Understanding Deuteronomy

Understanding Deuteronomy


Key Concepts

  • One God, one people, one sanctuary and one law.
  • God’s law impacts every area of life, and all law is rooted in the Ten Commandments.
  • Obedience is only the beginning of what is expected of God’s people—he wants his people to be in relationship with him.
  • God’s people are to love him.”


Key Word:

Covenant—The primary theme of the entire Book of Deuteron-omy is the renewal of the covenant. Originally established at Mount Sinai, the covenant is enlarged and renewed on the plains of Moab.

Key Verses:

Deuteronomy 10:12, 13; 30:19, 20

“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” (10:12, 13).

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” (30:19, 20).

Key Chapter:

Deuteronomy 27 The formal ratification of the covenant occurs in Deuteronomy 27 as Moses, the priests, the Levites, and all of Israel “take heed and listen, O Israel: This day you have become the people of the LORD your God” (27:9).

Key Terms

Covenant—The covenant here is laid out in a form similar to how international treaty relations were structured in the ancient world. Thus the covenant formalizes the relationship between God and his people. Through this formalized agreement, God continues to reveal himself to his people.

Law—Sometimes called the Torah (erroneously), the law refers to God’s guidelines for his people to stay in relationship with him, to preserve his presence among them, and to imitate his holiness. The Law/Commandments are actually the mitzvot and the Rabbis enumerate 613 of them.

Christ in Deuteronomy

The most obvious reference to Christ in Deuteronomy is found in 18:15: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear.” (See also 18:16–19; Acts 7:37.) Moses spoke these words in his final address to the children of Israel.

How was Moses a type of Christ? He was the only biblical figure other than Christ to fill the three offices of prophet (34:10–12), priest (Ex. 32:31–35), and king (as ruler see 33:4, 5). Both Moses and Christ were in danger of death during childhood. Both were saviors and intercessors. Both were rejected by their brethren.


Deuteronomy is basically the last will of Moses. In this will, he challenged Israel to remain faithful to the covenant, reminded them of their past history, and pointed to their future of blessings or cursings in the land of Canaan, depending upon their belief and behavior. Moses’ speeches (31:24), the recitation of the Song of Moses (31:30–32:43), and Moses’ blessing on the tribes (33:1–29) largely constitute the Book of Deuteronomy. The account of Moses’ death was most probably written by Joshua after the death of Moses.

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