Care of the Minister, the Prophet, and the Identity of False Prophets (Deuteronomy 18)

Scripture reading – Deuteronomy 18

The Rights of Priests and Levites (18:1-5)

Unlike other tribes, the Tribe of Levi had no inheritance in Canaan (18:1-2Numbers 18:20, 23-24). The inheritance of the Levites was to be a portion of the “offerings of the LORD made by fire” (18:1). While the children of Israel toiled in their fields, cared for their flocks and herds, and were enriched by the spoils of war, it was the duty of the Levites to labor for the LORD as ministers, and representatives of His people.

None were to begrudge the Levites their portion, for it was “the priest’s due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice” (18:3). Those who labored in ministry, were to receive of “the first-fruit” (18:4), for the Levite had been “chosen…to stand to minister in the name of the Lord” (18:5).

Levites: Giving Minister’s Their Due (18:6-8)

There were forty-eight towns, and villages assigned to the Levites in the Promised Land (Numbers 35:1-8Joshua 21). Though a Levite would own his home, and land for the care of his household, his calling was to minister for the LORD. There was a rotation of Levites to minister at the sanctuary, and reason for them to leave their homes, and sojourn in their ministry (18:6). 

What would become of a Levite’s home, and land as he sojourned? He was allowed “the sale [the leasing] of his patrimony [birthright]” (18:8). Moses made it clear, while the Levite would “have like portions to eat” of the offerings brought by the people to the sanctuary, he was also allowed revenue from leasing his properties.

All Occult Practices Were Condemned (18:9-14)

Idolatry, and practices of the occult observed by the Canaanites, was admonished and forbidden. God’s people were “not to learn to do after the abominations of those nations” (18:9). Moses warned, there would be no tolerance of wicked practices, and named among them was human sacrifices (18:10a), divination (soothsaying), fortune telling (“observer of times”), witchcraft (sorcery), casting spells (“charmer”), medium (consulting with spirits), wizardry, and necromancy (seeking to contact the dead, 18:10-11).

The Book of Revelation warns the practice of the occult will increase in the last days (Revelation 9:20-21; 18:2), and all who practice such will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8; 22:14-15).

The Prophet to Come (18:15-19)

The answer: “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” (18:22).

It was a serious matter when a man proposed to speak as the LORD’S prophet. Should a man prophesy, apart from the revelation of the LORD, we read, “that prophet shall die” (18:20). Some asked, “How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?” (18:21) 

The fundamental test for a prophet was: Did every word of his prophecy come to pass? The word of a false prophet would fail, and Israel had no reason to fear such a prophet (18:22). 

Believer, be wary of any who propose to have a new “word of prophecy,” or have received a new revelation. The LORD does speak to us through His Word, and the teaching and preaching of His Word; however, none dare add, or subtract from His Word! 

Revelation 22:18–19 – 18For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith