- Published: 07 October 2011
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The question of who and what were the "giants" mentioned in the O.T. is wider than the limited scope of this teaching, but one set of references found in Deuteronomy 1-3 has a bearing, by analogy, upon the warfare of the church and its spiritual foes in high places. The first three chapters of Deuteronomy deal with events just before and just after the forty years in the wilderness. The material is abundant, and our purpose is best served by selecting that which illuminates principles rather than by giving an exposition of the book in detail. The structure of Deuteronomy 1-3 brings into prominence certain salient features, and we will first of all place that structure before the reader.
A 1:1-3 a Moses spake unto all Israel
b In wilderness over against Red Sea
c Eleven days by way of Mount Seir
B 1:4-7 d Sihon and Og slain
e Ye have dwelt long enough
f Turn you, and take your journey
g Mount of Amorites, all places nigh, land of Canaanites
C 1:8 I have set the land before you . . . possess It
D 1:9-45 h We will send men before us. Ye rebelled
i Lord wroth with Israel
j Not one or that generation shall go over
k Save Caleb, son of Jephunneh
i Lord angry with me
j Thou shalt not go in thither
k But Joshua the son of Nun
h We will go up and fight. Ye rebelled
E 1:46 Abode in Kadesh
b Into the wilderness by way of the Red Sea
a As the Lord spake unto me
c Compassed Mount Seir many days
e Ye have compassed the Mount long enough
f Turn you northward
g Edom, Moab, Ammon etc.
d Sihon and Og slain
C 3:12-20 God hath given you this land to possess it
h Joshua commanded
i Lord wroth with me
j Thou shalt not go over
k Joshua-he shall go over
E 3:29 Abode in valley over against Beth-peor.
Two things stand out in this structure:
That God had given Israel the land to possess, which He had sworn to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Deut. 1:8 and Deut. 3:18).
That the people failed to enter in because of unbelief, Joshua and Caleb being the exceptions.
Allied with these facts we have the intimidating presence of the giants, the sons of Anak, the unbelief that suggested the sending of the spies, and the failure even of Moses in the matter of sanctifying the Lord in his high and responsible office.
Our subject at the moment is the presence of the Canaanites and other enemies that barred the way, when Israel were ready to go up and possess the land. A pronounced difference is made between the attitude that Israel were to adopt towards Esau, Moab and Ammon, and their attitude toward Sihon and Og:
"Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession" (Deut. 2:5).
"Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession" (Deut. 2:9).
"And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor medd1e with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession" (Deut. 2:19).
In contrast with these prohibitions, we read concerning Sihon and Og and their lands:
"Behold, I have given into thine hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land: begin to possess it, and contend with him in battle" (Deut. 2:24).
"Then we turned, and went up the way to Bashan: and Og King of Bashan came out against us . . . thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon King of the Amorites" (Deut. 3:1-2).
The destruction of Sihon and Og was an utter destruction: "Men, women and children of every city were destroyed; none were left" (Deut. 2:33-34, Deut.3:3-6).
The lesson underlying this differentiation is as fundamental to the Church as it was to Israel. Let us seek to understand it. First, let us observe one difference between these two classes. Esau was the brother of Jacob; Ammon and Moab were both the sons of Lot, the nephew of Abraham. Sihon, on the other hand, was an Amorite (Deut. 2:24), and Og one of the remnant of the "Rephaim"; the former was a Canaanite (Gen. 10:16), the latter one of the evil seed whose origin is indicated in the opening verses of Genesis six. The first thing, then, to remember is that here are the two seeds-Israel, Esau, Moab and Lot belonging to one line; Sihon, Og, the Canaanite and the Rephaim belonging to the other. In one case God gives possessions and preserves; in the other, He deprives of possessions and destroys.
Before Israel cross over the river Arnon, Moses reminds them of a principle already in operation. When God had promised the land to Abraham, he was told, in effect, that his children would not be allowed to enter into possession until the iniquity of the Amorites was full (Gen. 15:16). Let us observe what Moses said, and its application both to Israel and to ourselves:
"The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims: which also were accounted giants (Rephaim)" (Deut. 2:10-11).
"The Horims also dwelt in Seir before time: but the children of Esau succeeded them, when they had destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their stead: as Israel did unto the land of his possession, which the Lord gave unto them" (Deut. 2:12).
"That (i.e. Ammon's inheritance) also was accounted a land of giants (Rephaim); giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims. A people great and many, and tall, as the Anakims: but the Lord destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead" (Deut. 2:20,21).
It will be seen that in each case the original holders of the land were the "giants", the progeny of evil. In each case these were destroyed and their land was inherited "in their stead" by descendants of Abraham, Esau, Moab and Ammon. There are also the added words: "As Israel did unto the land of his possession" (Deut. 2:12).
While, however, all these peoples have this in common, Israel itself is always considered separately and alone. Moab and Edom are but household servants in the day of the true David's triumph: "Moab is my washpot, over Edom will I cast out my shoe" (Psa. 108:9). These relative positions indicate that among the one great circle of the true seed, there will be many differences in "glory" and "sphere": all receiving a "justification unto life", but not all "reigning in life" (see Rom. 5:12-21). Israel were forbidden to "meddle" with these other nations, linked as they were by ties of blood. The same word is repeated in Deuteronomy 2:24, where it is translated "contend". The two passages emphasize the absolute distinction made between these two seeds. Israel were forbidden to "contend" with Edom, Moab and Ammon; but commanded to "contend" with Sihon.
We notice also that Israel were to pay for all the meat and drink that they consumed while passing through these territories; and they were reminded of the fact that through all their wanderings in the wilderness they had lacked nothing (Deut. 2:7). A request for a passage "through thy land" was also sent to Sihon, King of Heshbon:
"Let me pass through thy land: I will go along by the highway, I will neither turn unto the right hand nor to the left. Thou shalt sell me meat for money, that I may eat; and give me water for money, that I may drink; only I will pass through on my feet . . . until I shall pass over Jordan into the land which the Lord our God giveth us" (Deut. 2:26-29).
From this it appears that, had Sihon permitted Israel to pass through his territory, and had he supplied them with food and water as requested, Israel would not have destroyed his nation and' inherited his land, Israel's true inheritance being strictly beyond Jordan.
Let us now endeavour to express, in terms of church doctrine and dispensational truth, what this means to those whose blessing is defined according to the epistle to the Ephesians. Israel's inheritance was not enjoyed as soon as it was promised; a period of waiting, of bondage, and of redemption intervened-waiting until the iniquity of the Amorite was full. The inheritance of the church of the Mystery was allotted "before the overthrow of the world" (Eph. 1:3-4) but the members of that church are found in the bondage of sin and death, needing redemption (Eph. 1:7). Their inheritance is future (Eph. 1:14). The sphere of their inheritance is in "heavenly places" and far above "principalities and powers". This church is related in the flesh with other companies of God's children, just as Israel was related to Edom, Moab and Ammon; but as many of these are associated with this world, fellowship is restricted. Their endeavour is to live peaceably, not to strive, and to live as those whose primary object is to "pass through" this world, asking for no favours and wanting little more than "meat and drink". Ephesians 6:12 speaks of this church as not "wrestling" with "flesh and blood"; just as Deuteronomy two speaks of Israel not "meddling" or "contending" with Esau, Moab or Ammon. Ephesians 6:12 says that the foes of the church are "spiritual wickednesses", which are the "world holders of this darkness". These fallen principalities and powers, whose inheritance in the heavenlies is lost, and in whose realm of glory the church is soon to appear, act as Sihon acted when he would not let Israel "pass by him" (Deut. 2:30). The result of this is that the church whose real foes are "over the Jordan", and whose real conflict is depicted at the overthrow of Jericho, has to stand against the opposition of these spiritual Amorites, "the world holders of this darkness." See Fallen Angels, Seed; and Sons Of God.