Volume. XX, No. 33
Sunday, 12 February 2006

Biblical Separation in the Old Testament Time

“And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish, because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 8: 19 & 20).

In the Old Testament, we are told that the Lord also commanded the Israelites to separate themselves from the heathen nations and their false deities. Israel was constantly warned against idolatry. God knows their shortcomings. No sooner had this law been passed down, they began to have intimate relationship with unbelievers. In Genesis, we are told that Lot inevitably compromised his moral standards. This was the result of him having intimate relationship with unbelievers.
In the book of Leviticus, God commanded Israel to be holy. His command was “ye shall be holy, for I am holy,” is repeatedly mentioned in Leviticus 11:44-45, 19:2, 20:7 & 20:26. Leviticus 20:26, “and ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” The word “severed” used in this text means “to divide,” “to set apart,” and “to separate.”
Separation in the book of Leviticus applies both to the individual as well as the nation. Likewise, in church, separation must be practiced not only at the personal level, but also at the ecclesiastical level. But, Israel continually turned away from her one true God.
God sent His prophets to plea for Israel to turn back to worship the one and only true God. The prophets cried out to the people to live a godly and holy life. The prophets warned them from time to time again against apostasy and also instructed them on the consequences of non-separation. They chose not to listen and if they did it was for a very short time only.
Great man like Samson, King David and Solomon failed to obey God at a certain time of their lives and this led to their spiritual downfall. So, let us be forewarned that unless we take this teaching of Biblical Separation seriously we too will perish.
Samson, a Nazarene in the book of Judges disobeyed God. He compromised himself. As a result of lust and a departure from the teachings of God, he lost the one great gift that God had bestowed upon him. His strength. Trusting in Delilah, Samson told her the secret of his strength.
The exploits of King David and Solomon, their greatness and their downfall are well documented in the Bible. One of the reasons that both fell from grace was the influence their heathen wives and concubines had upon them. Both left their first love. They failed to separate themselves from idol worshippers. They became unequally yoked.
In the book of Hosea, the spiritual and moral decay of God’s children were clearly seen when they partook in the worship of Baal. This was spiritual adultery. All this time, God sent His prophets to plea with His children to forsake idolatry and return to their one true God but they refused to listen. Idol worship and the demands of human practices led them to instant gratification, and had dulled and stupor them. All the warnings and cries from the prophets had fallen on deaf ears. Israel had hardened her heart. Eventually, they had to be judged by God.
One of the reasons that led to the downfall of Israel and Judah was the sin of non-separation. Judah fared better than Israel. All the kings of Israel did evil in the sight of God. Judah had a few kings who tried to turn her people back to worship her one true God but their successes were short lived. It was not for long before they reverted to their old practices. For too long these children of God had mingled with the heathen nations. Many had married foreign wives and had been lured by these foreign wives into idol worship.
From the above we can trace that in the Old Testament text, separation was a continual requirement of God upon His people. God’s people are to be different. God’s people are to be holy. God’s people are to separate from all others with different beliefs in order to belong to God and to be His very own.
When all failed, God punished His people by using unbelievers. God used the Assyrians and the Babylonians to subdue Israel and Judah. God punished His own with their exile in Assyria and Babylon when they became a stiff-necked nation and continued with their idolatrous ways. God had to deal with them in the end.
God abhors all forms of syncretic worship and ecumenical fellowship that mix truth with error. God had commanded Israel to be separated in the Old Testament times but they had not heeded His repeated calls.
Fellow worshippers, be warned, for the principle of Biblical Separation also applies to us today. Paul’s epistle to the Corinthian believers is also a warning to us today. Paul warned the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, “Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? What communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
Be ye doers of His word and not hearers only.
In His humble service,
Dn Tony Law

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 32: What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life? They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, adoption, and sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them.

Please pray for health & God’s healing: Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang (post-surgery), Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Winston Selvanayagam, Thomas Tan, John Tann, & Kevin Tye; Sisters Kimmy Chong, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Gillian Ong’s grandfather, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law, Auntie Oei and others afflicted with illness. "Fear not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea will I help thee” (Isaish 41:10a).

Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions: Rev George van Buuren’s ministry & safety (Sihanoukville); b) Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam; c) Journey Mercies - Dn David Yeo (Adl); Sisters Samantha Foo (NZ), Peng Ha Yeo (Syd) & others who are travelling; d) Sketch N’ Tell M inistry - Bro Hai Seng Lim; e) Comfort & Encouragment - Bro Yae-Yul Lee & family; f) YAF Outreach at The University of Adelaide during Orientation Week, on 21-22 Feb; g) Easter Family Bible Camp at Victor Harbour, 14-17 April, & Speaker: Rev Colin Wong; h) Jobs - Bro Patrick Leong, & Bro Charles & Sis Vivien Zhang.

Praise and Thank God for – a) YAF/Teens Bible Study, Wed Bible Study & Prayer Meeting, AFG Prayer & Share, & Ladies’ Fellowship AGM & election of new committee; b) Journey mercies - Dn David Yeo (Cbr/Syd); Bro Patrick Leong; Sisters Nikki Ching & Gillian Ong (Adl), Clara Sim’s father (S’pore) & others who are travelling.

Deepest sympathy to Bro Tae-Yul Lee & family on the home-going of Rev Joon Ho Lee.

Announcement: New Ladies’ Fellowship committee: President - Sis Giok Yeo, Secretary - Sis Sally Law, & Treasurer - Sis Julie Tan. Pray for God’s guidance for this new committee.

Special Item of Prayer: For the LORD to provide $19,110 for Pastor’s car by 31 Mar 06.

Family Bible Camp Committee - help needed. Anyone willing to help with organising the camp, please meet at 12:30 pm next Lord’s Day in the classroom.

Looking Ahead: BBK class starts on 6 Mar. Anyone seeking church membership/transfer or baptism is invited to attend. For details, please see Ps Ki or Elder Michael Lee. 



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