The Covenant with Israel

God made a covenant with Israel. If Israel would keep their side of the covenant, God would bless them above all other people. But the basis of the covenant was whether or not Israel would obey God's voice.

Deut 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

Deut 28:15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:

The blessings and the curses of the covenant. Blessing if Israel obeyed God's voice, and curses if they did not obey His voice.

But then the question arises, What is the voice of God? The word translated voice in this context is:

06963. lwq qowl, kole or qol {kole};

from an unused root meaning to call aloud; a voice or sound:--+ aloud, bleating, crackling, cry (+ out), fame, lightness, lowing, noise, + hold peace, (pro-)claim, proclamation, + sing, sound, + spark, thunder(-ing), voice, + yell.

It is clearly an audible sound, not a written code. In the previous chapters in Deuteronomy, God had spoken openly to Israel.

De 4:12 And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.

De 4:33 Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?

De 4:36 Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.

De 5:22 These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.
23 And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders;

24 And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth.
25 Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die.
26 For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?
27 Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it.
28 And the LORD heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and the LORD said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken.

Even though God spoke to them openly, they feared to hear His voice, so they asked that Moses be their intermediary. God said that what they said was good thing. Later in chapter 18, God elaborated on the subject.

Deut 18:15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
16 According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
17 And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

Since Israel did not want to hear God's awesome fearful voice, God said He would raise up another prophet like Moses to be His intermediary to His people. And notice the warning: whoever would not hearken to his words, God would require it of them.

The consequences of refusing to obey God's voice, the curses of the covenant

Deut 28:63 And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.
64 And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.
65 And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:
66 And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:
67 In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.

This actually began to happened in 90 AD, and describes the last two millennia of Jewish history. That is undeniable. Because this curse actually fell on Israel in 90 AD, then the disobedience to God's voice that triggered the falling of the curse had to happen before 90 AD.

Here is the progression so far:

1. God commands Israel to obey His voice
2. Israel is afraid of His voice
3. They entreat Moses to act as intermediary
4. God says that's a good idea, so
5. God would send them another prophet, and that prophet would tell Israel what God was saying. Anyone who would not listen to that prophet would answer to God
6. Israel agreed and vowed that they would obey

When the Messiah was expected to come

God had a man named Daniel who was praying to God for Israel's deliverance. God sends an angel and tells Daniel what was going to happen in the future.

Dan 9:20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;
21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

(In this passage, the Hebrew word translated "weeks" is:

07620. ewbv shabuwa`, shaw-boo'-ah or shabuan {shaw-boo'-ah}
also (feminine) shbu.ah {sheb-oo-aw'}; properly, literal, sevened, i.e. a week (specifically, of years):--seven, week.

It is widely accepted that the prophetic time was threescore and two sevens, or 434 years)

This prophecy states exactly when the Messiah would come, using fixed points in time. The prophecy says that 483 years after the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem (not the earlier commandments to rebuild the temple by Cyrus or Darius), the Messiah would come.

Artaxerxes sent forth the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem in 454 BC. Counting forward, using the Babylonian calendar of 360 days in use in Daniels time, precisely 483 years later, to the day, Jesus entered into Jerusalem in His triumphal entry on what we call Palm Sunday. It was the beginning of the week of His death. His reception was a clear indication that the time of the Messiah was commonly anticipated. The crowds knew by Daniels time frame that the day of the Messiah was upon them. They were looking for the Messiah. They hailed Jesus as the son of David, one of the Messiah's titles.

But notice that His death is also prophesied in addition to the exact time of His coming. He will be killed, but not due to His own worthiness to die - "not for himself". His death accomplishes what the prophecy also covers: "to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy."

But the clincher is what was to happen after His death. The city and the temple were to be destroyed. They were destroyed in 70 AD, about 40 years after Jesus was crucified. It is this that absolutely rules out all others as being the Messiah. This prophecy accurately pinpoints the time of His coming, and His death, and the result that His rejection brings - the curses listed in Deut 28. By the prophecy in Daniel, clearly the Messiah had to come before the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD.

Here again is the progression:
1. God commands Israel to obey His voice
2. Israel is afraid of His voice
3. They entreat Moses to act as intermediary
4. God says that's a good idea
5. God would send them another prophet, and that prophet would tell Israel what God was saying.
6. Anyone who would not listen to that prophet would answer to God
7. Israel agreed and vowed that they would obey
8. God determined to send His intermediary to be His voice at a particular time when Israel was languishing in sin at the end of the Babylonian captivity 9. God pinpoints the time precisely and tells Daniel more then 4 centuries in advance
10. That time was well know in Jesus time. From the scriptures, we can see that many were waiting on and expecting the Messiah's coming because of Daniel's prophecy. That is why Jesus' triumphal entry was as it was. The crowds acknowledged Him as the Messiah. They knew the day the Messiah would come.
11. Jesus comes precisely on time, and is killed precisely as the prophecy predicts.
12. The church is born, and consists mainly of believing Jews.

What triggered the curses of the covenant

For the first few decades the church in Jerusalem was almost completely Jewish. They were an accepted sect within Judaism, along with the Pharisees and Sadducees. They were tolerated, but a part of the Jewish community. But something happened. It was called the Bar Kochba rebellion in 132 AD.

Israel rose up against their Roman overlords. At the beginning of the war, the believers fought along side the unbelieving Jews. But then rabbi Akiva declared the man commanding the army of Israel to be "Bar Kochba", which is translated "son of light". That is a Messianic title. At that point, the believers pulled out of the fight because they could not in good conscience fight for someone they considered a false Messiah, an anti-Christ.

The rebellion was brutally crushed, and the Jews were disbursed all over the world. As a result of this defection, the rabbi's began a persecution of the Christians. They were given an ultimatum. Renounce their Christian beliefs or be cut off from the Jewish nation. The teaching that one can not be a Jew and believe in Jesus was a doctrine of political retribution, not a theological stand.

Many Jews at that time could not give up community, so they fell away. The church rather rapidly became gentilized, as the Jews ultimately sided with their community against the Christians in their midst.

It was at that time the last of the curses of the covenant came to pass.

Deut 28:64 And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers.

When Israel as a whole rejected Jesus, the voice of God, the curses of the covenant came upon them.

The progression continues:

1. After His death, the church grows very fast
2. Those who were expecting the Messiah to deliver them from their political enemies take it into their own hands to rebel against Rome.
3. The Christians refuse to follow a false Messiah
4. The Christians are cast out of Jewish community
5. The Jewish leadership take the official position that one can not be a Jew and believe in Jesus as the Messiah
6. The rejection of the voice of God, being complete, the curses of the covenant come on Israel.

The only man in history who fulfills all of this is Jesus.

Now let me show you a passage about the Jewish Messiah. All Jewish scholars that I have ever come across believe this is a Messianic prophecy.

Isa 31:4 For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.
5 As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.

The Lord fearless. Coming down to fight for mount Zion. Flying. Passing over Jerusalem, defending it. That is considered by most to be a description of the Messiah.

But now look at the very next verse:

Isa 31:6 Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted.

There is only one name in all of history against which Israel has DEEPLY REVOLTED.

Progression:

1. God makes a covenant with Israel. Obey and be blessed, refuse and be cursed.
2. Israel said they wanted an intermediary to God's voice.
3. God agrees and purposes to send His intermediary, with the warning that any one who would not listen to Him, God would require it of him.
4. God sets the point in time according to Daniel
5. Jesus comes at that precise time, and is accepted as Messiah by the people
6. He is killed according to Daniels prophecy
7. The church grows at first, but then is cast out after they refuse to fight for an antichrist
8. All of Israel join in the rejection, the Christians are driven from the Jewish community
9. The curses of the covenant fall on Israel, and they are disbursed all over the world.

A little longer than I had anticipated.

Summary:

1. Blessings and curses of the covenant dependent on obeying the voice of God - Deut 28:1-67
2. What is the voice of God - Deut 18:15-19
3. The precise time of the Messiah's coming - Dan 9:20-26
4. Turn to the only one in history against whom the nation of Israel has deeply revolted - Is 31:4-6