Friday, 25 April 2014

Comments on Deuteronomy 30:1-14

There are some comments in this article that I want to articulate and bring to the table with respect to this passage.

"30 When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, 2 and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, 3 then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes[a] and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. 4 Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. 5 He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors. 6 The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. 7 The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. 8 You will again obey the Lord and follow all his commands I am giving you today. 9 Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, 10 if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it."

It had come to my attention that this passage is seen as a Messianic passage by the some of the counter-missionaries and of course even by some of the Jews who are more of the lay apologist. I say lay apologist in the sense that they aren't counter missionaries, but nevertheless will not hesitate to tackle Christian objections.

To the best of my knowledge, I was informed that Deuteronomy 30 in question speaks of the circumcision of the heart, much like Jeremiah and takes place after the exile.

Yisroel Blumenthal in the Elephant and the Suit articulates what Deuteronomy 30:1-10 refers to with respect to the New Covenant. Here is part of what he said:
"This passage in Deuteronomy clearly teaches that Israel’s repentance is the precursor of the Messianic age, this passage teaches that repentance is efficacious while Israel is still in exile, and this passage clearly teaches that the Law of Moses, as Moses taught it, is going to be observed in the Messianic era. Each of these issues is central to the debate between Judaism and Christianity." (Yisroel Blumenthal: http://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/the-elephant-and-the-suit/) My apologies if I misunderstood your points Rabbi Blumenthal.

Yehuda Yisrael also believes Ezekiel 36 refers to the New Covenant in the following video he made in response to Michael Brown (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61rvvdG1Yh4). This is relevant because it ties in with the timing of the New Covenant inauguration and connects back to the inauguration in Deuteronomy 30.

I also later enquired as to what Yehuda's position was on the subject of Deuteronomy 30 and Ezekiel 36 on the video in the comments. This is what was said:

So I get clarification Yehuda, Are you saying that Deuteronomy 30 and Ezekiel 36 refer to the Messianic era? I remember you and I spoke on this with each other on Paltalk about that briefly and you mentioned when the circumcision would take place.
Reply
 · 


Yes they refer to the Messianic Era. Neither passage says anything about "the circumcision of the heart" aka the New Covenant, occurring before the ingathering of the exiles. This flies in the face of Dr. Brown's false assertion that the New Covenant/the Messiah had to be made before the destruction of the of the Holy Temple. Clearly, it's the other way around!
Reply
 · 


+Yehuda Yisrael I see, thanks for the clarification.
Reply
 · 

There is also Christian exegesis that Deuteronomy 30 does refer to the New Covenant, with obvious differences to the points made by Rabbinic Jews.Such an example can be found in Adam Clarke's own commentary on this text:
"Verse 6
God will circumcise thine heart - This promise remains yet to be fulfilled. Their heart, as a people, has never yet been circumcised; nor have the various promises in this chapter been ever yet fulfilled. There remaineth, therefore, a rest for this people of God. Now, as the law, properly speaking, made no provision for the circumcision of the heart, which implies the remission of sins, and purification of the soul from all unrighteousness; and as circumcision itself was only a sign of spiritual good, consequently the promise here refers to the days of the Messiah, and to this all the prophets and all the apostles give witness: “for circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter,” Romans 2:29; and the genuine followers of God are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands - by the circumcision of Christ,” Colossians 2:11, Colossians 2:12. Hence we see these promises cannot be fulfilled to the Jews but in their embracing the Gospel of Christ. To look, therefore, for their restoration is idle and nugatory, while their obstinacy and unbelief remain." (http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/view.cgi?book=de&chapter=030)

There are other points he makes on the passage, but I leave you guys to look at his words and judge them, as you are to judge mine.

A point I propose on Deuteronomy 30. There are two exiles which ended with the ingathering of the people themselves, Which exile does this New Covenent take place before or after? The return before the first exile after Solomon's apostasy, or the second exile from Jerusalem in AD70?  The circumcision of the heart and the New Covenant wasn't instigated immediately after the first exile had taken place when the Jews returned to the land of Israel but certainly they were gathered in the Land before the destruction of the second temple and the second exile had taken place some 40 years after the time of Jesus.

Ezekiel 36 mentions the following:
"24 “‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. 30 I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. 32 I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign Lord. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, people of Israel!"

The Jews were in Babylon at this point after being banished from the Land of Israel and their restoration is promised to them, not because of anything they have done, but to have YHWH show his glory to the nations. Sure enough the Jews themselves were brought back to the Land and were allowed to dwell there and build the temple under Zerubabbel's direction, when he was anointed by God to build it.

Now the question is, When did the circumcision of the heart take place? Well in the mid 30s of the first century, The Lord's Supper is the first step, then along comes Jesus' atonement and then there is the taking out the heart of stone and being given a heart of flesh as found in Jeremiah 31:31-34. I have also spoken on Jeremiah 31:31-34 in my response to Asher Meza on a video he did on the New Covenant which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9k5y6gt-OOQ.

I have also written on the subject of what will transpire in the Messianic era with respect to the New Testament and what will happen in the end times. This can be found in Contra Blumenthal here: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/contra-blumenthal-examination-of-contra.html

Read the section "Role of the Temple in the Messianic era" where I articulate my position.

Another point raised by Rabbinic Jews is the claim that Deuteronomy 30:10-14 refutes the notion that only Jesus could fulfill the Law.

One article I throughly recommend on this issue is this article done by Society of Evangelical Arminians, which has an interesting perspective on this particular passage, as Paul quotes part of Deuteronomy 9 and 30 in Romans 10. This is some of what they have said:
"Paul’s quotation of Deuteronomy 30 is on point, because Deuteronomy 30 is not about earning life through the law, but rather God’s promise to give Israel the land and His graciously enabling them to obey and remain in the land.  Theologically, the law brings frustration and fear to unbelievers who cannot obey, but to believers it reminds us of God’s grace and promises.  If we obey, we gain assurance of eternal life.  If we disobey, it points us to Christ, to whom all true believers will turn. " (http://evangelicalarminians.org/pauls-use-of-deuteronomy-30-in-romans-10/)

Hope this article helps.

Answering Judaism.

17th of Feburary 2015 edit. PS. Lay apologist refers to Jews I have encountered on Facebook. Some have their own YouTube accounts.
Some Jews I have spoken to are not apologists in the sense that they go out and do apologetics, but their foundation in Judaism is strong so they could have the potential to be in the apologetics field, in light of the fact their Rabbis have prepared them to answer Christians like me and our points we make.

1 comment:

  1. Just a few points which I think are salient. Wrt the Shema. The trinitarian interpretation of the parsha is "Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is compound unity". The Jewish interpretation is simple. Echad=one- the same as the first number we use when counting and a simple adjective meaning "the only one". There are numerous verses in the Torah and the Tanach which convey the nature of Hashem as being incorporeal and indivisible ie One. The trinitarian interpretation if forced and without any internal evidence.

    Second, wrt to the new covenant. You have offered exactly zero proof that this and the circumcision of the heart took place in first century Judea. I suggest you read the entire chapter of Jeremiah. He is addressing the Jewish people, their rebuilding and redemption. and the references indicate that the events described did not take place after the return from Babylon or at the time of Jesus- these events have not yet taken place- they will in the true messianic age. There are 2 verses that refer to separate houses of Israel and Judah. The house of Israel was not present at the time of the destruction of the first or second temple having been dispersed by the Assyrians. By stating that the covenant will be performed in a united Israel "after those days" we know the reference is to a great event which has not yet transpired. Indeed if the events described by the prophets had taken place at the time of Jesus, why do missionary institutions spend millions of dollars telling non-Christians to know their lord (Jesus) when Hashem says:"And no longer shall one teach his neighbor or [shall] one [teach] his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know Me from their smallest to their greatest, says the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will no longer remember.
    Clearly, this has not yet transpired.

    The only difference between the Mosaic covenant and the covenant referred to by the prophet is the place where the Torah will reside. Originally it was to be in the mouths of the Jewish people (Exod 13:9) ie they were to study and practice doing the mitzvot. When Mashiach comes it will be placed within them, ie it will be a natural way of living. Note; the Torah. The Book of the Covenant will not change - it is everlasting for the Jewish people.
    The last 3 verses of the chapter clearly place this prophetic statement in the Messianic era-

    And the whole valley of the dead bodies and the ash and all the fields until the Kidron Valley, until the corner of the Horse Gate to the east, shall be holy to the Lord; it shall never again be uprooted or torn down forever.
    Jerusalem and the Temple was torn down after Jesus. With the Messian era will come the final ingathering, the restoration of the Third Temple which Jeremiah vows will never be uprooted again.

    ReplyDelete