St. Irenaeus Ministries (biblical study)
Scripture Studies brought to you by the St. Irenaeus Center.
St. Irenaeus Ministries - a center of orthodox Catholic mission and renewal in Rochester, NY

God is our creator, and ultimately holds life and death in His hands. It is His right to punish the Canaanites for their centuries of sin by ordering them to be wiped from the face of the earth by the Israelites. However, God is also beyond this earth. Jesus, after death, went down to the realm of the dead to preach to the spirits. Even those punished in this life may have hope in the next. Moses was forbidden from entering the Promised Land due to his sin, but as the Transfiguration shows, he was greatly rewarded by God.

Deuteronomy deserves continued study and meditation even beyond this course. Read it, think about it, pray on it, and teach it to your family. It is an accessible book to the disciple, and not just the scholar. It will reveal plain truths on how we can please God throughout your life.

This brings our study of Deuteronomy to a close. Thank you very much for listening, and stay tuned for the next course! If you profited from this study of this foundational book, please share it with friends and family who would likewise profit!

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture40.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 7:46pm EST

"You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain." This law seems like it is not applicable to those who do not have oxen.  However, this particular law can be a teaching moment for God's people. It shows that it is wrong to deprive any working creature of their just reward for labor, whether they are an animal or human. Underpaying a worker out of greed is violating this law.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture39.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 7:03pm EST

This episode discusses the form of Law. For example, some laws are meant to set the Jews apart from other peoples, and some laws are written with the hardness of men's hearts in mind. Then there are pieces that call men higher to God himself, to call men to have a believing heart. The realization of some of this Law in the Gospel is discussed.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture38.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 8:17pm EST

These next couple of lectures discuss Deuteronomy as a whole. First, the role of the Law in our relationship with God is discussed. Then the Shema Israel and the Ten Commandments, the cornerstone of the Law, is reviewed. God cannot be satisfied by our imperfect adherence to these Laws, but through His love and mercy our hearts will be circumcised to build a higher obedience.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture37.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 3:45pm EST

Moses surveys the land of Canaan, and then passes away. The Lord Himself buries Moses, in a place that no-one knows. There is some speculation that Moses was assumed into Heaven as Elijah. No other prophet since has since known God face to face and performed such mighty deeds--except Jesus Christ.

Overall, Deuteronomy is an exhortation not just to know the Law of the Lord, but to follow it. Those who know the Law but do not follow it blaspheme the Lord to others. We must work to follow it with all our hearts, and graciously accept the mercy and grace of God when we fall short.

While this completes the chapter-by-chapter lectures of Deuteronomy, the next few episodes will continue the subject by addressing questions and further thoughts. Then we will move on to the next study.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture36.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 1:05pm EST

This episode discusses the specific blessings Moses leaves to each tribe. These are comparable to the blessings Jacob leaves to his sons before his death. Many have implications for military ability or wealth and prosperity.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture35.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 3:39pm EST

Through a poem, God brings forward a case against the Hebrew nation for their iniquity. He lays out the love, care, and guidance He provided to the Israelites. When they became prosperous, they forsook Him and served other gods. As a result, the Lord gives favor to Gentiles to provoke jealousy to the Jews. God pledges to turn his wrath toward the Jews for their sin, resulting in complete destruction. In the end, God will prove His sovereignty. Finally, God will make atonement for the sins of His people. After the song, Moses is once again reminded that he will not cross the Jordan as a consequence for his disobeying God in full view of the people. Moses, as a leader and example for his people was, as the book of Hebrews says, is "keeping watch over" the souls of the people they lead. Leaders and teachers will be judged on how they handle this responsibility.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture34.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 9:47am EST

Moses is very old, and will not cross the Jordan; but the Lord will cross the Jordan and crush the Canaanites, with Joshua leading the people. Every seven years, the Law will be taught to the people by the priests. It will also be taught by elders and public officials. The Lord appears to Moses, warning him that the Israelites will rebel against Him, incurring His wrath. He knew this would happen even before making the agreement with the Israelites. This is not a failure of the Law, but just part of a plan that will be fulfilled by Christ. The Lord tells Moses to teach the Hebrews a song as a reminder of the Law after they have forsaken it. If the Hebrews try to argue that the Lord has not held up His end of the bargain, this song is a rebuttal.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture33.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

The Law of the Lord is not beyond our reach.  It is here, and accessible.  Therefore, we must decide to study it and follow it. We are given the choice of Life or Death, being For or Against the Lord. The New Testament repeats this message in reference to Christ. We have the freedom to choose either path, and while we live God's mercy beckons us to turn to the path of Life.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture32.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Moses expresses concern that despite knowing God's power, the Hebrews still do not have a mind for obedience.  In fact this wisdom does not come naturally, but is a gift from God, one that must be sought in faith. At this point in Deuteronomy, the Israelites truly become the People of God. Once again Moses warns against idolatry, which, even as an individual sin, can poison the entire nation. The nature of God is unsearchable, but God has revealed a great amount to His people in the scriptures that we may know Him better and love Him. Moses reiterates the generous mercy the Lord will provide to those who repent and return to Him.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture31.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

The Lord promises every good thing to the Israelites -- fruitful farms and families, safety and security, financial affluence, and a recognized place in the world as God's own people.  However, for this to pass, the Israelites must diligently obey the Word of God in its entirety. However, if the Israelites do not obey the Lord, He promises famine, pestilence, enslavement, and utter destruction. Deuteronomy Chapter 28 explores these blessings and cursings in gruesome detail. Finally this is tied into the New Testament discussion of sin and God's correction of His children.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture30.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Moses appears with the elders that will take his place to exhort the people one more time. The people are ordered to write the Law in a stone memorial when they cross the Jordan. They will sacrifice offerings to the Lord and share in a meal with one another to rejoice in the Lord. Each person in Israel has individually committed to serving and loving the Lord. They commit specifically to being cursed if they perform one of 12 violations of God's Law. Many of these violations can be perfomed away from human eyes, but God sees all. Atonement must be made for these sins, and if it is truly earnest than God will forgive.

In addition, your humble editor apologizes for missing an episode last week.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture29.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This episode is a short meditation of the laws in the previous lessons, and how we take their message and incorporate these laws into our faith.  We need to correctly know and understand these laws, then digest them, pray on them, and let them into our hearts.  These laws are supported, expanded upon, and taught by Jesus and the writers of the New Testament.  These laws,rightly understood, are how we love God and love our neighbor.  Rather than just experiencing our faith through words and feelings, we can put it into action in service of the Lord.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture28.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

When harvesting crops, forgotten fruits are meant to be left for the poor and needy rather than carefully recovered. The property is the Lord's, and the Israelites are mere stewards of that property.

If a man dies without bearing a son, his brother is meant to marry the widow and bear a son for him. This is not only so that the man's heritage is preserved, but also so that the widow may be cared for by these sons. The younger brother does not profit from this arrangment, but serves his duty to their family and averts selfishness.

Finally, the firstfruits of crops are offered to the Lord and to the poor. All of this is written to remind us to constantly consider the Lord and the poor when we have abundance. Moreover we are called not to follow the minimum requirements, but extend them as FAR as our heart and soul can bear!

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture27.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Some laws of sexual purity are discussed, strongly punishing adultery and false accusations of adultery. Men cannot use women physically and then forsake them.

Some of the more curious legal codes should be interpreted in light of being God's revelation, created for our benefit. For example, loaning to one's brother at interest is banned. In this time period, loans were not for business investment, but for recovering from financial hardship. Charging interest is taking advantage of one's brother (as forbidden previously).

The law of divorce is discussed. Jesus forbids divorce among Christians, but for their 'hardness of heart' this law exists in the law of Moses. This law of divorce was provided by God in Mosaic Law as a practical consolation for the weakness of man, but in a people set alight by the Holy Spirit as the Christians are, it should be unnecessary. This law sets a lower bound, while a much loftier standard is sought.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture26.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

"You must love your neighbor as yourself." To the Hebrews this includes people who are not Hebrews. You must help prevent the loss of his animals, garments, or property; or take advantage of his loss. This must be done as a brotherly obligation without payment. This help must not be withheld. This is an obligation of LOVE. The law is bound together with the Lord's will that people love one another.

God reminds us of responsible care of life and to not carelessly let it be wasted.

Finally, several laws, seemingly arbitrarily, prevent mixtures of plowing animals and mingled clothing fibers. These boundaries are set in place to define proper pious witness in the Jewish faith.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture25.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

The Laws in these chapters describe particular situations, but seek to impart general principles. Laws regarding inheritance are discussed, and while not every permutation is accounted for, the proper procedure can be derived from what is provided. A particular case where a son with a criminal disregard for authority is discussed.  While it technically opens the possibility for punishing such a child with death, such a decision is practically impossible to reach.  Yet it puts a law on the books that this kind of rebellion is displeasing to the Lord. Finally, a law is laid out to limit the time executed criminals are "hung" on a tree, as this defiles the land.  When applied to Christ, this law highlights the gravity of His taking on our sin and hanging on the cross.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture24.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

These chapters lay out practical law for the Hebrews that are not simply legal codes, but guides to live a moral life obedient to the Lord. Rules for atonement for the spilling of innocent blood are layed out. Women who are captives of war are to be wives, not concubines, sex slaves, or rape victims.  This policy is more humane than even more modern attitudes to powerful men taking advantage of disadvantaged women.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture23.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

War is conducted on the understanding that the Lord, not the Hebrews, will be the cause of victory.  Only a small number of loyal soldiers are required.  Finally, the religious culture of Deuteronomy and the Gospel is discussed.  The culture is different from, and sometimes irreconcilible with, typical modern American sensibilities.  God is to be uncompromisingly trusted and obeyed. Yet He loves and desires to have mercy on us, that we may love Him in return.  This is not a tolerance for sin, but a reminder of the gravity of his forgiveness.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture22.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Deuteronomy foretells of a prophet and mediator between God and the Jewish people.  This is seen as foretelling the ministry of Jesus Christ, through whom God reveals His love of mankind. Some guidance is given for how to distinguish real prophets from false ones. Rules carefully delineating manslaughter and murder are laid out. Despite the fact that we do not live in a theocracy, we should have a mind to purge evil from our midst.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture21.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

When there are accusations of idolatry, it must be ascertained through credible evidence.  The punishment is designed to be decisive and JUST. The witnesses are involved in the execution in order to discourage false accusations.  A judicial system is carefully created to ensure due process, allowing Levitical priests and higher courts to take care of matters too difficult for local courts. Some cases are taken to the tabernacle, before the Lord, if they are judged too difficult for mortal understanding. Some regulations regarding kings are outlined.  Importantly, kings are to be chosen by God and they are not to be above the Law.  Priests are ordered not to engage in human sacrifice and divination.

Direct download: DeuteronomyLecture20.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Wise, experienced judges are to be appointed by the people, in every town, and are expected to be righteous.  The justice they seek is the justice required by God.  The Israelites are forbidden from setting up pillars and other graven images, because God HATES them. God also detests blemished and imperfect offerings (e.g. sick oxen).  He requires a perfect sacrifice as Jesus was the perfect sacrifice.

Direct download: DeuteronomyEpisode19.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Traditional Jewish feasts are outlined, and their new significance to Christians are discussed. Some guidance on how to read the book of Deuteronomy is provided.  It must be read carefully and its precepts dutifully followed. We are encouraged to catechise and be catechised in order to effectively serve the Lord. Just as the Hebrews lived separately from pagan idolatry, so too are we also called to live separately from the evils of the world by following the Law revealed by the Lord.

Direct download: DeuteronomyEpisode18.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

The Hebrews were called to grieve differently and eat differently as a reminder that they were a people set apart for the Lord.  Bacon is not inherently sinful to eat, but it was set aside as something the Lord expected His people not to eat.  Christ did not abolish the ritual kosher laws for the Jews, but clarified that they did not apply to Christians.  However, the moral laws set down in the Old Testament still very much apply to Christians today.  God expects a tithe:  He expects His people to return a gift of a portion of everything that the He has given them. The Lord specifies laws meant to care for the poor.  Parts of the Lord's tithes were to be shared with widows, and lending laws were such that the poor could not be kept as permanent slaves to debt.

Direct download: DeuteronomyEpisode17.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 10:45am EST

The eating of innocent blood is forbidden.  These temple practices are emphasized for correct worship of God but also a guidance even in our lives to recognize the sacredness of life designed by God.  The Israelites (and we) are warned against apostates who try to lead us away from the Lord and from the Torah, even if they are close family and friends. Hebrew law lays out dire consequences for such people, but only in the context of rigorous judicial review.  In our case we do not have a theocratic system, but are still exhorted to reject such temptation.

Direct download: DeuteronomyEpisode16.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

The Israelites are told to destroy the places of worship of rival religions.  This is because their existence is a temptation to idolatry, one to which many Hebrews would eventually give in.  There is one God, separate from all other religious influences.  Worship of the Lord is done in one central location set aside by Him: a special, sacred place. All sacrifice and offering to the Lord will not be done at local shrines, but at His chosen location. This will help prevent His worship from being diluted by local practices.

Direct download: DeuteronomyEpisode15.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

The Canaanites will be defeated due to their wickedness.  Israel's righteousness or strength will have nothing to do with it, however, as Israel has frequently disobeyed the Lord through their stubbornness. But God is merciful and gracious. This is just as true in the church today as in ancient Israel.  If we repent and be receptive to the love of the Lord, He will redeem us with His infinite love and mercy.

In addition I (the editor of these podcasts) greatly apologize for the unannounced hiatus.  I will endeavor to make sure there is a smoother release schedule in the coming months.

Direct download: DeuteronomyEpisode14.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 9:39pm EST

The Canaanites would be destroyed gradually, as a test of sustained faith.  They were not to take the gold and treasure of the Canaanites because it was full of temptations to idolatry.  The meaning of the word "abomination" is briefly discussed.  The repetition of Moses' exhortations throughout this text are defended--Moses seeks in this final speech to solidify the importance of the lessons of God's care for His people and of His commandments.  The Israelites are on the eve of entering a rich and abundant land, from decades of time in the desert.  They are warned to remember that it was not their strength, but God's that brought them to this land.

Direct download: DeuteronomyEpisode13.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

The Hebrews are called to completely destroy their rivals in Canaan--man, woman, child, and artifacts of worship.  This is a difficult passage to accept.  However, God explicitly wants to protect His people from the temptation of idolatry that would be constant if the Hebrews lived among Canaanite religion (The Hebrews would later fall prey to this very temptation).  Despite this seemingly harsh judgement, God offers hope to the innocent and righteous.  Furthermore, if Israel keeps God's commandments, he will lavish great reward.

Direct download: DeuteronomyEpisode12.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

All of our actions are meant to be put into the effort of loving devotion to God--teaching our children constantly and binding His Word in our heart. God is loyal to His people, and He insists that we be loyal to Him.

Direct download: DeuteronomyEpisode11.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

The remainder of the Ten Commandments are reviewed.  While on the surface they are concerned with man's responsibility not to bring harm upon one another (through honoring his parents, not killing, stealing, sowing falsehoods, etc,) they ultimately come back to God.  God is our Father, and dishonoring our earthly father is as an affront to Him.  God values life, and killing, stealing, and bearing false witness against our neighbor are attacks on that life.  The more these commandments are reflected upon, the more they yield applications in our love of God AND our love of neighbor.

Direct download: DeuteronomyEpisode10.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

In this episode, we begin discussing the Ten Commandments.  In particular, we discuss the first three--God's commandment against idols, His commandment against taking His name in vain, and His commandment to keep the Sabbath holy.  These commandments are often broken and avoided, even by Christians, but if we do not honor them we do not honor God.

Direct download: DeuteronomyEpisode9.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Moses treats the text of Deuteronomy as not just a legal code, but instruction to be preached to Israel in order to be faithful to the Lord.  Both the Ten Commandments and the various statutes and decrees are relevant to us today, and wisdom on how to obey God can be gained from studying them.  God wants to be with His people, but as long as they exist in mortal flesh a mediator is required for His covenant.  Moses was that mediator in the Old Testament, and Jesus Christ was in the New.

Direct download: DeuteronomyEpisode8.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

After the previous generation of Hebrews is punished for Kadesh Barnea, the next generation is guided by God to defeat Sihon and Og on the path to the Jordan river.  Moses exhorts his people to be faithful to God and to teach their children and grandchildren to continue to be faithful.  He warns against idolatry, because like a husband God is jealous for his love Israel, and firmly opposed to the unfaithfulness that graven images are.  God will punish those who turn away from him, but He is merciful and faithful, and will return to those who turn towards him again.

Direct download: DeuteronomyPodcastEpisode7.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This episode explores Kadesh Barnea, where the Hebrews break their covenant with God and accuse Him of murderous intent as they are about to enter the Promised Land.

Direct download: DeuteronomyPodcast6.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 8:52am EST

The Hebrews, led by Moses, have reached the Jordan river after 40 years of wandering in the desert.  After 40 years, the generation who had disobeyed God has died out, leaving their children.  Moses seeks to pass on the law of the Lord to the Hebrews before they cross and take the Promised Land, warning them against the mistakes of their fathers and laying out a basic governmental framework.

Direct download: DeuteronomyPodcastEpisode5.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

The Lord exhorts the Hebrews present at the Jordan to follow His law, unlike the generation of Sinai.  The law is more than a dated legal code applicable only to this ancient people.  Careful study of this book brings a deep understanding of our faith.  Deuteronomy was well studied by Jesus and Paul, and its study is strongly encouraged by the Psalmist.

Direct download: DeuteronomyPodcastEpisode3.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

The dating of the book of Deuteronomy is discussed.  Archaeological and Biblical evidence is considered, as well as its literary style in comparison to Suzerain treaties of the time.

Direct download: DeuteronomyPodcastEpisode2.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Deuteronomy is the book of God's law, written for the benefit of His people--both the ancient Hebrews and the Christian disciples of today.  More than a mere legal code, it is God's continuing marriage covenant.

Direct download: DeuteronomyPodcastEpisode1.mp3
Category:Biblical Study -- posted at: 6:00am EST