The law was to be proclaimed

Fredi Winkler

According to Deuteronomy 31:10-13, the law was to be proclaimed to the entire people of Israel every seventh year on the occasion of the Feast of Tabernacles. At that time, ordinary people probably couldn’t read, and copies were unavailable. In this sense, we are truly privileged today: almost everyone can read and write.

This is the reason that God gave specific customs and feast days to His people: so that they would be reminded again and again of God’s great deeds and His commandments. For example, God used Passover to remind them of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt (Ex 12—13).

In Exodus 13:9-16, God says that these observances and their customs should be a sign on their hand and a memorial between their eyes. And in Deuteronomy 6, He speaks again of the sign on their hand and the memorial between their eyes. In addition, He says, “You shall write them [My commands] on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (v. 9).

Later, in Judaism, tefillin probably originated from these Scriptures. The words, written on paper, are bound in a leather box on the forehead, literally between the eyes, and on the hand. However, the true meaning is recorded in Deuteronomy 6:6: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.”

Deuteronomy 11:18-20 emphatically repeats the same thing: “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul.” It’s a command about the inside of a person, not something external. Sin and disobedience to God always begin with the eyes. That was certainly the case with Eve. She saw…! The second step is action. She reached out and took the forbidden fruit. That’s why everything we see and do should pass through the “filter” of God’s Word.

It’s also evident from Proverbs 7:1-3, that these ordinances really don’t refer to something outward, but to sometime internal: “My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”

In Jeremiah 31:31-34, the prophet speaks of God forging a New Covenant with Israel, saying, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (v. 33).

The author of Hebrews references this passage from Jeremiah, connecting it to the faithful of the New Covenant, which Jesus concluded with His followers at the Last Supper. The New Covenant is about a Spirit-driven transformation of our views, as Paul says: “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:2). And according to 1 John 2:27, it is the anointing (that is, the Holy Spirit) that instructs and guides us correctly.

However, the final and perfect fulfillment of the promise of Jeremiah 31 will not come until Israel recognizes the Lord.

News from Israel - 11/2019

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