Life-Study of Deuteronomyby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we will give an introductory word to the life-study of Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy is the concluding book of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. These five books were written by Moses.
The book of Deuteronomy is a book primarily of plain words. This means that, generally speaking, it is not a book of types, figures, and shadows, and neither is it deep in the matter of prophecies. Nearly all the chapters of this book consist of plain words.
We may think that plain words are easier to understand than types and figures. Actually, the plain words in the Bible are more difficult to understand than the pictures shown in the types and figures.
What does the word Deuteronomy mean? Literally, Deuteronomy means "second law" and thus signifies a respeaking, a repeated speaking, a speaking again. The book of Deuteronomy is a respeaking, not of ordinary words, but of the divine law.
The law was given through Moses the first time when he was eighty. Forty years later, after the first generation, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua, had died out, the law was again related to the children of Israel. At that time, Moses was facing those of the younger generation, most of whom had not been present to hear the giving of the Ten Commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances. Therefore, God burdened Moses to relate the law again, to rehearse it, to respeak it. This repeating of the law was surely meaningful and significant.
We should not think that only Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Bible, is a deuteronomy, a respeaking. Actually, the entire Bible is a deuteronomy. We should therefore regard the whole Bible of sixty-six books as a deuteronomy. The writing of the Bible was completed nineteen hundred years ago, but when we read the Bible today, we experience a respeaking. The word in the Bible has already been spoken, but it is respoken to us day by day. This means that every day we may have a deuteronomy. For example, the book of Romans was written nearly two thousand years ago, but when we read Romans today, the word in this epistle is spoken to us again. This means that in our reading of Romans we have a deuteronomy.
To say that we may have a respeaking of the Bible does not mean that anything can be added to the Bible. The claim of Joseph Smith to have had a revelation in addition to what is in the Bible is nonsensical and heretical. Revelation 22:18 and 19 indicate that the entire revelation of God has been completed and that no one should add anything or take away anything. Therefore, we should not think that we can receive a new revelation in addition to what is recorded in the sixty-six books of the Bible. What we can have today is a deuteronomy, a respeaking of the word in the Scriptures. The word has already been spoken, but it can now be respoken to us; that is, it can become to us a deuteronomy.
The book of Deuteronomy is a conclusion to the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Apart from Deuteronomy, these four books would not have a conclusion. Do you think Moses' writing could have concluded with Genesis? Genesis ends with a man in a coffin in Egypt. Surely the divine revelation could not conclude in such a way. For a proper conclusion, the book of Deuteronomy is needed. Deuteronomy is an all-inclusive conclusion of the four preceding books, for Deuteronomy is a totality of the thought of these books. Therefore, if we would understand the thought of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, we need to come to Deuteronomy.
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