Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy 13

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Deuteronomy 13

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A Dreamer of Dreams 

Moses continues warning against the danger of pagan worship. God commanded that everyone who would try to introduce Israel to the worship of other gods had to be killed—including one's brother, son, daughter, wife or close friend—“so all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you" (Deuteronomy 13:6-11). Today, the death penalty is not being carried out, of course, by spiritual Israel—the Church. Nevertheless, the principle of spiritual and, if need be, physical separation from wrong influences still applies. Christ clearly told His disciples: "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:37-38). Christ expects His disciples to choose between Him and their relatives when it comes to conflict in worship and true Christian living. We are to leave every form of paganism, and we are not to allow anyone to entice us to return to it.

In addition, Israel was admonished to not be deceived even by a prophet or a dreamer whose prophecies or dreams came true—if his goal was to influence others to worship pagan gods (Deuteronomy 13:1-5). Rather, such a prophet was to be killed too. Isaiah later gives us the way to discern a false prophet or teacher: "To the law and to the testimony [i.e., Holy Scripture]! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20). Sometimes false prophets will arise, prophesying events that do come to pass so as to "test" us in order to "know" whether we really love God with all our heart and soul (Deuteronomy 13:3). In fact, in a few years from now, a powerful religious figure will appear on the world scene, called the "lawless one" or "false prophet," who will perform "signs and lying wonders" (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Satan will give him the power to do so; and by those signs he will deceive the multitudes (Revelation 19:20; for more information, request or download our free booklet, The Book of Revelation Unveiled). Also, at that time, "false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect" (Matthew 24:24). Therefore, signs and wonders are no proof that the person performing them is from God. Yet, unless we have received the "love of the truth" (2 Thessalonians 2:10) and are seriously committed to God's way of life, we too can become deceived by those mighty signs, believing that, because of them, the religious message of the "prophet" or "dreamer" must be believed—and followed.