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Posts Tagged ‘Deuteronomy

Sabbath

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Some commentators suggest that the structure of the middle section of Deuteronomy follows the ten commandments. Moses, having meditated on the law over the course of thirty-eight years in the wilderness, preaches an inspired sermon to Israel reflecting on the greater meaning and application of the law. There is some minor disagreement as to the exact boundaries within this part of Deuteronomy, but one possibility is given by James Jordan in his book, Covenant Sequence in Leviticus and Deuteronomy:

  1. First commandment: Deut. 6-11
  2. Second commandment: Deut. 12-13
  3. Third commandment: Deut. 14:1-21a
  4. Fourth commandment: Deut. 14:21b-16:17
  5. Fifth commandment: Deut. 16:18-18:22
  6. Sixth commandment: Deut. 19:1-22:8
  7. Seventh commandment: Deut. 22:9-23:14
  8. Eighth commandment: Deut. 23:15-24:7
  9. Ninth commandment: Deut. 24:8-25:3
  10. Tenth commandment: Deut. 25:4-26:19

This is in keeping with other places such as Proverbs and Matthew 5-7, where we see further wisdom drawn from reflection upon the law: Moses, Solomon and Jesus are all inspired commentators on the ten commandments. This also supports the church’s practice of striving to read and apply the commandments with maximum breadth. For example, Calvin writes that “in almost all the commandments, there are elliptical expressions, and that, therefore, any man would make himself ridiculous by attempting to restrict the spirit of the Law to the strict letter of the words.” He concludes that, “thus, the end of the Fifth Commandment is to render honour to [all] those on whom God bestows it” (Book II, Chapter 8, Section 8), since the Bible understands the term “father” quite broadly. In just the same way, the Westminster Shorter Catechism states that the fifth commandment requires us to bestow honor and perform duties “belonging to everyone in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors, or equals.” Paul himself seems to make this application of the fifth commandment in Ephesians 6, if we consider all of verses 1-9 to be joined together. And Moses does likewise in Deut. 16:18ff as suggested above.

This observation lends us an interesting bit of help in understanding how the Sabbath commandment can be transfigured in the new covenant from Sabbath to Lord’s day, from last day to first. In the fourth-commandment section (Deut. 14:21b-16:17), Moses mentions three of the seven feasts that God gave to Israel. We see the full list of feasts spelled out in Leviticus 23, beginning with the weekly Sabbath feast and culminating in the feast of booths. The three feasts that Moses lists here in Deuteronomy are the ones that God required to be celebrated at his house. Reading through the entire section, Moses’ application of the fourth commandment establishes the following principles:

  • We obey the fourth commandment by bringing a tithe to God’s house
  • We obey the fourth commandment by showing generosity and granting rest to others
  • We obey the fourth commandment by keeping God’s appointed feasts at his house

These principles help us to understand how Saturday’s Sabbath is transfigured to Sunday’s Lord’s day in the new covenant. God’s house is the gathering of his people before him in worship, and in the new covenant all of the feasts of Leviticus 23 are fulfilled in one feast, the Lord’s supper. Connecting this to Moses’ application of the fourth commandment, we see that the Sabbath itself is fulfilled in the Lord’s supper. Certainly there is much more that needs to be said, but we can say this: when Jesus’s church gathers in his house to celebrate his feast with him and to bring him tribute, there the fourth commandment is being kept.

This also lends support to the practice of weekly communion.

The picture above was painted by my friend, the very talented Jermaine Powell.

Written by Scott Moonen

June 20, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Deuteronomy

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Chapter summaries in Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 1 – Moses explains the law to Israel before they enter Canaan. He recalls his appointing leaders and Israel’s former rebellion at entering the land.
Deuteronomy 2 – Moses recalls Israel’s wandering in the wilderness and Israel’s defeat of Heshbon.
Deuteronomy 3 – Moses recalls Israel’s defeat of Bashan; Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh’s possessing the land; and Moses’ being forbidden to enter the land.
Deuteronomy 4 – Moses charges Israel to obey God’s law, warns against idolatry, proclaims God’s greatness, and establishes three cities of refuge east of the Jordan.
Deuteronomy 5 – Moses repeats the ten commandments, and urges Israel to remain faithful to God.
Deuteronomy 6 – Moses commands Israel to love God, keep his commands and teach their children God’s commands; he urges Israel not to forget or to test the LORD, and again to teach their children to fear and obey the LORD.
Deuteronomy 7 – God commands Israel to utterly destroy the Canaanites, reminding Israel that they are set apart to the LORD, that God loves Israel and that his power will go before them.
Deuteronomy 8 – Moses again urges Israel to remain faithful to God, reminding them of God’s incredible goodness to them, and warning that they will perish otherwise.
Deuteronomy 9 – Moses warns Israel to take no pride in their victories, for God’s favor is not at all upon them for their righteousness; on the contrary, he reminds them of their many sins.
Deuteronomy 10 – Moses recounts God’s sparing Israel after the golden calf; he reminds Israel of God’s greatness, his goodness to them, and instructs them to fear, obey, love and serve the LORD, and also to circumcise their hearts.
Deuteronomy 11 – Moses urges Israel to love and obey God and to teach their children continually; he reminds them of the destruction of Pharaoh and entices them with rich promises and severe warnings concerning the fruitfulness of the land.
Deuteronomy 12 – Israel is to destroy all Canaanite places of worship, not seek after Canaanite gods, and bring worship and offerings to God in only one place; they may eat meat but not blood anywhere; they may not alter God’s commands in any way.
Deuteronomy 13 – Death is commanded for all who go after other gods, even to whole cities.
Deuteronomy 14 – Laws concerning clean and unclean food; tithes are commanded.
Deuteronomy 15 – The establishment of the seventh year, the year of release; firstborn livestock are to be dedicated to the LORD.
Deuteronomy 16 – Israel is to celebrate Passover, the feast of weeks, and the feast of booths; bribery and idolatry are forbidden.
Deuteronomy 17 – Death by stoning for doing what is evil; judges and priests are to adjudicate matters of the law; Israels kings are to remain humble and faithful to the LORD and his law.
Deuteronomy 18 – Provision for the Levites through tithes; laws against child sacrifice and divination; God will send prophets, but false prophets are to be put to death.
Deuteronomy 19 – Laws concerning the cities of refuge, property boundaries, and witnesses.
Deuteronomy 20 – Laws concerning war — the victory is God’s, sending men home, offering terms of peace, devotion to destruction, and care for trees.
Deuteronomy 21 – Laws concerning unsolved murders, female captives, inheritance, rebellious children, and hanging on a tree.
Deuteronomy 22 – Laws concerning fellow Israelites’ property, separation, and marriage.
Deuteronomy 23 – Laws concerning acceptance into the assembly, excrement, prostitution, interest, vows, and produce.
Deuteronomy 24 – Laws concerning marriage; miscellaneous laws ensuring justice.
Deuteronomy 25 – Laws concerning justice.
Deuteronomy 26 – A tithe is commanded after entering the land to recount God’s deliverance; summing up of Israel’s responsibility as God’s possession.
Deuteronomy 27 – An altar is to be built on entering the land; curses are also to be proclaimed and affirmed.
Deuteronomy 28 – Numerous blessings and curses are pronounced.
Deuteronomy 29 – Moses recounts God’s power, judgments and deliverance, warning Israel not to disobey lest God judge them.
Deuteronomy 30 – If Israel rebels but then repents, God will restore them. God’s commandment is not out of reach, but life and death are in it.
Deuteronomy 31 – Moses charges Joshua and Israel; God charges Israel.
Deuteronomy 32 – Moses sings of God’s greatness, faithfulness, judgment and compassion, in spite of Israel’s sin. God orders Moses to Mt. Nebo.
Deuteronomy 33 – Moses blesses Israel and praises God.
Deuteronomy 34 – Moses sees the land from Nebo, dies, and is buried by God. Joshua takes command.

Written by Scott Moonen

November 24, 2007 at 7:19 am

Posted in Bible Chapter Summaries

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