Deuteronomy 34 Commentary
Deuteronomy closes with chapter 34. The chapter actually closes the first five books of the Bible collectively called ‘The Law’ – The Torah.
Moses climbs mount Pisgah. From there he could see vast sections of the land that the LORD had given to Abraham. In fact, it is this land, and this information about the land, that is the main attraction here. The long trip from Egypt is about this same piece of land.
Deuteronomy therefore ends by looking forward to a settled Israel. The occupation must begin now. The Christian walk is connected here – a heaven-ward walk. In the current context, it’s a walk back to the Garden of tranquility. The superlatives used to describe the Promised Land are all descriptive of a walk back to the Garden of Eden. But this is all symbolic of the Christian walk with the realities of heaven yet to be experienced in the fullness of time.
Deuteronomy ends here.
The Torah began by introducing God and His creation. Man was at the center of it. Times and periods are undefined but we can look at a peaceful pre-sin existence in the Garden of Eden. The peaceful and blissful existence in the presence of God was disrupted by corruption and sin. Satan is also introduced.
The blessings that the LORD had installed on the human race (Genesis chapter 1 verse 28) had been withdrawn by the end of chapter 3. There began a reign of terror and corruption. Cain commits the first ever murder and for the very first time man begins to experience physical death.
God, and not Adam, holds the very first recorded funeral – during which mercy is shown to Cain. The conflict between justice and mercy leads to Cain getting chased away but the seal of protection is a revelation of God’s mercy.
Noah comes into the picture as the LORD seeks to re-establish a peaceful existence with man. But the truce cannot last as man runs to sin again. The LORD scatters man at Babel. Abraham is also scattered from there. Again the LORD seeks to restore the original blessing through Abraham and through him the entire humanity.
Isaac and then Jacob all carry the promise of the LORD to again bless mankind. Out of Jacob a nation is born. Genesis ends here and Exodus finds the holy nation enslaved in Egypt. Moses shows up and the LORD brings about a great deliverance through him.
After two years of freedom the nation is ready to enter the Promised Land. The Book of Numbers tells us of failure and consequently the nation is detained in the wilderness for 40 years.
Between Exodus and Numbers lies Leviticus. It lists various priestly laws for sanctuary worship activities. The sanctuary is man’s preferred means of interacting with his God. The holiness of God demanded that even this imperfect human model of worship is perfect. That is the purpose of Leviticus.
After 40 years the nation is now ready to enter the Promised Land. But Moses must remind Israel of the laws and key lines in the law. That is the essence of Deuteronomy. The last Chapter of Deuteronomy invites us to look at the land that the LORD had promised. It closes the Torah by looking forward. It looks forward to resting (Sabbath) in the Promised Land. In this way it points to the LORD of the Sabbath – the LORD JESUS CHRIST. Amen and Amen.