Let’s take a look at Deuteronomy 23:1-3, “He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD. 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. An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever.” 

What is normally referred to as the ‘congregation of Israel’ is here called the ‘congregation of the LORD’.  Because the emphasis is on the LORD here, and the congregation that belongs to Him, it is necessary to see that all that is unclean and which defiles had to be kept out of it. 

  • Verse 1 speaks of one who was ‘wounded in the stones’, which would refer to a man whose testicles had been severely damaged or destroyed.  Also, one who’s penis had been torn off or removed would not be allowed to enter the congregation of the Lord. 
  • Verse 2 speaks of a ‘bastard’ not being allowed to enter the congregation, even until the tenth generation.
  • Verse 3 speaks of a foreigner/enemy (Ammonite or Moabite) not being allowed to enter the congregation, even until the tenth generation.

All this seems strange or even cruel.  For the Lord to deny entrance into His congregation seems harsh and uncaring, doesn’t it?  As we begin to try to understand this, let us consider 1 Corinthians 10:11 which says, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”  The events we read of in the Old Testament actually happened, but they happened and were recorded in the Bible so that we might learn valuable lessons from them.  What can we learn from these verses we just read?

First, let us consider the ‘congregation of the Lord’.  The Lord’s people today are not Israel, but are the church, the body of Christ.  The ‘congregation’ is a type of the church and only those who are truly saved and therefore clean have a right to belong to the church.  1 Corinthians 6:11 speaks of those who have put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  It says, “…but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”  To those who are saved, we read in Acts 2:47, “…And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”  So, those who are added to the church are those who are saved, washed, sanctified, and justified. 

The eunuch, the bastard, and the stranger were forbidden from being part of the congregation of the Lord.  How does that apply to the church today?  Those things which are considered undesirable or even unclean have no part in the true church.  Keep in mind that we are dealing with ‘types’ here.  Today, the Lord refuses no one who comes to Him for salvation.  We read the Lord’s Words in John 6:37, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” 

But, typically speaking, the Lord demands perfection for entrance into His church, the body of Christ.  That perfection does not come from ourselves but is given to us by the Lord Jesus when we trust Him as our savior.  We read in Hebrews 10:14, “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”  The Lord gave Himself for us that we might be saved.  He sacrificed Himself to perfect us.  The Lord tells the believer that he is, “clean every whit.” (John 13:10). This means we are ‘wholly clean’ before the Lord when we are saved.  We are no longer defected (the eunuch, the bastard, the stranger), but we are made whole by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

In John, chapter 5, the Lord Jesus met a man at the pool of Bethesda who had been disabled for 38 years.  In verse 9 we read, “Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked…”  Have you put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?  Have you been cleansed?  Have you been made whole?  Have you had your infirmities taken away and been made perfect by the sacrificial death of Christ?  If not, you are still a eunuch, a bastard, and a stranger.  John 1:12-13 tells us, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  (CC)  (498.6)