DEUT 17 & 18 DESCRIBED THE 4 MAIN TYPES OF HUMAN GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITIES THAT YAHUSHA ORDAINED TO RULE OVER YISHARAL: KINGS, PROPHETS, JUDGES, AND PRIESTS. AS WE BEGIN CHAPTER 19 WE ENTER A 3-CHAPTER SECTION THAT WILL DEAL WITH MATTERS THAT FALL UNDER THE CONTROL OF THESE VARIOUS GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES.
Soon you will go into the land, attack those nations and Yahuah your Alahim will destroy them and give you their lands, towns, and homes.
WHAT IS A SET-APART (HOLY) WAR?
CONQUERING CANAAN WAS YAHUSHA'S DIVINE, SET-APART WAR, MEANING HE WOULD START IT AND HE WOULD BE VICTORIOUS. IN OUR GENERATION WE THINK OF A SET-APART (COMMONLY KNOWN AS `HOLY’) WAR AS EITHER SOMETHING FROM 1000 AGO (THE CRUSADES) OR SOMETHING THAT WE'RE CURRENTLY DEFENDING OURSELVES FROM: ISLAMIC JIHAD, TERRORISM ETC. LET ME ASSURE YOU THAT NOTHING WE SEE TODAY REPRESENTS THE SCRIPTURAL DEFINITION OF A TRUE SET-APART WAR. YAHUSHA'S SET-APART WAR IS OF DIVINE NATURE AND IS WHAT YISHARAL IS ABOUT TO WAGE ON YAHUSHA’S BEHALF AS THEY APPROACH THE PROMISED LAND LED BY MOSES AND THEN LATER BY HIS 2-I-C JOSHUA.
SET-APART WAR (FROM A SCRIPTURAL STANDPOINT) IS NEVER ABOUT SPREADING A RELIGIOUS MESSAGE. IT IS NOT ABOUT FORCING THOSE OF A DIFFERENT BELIEF SYSTEM INTO ADOPTING YOURS EITHER. ONE OF THE EARLIEST PRINCIPLES OF YISHARAL’S BLOOD-COVENANT WITH YAHUSHA WAS THE UNDERSTANDING THAT SUBMISSION AND AGREEANCE WAS TO BE COMPLETELY VOLUNTARY AND THUS THE CONCEPT OF PROSELYTISING (THAT HAS BECOME SO CENTRAL TO CHRISTIANITY `BIBLE-BASHING’ ETC) WAS NOT PRACTICED BY YISHARAL. NO, A SET-APART WAR IS A WAR THAT YAHUSHA STARTS AND YAHUSHA FINISHES ACCORDING TO HIS WILL.
AMERICA’S REVOLUTIONARY WAR WAS NOT A SET-APART WAR, SOME FOLKS WHO WANTED TO BE FREE FROM A KING STARTED IT. WWII WAS NOT A SET-APART WAR; THE JAPANESE AND THE GERMANS STARTED IT AND OTHER NATIONS RESPONDED. THE CRUSADES WERE NOT ACTUALLY A SERIES OF SET-APART WARS EITHER, EVEN THOUGH MANY CALLED IT SO; SOME CATHOLIC POPES AND SOME EUROPEAN NOBLEMEN STARTED IT AND SIMPLY ATTACHED RELIGIOUS NAMES TO IT (THOUGH TO BE SURE THESE WERE WARS ABOUT RELIGION).
THE SCRIPTURE ONLY DISCUSSES TWO DIVINE SET-APART WARS AND THESE TWO ARE ALL THERE WILL EVER BE IN ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY: THE SET-APART WAR FOR THE CONQUEST OF CANAAN, AND THE SET-APART WAR FOR PLANET EARTH THAT IS KNOWN AS `THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON’.
ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT (SO FAR AS WE KNOW) THE MEN AND WOMEN OF YISHARAL DIDN’T HAVE ANYTHING PERSONALLY AGAINST ANY OF THE CANAANITE NATIONS, AND GENERALLY SPEAKING NONE OF THE CANAANITE NATIONS HAD ANYTHING PERSONAL AGAINST YISHARAL. UP TO THIS POINT THESE NATIONS WERE NOT ENEMIES. THIS WHOLE THING WAS ON YAHUSHA. THE ALAHIM OF YISHARAL DECLARED THAT THE RESIDENTS OF CANAAN WERE HIS ENEMIES DUE TO THEIR ABOMINABLE BEHAVIOUR (AND A 600 YEAR+ PROMISE TO ABRAHAM ABOUT LAND), AND THAT THE LAND THEY OCCUPIED WAS HIS LAND, THAT HE HAD SET APART FOR OCCUPATION BY HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE, YISHARAL, AND IT WAS TIME FOR IT TO BE TURNED OVER TO YISHARAL, STATING THAT HE WOULD ACHIEVE THIS GOAL BY MEANS OF WARFARE IF NEED BE (AND IT WAS).
YISHARAL’S ARMY WAS BUT YAHUSHA’S EARTHLY INSTRUMENT OF WRATH AND DESTRUCTION UPON A PEOPLE, CANAAN, THAT YAHUSHA IN HIS SOVEREIGNTY CONCLUDED WERE WICKED AND DESERVING OF ANNIHILATION. YISHARAL DID NOT HAVE AN INHERENT ANGER OR HATRED TOWARD THE PEOPLES OF CANAAN, AND CANAAN DID NOT HAVE A PENT-UP ANGER OR HATRED TOWARD THE PEOPLE OF YISHARAL; UP TO NOW NEITHER HAD HARMED OR THREATENED THE OTHER. INTERESTING EH (THERE'S ONLY 2 WARS THAT YAHUSHA NOT ONLY CONDONES BUT INITIATES).
So after you’re settled in the land of Canaan, you must choose three of your towns to be Safe Towns. Divide the land into three regions with one Safe Town near the middle of each, so that a Safe Town can be easily reached from anywhere in your land. Then, if one of you accidentally kills someone, you can run to a Safe Town and find protection from being put to death. But this is only if the killing was unintentional and no hatred or anger was involved with the death. For example, suppose you and your mate (friend) go into the forest to lop a tree. You start chopping away with an ax, the ax-head flies off its handle, scones your friend in the face, and kills him. In this situation you can run to one of the Safe Towns and save your life. Obviously you don’t deserve to die, cause you did’t mean to hurt your mate, but his family may not see it that way, will they. They’ll be upset and furious and want to hunt you down and get vengeance. So if it’s too far to one of the Safe Towns, your mate’s family might be able to catch you and kill you, and that’s why I said there must be three Safe Towns so that protection is close by until the incident can be investigated and judged appropriately.
Yisharal, Yahuah your Alahim has promised that if you obey his Divine Laws and teachings that I’m giving you, and if you always love Him, then He’ll give you the land that He promised your ancestors. So when that happens, you must name three more Safe Towns in the new territory. Believe me, you’ll need them, so that innocent people won’t be killed on your land while they are trying to reach a Safe Town that is too far away. Then you’ll be guilty of murder if innocent people lose their lives because you couldn’t be bothered to set up enough Safe Towns in the land that Yahuah your Alahim will give you.
Now what if you really do commit murder (intentionally)? Suppose one of you hates your neighbor and waits in a quiet, sneaky place to ambush and kill them, then you bugger off to a Safe Town pretending it was an accident? If that happens, the leaders of the town must send messengers to bring you back from the Safe Town and they will hand you over to one of the victim’s relatives, who will put you to death for this intentional killing. And for the good of the whole community, you must kill anyone who murders an innocent person and never, ever show mercy to a murderer who has shed innocent blood!
In the land that Yahuah is giving you, there are already stones set up to mark the property lines between fields. So don’t move those stones and be greedy or deceptive to steal property, but be satisfied with what Yahuah gives you. And before you are convicted of a crime, at least two witnesses must be able to testify that you actually committed the crime. If you accuse someone of a crime, but seem to be lying, then both you and the accused must be taken to the court at the place where Yahuah chooses to rest His Name and there the priests and judges will find out if you are lying in malice or telling the truth. If you are lying and the accused is actually innocent, then you will be punished without mercy. Yes you will receive the same punishment the accused would have received if found guilty, whether it means losing an eye, a tooth, a hand, a foot, or even your life. Yisharal, the crime of telling lies in court must be punished. And when the people hear what happens to witnesses that lie, everyone else who testifies in court will tell the truth. (THIS `EYE FOR AN EYE' FORMULA WAS NOT TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY NOR WAS IT FOR THE PURPOSE OF PERSONAL VENGEANCE EITHER. IT WAS A HEBREW IDIOM. MUTILATION AS A PUNISHMENT WAS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN IN YAHUSHA’S DIVINE LAWS; SO IF YOU POKED SOMEBODY’S EYE OUT (EVEN INTENTIONALLY) NEVER WAS THAT PERSON ALLOWED TO POKE YOUR EYE OUT IN RETURN. RATHER IT IS A STATEMENT THAT PUT BOUNDARIES ON THE SEVERITY OF PUNISHMENT, AS WELL AS LIMITS ON THE ALTERING OF SENTENCES. BASICALLY THE NOTION IS THAT THE PUNISHMENT IS TO FIT THE CRIME; IT IS TO BE PROPORTIONAL. A PERSON SHOULD NOT LOSE THEIR LAND BECAUSE THEY STOLE A GOAT. A PERSON SHOULD NOT BE BEATEN BECAUSE HE COULDN’T PAY A MONETARY DEBT. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY A PERSON SHOULD NOT LOSE THEIR LIFE FOR A PROPERTY CRIME OR BECAUSE THEY HARMED, BUT DIDN’T KILL, ANOTHER).
BLOOD ATONEMENT & REPENTANCE
There are a couple of important principles from prior teachings that are at the heart of this system of safe towns for refuge and blood avengers.
First is the principle that INTENTIONAL CRIMES ARE NOT COVERED BY THE LEVITICAL SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM, and
Second is that ANY CRIME NOT COVERED BY THE SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM REQUIRES THE BLOOD (THE LIFE) OF THE CRIMINAL TRESPASSER AS PAYMENT.
Here’s a good rule to remember about blood: ONLY INNOCENT BLOOD CAN ATONE FOR A CRIME. Many teach that in the Scripture era when a murderer has his blood spilled that to Yahusha this is a form of atonement; but that's not true. The blood of the guilty can NEVER atone.
Blood spilling has two major aspects:
ONE is that the blood of the GUILTY is required by Yahusha as compensation, a price to be paid to Yahusha for a crime (the wages of evil behaviour is death).
TWO is that the blood of the INNOCENT is required to atone for crimes that Yahusha has decided CAN be atoned for (thereby allowing the guilty person to live) So in an animal sacrifice the GUILT of the human criminal is symbolically transferred to, and laid upon the sacrificial animal (that is otherwise innocent). When that innocent animal’s blood is spilled it serves BOTH as a substitute for the required payment to Yahusha of the blood (the life) of the GUILTY party, and it is the spilled blood of the innocent that is the means of atonement (that leads to forgiveness) for the guilty party.
The blood avenger (someone seeking justice for a dead relative or friend) is not doing anything wrong in Yahusha’s economy. They're simply acting as Yahusha’s agents to satisfy Yahusha’s justice of taking the life of the murderer as compensation, but at the same time no atonement (no forgiveness before Yahusha) is possible because of the deliberate and high-handed nature of the crime. The good news for us is that Messiah Yahusha’s blood CAN make atonement even for the classification of behaviour called `intentional crimes’ that the sacrificial system was not designed to atone for.
YAHUSHA IS THE SAFE TOWN, THE SAFE HAVEN, AND A CITY OF REFUGE FROM THE BLOOD AVENGER, EVEN FOR THE PREMEDITATED INTENTIONAL MURDERERS AND CRIMINALS (WHICH WE ALL ARE, HAVING BROKEN HIS DIVINE LAWS SINCE BIRTH). That is why Yahusha’s sacrifice is superior to the animal sacrifices.
Of course this atonement of crimes is not automatic. One must declare with their mouth and believe in their heart that Yahusha is the only living Alahim and deliverer and shun all others. In effect a person is declaring that they are resting on the sacrifice of Yahusha to atone for their crimes (intentional and unintentional). Further there is another important requirement: WE MUST CONFESS AND SINCERELY REPENT OF OUR EVIL BEHAVIOURAL CRIMES THAT WE’VE LIVED ON THIS PLANET BEFORE YAHUSHA. One without the other is not effective. Interestingly this same requirement of sincere repentance was needed for the original sacrificial system to be effective for a criminal as well.
And the latter Scriptures do NOT nullify the teaching of the older texts in regard to the blood avenger either:
"If we deliberately and consciously (INTENTIONALLY) keep disobeying Yahusha with dirty habits and bad behaviours, even after we’ve received the understanding of His truth and deliverance, at somepoint there's just no sacrifice left for our crimes, but only the expecting dread of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of Yahusha". HEBREWS 10 BRS
In the Levitical sacrificial system, deliberate (intentional) crimes had no means of atonement. And in the same pattern even though Yahusha can rescue us even from deliberate crimes (that the sacrificial system could not), there comes a point when He determines that we know enough of the truth and if we just keep behaving wickedly, our repentance is not sincere and therefore even His blood won’t atone for us. All that awaits us in that circumstance is judgment and the raging fire of our eternal destruction. Yahusha has always been the ultimate blood avenger. He is only working with His cherished Bride today, those who would never dig their heals in and continue to break His heart through dirty, depraved habits and criminal behaviour.
Also the forgiveness that Yahusha makes available for us is of a spiritual nature. The idea is not that the earthly consequences for our actions are now cancelled. It is wonderful beyond words that a perpetrator of a heinous crime can see their wrong, come to Yahusha, repent and confess and change and trust Yahusha; but in no way does the Scripture contemplate that this criminal avoid justice. A repentant Yisharalite murderer must still die. Otherwise, the entire community remains in their blood guilt because Yahusha’s justice was not carried out. Yahusha’s justice system always has, and still does, consist of a spiritual and a physical component. Yahusha’s sacrifice paid for the spiritual component of Yahusha’s justice. The physical component of Yahusha’s system of justice is supposed to be carried out through human government. Just as human government cannot provide spiritual atonement for a criminal, Yahusha’s spiritual forgiveness does not provide for cancelation of the physical punishment due that same criminal no matter how spiritually repentant and forgiven he or she may be. But of course He is still in every aspect of our lives and still operates in divine and mysterious ways for His Bride.