Monday, January 19, 2015


"Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD." Exod. 19:5-8
 According to the terms of this covenant, the nation of Israel would be established in the promised land, and her regal rights under the Abrahamic covenant would be exercised there as long as the nation obeyed the voice of God as expressed in the Mosaic Code of laws (Exod. 19:5-6ff.). Thus it is clear that we have here a covenant which is conditional, that is, dependent for its fulfilment upon the actions of the people. In this respect, the Mosaic covenant is radically different from both the Abrahamic covenant which preceded it and the Davidic covenant which followed it. The terrible curses of divine judgment attached to the Mosaic covenant are wholly absent from the other two.
 By no device of interpretation can this Mosaic covenant be precisely equated with the earlier covenant with Abraham. In fact, Moses himself is careful to distinguish between the two: in Deut. 5:2-3 where, referring to the covenant made at "Horeb" (Sinai), he says emphatically, "The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers." In this distinction the whole of New Testament revelation concurs. The Mosaic Law was something "added because of transgressions"; and it cannot "disannul" the promise of the Abrahamic covenant made 430 years before the Mosaic covenant (Gal. 3:17-19). Furthermore, according to the writer of Hebrews, the Mosaic covenant was "ready to vanish away" (Heb. 8:13). But the Abrahamic covenant will never pass away.
 It was precisely this conditional nature of the Mosaic covenant that led to its failure. Since its fulfilment depended on man's complete obedience (Deut. 27:26), it could not succeed. Although its legal requirements were holy and good (Rom. 7:12), it was "weak through the flesh" (Rom. 8:3). That is, the root of the failure was not in the Law but in man. For this reason there had to be a "New Covenant" to replace it.

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