Deuteronomy by Charles Clough
Duration:59 mins 48 secs

Deuteronomy Lesson 2

Outline of Deuteronomy

Fellowship Chapel
20 October 2009
Charles Clough
© Charles A. Clough 2009

If you look at your handout I’m going to just review what we did last week and I’ve made a much more complete one so that you can follow and have something to carry away. We covered last time, basically, three major areas, three things and the first one you should see, Introduction & Review on page 1, the biblical importance of Deuteronomy, the theological controversies surrounding it, and I warn you that under B, the theological controversies, those are just some of them; as we go through this you’ll see there are more. And then C, the philosophical controversies. So let’s go to point A, the biblical importance of Deuteronomy and just quickly review that.

The citation frequency is high, it is the third most quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament, so before that, Exodus is the first one if I recall. So the third one, however, is Deuteronomy. And it’s the most quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament and there are over 350 citations in the Old Testament. So that means this book is a ground document for the rest of the Old Testament.

The next point, Judaism’s central confession is in chapter 6:4, if you have any Jewish friends that is their John 3:16, that’s a key catch for every faithful Jewish person.

Point three, Jesus exclusively relied upon Deuteronomic truths to cope with Satan in Matthew 4. So when you see Jesus Christ encountering Satan, it’s interesting that he goes back to Deuteronomy and there’s a reason for that and when we get into the book a little bit more you’ll see why Jesus probably did that.

Slides 1 and 2 deal with the covenant renewal, if you’ll flip over to the last page of the handout you’ll see that on the first, not the last page but on the inside one, you’ll see there’s a map there that I put and you’ll see that there’s a circled area; if we had the slide you could see this a lot more clearly, but if you look in that area on the handout you’ll see there’s a list up toward the top of the map and that is to mark the site of Mount Ebal and Gerizim. So those two hills, those two mountains where the covenant renewal ceremony is going to take place once they cross the Jordan. The Jordan River, you see where it says the Dead Sea there, and you see to the right, at the top of the Dead Sea, just to the right, you can see Mount Ebal, that is where in the vicinity of where this book was written.

In other words, Israel has moved up the east side of the Dead Sea, they are across from Gilgal, and they are in a position now to come into the land, but Moses is going to have to give his last will and testament because God has prohibited Moses from enjoying the land, a disciplinary thing which, by the way, figures in the book. So that’s the cite on the map and on the right there’s a photograph there when I went back to Israel, back many years ago, I believe over thirty years ago, it was better then because it wasn’t so built up and you could see things better. But those are two hills and we’re standing on Mount Gerizim and you can see this hill in the background is Mount Ebal. And then down to the right, that’s interesting because that town that you see off to the right of those two hills, that is what corresponds pretty close to biblical Shechem, and that’s where Jacob’s well is. So there’s a lot of things geographically tight where this covenant renewal ceremony is going to take place.

All right, going back to page 1 on the handout, under B, theological controversies, we covered those last time and just to review again, the Enlightenment-based “revision” of theology, beginning in the 16th and 17th centuries in the West there was a revision. Now as believers you want to be careful when you encounter that little word. That’s a key word; we have revision of American history going on. Most of us here tonight probably have never learned the true picture of American history because most of us have gone through public schools where it was considered, even when I went to public schools in the 50s, they still were not actually exposing me to the original documents.

Now the Encyclopedia Britannica years ago came out with a very good set of books, and every Christmas time you’ll see these on sale and if you have children, of if you’re serious about history you need to get these, it’s called the Annals of America, and it’s a set of documents Encyclopedia Britannica put together with the original source material. Now it doesn’t have a lot of source material in it, I mean, it’s a big set of books and it goes all the way up to the present time, it has original speeches and so on, but the first three volumes are worth the price of the set because you can go into those volumes and read for yourself what’s going on there. None of us have actually learned American history properly. We are basically ignorant of our own history. We don’t realize how much that history has been revised and distorted to favor unbelief.

It’s very embarrassing for liberal scholars to be exposed to the fact that the founding fathers of this country, who were not all Christians, but who entertained a Christian perspective and had colored and shaped the way they thought about the role of government and governmental functions. And they were quite open about it and you read the original documents and there’s no reticence to attribute God’s sovereignty to the Lord Jesus Christ, in fact, David Barton who, on WallBuilders, that’s another source of great Christian material on our history, he points out that Congress authorized an edition of the Bible, paid for by tax funds and I thought when I heard that, I thought you know, that would be really nice if we had a Christian who, when he was sworn into the Supreme Court or the President’s office he would, in front of the ACLU and the secular media say I’m going to take the oath of my office on the Bible that the Congress in 1780 or 1790 authorized, and so let’s bring it out and we’ll take that, and lay his hand on that and do the thing. I mean, it would be a shocking experience, I can see the ACLU lawyers just absolutely in unbelief that such a thing ever happened in our American history. You see, we’re all ignorant of those facts because our history has been revised.

So it’s the same thing with the Bible and theological controversies, the Enlightenment chose to revise theology and we have higher criticism which means critical thinking based on human centered viewpoint that the Bible arose solely due to human religious speculation. And you want to watch that vocabulary; I chose that vocabulary very carefully because that describes the position of unbelief. Either you accept the authority of Scripture or you are arguing that it is solely due to human religious speculation. Now let’s get away from all the halfway houses. You have to choose which side of the fence you’re on and you can, in a gracious fashion in conversation, force people to the fork in the road. Do you accept the fact that God has actually historically spoken into human history such that information was transferred from His mind to the human race or do you believe that the Bible arose solely by human speculation. And that’s a good question to ask. And you can ask it graciously, courteously and polite, but that question will drive someone to have to think about gee, I hadn’t thought about this and I’m uncomfortable in having to choose between the left and the right here, but choose you must.

And then I went through the Wellhausen documentary and we did all that last time. Now on slide three, which we covered, I mentioned there…side three shows you the time problem. In other words, if you look at history what the revisionist did, what Wellhausen did, what the higher critics did was say that Deuteronomy was a late creation and they used that passage that you see in the outline, 2 Kings 22, a so- called law that was rediscovered was actually a forgery that some prophets did, and hid it in the temple, so that King Josiah’s people would find it, and they were manipulating a religious reform. You know, it’s the same kind of thing we see today, we want to create a crisis and then we’re going to run around like chickens with our heads cut off to try to solve it. But watch what happens. If we are serious and we mean that Deuteronomy wasn’t written until Josiah’s reform, we’re down to the end of the timeline, and meanwhile this thing has been quoted for 350 times, all during Old Testament history. So how do you explain the fact that it’s been quoted 350 times and it’s a literary forgery that didn’t appear until 586; something’s wrong here.

So Moses received the Torah, so now we’re talking about, if you measure the time, say around 1500 BC, 1400 BC, all the way up to 600, from 1500 to say 500-600 here, we’re talking 900 to 800 years. So the revised view of the Old Testament is an argument that displaces this book by eight centuries. And the reason they do it is because of the high level, the sophisticated level of the content of this book. It couldn’t possibly have come earlier because society evolves, so back in Moses’ day they were all primitives and they hadn’t got sophisticated yet. That’s the argument, but we hold the fact that as the Bible says and Jesus attributed this book to Mosaic authorship, that it occurred back in the 14th and 15th century before him.

So then we have the Lordship/free grace controversy of the 1970s and 80s, and this was one that broke out and we won’t go into all the details of that, we’ll deal with that later on, but basically the idea here is the details of God’s obligations were introduced at Mount Sinai after Exodus. Now it doesn’t mean that Yahweh wasn’t Lord at the point of salvation, of course He was, but the realization of what that entailed was something that happens later on. So you put the events in their proper sequence, the Mount Sinai event comes after the Exodus event.

Then the philosophical controversy, we’ve already talked about that, the issue is did the Creator of the universe speak verbally into history, such that information was communicated from His mind to man’s mind? I’m sorry to make that big long sentence, but we live in a very greasy age and there’s a lot of sloppy thinking going on and there’s a lot of manipulation of vocabulary. So I have deliberately chosen those words in that sequence because I think we have to insist that that question be answered; that is the crucial question: Is it or is it not true that the Creator of the universe has spoken into history in words that have communicated information

And if we go to the next slide we’ll see something that we’re going to get into tonight, and that is the idea that this book has been found to be parallel in outline to an Old Testament treaty format. And this was Dr. Kline who did that book and I discussed it last time, who made a lot of the connections between an old treaty form and the book of Deuteronomy, and the implications of what he did and the importance of what he did we’re going to deal with tonight.

The next slide, we’ll just hastily go through these, here are the events in the Old Testament, and these are all the events, it’s on the Bible Framework website, but if you go through all of these events of the Old Testament, each one of them is a picture of spiritual truths or doctrines. Now it doesn’t mean that certain doctrines aren’t with these events, all I’m doing is I’m picking out the most prominent ideas in the truth of Scripture so that when you think about those events, and that’s the neat way of looking at the Old Testament versus the New, in the Old Testament you can think of a story and you can put yourself into the story, you can see yourself in that event. And if you learn to think that way, that is your key to mastering the Old Testament. Master these events as historical events, think of them just as valid as the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, just as the outbreak of World War I in 1914, etc. etc. etc., it’s a historic event and in those events are pictured these key areas of doctrine, and you’ll see that Mount Sinai is a particular exposition of the doctrine of revelation, the doctrine of inspiration, and the doctrine of Canon, that is, the collection of Scriptures. Those are the doctrines that are most intimately tied with Mount Sinai.

And finally on our review I handed out Ron Merryman’s pamphlet, which is on a chair back there because that is a modern example of a doctrine that we are going to be involved with as American citizens in our society, and that is the doctrine of the liberty of conscience. That is the foundation, you cannot believe by being compelled; you can only believe by being challenged, and then in the privacy of your soul choosing to believe or rejecting. You can go through motions and you can arm-twist people and you can put peer pressure on people, and some peer pressure, of course, in the New Testament saying “exhort one another,” it’s not that all peer pressure is bad, but the point is if a conscience is violated it’s like an electrical switch, it’s off and you can’t believe. This is why liberty of conscience is so crucial. And our liberty of conscience in this country is threatened by at least four policies of the present administration, which are given in that pamphlet. And this is we’re getting into politics… yes we are, but that’s because the politics have gotten into the Church, and we are not going to sit by and just quote Romans 13 because as Christian citizens in a constitutional republic we are part of the authority. So the question is, let’s discuss the authority but let’s do it in a constitutional format. We have part of the authority and as Christians we need to exercise our portion of the authority; we can do it graciously, courteously and politely, but do it we must.

Now today we come to, finally, the outline of the book. So if you’ll turn to the backside of page 1 you’ll see what we’re talking about as far as the book of Deuteronomy, and if you look on the handout on the backside, where it says the usual outline of Deuteronomy, and that slide there, okay, now that’s the way Deuteronomy is usually outlined, and the outline has been pretty consistent over the centuries as different commentators have looked at this book and pretty much agreed on that outline. Now I’m making that point because we’re going to make another important point tonight. So the first thing I want to have you convinced of is that it’s pretty stable; the sections of this book are not in big dispute.

Now if you’ll turn in the Bible now I want to show you some things, some parts of it so you can see why this outline is so stable and so agreed upon. So if you’ll turn in the book of Deuteronomy, turn to chapter 1 where it’s introduced, and beginning next week we’ll get actually into the verse structure and the text structure, but in verse 5 you’ll see where it declares the space and the time of when this book was done. “On this side of the Jordan in the land of Moab, Moses began to explain the law,” so that’s the first kind of sample we have.

Now if you go over to chapter 4, remember this is the end of that section, chapter 4 and look at verse 41 you’ll see that after Moses is talking, he’s talking chapter after chapter after chapter, and then we get to chapter 4 verse 41 and he stops and now it’s a description of something that happens. So this isn’t a sermon here, this is sermon that reports what Moses is doing; “Moses set apart three cities on this side of the Jordan,” and then in verse 44, “And this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel. [45] These are the testimonies, the statutes,” it’s like it’s a break. So that’s why the first part of the outline, chapters 1-4, is sort of called the first sermon. In other words, the sermon stops, there’s a break in the text, the final editor puts this little historical note in, Moses did this, and then we have Moses summarizing the fact that this is the law.

Chapter 5 now, the next section, the head of the next section, there it starts, [5:1] “Moses called all Israel, and said to them: ‘Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak” unto you. So now here’s sermon number two, and you’ll see quickly, if you look down at verses 6, 7, 8 and 9, there we go and we’re face to face with the Ten Commandments, which are one of the most brilliant expositions, the most brilliant exposition of morality in all of human history, for very obvious reasons, God spoke them. And it’s interesting, today we have bureaucratic regulations coming out the kazoo, and Moses was able, through God, to expound every moral principle... EVERY moral principle that controls all of society and everything in society with just ten words. Somebody in Congress ought to look at this because instead of writing six thousand pages of regulations, we have here ten simple principles; the moral structure of a complete society, and the rest of the book just expounds the outworking of those principles.

Now you come all the way down, the end of this section is in chapter 26, so let’s skip all the way over to chapter 27 and we’ll see another break occurs. And these breaks are so obvious that this is why there’s been such stability over the years of commentators breaking this book up into these sections. And chapter 27:1, what does it say? “Now Moses, with the elders of Israel, commanded the people saying, ‘Keep all the commandments which I command you this day'.” So he’s starting out again and he’s beginning to talk. Verse 9, “And the Moses and the priests and the Levites spoke to all Israel,” and then in verse 11, “And Moses commanded the people on the same day, saying.” So see, that’s an introduction to the next section which now becomes sermon number three.

Then we come on, all the way down to chapter 30, 30 ends it, but if you look at chapter 31 you’ll see that here again there’s sort of a break, Deuteronomy 31:1, “Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. [2] And he said to them, I am one hundred and twenty years old today, I can no longer go out and come in.” So now this is the next section where Moses addresses the nation, this last area. And there are subsections within this last section, it’s not as clean, it’s not as coherent and uniform as those previous sections, so even though people sometimes call this sermon number four, I just prefer to say it’s a collection of closing things. It’s features that Moses is pulling together at the end and obviously some posthumous writings describing his death, one of the most unusual deaths, by the way, in human history because the angels fought over his body at the funeral, and what that was all about we do not know except we know that in the New Testament, Jude talks about it, so Jude got his material from somewhere, about what the strange circumstances surrounding Moses’ death.

So in Deuteronomy 31:1, “Moses went and spoke these words,” so we have that break. Verse 7, “Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage,’” so there’s the baton being handed over from Moses to the next generation, Joshua. And then in verse 9 we have the fact that, “Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant,” and that’s a very important verse for reasons we’ll get into when we get there, but there has to be a treaty witness. And there are all kinds of things that happen here in chapter 31.

Deuteronomy 33:1 is another one that speaks of these last closing events, and in 33:1, “This is the blessing which Moses, the man of God, blessed the children of Israel before his death.” So as often happens with the patriarchal families, when the father dies, just prior to the death, he would bless the children and in those blessing passages, evidently those men that did that were informed in some way about their children’s destiny by God, because they pronounced things that only God could know about those children and their future destiny. And that’s important because that’s an approval of the fact, and we’ll make this truth again and again as we go through Deuteronomy, the basic social unit in society is not the State; the basic social institution in society is the family, period—no discussion, that is the way the Scriptures is telling it from beginning to end and Deuteronomy protects that whole structure. There are all kinds of protections for the family in the book of Deuteronomy because it is recognized that culture is transmitted through the family, for bad, for evil, or for good.

And then in Deuteronomy 34:1 is another one of these closing events: “Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is across from Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land,” and there God basically tells him go drop dead, another interesting passage of Scripture. So that’s the overall structure.

Now here’s the interesting and fascinating thing about this book. For years prior to any archeological discovery, every godly reader of Deuteronomy could see that this is the outline; it wasn’t a problem here. Well, beginning in the 20th century, if you’ll turn to the next slide, you’ll see a picture there, there’s a picture and a map of the Hittite kingdom, and the Hittite kingdom, around 1340 BC occupied what is today Turkey and Syria, and you see on the chart here how the whole realm of the Hittites expanded. You see where the shaded area comes down toward Damascus on that map; that’s the southern-most part of the Hittite Empire. Then you come up all the way to the Black Sea, and you can see the Hittite Empire up to there. Then you can see all the way west to the Asiatic, so the Hittite Empire was a large group of people. The Bible had talked about the Hittites for years, and people said oh well, the Hittites, that’s a figment of the Jewish imagination, and actually it was found.

So early in the 20th century, if you look at page 2 of your handout, under Slide 2, you’ll see that I’m talking there about the Ancient Near East, and that’s what A-N-E means, the ancient international treaty texts. Early in the 20th century the Hittites and their civilization was discovered, and in this area, right about this place, Bogazkoy, right in here, right near Ankara, today this is Ankara, Turkey, right at the southeast of Ankara a large archeological site was found with these treaty tests; it’s almost like a library here, and for a long time scholars were contemplating this as what does that show about political relationships in that era of history.

So Meredith Kline, in Treaty of the Great King, as you’ll see in point B on the outline, says, “but no alteration in our overall view of Deuteronomy,” more than an appreciation of what it communicated to the original hearers, so we’re not saying now, as I go through this material, that gee, we need archeology to understand the Bible. All we’re saying is that the traditional view of the Bible is confirmed by the archeological material. And that’s important because one of the ways people divide and conquer the Bible is always break it up into pieces.

Now if you’ll look on the next slide you’ll see the S-V, and I’ll explain that here, the S-V Treaty compared to Deuteronomy, part 1. Now S-V means, there’s two words, two nouns here, S and V, and they play a role. So let me define what they mean and then we’ll learn something fascinating about how God revealed Himself to Israel. The “S” stands for suzerain. Now what is a suzerain? A suzerain was considered to be a great king, in other words, a super power. He was a king that was bigger than all the surrounding kings; like Pharaoh, Pharaoh would be a suzerain, he would be a top king. “V” means vassal, and those are the lesser kings. So when we use S and V we’re talking about not a society per se, we’re talking about a relationship between two nations, between a domain of a great king and a domain of a domain of a lesser king. So the treaty deals with international or foreign relations. And that’s what was discovered.

Now the fascinating thing to this is if you’ll look down on the outline, page 2, you’ll see the parts of these treaties, and most of these treaties had these parts to them. And what’s fascinating is it lines up with the outline of Deuteronomy. Now isn’t this fascinating? What does this tell us then, before we even go into some of the details, if we see that the book of Deuteronomy, all the outline that we said, everybody agrees to, and then we dig around in archeology and we find, you know what, at that point in history, when people wanted to make an international treaty they followed this kind of a format.

So, how does this all work together. Well, let’s look at it. The first one is the preamble, the preamble. And the preamble is the identity of the great king; there would always be a phrase in the treaty that announces who the suzerain is. Now look at, if you go back to Deuteronomy, and I give you also Exodus 20:2 because I’m showing you that Deuteronomy was a second giving of the Law so to speak and Exodus was the first, so they do parallel, so you go to Deuteronomy and in Deuteronomy, of course, Moses is the one that is introduced because he’s the spokesman for God, “These are the words that Moses spoke,” but if you go to Exodus 20:2 what does it say as God is introducing the commandments? “I am the LORD, thy God, that brought you out of the land of Israel,” that’s how the Ten Commandments are given.

So now here is a point to think about under point 1, Preamble. What does this tell you about, if we are to understand this book in the day in which it was written, what does this say about Jehovah as He speaks the book of Deuteronomy, as the Holy Spirit brings this out? It’s making God, Yahweh, the great king. So there may be Pharaoh’s, there may be the great suzerains of the Hittite Empire, but God comes off in this revelation as THE great king. And He is going to make a treaty with vassal kings. Now with whom is the Mount Sinai treaty made with? The twelve tribes. So here we have in direct parallel to historical documents we have Yahweh, the God of Israel, entering into a contract with the twelve tribes, so these come out of the twelve sons of Jacob.

Now point 2, another interesting thing. These treaties would also have a text in the front end of them called the historical prologue. And the reason for the historical prologue was to obligate the vassal to the great king. In other words, it would say look, the great king would say, I did this for you, I did this for you, I did this for you, you didn’t deserve it, I did all these things for you, therefore, you are obligated to me. So it’s interesting, it’s almost like in the New Testament talking about grace because we are responding to God’s grace. And I think that’s important because people have this caricature of the Old Testament, it’s all Law, it’s all bad God, and you know, people have read two and a half pages of the Bible and now they’re experts and can tell you that the Old Testament is all about Law and the New Testament all about grace. Well, God doesn’t change, there are elements of law and grace through- out. And here, this historical prologue is an example of how God comes to Israel and says now look, I brought you out of Egypt, now you owe Me one; you owe Me a response to what I have done for you.

And so if you look on the outline on page 2, under historical prologue I give you an exact quote from one of the suzerainty vassal treaties. “Since your father had mentioned,” this is a Hittite treaty, “Since your father had mentioned to me your name with great praise, I sought after you. To be sure, you were sick and ailing, but although you were ailing, I, the Sun (god),” because he spoke in the name of his god, “put you in the place of your father… and took the Amurru land in oath for you.” In other words, he conquered an area of land and he gave it to the king, to the vassal.

Now isn’t that interesting, because that says that Yahweh, the God of Israel, is telling them I saved you, I delivered you out of the hands of the super power of the time, therefore you owe Me allegiance. So this sets up one of the motivations you’re going to see in the Bible and this is the motivation that carries into the New Testament, doesn’t it? Jesus Christ has died for our sins and we owe Him something; we owe a response of respect, submission to His authority, and to enjoy what He has given to us. He took the initiative; we did not. See, who took the initiative in the Exodus? Remember the attitude that people had. Were they really hot to trot to leave Egypt? They fussed a lot about the working conditions in Egypt, but then when it came to actually leaving, well, I don’t know, you know, there’s some good food here and there’s good farmland, we go out there in the desert with Moses and it doesn’t look too inviting. And so it wasn’t that they were all super giants spiritually people. But God initiated. So the historical prologue is a wonderful example of God’s grace in action.

Then the third item, you see where it says: Stipulations. And see that fits with that section of the Bible which talks about from Deuteronomy 5 to Deuteronomy 26, where the stipulations are given, outlined, 1, 2, 3, 4. Notice there in that italicized quote under item 3, “But you Duppi-Tessub,” that’s the vassal to whom the Hittite, a particular Hittite king is making the treaty, “But you Duppi-Tessub remain loyal to the king of Hatti land …Do not turn your eyes to anyone else.” Now that’s what God is doing with Israel: I am your God and you are not to turn your eyes somewhere else.

Now under that I list some of the obligations. Look at that list; you notice the first one, parity among all vassals. Now that may seem like a little small observation but let me show you the social implications of that. By “parity” we mean that the tribes are all equal in the sense that they are to receive the same standards of justice. So this answers this problem of class and privilege that is the big subject today in social discourse. What God is saying and what these Hittite kings said, that because I make a treaty with you, I’m going to make a treaty with the other nation, and I don’t want you guys messing around with each other. I’ve made a treaty with both of you and I expect both of you to behave in a submissive manner to my treaties. And that means you don’t war against one another. So I think you can start to see why this archeological discovery has been so fascinating to students of the Old Testament, particularly conservative Christians.

So look at the obligations: “parity among all vassals;” they are to “respond to a call in arms”. Mike has been going through the book of Esther where King Xerxes is having to go out to his various provinces because he depends on them to supply troops for his army. And so it’s the same thing here, if a great king makes a treaty with you, you, the king, the lesser king, the vassal king, you would be obligated to draft your young men into his army and provide militarily for his needs. You’ll see that, by the way, in the book of Deuteronomy. And this is interesting, there was to be “no rumors or undermining of the authority” of the great king. And in the Ten Commandments can you think of one of the Ten Commandments that is an analogy to that? “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD, thy God, in vain.”

There’s a lot of parallels here; “no asylum for refugees,” in other words, if someone was to join the nation they had to get approval of the great king; the vassals could not welcome every Tom, Dick and Harry that wanted to come into their domain. They had to have approval; this is immigration laws—to cite a contemporary issue. An “annual appearance before the great king,” these folks had to come to a national meeting, a national convocation where representatives of the great king, or the great king himself was there. Now think about the Jewish feasts. Where did the Jews have to come in the Jewish feasts? They had to come to the temple. The “inter-vassal controversies are to be submitted to the great king.” So if nation A and vassal A and vassal B are having a tit-for-tat, they have to submit it to the great king for adjudication. So the stipulations which we will go through a long extended tour fit into a treaty format.

Point 4, this is fascinating too. When you make a contract, what do you have to do with the contract, or it becomes effectively useless. You have to keep a copy of it, right? So, how many copies do you keep? In a contract, a two-party contract, at least you have to have two copies right? How many tablets did Moses take down from the top of Mount Sinai? Two. Now for years we thought five commandments on one, five on the other, but now people are beginning to re-think that there actually are two tablets because there are two copies; one is God’s copy and the other is Israel’s copy. Now it turns out they are both kept in the ark because that’s where Israel’s temple is, but that’s also where Yahweh’s presence is. But that wasn’t true in the Hittite case, if you look there where it says: Since the treaty is under the protection of the gods, one copy was for the great king’s sanctuary and the second copy would go to the vassal king’s sanctuary.

So for example, let’s take Syria, a smaller vassal king, and Aramea, part of Iraq and Syria, Aramea would be the vassal king to the Hittite great king, the Hittite great king in Turkey, he would have a copy in his temple. But then in Aram, they would have a copy of that treaty in their temple. So now you have two copies as testimonies.

Then finally, item 5, you know every time we have a service or something that’s serious, there’s always an invocation; it’s public. So they had an invocation of the gods as witnesses. In chapter 32, the song of Moses, we went through that last time, he says, “Hear O heavens, and hear O earth,” and then he goes on. Now what’s interesting is that the Old Testament prophets, four to five hundred years later, are coming out to preach to that nation, and they’re calling on the heavens and the earth to bear witness and they pick up exactly that same language. Now what does that tell you? It tells you that the prophets were not social reformers. See, the liberals always like to make… the Old Testament prophets are their heroes by the way, and they always like to make it seem like these Old Testament prophets, why, they were the first liberals in history, we just love the Old Testament prophets because they spoke to social causes and so forth. The Old Testament prophets were not innovators; they were not social reformers in the liberal sense. They were covenant enforces. They were actually acting as prosecuting attorneys to the nation, prosecuting the nation against the standards of the treaty that had been violated. So they're reactionaries, not progressives; they are going back to time, not forward. So we have item 5, invocation of the gods as witnesses.

Now you turn over and you see number 6, the cursings and the blessings. And if you go, when we go there, you’ll see in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, if you obey Israel, then I’m going to bless you this way, this way, this way, this way, this way, and those blessings were comprehensive across the whole social order and the physical environment in which the social order lived. So climate was altered as a cursing or a blessing, depending upon the positive or negative response to the Word of God by the national entity. So here we have God as the Lord of all, including the physical environment and the climate, able to bless or to curse. He was able to bless or curse their economy, that’s stipulated in specific areas of Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26. So those are analogous to the cursings and the blessings that were in the Hittite treaties and the treaties of the great king.

Item seven, there would be a ceremony marking the inauguration of the treaty. We covered some of that last time, I gave you the pictures of Mount Ebal and Gerizim, that’s where the covenant renewal would occur, and so it would be like marriage. And I have a note there because I think there’s something missing in our culture today, and I’ve run into this several times in reading around things, so I’m going to compare it, just take a minute or two here.

If you ask a lot of young people who are living with each other, shacked up, why they don’t get married, this is a phenomena that’s going on by the thousands if not the millions, the whole 20-something generation, including some 30’s and of course, the 50’s are mimicking the 30’s, so we have these people living together, and it’s going on all over the place. And I’ve asked some of them, I say well why, you know, I just want to get into your head, what’s the problem, you appear to love one another, why don’t you want to get married? And the answer is, we don’t trust this is going to work out. Why don’t you want to trust that it’s going to work out? Well, my father and mother fought and I came out of a divorced home and it didn’t work for them so it’s not going to work for me, and so we have that kind of a mentality today. And then to justify it, well, a marriage ceremony is only a ceremony, after all, it’s only a piece of paper, real love is what matters, we don’t have to deal with ceremonies. But isn’t it interesting, item 7, when a treaty is made that is very serious, a public ceremony is called for.

Now think about why we have public ceremonies. What’s going on in the public ceremony? People are witnessing thing; the guy and the girl in the marriage case, are making a vow to one another that is public now and they said it before a hundred people. Now all of a sudden we have a commitment. And it’s precisely that that we don’t want because we want to do our own thing, we don’t want to be pinned down. And that’s a commentary on how far away our thinking is as a society from the way it is in Scripture. We don’t want commitments. And of course these people had commitments because of the fact that they believed in God as sovereign, and God is righteous, God is just, the whole situation isn’t run by me, it isn’t run by him, it isn’t run by her, it’s run by God, and so therefore I can be a little bit more relaxed about this thing because I’m not, in effect, ultimately trusting him or her, I’m trusting the Lord with this thing. But this is a big gap in our young people particularly, just totally screwed up here in this area.

Now let’s go to some of the conclusions. We make six theological and spiritual conclusions from this study. Now I grant you, we haven’t gone through the text text yet, but what I’m doing tonight is giving you an overview so that when we do go through the test you won’t lose the forest for the trees. I’ll try to remember as we go verse by verse, from tree to tree to tree, to back off and zoom out every once in a while so we can see the big picture, then we’ll go back in and we’ll look at trees, then we’ll zoom back out again. And we keep zooming back out to this overall treaty function. So let’s look at six conclusions tonight.

  1. Deuteronomy is not a hodge-podge collection of subsidiary documents, it is a unified piece of literature; it reveals a coherent exposition of the relationship between Yahweh and Israel. It is “a coherent exposition,” that means it logically fits together. It has a progression to it; it is a unified piece of literature, over against what a few Christians students, that I talked about last week, one of whom attended a well-known Christian university across the state line, up here to the north, it wasn’t Lancaster, so don’t worry about it, but it was in another town up there and the parents had, of course, sacrificially saved and saved and saved so they could put money to give tuition to their daughter so she could go off to this Christian school, supposedly, and learn all kinds of things and what she came back with was Wellhausian liberalism. So her dad went up to the Dean of Students, and wanted to know why, after spending thousands of dollars for tuition for his daughter she was getting this higher critical view of the Bible—well, that’s just what you should be exposed to and so forth and so on. Well, he says, let me tell you what you’re going to be exposed to, I’m taking my daughter out of here right now, and she’s not coming back and she’s not setting foot on this campus again. And that’s how I came up with my thing, if you want unbelief go to a state university, the tuition is cheaper. Okay, so the first one, then, is Deuteronomy is not a hodgepodge.
  2. Deuteronomy is a unique document that reveals an actual contract between God and a human “socio- linguistic community.” I use those words, “socio-linguistic community” because those are the buzzwords in today’s academia. Everything is socio-linguistic, that is, the social forces of class, race and gender are operating with language to determine one’s position in society. But what we have here is a contract between God and such at entity, and that implies that it places Israel in a special place in human history and challenges the democratic equality of all cultures. All cultures are not equal. Under God’s sovereignty He has chosen to work with that. Now it’s going to be very clear when Moses addresses the nation that God hasn’t picked them out because they are the good boys and girls, it’s not based on their merit, it’s based on the fact that God is choosing. Dr. Ryrie at Dallas Seminary, years ago, he used to have a neat way of saying this: God is choosy. And I think that’s a great summary statement. He chooses to work history the way He wants to work it, you got a problem with that, suck it up. So God is choosy, and that means all cultures are not equal, with due apologies to certain people in our academic area.
  3. As such, Deuteronomy, like other biblical covenants, reveals—and this is a key word, a vocabulary term you want to get hold of—condescension c-o-n-d-e-s-c-e-n-s-i-o-n, that’s c-o-n-d-e-s-c-e-n-s-i-o-n, condescension of God to come down to the creature level and interact on that level, unlike for example, Allah in Islam. Muslim theologians insist that for Allah to condescend like this would denigrate his divine transcendence. This is a critical difference… CRITICAL difference between the Christian God and the God of Islam, is the Christian God of the Scriptures condescends to come down; the word “condescend” means to come down, it doesn’t mean it demeans Him, it means that He condescends to enter into His creation. In fact, as some theologians pointed out, the act of creating is condescension, because God didn’t have to create. He didn’t have an itch that He had to satisfy and out popped the universe. God chose freely to create, and you’ve read this passage on the tower of Babel; what does it say? “And God came down to see,” and people have a hard problem with that; what, God’s not omniscient anymore? No, that’s not what that means. God came down to see means He came down to walk around as a human being would walk around so that He could communicate to us man to man, person to person, that’s what condescension means. And it’s an amazing doctrine if you think about it that our God condescends to enter into contracts with this miserable group of fallen human beings. So that’s His condescension.
  4. Deuteronomy follows the suzerainty-vassal unilateral treaty format rather than the parity treaties. They had parity treaties, meaning treaties among equals. But they also had treaties that were unilateral, the suzerainty-vassal treaties among unequals: great kings and lesser kings. So Deuteronomy follows the suzerainty-vassal treaty format rather than the parity treaties. In the former, only the vassal is bound by an oath, isn’t that interesting; only the vassal. Now the Abrahamic Covenant is different. There God swore, but in the Sinaitic Covenant the only swearing of allegiance by twelve tribes, Yahweh isn’t, when He swears to do something it’s on the basis of the Abrahamic Covenant. So anyway, in the former, only the vassal is bound by an oath, revelation of Yahweh as the real king and Jewish tribes as servants. There you have lordship and the relationship of the twelve tribes, the Jewish people of the Jewish state, as servants to the great king.
  5. Deuteronomy thus reveals some of the interferences that the Kingdom of God makes to human society and its physical environment when it come about in human history. God interferes and He interferes including with the physical environment, when it comes about in human history; cultural standards, then, this is the implication, watch this because this sets us apart from what’s out there in the academic, in academia and the media, keep in mind folks, the people that are running our country, the age group, the 50 somethings, the early 60 somethings, do a little math and think back, when they were in their 20s, what was going on in our country? It was the hippie revolt, it was the Vietnam protests, it was these kids walking around, supposedly against the establishment, but carrying their parent’s credit cards so they could live off of them, and I never saw, by the way, a poor hippie.

I was out in the middle of this, in the middle of the country, the Colorado communes, they used to come in where I was with their people that were in the church congregation had to back up three pews to make room for the smell, so they came in and they were challenging me to see if I would go after them in some legalistic fashion, like say “cut your hair, take a bath” kind of thing, and we played a little game, it went on for about a month where I refused to participate in their game, I just kept teaching the Word of God and we began to notice, gee, they took a shower, the smell isn’t around today, and then pretty soon they started dressing properly, and then gosh, the hair got straightened out, and all of it without saying a thing, all we kept on doing was teaching the Word of God, teaching the Word of God, I’m not playing your game, you play mine, I’m teaching the Word. And so they came and they were hungry, and today they’ve straightened out, but as they told me, they went through some very, very painful adjustments because they had gone out here and shacked up in the Colorado communes and everything was freebie this and we bow to nature and we’re worshiping the Indian gods and going through the coyote or whatever the drugs are that the native Americans had and this was the group and I learned a lot from working with that group, but those are the people running our country. So when you hear screwy ideas it’s this whole group that’s still screwed up and haven’t been straightened out.

So here we go now with Deuteronomy, it’s interfering, and that means by implication cultural standards are constructed by divine providence and revelation… by divine providence and revelation, (“the show and tell”), not by random social dynamics and unguided human interpretations. This puts us on a collision course in a large sense. And finally, and we’ll have to conclude here, finally, Deuteronomy gives a key example, and this is one of the most practical things for your Christian life, Deuteronomy gives a key example of how the Word of God was taught in biblical times, Deuteronomy is a teaching example of Moses teaching the nation why they should be good citizens, why they should follow Yahweh, and it’s neat because, you know, if you want to go into the details, the book of Leviticus does that, Exodus does it in some places, but in the book of Deuteronomy you have him addressing the average person in a nation. He’s saying look, look, here it is, let me give you the big picture. So it’s a wonderful example of how Moses, the prophet of the prophets, actually in practice, in the street, taught the Word of God. He taught its focus and you’ll see this as we go through the text, the focus upon the heart first to motivate behavior second. Behavior comes inside outward, it doesn’t come outward inward. It has to start in the heart and Moses does this. This is what separates Deuteronomy in style from Leviticus, and the book of the covenant in Exodus. Here Moses explains to us the importance of the heart. That’s why he’s so concerned about motivating folks to submit to the authority of Yahweh.

So the focus is upon the heart first to motivate behavior second. It’s comprehensiveness, meaning every area of life is addressed, and this is important because today we have this idea that religion should be kept in the closet. Everybody can come out except the believer. In many organizations it’s the ABC policy, Anybody But Christian. And the point is that the Bible doesn’t allow that; the Bible addresses every area. We’re going to get into banking and economics here in the Deuteronomic text; we’re going to get into public health. When I was going through the book of Deuteronomy the day before Christmas, the Sunday before Christmas I was bound and determined I was going to go verse by verse and what was it I wound up with before Christmas one time—latrines. Now you figure out how to do a Christmas sermon on latrines, but that’s what happened and those are the kind of things that are addressed in the book of Deuteronomy. Nothing is left out, every area of life.

And finally, third, carrot and stick motivations. Notice, both carrot and stick, the blessings, carrot, and stick cursings, there’s no reluctance to threaten in the Scriptures.

Okay, I recognize we’ve run out a little bit on our time tonight so I want to wrap it up and if you have any questions I’ll be down here at the front, we can talk about it and if there are big significant questions I’ll bring them up against next time and we’ll interact with them.