The Biblical Examiner
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand

December 1992

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  • Contents

  • 1) War With Amalek
    2) The Strong Man
    3) A Short Note

  • War with Amalek

  • Ex 17:8-16


    In this passage we have several important Biblical truths presented: first, we see the promise of an ongoing battle between the Kingdom of God on earth and the kingdoms of the anti christ governments of all ages. Second, we see the proper place of prayer and action in this continual conflict. Third, we find instructions and precautions that God's people must take in this continual battle. Fourth, we see an assurance of Amalek's defeat. All of these Biblical truths and more are exemplified in this account of the firs encounter with Amalek.

    Then came Amalek.. Israel had been miraculously delivered from Egyptian bondage; Egypt had been destroyed; three times Israel had murmured against the Lord and against His servant Moses; then came Amalek.. The people had murmured and complained against God and His servant man Moses, so now the Lord will send someone against them to justify their murmurs and complaints. Amalek's attack is recorded in Num 24:20, Deut 25:17-19; 1 Sam 15 records King Saul's failure to completely carry out the war against Amalek as commanded by the Lord.

    Amalek's attack shows us a couple things: first, our God is sufficient for every situation which arises; He indeed is a very present help in trouble, and second, murmuring and complaining against God and His divine providence in our lives will attract to us the enemies of God.

    Amalek was a grandson of Esau, a very wicked man who hated God and chose the flesh over the spirit, Gen. 36:12, He 12:16. Although the standard interpretation of Exodus 17 explains Amalek as a type of the flesh, let us consider another thought about Amalek.

    It is important to note three things here: first, this was the first time the Lord instructed anyone to record anything. Second, the Lord warned His people about what they must expect in the future. Third, the Lord gave His people the Divine command to carry on a continual war against Amalek, Ex 17:14-16. Thus, when His people are not engaged in the war against Amalek, they are blind to reality and in open rebellion against the clear instructions of God (as was Saul).

  • Amalek, who is he?

    Then came Amalek, and fought.. is applied as a warning of the continual warfare experienced by every child of God against the flesh (cf. 1 Jn 2:16). Moreover, it is used as a warning of especially severe attacks by the enemy after a great victory or deliverance by the Lord. Many new Christians are surprised by the sudden, furious and determined attack of the enemy against them, resulting in their discouragement and yielding to the enemy. (Some teach that if one becomes a Christian, he will be freed from the continual battle. Such heresy makes one virtually defenseless because the conflict, which will come, will find him unprepared. Furthermore, the image of Christ is only formed in His people through trials, tribulations and distressing circumstances of all kinds.)

  • The truth of the matter

    But the above understanding of Amalek is only an application of the continuing war with Amalek. Amalek, we are told by the inspired prophecy of Balaam, was the first nation (ie. civil government) to, without provocation, deliberately and expressly, move against God's people with the intent to destroy them because they were God's people. Balaam makes it clear that Amalek represents for all ages the move of ungodly civil governments and world powers against the people of God, Num 24:20.

    According to Keil

    In Amalek the heathen world commenced that conflict with the people of God, which, while it aims at their destruction, can only be terminated by the complete annihilation of the ungodly powers of the world. (Vol II, p 78.)

    Furthermore, Edersheim comments here

    "Amalek the firstfruits of the heathen" (the beginning of the Gentile power and hostility), "but his latter end even to destruction.." It was the first attack of the kingdoms of this world upon the kingdom of God, and as such it is typical of all that have followed. (Vol II, p 101, 2.)

    Thus, in Amalek we are assured that ungodly kingdoms of this world will wage a continual unsuccessful warfare against the Kingdom of God on earth.

  • Balaam's prophecy

    Balaam prophesied of the coming King who shall smite the enemies of His covenant-people, Num 24:17. Next, Balaam prophesied the covenant-people shall do valiantly through their King, v. 18. Balaam then prophesied their King shall have dominion over all nations and tongues and shall destroy the remains of His enemies, v. 19. Then in v. 20, Balaam prophesied against Amalek himself: Amalek shall perish for ever because he struck Israel from the rear, against the stragglers, tired, faint and feeble, Deut 15:19.

    Israel's first offensive act after settling in Canaan was to move against Amalek. After Saul's victory over the Philistines, the Lord through Samuel told Saul to destroy Amalek and all his possessions; the Lord delivered Amalek into Israel's hands, but Saul spared Amalek's king Agag and the best of the "treasure" from their God- given victory for the people of Israel. When Samuel confronted Saul over his disobedience, Saul blamed the people: "The people spared the best of Amalek so they could better serve the Lord." Samuel was not fooled by Saul's false piety, and told Saul that it was not the people but Saul's own pride that spared Agag and the spoil. Furthermore, the result of Saul's pride would be the removal of the kingdom of Israel from him. Samuel then killed Agag.

    As a result of Saul's refusal to claim the victory over Amalek, Samuel made his now-famous statement: For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry, 1 Sam 15:23. When we compare 1 Sam 17:19 with v. 23, we find that witchcraft is practiced any time a person chooses his own way over the way of the Lord as revealed in His word. In Saul's case, the word of God was clearly spoken by Moses that the Lord would have continual war with Amalek from generation to generation; Saul refused to carry that war to its victorious conclusion when he had the both command and opportunity to do so. (We should note that it was an Amalekite who went to David and, in hope of a reward, claimed to have killed Saul. His reward was that he lost his life based upon his claim; he was snared by the words of his mouth, and his blood was upon his own head.)

    Amalek's move against Israel is the first time we have a record of the Lord telling anyone to record anything. Moses was specifically told that the purpose of the written record was for rehearsal in the ears of Joshua. Thus, the Lord warns and prepares His people for the continual conflict with Amalek with His written word, Ex 17:14-16.
    Amalek.. He appears throughout history in any expressed effort to destroy the covenant-people; he is the spirit behind pagan civil governments' efforts to destroy Christianity within their lands (John identifies him as that spirit of antichrist, 1 Jn 4). Today he is identified with Humanism (in all its ugly forms from the pulpit to the center of civil government) and its total unprovoked war against the law and people of God.

    The margin for Ex 17:16 reads, Because the hand of Amalek is against the throne of the Lord.. Therefore, in Amalek we see the heathen raging against the Lord and His Christ (Psalms 2 opens with, Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing?). Amalek cannot overthrow the throne of God, so his effort is against the people of God.

    There is a terrible warfare going on, and Amalek picks off the stragglers, tired, faint, weak, weary, feeble and the uninformed of God's people. Even though the Lord warned of the continual conflict with Amalek, the vast majority of God's people, because of their leaders' inability to bark (Isa 56:10), do not even know they are in a bloody life and death struggle with spiritual wickedness in high places, Ep 6:12.

    Through Moses, God commands His people to be actively engaged against the ungodly Amalekites of all ages; Humanism is to be challenged and war waged against it everywhere it is found: the home, schools, churches, occupation, civil government, &c. Moses tells us in Ex 15:3, that The Lord is a man of war: He is at war against Egypt; He is at war against Amalek, and He carries out His warfare through His people. When His people refuse to become involved in the continuing warfare against Amalek, they are refusing to get involved in God's warfare against His enemies. They are then included with Saul who refused to claim the victory over Amalek: For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

  • The battle rages

    We see examine Moses' sending Joshua to lead God's people into the fray against Amalek, we see the proper combination of prayer and action:

    First, Joshua is the OT spelling of Jesus (cf Acts 7:45; Heb 4:8); therefore, we are shown Jesus fighting the battle against Amalek, cf. Ps 2. ("Jehovah is help" Evidently Moses changed Oshea's name for this event, and he shows us the we must not attempt to fight the good fight in our own strength, Num 13:8. Furthermore, Joshua is the OT type of Jesus, not Moses. We can all identify with Joshua, but who can identify with the greatest of men, Moses? Joshua was exalted from being a faithful servant of Moses; anyone can be a faithful servant.) Joshua puts on the whole armour of God and enters victoriously into the battle.

    Second, unlike the destruction of Egypt in the Red Sea, this battle required Israel's involvement to destroy Amalek. Furthermore, success was only granted as Israel fought under the banner of the Lord.

    Third, Moses commanded Joshua into the battle; therefore, the battle is waged at and by the command of Moses. The victory is available over Amalek, but the victory will be according to the words of Moses. Joshua could not fight without Moses behind him. In other words, Joshua cannot be cut off from Moses if there is going to be victory over Amalek. As long as 20th century Christian warfare against Amalek remains separated from the words of Moses, victory is impossible. God's victory is through the application of the law of Moses. (Did not Christ come in obedience to the law of Moses? Are we not to do all things according to the command-word as given through Moses? Cf. Jos 1:5-9; Mt 28:19, 20; 1 Cor 1:18.)

    The air-waves are full of professed "men of God" who claim to be fighting the battles of the Lord, but they have cut off their source of strength, the words of Moses. Like Saul and his people of old, they are enamored of the "treasures" of this world; they feel they can serve God with the worldly treasures of human understanding, wisdom, philosophy and psychology. They do not apply Moses to the situation; rather, they apply their own observations and wisdom. Their defeat is assured at the hands of Amalek because they are going against him in the arm of the flesh, which, by the way, has God's curse against it

    Fourth, Moses goes up on the top of the hill to pray while Joshua fights the battle; therefore, prayer was necessary. As long as Moses lifted up his hands there was victory, but prayer could not be separated from active engagement against the enemy according to the command of Moses. Scripture records far more times when action is required over prayer (cf. Ex 14:15, Jos 7:10), than it records times when prayer is required over action. This tells us that God is a God of action; we must put action to our prayers. How many times have we heard (and used) the lame ungodly excuse, "I'll pray for you" when it comes time to confront Amalek? Many "Christians" seem to feel that prayer alone is sufficient or is all God requires of them for victory over Amalek. Obviously, Israel would have been annihilated if all they did was send Moses up to the mount to pray. Clearly today, prayer more often than not, is used to justify unbelief and slothfulness. If "Christians" do not get up off their face (as the Lord told Joshua) and get involved, Amalek will win. Furthermore, God will use anti-Christ Amalek to judge His people's rebellion in refusing to confront Amalek.

    1 Timothy 2:2 tells us to pray for those in authority, but prayer without active engagement against Amalek (Humanism in all its many forms which is intent on destroying Christianity and Bible based law), is rebellion against the command of God. (We would define "engagement" as something like salt's effect on a wound or against corruption, Mt 5:13-16.) Thus we see that godly prayer must be accompanied with godly action.

    Fifth, the help of others is also needed. There was a bloody battle to be fought, for which Joshua needed an army; there were petitions to be presented to God, for which Moses needed Aaron and Hur. A person cannot wage an effective warfare against Amalek alone.

    Sixth, Joshua did not totally destroy Amalek (nor did Saul), so Moses is commanded to record Amalek's wickedness and the resulting war. The record was to be rehearsed in the ears of Joshua, not necessarily in the ears of the people. The leaders of God's people are the ones who must be made aware of the details of what took place because they must train and lead God's people in the continuing warfare against Amalek.

    Seventh, Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi, "The Lord by Banner." Banner speaks of united orderly warfare; it speaks of following a Captain into war, The Lord is a man of war, Ex 15:3. The Lord overthrew Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and He provides Joshua victory over Amalek.

    Eighth, note that Egypt was not considered a perpetual enemy of the covenant-people; God did not command a continual war against Egypt, from generation to generation, as He commanded against Amalek. Though the nation of Amalek is no longer with us as such, his spirit of unprovoked hatred toward God and His people is still very much alive; therefore, the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation. The warfare against the ungodly antichrist spirit of our day is a continuation of Moses' and Joshua's war against Amalek.

    Ninth, clearly the Christian life for God is a life of continual warfare; it is a warfare against Amalek.

    And so it ever is: Amalek opposes the advance of Israel; Israel must fight, but the victory is God's; Israel holds the rod of almighty power in the hand of faith; but that rod must ever be uplifted toward heaven in present application for the blessing secured by covenant-promise. (Edersheim)

    The Lord gave His people His Divine command to carry on a continual war against Amalek until Amalek is annihilated by God's power. Consequently, when they follow Saul's example and refuse to claim and work for the victory over Amalek, when they fail to engage Amalek in warfare according to the words of Moses, they are in open rebellion against God: virtual witchcraft!

    Tenth, the victory over Amalek has been assured, but there must be hard, disciplined and sacrificial battle in the might of the Lord. We are more than conquerors through him that loved us, and nothing can separate us from the victory over Amalek except our lack of active faith. Are we not more than conquerors through Him that Loved us and gave Himself for us? (Cf. Num 24:20; Rom 8:37; 1 Jn 5:4. If one does not believe that Amalek can be overcome, can the victory of 1 Jn be claimed?)

    The reason antichrist leaders of 20th century nations have so much power is because God's people have followed Saul's example: they are more interested in "spoiling" Amalek than in claiming his territory for God; Agag and the best has been spared under the guise of "serving God" and loving God's enemies (people love the enemies of God more than they love God).

    Only a willfully blind person (or Amalek's "lap-dog") would say that a civil government made up of unregenerate men will not in time move against God's kingdom on earth. Did not the Lord assure us that He would have continual war against Amalek? How can one fail to see that Amalek is not "kicking up his heals" against God's kingdom?

    Balaam's prophecies still stand; the people of God shall do valiantly through their King if they will: 1) realize they are involved in an ongoing battle to the death against Amalek (Humanism); 2) keep the proper balance between prayer and action; 3) take the proper precautions concerning the wiles of Amalek (cf. Eph 6); and remain confident of the final inhalation of Amalek by the rightful king, King Jesus.

    Even though the present and foreseeable future commands and promises a continual conflict against Amalek, we have a wonderful prospect for the future.

  • The Strong Man

  • Exodus 22:1-4

    As we consider the Biblical law concerning a thief, we see that the word of god requires the godly to protect his person, family and property.

    1. The thief, if caught without what he stole in his hand, is to restore: 1) five-fold (five returned for the one taken) for an ox; 2) four-fold for a sheep. The ox represents the farmer's living and would be difficult to train as a work animal. On the other hand, the sheep would not require the investment and effort to train as did the ox; thus, the different value in restoration. In other words, the tools of one's trade are worth the greatest amount to the owner, so they require more restitution. A comparison in our farming community would be the farmer who has a beef and a tractor stolen; the beef requires the thief to restore 4 times its value and the tractor requires restoration of 5 times its value (see also Pro. 6:31).

    2. On the other hand, if what the thief stole is found alive and well in his possession, he restores double to the owner. The law here is much easer on the thief if what he stole remains in his possession because he stole for his own use, not for profit. Furthermore, the owner has his own goods returned to him, thus minimizing his loss.

    3. If the thief is caught and is unable to make the required restitution, he is sold to pay off the debt. The thief must be repaid if necessary with the person himself.

    There was no way to avoid lawful restitution; even if this requires the thief being sold to pay for his theft, it had to be paid. The rest of Exodus 22 builds upon this basic law of restitution: returning to the owner what is removed from him by thief or carelessness. It is important to note that restitution is to the owner, not to the state. But when the state claims to be god, owner of heaven and earth, it will demand restitution for all crimes to itself with no consideration to the victim.

    4. If the thief is caught breaking in at night, he can be killed with no guilt on the killer's part; the killer would not even have to go to the city of refuge. In the dark, the intruder's intentions are unknown; the person may be armed with murder in his heart, so the Lord doesn't require the one protecting his property to check first. But if the thief is killed in the light, then the killer is guilty of murder because the thief's intentions can be more plainly seen. Moreover, whatever force is necessary can be used for self- protection.

    The Lord Jesus clearly placed His approval upon this law when He said, When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace, Lk 11:21. The next verse is interesting: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. (Ff. Matt 12:29; Mk 3:27, three of the four gospels.) Observe these two clear references:

    A) The strong man, the devil, Eph 2:2; 6:12. The head of the house, the dad, must be strong in the Lord, or his family will be victims of the enemy, and dad will be held accountable.

    B) The stronger man cannot be restricted to a spiritual strong man protecting his household against its strong spiritual enemies. The Lord clearly refers to the law of Moses which speaks of an individual's right to use whatever force necessary to protect his goods from a physical intruder, Exodus 22:1-4. Furthermore, the implication is that the stronger the "intruder," the stronger the householder must be.

    1 Timothy 5:8, tells us that if the householder does not provide for those he is responsible for, he is worse than an infidel [without faith or trust]. Thayer lists several implications under infidel: 1) Thomas disbelieving the news of the resurrection of Jesus, Jn 20:27; 2) those who refuse belief in the gospel, 1 Cor 6:6; 3) its usage in 1 Tim 5:8 holds the added idea of impiety and wickedness, 2 Cor 6:14 sq.; 4) it contains the thought of a Christian denying the faith as in Titus 1:15. Point 4 brings to mind James' words: But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves, 1:22, & For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also, 2:26. (Thus, faith without works makes one an infidel.)

    Thus, if we follow our Lord's words through and based (as was His every thought, word and deed) upon the law of Moses, we see that God requires the godly householder to use whatever force is needed to protect his house and those under his authority from those with evil intentions against him and his household. Furthermore, those who do not take every precaution necessary to protect their homes from both the spiritual and physical intruder from any source are worse than those who have denied faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    The above gives us these two points in conclusion:

    First, restitution to the owner by the thief is required for a godly society to exist. Second, part of faithfulness to the law-word of God is obedience to the requirement for the householder do all that is humanly possible to protect those under his authority from the intended evil of the wicked (men or spirits). These two points are essential to a godly society.

  • A Short Note

  • Proverbs 21:1

    An excuse we hear today for not getting involved against evil in high places is that because the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, there is no need to get involved: "The Lord will take care of everything without our involvement, so we can go do our thing while He moves in the kings heart." We are shown something quite different in the actions of David when Absalom usurped the thrown.

    2 Sam 17:14, Absalom and all the men with him loved the idea of a great battle in which they could show their strength, and besides, they could prove that the Lord was truly on their side. So they accepted Hushai's counsel over the good counsel of Ahithophel.

    Observe: 1) it was of the Lord that Absalom took the bad counsel. Again we see the hand of God in everything: it is of the Lord that we receive good or bad counsel; it is of the Lord that we accept good or bad counsel. On the national scene: the Lord could cause the wicked men in authority to take bad counsel to their own destruction just as easily as He did here with Absalom. In fact, we can rest assured that the Lord is not inactive in national affairs; He is at work in the hearts of all the leaders of all the nations, including Clinton, accomplishing His will and purpose.

    2) It is very obvious here that, though Hushai was a great man who knew and used the character of a person to that person's own destruction, all of Hushai's wise words would have been wasted were it not for the hand of God. In other words, it was not Hushai's way with words, though it was excellent, which swayed Absalom; rather, it was the hand of the Lord.

    3) Though David was reaping the result of his past sins, he still knew he had to do something to put a stop to the usurper.

    4) Neither David nor Hushai could have left the situation totally up to the Lord by not doing what they could, Prov 21:1. An excuse we hear today for not getting involved against evil in high places or involved in sticky issues is that because the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, there is no need to get involved: The Lord will take care of everything without our involvement, so we can go do our thing while He moves in the kings heart. ("I believe in the sovereignty of God." Did not David and Hushai?)

    We are clearly shown here with David and Hushai that the child of God must do all he can against evil every place he finds it. If he leaves the bad situations in the hands of the Lord with no effort on his part to do something, he is guilty of presumption. He must do all he can, then leave the results in the Lord's hands. We are required by God to be actively involved for Godliness and against evil in every area. Then it is up to the divine providence of our Sovereign God to work it out for His good pleasure.

    We are seeing the hand of the Lord all around us in judgment against "followers" of the King who have refused to get involved and are leaving it all up to the hand of the Lord. The result is that the Absaloms of this world, the ones who have usurped the kingdoms of this world from their rightful King, are in hot successful pursuit against the followers of the King. One day though, the Spirit will work in the hearts of the true followers of King Jesus, and they will get some backbone and stand up to Absalom. Then the usurpers of this world will be overthrown by the Spirit of God, and the rightful King restored to His rightful place over all the nations.


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