And it shall come to pass - It shall be, or shall occur. This is not the usual word rendered “it shall come to pass.” It is a word commonly expressing “futurity,” but here it conveys the notion of “obligation.” In this verse Peter has not quoted the passage in Deuteronomy literally, but he has given the sense.
Shall be destroyed - This quotation is made according to the sense, and not literally. In the Hebrew the expression is Deuteronomy 18:19, “I will require it of him,” that is, I will hold him answerable or responsible for it; I will punish him. This expression the Septuagint has rendered by “I will take vengeance on him.” The idea of the passage is, therefore, that God would publish the man that would not hear the prophet, without specifying the particular way in which it should be done. The usual mode of punishing such offences was by cutting the offender off from among the people, Exodus 30:33; Exodus 12:15; Exodus 9:15; Numbers 15:31; Numbers 19:13; Leviticus 7:20-21, Leviticus 7:25, Leviticus 7:27, etc. The sense is, that he should be punished in the usual manner; that is, by excision, or by being destroyed from among the people. The word translated “shall be destroyed” means properly “to exterminate, wholly to devote to ruin,” as of a wicked people, a wicked man whose life is taken, etc.
To be destroyed from among the people means, however, to be excommunicated, or to be deprived of the privileges of a people. Among the Jews this was probably the most severe punishment that could be inflicted. It involved the idea of being cut off from the privileges of sacrifice and worship in the temple and in the synagogue, etc., and of being regarded as a pagan and an outcast. The idea which Peter expressed here was, that the Jews had exposed themselves to the severest punishment in rejecting and crucifying the Lord Jesus, and that they should, therefore, repent of this great sin, and seek for mercy. The same remark is applicable still to people. The Scriptures abundantly declare the truth, that if sinners will not hear the Lord Jesus, they shall be destroyed. And it becomes each individual to inquire with honesty whether he listens to his instructions and obeys his Law, or whether he is rejecting him and following the devices and desires of his own heart. It will be a solemn day when the sinner shall be called to render a reason why he has rejected the teachings and laws of the Son of God!
“The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple,”—to those who are not self-sufficient, but who are willing to learn. What was the work of the God-given messenger to our world? The only-begotten Son of God clothed His divinity with humanity, and came to our world as a teacher, an instructor, to reveal truth in contrast with error. Truth, saving truth, never languished on His tongue, never suffered in His hands, but was made to stand out plainly and clearly defined amid the moral darkness prevailing in our world. For this work He left the heavenly courts. He said of Himself, “For this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” The truth came from His lips with freshness and power, as a new revelation. He was the way, the truth, and the life. His life, given for this sinful world, was full of earnestness and momentous results; for His work was to save perishing souls. He came forth to be the True Light, shining amid the moral darkness of superstition and error, and was announced by a voice from heaven, proclaiming, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And at His transfiguration this voice from heaven was again heard, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” FE 405.1
“Moses truly said unto the fathers, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” Christ brought to our world a certain knowledge of God, and to all who received and obeyed His word, gave He power to become the sons of God. He who came forth from God to our world gave instruction on every subject about which it is essential that man should know in order to find the pathway to heaven. To Him, truth was an ever-present, self-evident reality; He uttered no suggestions, advanced no sentiments, notions, or opinions, but presented only solid, saving truth. FE 405.2Read in context »