May 6, 2012

Revealing Christ In The Old Testament V: A King For A New Generation


Mainly Deuteronomy is the reiteration of the Law to a new generation of the Israelites that are about to take hold of the promise land. Moses is quite old at this point and ready to hand off the reins to Joshua. They are exhorted not to make the same mistakes of their fathers and are also exhorted to remain obedient to God and His word. As this book is a transition between the books of beginnings and the Law and into the more historical aspects of Israel it is not surprising to see God begin to pave the way for a growing and maturing Israel. As such we see the last book of the Pentateuch reveal a coming Prophet and King "like unto Moses". We see the stipulations God lays down for a human king to rule over Israel, and in turn the people of God or people that are obedient to God.

“When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” be sure to appoint over you a king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite. The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel. Deuteronomy 17:14-20

This is then expounded upon as many Old Testament episodes are in the New Testament. Where things may not have been quite as clear and discernable in the Old, the writers of the New clarify the pictures and shadows revealed to us by the Old. Again here we see the beginning of the rejection and suffering Moses would endure yet we also see the beginning of what appears to be a sustained position of leadership. Eventually, Moses will turn the reins of this leadership over to Joshua which the above passage from Deuteronomy is beginning to allude to as Joshua is about to lead God’s people through a new generation into the promised land. The following passage parallels the Exodus account in wordage but inevitably leads to leadership in the promised land after the time of the Judges with Saul.

When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites. He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’ “But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.

A few chapters later we see a reference to those hung on a tree. The one hung on a tree is cursed. Here we see a foretelling of the curse of the sin of humanity that Christ would take upon Himself as He hung on it incurring the wrath of God that we deserved.

“If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day for he who is hanged is accursed of God, so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance. Deuteronomy 21:22-23

What is interesting is the command not to allow the body to stay there all night. According to the Gospel, this is exactly what happens with is just hours before nightfall right before the Sabbath or the day prior to the weekly Sabbath which for Jews was Friday. Preparation Day is the day leaven was removed in preparation for the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As mentioned in a previous posts, this feast symbolized Jesus’ sinless life because leaven is a picture of sin in the Bible, making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus' body was in the grave during the first days of this feast, like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life.

The rest of the Levitical feasts in Leviticus 23 can be found here: ExaminingScripture XIX: Holy Days

“Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. Luke 23:50-54

The other thing that should be noted in Deuteronomy is Christ portrayed in the Rock and Refuge of His people. 

“I will proclaim the name of the LORD.  Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect,  and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. Deuteronomy 32:4

“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemies before you, saying, ‘Destroy them!’ So Israel will live in safety; Jacob will dwell secure in a land of grain and new wine, where the heavens drop dew. Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will tread on their heights.” Deuteronomy 33: 26-29.

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