Doomed Dreamers and Cursed Angels
The book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of both the Torah and of the Christian Old Testament. It’s name derives from the Greek deuteros + nomos and literally means “second law” – i.e. a retelling of the Ten Commandments and much of the Mosaic law. Chapter 13 begins…
“If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, ‘Let us follow other gods’ (gods you have not known) ‘and let us worship them,’ you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deut. 13:1-3).
The chapter goes on to say “That prophet or dreamer must be put to death for inciting rebellion against the Lord your God… You must purge the evil from among you.” (v. 5). No matter from whom such deception arises the consequence stands. “If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you… You must certainly put them to death” (v.6, 9a).
And so it is when we come to the gospel of grace. The God of the Old Testament is the same God as He of the New Testament and His Ways are never to be distorted. Paul writes,
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” (Gal. 1:6-9).
Some may view such words as hyperbole, a fanatical exaggeration made by an unstable zealot. But let’s rethink this. How vehement might your be when instructing your young child never to eat the rat poison stored under the sink? How firmly might you condemn anyone who might seek to convince them that the poison was delicious and in fact would give them special abilities — exactly the lie the serpent hissed to Eve (Gen. 3:4-5)?
On November 18, 1978 cult leader Jim Jones led over 900 followers to their death in the jungle of Guyana all because he had taught them to believe a lie… to follow another god (himself), and to believe another gospel (his own).
In Galatians Paul gives us strong warning. My friend, the stakes of life and eternity are high. Paul simply tells us the Truth.