About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Chapter 29

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ch. 29:1-29   


Renewal Of The Covenant (ch. 29:1 - 29)


Note that in verse 1 we see additions to the covenant God made with Israel at Mount Horeb.  When Israel first escaped Egypt, they spent some time at Mount Horeb where God gave Moses the Law, which included the Ten Commandments.  Now, while they are in the territory of Moab, God is giving further instruction. 


Note here that this is indeed a covenant.  This is not an extension of the Abrahamic Covenant.  It is a separate covenant altogether.  There are major differences between the two covenants.  The man differences are as follows. In the Abrahamic Covenant, God covenanted with Himself, not with Abraham or Israel.  In this covenant, known as the Mosaic Covenant, God covenanted with Israel. The Abrahamic Covenant was unconditional.  God would eventually fulfill the covenant, no matter what Israel did.  The Mosaic Covenant was conditional.  If Israel would obey, God would bless.  If Israel would not obey, God would curse.  The Abrahamic Covenant was eternal.  The Mosaic Covenant ended with Jesus for the purpose of salvation and righteousness.


Verse 4 states that to this date, the Lord had not given Israel understanding, eyes to really see, or ears to really here.  There are two things to note here.  One is that it is the Lord that gives understanding to Israel, and I would say to the Christian as well.  The things of God are spiritual and can only be totally understood with the help of the Holy Spirit.  The carnal minded man cannot understand the things of God.  That is the point to what Paul states in Romans 7 and 8. 


The second thing to note is, "when did, or, when will, God give Israel understanding"?  This might be debatable.  Some might suggest that the Law brought understanding, but I'm not sure of that.  It brought knowledge, but understanding, I'm not sure.  Besides, Israel has had the Law for about forty years at this point and here God says that they still don't have understanding.  When the last few chapters of the prophet Zechariah are fulfilled at the end of this age, God will give Israel understanding then, and again, this understanding comes from God, not from any intelligence of any Israeli.


There are many passages in the Torah that give reasons for the forty year exile of Israel in the desert.  One reason is given in verse 6.  It was so Israel would know that Yahweh was their God.  It was a time of testing, to prove their trust in Yahweh.  It was a time of miracles, to show Israel that their God could in fact be trusted.  It is my understanding that the church today is in a similar desert.  It is a time of testing for the church.  The next life, on the new earth, will be the time in which the church enters the promised land.  We are not there yet.


Note in verse 11 that aliens lived among the Jews.  This is nothing new.  God provided for Gentiles to live among the Jews provided they live as Jews and obey Him, just as the Jews were to obey Him.  This tells us that God had always had the Gentiles in mind when it came to them being part of God's people. Yes, God did take Israel from the nations of the world to be His people, but, individual Gentiles could also join the Israelis as long as they obeyed the Law of Moses and lived like Israelis. 


In verse 12 the text specifically states that the Mosaic Covenant was made between God and Israel.  It was an agreement between those two parties, unlike the Abrahamic Covenant.  Remember, when God confirmed the covenant with Abraham, He put Abraham to sleep.  In fact, God made the Abrahamic Covenant with Himself, not to Abraham.  Not so with the Mosaic Covenant.  It is important to realize that these are two separate and distinct covenants.


Note in verses 13 to 15 that Moses introduces the Abrahamic Covenant, or, oath, as he puts it.  The particular aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant that Moses points out is that Yahweh would be their God forever, and not only the God of those Jews, but the God of future Jews as well.  This is because the Abrahamic Covenant was an eternal covenant.  There was no end to it.  Jews in the future would have Yahweh as their God just as Moses had Yahweh as his God.


Verse 19 is relevant for today.  Moses had just told Israel in the previous few verses not to allow anyone in their midst who worshipped other gods.  Here in verse 19 we see the mentality of such people.  Even though they worshipped other gods, they thought, since they were a part of Israel, that the Law and God would protect them.  The idea was that God's grace would abound to them even in their disobedience.  I say this is relevant for today because I believe many Christians think and act the same way.  They knowingly sin thinking God's grace will cover their sin, and that is, without any repentance.  That's not so.  I've always said, one of the greatest sins Christians commit is taking God's grace for granted, abusing His grace by thinking it will cover our sins we knowingly and willingly commit.  Such thinking will bring disaster, as seen in verse 19.


Verse 20 states that God "will blot out the name" of the one who worships other gods "from under heaven".  Some suggest that this verse tells us that God will, and can, blot peoples names out of His record book, or what some call, "the book of life'.  Well, this verse doesn't actually say that.  The name of the person is simply "blotted out under heaven".  The text does not say the name is blotted out of any book.  This might well simply suggest the death of the one who worships false gods, never to be recognized again under the heavens. 


If you read verses 22 to 24 you will note that the curses on the land of Israel are spoken of, not as a possibility, but as an inevitability.  The curses of the Law of Moses are merely a warning against disobedience.  They are in fact a prophecy of what will happen, and what actually did happen.  The land of Israel was in ruins for centuries until it was returned to Israel in 1948.  Since then Israel has caused this land to prosper.  Truly, this has to be the Lord's doing. 


In verse 25 to 28 we see some of the reasoning on God's part for sending Israel from their land and making it desolate.  It was a curse on them, but it was also meant to show all the nations of the world that their God was punishing them for worshipping other gods.


This all began to take place in 70 A.D..  You might ask, "was Israel really worshipping other gods when Jesus was on earth"?  Is that why God cursed Israel in 70 A.D..  That is part of the reason.  The big reason for God cursing Israel in 70 A.D. was because she rejected Jesus, but still they were not worshipping their God as they should have been.  They were in fact worshipping their own man made religion, which in one sense is another god.  Israeli leaders had added so many traditions to the Law of Moses that they made God's covenant ineffective, thus, worshiping another god, a god they made up.  No, it wasn't a gold calf, but it sure wasn't Yahweh.   


In verse 29 we see secret things and things that aren't secret.  The Law was revealed from God to Israel.  That was no secret, yet there are so many things that are secret concerning God.  He is way beyond our ability to understand.  He does, and has, revealed things to us that we can understand.  Jesus of course, is the biggest and final revelation of God.  When we see Jesus, in one sense of the word, we see God.  Hebrews 1:3 states that Jesus is the exact representation of God. 


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