By Charles H. Welch
Giants. The question of who and what were the "giants" mentioned in the O.T. is wider than the limited scope of this analysis, 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.
Two things stand out in this structure:
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:
In contrast with these prohibitions, we read concerning Sihon and Og and their lands:
The destruction of Sihon and Og was an utter destruction: "Men, women and children of every city were destroyed; none were left" (2:33,34, 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 (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:
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" (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:
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 ANGELS, FALLEN; IN ADAM; SEED; and SONS OF GOD.