Do not turn a city to idolatry

The Literal Commandment

"If you hear in one of your cities, which the LORD your God is giving you to live in, anyone saying that some worthless men have gone out from among you and have seduced the inhabitants of their city, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods' (whom you have not known), then you shall investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly. If it is true and the matter established that this abomination has been done among you, you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its cattle with the edge of the sword. (Deuteronomy 13:12-15)

 

The literal commandment is that we should not turn a city to idolatry.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Pictures of Messiah

Messiah declares "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6)

When we are commanded not to make an idol it is because such a pursuit is fruitless and only turns us away from the G-d who is the Truth.

Idols are nothing. Scripture describes idols in this way:

Thus says the LORD, "Do not learn the way of the nations, And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens Although the nations are terrified by them; For the customs of the peoples are delusion; Because it is wood cut from the forest, The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. They decorate it with silver and with gold; They fasten it with nails and with hammers So that it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, Because they cannot walk! Do not fear them, For they can do no harm, Nor can they do any good." (Jeremiah 10:2-5)

 

If anyone would turn to idolatry then they are denying the truth of G-d's Word and Who He declares Himself to be.

These commandments prohibiting idolatry picture Messiah by pointing to idols and telling us He is not like them.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah fulfilled this commandment by not a city to idolatry.

 

Traditional Observance

This commandment is traditionally observed by not turning a city to idolatry by enticing anyone into or encouraging anyone to pursue idolatry.

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today by not turning a city to idolatry. Any object that is deemed to be a "god" is an idol and, as the apostle Paul exhorts us, we should flee from such things (1 Corinthians 10:14).

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 32
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 1
  • Mishneh Torah Book Knowledge
  • Mishneh Torah Category 4- Idolatry and Gentile Customs
  • Reference Deuteronomy 13:13
  • Scripture Book Deuteronomy
  • Chapter 13
  • Verse 13
  • English some worthless men have gone out from among you and have seduced the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’ (whom you have not known),
  • Hebrew יד יָצְאוּ אֲנָשִׁים בְּנֵי-בְלִיַּעַל, מִקִּרְבֶּךָ, וַיַּדִּיחוּ אֶת-יֹשְׁבֵי עִירָם, לֵאמֹר: נֵלְכָה, וְנַעַבְדָה אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים--אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יְדַעְתֶּם.
  • Greek (13:14) Ἐξήλθοσαν ἄνδρες παράνομοι ἐξ ὑμῶν καὶ ἀπέστησαν πάντας τοὺς κατοικοῦντας τὴν πόλιν αὐτῶν λέγοντες Πορευθῶμεν καὶ λατρεύσωμεν θεοῖς ἑτέροις, οὓς οὐκ ᾔδειτε,
  • Parashah 47- Re'eh
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 87
  • Sef. Hach. Command Not to lead Israelites astray into idolatry
  • Category Idolatry
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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