Abominations in the Book of Deuteronomy

John McDowell, Australia

In the book of Deuteronomy we have eight things mentioned which are described as an abomination unto the Lord, which we would like to consider with you briefly. You will know that in the book of Leviticus chapter 11, we have a list of unclean creatures, some from the sea, some that fly in the air and some that creep upon the earth, which are described as an abomination. These were to be no part of the children of Israel’s diet. Please notice that these unclean creatures in Leviticus are spoken of as “an abomination unto you,” while the things mentioned in Deuteronomy are “an abomination unto the Lord.” That makes a very big difference, for when we come to the New Testament, Peter is instructed by the Lord in Acts chapter 10, “what God hath cleansed that call not thou common.” The Apostle Paul writing to Timothy in chapter 4 of the first Epistle tells us, “every creature of God is good and nothing to be refused if it be received with thanksgiving.” What made the change? I suggest that the work of Christ upon the cross has made the change, and that change will be more evident when the Lord comes to earth and the curse is removed and Isaiah’s prophesy in relation to God’s blessing upon the vegetable creation in chapter 35 and in relation to His blessing upon the animal creation in chapter 11, will be fulfilled. So then that which was unacceptable on the table of the Israelite under law and spoken of as an abomination unto you, has changed, but those things which are spoken of in Deuteronomy as an abomination unto the Lord, are still an abomination unto the Lord, whether under law or under grace.


The first thing which is mentioned in Deuteronomy as an abomination unto the Lord is found in chapter 7 verse 25, that is Idolatry, which is also mentioned in chapter 13 and again in chapter 27. In chapter 7 they are instructed to burn the graven images of those nations whose land they were soon to inherit, which is in keeping with the second commandment, “thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, thou shalt not bow down thyself to them.” We find it strange that Israelites, who were so well instructed and so enlightened, having witnessed the power of the living God in such a wonderful way, should ever have succumbed to the practices of the heathen, and bowed to worship idols. Isaiah in such a masterly way, sought to show Israel the folly of idolatry. In chapter 44, he speaks of one taking wood from a tree to form a god and then taking wood from the same tree to burn in the fire to warm himself. How dark is the human mind. Those who worship such dead, dumb idols, become like them, with their eyes they see not, with their ears they hear not and like those idols that have to be carried, they have no power. John in his first epistle, ends with this warning, “little children, keep yourselves from idols.”

Burning the Children

The second thing mentioned in the book of Deuteronomy as an abomination unto the Lord is found in chapter 12 verse 31: burning their children in the fire to their gods. How depraved and how detestable is such a practice. Yet we find that some of the kings of Israel stooped to such despicable behavior. There is no telling how far people can go when they turn from the truth and from God. We are amazed to find that in our society where men claim to be so enlightened and advanced, there is an increase of spiritism and Satan worship. Evidence of such depraved conduct has emerged and innocent people have been sacrificed to their gods. I know we will all concur with Holy Scripture and say, such practices are an abomination unto the Lord in every dispensation.

A Blemished Sacrifice

The third thing mentioned in the book of Deuteronomy as an abomination unto the Lord is found in chapter 17, “thou shalt not sacrifice unto the Lord thy God that which has a blemish.” We must never give to God that which is second best. The Lord Jesus Christ tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God and right through the scriptures we find that God must have his portion first, i.e. the firstborn was His, the firstfruits were to be His. We remember Elijah’s words to the widow of Zarephath, “make me a little cake first.” Always give God the best and the first, of our time, of our talents, of our substance and His promises never fail. “Them that honour Me I will honour.” In Malachi they were offering to God that which would not have even been acceptable to the Governor, so God said, “bring in the tithes into the storehouse and prove Me now herewith.” How many of God’s dear people, who have given God His portion and given Him the best, will testify to His goodness and His faithfulness. He never fails.


In Deuteronomy 18:10-12 we have a list of sins linked with the burning of the children, i.e. one that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consorter of familiar spirits, or a wizard and all who do such things are an abomination unto the Lord. In the State of Queensland where we have our home, recent legislation was introduced to decriminalize witchcraft. Such is the trend of modern society and present governments. With the increase in spiritism and witchcraft, we need the Lord’s presence and protection, for the powers of darkness are very real. The believer’s resource is the Throne of Grace (Ephesians 6). “Put on the whole armour of God, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit.” How thankful we should be as the people of God for the shelter of christian fellowship and preservation from these evil influences which are at work all around us. I know that all will agree that those who practice such things are an abomination unto the Lord. It matters not if they are practiced in days of old under law, or presently in this day of grace.

To be continued.