Jesus in Deuteronomy, Conclusion

jigsaw puzzle

Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 

Luke 24:27

We’ve got one more excavation site in our quest to discover Jesus in the first five books of the Bible (Pentateuch). So far, we’ve found Jesus everywhere we’ve looked. So grab your trowels and brushes and let’s do this!

As we found last time, during Christ’s earthly ministry, He often quoted from Deuteronomy and He carefully fulfilled this book that He had preordained to reveal Himself to the children of Israel and all the world. For example, Jesus answered all three of his temptations in the wilderness with quotations from the book of Deuteronomy (Luke 4:1–13).

Shields

The Holy Spirit often uses a shield symbolically to communicate His protection. We saw this with Abraham, “After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great. (Genesis 15:1)” and we find this same message from the Holy Spirit to the Israelites. There are several places in Deuteronomy where God uses the idea of a shield such as Deuteronomy 33:29:

Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you,
    a people saved by the Lord,
the shield of your help,
    and the sword of your triumph!
Your enemies shall come fawning to you,
    and you shall tread upon their backs.

We find this same symbolic message from the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 6:16, “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;” 

Let’s take a rabbit trail and consider what God was communicating to the Israelites and to the Ephesians. For the Ephesians, this was during the time of the Roman Empire so:

roman shield

The Roman shield of the time was called a scutum. This type of shield was as large as a door and would cover the warrior entirely. Such a shield was not just defensive but could also be used to push opponents. When fighting as a group, a phalanx of soldiers could position their shields so as to form an enclosure around themselves, called a testudo (“tortoise”). This was especially helpful to protect against arrows launched from the walls of cities they were attacking. Shields, often made of wood and then covered in hide when wet, could extinguish flaming arrows. – https://www.gotquestions.org/shield-of-faith.html

This same shield of faith is available to every believer. Jesus has also promised us, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. (Matthew 18:20)” Therefore, when we gather together in the name of Jesus, we can join our shields of faith and, within the will of God, create a “tortoise” shell of protection for whomever we agree in prayer for.

Back to Jesus in Deuteronomy

Moses spoke of a deliverer that was to come in the future. Tucked into the summary of the Law, in the eighteenth chapter of Deuteronomy, while referring to the punishment of false prophets, Moses gave a remarkable prophecy:

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15-19)

Moses was a mediator between the Israelites and God (Deuteronomy 5:5), yet Moses was not perfect (Deuteronomy 32:51-52). He, too, failed God. Still, Moses is perhaps the largest, strongest “type” for Jesus. Yet Jesus is perfect and He perfectly performs this mediation between His believers and the Father.

Now, as we successfully wrap up our quest to find Jesus in the Pentateuch, we leave Moses, the great “type” of Jesus, the great Law giver, buried in the plains of Moab (Deuteronomy 34:5). We leave the Old Testament land of types, foreshadows, symbols, metaphors, and analogies and enter back to the fulfillment of all of those; that fulfillment is only found in the person of Jesus, who perfectly fulfilled the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17).

Jesus in the Structure of the Book

Deuteronomy is beautifully crafted. Using the Hebrew’s style of writing, the center of the book is the center of its message. Its preface and its epilog provide the context for the central message of the book. This style is consistent with the other books of the Pentateuch. For Deuteronomy, Jesus, in His roles as the Word of God (John 1:1), skillfully constructed this book as He has done for the yokes He has made for each of His own (Matthew 11:29).

When we read Deuteronomy, we find that chapters one through four are a general accounting of the goodness God has extended to the Israelites in the past. Likewise, chapters thirty-one through thirty-four are God’s assurance of the goodness that He will extend to His chosen people in the future.

The Law comfortably rests in the cradle of this book, nestled within the message of Grace which is found in the prelude and epilog. We need go no further to see Jesus in Deuteronomy than to see Jesus in the structure of this book.

Obedience

Christ said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) Our life as a child of God requires obedience. We do not run down our own paths and do our own thing. As believers, we go where our Savior leads and do the work that He assigns. Yet, the yoke we wear is hand crafted and His burden is light. The peace that abides in us is nothing like the lie that the world calls peace (John 14:27).

We are born by grace, through faith, by no work of our own (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are fed with food that the world cannot see (John 4:32). We glory in our weakness for in that Jesus is magnified (2 Corinthians 12:9). There is no place in this world, be it the finest palace or the most productive farm, that is seen as worthy of a child of God (Hebrews 11:38). God’s love is so great that He has hand crafted homes for each of His own (John 14:2). Commands? Yes. Rules? Yes. But these are wrapped in God’s wonderful grace, mercy, and love. That is the God we serve and that is the structure of Deuteronomy, this book Christ loves.

Carefully

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.(Ephesians 5:15-17)

Four times the Holy Spirit led Moses to write the word “carefully” in the book of Deuteronomy. Strong’s Concordance tells us that the Hebrew word for “carefully” is  וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם֮ (ū·šə·mar·tem – Strong’s Hebrew 8104), meaning: “to keep, guard, observe, give heed, to be on one’s guard, take heed, take care, beware”

We find this admonition in:

·      Deuteronomy 4:6,  Observe them carefully
·      Deuteronomy 4:9, Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget…
·      Deuteronomy 4:15, …Therefore watch yourselves very carefully
·      Deuteronomy 4:23, Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that he made with you

Grace

This council from God is grace. The Law contained in Deuteronomy came from God for the good of His chosen people. God knows the nature of humanity – “For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14) Therefore, in God’s grace, repeatedly, He said, “guard, observe, give heed, be on guard, take heed, take care, beware.”

Beware of what? Beware of yourself! You know God’s will. You know that it is the opposite of your nature – the Law was given before God lived within His children. Christ had not yet provided the perfect sacrifice. Therefore, God says, be watchful of yourself so you do what is right instead of what your nature wants.

The gift we now have is this: “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4) Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross was “in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:4).

Do you see Jesus in the “carefully” of Deuteronomy? Do you see Him in His “carefully” of Ephesians? Jesus is “in” the “carefully” of Deuteronomy. As Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.(John 14:15) Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1). Truly, Deuteronomy contains the fingerprints of Jesus.

Wrap Up

Now, as we successfully wrap up our quest to find Jesus in the Pentateuch, we leave Moses, the great “type” of Jesus, the great Law giver, buried in the plains of Moab (Deuteronomy 34:5). We leave the Old Testament land of types, foreshadows, symbols, metaphors, and analogies and enter back to the fulfillment of all of those; that fulfillment is only found in the person of Jesus, who perfectly fulfilled the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17).

My hope and prayer is that your appetite has been stimulated. Remember, “A worker’s appetite works for him; his mouth urges him on.” (Proverbs 16:26)  I hope and pray that you go back and discover even more places in the Scriptures where Jesus can be seen.

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

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