If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods,” which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you. (Deuteronomy 13:6-11)
Stone Your Family To Death
The Law of Moses is a testimony to the character of Jehovah God. There is ample evidence of the presence of God in the world but understanding the nature of God’s goodness and His wrath cannot be known apart from divine revelation. This is dramatically uncovered in a reading of the Law of Moses. When the Hebrews were delivered from the bondage of Egypt, the Lord made them into a nation of His own special people to live by a very unique set of laws unparalleled in the history of man. There were very strict commandments that would be appalling in the politically correct world of today. Numerous laws required the death penalty imposed against transgressors. No one would be spared if wickedness was done and this included family members who sought to entice others to follow after other gods. The land of Canaan was a promised land flowing with milk and honey but it also housed the pagan gods of the Amorites whose iniquities had reached the throne of God who would bring judgment upon the people. When Joshua began the conquest of the land his orders were to destroy all vestiges of idol worship. The Law of Moses warned with emphatic tones the danger of serving other gods and following after the gods of the land. There was only one God and His name was Jealous and the Lord God would not allow the people to worship any other god. This point was driven home as the Law of Moses openly declared that if anyone seeks to entice the people away from the Lord God they were to die. If a man arises among the people who calls himself a prophet or a dreamer of dreams and gives the people a sign or a wonder to entice the hearts to serve other gods, he would be put to death. And this would include a brother, son, daughter, wife or friend or any family member that placed before Israel the gods of the land.
There is no example in scripture of a family stoning to death a fellow family member for leading others to serve other gods. The point is made very clear in the Law of Moses how the Lord God views those who would entice the hearts of His people to serve after the idolatries of the nations around them and this was abundantly clear regarding family members. Whether or not this happened in the history of Israel, the lack of diligence to follow the will of God eventually lead the whole nation of Israel to go after foreign gods. In time, the ten northern tribes of Israel were annihilated and destroyed never to return. Some years later the final two tribes of Judah and Benjamin were punished with bondage for seventy years as the nation sunk into the despair of idolatry. The Law of Moses was clear to the punishment of family members who enticed others to follow foreign gods but the heart of the people was unwilling to inflict such judgment upon others; including their brothers and sisters, sons and daughters and mothers and fathers. Had the people followed the Law and stoned to death a member of the family for enticing the people to other gods, the nation would have been preserved. God’s law was not followed and the nation was destroyed. What reasons were given for not heeding the word of God? The expression “blood is thicker than water” is not a Biblical doctrine. Jesus would later teach His disciples that if a man loved his mother or father, brother or sister or even his own life more than Him, they could not be His disciple. The expression Jesus used was if a person did not “hate” his family, there would be no hope for them. What Jesus meant by the word “hate” was to put them secondary to the will of the Lord and to love God above all others. This echoes the teaching of the Law of Moses concerning family members who entice others to go after foreign gods.
The family is the fabric of society formed by the will of God to bring security, happiness and contentment to all men. Throughout scripture, the word of the Lord is adamant about honoring father and mother and under the Law of Moses, a rebellious child would suffer death. The wisdom literature of the Old Testament is replete with numerous admonitions to show respect and honor to the family. Jesus taught the love of family and as He was dying on the cross bid John take care of His beloved mother. In the epistles of the early church, the family was exalted as a bastion of faith to teach children the word of God. All of this comes with an important caveat: honoring parents or siblings should not rise above devotion to God. When a family member causes another to transgress the law of God or to abandon the true faith, they are to be rejected and admonished. God’s word must come first before family. The Law of Moses has been abandoned and the laws contained therein but the principle of first devotion has not. Salvation does come from the coat-tails of mother and father but individual faith that must stand alone. No one can blame another for the loss of eternal life but those who lead others astray will bear a heavy judgment. So all shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you.