The so-called Palestinian Covenant is recorded in Deuteronomy 29:1–29 and Deuteronomy 30:1–10 and was made between God and Israel  right before Moses died and Israel entered the Promised Land. The Bible never  uses the term “Palestinian Covenant,” and Moses certainly never would have  called the land “Palestine,” but the term has become common usage. This covenant  is also called the Land Covenant because many of the promises relate to Israel’s  possession of the land. God made this covenant with Israel after the Mosaic  Covenant and after Israel had wandered in the wilderness for forty years. God  made this covenant with Israel while they were in Moab waiting to go into the  Promised Land, and the covenant would serve this new generation of Israelites as  a reminder of their special covenant relationship with God.

The  Palestinian Covenant has many similarities to the Mosaic Covenant made at Mount  Sinai but is a separate and distinct covenant as clearly seen in Deuteronomy 29:1.  “These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with  the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which He made  with them in Horeb.” Before making this covenant with Israel, God reminded them  that if they obeyed the Mosaic Law, He would bless the nation abundantly and  warned them that disobedience to the Law would result in His cursing the nation  (Deuteronomy 28:1-68).

Besides the promises that  God would bless them if they obeyed His commandments and curse them if they  disobeyed, the Palestinian Covenant also contains some special promises to  Israel that many believe will not be completely fulfilled until the millennial  reign of Christ. First, God promised to gather the scattered Israelites from all  over the world and to bring them back into the land He had promised to their  ancestors (Deuteronomy 30:3-5). Second, God promised to regenerate  the Israelites of that time and their descendants by circumcising their hearts  so that they would love Him totally (Deuteronomy  30:6). Third, God promised to judge Israel’s enemies (Deuteronomy 30:7), and,  fourth, He promised that the Israelites would obey God and that God would  prosper them in their obedience (Deuteronomy 30:8-9). While some might see these promises  being fulfilled when Israel was returned from captivity in Babylon at the time  of Ezra and Nehemiah, there seem to be some aspects of this that have not been  fully realized yet.

For example, the promised restoration of Israel to  the land would not happen until all the blessings and curses promised them were  fulfilled (Deuteronomy  30:1), and we know that Israel as a nation rejected Jesus Christ as their  Messiah and was once again cursed and cut off from the land when the Romans  conquered Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Second, we see that one of the promises in this  covenant was that God would circumcise their hearts (Deuteronomy 30:6) so  that they and their descendants would obey Him (Deuteronomy  30:8). These same promises are repeated in Jeremiah  32:36-44 and Ezekiel  36:22-38 and are part of the blessings and promises of the New Covenant.  Also, it seems that the final or ultimate restoration of Israel to the land and  to an everlasting relationship with God is what Paul is looking forward to in Romans 11:25-26 when he  says that “a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the  Gentiles has come in and thus all Israel will be saved.”

The Palestinian  Covenant also serves to reinforce the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob  that God would establish Israel as His chosen people (Deuteronomy 29:13).  Even though God set before Israel the promise of His blessings for obedience and  His curses for disobedience, He knew full well they would turn from Him and His  covenant and turn to idols. This is why He also promised to one day restore them  to the land and have compassion on them (Deuteronomy 30:1-3). Therefore, the ultimate outcome of  this covenant does not depend on Israel and its obedience, but instead it  depends on God and His faithfulness. The Palestinian Covenant focuses on what  God is going to do more than what Israel is supposed to do. While Israel’s  prosperity is closely tied to her obedience to God’s commands, and they will  still be punished for their disobedience to God, there is coming a day when God  will return them to the land (the full extent of the land as outlined in Genesis  15:18-21), and they will possess it, and God will bless them  forever.

At that time God will circumcise their hearts so they will obey  Him (Deuteronomy  30:6). This covenant is again reaffirming the Abrahamic Covenant in that  someday the seed of Abraham will possess the Promised Land forever. Unlike the  Mosaic Covenant whose promises are conditional upon Israel’s obedience to the  Law, ultimate fulfillment of the promises of the Palestinian Covenant are not  dependent upon Israel’s obedience. Instead, the Palestinian Covenant is an  unconditional, eternal covenant (Ezekiel  16:60) because it is a part of the Abrahamic Covenant and an amplification  of it.

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