD at that time, saying,

Deut. 3:24 O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to show thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might?

After the victory over the two kings, Moses besought Jehovah, “O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to show thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand.” The greatness of the Red Sea crossing and the many miracles during the 40 years were relatively inanimate forces that confronted the Israelites when the God of nature had to take control. But now, at the end of the 40 years, not only was fighting their enemies in hand-to-hand combat a different experience, but also the enemy peoples were great in number, stature, and physical prowess. The Israelites overcame mighty men of valor.

Deut. 3:25 I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.

The “goodly mountain” was probably Mount Moriah, where Isaac had been offered. Mount Moriah is also where the capital, Jerusalem, would ultimately be located.

Comment: The account is very touching. Moses had just passed his authority over to Joshua and said that God would strengthen him, yet he hoped God would permit him to enter the Promised Land.

Reply: Since Jehovah had begun to show His greatness in the defeat of the two kings, Moses desired a continuum of that same experience.

Comment: Moses must have realized that the main purpose of his life was to be God’s instrument in leading the Israelites out of Egypt and bringing them to the Promised Land, and now he would not get to see the conclusion.

Knowing the Israelites would shortly enter the Promised Land, Moses desired greatly to also enter. Similarly in the Christian life, as one gets older, he is very conscious that the end of his walk is drawing near, and his hope is that he might enter the spiritual Promised Land. The individual thinks about the inheritance, the objective, more than he did earlier in life, when multiple activities and the work at hand took his attention.

Deut. 3:26 But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.

Comment: What a wonderful man Moses was! The Heavenly Father spoke to him face to face, as it were.

Reply: The personal relationship between Moses and God was very close. When we read through the Book of Numbers and listen to the conversations between them, we see that the Lord condescended to speak on a level of closeness, and because of that close fellowship, Moses said some unusual things. In fact, at times, Moses bordered on being a little too intimate. We are reminded of the request of Daniel, who received a tremendous amount of information but wanted to know more about the end time. However, he was told to be patient, for no

more information would be forthcoming at that time. “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book…. Go thy way … for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end” (Dan. 12:4,9).

There are indications in some of the comments made on Mount Sinai that the fellowship between God and Moses was even closer than that with Daniel. Of course the Logos was God’s representative in the pillar of the cloud that led the way for the Israelites.

Comment: When Moses entreated God on behalf of the Israelites, He hearkened to Moses and did not kill them. Now, at the end of the 40 years, God must have realized that Moses would keep petitioning, so He said plainly, “Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.”

Comment: Paul prayed three times that his eyesight would be healed. The answer was, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).

Reply: Yes, and Jesus besought the Father three times in prayer in Gethsemane that, if possible, the cup would be removed from him.

Comment: Abraham asked God to spare Sodom if there were 50 righteous, 40, 30, 20, or even just 10 (Gen. 18:26-32).

Reply: Only four actually left Sodom: Lot, his wife, and his two daughters.

Deut. 3:27 Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan.

God told Moses to view the Promised Land in the following order of direction: westward (directly ahead toward the Mediterranean Sea), northward (to the right), southward (to the left), and eastward (to turn around and look behind him at the land the 2 1/2 tribes would inherit). Thus Moses viewed the land in Israel proper, which the 9 1/2 tribes received, as well as the land the 2 1/2 tribes received. And God stated plainly, “Thou shalt not go over this Jordan.”

Spiritually speaking, that is the best we can do on this side of the veil. We see through a glass (or veil) darkly (1 Cor. 13:12; Song 2:9). The river Jordan frequently pictures death, the end of an individual’s Christian walk. From the Christian perspective, the entrance into Canaan represents the entrance into Kingdom glory.

Just as Mount Sinai is a little broader perspective than Mount Horeb, a particular peak, so Mount Nebo is a broader perspective than Pisgah, a particular promontory. Most of the year the view from Mount Pisgah is hazy and thus is obscured, especially in the summer heat. On days when the view is clear, one can see a tremendous distance. The problem with visibility also occurs with Mount Ararat depending on the time of day, the season of the year, and the weather.

Comment: The site of Mount Nebo on the northeast corner of the Dead Sea is in the country of Jordan today. The land seen from that vantage point was promised to Israel.

Reply: In other words, Transjordan from the northern half of the Dead Sea up to Mount Hermon has been promised ultimately to Israel. Israel’s borders will include Bashan, Gilead, half of Ammon, and half of Moab—from the river Arnon to the foothills of Mount Hermon— on the far side of the Jordan River.

Moses had to die before the children of Israel could enter the Promised Land. In antitype, the Church has to be complete and glorified before the Kingdom starts. The indication, spiritually speaking, is that the last members of the true body of Christ will be given quite an intimate view of the Promised Land while still on this side of the veil. They will see unusual things they were not privileged to see earlier in their Christian walk. In the last days, there will be rather unusual enlightenment as a teaser—not to be compared, of course, with the reality. The effect will be like hearing, “This is the Promised Land, but you cannot enter on this side of the veil, for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (see 1 Cor. 15:50). Even the general body of Christ, those who are hoping to be members of the Little Flock, see things that were not revealed earlier in the Gospel Age except to the Apostle Paul, who was translated down the stream of time to possibly even see the heavenly realm in vision.

Comment: The following are proof texts that Moses died prior to the Israelites’ entering the Promised Land. “And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days” (Deut. 34:8). “Now after the death of Moses … the LORD spake unto Joshua … saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to … the children of Israel” (Josh. 1:1,2).

Q: Acts 7:55,56 records the words of Stephen before he was stoned to death: “But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” In principle, is Stephen’s experience like the experience the feet members will have in receiving an intimate view of the Promised Land prior to their death?

A: Yes, Stephen’s personal ending experience is the same in principle. From this reading in Deuteronomy, we extrapolate several lessons, which have to be carefully analyzed so that they are not overly or too distantly viewed, as with either a microscope or a telescope. The lessons can be personal, they can pertain to the body of Christ, or they can have a futuristic application in the Kingdom Age.

Deut. 3:28 But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.

Deut. 3:29 So we abode in the valley over against Beth-peor.

Verse 29 is significant. Moses and the Israelites “abode in the valley over against Beth-peor” for a considerable length of time—perhaps four or six weeks—during which a number of things happened. This period of time gave Moses opportunity to write the Book of Deuteronomy, an enormous task. The Israelites were just about to enter the Promised Land, and then came this delay in journeying of four to six weeks, which must have seemed interminable.

The daughters in Beth-peor tempted the Israelites so that thousands of them perished (Num. 25:3-9). Beth-peor (meaning “house of Peor”) was probably a temple on the hillside near Pisgah but at a lower level. The temple was dedicated to Baal worship of the most obscene type. And there is another point. Balaam the prophet was slain in connection with the conquest and killing of kings Sihon and Og. Thus not only the giants were put to death but also Balaam. Many ramifications are explained in the Book of Numbers and also later in Deuteronomy.

(2003-2005 Study)

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