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Deuteronomy: The Second Law - Speech 2

A commentary on the second speech of Moses in Deuteronomy 5-8. The book of Deuteronomy is a series of 12 speeches that Moses gave just before his death at the end of Israel's wilderness journey.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Chapter 5

The Teaching Mandate

If the people had been willing to hear God’s voice directly, they would not have needed Moses to tell them what God said. God had invited all of the people to draw near and to hear the rest of the law, but they refused to approach the fire. Their insistence that Moses should hear God and then tell them what God said brought about his teaching mandate.

This turned out to be part of the rationale behind the Old Covenant itself, because we see a marked change under the New Covenant, where we read in Heb. 8:11,

11 And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for all shall know Me from the least to the greatest of them.

Hence, the New Covenant, when fully implemented and utilized by the people, is a condition where all hear His voice and have no further need of being taught by men. It was the will of God that Israel should hear God’s voice at Sinai and thus have the law written on their hearts under what we now call the New Covenant. However, it was the plan of God that Israel would be in a bondservant relationship with God until such time as Jesus Christ would come to establish the New Covenant.

First the natural, then the spiritual (1 Cor. 15:46).

This was already prophesied in the story of Abram, who first brought forth a son through the bondwoman, Hagar, before having a son through Sarah, the free woman. And so the children of the bondwoman (old Jerusalem) remained deaf to His voice, except for the remnant of grace, whose faith allowed them access to the New Covenant even in an Old Covenant era.

The day of Pentecost in Acts 2 was a replay of the day God spoke at Sinai, and it allowed the remnant of grace to hear God’s voice. Both events occurred the same day, for Pentecost is a commemoration of the giving of the law at Sinai. The disciples therefore overcame the problem of hearing that had beset the nation as a whole since the days of Moses.

Introduction to the Teaching

Moses continues his speech in Deut. 6:1 and 2,

1 Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, 2 so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.

The Promised Land was a prophetic type of the fulness of the Spirit by which we overcome all the effects of Adam's sin and are fully developed into the image of Christ, where the law is written on our hearts.

3 O Israel, you should listen [shema] and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

Moses recalled the Fruitfulness Mandate of Gen. 1:28, which, along with the Dominion Mandate of Gen. 1:26, formed the essence of the Birthright. I explained this more fully in my book, The Struggle for the Birthright. The Fruitfulness Mandate was the command to bring forth a multitude of children in the image of Christ. This is the promise of Sonship, not only of Jesus Himself, not only of the overcomers, not only of the Church, but ultimately for all nations as seen in the promise given to Abraham.

The Greatest Commandment

Moses then starts with the core of the law itself according to the mind of God:

4 Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Jesus said in Matt. 22:38 that “this is the great and foremost commandment.” Because the entire law rests upon this great commandment, it is the place where all teaching must start. To know and believe this commandment is to have faith in the Creator and Heir of all things, Jesus Christ.

From here, Moses begins to remind Israel of the specific laws which God had given him in the Mount—those laws which gave greater clarity to the Ten Commandments.

6 And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on [or “in”] your heart;

These are the laws which must be heard and written upon our hearts by the Holy Spirit in order to transform us into the image of Christ and thus fulfill the promises of God.

7 and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Those who love the word of God cannot help but make it the central topic of discussion, even in casual conversation. There is a vast difference between those who love the word and those who find it boring.

This also establishes the focal point for the educational system of a Kingdom nation. It begins with recognizing God as the Creator of the Universe, along with His right to rule all nations.