Jesus in Deuteronomy

Tapestry of Peter and John at the Eastern Gate

For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.

John 4:46

Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 

Luke 24:27

Perceiving God’s Scriptural Tapestry

Before we can see Jesus in Deuteronomy, we need to know who we’re looking for – I guess it’s a little late to point this out. Anyway, we need to understand 1 Timothy 3:16, “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He [Jesus] was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.” That’s Jesus. An excellent analysis of this verse can be found in “Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers” 

Now, we know the “who”, but we also need to know where to look. Many of our sightings of Jesus will come into focus only as we become familiar with this tapestry of Scriptures that the Holy Spirit wove in Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy teaches us about Moses’ farewell to the generation of Israelites that would enter the Promised Land. We are taught of the handoff of leadership from Moses to Joshua. And are taught of Moses’ reminder to the Israelites regarding God’s blessings and God’s judgments.

During Christ’s earthly ministry, He often quoted from Deuteronomy. For example, Jesus answered all three of his temptations in the wilderness with quotations from the book of Deuteronomy (Luke 4:1–13). Jesus carefully fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, yet He was not subject to the Law for He was before Abraham. (John 8:58) Jesus was not a Levitical priest. He was not from lineage of Aaron. Instead. it is said of Him, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 7:17) There are several places in the Gospels where Jesus exercised His law-making authority while still fulfilling all the Law and the prophets.

As for this book of Deuteronomy, we find it bursting through, into the New Testament, in such places as the prohibition of personal revenge (Deuteronomy 32:35, Romans 12:19), and Deuteronomy 30:14, “But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.”, Romans 10:8, “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim) …

Jesus in Monotheism 

Perhaps the most famous verse is Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” This proclamation firmly establishes the Israelites and Christians as monotheistic. This message is at the very heart of God’s message to Israel, and all who have been grafted into the “true vine” (John 15:1). So, surely, Jesus is in this verse. How could He not be, if it is only one of the most salient verses in the whole of Scripture, but where is He?

Deuteronomy 6:4 is so foundational that Jesus quoted it to the Pharisees when asked what the greatest commandment was (Matthew 22:36-40). So this seems to be a good spot to dig in to discover Jesus. 

Hear, O Israel.” The obvious intent of this passage is to be spoken. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)  

The second part of this passage is, “The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” Historic, orthodox Christian monotheism says that the one divine essence equally belongs to three distinct divine persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We clearly see this in the passage, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14) Therefore, Jesus in firmly seen in Deuteronomy 6:4. 


Well, we’ve certainly seen Jesus in Deuteronomy. In the second part of Jesus in Deuteronomy, we will see Jesus in shields. I hope to see you then!

Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash

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