Although most of our loved ones were not martyred for their faith, they too are our â€œheroes of the faith,â€ persevering through all kinds of sufferings, persecutions, and trials in this world. They too counted themselves as merely pilgrims and strangers in this world, but now reside in their homelandâ€”a better city and country.
The second important key to unlocking these verses is that the New Testament interprets the Old, so that Old Testament prophecies that talk about the future of Israel is reinterpreted in the New Testament as being fulfilled by Christ and his church.
God warns his people Israel to be distinct from their idolatrous neighbors, so he prohibits them from copying these detestable pagan rituals to honor their dead or their idols. This principle of holiness, of being set apart and distinct from the unbelieving culture, is the mark of God’s people, whether in the old or new covenant.
To rescue his lost sheep, Jesus became one of them, a meek and obedient Lamb of God who gave himself as a sacrifice on the cross: â€œLike a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouthâ€ (Isa 53:7).
God instructed Moses to go to a mountain where he will show him the extent and the beauty of the Promised Land he is giving to Israel before he died. But beyond this disappointment, God also assured Moses that Israel, after he died, will be ably led by Joshua, a Spirit-filled man, in their conquest of the Promised Land.
How shall we escape from these curses and receive God’s blessings when we can never perfectly obey God’s law? We are to march from the Ebal, the Mount of Cursing to Gerizim, the Mount of Blessing, through the perfect obedience of another Man.
The Israelites at Mount Sinai had a foretaste of the Lordâ€™s Supper that Christ instituted before his death as the confirmation and renewal of Godâ€™s covenant with his people. And its purpose is to nourish our souls with the body and blood of Christ in this life, until he returns to take us to our heavenly Mount Sinai where all of Godâ€™s people will eat and drink with him in a final and greatest of all Lordâ€™s Suppers.
Paul connects three of his major themes in his epistles: Godâ€™s grace in election, redemption and sanctification. We are his own chosen possession, redeemed and cleansed from all our sins and uncleannesses, and as elect and redeemed people, we are to live godly and righteous lives in this present age while waiting for our blessed hope in the age to come.