When read with modern “civilized” eyes, many Bible verses make God seem shockingly Victorian at best. Those who are objective will admit that things like this make him sound like an anal, unforgiving, and bigoted Freudian basket case.
He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD. 2 A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord. Deuteronomy 23:1
Apparently all the wars these barbarians fought led to significant numbers of men with smashed or mutilated private parts. The reward for fighting for God? You’re thrown in the trash like damaged goods. All you guys that have had vasectomies? Go raise hell because there’s no hope for you anyway. And chances are that there is a “bastard” son somewhere in the family tree for all of us. So that pretty much ensures that whoever is left in the “congregation of the LORD” will be fairly lonely.
So-called “fundamentalists” continue to look foolish in their selective application of inerrancy to their mystical interpretations of the Bible.
But so-called atheists are equally foolish when they apply the same modern mystical definitions to ancient texts in order to make themselves feel superior.
There’s clearly something about this that we aren’t getting. As much as we like to attribute this type of behavior to the ancients in order to make ourselves feel more civilized, those people were often as proper, well-mannered and advanced as we are.
Here’s a new perspective on another strange-sounding verse to help ease us into this subject…
And thou shalt make them [the priests] linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach: Exodus 28:42
This had nothing to do with a priest’s underwear. It was a lesson in girding a person with the proper authority to serve.1 In other words, nobody can claim themselves as a priest. That must be established by the testimonies of two or three witness…two or three who testify that they recognize someone as their servant. These were very proper legal arrangements within a society.
To understand the “bastard” verse, we’ve got to rethink lots of terms that we’ve taken for granted. For example, the Biblical term “Israel” has nothing to do with a piece of land and “heaven” has nothing to do with an imaginary part of space where a dysfunctional old white man resides who can’t wait until you get there to sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” to him forever.
- Israel = where God resides. In modern terms: free people. Plain and simple. Those who have no king but God.
- Kingdom of Heaven = wherever those free people reside.
- Egypt = people ruled over by elohim (rulers/judges – gods) and where they reside.
- Father = provider, protector. Israel (the free people) have no provider/protector but God. They have a decentralized government that depends on the love of people for one another, freewill offerings, and servants to administer to the needs of the widows and orphans. Egypt’s protector/provider does so through forced taxation (coveting your neighbors goods) and inscription of his subjects.2
So let’s get on with this summary…
Abraham left his “father”—his city state—so his decedents could eventually become free people (Israel). Then a dozen or so of those free men sold themselves into slavery—they started working for (serving/worshiping) a new father who promised to provide for them as long as they paid tribute amounting to 20% of their lives. (The father of US Citizens demands roughly 50%.)
Moses, as rightful heir to the throne of Egypt (Moses was a title of royalty, not a name), had his eyes opened when he killed one of his servants. (Moses feared what he had become, not what would be done to him.) He “fled” to the desert where some of his relatives lived who still practiced the old ways because they had not sold themselves into slavery. He learned from these relatives how this freewill government “under God” functioned. He took the knowledge back to the slaves (the Egyptians) and they started practicing this alternative form of government.
A portion of Egyptians (those under tribute) took the message to heart and “gathered their own straw at night.” That is, they slowly weaned themselves off the education, welfare, health services, etc. provided by “drinking the blood” (the life force) of their neighbors through taxation enforced with a sword. While still paying the taxes they were under contract to pay, they started building their own support structures based on loving their neighbor to the point that they were no longer dependent on the public schools, welfare, social security, or hospitals of Egypt.
Then the inevitable “plagues” came. The people of Egypt lived beyond their means, built up mountains of debt, policed the world, and, generally, no longer cared for one another. They focused only on what they could milk out of the government (their fellow citizens). The system started to fall apart and the “father” was no longer able to offer the level of protection and provision he once did. But the want-to-be “Israelites”—those who were no longer dependent on the government that exercised authority—fared well. In fact, they were often able to come to the rescue of their fellow Egyptian citizens when the Egyptian government couldn’t help. (Egyptians showed their appreciation later by showering the freedom seekers with gifts at the time of their exodus from the system.)
Lots of politics went on, but eventually these people were allowed to “opt out” of the Egyptian system and try their social experiment on their own in a remote part of Egypt (the desert was still a territory of Egypt). But because the want-to-be Israelites—free people—did not ask for any of the benefits of Egypt…and because Egypt was in such a financial mess that it helped to simplify things to get such a large group of people “off the books”…the “Israelites” were left to do their own thing.
The Promised Land
But it was still a generation before the kids who where born without Egyptian birth certificates and social security numbers (the first generation that was not the property of Egypt) were able to truly become Israelites and enter “the Promised Land.” Read more on Ten Commandments.
Then they live as true Israelites (free men) for generations. Toward the end of this time we we find one of the most pivotal and misunderstood verses of the Bible—the last two chapters of Judges…
And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance. In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:24-25
Don’t just gloss over that verse. It doesn’t have the negative meaning that government-licensed churches have taught for centuries. When read in the context of the perspective offered above, there is actually a very positive connotation: during this period the nation was still Israel—truly free…under no authority but God’s.
But these people forgot the burden of slavery and they grew tired of the responsibilities of self-governance. They longed for a king like the other nations. Despite God’s warning that they would be choosing a new father and what the new father would do, the people felt the need for centralized authority.
So the strongest among them became their king…and things get worse.
Then “a man after God’s own heart” is chosen. But even a man after God’s own heart is corrupted when he is delegated the authority and responsibility that, by the laws of nature and nature’s God, should remain within each household.
Then the “wisest man” takes over…and the downhill slide accelerates.
Solomon builds a temple—a government building where people register, pay taxes and receive benefits.3 Through the tainted prism of government-licensed churches, this is made to sound like a glorious thing. In fact, many religious factions today look forward to a new temple being built in Jerusalem. Yet God specifically instructed against this. Jesus himself explained how much disregard he had for the centralized temple when he instructed the Jews that if they would tear it down, he would rebuild in in three days.4
We read that Solomon created streets of gold. This sounds grand from the tainted prism of government-licensed churches. But it’s actually quite sad when you understand that previous to this time the “gold” was in people’s pockets. This verse is describing taxes. For the first time in this nation’s history, the new king, wise in the matters of centralizing power, used money from people’s pockets to create roads. Were there no roads until then? Of course there were! But they had been created through private funding, charity or whatever.
Solomon loved many “strange” women. He had 700 wives. When we consider that taking a wife was a way of establishing a relationship with another nation, this is code for treaties Solomon created with “strange” nations…those that were not free. This will have lots more meaning later in the article when we describe the meaning of being “unequally yoked.”
All this false wealth was created by the massive growth of centralized power. But that never lasts and the nation fell apart rapidly. Solomon’s son threatened to tax the people even more than his father had. Israel (the free people) went their own way, leaving Solomon’s son to govern only one of the original twelve tribes.5 At this point, the importance of the other tribes starts to diminish from the Bible. Again, from the tainted prism of government-licensed churches, we tend to interpret this as meaning the remaining tribe, Judah, was most important to God. In reality, Judah is the nation that continues to whole-heatedly serve the false gods—figures of centralized authority. Could it be that the Bible continues with Judah’s story because they were the hard-headed group from which there where still lessons to be learned?
What follows is a host of convoluted governmental experiments that Judah tries other than the simple laws first taught by Abraham and Moses. By the time we get to Jesus, Judah is under a complicated system of forced taxation by the Pharisees.
John the Baptist
But once again, God starts working through key people who recognize that there is a better alternative. John “the Baptist” was next in line to become the head Pharisee. He rejects this position of authority and starts baptizing people into a new system (actually the original system) of decentralized government where elders are kings of — protectors/providers for — their households and the people are ruled by God alone. People of the time could also choose Herod’s baptism where they paid taxes to Herod for his protection/provision and they went to Herod’s temples for their public education, welfare, social security, etc. When they came out of the Jordan river they were given a white stone with their ID (Social Security Number) so that the temples could identify them as one of Herod’s dependents.6
Jesus came on the scene and also started spreading the good news of the “Kingdom of God.” As rightful and recognized king, he molded the government of Judea into one based on love and charity where volunteer ministers (priests/Levites) distributed charity to the needy. As the very real and recognized king, Jesus fired those in charge of Judea’s reserve banks and put his own people in charge (he turned over the tables/banks). The Pharisees hated loosing power and the millions of dollars that came to them through taxes. They conspired to kill Jesus so they could once again assume their position of authority and subterfuge.
But the “good news” had already taken hold in people’s hearts and they no longer felt allegiance to a piece of land and its sacred symbols. They spread throughout the world the live in freedom under allegiance to God alone.
Constant Battle Between Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Satan
This story happens over and over again throughout history. The pilgrims came to the new world to create a “New Jerusalem” and the “Kingdom of Heaven.” It wasn’t about establishing a corporate nation of forced taxation and boundaries. But their descendants have once again lost their way and they now owe allegiance to a corporate, centralized body called the United States. They feel it was established by God and they send their sons to defend it and their daughters to be “confectioneries for the king” — to work so she can pay taxes so her children can be provided for and educated by the king.
Bastards? That’s Us
Now…we finally come to the meaning of the term “bastards.”
He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD. 2 A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord. Deuteronomy 23:1 & 2
Plain and simple, bastards are those who have a father other than God. Every US citizen is a bastard. Our birth certificates and social security numbers (SSN) prove who is our father/provider/protector.
10 generations? Where do you want to start counting?
- The creation of the US Constitution when the corporate government was established?
- The 14th Amendment that made us all property of the US (US citizens) rather than the free men we were up until that point?
- The late 1800s and early 1900s when the first public schools started being created and we began earnestly praying en masse to another father (the US government) for the education of our children?
- When the Social Security Administration was created and we not only started praying to the new father for care in our old age, but we also started selling our children to the new father so that we could get all the benefits that came with the mark (tax deductions, easier entry into school, easier entry into jobs, access to government benefits)?
Today we can’t even buy or sell without the mark. We have no support structures for our children so they have options if we choose NOT to sell them to Egypt.
Indeed, we are bastards who have no access to the “congregation of the Lord” — the Kingdom of Heaven/Israel. It will take at least another generation until there are true “children of God.”
In this light, many other Bible verses start taking on a much richer meaning. For example, God warns the sons of Israel not to marry women from the surrounding nations and Paul warns against being unequally yolked…
Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, 4. for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. Deuteronomy 7:3
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 2 Corinthians 6:14 & 15
We are talking about a truly free people: Sons that are kings…whose only allegiance is to God, who have no SSNs, and truly own the land on which they live (not tenants paying taxes to the true owner). It was forbidden for these truly free men to marry women who insisted on keeping the benefits of another god/father (and thus the identification with the other father/provider/protector). Any children born of this type of marriage would not be free. By definition, they were not Israelites. And there were contracts that would bind them for generations.
On the other hand, if a woman was willing to sever all connections to the “pagan” nation and potential benefits that came with that relationship, she could enter into the Kingdom of God. Rahab and Ruth are prime examples of this. It wasn’t bloodlines that mattered. It was the covenants and contracts that were attached…that would determine if offspring were “pure” or not.7
Regarding the verse about the “wounded stones” and a “privy member”, it helps to understand that the Hebrew symbols translated into stones and altars also had meanings related to the practical organization of government.
Those meanings started to be distorted as soon as Israel chose their first king and thus rejected God… In other words, the original meaning of the law with which they governed themselves in freedom subtly began to take on new meaning in their minds and society in order that they could fool themselves that they weren’t now under the authority/worshiping/serving false gods. After thousands of years of serving those false gods, we’ve developed an elaborate and grotesque understanding of those ancient writings.
Here’s a snapshot of what “stones” and “stoning” meant to a truly free (and responsible) people…
- (Living) Stones = Friends or Ministers of the people
- Altar of Stones = Ministers gathered together to receive sacrifice of Elders, heads of families
- Altars of Clay or Adama = Elders and their families
- Burnt Offerings = Gifts entirely given on a living altar with no strings attached. In other words, a freewill offering for the welfare and support of a voluntary government of, for, and by the people
- Stoning = Bringing a disagreement to the ministers for resolution. Similar to the “jury of peers” which NO LONGER exist in the US “justice” system where crimes are committed against the State, not your neighbor. Read The Adventures of Artifice in Languageland for references.
Given these original meanings, what can we now divine from this not so weird verse?
He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD. Deuteronomy 23:1
Elders (heads of households) would choose a Levite servant to distribute the elder’s free will offerings to the widows and orphans. The Levite was also the “networker” — the person that stayed in communication with other Levites who were each plugged into the lives of the ten or so elders they served. In this way, the entire nation could stay connected, provide for emergencies and go to battle without the need for a centralized government of force.
As king of his household, an elder became a “privy member” when he gathered together with a group of 10 or so elders to deal with governmental issues of law, judgment, mercy, and faith. Jesus called these the “weightier matters.” For the sake of properly weaving themselves into the fabric of Israelite/free society, the group of elders would choose a trustworthy and respected servant (the Levite) to connect them with other “altars.”
Levites where the “set apart” people that didn’t have their own property. They were the “congregation of the LORD.” But Levite was a title — a position of service — not necessarily a tribal bloodline. By definition, one was designated a Levite by a group of elders — stones/privy members. When the stones no longer appreciated the service of their particular Levite, they could choose another. Privy members “cut themselves off” from that servant by choosing another. At that point, the servant that had “wounded stones” and no “privy members” was no longer a Levite…no longer a part of the congregation of the LORD.
John 2 18-21: 18Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 19Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21But he spake of the temple of his body. 22When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. ↩