Jealous for God
‘. . . he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the sins of Israel.’ -Numbers 25:13
‘Beginning in 1776, adultery was illegal in America. That ended in 2003 with the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas. That took two hundred and twenty-seven years. From 2003, homosexual marriage continued to be illegal in all fifty states. That ended in 2015 with the Supreme Court decision in Obergfell v. Hodges. That took twelve years. From 2015, so called transgenderism was not legally recognized in America. Now the U.S. Justice Department intends to force North Carolina to act in ‘compliance with federal law’ as it relates to House Bill 2.’ That took less than one year. A Supreme Court decision is bound to come.’1 And recently, at the direction of President Obama, a joint letter from the Departments of Education and Justice directed all public schools to ensure transgender students a supportive and non-discriminatory school environment, meaning students are free to enter any school bathroom or locker room on the basis of the sex with which they identify.2
These issues of sexual perversion, of course, are clearly an abomination to the Lord of glory. God is holy (Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8). At the very foundation of who God is and what He does is the indisputable fact that He is positively, without equivocation, pure and righteous in all that He does and is. God is love (1 John 4:8). It is one thing to say that God loves, that God creates and sustains, that God saves, justifies, sanctifies, adopts, and glorifies. These are all true and glorious, but to say that God is love takes it to another level. At the foundation of all God does is the comforting fact that His actions and values are motivated by love. He knows what is best for every person. He gives guidelines through His law, not merely for His glory because of who He is, but also because He loves us and knows what is best for us.
Therefore, when Yahweh’s covenant people went into fornication with the wicked, idolatrous women of Moab; and idolatry with Baal of Peor, He told Moses to kill everyone of the perpetrators. The leaders were to kill those under their direct authority who were engaged in these abominable acts. When they hesitated, and when Zimri, a son of Israel, and his fornicating Moabite woman named Cozbi, brazenly and blatantly entered the tent to fornicate before the very eyes of the sons of Israel who were weeping at the tent of meeting; then Phinehas, who was jealous for the glory of God, took a spear, followed them into the tent, and ran both of them through with it. He thus checked or stopped the plague which had already claimed 24,000 lives. Phinehas could not stand the status quo. He was consumed with the glory and holiness of God. And Yahweh clearly approved of Phinehas’ actions since He promised him a covenant of peace and perpetual priesthood. He had made atonement for the sins of the sons of Israel.
I wonder – are you jealous for the glory of God? Now, obviously God is not calling us to ‘run fornicators, homosexuals, and idolators through with spears’, but we nonetheless ought to be jealous for that for which God is jealous. At the very least, we should speak out about the madness of transgenderism and same sex marriage. The homosexual agenda has masterfully convinced the populace that these are civil rights issues, and most of the country has blindly bought the lie. There is no ‘gay gene.’ People are born either male or female. God makes no mistakes. He is holy. He is love. We ought to do what the prophets of old did when they warned the kings of Israel and Judah to rule righteously lest they be judged by God. We ought to warn our legislators, judges, and members of the executive branch of our local, state, and federal governments that they will stand before God and give account for their rulings, for the laws they pass and foist on their constituencies.
And what is the motivation for such jealousy? Consider the glory of Christ’s atoning death which alone can take away the wrath you and I deserve. Yahweh commends Phinehas because he was jealous for the things for which He is jealous. Nahum, who is preaching to the nation of Nineveh which had experienced an amazing revival some eighty years before through the preaching of Jonah, but had since gone back to idolatry and perversion, begins his prophecy by saying, ‘A jealous and avenging God is the Lord; the Lord is avenging and wrathful. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished,’ (Nahum 1:2,3).
So Phinehas is a picture of God, the holy and avenging God.3 And may I also suggest that Zimri and Cozbi, the fornicators and idolators, are a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. What? Have I lost my mind? How can I say this? Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that God made Him (Christ) who knew no sin (who was sinless and undefiled) to become sin on our behalf (our sin was imputed, placed on Christ) that we may become the righteousness of God in Christ (Christ’s righteousness was imputed, placed on us). ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,’ (Galatians 3:13). The Lord Jesus was cursed as one who fornicated with the harlots of Moab. He was cursed as one who bowed down to Baal of Peor and Chemosh, the Moabite deity. He was cursed as one who brazenly went into the presence of God and fornicated in the name of perversion and the rankest, most vile and debased idolatry. His cry on the cross, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ was not merely a cry of loneliness or fear of the unknown. It was the cry of the Holy, undefiled, eternal second person of the Godhead who had been in perfect union with the Father and the Holy Spirit for all eternity, but who, for those three hours at Calvary, was utterly and completely cut off from His Father. He was crying for comfort and mercy. Instead He heard from His Father, as it were, ‘I damn you.’4
When you say to a Christian friend, ‘May the Lord bless you,’ when your pastor closes the worship service with the Aaronic benediction, ‘May the Lord bless you and keep you,’ you must remember that these blessings only come to you because the Lord Jesus was cursed, judged, condemned, cut off, entered hell in your place.
What love and mercy! What grace! What shall you do with what you have just read? Flee sexual immorality. Fear God. Teach your children and grandchildren to fear God. Warn our government leaders to promote righteous law based on the Law of God. Proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
- Facebook post by Dr. John Barber, May 9, 2015.
- Dr. John Barber has written a cogent and Biblical article on genetic sexual disorders concerning the issue of transgenderism. See Legato, Transgender: The Facts, the Lies, and Our Hope. I highly commend Dr. Barber’s blog.
- In addressing this and many other sins of Israel in Numbers, Paul tells us that these things are examples for us that we will not crave things as they craved them, (1 Corinthians 10:1-13).
- From Paul Washer’s book, The Gospel’s Power and Message, page 185.
If you would like to respond to Pastor Baker, please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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