Many of the events in the Old Testament are God’s preview of the events in the New Testament and most of those events pointed forward to God’s Son coming to earth as the Messiah and His personal sacrifice as my Savior.
In the Old Testament, Christ is concealed, in the New Testament Christ is revealed. Jesus confirmed this in Luke 24:27. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
There are at least forty quotes from Deuteronomy in the New Testament and Jesus quoted from that book when He was tested by Satan for forty days.
In the early chapters of Deuteronomy, Moses and some two to three million Israelites are on the East bank of the Jordan River, waiting to cross over and possess the Promised Land. God has a few things to say to them before they cross over. First, He directed Moses to recount the wilderness journey from where they are now back to where it began forty years before in Egypt. Then he was to restate the Law of God, given at Mount Sinai.
A new generation had been born in the wilderness and had not experienced Egypt or the Red Sea crossing and were not present at the first stating of the law forty years earlier. All those who were over twenty years of age at the time of the first stating of the law had died in the wilderness, all except Joshua and Caleb. Moses could not enter the land, he would die east of the Jordan River and God would bury him, no man knows where. Joshua and Caleb would enter the land as the only senior citizens, both being over sixty years of age.
I want to go back to a scene in Exodus 32 on Mt. Sinai. It’s between the Lord in His wrath and Moses in his intercession. It shows a striking contrast between law and grace.
The first tablets of the Law set forth Law without grace. The Children of Israel had broken the Law and God’s holiness, reflected in the law, demanded their destruction. Only God’s infinite grace could also intervene in behalf of the sinner.
Exodus 32:7-10: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:
8: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
9: And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
10: Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.
11: And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?
12: Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
13: Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
14: And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.”
Moses’ intercession before God on behalf of the sinning people pictures Christ’s intercession on behalf of the believer. Christ confirmed this in His prayer to the Father in John 17, when He asked that God, in His grace, provide “an Advocate with the Father.”
The apostle John also records this. 1 John 2:1-2. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” While the law condemns, grace forgives and justifies.
In Deuteronomy chapter 10, Moses is rehearsing the original giving of the stone tablets of the law on Mt. Sinai, the ones we call the ten commandments. Many people today view them as the "ten suggestions." The Children of Israel had sinned and Moses threw the first two tablets down and broke them to demonstrate that the people were now under the curse of the broken Law. As we just read, God wanted to destroy the whole nation and start over with Moses but Moses’ plea for mercy was respected by God and God, in His Divine Grace, wrote the second set of stone tablets and reconfirmed the broken covenant.
Deuteronomy 10:1-5. "At that time the LORD said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood.
2: And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark.
3: And I made an ark of acacia wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand.
4: And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me.
5: And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the LORD commanded me."
God in His mercy had reconfirmed the covenant with the calf-worshipping Israelites at Mt. Sinai. If man’s legal customs of that day had been followed, duplicate copies of the tablets would have been kept by the two parties to the covenant for their future reference. These would have ordinarily been stored by each party in safe places, or sanctuaries, but in this case only one sanctuary was involved since God was the maker of the covenant between God and Israel and God had His sanctuary in Israel.
The second tablets contained the same exact wording but are in contrast to the broken old ones.
The first tablets are referred to four times in the first four verses to show that contrast. Scripture connects first things with the natural and connects second things with the spiritual.
The apostle Paul made a similar contrast between the natural and the spiritual in
I Corinthians 15:45-49. “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam (Christ) was made a quickening spirit.
46: Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. [Same progression here as in the giving of the law.]
47: The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
48: As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49: And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”
The golden-calf episode just served to illustrate how everything connected with the natural man breaks down in rebellion and sin. The first tablets give us a picture of the Law apart from grace. When they were broken by the people, they condemned them to death.
Moses threw them down and broke them in the sight of all the people to demonstrate that man was under the curse of the broken law. Deuteronomy 9:17. “And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes.”
The new tablets are a picture of the new covenant yet to come, with the "law of God” engraved on human hearts as a result of Christ's redemptive work and the giving of the Holy Spirit.
Jeremiah 31:33-34. “ But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34: And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
This is echoed in the New Testament in Hebrews 8:10.“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:”
God instructed Moses to put the new tablets in an ark of acacia wood covered with gold. The ark made of wood pictures Christ in His humanity and placing the tablets in there points to Christ as the Perfect Keeper of the Law. The gold covering is symbolic of Christ’s deity.
The writer to the Hebrews mentions this in Hebrews 9:3-5: “And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 4: Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5: And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat;”
What is true in Christ can also be true in those who are His own. Those who are truly His own are in Him positionally and can abide in Him practically.
Where are the tablets of the law now? I don’t know physically, but symbolically they’re in the hearts of those who know God and trust in Christ as their Savior. The Apostle Paul wrote, in Romans 7:22. “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:”
God’s covenant will eventually be realized in Israel’s heart, as individuals and as a nation, in a future day.
Deuteronomy 10:6-7. “And the children of Israel took their journey from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera: there Aaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest's office in his stead. 7: From thence they journeyed unto Gud-go-dah; and from Gud-go-dah to Jot-bath, a land of rivers of waters.”
These events took place long after the episode of the golden calf and the renewal of the covenant. They’re inserted here in connection with God’s grace which is pictured in the giving of the second tablets of the law.
The first event is the death of Aaron who was the first priest. He represented Christ exercising the priesthood in relation to the people’s wilderness needs. The second is the succession of Eleazar to the high priesthood. He prefigures Christ as our High Priest in relation to our spiritual inheritance and also represents all that Scripture calls "good things to come." Hebrews 9:11. “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;”
God had chosen Joshua to succeed Moses as the leader. He was to stand before Eleazer, the high priest, who would inquire of the Lord for Joshua so that he might have complete knowledge of the Lord’s will concerning guiding the people and allotting their inheritance. Numbers 27:18-21. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; 19: And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. 20: And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. 21: And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation."
Eleazar recieved complete knowledge from God and conveyed God’s words to the Children of Israel as to the direction of their lives and to their inheritance. He pre-figures Christ as our High Priest, Who has complete knowledge given by divine light, of "the divine inheritance" and Who allots all His people their appointed place in the spiritual inheritance.
Deuteronomy 10:7 speaks of a land of rivers of waters. Those waters picture God as the source of abundant blessings for His people on their journey to the Promised Land.
Christ used a similar illustration concerning the giving of the Holy Spirit to the believer. John 4:14; “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
And, again in John 7:37-39, He said; “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38: He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Now notice what he says in the next verse: 39: (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” The Holy Spirit is the member of the Godhead Who is with the believer in Christ today and indwells the believer.
I want to read one more verse in this passage. Deuteronomy 10:12.
Deuteronomy 10:12: “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”
Moses paraphrased the first two commandments in this verse. He told the people this is what God desired from the Children of Israel in that day. God desires the same today from those who profess to be Children of God through faith in the shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.
He wants to be our only God and He wants us to serve Him with all our heart and all our soul. That sounds like an unbeatable deal to me, God as my God, Jesus as my Savior, the Holy Spirit to guide me, and a mansion in heaven for eternity. He makes you the same offer.
“BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND YOU WILL BE SAVED!”