The Provisions of the Palestinian Covemant
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

As we continue our discussion of the Palestinian Covenant, we want to look with you at what we refer to as The Provisions of the Covenant itself. Keep in mind that a covenant is an agreement, and every agreement has certain provisions to which the parties to the agreement must adhere. The Palestinian Covenant is an unconditional covenant in the sense that God said, “I will give to the nation of Israel the land of Palestine”—not to the Arabs, but to the nation of Israel. The Palestinian Covenant, like all covenants, is related to blessings and to cursings. Some folk are prone to think that it is a conditional covenant with the idea that if the nation of Israel is obedient, the nation of Israel will occupy the land of Palestine. If the nation of Israel is disobedient, the nation of Israel will not occupy the land of Palestine. Actually, you will discover in relation to the provisions of the covenant that what God says is that if they are disobedient, they will be removed from the land of Palestine and in due season, after they have been properly chastened, they will be restored to the land of Palestine because God cannot go back on His Word.

So the first provision that we want to consider with you in regard to the Palestinian Covenant is the provision related to responsibility which is both personal and national. When we speak of responsibility, both personal and national, we ask you to turn in your Bibles with us to Deuteronomy, chapter 29, the paragraph which begins with verse 16. We read there:

Deuteronomy 29:

16(For ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the nations which ye passed by;
17And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them:)
18Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;
19And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:
20The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.

Personal Responsibility

I trust you were able to notice as we read this portion of the Word of God the emphasis upon the individual. I trust you were able to grasp the picture that was presented in the paragraph which is simply this: Suppose there was an individual within the land of Israel who said, “I can do what I want to do. I can do as I please because I am a member of the nation of Israel and God has promised to bless my nation. Therefore, I can do whatever I want to do.”

God said to that individual, “You will be held responsible for your sin as an individual, and God will not wink at it.” In verse 18, He said, “Don't let this thing happen, lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood, and it will come to pass that when the individual heareth the words of this curse, he bless himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall have peace (notice now) though I walk in the imagination of mine heart'.” Moses is saying to Israel, “Don't fool yourself.”

That you might be able to understand this a bit better, let me draw a parallel which exists in this age of grace. God made a covenant with Abraham that Israel would be His people and that absolutely nothing could change that. God has given eternal life to every individual who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, and absolutely nothing can change that because the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. In Israel it was possible there would be an individual who would say, “I am one of God's chosen people, so it does not matter what I do. I can do what I please and nothing is going to happen to me.”

In the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, there are individuals, strange as it may seem, who say, “I am born again. I am saved by grace. I am secure as a believer. I can sin all I want to and still go to Heaven.” Yes, there are people like that. Is that right? No more right than it is for the Israelite to claim the privilege of sin because of national relationship. What will God do? Will He take salvation away from you because you sin? No more than He will take the land of Palestine away from the Israelites because they sin. Mark what I say to you: If there should be someone within the sound of my voice who would dare to presume upon the grace of God and say, “Because I am a Christian, I can do anything I want to do and still go to Heaven,” that individual is turning the grace of God into lasciviousness. That individual will be held responsible before God. The chastening hand of God will fall upon him and as the individual Israelite felt the chastening hand of God in verse 20, even to the extent of physical death, so will that member of the Body of Christ in this age of grace who dares to presume upon the grace of God feel the chastening hand of God upon him. The Palestinian Covenant involved personal responsibility just as does the covenant of grace.

National Responsibility

Not only did this Palestinian Covenant involve personal responsibility, it involved national responsibility as well, for Israel as a nation had a responsibility before God. Notice the paragraph which begins with verse 21:

Deuteronomy 29:

21And the Lord shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law:
22So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, When they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the Lord hath laid upon it;
23And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the Lord overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath:
24[Notice carefully now.] Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?
25Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt:
26For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them:
27And the anger of the Lord was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book:
28[Notice now.] And the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.

God said that not only would He deal with the individual members of the nation, visiting them with physical death if need be if they continued in disobedience, but He would take the entire nation and root it out of the land and place it into another land. The responsibility which was laid upon the nation was not accepted, and God had to deal with them in judgment.

The Provision of Divine Revelation

This might seem unfair to a great many folk, for oftentimes when we think of the judgment of God, we are prone to say, “Well, perhaps the person involved did not understand. Perhaps the nation involved did not understand.” We did point out to you last week the blindness that has gripped the nation of Israel as part of God's judgment upon her, but in fairness to God, we must recognize that one of the provisions of the Palestinian Covenant was what we refer to as the provision of revelation for God did give to the nation of Israel revelation. If you will glance at chapter 29, verse 4, you will read:

Deuteronomy 29:

4Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.

If they had remained with unseeing eyes and unhearing ears, then we could say that they did not know and they did not understand, but in verse 29 of this chapter you will notice the words:

Deuteronomy 29:

29The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

This verse has been misquoted, misapplied and misinterpreted to the detriment of individuals who are interested in knowing the things of God. If you are tempted to delve too deeply into God's Word, you are told that the Bible says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God,” but the individuals who quote that verse should finish it, for it continues, “…but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever that we may do all the words of this law.”

If this verse means anything at all, it means that when God deals with the nation of Israel, as He certainly will, He will give them a heart to understand. He will give them a heart to comprehend so that they will not have to think in terms of mystery, but in terms of simplicity. Look at Deuteronomy, chapter 30, and notice the paragraph which begins with verse 11:

Deuteronomy 30:

11For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
12It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
13Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
14But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

Do you see what Moses is saying to Israel concerning the Palestinian Covenant? He is saying, “There is nothing mysterious about this. There is nothing that takes a great deal of learning to be able to understand it. You don't need [We are speaking in the form of hyperbole.] to go into Heaven and bring something down from Heaven in order to do what God wants you to do. It isn't necessary for you to make a pilgrimage beyond the sea in order to gain the favor of God and find strength enough to do what God wants you to do. The ability to observe the provisions of the Palestinian Covenant are as close to you as the tongue within your mouth. All it is going to take is a willing action from a willing heart to do that which is well pleasing to the Lord.”

Turn with me to the book of Romans, chapter 10. We have been drawing a parallel between people who are living under the unconditional Palestinian Covenant and individuals who are living under God's unconditional promise of grace. That drawing such a parallel is appropriate is emphasized for us in Romans, chapter 10. You will recall that in Romans, chapter 10, which is addressed to the nation of Israel, remembering that Romans, chapter 9, speaks of Israel's past, Romans, chapter 10, speaks of the present and Romans, chapter 11, speaks of Israel's future, Paul says, “The very thing that Moses said when he was presenting the Palestinian Covenant is still true in relation to your acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.”

We would not have you think that we are speaking exclusively of the Jewish nation because when we come to the New Testament, it is not a matter of the Lord Jesus Christ's being presented solely as the Messiah of Israel; it is a matter of the Lord Jesus' being presented as the Savior of men. People make it hard to receive Christ as Savior. They leave the impression that you have to climb the highest mountain and swim the widest ocean in order to gain enough favor with God to be saved, but the Apostle said, “Don't you remember what Moses said?” Notice verse 5:

Romans 10:

5For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
6But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)

“That is the righteousness of the Ten Commandments. If you can keep the Ten Commandments, you will live. But you can't keep the Ten Commandments, so you are under the sentence of death. Don't make it hard upon yourself. Rather, don't speak the righteousness of the law; speak instead the righteousness which is of faith. It speaketh on this wise…” Notice how familiar these words sound in verse 6 because they are a quotation of these which we have just read. Now notice in verse 7:

Romans 10:

7Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
8But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

How hard is it to be saved? No harder than it is to believe God's message. How easy is it to be saved? As easy as it is to accept God's Word at its face value. So we continue in verses 9-10:

Romans 10:

9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

You see, you do not have to climb the highest mountain or swim the widest ocean to be saved. All you have to do is accept by faith that Christ died for your sins according to the Scriptures, believing it with your heart. When you have believed it with your heart, quite naturally, you will confess it with your mouth for there is no individual who has come into personal contact with the Lord Jesus Christ and made personal commitments to Him who has not made this confession, because actually, literally, this confession is not a confession before men. It is a confession to God. I have confessed to God that I believe Christ died for my sins. I have confessed to God that Jesus Christ was raised again for my justification. I confess what I believe in my heart. Someone is prone to ask, “Does confession before men have absolutely no relationship to the experience of which we speak?” Yes, because the individual who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit is going to find himself irresistibly drawn to the ministry of witnessing for Christ.

What was it the Lord Jesus Christ said? “Ye shall be witnesses for Me in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the uttermost parts of the earth, after the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in your life.” I believe that you could just as well do the impossible as to keep a person indwelt by the Holy Spirit silent when a God-given opportunity for witnessing is made possible.

The Provision of Repentance

Back to Deuteronomy, chapter 29, as I remind you that the first provision of the Palestinian Covenant is responsibility, both personal and national. The second provision of the Palestinian Covenant is divine revelation, which enables the individual to recognize Him who makes the covenant. Now the third provision of the Palestinian Covenant, we have designated with the word repentance . You will recall that we read in Deuteronomy, chapter 29, verse 28, that if the children of Israel were disobedient to God, they would be rooted out of the land in God's anger and they would be scattered among the nations of the world.

If we stopped right there, we would have not only a sad story to tell but somewhat of a difficult situation to explain in the light of the rest of the Word of God, so we ask you to look at chapter 30, which is a continuation of the discussion of the Palestinian Covenant, and notice in verse 1 a reemphasis upon the matter of their being rooted out of the land:

Deuteronomy 30:

1And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee,

God, in 70 A.D., scattered the nation of Israel among all the nations of the world. God said, “When you are scattered among all the nations of the earth and call these things to mind that I have said concerned blessings and cursing…” notice verse 2:

Deuteronomy 30:

2And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;

There is repentance. Yes, someday the nation of Israel, scattered in all the nations of the world, is going to come to a realization that this that has occurred to her is God's judgment and she will repent. Is that creating a problem with your thinking? If so, perhaps you are saying, “Well, isn't the nation of Israel back in the land of Palestine? Is she not occupying her land with her own government? Is she not even in control of the ancient city of Jerusalem?” Yes, but here is the thing that many Bible scholars forget when they emphasize the return of Israel to her land. She is in the land in unbelief. She has not acknowledged her sin. She is there for many reasons too diverse to discuss, but not because she has repented of her sin.

Someone was visiting with me recently and they asked me if I had heard a certain program on television related to Israel's return to her homeland. This individual pointed out to me that not one reference was made to God's having returned them to the land. Every statement that was made was made concerning their own accomplishments in this that had occurred. That ties right in with the Scripture.

You may say, “Of what significance then is the occupation of the land of Palestine on the part of Israel?” Of what significance? It signifies that the time of their national repentance draws nigh, that God has permitted a vanguard to return in unbelief that the stage might be set for the regathering which He has in mind when national repentance becomes a reality.

The Rapture

You may say, “Well, how do you know that this that is occurring in our day is not the restoration or the repentance that God refers to?” You will find your answer in verse 3, for you will discover that when the nation of Israel has repented of her sin, an unusual event is going to occur. Notice verse 3:

Deuteronomy 30:

3That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, [notice carefully now] and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.

You know that one of the provisions of the Palestinian Covenant is the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth. Now, you must be careful not to confuse the Rapture with the Revelation . You must recognize that God's Word promises that in due season, He will come in the air for His Church. The Body of Christ will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. This is the Rapture. This is an event that can occur at any moment. After it has occurred, tribulation such as Israel and the world has never known will begin on the earth. At the conclusion of that tribulation, Israel will repent and see the Messiah whom they have rejected. Then the Lord Jesus Christ will return to this earth.

I suggested to you a moment ago that the return of Israel to the land in unbelief is but preparing the stage for the final Revelation of Jesus Christ. If what I said to you is true, then the Rapture of the Church is even nearer than that, for it must occur before the return of Christ in glory.

Total Restoration of the Nation of Israel

Immediately following the return of Christ in glory, or perhaps coinciding with it so closely that you might consider it one event, will be the restoration of the nation of Israel to the land in belief—not in unbelief, not a handful compared to the millions of Jews scattered around the world today, but the entire nation. Look again at verse 4, where we read:

Deuteronomy 30:

4If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:
5And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.

Regeneration Nationally and Individually

Here is a definite promise of total restoration to the land which God promised to Abraham. We have been making the statement that at the present time, they are there in unbelief, so may I call your attention to another provision of the Palestinian Covenant, which we have been pleased to call regeneration . You will notice we are using words that begin with the same letter for the sake of alliteration as an aid to memory. Yes, these Israelites, gathered back when the Lord Jesus Christ returns, will not only be restored to the land, but they will be converted. By the word converted , I mean exactly what I said. Oftentimes when folk are reading this particular portion of the Word and talk about conversion, emphasis is placed upon national conversion to such an extent that people think that individual conversion is not meant. There will be no wholesale conversion of Israel without individual response to God's appeal. It simply means that all of Israel will be saved in the sense that all will turn to God individually. Look at verse 6:

Deuteronomy 30:

6And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

He circumcised their foreskin that physically they might be set apart for God, but now He is circumcising the foreskin of their hearts, figuratively speaking, that they might be set aside spiritually for God, and the Palestinian Covenant includes not only provision for restoration to the land, but for regeneration of every individual Jew living at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Someone says, “Oh, are you presenting a new plan of salvation, a different kind of salvation for Israel than for the Gentiles?” No, and anyone that says we do simply does not understand the plain teaching of God's Word. Turn with me to the book of Zechariah, chapter 12, where you will notice a prophecy related to the day in which the Palestinian Covenant will reach its climax of fulfillment. In verse 9, we read:

Zechariah 12:

9And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

This is God speaking. Israel has had tremendous success fighting her many wars with the Arabic nations, but there will come a day when all the nations of the world will be besieging this little city of Jerusalem, and when all the nations of the world are surrounding it, ready to pounce upon it, God will come to her rescue. Now why? Verse 10 gives you the answer. God said:

Zechariah 12:

10And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications:…

Let us pause a moment as I emphasize to you that if you are saved, it is because God poured upon you the spirit of grace and supplication. The Holy Spirit moved upon your heart in such a fashion that you turned to Christ and you received Him as your Savior. You may not have been conscious of all the mechanics of it at the time, but this is the way it happened literally. That same spirit of supplication will be poured upon the nation of Israel and you will notice in verse 10 again where we read: “…and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced…”

The word upon is an unhappy translation. A better word would be the word unto . “They will look unto Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Me as one mourneth for his only son and shall be in bitterness for Me, as one who is in bitterness for his firstborn.” This simply means that they will acknowledge their sin of rejecting Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah. Sometime when you have time, read Isaiah, chapter 53, in the light of the statement that I have just made, for that represents the confession that will be prayed at this particular time. If you wished to be saved and knew not how else to talk to the Lord about your need, if you made the confession of Isaiah, chapter 53, you too could be saved, for Isaiah, chapter 53, simply says, “The Lord Jesus Christ was wounded for my transgressions. He was bruised for my iniquity. The chastisement of my peace was upon Him, and by His stripes I am healed. I, like all sheep, have gone astray. I have turned, like all individuals do, to my own way, but the Lord laid upon Him my iniquity as well as the iniquity of all men.”

Retribution

Confess Christ as your Savior in words like that and you too will know the Lord. Regeneration is one of the provisions of the Everlasting Covenant, but we call your attention to another before we are through and that is described by the word retribution because you see, God made a promise to Abraham back in Genesis, chapter 12: “I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee.” We said that the Palestinian Covenant was included in the Abrahamic Covenant by way of amplification and there is a sense in which God has blessed all the nations down through the ages who have been a blessing to Israel and has made it difficult for all the nations which have not made it easy for Israel, but even this provision of the Palestinian Covenant will not reach its climax until the Lord Jesus Christ returns. If you will notice in Deuteronomy, chapter 30, verse 7, you will read:

Deuteronomy 30:

7And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.
8And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the Lord, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day.

The Reign of Righteousness

Retribution upon God's enemy, retribution upon the enemies of Israel at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, is presented in detail in Revelation, chapter 19. We don't have time to look at it, but you read it when you have time and discover that when God has meted out judgment against all the nations of the world and has called all the fowls of the air to the supper of the Great God Almighty, then will follow what I have presented as The Reign of Righteousness because when Israel is gathered back in her land, the Lord Jesus Christ has returned to the earth, the Millennium will begin. I use the word righteousness to describe it because the Bible describes it as a time when righteousness shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. The Bible describes it as a time when the harvester will catch up with the sower, which simply means that the harvest will be so plentious that it will take so long to reap, it will be time to sow before all the harvest is reaped. The way Moses presents it prophetically is found here in Deuteronomy, chapter 30, verse 9, where you read:

Deuteronomy 30:

9And the Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:
10If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.

Yes, there is a golden age coming. There is a utopia to be expected. It will not occur through the efforts of men. It will not occur through the United Nations. It will occur when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to establish His reign as one of the provisions of the Palestinian Covenant.

Someone handed me a folder while I was in Dallas and in a sense it is commendable. It is a movement to raise something like \$65,000 to plant trees in the Holy Land in honor of a Dallas pastor. I say it is commendable when anybody wants to do anything to encourage the heart of their pastor. They get enough criticism, enough cussing. It is commendable when anybody wants to do anything in honor of their pastor, but I wondered where the people's minds were who wanted to do a thing like that. We are not to make the hills of Israel to blossom with the myrtle tree. God is going to do that during the Millennium. We are not to make the desert blossom as the rose. God is going to do that when the Lord Jesus Christ returns, and all this money, it seems to me, could be used more advantageously in making access to the tree of life—eternal life—possible for many men. You see, because we don't understand the Word as we should, we sometimes do things that do not indicate the better part of wisdom.

Record

Moses closed the Palestinian Covenant with an attitude and an exhortation that I have described by the word record . He presented the covenant and then he said in verse 15:

Deuteronomy 30:

15See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
16In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
17But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
18I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
19 [notice carefully now] I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
20That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Yes, when Moses presented the Palestinian Covenant, he gave the opportunity to the people there to accept or reject it, for it was made in perpetuity, as we pointed out to you, with the whole nation of Israel; and in a very real sense any minister of the God's Word who presents to you the truth can call Heaven and earth to record this day against you saying, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” You are responsible for every truth which you hear, and we would suggest to you that you keep that in mind, recognizing that truth always incurs responsibility.


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