The Palestinian covenant – What is it?
The Palestinian covenant, recorded in Deuteronomy 29:1-29 and Deuteronomy 30:1-10 is closely related to the Mosaic covenant, and an extension of the Abrahamic covenant. It is similar to the Mosaic covenant in that it concerns Israel's entry into the Promised Land, but it is dissimilar in that the Mosaic covenant was conditional and bilateral, meaning that God's blessings depended on Israel's obedience. The Palestinian covenant, on the other hand, is unconditional and unilateral—it focuses on what God promises to do for Israel, regardless of their obedience (Deuteronomy 29:10-15).
Subscribe to our Compelling Mail Newsletter:
The Palestinian covenant does not get its name from the Bible. It was given its name because the land in question is located in what is today known as Palestine. It is also called the Land covenant because the promises have to do, in part, with Israel's possession of the land. The covenant was made when Israel was in Moab, waiting to go into the Promised Land. It reiterates and renews the Abrahamic covenant, which was made long before, and in which God promised to give the Promised Land to His people (Genesis 15).
God led Israel in the wilderness for forty years, during which their clothes and sandals were miraculously preserved, as well as their lives. During that time, they saw God rescue them from slavery in Egypt, and they saw many wonders. They were attacked by foreign kings, but God gave them victory. Still, their hearts were hard toward God (Deuteronomy 29:2-8). God reiterates the basic elements of the Mosaic covenant—particularly the command to stay away from the idols of other nations—and He warns against hypocrisy (Deuteronomy 29:16-19). Then, God foretells the disobedience of Israel, and the scattering of His people throughout the nations as the result of their breaking the Mosaic covenant (Deuteronomy 29:25-28).
The last portion of the Palestinian covenant is a prophecy for the future millennial kingdom. During that time, the people of Israel who had been scattered will be gathered from all the nations and will return to the Promised Land. This is the unconditional aspect of the Palestinian covenant—God will restore Israel to the land, and He will restore the hearts of the people to Himself, saying "the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live" (Deuteronomy 30:1-6). This is an astonishing and powerful display of God's protective love and grace, and a picture of God's work of salvation, not only for His people, Israel, but for all Gentile believers as well. He desires that we live, but He sees that we are weak and lack the power to obey Him, so He proactively changes ours hearts so that we are able to love Him with all our hearts and souls and live. This promise to change the heart, securing life, is reiterated to the prophet Ezekiel as well (Ezekiel 36:26-28). Just as God's love is unconditional in the Palestinian covenant, it is unconditional for all who believe (John 3:16-17; Romans 8:1).
What are the different covenants in the Bible?
Covenant Theology - What is it?
The Abrahamic covenant – What is it?
The Mosaic covenant – What is it?
The new covenant – What is it?
Truth about Theology