Deuteronomy – Devarim – Moses, Joshua and Chips the War Dog
Huh ? There’s nothing in the Scriptures about a war dog or a Disney movie. OK, well, just hang on a minute and we’ll explain.
The title ‘Devarim’ is both the Hebrew name for this 5th book of the Bible, as well as the first Torah portion of that book. The title ‘Devarim’ comes from the Hebrew of the opening phrase ‘These the words’. ‘Deutoronomy’ is the English rendering of the Greek ‘deutoro nomos’/ ‘deutoronomion’ or ‘second law’. This is not literally a ‘second law’ but rather a ‘reminder or reciting or repeating of the law’. It is also referred to in Judaic circles as the Mishneh Torah or ‘repeating of the Torah’- not to be confused with Maimonides’ Mishnah Torah.
So what’s that got to do with an old Disney movie?
Well, for those that know the movie, the plot is about a young army recruit, an old trainer and a german shepherd that just can’t seem to ‘cut the muster’. But at the last minute, this ‘washed-out’ pooch is the only option and must pass the final test the next day. So all night long, the old trainer (he’s not allowed to go to the testing site with the other two) sits with the recruit and the dog, reminding them of all that they need to remember, going over and over their training one last time. Over and over the old trainer keeps saying, ‘ oh yeah, and this is the most important thing . . .’
Well, every time the book of Deutoronomy rolls around in the study cycle, that movie comes to mind. If you’ll allow us to make these analogies – The good ol’ pooch is Israel, the green recruit is Joshua and the old trainer ? Well, that would be Moses. And throughout the Book of Devarim, Moses is reminding the people over and over of their training, and all that they need to remember as they head into the Promised Land the the battles ahead. And just like the old trainer in the film, Moses is not allowed go to with them, so he is reminding them one last time.
There is much in the opening chapters (as well as through the rest of the book) that we need to remember. Things like “To you it was shown that you might know that YHVH, He is God; there is no other besides Him”; or “”Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that YHVH, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” And don’t forget “When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days, you will return to YHVH your God and listen to His voice.”
But the one that stands out most for us begins in Deuteronomy 5:1, for this is the description of what we should understand and recognize as ‘The New Covenant’. What ? That’s right, The New Covenant. In verse two Moses states- ‘God made a covenant with us at Horeb . . . this is not the covenant He made with our fathers’. Why ? For this is the New Covenant. For the first and only time in history, The God of Creation enters into a covenant relationship with a nation He called out and formed. Up to this point, every covenant made by God has been with an individual or a couple; Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, even Hagar and Ishmael. But now, God has formed a family and set up His new household with all the guidelines that are needed for and by this New family . . . the family promised to Abraham.
The English word ‘new’, in reference to ‘new commandment, new covenant or new testament, appears over a dozen times in the Apostolic Writings/New Testament, and only once is it the greek word for ‘new’ as in brand new, never existed before. It is the word ‘neos’, from which we get words like neo-natal. Every other instance uses the greek word ‘kainos’ which means to ‘renew, refurbish or make like new again’. That one instance for ‘brand new’ – neos – is in Hebrews 12:24 where it states ‘ Yeshua/Jesus is the mediator ( intercessor) of the NEW Covenant.
So what does that mean ? We are not going to presume to be able to give a comprehensive answer here, but to this one point we will speak. Yeshua is the intercessor of this New covenant given at Horeb, which is a type and shadow of Messiah and not the other way around. The blood of bulls and goats does not forgive sin, but rather an annual reminder of the sin (Hebrews 10:3) that would be dealt with at a point in the future by the Promised Messiah. But until that prophesied time and event would come, the sincere obedience from a grateful heart – the circumcision of the heart – coupled with Yeshua’s/Jesus’ intercession (Job 16:19) looked forward to the ultimate reconciliation and atonement being made by the Promised Messiah, and all in the Father’s perfect timing. Abraham’s faith was reckoned unto him as righteousness. Abraham was saved the same way we all are – faith in the Word of God and the Blood of The Lamb of God – Messiah Yeshua. ‘For he (Abraham) looked forward to seeing My day’, said Yeshua.
The New Covenant ? Torah. The intercessor for this Covenant ? Yeshua, the Living Word.”
Meanwhile, back in the movie, Chips the wayward german shepherd finally ‘gets it’, and performs just as the old trainer had hoped. Under the tutelage of the ‘old trainer’ and the leadership and relationship with the ‘recruit-turned-soldier’, Chips is transformed into all he was meant to be.
The same can be true for all who are made part of the citizenship of Israel through the work of Messiah Yeshua on the cross. Being led by the Holy Spirit through the teachings of Moses, the Apostles and Prophets, and Yeshua Himself – the commander of the Hosts of Heaven – we can be transformed into all we were meant to be – for we were meant to be like Him and with Him.
For with the heart man believes, and with the mouth confesses that Yeshua/Jesus is Lord and that YHVH raised Him from the dead, and then you shall be saved. Time is short, and the ‘test’ could come sooner than you think. Are you ready?
Shalom – J & R