Deuteronomy 5-26

Covenant Stipulations: What Israel Should Do


1. Summary

• Israel was graciously given God’s good laws

• Israel was to show loyalty to their gracious God by obeying His laws now and in the future.

2. Structure

-General Stipulations: Exposition of the Decalogue (Deut.4:44-11:32)
-Specific Stipulations: Exposition of Additional Laws (Deut.12:1-26:19)

I. General Stipulations: Exposition of the Decalogue(4:44-11:32)

A. General Analysis

-Introduction (Deut.4:44-49)
-Covenant Laws from God via Moses (Deut.5:1-33)
-Fidelity in the future in light of the past (Deut.6:1-11:25)
-God’s call for Covenant renewal (Deut.11:26-32)

B. Detailed Analysis

1. Ten Commandments

Having laid the basis for obedience in God’s great acts for Israel in the past (ch 1-3), and having made a general call to obedience (ch 4), Moses now lays down the laws the people of Israel are to obey.
Deuteronomy 5-11 provides the central thrust of the book, and its content is vital for those who would cross into the Promised Land. In these chapters, the community receives the Ten Commandments – the basic summary of community life (Deut.5:6-21) – and the Shema, which embodies all the commands of God (Deut.6:4-5); indeed, it provides the sum of all that matters in the relationship between God and people.
Why are there differences between the law in Deuteronomy and in Exodus (cf: Ex.20:10-11 and Deut.5:12-15; Ex.20:12 and Deut.5:16)? Deuteronomy is a sermon on the 10 commandments. Moses takes the moral principles behind the 10 commandments and applies them to his people in new ways for their new situation.
Moses’ Message: These laws are suited to Israel’s new conditions and are strengthened by new motivations.

2. Shema (“Hear”)

The Shema summed up the ten commandments and especially the first two. Each Israelite was to recite the Shema every morning and evening; thus, the Shema was to shape daily conduct. Israel’s loyalty is to the one, the only, God; to love is to be loyal to God.

The Shema (Deut.6:4) is more than a simple philosophical expression of the idea that the Israelite God, Yahweh, is the only God in existence. It does mean that. But it also emphasizes the consistency of God. That he never changes; there is no duplicity in his character. He acts the same today as he did yesterday. This was a new concept in the ancient Near East, since different responses from deity implied different deities, hence polytheism. But Yahweh is always the same, never changing or leaving any doubt about his nature. Moses statement of monotheism answers more than the question, how many gods are there? It answers the question, what type of God is our Yahweh? It asserts that he is consistent with himself and in his dealings with humankind. He is the same for this new generation of Israelites on the plains of Moab as he was for their ancestors at Sinai, and as he is for any generation of believers. Because of this, Moses statement of the oneness of God flows into the greatest summary of God’s law: love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. God can be and should be loved wholeheartedly because of his character (Mat.22:35-37).[footnote]B Arnold and B Beyer, Encountering the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), 146.[/footnote]

Moses’ Message: Loyalty to the one true God is expressed in loving obedience.

3. Anti-idolatry

Continuing the anti-idolatry theme of chapter 4, much of Moses’ commentary on the commandments in chapters 5-9 are taken up with an intense condemnation of idolatry.

So intense is the condemnation of idolatry that it engages much of Moses’ later commentary on the first dispensation of the commandments (Deut. 5-9). To worship other gods will result in destruction “from off the face of the earth” (Deut.6:14-15) instead of the promised blessings, which include the absence of “all sickness” (Deut.7:12-16). False images must be destroyed by fire and no vestige retained, not even the silver or gold on them: “for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God” (Deut.7:25). Even if a prophet, family member, “or thy friend who is as thine own soul” suggests worshiping a false god, that person must be executed (ch. 13).[footnote]L Ryken and T Longman III (Editors), The Complete Literary Guide to the Bible (Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1993), 134.[/footnote]

Moses’ Message: Worship of any other god will not be tolerated by Yahweh and should not be tolerated by Israel.

4. Lessons from the past

The command to remember is reinforced by lessons from the past (Deut.8:2-6). Remembering, plus continued obedience, will produce thankfulness and blessing for the land they are entering (Deut.8:7-17).
a. Masah (Deut.6:10-25)
At Massah the people of Israel forgot God’s goodness to them. They ungratefully tested the Lord and suffered accordingly. By recounting this, Moses was urging his readers to avoid such ingratitude which inevitably leads to rebellion.
b. Holy war (Deut.7:1-26)
Moses knew that a demanding conquest lay before the people. He encouraged them to hope in God for victory on the basis of His past miracles in Egypt (Deut.7:18-19). However, Moses also reminded them of the great danger of apostasy when they were in the Land. Some have protested about the alleged injustice of casting the Canaanites out of their land. However, all the land belongs to God, He made it. He is Sovereign over it all. He has the right to give it to whom He will. It is God’s right and no man can challenge it. Also, God was just in ordering the conquest because of the excessively evil sins of the Canaanites. These people lost the right to inhabit the land because of their great sin and iniquity. It is not because the Israelites are so much better. The Israelites were to be the instruments of God’s righteous judgment against wicked and idolatrous nations.
c. Prosperity and pride (Deut.8:1-20)
Moses predicted that Israel’s success would lead to pride and self-sufficiency. He, therefore, reminded them of their wilderness trials (Deut.8:3,15-16), in order to prove that their only hope was humble dependence on God’s mercy. Even when they kept the covenant and were blessed, it was God that had graciously given them the power to do so.

The command to remember – the key charge in this chapter – is reinforced by lessons from the past (Deut.8:2-6). Remembering, plus continued obedience, will produce thankfulness for blessing from the land (Deut.8:7-17). Remembering will bring blessing, but forgetting will bring destruction (Deut.8:18-20).[footnote]W J Dumbrell, The Faith of Israel (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002), 60.[/footnote]

d. Self-righteousness (Deut.9:1-10:11).
Moses feared that success in conquest might make the people think that they deserved and earned the success. To counter this, he reminded them of their idolatry at Sinai. He was saying that victory over the Canaanites was not because Israel were good, but because the Canaanites were so much worse and that God judged them accordingly.

Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee (Deut.9:4ff).

e. Heart circumcision (Deut.10:12-11:25).
Reminding them of the plagues, the Red Sea and the judgment on Dathan and Abiram, Moses called on the people to serve God from the heart. For this to happen, they needed a radical change to take place within.
f. Covenant renewal (Deut.11:26-32)
Moses concluded these warnings based on past sins by preparing his audience for a covenant renewal to take place after they had crossed the Jordan.
Moses’ Message: Remember, thank, obey and you and the land will be blessed.

5. A unique people

Moses’ first address (Deut.1:1-4:43) dealt with the uniqueness of God, but his second address (Deut.4:44-26:19) deals with the uniqueness of the people. If you have a unique God then you as God’s people must be unique. Their uniqueness flowed from God’s electing love.

For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt (Deut.7:6ff).

They were to maintain their uniqueness by keeping the ten commandments and especially by separation from the Canaanites (Deut.8:6)

Deuteronomy 7:1-26 concerns the doctrine of Israel’s election, whereby Israel is to have nothing to do with the present occupants of the land and their customs (Deut.7:1-5), because Israel is set apart (Deut.7:6) and elect (Deut.7:7-11). If Israel responds, the opportunities for life are abundant (Deut.7:12-16). God will keep his promises, and Canaan will belong to Israel (Deut.7:17-26). But the Israelites are to destroy the Canaanite images of deity, lest these images corrupt them.[footnote]Ibid., 59-60.[/footnote]

Moses’ Message: A uniquely holy and loving God is to be served by a uniquely holy and loving people.

6. A united people

Deuteronomy portrays what an ideal Israel would be. It presents an Israel with “one God, one people, one land, one sanctuary, and one law.” It is a nation set apart and defined by its adherence to this covenant (Deut.5:1-3). It was to be an enduring relationship, regularly renewed in successive generations. The covenant into which Israel had entered was not simply the legal acquiescence to a detailed contract, but rather a living relationship that required the loving commitment of both parties
Moses’ Message: Unity in church and nation can only be maintained by constant renewal of covenant obligations.

7. Love and fear

Moses repeatedly joins the love of God and fear of God together in chapters 5-11. These ideas are not incompatible. Rather they complement and need each other.

Love without fear becomes, sadly, sentimentality and fails to result in obedience. Likewise, fear without love becomes terror and drives people away from an intimate relationship with God. Together, love and fear produce a healthy relationship and result in obedience to his will.[footnote]B Arnold and B Beyer, Encountering the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), 146.[/footnote]

Moses’ Message: Love and fear God in order to enjoy and obey Him.

C. New Testament Analysis

1. The Shema

I and my Father are one (John 10:20; see also Jn.17:21-23)

Jesus’ own insistence that he and the Father are one should be understood on the backdrop of the great central confession of Israel’s faith in the Shema: “Hear O Israel: the LORD our God is one Lord” (Deut.6:4).

2. Father

The Old Testament does not often use the title Father in reference to God, but this pervasive practice in the New Testament, especially in John’s gospel, is probably to be traced to Deuteronomy (Deut.1:31; 8:5; 32:6).

And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place (Deut.1:31).


3. Christ’s temptation

Jesus made direct appeal to Deuteronomy as he repulsed Satan during his temptation in the wilderness

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God…Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God…Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve (Deut.6:13, 16:8:3; Mat.4:1-10).

As the embodiment of faithful Israel, Jesus would live by every word out of the mouth of God. He would succeed in Israel’s mission, whereas the nation itself had failed. His use of these verses from Deuteronomy indirectly emphasized the importance of the Shema and implied that anyone who loved the Lord wholeheartedly and was thoroughly familiar with His commands could foil the plans of Satan.

4. The greatest commandment

Jesus reiterated the greatest commandment (Deut.6:5; Matt.22:37-40).

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment (Matt.22:37-38).


5. The Elect Church

Just as Israel had been chosen as the least among the nations (Deut.7:6-7), so the church is chosen among the weak, the foolish, and the lowly

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty (1Cor.1:26-27).

Just as Israel was the treasured possession of God (Deut.7:6; 14:2; 26:18; cf. Ex.19:5), so the new Israel would be his treasure (Eph.1:14; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9).

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1Pet.2:9).


6. The Ideal Israel

The early church saw in itself the recreation of an ideal Israel. Just as Israel was portrayed in Deuteronomy as a unity having one God, one people, one land, one sanctuary, and one law, so the church is exhorted to a similar unity, for there is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all (Eph. 4:4-5). Jesus prayed that his people might be one (John 17:11).

II. Specific Stipulations: Exposition of Additional Laws (12:1-26:19)

A. General Analsysis

-The Exposition of the Ceremonial Laws (Deut.12:1–16:17)
-The Exposition of the Civil Laws (Deut.16:18–20:20)
-The Exposition of the Social Laws (Deut.21:1–26:19)

B. Detailed Analysis

1. New Situation

These chapters present the specific applications of the covenant obligations, with special reference to the new situation in Canaan. Laws pertaining to ritual worship are intermingled with those having to do with civil and societal issues reflecting the all-encompassing nature of obedience in everyday life.
When a Hittite king renewed a treaty with a vassal state – usually after a change of monarch – he would bring the stipulations up to date, and this may explain some of the changes in the specific laws found in chapters 12–26 when compared with the “Exodus version” of the law. Also, the balance of social and civil laws as against religious and worship laws is weighted more heavily to the former in Deuteronomy. This is because of the imminent settlement of Israel as a society in Canaan.

The book prepared Israel primarily for two major issues that the nation would soon face: (1) life without Moses and (2) the wars for the conquest of the land. Substantial portions of the book provide for the orderly governance of Israel after Moses’ death through a system of judges and courts, the priests and Levites, kings, and prophets (Deut. 16:18-18:22). More than any other book of the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy prepares the nation for the wars of Conquest by stipulating laws governing holy war (chaps.7, 20).[footnote]R Dillard and T Longman III, Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 92.[/footnote]

Moses’ Message: God has made these specific laws for your specific time, place and challenges.

2. The Specific Stipulations

Although we have proposed a three-part structure to these materials under “General Analysis,” the matter is not quite so clear cut and there is considerable crossover. Indeed, some scholars have viewed this section of Deuteronomy as “haphazard and hopelessly beyond systematic analysis.” We must admit that, to our limited minds, the laws, not just here but throughout the Pentateuch, seem to be randomly scattered and somewhat disconnected.

The laws on a particular subject in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are rarely codified in one place, but appear in at least two books, often in three, or even all four. To find all that the Pentateuch has to say on a subject, the various particulars and details of a legal topic must be gathered together. In other words, the commands are not fully expounded in a logically arranged legal treatise. This lack of organization produces a pattern like a weaving or tapestry.[footnote]L Ryken and T Longman III (Editors), The Complete Literary Guide to the Bible (Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1993), 128.[/footnote]

We shall first of all consider the different strands of this weaving, and then return to a literary analysis of Deuteronomy 12-26.
a. The Covenant “Weave”
One approach to this “problem” has been to highlight each different strand or thread of the Covenant Law “weave” and follow them through the Pentateuch (see below).

Topic Principle References
Personhood Everyone’s person is to be secure Ex.20:13; Deut.5:17; Ex.21:16-21, 26-32; Lev.19:14; Deut.24:7; 27:18
False Accusation Everyone is to be secure against slander and false accusation Ex.20:16; Deut.5:20; Ex.23:1-3, 6-8; Lev.19:16; Deut.19:15-21
Woman  No woman is to be taken advantage of within her subordinate position in society Ex.21:7-11,20,26-32; 22:16-17; Deut.21:10-14; 22:13-30; 24:1-5
Punishment Punishment for wrongdoing shall not be excessive so that the culprit is dehumanized Deut.25:1-5
Dignity Every Israelite’s dignity and right to be God’s servant are to be honored and safeguarded Ex.21:2,5-6; Lev.25; Deut.15:12-18
Inheritance Every Israelite’s inheritance in the Promised Land is to be secure Lev.25; Num.27:5-7; 36:1-9; Deut.25:5-10
Property Everyone’s property is to be secure Ex.20:15; Deut.5:19; Ex.21:33-36; 22:1-15; 23:4-5; Lev.19;35-36; Deut.22:1-4; 25:13-15
Fruit of Labor Everyone is to receive the fruit of their labors Lev.19:13; Deut.24:14; 25:4
Fruit of the Ground Everyone is to share the fruit of the ground Ex.23:10-11; Lev.19:9-10; 23:22; 25:3-55; Deut.14:28-29; 24:19-21
Rest on Sabbath Everyone, down to the humblest servant and the resident alien, is to share in the weekly rest of God’s Sabbath Ex.20:8-11; Deut.5:12-15; Ex.23:12
Marriage The marriage relationship is to be kept inviolate Ex.20:14; Deut.5:18; Lev.18:6-23; 20:10-21; Deut.22:13-30
Exploitation No one, however disabled, impoverished or powerless, is to be oppressed or exploited Ex.22:21-27; Lev.19:14,33-34; 25:35-36; Deut.23:19; 24:6,12-15,17:27:18
Fair Trial Everyone is to have free access to the courts and is to be afforded a fair trial Ex.23:6-8; Lev.19:15; Deut.1:17; 10:17-18; 16:18-20; 17:8-13; 19:15-21
Social Order Every person’s God-given place in the social order is to be honored Ex.20:12; Deut.5:16; Ex.21:15,17:22:28; Lev.19:3,32; 20:9; Deut.17:8-13; 21:15-21; 27:16
Law No one shall be above the law, not even the king Deut.17:18-20
Animals Concern for the welfare of other creatures is to be extended to the animal world Ex.23:5,11; Lev.25:7; Deut.22:4,6-7; 25:4
[footnote]Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), 283.[/footnote]  
b. Literary Approach to Deuteronomy 12-26.
Literary scholars have recently proposed that chapters 12-26 are actually an expanded Decalogue. They suggest that the laws of chapters 12-26 are arranged around four of the major issues that the Ten Commandments addresses.

Main Issues Regarding God Regarding humans
Authority Commandment 1 (Ex.20:2-3, Deut.5:6-7)
God should be our top priority and final authority. We owe Him preference and obedience (Deut.6-11)
Commandment 5 (Ex.20:12, Deut.5:16)
Human authority must not sidetrack God’s authority (Deut.16:18-18:22).
Dignity Commandment 2 (Ex.20:4-6, Deut.5:8-10)
Worship must reflect a proper view of God. It cannot be manipulative or self-serving. It cannot accommodate to the world’s standards (Deut.12).
Commandment 6,7,8 (Ex.20:13-15, Deut.5:17-19)
The dignity of man must be preserved – involves his life, his family, and his status (Deut.19:1-21:23; 22:1-23:14; 23:15-24:7).
Commitment Commandment 3 (Ex.20:7, Deut.5:11)
Must take our commitment to God seriously by remaining above reproach and avoiding anything that will lead astray (Deut.13:1-14:21).
Commandment 9
Must take our commitments to fellow man seriously (Deut.24:8-16).
Rights and Privileges Commandment 4 (Ex.20:8-11, Deut.5:12-15)
God has a right to our gratitude shown by dedicating things to Him, and a right to ask compassion in His name (Deut.14:22-16:17).
Commandment 10 (Ex.20:17, Deut.5:21)
Must understand the limits to our rights and must not violate the rights of others (Deut.24:17-26:15)
[footnote]J H Walton, Charts of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994).[/footnote]  
Moses’ Message: God’s law must be seriously studied in order to understand and apply it in our relationship to Him and others.

3. Key Words

“Hear” occurs over thirty times, and “do” about 100 times in the course of the whole book. Obedience from the Israelites does not earn the favor of God, but is required because they already enjoy his favor. Love is the essence of the relationship but law is the result. They are not expected to purchase their redemption by obedience but to obey because they are already redeemed.

4. Kings (Deut.17:14-20)

In light of the imminent death of Moses, attention is given to providing orderly government for Israel by the establishment of judges, courts of appeal, priests, Levites, kings and prophets (Deut.16:18-18:22). Israel is a theocracy – a nation governed by God. The Lord does the choosing. Twenty-five times the verb ‘choose’ occurs in this section, emphasizing the Lord’s sovereign choice. God chose Israel. He chose the priests and the Levites (Deut.18:5). He will choose the place where he will be worshipped (Deut.12:26). He will choose a king (Deut.17:15).
The following are the biblical qualifications for Israel’s king (Deut.17:14-20).
a. He must be an Israelite.
b. He must not increase the number of horses. This was partly because this may lead the Israelites back to Egypt (good horses were bred by the Egyptians – 1 Kings 10:28). Also there was the tendency to trust in the military value of horses instead of in the Lord.
c. He must not have many wives because they may turn his heart from the true God.
d. He must not amass silver and gold because these may make him self-sufficient, self-indulgent and arrogant.
e. He must have his own copy of the law and read it, meditate upon it, and obey it (Deut.17:14-20).

The existence of a human king does not conflict with the ideal of the theocracy. For the king herein portrayed was not to be a despotic, selfish dictator, but a man who would walk in the light of the Lord, and by his wise and just administration, would bring blessing to his kingdom and glory to the Name of the covenant God.[footnote]E J Young, An Introduction to the Old Testament (London: Tyndale Press, 1953), 102-103.[/footnote]

Moses’ Message: God has anticipated and provided for every need and every danger in Israel’s future civil society.

5. Prophets (Deut.18:9-22)

Since Canaan was a land filled with many forms of pagan worship, Moses warned the people about diviners, sorcerers, mediums, and spiritists (Deut.18:9–11). In contrast to such detestable practices, Moses urged Israel to listen closely to prophets whom God would raise up. Those who spoke in the Lord’s name would declare the message God wanted His people to hear (Deut.18:15–19). But if false prophets arose and spoke presumptuously, they were to be put to death (Deut.18:20). Anyone who claimed to be a prophet and at the same time encouraged idolatry was guilty of rebellion against the Lord and deserved to die (Deut.13:1–5).

The true prophet must be: firstly, an Israelite; secondly, like Moses, a mediator between God and the people; thirdly, one who speaks only the words of God; and, fourthly, one whose prophecies come true (Deut.18:15-22).[footnote]G Crossley, The Old Testament Explained and Applied (England: Evangelical Press, 2002), 159.[/footnote]

Critical scholars say Deut.18:19ff is the establishment of prophecy in Israel. However, prophecy was established long before then. Genesis 3:15 gives us God as the first prophet. God sets down the pattern of prophecy. It could be argued that Adam was the first human prophet as he was to pronounce God’s word to all of creation. He was to teach the law to his wife. The first use of the word is in Genesis 20:7. There are those who are not called prophets at the time but certainly act as prophets: Enoch (Jude 14), Noah (2 Pet.2:5). What is happening in Deuteronomy is not the beginning of prophecy but rather a distinction is being made between true and false prophecy.
Deut.18:10-14 enumerates nine distortions and perversions of prophecy. What was common in februation, divination, etc., was occultish ways of getting divine revelation. God reveals himself in truth when necessary and Israel must not depend on magical, pagan, despicable means. In Deut 18:12 whoever does these things is detestable. This is the reason why the Canaanites must be dispossessed. Through their abominations they became abominated, they became like the idols they were worshipping. If Israel were not permitted to use Canaanite methods how were they to know God’s will in Canaan. They were to hearken to the prophet (Deut.18:15).
Moses’ Message: God has anticipated and provided for every need and every danger in Israel’s religious society.

6. The second greatest commandment

If the emphasis in chapters 5-11 was on loving God and so keeping the greatest commandment, the emphasis in chapters 12-26 is on loving others and so keeping the second greatest.

Loving God is inseparable from loving others, which the numerous provisions for the poor, the widow, and the orphan affirm, as do the many allusions designating others as “brother” or “neighbor.” The order to rescue and return any lost or endangered possession of another (Deut.22:1-4), the requirement to leave some of any harvest behind for those in need (Deut.24:19-22), the right to satisfy one’s hunger in any field or vineyard but not to take more food than is needed (Deut.23:24-25), and the command not to embarrass by repossession (Deut.24:10-11) illustrate the biblical responsibility for others’ welfare and reputation treated in these books. As Nahum Sarna observes, there is also a strong emphasis on caring for the stranger, usually accompanied by the statement “Remember you were once strangers in Egypt” (4-5). Because of these provisions, Thomas Henry Huxley, the champion of agnosticism, claimed that the code of Deuteronomy transcends the most humane considerations of modern law.[footnote]L Ryken and T Longman III (Editors), The Complete Literary Guide to the Bible (Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1993), 134-5.[/footnote]

Interestingly, the word “love” is used only once in Exodus to refer to the relationship between God and His people (Ex.20:6). It is used for the relationship between people in Leviticus (Lev.19:18). This infrequency in the first four books is all changed in Deuteronomy.

[Deuteronomy’s] supreme and overwhelming message is that of love. To understand this will enable us to state the permanent values, and to deduce the living message… God’s love of man is the motive of His government; and man’s love of God is the motive of his obedience.[footnote]G Crossley, The Old Testament Explained and Applied (England: Evangelical Press, 2002), 169.[/footnote]

Moses’ Message: Love for God should be reflected in and motivate love for our fellow man.

C. New Testament Analysis

1. Christ the king

Christ is the perfect fulfillment of this type (see later lectures on Historical books).

2. Christ the prophet

Deuteronomy 18 was a double prophecy. It was a declaration of God’s confirmation (not establishment or origin) of the prophetic office in Israel. But it is more than that. It also prophesies the coming of the great prophet.
There was a general Jewish expectation in the New Testament of a prophet like Moses (John 1:21). When Jesus fed them with bread and meat, just as Moses had done in the wilderness they thought he must be the prophet who would do the signs and wonders that Moses had done (Deut.34:11-12; John 6:14). When Jesus promised an unfailing stream of life-giving water, the crowd remembered the miracles of Moses in the wilderness and the promise of a prophet who would perform such deeds (John 7:40). Sadly, it seems that it was only the signs and wonders they were interested in. They did not hear His words from God, despite the heavenly voice on the Mount saying “Hear Him” (Matt.17:5), clearly indicating Christ as Moses’ successor. However, Peter and Stephen would leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that Jesus was the prophet like Moses.

For 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 (Acts.3:22-23)

This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear (Acts 7:37).


3. Love thy neighbor

The pervasive concern of Deuteronomy (e.g., Deut.15:1, 9) with the classes of society vulnerable to abuse and exploitation is reflected in the ministry of Jesus to the widows and the poor.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matt.22:39-40).


4. Faith and works

Time and again the people of Israel were told that God loved them, chose them and so redeemed them from Egypt. Therefore, they should love Him and obey Him. This same order, grace then good works, is also emphasized in the New Testament (Eph. 2:8-10; cf. Titus 2:13-14).

III. The Message

Original Message: Israel must be faithful to God and keep His revealed regulations
Present Message: The Church must be faithful to God and keep his revealed regulations