Due to a lack of belief and rebellion in Numbers 14:27-35, the children of Israel had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. However, once that unbelieving generation died off their children would be allowed to enter the Promised Land. So nearly 40 years after the Children of Israel left Egypt there was a reestablishing of the Sinai covenant.
Only Moses, Joshua and Caleb were alive from that previous generation and the only ones to have witnessed the great miracles in the exodus from Egypt. However, even Moses would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land due to his disobedience and lack of trust, which is recorded in Numbers 20: 2-13.
When the people reaffirmed the covenant they also agreed to accept the blessings and curses that were attached to the Covenant and those obligations are recorded in Deuteronomy.
I wrote about those in my previous blog post: The 2nd Exodus: The Covenant Curses. In that post showed how Jesus referred to the Mosaic curses during His Olivet Discourse. I also showed how those same curses in Leviticus followed the same pattern in Revelation with 4 sets of sevenfold judgments. All of those curses were to fall on those who disobeyed the covenant and Jesus’ disciples would have linked His words to those curses in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
The End Was Known From The Beginning
In today’s blog post I’ll show how Jewish Christians would have understood the contents of the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation so easily and would have recognised how those blessings and curses would be fulfilled in their own generation.
Jewish males were expected to learn the Torah from an early age. While at the end of every 7 years The Torah was to be read at the Feast of Tabernacles to an assembly of men, women, children, and strangers. So when Jesus’s disciples listened to the Olivet Discourse and John’s audience heard The Revelation, the majority would have recognized the similarity of the words with the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. The end had been revealed in the Torah and Israel had been warned about the penalties within the covenant all their life.
This is one of the reasons why I believe that The Revelation was written primarily to pre 70AD Jewish Christians, as the Gentile Christians would not have known as much about the Old Testament writings. Many in the Church today are just as ‘in the dark’ as those pre-70AD Gentile Christians. The Torah consists of the first 5 books of the Old Testament but Leviticus and Deuteronomy are not books that are popular reads in mainstream Christianity. However, if we spent more time reading them we might just begin to understand so much more of the New Testament, especially the book of Revelation.
These Covenant Obligations Became Fulfilled Prophecy In The First Century
Israel had disobeyed the covenant many times and had killed the prophets and even been exiled from the land. However, when Israel rejected her own Messiah and killed Him, the full force of the curses would fall on that same generation.
Ironically in the parable of the Landowner and his vineyard, it was the Pharisees who suggested to Jesus that the tenants should die for killing the master’s son. Little did they realise how prophetic their answer was as Jesus was inferring that they were exactly like those tenants.
Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”~ Matthew 21: 37-41
In a later post, we’ll come back again to this parable as it is inextricably linked to the Song of Moses.
The Prophetic Song of Moses
Moses gave Israel two songs, forty years apart. The first was after the crossing of the Red sea when they celebrated the victory over their enemies, and the second was on the day that he died.
The second one is very significant as it is placed at the very end of the Torah which concludes with the blessings and curses of the Mosaic Covenant. It must have been a very sad song for him to recite as it foretold what would happen to his people in the last days. It was the day that Moses, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declared the end from the beginning, as Israel hadn’t even entered The Promised Land and it was a damming inditement on Israel.
Heaven and Earth Were The Witnesses
Yahweh wanted this song to be a witness against the people. Please read that sentence again as that is such an important thing to grasp. This song would testify against them in the future and Heaven and Earth were called to listen as the witnesses.
The Lord appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud, and the pillar of cloud stood at the doorway of the tent. The Lord said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers; and this people will arise and play the harlot with the strange gods of the land, into the midst of which they are going, and will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them.
Then My anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide My face from them, and they will be consumed, and many evils and troubles will come upon them; so that they will say in that day, ‘Is it not because our God is not among us that these evils have come upon us?’ But I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they will do, for they will turn to other gods.
“Now therefore, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the sons of Israel; put it on their lips, so that this song may be a witness for Me against the sons of Israel. For when I bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and are satisfied and become prosperous, then they will turn to other gods and serve them, and spurn Me and break My covenant. ~ Deutoronomy 31: 15-20
An Unforgettable Song
Yahweh also declared that this song would never be forgotten from the lips of their descendants. This is why I believe that the disciples would have related Jesus’ words in the Olivet Discourse to the affirmation of the Mosaic Covenant in Deuteronomy.
Then it shall come about, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify before them as a witness (for it shall not be forgotten from the lips of their descendants); for I know their intent which they are developing today, before I have brought them into the land which I swore.” So Moses wrote this song the same day, and taught it to the sons of Israel. ~ Deuteronomy 31: 21-22
Moses Foretold What Would Happen In The Last Days
Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to witness against them. For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands.”
Then Moses spoke in the hearing of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until they were complete: ~ Deuteronomy 31:28-30
What Moses recited to them was prophetic and it became fulfilled prophecy in the 1st century. It was a song that would be brought to their minds especially when they had acted wickedly as it would always testify against them.
In the next post, I’ll delve into the song in greater detail.