Beginning with Home Schooling (8)

Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God (Deut.28:1-2).

Deuteronomy 28 lists God’s blessings and cursings to Israel. Thus it is a chapter of promises and warnings. The promises are grand and bountiful, the cursings are truly frightful, and they are conditional. Twice in these two verses, Moses uses the term “if.” When we get to the New Testament era, we see that Israel by and large, had not obeyed the Lord.

This led to Jesus warning the Jews that

…The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it (Mat.21:43).,.

My understanding is that Israel has been disinherited, and it is the church that has inherited the promises of God. This is both an exciting and frightening thought. In another gospel, Jesus said

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32).

So, the church has inherited the promises of God, along with the warnings. So, this should make us doubly aware of our requirements to consider Deuteronomy 28. 14 of this chapter’s verses speak of God’s promises, 44 verses His curses.

In speaking of the law, Jesus made indirect reference to passages like Deuteronomy 28. He said,

Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfil. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished (Mat.5:17-18).

Then in James 1-2, the apostle speaks of “…the perfect law, the law of liberty…” (1:25) and “…the royal law…” (2:8).

Does this mean that the law of God given to Israel through Moses, and that which James refers to, are one and the same? Not quite.

There are significant changes in the New Testament, with reference to food laws, seed laws and land laws. We do not have the same prohibitions in relation to food (see Mk. 7:18-19), the seed laws were to teach Israel’s separation unto God from the pagan nations around it, and the land of Israel given to the Israelites, has now become “…all the nations…” (Mat.28:19).

But the scripture teaches us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever” (Heb.13:8). The ethical teaching given to Moses throughout the Pentateuch, which Jesus endorsed, is for the church today.

So, what is the relevance of the law of God to the Christian family? Wherever it makes direct or indirect reference to the believer’s education, we must consider and obey its instruction.

Adam was to create a God-honouring civilization, with worship of the true God at its heart. So was Israel. So are we. Adam was to love righteousness, and guard Eden from the invasion of evil (Gen. 2:15, “keep” is “guard”). So was Israel. So are we. Adam was to punish evil. So was Israel. So are we.

The law of God, as found in the Old Covenant books, describes the Adamic task, and prescribes how it is to be carried out. In no way has this aspect of the covenant changed. What has changed is the administration of the covenant, and its source of power. The basic standards have not changed.[1]

Deuteronomy was the last of the five books of the Pentateuch, given by Moses. It was given to Israel forty years after God gave them the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, and immediately before they are to enter the promised land, under Joshua.

Deuteronomy and the Great Commission of Matthew 28 have important parallels. They both come after a great deliverance has been effected by God Himself, on behalf of His people. Moses in Deuteronomy, and Jesus Christ in the Great Commission, declare to God’s people the context of this deliverance, what it means for them, and now what they are commanded to do.

As Ray Sutton explained in his excellent book “That You May Prosper” (1985), Deuteronomy represents the 5th part of the Biblical covenant- the inheritance. As such, it contains extraordinarily ambitious commands, such as

See, I have placed the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to them and their descendants after them (Deut.1:8).

Could this be relevant today? Jesus commanded His disciples to

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations… (Mat.28:19a).

Moses commanded Israel to

…keep every commandment which I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land into which you are about to cross to possess it (Deut.11:8).

Jesus commanded His disciples that they were to be

teaching them [the nations] to observe all that I commanded you… (Mat.28:20).

Moses promised Israel,

…if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth (Deut.28:1).

Jesus promised His disciples,

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth…I am with you always, even to the end of the earth (Mat.28:18, 20).

An analysis of Deuteronomy 6 and 11 shows us that six significant words are used repetitively. A close analysis of these chapters will assist us in understanding God’s purpose in educating and discipling our children today. “Teach” is used 3 times, “listen” 4 times, “sons”  7 times, “possess” or “dispossess”  7 times, and “land” 19 times. The word “command” (or “commandments” or “commanding” or “commanded,”) is used 26 times, whilst “Lord” is used 33 times. These represent the six most important words in these two chapters, about education.

Drawing on the use of these six words, we can construct a one sentence summary of  Deuteronomy 6 and 11, which reflects and explains permanent God’s educational purpose for His people:

Teach your sons the Lord’s commandments, so they can possess the land.

Abbreviated even further, we could say: Education is for possession.

Do I really believe that this will take place? Absolutely. Jordan also commented,

Culture follows from, arises from, and is dependent upon faith. Spiritual loyalty to God, in faith, must precede and be the ground of all cultural change. It not only must be, it inevitably will be. The gospel has inevitable consequences, and so does Baalism.[2]

Deuteronomy has important parallels for the Christian parent, especially fathers. Why? Because he is responsible to God with his wife, to prepare his children for a life of service and dominion, in the same way that God prepared Adam and Eve in the Garden. God said to them,

Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth (Gen.1:28).

Adam and Eve were given a garden, and Moses was to prepare Israel to enter the promised land. But we are to prepare our children to deal with much more than a piece of land at the eastern end of the Meditteranean. Our task is to prepare them to share in the task of Christ’s dominion in all the whole earth, and this will set apart what we are doing with our children, from every other educational endeavour.

 Conclusion:                                                                                                                            True Christian education is premised on basing a child’s education in the scriptures. Deuteronomy grants us absolutes that should govern this educational process we engage in, whilst educating our children in the home clearly enlarges our opportunities. May God help us to be faithful in the grand task He has committed to us!

Only the suicidal can afford non-involvement in the great task of a new foundation for civilisation. The foundation must not be institutional…it must be theological, and it must be Christian.[3]


[1] James Jordan, “The Law of the Covenant,” 1984, p.49.

[2] James Jordan, “Judges: God’s War on Humanism,” 1985, p.59

[3] Rousas Rushdoony, “Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.478.

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