Sunday, December 10, 2006

Jewish Commentary: Deuteronomy 30:1-10

The Jewish orthodox sages and Rabbis understood the literalness of all of the Old Testament prophecies. Premillennialists and dispensationalists are in good company in seeing the Bible interpreted in a normal, literal hermeneutic. Someday, the eyes of the Jews will be open in seeing the Lord Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah. Meanwhile, their interpretative notes and commentaries on great prophetic passages continue to support the “rightness” of looking for future prophecy being fulfilled actually, and literally!

 Deuteronomy 30:1-10

The Prophesied Restoration of the Jews to the Land 

30:1 When these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse … Punishment is not God’s last word to Israel. When Israel seeks God, and accepts the Messiah, Israel will find mercy at the hands of the Lord, and be brought back to the Land of the fathers.
   You will call them to mind. The Jews will realize there is no place to go but back to the Lord, and the accepting by faith the salvation of their Messiah.

30:2 You will return to the Lord your God. Israel will take to heart the hard lessons learned in the exile. They will come back literally to the Land. How foolish of the allegorists and amillennialists to think that this will not happen, or that it is applied in some “spiritualized” or mystical way to the church!

30:3 The Lord you God will restore you from captivity. He will change your fortune, restore you to your former blessed state. The Talmud renders this, “And the Lord your God will return with your captivity.” When Israel was in exile, God was, so to speak, in exile with him. The Divine Cause which it is Israel’s mission to champion was in eclipse. By “fortune” means prosperity in the land, but it also refers to the fact that they will be blessed in body, heart, mind, soul and spirit!

30:4 The Lord will gather you and bring you back. It has to be a satanic ploy that would spiritualize these thoughts and apply them to the church. This is a literal, actual, historic return back to the “Promised Land.” Though the Israelites be scattered to the four winds of heaven, yet will God re-unite them in the Land of the fathers and work in Israel a change of heart. They will trust their Messiah for salvation and as their King!

30:5 The Lord will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed. This is a pointed and specific promise that must be fulfilled by some future generation of Jews. We are seeing the “beginning of the beginnings” as to what is now happening in Israel. The complete and final return will come about when Jesus the Messiah’s feet touch the Mt. of Olives. He will begin then the 1,000 year Davidic kingdom reign and rule! The prosperity and blessing of the Jews will be greater than their fathers!

30:6 The Lord your God will circumcise your heart. Physical circumcision was an outward command and it was a sign of the Abrahamic covenant. It was hygienic in that circumcision helps because the foreskin is cut away. It shows that the Jewish people are to be clean physically, yes, but more; they are to be clean morally and spiritually. This spiritual circumcision is part of the New covenant that will replace the Mosaic covenant, the Law, as prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-on. The Jews will obey the Lord “with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live.” The words of Jeremiah 31:32, which is the prophecy about the New covenant, “I will put My law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it,” are taken by Rabbi Nachmanides to express this particular teaching of Deuteronomy.

   The heart of the Jews will no longer be closed up, impenetrable, and unreceptive of spiritual teaching. God will help Israel to fulfill its divine purpose. 

30:7 The Lord your God will inflict all these curses. The evil that has fallen on the Jews the last two thousand years will come upon the pagan, Gentile nations who have so persecuted the Jews. This is vengeance (which belongs to the Lord) and it is retribution.

30:8 And you shall again obey the Lord. The New covenant, activated by the Holy Spirit, will be the instrument of Israel’s obedience. Christ, the Messiah, ratified the New covenant by His death on the cross.

30:9 The Lord will again rejoice over you. Notice the word “again.” This cannot be something new for the church age. This is a restoration of “rejoicing” over God’s earthly people, the Jews. He will completely bless them in every area of their existence. This will be carried out by the working of the Messiah in His earthly reign over Jerusalem and over the Holy Land!

30:10 If you obey the Lord your God … with your heart and soul. The word if is the Hebrew word key and is better translated “When” you do this. The conversion of Israel is not in doubt, neither is God holding back His plans, waiting for Israel to respond. These things “will come to pass.” The NAS sees this issue over “if” and correctly translates it in a side note: “For you will obey the Lord your God …”   


    The Pentateuch and Haftorahs.
    Society and Religion in the Second Temple Period, Michael Avi-Yonah and Zvi  Baras (Jerusalem: Massada Publishing, 1977).
    The Messiah Texts, Raphael Patai (Detroit: Wayne State University, 1979).
    Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period, William Green, ed. (Peabody, MS: Hendrickson, 1999).