What is the law of devoted things?

An understanding of the law of devoted things will spark a greater understanding of the Old Testament shadows. Jericho was a city that had been “devoted” to God (Joshua 6:17). God’s Law on “devoted” fields is found in Leviticus 27:21.

But the field, when it goes out in the Jubilee, shall be holy to YAHWEH, as a field devoted; the possession thereof shall be the priest's. (UKJV)

We know from Matthew 13:38 that “the field is the world.” Israel shall have her jubilee; but so shall the created world. How these two great jubilees relate is found in Jesus’ parable of Matthew 13:44.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to treasure hid in a field; the which when a man has found, he hides, and for joy of it goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. (UKJV)

God told Israel in Exodus 19:5 that they were a “peculiar TREASURE unto Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.” In other words, Israel is the treasure in the field, or the world. The fact that Israel was “hidden” is found in Psalm 83:3, where they are called “Thy hidden ones.” Jesus sold all that He had, emptying Himself of His glory and beauty (Phil. 2:7), and came to earth -- not to buy the treasure, but to buy the field containing the treasure.

The treasure is the particular object of His attention, but in order to obtain it, He purchased the whole field. He died not only for the sins of Israel, but for the sins of the whole world. In Greek philosophy, the kosmos is the “world order” and refers to the universe, including the stars of heaven, which were seen to be “ordered”.

And so, the “field” in Jesus’ parable is said to be purchased by God. In other words, it was to go into His treasury. It was, in effect, “devoted” to God. This process therefore is done by the law of devotion in Leviticus 27:21 (above).

A more generalized law of devotion is found in verse 28. This is applicable to the fields as well as other things.

Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote to YAHWEH of all that he has, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy to YAHWEH. (UKJV)

All devoted things must go into His treasury (i.e., to the priest). The former owner has no rights of redemption. This world has come into the hand of the kingdom of darkness, purchased by Adam’s sin. But Jesus purchased it back with His own blood. Thus, Satan cannot ever again reclaim the creation as his, once it has passed into God’s treasury by “devotion.”

Property is either redeemed or devoted. Devoted things cannot be redeemed. A deeper meaning here is that it refers to two classes of people. Believers are redeemed; the world is devoted, given to God by means of judgment. Jesus came as a man to redeem Israel[1] and to devote the kosmos (the created universe) to the Father. His work on the Cross devoted the unredeemed creation (“Jericho,” or “Babylon”) to the treasury of God.

The Achan’s of this world, however, attempt to take most of the creation away from God. By teaching that men devoted to God shall be buried under his tent,” they are attempting to keep God from the devoted thing. This is done in spirit by the doctrines of eternal torment and annihilationism. Like Achan this is done to create more wealth for them at God’s expense. Yet there is another side to this as well. In another sense, Achan can be seen as attempting to “take back” (redeem) a portion of the city. This, I believe, also stands as a lesson to those who would have God redeem the world without judgment. Thus, The Achan doctrine may include the lawless as well as those who would judge the world by eternal torment or annihilationism. Neither doctrine will stand. They cannot stand. They cannot stand because they violate God’s laws of redemption and devoted things. The day of reckoning shall come.

[1] The Body of Christ is also redeemed although it is not Israel. We have written much about the redemption of the Body and really feel no need to elaborate.