The Old Testament contains numerous snapshots of Messiah in His many roles and aspects. The more snapshots we examine, the more comprehensive our understanding of Messiah. As we explore some details of Messiah, we discover implications for ourselves for it is not only our job to learn about Messiah, but to reflect His glory.
In this article, we will focus on chapters 15 and 17 of Deuteronomy. The first three verses of chapter 15 command us to forgive debts owed to us. Our Savior paid our debt in full and does not demand reimbursement. In our case, the debt each of us owes is far beyond our means to repay. Our Savior repaid all debts owed to YHVH once for all (Heb 10:12; Rom 8:9-10). Therefore, we are not to expect payment from our debtors, but are called to forgive them even as we are forgiven and to reconcile just as we have been reconciled to YHVH. (1 John 1:9; Matt 18:21-35).
Chapter 15, verses 4-11 illustrate the generosity that characterizes Messiah. Our Savior not only released us from impossible debt, but liberally shares His own treasures with us (Is 55:1-2; Matt 8:16-17; Eph 1:1-18). We are to do likewise (Matt 10:8) with those who have wronged us. How generous are we toward our enemies, or even toward those who have not offended us but are needy? Do we judge the poor, ignore them, or reach out to them?
Messiah rescues us from slavery to hasatan and restores us to the kingdom of YHVH. As citizens of the kingdom of YHVH, we are to use our freedom to serve YHVH and others just as Messiah has served us (1 Pet 2:16; Gal 5:13). We cannot reflect the glory of YHVH by serving ourselves, but only by serving others.
The sacrifices described in Deuteronomy 15:23 and 17:1 were to be without any sickness, deformity, or blemish, thus illustrating Messiah. It is through the most perfect Sacrifice that we who are diseased, deformed and stained with sin, are made whole and perfect by the One who absorbed all our imperfections in Himself and put them to death. The Israelites were to eat the flesh of the sacrifices for nourishment, but were forbidden to consume any of the blood, which contains life. We gain little from consuming the life of creatures inferior to us, but we gain everything from partaking of the flesh and blood of the One who gives life to all (John 6:53).
The Israelites were ordered to keep evil from their midst. This was so serious a matter, that a person found guilty of introducing evil was to be stoned to death. Messiah warned people to turn from their sins (Matt 4:17; Luke 5:32). He expelled demons from multitudes of people (Matt 8:16; Mark 1:34; Luke 4:41). When He returns, Messiah Yeshua will eradicate all evil from the earth (Is 25:8; Rev 21:3-4). We too are empowered and expected to purge all evil from our midst (Jude 1:14-15).
Priests and judges were appointed by YHVH (Deut 17:8-13). The verdict of a priest or judge was final and orders were to be carried out exactly. Yeshua did not come as judge the first time (John 3:17). However, Messiah will return as Judge (Matt 25:31-46; James 5:9; 2 Cor 5:10). Messiah’s judgement will be final and His orders will be carried out precisely (Is 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-3; Is 9:6-7). Just as Yeshua came the first time to serve, not to judge, so we must focus on serving others, not judging them. Our time for judging comes later (1 Cor 6:1-6). We also are priests (1 Pet 2:9) and Messiah Yeshua is our High Priest (Heb 4:14-16). Our main job as priests is to worship YHVH and show others His goodness (1 Pet 2:5, 9).
Deuteronomy 17:14-20 describes the selection and appointment of a human king and the guidelines for human kings. A vivid picture of Messiah as our king emerges from these verses:
- The king was selected by YHVH Himself (Ps 110: 1-2; Rev 19:11-16). If we have accepted Messiah Yeshua as Lord of our lives, then we are already citizens in His kingdom and are subject to Him first and foremost.
- The king was a fellow Israelite. Messiah Yeshua is a fellow Israelite (2 Sam 7:12-13; Matt 1:1-17; Luke 3:21-38). The Israelites were taught some basics of kingdom living and when Yeshua came to the earth He taught and demonstrated Kingdom living.
- The king should not build up a large stable of horses. In Scripture horses were used for war and could become a false stronghold. The king should not depend not on horses, but rather on His fear of YHVH (Ps 147:10-11). Even though Messiah will return on a horse, He does not depend on the horse. Rather, the horse depends on its Creator, Messiah Yeshua (John 1:1-3). We must rely solely on YHVH for our strength and protection and avoid false strongholds.
- The king was not to return or send his people to Egypt (symbolizing slavery and bondage). Messiah came free us from bondage to hasatan (Heb 2:14; Col 2:15). When Messiah returns, He will place hasatan in bondage (Rev 20:1-3) and imprison him for the rest of eternity (Rev 20:10).
- The king is not to have many wives, lest he turn away from YHVH. Yeshua has the Bride. Although many individuals make up that Bride, they are all united by His Holy Spirit and operate as one (echad) (1 Cor 12:12, 27 NLT; Eph 4:3-5; 2 Cor 11:2).
- The king is to read Torah daily to remain humble and obedient to YHVH. When hasatan tempted Yeshua in the wilderness, Yeshua responded by quoting from Deuteronomy each time. Yeshua is the Living Torah, the Word of YHVH (John 1:1-5). We, too, should keep Scripture within our hearts to remain humble and faithful to YHVH (Deut 6:5-6; 2 Tim 3:16).
These snapshots of Messiah give us much to ponder. Yeshua is our perfect example of how to live and serve in YHVH’s kingdom. How well do we reflect His glory?