Sabbath School Lesson for December 11-17, 2021

Overview of Lesson 12

Themes in the New Testament that are borrowed from Deuteronomy encompass these concepts:

  • Jesus’ way to battle Satan’s temptations in the wilderness included “It is written” statements. (Sunday)
  • The impartiality of God was upheld by the apostle Paul and others. (Monday)
  • Keeping the law doesn’t save us; we are saved by the Messiah’s death on the cross. (Tuesday)
  • Jesus was the Prophet after Moses who was to be our intercessor. (Wednesday)
  • God will be the final judge of His people. (Thursday)

References from the Old Testament, such as from Genesis, the Psalms, and Isaiah, are found throughout the New Testament. And many New Testament writers also borrowed from Moses’ writings in the book of Deuteronomy. As a matter of fact, Jesus quoted from Moses’ fifth book of the Pentateuch more often than any other book in the Bible.

It’s interesting to see how these later, inspired contributors to God’s word used previously-inspired words from the Scriptures they had available to them at the time. They used these earlier writings to justify their beliefs and to learn more about what God expects of us.

Memory Verse: ” ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” ‘ ” Matthew 4:4 NKJV

Jesus and other Bible writers were well-versed in Scripture. They understood fully the inspired nature of God’s holy word and made their points more authentic and trustworthy by quoting from the Scriptures when appropriate. Truly, they lived by the Word spiritually, but also physically, since Jesus was right there with them.

Sunday: “It Is Written”

Jesus’ familiar temptations in the wilderness after His baptism is a well-known story of how all of us can expect to hear Satan’s tempting voice, even when we’re doing all the right things and are following God the best we know how. Jesus chose to meet those temptations by quoting from Deuteronomy, which were words given to the Hebrews when they were in the wilderness as well.

All three “It is written” statements used by Jesus came from Moses’ fifth book, Deuteronomy.

  1. The first temptation involved bread. Bread from heaven immediately reminds us of manna, which was miraculously provided in the wilderness during the time of Moses. Satan focused on that miracle, but Jesus replied with a statement that focused on God, Moses’ declaration in Deuteronomy 8:3.
  2. In the second temptation, Satan used Psalm 91 to tempt Jesus to jump off the pinnacle of the temple, claiming that God’s angels would prevent Him from falling. Once again, Jesus used Deuteronomy 6:16 to counter Satan’s call to focus on the miracle. Moses had warned them not to tempt God, or test Him, as this challenge would have called Jesus to do.
  3. And finally, the third temptation, Satan’s last effort to thwart God’s plan to save the world, was perhaps the most tempting of all. Jesus knew the horrible, cruel death He was soon to face. Satan offered a simple way to avoid the suffering. To bow down and worship Satan was all it would take to change the course of history. But once again, Jesus drew from Moses’ words that we should fear and serve God only (Deuteronomy 6:13).

Our proper study of the Bible can also equip us to fight any temptation. Let’s make sure we focus on God, and not on the miracles or any other appealing temptation Satan uses to entrap us.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Deuteronomy 8:3 and Matthew 14:14, 19

  • What was Jesus’ motivation and focus in feeding the multitude, both then and in Moses’ day?
  • Why did Satan first use hunger to attack Jesus in the wilderness?
  • What is the best “bread” for our souls?

Psalm 91:11, 12 and Deuteronomy 6:16

  • Why did Jesus focus on God, and not on a miracle?

Matthew 4:8-10 and Deuteronomy 6:13

  • Why was this final temptation so difficult for Jesus?
  • In what ways do we bow down to Satan, in a spiritual sense?

Monday: Lifting Up Faces

Many times in Deuteronomy, Moses commented on the impartial justice of God, and how that should dictate how we treat each other. The Hebrew expression for God showing no partiality is from a figure of speech they used which meant that God did not “lift up faces”.

It was the unjust practice for judges back then to see the face of a person and base his judgments on who they were and their status in society. Of course, God’s justice did not allow for that kind of partiality, and neither should ours.

The New Testament often mentions God’s equal treatment of all mankind. Paul, in Ephesians 6:9, used this concept to caution masters in how they treated their slaves. Today, we might apply that counsel to servants or employees–anyone who performs a service for us.

Peter says in Acts 10:34, 35 that it doesn’t matter what nation we come from. Jews and Gentiles alike are treated the same by God. We should follow His example and not show favoritism to any nationality or ethnicity. We are all the same in God’s eyes.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Deuteronomy 10:17, Acts 10:34, 35 Romans 2:11, and Galatians 2:6

  • The love of God is repeated often in Scripture, but why is it also important to remember God’s justice?

Ephesians 6:9 and Colossians 4:1

  • Who might be seen as masters and slaves in our modern society?

Tuesday: Cursed on a Tree

One verse in particular in the New Testament has caused some trouble with understanding the role of the law. Galatians 3:10 talks about the “curse of the law” causing many to think that keeping the law is of no value, that we are cursed by keeping it. However, the verse also quotes Deuteronomy 27:26, which says that we are cursed by not observing the law.

The New International Version helps clarify the issue by translating the verse in Galatians to say, “all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse”. Therefore, we are “of the law” when we rely on it to be saved.

Galatians 3:13, 14 supplies us with the solution for our dilemma of sin and how to be free from it. Christ has become the curse and suffered death “on a tree” for us. Once again, Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 21:23 to remind us of our real reason to keep the law. It shows love to God’s Son, who was nailed to a tree, and took away our curse.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Galatians 3:10-14, Deuteronomy 27:26, 21:23, and Habakkuk 2:4

  • How do these verses explain how the law brings a curse?
  • What does it mean that the just shall live by faith?

Wednesday: A Prophet Like Unto Thee

When the Hebrews saw and heard the thunder, lightning, and smoke that came from the mountain where God gave them the Ten Commandments, they were afraid and begged Moses to be their spokesman. They were not ready to meet with such a God without an intercessor. See Exodus 20:18-21.

In Deuteronomy 18:15-19, Moses referred to that event and prophesied that someday God would send them a Prophet, like himself, who would speak God’s word to them. He meant, of course, the Messiah they were all waiting for. Although there would be false prophets, they must cling to the One who spoke only God’s words and whose prophesies were accurate and proven true (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).

Peter, after Pentecost, endorsed the messages of the holy prophets and quoted Moses’ prediction of a coming Prophet. He even affirmed that Jesus was the One they were looking for. See Acts 3:20-22. Later, when Stephen spoke before his stoning, he also mentioned  Moses’ prophecy about a Prophet in Deuteronomy (Acts 7:37).

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Deuteronomy 18:15-19 and Exodus 20:18, 19

  • How did Moses prefigure the Prophet? What was similar about their ministries (v. 15)?

John 1:35-41, 45-49

  • What were some of the reasons Jesus’ disciples were attracted to Him?

Thursday: A Fearful Thing

Paul, thought by many to be the author of the book of Hebrews, borrowed from Deuteronomy to illustrate how serious it was to turn away from God. Hebrews 10:28-31 warns the Jews of His vengeance (Deuteronomy 32:35).

God will judge His people differently because they were the recipients of so much truth about God. Their national unfaithfulness and apostasy were without excuse, and the consequences of their actions would be more deeply felt by the nation as a whole.

The mention of needing at least two witnesses to accuse someone in Hebrews 10:28 alluded to Deuteronomy 17:6. Paul’s conclusion that it is a fearful thing to fall into God’s hands (Hebrews 10:31) was not meant to frighten, but to warn all of us that we are dealing with a powerful and just God. We are all held accountable for how we treat Jesus, the Living Word.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Hebrews 10:28-31

  • Why were the Jews more guilty than anyone when they rejected and crucified Jesus?
  • How does God repay and show His vengeance?
  • How have the Jews suffered consequences for their unfaithfulness?

Friday: Final Thoughts

Although many Christians are hesitant to use the Old Testament as a reliable, authentic source of information about God, we saw that New Testament church leaders did not hesitate to do so.  Quotes from the powerful sermons Moses delivered toward the end of his life, which are recorded in the book of Deuteronomy, appear many times throughout the New Testament.

Jesus obviously found Deuteronomy helpful right after His baptism, when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness at the end of His spiritual experience there. The words used to counter Satan’s deceptive enticements were not only the words of Moses, but the words Jesus Himself had spoken to Moses. In a sense, Jesus was quoting Himself.

We know that Deuteronomy had a lot to do with substantiating the beliefs of Jesus’ followers, especially those whose writings make up the New Testament. We can be assured of the inspiration of the Bible as a whole. We learn how to interpret it partly by seeing how other inspired writers have used the words of previous writers. They rightfully felt that Moses’ closeness to God made him a reliable source.

Next Week: The Resurrection of Moses

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