Another reminder to exercise caution as we read the Bible since God will often give us clues that could easily be overlooked. Consider the following passage:
For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains..... I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them..... They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust. (De 32: 22-24).
Reading this verse we may easily conclude that God is talking about judgment on the last day. But since God speaks in parables (Psalm 78:2), If we just glance over these verses we might miss some important clues:
Earth^0776: Did you know God often refers to His kingdom on earth (churches) as the earth? In the above context, the earth would be a reference to the church body during the time of tribulation. In the verse below; can we honestly say that God is talking about planet earth? Can planet earth reel to and fro like a drunkard?
Isa 24:20 The earth^0776 shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.
Isa 21:9 And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.
Increase^2981: Increase is usually a reference to the fruit of the Gospel. So to consume the earth with her increase means God will remove the Gospel from the church body:
Ps 78:46 He gave also their increase^02981 unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust.
Ps 85:12 Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase^02981.
Hag 1:10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit^2981.
Mountains^2022 is usually a reference to the kingdom of God which, again, is the visible corporate body or the invisible body of true believers depending on the context:
Zec 8:3 Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain^02022 of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain^02022.
Burnt with hunger^7458: How can you burn something with hunger? A red flag that God is speaking in riddles? What does hunger remind us of? If someone is suffering from hunger it's because they are under famine. The burning would be a reference to FIRE which ultimately is the Word of God itself bringing judgment today.
Eze 36:29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine^7458 upon you.
Am 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine^7458 in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
Mal 4:1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
Most of us correctly understand that Amos 8:11 was dealing with the great tribulation on the church as God sends a spiritual famine in the land. When the last day comes, it will no longer be a removal of the gospel. God will destroy the universe as He sees fit. Therefore famine, as defined by the Bible, does not appear to be dealing with a literal last day.
Teeth of beasts^0929: If this is a reference to the last day, does God mean He will send wild animals to devour the unsaved? We know this can't be the case because the Bible is spiritual and again God is giving us parabolic clues. Beasts and animals are usually pointing to the people in the corporate body. The context should determine whether God has in view the elect or the unsaved in the church:
Zec 14:15 And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts^0929 that shall be in these tents, as this plague.
Zep 1:3 I will consume man and beast^0929; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD.
Jer 7:20 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast^0929, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.
Joe 2:22 Be not afraid, ye beasts^0929 of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.
Poison of serpents^2119: Here would be another clue. Serpents in the Bible is usually a reference to Satan. The tribulation is when Satan is loosed to ravage the church. He is also known as the thief (Joh 10:10) God uses Him to destroy. This again, would lead us to understand that Deuteronomy 32:22-24 is talking about the day of great tribulation:
Mic 7:17 They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms^02119 of the earth: they shall be afraid of the LORD our God, and shall fear because of thee.
Re 20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
2Co 11:14-15 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light....Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
In the light of the above verses, the reference to lowest hell in Deuteronomy 32:22 is another reason why some of us have come to understand that hell, the lake of fire or the pit appear to be language dealing primarily with the judgment that has come on the church body today.
May the Lord give us wisdom as we continue to ponder these things.
Feedback and correction welcome.