The People of God
In Deut. 27:9, 10 it appears that Moses brought the priests to the podium and issued a joint statement, for we read,
9 Then Moses and the Levitical priests spoke to all Israel, saying, “Be silent and listen, O Israel! This day you have become a people for the Lord your God. 10 You shall therefore obey the Lord your God and do His commandments and His statutes which I command you today.”
This is, of course, a summarized statement of what happened. In fact, all of these speeches appear to be the notes compiled by Eleazar the scribe as Moses was speaking. The scribe wrote down all the main points and laws without embellishment. So in this case, we are not told how Moses called the priests to the front, nor are we told of any last-minute instructions that Moses might have given them. We are told only the essential fact that they came up and issued this joint statement to confirm the word of Moses.
Being God’s People is Conditional
As for the statement itself, it says two things. First, Israel that day had “become a people for the Lord.” The second is that their status as God’s people was conditional upon their obedience to the law. Were they not already His people? Forty years earlier when the law was first given at Sinai, God told them in Exodus 19:5,
5 Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples; for all the earth is Mine.
It is most striking that Israel’s status as “My people” is clearly conditional upon their obedience. They had promised obedience when they agreed to the terms of the Old Covenant, but the record shows how often they were disobedient during their wilderness sojourn. In fact, in the first year and a half leading up to the report of the twelve spies, they had already failed ten times (Num. 14:22). This continued throughout the remaining 38 years in the wilderness.
God was looking for obedience all that time, but every time He put them to the test, the people failed the test. With that in mind, the statement of the priests takes on new meaning. It presumed that the Israelites were now in obedience. Their fathers had already died in the wilderness, except for Caleb and Joshua. This was a new generation which qualified sufficiently to enter the Kingdom.
We are not told what sort of test they might have passed, unless it was about their obedience in making war against the giants on the east side of the Jordan. The point is that their obedience made them the people of God, whereas their fathers had failed. Hence, they were “the church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38), even in their disobedience, but they were not really God’s people until they were obedient and complied with the commandments and statutes of God.
The People of God today
When we compare that first church with the second church that emerged in the New Testament (that is, the church under Pentecost), the parallel is obvious. Israel’s 40 years under Moses was like the New Testament church in its 40-Jubilee “wilderness” period (40 x 49 = 1,960 years) under Christ. In both cases the church failed its tests on account of their lawless hearts.
Even today we see much evidence of this, for many denominations openly put away the law as an evil thing, for their hearts remain in disagreement with the heart of God. The people in those denominations are left with little or no teaching from the law and have little choice but to go along with the views that they have been taught.
Yet we are now at the end of the 40-Jubilee wilderness experience, and from a prophetic standpoint God is now giving us a second law. Deuteronomy means “the second law.” The first law was the Exodus law, given to us when Christ brought us out of the house of bondage in the feast of Passover. The second law is now given to us at the end of our wilderness journey, and the main purpose of our present study is to give understanding to the church today, so they may also be God’s people. This is the third church, the church under the anointing of the feast of Tabernacles.
In the course of history we stand at the border of the Promised Land, getting ready to enter the Kingdom, where we may implement all the laws, statutes, and judgments that we have learned in the wilderness. Joshua the Ephraimite must lead us into the Kingdom. When Jesus (Yeshua, or “Joshua”) came the first time, He came of the tribe of Judah in order to claim His throne rights of the House of David. But Joshua the Ephraimite, also called Hoshea (Num. 13:8), is the one called to lead us into the Kingdom.
This is why there must be a second coming of Christ (Joshua). In His second appearance He comes of Joseph (specifically Ephraim) in order to do the second work of Christ. This was prophesied when Joshua was consecrated to lead Israel after the death of Moses. I wrote more fully of these things in my book, The Laws of the Second Coming.
In this generation God is raising up His people and training them in His ways to set up the Kingdom of God to replace the existing order of nations in the world. To accomplish this, men and women must be taught the book of Deuteronomy, for these are the laws of the Kingdom of God. These are the laws that must replace the laws of men. Those who are trained in the book of Deuteronomy will have the special skills that have been missing ever since the church put away the law many centuries ago.
The church has seen many revivals over the centuries, where the Spirit of God has been poured out. These occasions have changed the lives of many individuals for the better. But none of those revivals made a permanent change in the governments of nations. Some were powerful enough to change the course of nations temporarily, and for this we are grateful. But the laws of men continued to dominate national life, because even Spirit-filled Christians failed to study the law or to understand the book of Deuteronomy.
I realize that God has established a time for every purpose under heaven. In past years the four beasts of Daniel 7 were still given dominion over the earth. Likewise, the church was still in its wilderness journey. So the time had not yet come for the second law to emerge as a prophetic revelation to the people of God. But history has now progressed to the point where the last beast is dying and the church has reached the end of its wilderness journey.
The time has come for the people of God to rise up above the church and to take the lead in advocating the laws of the Kingdom as an alternate life style to what the world says is just or good or acceptable behavior. Let the priests, therefore, stand with Moses once again and say, “Be silent and listen, O Israel! This day you have become a people for the Lord your God. You shall therefore obey the Lord your God and do His commandments and His statutes.”
When the priests come into agreement with Moses, then we know that the time of the Kingdom of God is near. Because we have now arrived at that time in history, I expect to see many priests rise up to stand with Moses now and in the days ahead.