A layout of the book of Exodus shows us two main portions: redemption from Egypt (Ex 1-15) and revelation at Sinai including the law and tabernacle (Ex 19-40). The old covenant is actually not the best term to use in regards to this subject because the Scriptures hardly even allude to it as an old covenant. It would be better to call it the covenant at Sinai or the law of Moses/Israel. God initiated this covenant with National Israel through the leadership of Moses, fifty days after the exodus from Egypt at Sinai before the 40 years of wilderness wanderings (Exodus 19-24). This covenant (bilateral) is an agreement between two parties, God and Israel … requiring exclusive devotion from Israel – Ex 19:8, 20:1-17, 23:31-33, 24:3/7, 34:10-17, 27-28). At the core of this Sinai covenant are the 10 commandments (God’s 10 words) including the lengthy commentary of how to walk it out in daily relationships (Ex 20-23). In Leviticus we find many laws/regulations/sacrifices that are mandated by Yahweh as to how to properly approach Him at His tabernacle/dwelling place known as sacred space. In Numbers we find the wilderness wanderings of Israel for 40 years of complaining and disobedience.
Moving into the book of Deuteronomy, Yahweh reiterates the Sinai covenant with National Israel through the leadership of Moses, near his death, after 40 years of wilderness wanderings before entry into the Promised Land. Israel is being commissioned to walk with Yahweh their God through precise stipulations to steward the law (His instructions) and tabernacle (His presence) as they move into the Promised Land. This reiteration of the covenant in Deuteronomy between Yahweh and Israel moves beyond general agreements and stipulations as in (Ex 19-40) into more specific blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience in (Deut 4, 26-32). Israel cannot exist in the Promised Land long term while living in covenant disobedience to the law of Yahweh without facing the consequences of covenant discipline, curses and expulsion from their land (Lev 26; Deut 28).
Although there are many times in the history of Israel that they have come under covenant discipline, curses and expulsions from the land (Assyria 722BC, Babylon 605BC, Rome/Arabs 70AD) Israel will face a final end of the age/last days (Deut 4:30, 31:29, 32:20/29) time of covenant discipline, curses and expulsion from the land during the last 3 ½ years of this age that all things which are written may be fulfilled (Deut 32:35; Luke 21:22). The Song of Moses (Deut 32) at the end of Torah is Yahweh’s prophetic warning of future eschatological discipline of the covenant at the end of this age as understood and continually alluded to by the prophets, Jesus and the apostles. Note in the various phrases in the footnote below, each one relates specifically to the Jewish people in their context during the last 3 ½ years of this age.1
1 Day of calamity (Deut 32:35; Ezek 35:5; Obad 1:13) Overwhelming scourge/trampling (Isa 10:6, 28:15/18-19; Dan 8:13; Mic 5:5-8; Lk 21:24; Rom 11:25; Rev 11:2) Jacob’s trouble (Jer 30:7) Great distress (Dan 12:1) Great tribulation (Matt 24:21; Mark 13:19) Shattering the strength/power of the holy people/Jews (Deut 32:36; Dan 12:7) Days of vengeance (Lev 26:25; Deut 32:35; Luke 21:22) Sudden destruction/birth pains/travail (Isa 66:7-9; I Thes 5:3)
After this eschatological discipline of curses and expulsion of Israel from her own land at the end of this age, Messiah Jesus will come a second time – judge her enemies, regather Israel and make the New Covenant with National Israel in Jerusalem (Jer 31; Ezek 36; Heb 8-10) unto the restoration of all things in His kingdom. It is deeply significant to realize that after each of the historic scatterings and gatherings of Israel, the promised eschatological restoration of National Israel has never been fulfilled even to our present day 2020 (Deu 4:25-31, 30:1-10, 32:41-43; Isa 11:11-16, 27:12-13; Ezek 34-39; Amos 9; Zech 12-14)
‘Moses calls “heaven and earth” to witness of both his promulgation of the Law and his recitation of the Song (31:28; 32:1), so that Israel will be without excuse when they experience the terrible consequences of their unfaithfulness (31:29; 32:20). Through such devices, Deuteronomy presents the Song of Moses as the Law in nuce [“in a nutshell”]….the Song of Moses functions as a poetic précis [summary] of the Law.’2
J. Ross Wagner, Heralds of the Good News (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2002). 200-201. Who also quotes that “Deuteronomy 32 was a major source, the ‘bible’ so to speak, of the prophetic movement … [it] has extremely close ties with especially the 7th-6th century prophecy. Virtually all the major themes of those prophets (including even the ‘remnant’ have their antecedents in Deuteronomy 32 “ (Mendenhall 1993:171)