Deuteronomy 31—Will YOU be faithful to YHVH’s commandments?

Deuteronomy 31

Deuteronomy 31:3, YHVH your Elohim … will go over before, and he will destroy these nations. YHVH promised to destroy Israel’s enemies before them. Who or what are your enemies? Do you believe YHVH’s promises here? Some of the enemies we have are a result of our own sinning and our repentance will bring our deliverance from them. But what about attacks that come against us through no fault of our own? What do you do about them? Do you realize who you are in Yeshua, and are you aware of the spiritual power you have as a victorious overcomer by the name and through the blood of Yeshua? (Read Ps 91; Luke 9:1; 10:19; Rom 8:37; Eph 6:10-18; Jas 4:7–10; 1 Pet 5:6–10; 1 John 4:4; Rev 12:11.)

Deuteronomy 31:10–13, You shall read this Torah before all Israel. Verses like this tend to expose the theological confusion that occurs in the minds of many Christian Bible teachers. For example, about this verse, Christian commentator Matthew Henry writes about the need to read the Word of Elohim and that doing so will “help us to keep his commandments.” Yet elsewhere in the same commentary he says that the commandments or laws of YHVH “are done away with.” 

Statements like these are representative of a split and incongruous, “double-speak” thinking on the part of many Christians when it comes to the commandments or laws of Elohim. Some laws, they say, we are to keep (e.g. thou shalt not murder, lie, commit adultery, which they refer to as “the moral law”—a non-biblical term), but other laws we can disobey (e.g. the Sabbath, dietary laws, and biblical feasts, which they refer to as “the ceremonial law”—another non-biblical term). 

Is it possible to have it both ways: to believe that we need to keep the Creator’s commandments, yet, at the same time, teach they are done away with? If so, then what is the meaning of such biblical phrases pertaining to YHVH’s Torah or Word as “forever,” “for a thousand generations,” “the same yesterday today and forever,” “till heaven and earth pass away,” “I change not,” and “think not that I came to destroy the Torah-law?” Is ­YHVH’s Word inconsistent and contradictory, or is this, instead, the case with the thinking of men? Is YHVH’s immutable character flawed with regard to keeping his Word, promises and standards or is man the one at fault?

In reality, we need to ask ourselves an important question: Do we have a high enough view of YHVH Elohim and fear him and tremble at his Word (Isa 66:2), or have we, in reality, demoted the veracity of his Word by contorting YHVH and his Word to fit the mindset of changeable and inconsistent man (which the Scriptures define as idolatry)? 

Moreover, have we, by denying the validity of some aspects of YHVH’s Word, bought into the lie that the serpent proffered at the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden when he told the man and the woman that YHVH really did not mean what he said and that humans can take the “have it your own way” and “pick and choose” approach when it comes to obeying the Word of YHVH (a philosophy that forms the basis for the religious movement called secular humanism, which is at the heart of all the religions of the world—including much of Christianity—except the true religion of the Bible)?

In reality, how many aspects of Christian theology are no more than a thinly veiled version of the religion of humanism in disguise? 

These are tough questions that the saints who are citizens of the nation of Israel (Eph 2:11–19) need to ponder seriously. At the same time, let’s not forget the words of Yeshua in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my [Torah] commandments” and the words of the apostle in 1 John 2:5–5, “He that says, ‘I know him,’ and does not keep his [Torah] commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. But whosoever keeps his Word in him truly is the love of Elohim perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”

Let’s be honest with ourselves. The bottom line reason why man has a hard time submitting to all of YHVH’s commandments is nowhere stated more concisely in the Bible than in Romans 8:7,

[T]he carnal mind is enmity against Elohim: for it is not subject to the law of Elohim, neither indeed can be.

Deuteronomy 31:12, Gather together the people. … and the small children. A fundamental aspect of Hebrew culture is the teaching of the children. This is the primary responsibility of the parents as stated in the Shema (Deut 6:7) and secondarily that of the community of faith. Many parents have all but handed their YHVH-ordained charge in this area over to others: the church and the government educational system, day care, the baby sitter, etc. Additionally, often the children take the backseat in the education in many churches and Messianic congregations. Often pastors struggle to find volunteers to help in the children’s ministry. Is this right? Is this the heart of the Father? It certainly is not the heart of Yeshua who went out of his way to minister to the little children (Mark 10:13–16; see also Matt 18:1–5 and Mark 9:33–37).

Deuteronomy 31:16, This people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land. Israel’s departure from her covenantal agreements with YHVH was assured. Moses prophesied it. But repentance (verse 2) was always an option—an open door of return back to right relationship with YHVH. Have you repented of your straying from his commands whether out of ignorance or purposely? Have you repented of breaking his Sabbath command, of not observing and sanctifying his annual feasts, of desecrating the temple of your body by not following his biblical dietary laws, to list a few things? Though you may have broken YHVH’s laws in ignorance, doing so is still sin whether in ignorance or not and repentance is still needed.

Deuteronomy 31:16, Behold you will rest. Should this verse read as it is written, “Behold you will lie with your forefathers, but this people will rise up …” or, “You will [die and] lie with your forefathers you will [then] rise up.” According to the Talmud this verse is so ambiguous in its grammatical construction that were it not for the Masoretic cantillation marks (which are not found on a Torah scroll, but are based on scribal tradition) the latter reading could just as easily be the correct one and thus giving another scriptural source for the concept of the resurrection of the dead (this is according to The ArtScroll Kestenbaum Edition Tikkun—the Torah Readers Compendium, p. 485). Adding additional insight into this passage is the Aramaic Targum Pseudo Jonathan,which renders this text as follows: “And YHVH said to Mosheh, ‘Behold, thou wilt lie down in the dust with thy fathers, and thy soul shall be treasured in the treasury of eternal life with thy fathers: but this wicked people will rise up and go astray …’” Discuss the implications of the alternate rendering of this verse with regard to the resurrection of the dead.

Deuteronomy 31:18, And I will conceal my face. YHVH making his face to shine upon his people (Num 6:25; Ps 80:3, 19) or conversely concealing or turning his face away from his people is a Hebraism meaning “to be in the favor or disfavor of YHVH.” He said that he would hide his face from those who disobey him and do evil (Deut 31:17, 18; 32:20; Ps 132:10; Ezek 7:22; 39:29.) 

Are your prayers being answered? Or do you sense that the heavens are brass (a symbol of judgment)? 

If things are not going well for you in your life, perhaps you need to search out those areas in your life where evil still exists. Ask YHVH to reveal them to you. Then repent, make changes and bring your life back into alignment with YHVH’s Word.

Deuteronomy 31:20, They shall have eaten and filled themselves. Compare this verse with Yeshua’s admonition to the believers at Laodicea in Revelation 3:14–22. What are the parallels? To what degrees do these prophetic warnings apply to the American church?

Deuteronomy 31:23, He gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge. Upon Moses’ passing, YHVH didn’t leave the children of Israel in a leadership vacuum to wander about aimlessly in a confused state. YHVH isn’t the author of confusion! YHVH is the author of godly leadership. He prepares and trains leaders and then raises them up to lead his people in the paths of righteousness leading to his spiritual Promised Land. 

Beware of leaders who raise themselves up and promote themselves. To ensure that we don’t follow unrighteous, self-promoting and greedy leaders, let’s ask ourselves the following questions:

What is the purpose of righteous leadership? (See Eph 4:11–12.) 

What are the qualifications for leadership ? (See 1 Tim 3:1–13.) 

What is the premise of true, Spirit-ordained leadership? (See Matt 23:11.)

Many believers have been hurt by kingdom-building, hypocritical, money-grubbing and self-seeking leaders in the church world and, thus, now trust no one. They pride themselves on being “independent.” Is this good? Did Yeshua ever speak of his sheep as being “lone rangers” or did he refer to them as “a flock?” Does he ever speak of his flock as being shepherdless? 

Of course, Yeshua is the Chief Shepherd, but does he not also speak of undershepherds or humans shepherds who faithfully work under him? (Read John 10:1–18.) In this regard, consider the following:

Should not a flock that is under the guidance of a true servant-shepherd of Yeshua be a place of safety or harm? 

Is being outside the flock a place of safety or harm? (See Matt 18:12.) 

Yeshua says that those who are outside of a flock are “lost” and have “gone astray” and are in danger of perishing (Matt 18:11–14). Are you part of a literal flock of believers, or have you spiritualized this passage away to justify your independent (rebellious?) spirit against YHVH-ordained authority?

Deuteronomy 31:26, Put it beside the ark. Think of a Torah scroll leaning up against the ark. What is this a spiritual picture of? To answer this, let’s recall what YHVH instructed Moses to place inside the ark. The ark contained the two stone tablets with the ten statements, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the golden pot of manna. Each of these items in a unique and identifiable way pointed to various aspects of Yeshua the Messiah. The Torah s scroll leaning up against the ark, in one a very real way, illustrates the fact that without Yeshua the Torah cannot stand on its own. It will fall over. This is true for several reasons. Man can neither understand the Written Torah without a understanding who Yeshua, the Living Torah-Word of Elohim is, nor can man live up to the righteous standards of the Written Torah without the example, teachings and spiritual help of Yeshua and his Spirit.

Deuteronomy 31:29, In the latter days. What is the prophetic significance of the phrase in the latter days as used in this verse? Moses is prophesying about apostasy (turning away from the truth) here. (Compare this with the prophecies of 2 Thess 2:1–12, 2 Pet 2 and Jude.) How were these prophecies fulfilled in the second century of the common era? How are they being fulfilled now?


3 thoughts on “Deuteronomy 31—Will YOU be faithful to YHVH’s commandments?

  1. We consider ourselves to be part of your flock. Thank you for your faithful service, Shepard.
    Shalom Sonja & John

  2. Good morning, Nathan & Shabbat Shalom! Question for you regarding “at the end of every 7 years…” (forgive me if you’ve answered this elsewhere). Have we lost track of this cycle? I’d love to re-incorporate this into my own practice, but if there’s a rhythm in place, I’d rather join the dance.
    Chag Sameach to you and your dearly loved family! ~W

    • Yes. The seven year cycle is a part of the 50 year jubilee cycle, and this cycle has been lost. In modern Israel, I they are back on such a cycle, but it started, correct me if I’m wrong, when Israel became a nation in 1948. This had nothing to do with the exact timing of ancient cycles, which have long been lost.

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