THE DEUTERONOMIC COVENANT
                                   By Dr. Renald E. Showers

The Background Of The Covenant
    Two significant things should be observed concerning the Deuteronomic Covenant. The
first is the background of the covenant. This covenant was established by God with the
nation of Israel after the establishment of the Mosaic Covenant (the Law), and it was sepa-
rate from the Mosaic Covenant. Deuteronomy 29:1 states, “These are the words of the
covenant, which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the
land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.” (A comparison of
Exodus 19 and 20 with Deuteronomy 5 indicates that Horeb and Sinai are two different
names for the same mountain, the mountain where God established the Mosaic Covenant
with Israel.)
    In preparation for the establishment of the Deuteronomic Covenant, God made promises
of blessing and cursing to the nation of Israel. In Deuteronomy 28:1-14 God promised that
if Israel obeyed the Mosaic Law, He would bless the nation abundantly and make it the
head nation of the world. But then God warned that if Israel disobeyed the Mosaic Law, He
would curse the nation abundantly with such things as drought, famine, pestilence, foreign
oppression, captivity, and worldwide dispersion (Deuteronomy 28:15-68).
    Having given these preparatory promises, God entered into the Deuteronomic Covenant
relationship with Israel. In Deuteronomy 29:10-13 Moses said to Israel, “Ye stand this day,
all of you, before the LORD your God: your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your
officers, with all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and thy sojourner who is in
thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water; that thou shouldest
enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which the LORD thy God
maketh with thee this day; that He may establish thee today for a people unto himself, and
that he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy
fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”
    God established the Deuteronomic Covenant at the end of Israel’s 40 years of wilder-
ness wondering, just a short time before the nation was to invade Canaan (Deuteronomy
29:5-8). The place of its establishment was the land of Moab (Deuteronomy 29:1), east of
the Dead Sea across from the land of Canaan. The parties of the covenant were God, the
new generation of the people of Israel that was to invade Canaan, and succeeding genera-
tions of the nation. In Deuteronomy 29:14-15 Moses said to Israel, “Neither with you only
do I make this covenant and this oath, but with him who stands here with us this day before
the LORD our God, and also with him who is not here with us this day.” As a new genera-
tion was about to begin a new chapter in Israel’s history, it had to be reminded in a solemn
way of Israel’s special covenant relationship with Jehovah. This reminder appears to have
been the purpose of the Deuteronomic Covenant.

The Promises Of The Covenant
  The second significant thing to be observed concerning the Deuteronomic Covenant is

the fact that God made very significant promises to Israel in conjunction with the establish-
ment of the covenant (Deuteronomy 30:1-10). Moses indicated that these promises will be
fulfilled when all the blessings and curses promised in Deuteronomy 28 have been fulfilled
and when Israel genuinely returns to God and obeys Him: “And it shall come to pass, when
all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before
thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, to which the LORD thy God
hath driven thee, and shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice accord-
ing to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with
all thy soul” (Deuteronomy 30:1-2).
    First, God promised to gather the scattered Israelites from all over the world: “That then
the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return
and gather thee from all the nations where the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. If any of
thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from there will the LORD thy God
gather thee, and from there will he fetch thee” (Deuteronomy 30:3-4).
    Second, God promised to restore the Israelites to the land of their ancestors: “And
the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou
shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers”
(Deuteronomy 30:5).
    Third, God promised to regenerate the Israelites of that future time and their descen-
dants, thereby causing them to love Him totally: “And the LORD thy God will circumcise
thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and
with all thy soul, that thou mayest live” (Deuteronomy 30:6). Circumcision of the heart is the
Old Testament designation for regeneration (compare Romans 2:29).
    Fourth, God promised to judge Israel’s enemies: “And the LORD thy God will put all
these curses upon thine enemies, and on them who hate thee, who persecuted thee”
(Deuteronomy 30:7).
    Fifth, God promised that the Israelites of that future time will obey Him: “And thou shalt
return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command
thee this day” (Deuteronomy 30:8).
    Sixth, God promised to prosper those future Israelites greatly: “And the LORD thy God
will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit
of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good; for the LORD will again rejoice over thee
for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers” (Deuteronomy 30:9).
    Centuries after God made these promises of the Deuteronomic Covenant to Israel, He
repeated a number of them to later generations of Israelites through the Prophets Jeremiah
(Jeremiah 32:36-44) and Ezekiel (36:22-38).
    The next article will consider the significance of the promises of the Deuteronomic



To top