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Deuteronomy: The Second Law - Speech 8

A commentary on the eighth speech of Moses in Deuteronomy 27-28. The book of Deuteronomy is a series of 12 speeches that Moses gave just before his death at the end of Israel's wilderness journey.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Chapter 17

Finding a Resting Place

Moses says that the disobedient nation would be expelled from the land and would serve other gods. He then continues in Deut. 28:65,

65 And among those nations you shall find no rest, and there shall be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul.

The idea of rest is seen throughout the entire Scriptures. The Hebrew word used is manowach, which means “a resting place.” It appears seven times in Scripture, as if to suggest a Sabbath (shabbat).

Noah’s Dove Finds no Rest

The word is used first in Gen. 8:9, where the dove was sent out from the ark but “found no resting place for the sole of her foot.”

The dove was sent out three times in that story, prophesying of three historic moments when the Holy Spirit would be sent into the earth. The first would be at Mount Sinai, when God came down upon the mount as fire to empower the people during the Passover Age. The second would be in the upper room at Jerusalem in Acts 2, which was a greater anointing to empower the people to evangelize during the Pentecostal Age. The third is yet to come. It will come with the greatest anointing of all to provide the empowerment for the work during the Age of Tabernacles.

The first dove, however, found no rest. This foreshadowed the day when God came as fire and spoke the Ten Commandments to the people. The people then refused to draw near to God and to hear the rest of the law (Exodus 20:18-21). Hence, the “dove” found no resting place.

Samson Finds no Rest

This situation is also prophesied in the story of Manoah (Heb., manowach, “resting place”). He was the father of Samson (Judges 13:2). Samson was a judge in Israel, whose most famous actions were prophetic stories of Passover and Pentecost, but not Tabernacles. To depict the feast of Passover, he killed a lion (Judges 14:5, 6), and out of its carcass came honey (Judges 14:8). The dead lion, first prophesied in Gen. 49:9-12, speaks of Christ as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, who would have to die in order to bring us into the land flowing with milk and honey—that is, the Kingdom of God.

Later, Samson used this incident to form a riddle at his wedding feast. Judges 14:14 says, “Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet.” His Philistine friends could not figure out the riddle of the lion and honey, because Philistines represent the carnal mind, which cannot understand how the death of the Messiah could feed the world or enlighten them about the Kingdom of God. The seven days of the wedding feast (Judges 14:12) represent the seven days of Unleavened Bread, which always began on Passover.

Ironically, his Philistine friends finally discovered the meaning of the riddle in a lawless manner. They threatened the bride, telling her, “Entice your husband, that he may tell us the riddle, lest we burn you and your father’s house with fire” (Judges 14:15). Thus they received their reward, as it were, “the garments of salvation” (Isaiah 61:10), but Samson killed other Philistines and took their garments to give to his lawless friends. So they represent those who receive salvation in a lawless manner and so, as Paul says, are “saved yet so as by fire” (1 Cor. 3:15).

Next, Judges 15 presents a Pentecostal story, for it occurred seven weeks later “in the time of wheat harvest” (Judges 15:1). Wheat bread was the first-fruits offering given to God at Pentecost, known in Exodus 34:22 as “the Feast of Weeks.” Samson set the wheat on fire, prophesying of the tongues of fire that would come down upon the disciples in the Upper Room (Acts 2:3).

Hence, Samson was not only a Judge in Israel, but was also a prophet to the Church under Passover and Pentecost. As their representative, he was unable to set the nation free of Philistines rule. Though he threshed the Philistines on more than one occasion, in the end, his eyes were blinded by his love for Philistine women (the carnal mind). In the end his physical eyes were blinded, and he was forced to serve the Philistines (Judges 16:21).

The point is that this son of Manoah never found a resting place, nor did he lead Israel to that place of rest. There are three steps toward entering God’s rest: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Samson’s story shows how the first two feasts allow the church to enter only into a partial rest. The full rest is reserved for the feast of Tabernacles, but the story of Samson ends with no manifestation of the last great feast.

The Ark Seeks a Resting Place

Another biblical theme illustrating this principle is seen in the movements of the Ark of the Covenant. We read in Num. 10:33,

33 Thus they set out from the mount of the Lord three days’ journey, with the ark of the covenant of the Lord journeying in front of them for the three days, to seek out a resting place [menuwchah] for them.

The Ark first rested in a partial way at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1). This was not a true “rest,” because it remained in a tent, or tabernacle, during its time in Shiloh. To find a true “resting place,” it had to be placed in a temple where it would not need to be moved again.

A few centuries later, God abandoned Shiloh (Psalm 78:60) on account of the disobedience of Eli and his sons. The Ark remained in temporary housing for more than eighty years throughout the reign of Saul. In the early years of King David, he brought the Ark to Jerusalem but was not allowed to build a temple. Instead, it was brought to “the tabernacle of David” (Amos 9:11; Acts 15:16).

The Ark finally came to its place of rest in the temple of Solomon in Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:6). However, this too was only a temporary and carnal type and shadow of a greater resting place yet to come. So we see from history that when Jerusalem turned from being the “City of Peace” to “the bloody city” (Ezekiel 24:6), the glory of God again departed (Ezekiel 11:23).

The final resting place of the glory of God, represented by the Ark of the Covenant, is in a temple made of living stones (1 Peter 2:5; 1 Cor. 3:16). This true temple is built upon the chief cornerstone of Jesus Christ and the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20-22). We are the stones of this temple, and so we are being shaped into the image of Christ so that we will all fit perfectly as “one new man.”

This work of preparing the living stones can only be completed on a historic level when all of the individual “stones” are completed. Hence, this final resting place for the presence of God is ongoing until the second coming of Christ. Only the Tabernacles anointing can finish this work in us.

Heart and Eye Problems

In Deut. 28:65 Moses also tells us that while Israel was under this iron yoke captivity the people would be given “a trembling heart.” The Hebrew word is raggaz, which is from the root word ragaz, “to be moved, disturbed.” This is the same word used in 2 Sam. 7:10, where God promised Israel a land where they would no longer be moved, or disturbed. Moses uses this word to describe the heart condition of the people. It is more than a condition of fear. It is also a lack of rest.

Moses also says that Israel would experience “failing of eyes.” In other words, God vowed to blind the eyes of the people while they were in captivity. This would explain their worship of other gods, as well as their inability to find their way back to the old land (Hosea 2:6; Heb. 11:15).

But God had other plans for them. Physically speaking, the Israelites would become too numerous for the old land (Hosea 1:10) and would need the larger place prophesied to King David (2 Sam. 7:10). Likewise, as Hebrews 11:16 points out, they also needed to be cut off from the old land in order to seek the heavenly country and city that Abraham sought. This is the “resting place” that the hearts must find in order to stop “trembling.”

Isaiah 42:18-20 shows that God had indeed blinded Israel.

18 Hear, you deaf! And look, you blind, that you may see. 19 Who is blind but My servant, or so deaf as My messenger whom I send? Who is so blind as the servant of the Lord? 20 You have seen many things, but you do not observe them; your ears are open, but none hears.

Isaiah lived to see the destruction of Samaria and the deportation of the House of Israel. He escaped to Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, and was living there when the Assyrians laid siege to Judah as well, and so he records this history in chapters 38 and 39.

Isaiah goes on to prophesy of Christ, who would come “to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those who dwell in darkness from the prison” (Isaiah 42:7). All of Jesus’ miracles in the New Testament, especially when He healed the blind, pictured what He will yet do with Israel and with the whole world. When the Spirit of God is poured out, the blindness will be broken, Mystery Babylon will no longer be a “mystery,” the power of darkness will be broken, and the enormous task of teaching the word of God to the world will begin on a large scale.

The Apostle Paul, too, speaks of Israel, saying in Rom. 11:25 that “blindness in part” (KJV) has been upon Israel until the fullness of the nations are brought in. While many have applied this exclusively to the Jews, Paul speaks of all of the tribes of Israel, most of whom had been taken by the Assyrians eight centuries earlier. For a more in-depth study of Paul’s teaching on this, see Volume 2 of Paul’s Epistle to the Saints in Rome.

A Despairing Soul

Finally, in Deut. 28:65 Moses says that the disobedient nation would have “despair of soul.” The word translated “despair” is from the Hebrew, dehavone, which means “to melt away, languish, be sorrowful.” It is best described as a state of depression and a sense of hopelessness.

Ezekiel 37:11 expresses Israel’s condition in his vision of the valley of dry bones:

11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off’.”

When a nation dies, and its bones remain scattered and dried for many years, the situation seems hopeless. Israel’s long captivity under the iron yoke certainly looked hopeless. But God shows the prophet that He will indeed put the bones back together and then put flesh on the bones. He will breathe into them the breath of life and raise the nation from the dead.

He says further that in that day Israel and Judah will be reunited under the headship of “David,” that is, Jesus Christ (Ezekiel 37:22, 24). This agrees with Hosea 1:11,

11 And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together, and they will appoint for themselves one Leader, and they will go up from the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.

In other words, the regathering of Israel occurs under the headship of Jesus Christ. The present state known to the world as Israel has not been regathered under Jesus Christ, but under the United Nations. Neither did that nation reunite with the tribes of Israel who had been deported by the Assyrians. It was purely a Jewish gathering, following a different set of prophecies, which I discussed in detail in my book, The Struggle for the Birthright.

The real fulfillment of Israel’s regathering can only happen when Christ is recognized as the rightful Heir and the King. In this regathering, people from other nations too will join themselves to Israel (Isaiah 56:8), for they will accept Jesus Christ and come under the New Covenant that He mediated.

Thus, the despair, depression, and hopelessness of the lost Israelites has been replaced by our hope in Christ, which is the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15:16-19) and the redemption of our body (Rom. 8:23-25). This blessing given to Israel is not exclusive to them, but is extended to the whole world, for Abraham was called to be a blessing to all families of the earth.