The Believer’s Relationship to the Mosaic Covenant

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

The Believer‘s Relationship to the Mosaic Covenant

At the Blue Letter Bible, we consistently receive questions on tithing, on which,if any, of the often “strange” Levitical laws (e.g., Do not weave two kinds of fabric together) apply to the believer today, on when to celebrate Old Testament feast days, et cetera. These are all questions borne out of an inadequate understanding of the agreement made between God and Moses on Mount Sinai.

Properly understanding the covenants and their importance seems to be one of the most eluding pieces of theology for the modern believer. The Mosaic Covenant was directed specifically toward the nation of Israel and was concerned in its chiefest aspect with Israel’s inheritance of and blessing in the land of Canaan—the Promised Land. The laws that attended this covenant, while revealing God’s desire for this nation to be set apart from all others as an example, do not necessarily give us any perfect basis for understanding morality. This may seem to be a strange statement. But we ask you to consider the following points.

  • Much of the time when people discuss the “Law,” they are thinking primarily of the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments). However, the Law, (i.e., the Mosaic Covenant) contained several hundreds of commandments. Many of which today are not even possible to follow, due to the lack of a Jewish Temple. Yet, biblical morality is not affected by this situation.
  • In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus seemingly expanded the understanding of the Ten Commandments. Rather than just stating that we should not murder, He told us that if we called our brother a “fool,” it was the same as committing murder. So the Ten Commandments were not all encompassing as to morality.

The real question then presents itself, “What responsibility does the believer owe to the Mosaic Covenant?”

While the law is good (1 Tim 1:8), it is unable to justify (Gal 2:16). Under the “New Covenant,” Christ is our fulfillment of the law (Mat 5:17). Therefore, as to the question of what responsibility does the New Covenant believer owe to the Mosaic Covenant, the answer is “nothing” for the purposes of salvation (Gal 3:1-3). Some of the standards iterated from God through Moses upon Sinai were directed at the nation of Israel simply as the terms of a contract for possession of a certain portion of land. Deuteronomy 28makes clear the stipulations of this covenant; essentially God would bless Israel for obedience by granting great prosperity in the land. but curse Israel for its disobedience with all manner of catastrophe culminating in the loss of Canaan. Despite God’s longsuffering, Israel fails to uphold her portion of the covenant and reaps the curses God promised—climaxing in the Babylonian capture in the Seventh Century B.C.

The Law (both the covenantal and the universal, Ten Commandment aspects of it) now serves to lead mankind to understand his corruption. Just as Israel, a nation born of the fruit of God’s own grace, could not stand under the righteous requirements of the Mosaic Law, neither can any man stand under the condemnation of God’s universal requirement—absolute obedience of mind and action. Paul speaks of the Law as one who leads us step by step to grace, for it points out our dire need of such (cf. Galatians 3:23ff). And having taken hold of grace by faith, the believer no longer heeds the condemning beckon of the Law (cf. Romans). So then, is there any reason to look to the Levitical laws for ethical guidance unto righteousness? No—for their service now is to guide men to Christ (Galatians 3:24).

What then? Is this freedom merely for the believing Gentile? Or does the believer of Jewish decent likewise bear this liberty? As certainly as the Jewish believer holds to Christ is his freedom from the Mosaic Law assured. The chief redemptive aspect of the Mosaic Covenant has been fulfilled by Christ. The blood of bulls and goats is useless and perfectly replaced by the sacrifice of the one Son of God Himself; to return to the Mosaic Law is to deny the sacrifice of Christ. This was the impetus driving the apostles as they stood against the Judaizers (those who were requiring believers in Christ to bear up under the Mosaic Law) proclaiming, “Beware the dogs, the evildoers, the mutilation!”

Where then do we find our Christian ethic? Quite simply, in Christ’s words: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength and you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31). If we follow Christ’s command, we cannot break any aspect of the Ten Commandments, nor any aspect of God’s morality. And we find extrapolation of these ultimate commands in all the writings of the New Testament authors. That is our ethic—and it is borne by our faith in and love for Christ rather than from our fear of breaking the law.

Study Resources :: Mosaic Covenant Relationship. Retrieved from http://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/mosaic_cov.cfm

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The New Covenant:

The Rainbow set as the symbol of the Covenant ...

The Covenants of God

The Christian religious organizations of the world mainly preach that there is the Old and New Covenant, but the Bible talks about several other covenants that God made with man. These agreements help us to understand the dealings God was having with man and the results that would occur. (present or future) A covenant is a binding agreement that is made by two or more persons or parties. God’s covenants were simple and direct.

The New Covenant: The New Covenant is the fifth and last of the theocratic covenants.

Four provisions are made in this covenant: (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
Regeneration: God will put His laws in their inward parts and write them in the heart

A national restoration: The Eternal will be their God and the nation will be His people

Guidance by the Holy Spirit: they will all be taught individually by God

Full justification: the opportunity to have our sins forgiven and completely removed

The New Covenant is made sure by the blood that Jesus shed. That blood which guarantees to Israel its New Covenant and also provides the way sins can be forgiven for the believers who comprise the church of God (spiritual Israel). Jesus’ payment for sin is more than adequate to pay for the sins of all who will believe in Him. The New Covenant is called “new” in contrast to the covenant with Moses which is called “old” (Hebrews 8:6-13) because it actually accomplishes what the Mosaic Covenant could only point to, that is, the child of God living in a manner that is consistent with the character of God.

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The Davidic Covenant:

The Rainbow set as the symbol of the Covenant ...

The Covenants of God

The Christian religious organizations of the world mainly preach that there is the Old and New Covenant, but the Bible talks about several other covenants that God made with man. These agreements help us to understand the dealings God was having with man and the results that would occur. (present or future) A covenant is a binding agreement that is made by two or more persons or parties. God’s covenants were simple and direct.

The Davidic Covenant: The covenant with David is the fourth of the theocratic covenants (pertaining to the rule of God). In this covenant David is promised three things: ( 2 Samuel 7:4-17)
a land forever

an unending dynasty

an everlasting kingdom

The birth of Solomon (David’s son) is predicted. His particulate role is to establish the throne of the Davidic Kingdom forever. His throne continues, though his seed is cursed in the person of Jeconiah (Coniah), who was king under whom the nation was carried captive to Babylon. Jeremiah prophesies that no one whose genealogical descent could be traced back to David through Jeconiah and Solomon would ever sit on David’s throne (Jeremiah 22:24-30). Joseph, the legal, but not physical, father of Jesus traces his lineage to David through Jeconiah  (Matthew 1:1-17). David, however, had another son, Nathan. His line was not cursed. Mary, the physical mother of Jesus, traces her lineage back to David through Nathan (Luke 3:23-38). Notice the care and the extent to which God goes to keep His word and to preserve its truthfulness. The virgin birth was absolutely essential not only to assure the sinless character of Jesus but also to fulfill the Davidic Covenant. Jesus receives His “blood right” to David’s throne through His earthly mother, Mary, and His “legal right” to David’s throne through His adoptive earthly father, Joseph. The virgin birth guarantees that one of David’s line will sit on the throne and rule forever, while at the same time preserving intact the curse and restrictions on the line of descent through Jeconiah.

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The Palestinian Covenant (The land of Canaan):

The Rainbow set as the symbol of the Covenant ...

The Covenants of God

The Christian religious organizations of the world mainly preach that there is the Old and New Covenant, but the Bible talks about several other covenants that God made with man. These agreements help us to understand the dealings God was having with man and the results that would occur. (present or future) A covenant is a binding agreement that is made by two or more persons or parties. God’s covenants were simple and direct.

The Palestinian Covenant (The land of Canaan):

The covenant concerning Palestine is the third of the theocratic covenants. The Palestinian Covenant has two aspects:
the legal aspects which are immediate and conditional

(Deuteronomy 27-29)

the grace aspects which are future and unconditional

(Deuteronomy 30:1-9)
The enjoyment of the immediate blessings are introduced by the conditional formula:

“if you diligently obey the voice of God …..God will set you high above all nations of the earth” (Deuteronomy 28:1). Sadly, Israel did not meet the condition of obedience, and is still experiencing God’s curses and punishment for their disobedience.

(Deuteronomy 28:15-68)

The unconditional grace aspects of the Palestinian Covenant have yet to be realized. God will regather the scattered people of Israel and establish them in the land He has promised to give them. Deuteronomy concludes the Palestinian Covenant with a final warning and challenge for obedience.(Deuteronomy 30:1-20)

 

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The Mosaic Covenant:

The Rainbow set as the symbol of the Covenant ...

The Covenants of God

The Christian religious organizations of the world mainly preach that there is the Old and New Covenant, but the Bible talks about several other covenants that God made with man. These agreements help us to understand the dealings God was having with man and the results that would occur. (present or future) A covenant is a binding agreement that is made by two or more persons or parties. God’s covenants were simple and direct.

The Mosaic Covenant: The covenant with Moses is the second of the theocratic covenants (pertaining to the rule of God) and is conditional. It is introduced by the conditional formula, “if you will indeed obey My voice…then you shall be a special treasure.” This covenant was given to the nation Israel so that those who believed God’s promise given to Abraham in the Abrahamic Covenant would know how to conduct themselves. The Mosaic Covenant in its entirely governs three areas of their lives:
the commandments governed their personal lives particularly as related to God

the judgments governed their social lives as they related to one another

the ordinances governed their religious lives so that the people would know how to approach God on the terms that He dictates
The Mosaic Covenant in no way replaced or set aside the Abrahamic Covenant. Its function is clearly set forth by Paul (Galatians 3:17-19) who points out that the law, the Mosaic Covenant, came 430 years after the Abrahamic Covenant. The Mosaic Covenant was added alongside the Abrahamic Covenant so that the people of Israel would know how to conduct their lives until “the seed” the Anointed One, comes and makes the complete and perfect sacrifice, toward which the sacrifices of the Mosaic Covenant only point. ( It’s important to note that this is what Paul was taking about when he said, the law was done away. It was the ordinances of sacrifices that Christ did away with…)

The Mosaic Covenant was never given so that by keeping it people could be saved, but so that they might realize that they cannot do what God wants them to do even when God writes it down on tablets of stone. We are saved by grace, but God’s Spirit helps us to overcome our weaknesses and sins. Its only through Jesus that God’s Spirit is offered!

 

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The Covenant of Circumcision:

The Rainbow set as the symbol of the Covenant ...

The Covenants of God

The Christian religious organizations of the world mainly preach that there is the Old and New Covenant, but the Bible talks about several other covenants that God made with man. These agreements help us to understand the dealings God was having with man and the results that would occur. (present or future) A covenant is a binding agreement that is made by two or more persons or parties. God’s covenants were simple and direct.

The Covenant of Circumcision: Then, Abram was ninety-nine years old , God appeared to him and said, “I am your God. So be pleasing to Me and don’t do anything that you can be blamed for, and I will establish a Sacred Agreement (covenant) between you and Me; and I will also give you great prosperity. (Genesis 17:1-2) I will also extend My Sacred Agreement between you and Me to the seed that comes from you, through (all) its generations. It is a Sacred Agreement (covenant) through the ages that (I) will be your God and the God of the seed that comes from you. Also, I will give the land where you are (now) living as an alien, to you and to your seed. This includes the entire land of Canan. It will become yours through the ages, and I will be a God to them.(Genesis 17:7-8) This is the Sacred Agreement (extended portion) between you and your seed through all its generations, and Me: All your males must be circumcised, the foreskin of your flesh must be circumcised. This will be the sign of the Sacred Agreement (extended portion) between you and Me.(Genesis 17:10-11) Paul was correct in teaching that circumcision was not required of the gentiles! The Covenant of Circumcision was a land agreement between God and Abram, that the land of Canaan would always belong to his (Abram’s) descendants through Isaac. (Genesis 17:21)

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The Abrahamic Covenant:

The Rainbow set as the symbol of the Covenant ...

The Covenants of God

The Christian religious organizations of the world mainly preach that there is the Old and New Covenant, but the Bible talks about several other covenants that God made with man. These agreements help us to understand the dealings God was having with man and the results that would occur. (present or future) A covenant is a binding agreement that is made by two or more persons or parties. God’s covenants were simple and direct.

The Abrahamic Covenant: The covenant with Abraham is the first of the theocratic covenants (pertaining to the rule of God). It is unconditional, depending solely upon God who obligates Himself in grace, indicated by the unconditional declaration, I will, to bring to pass the promised blessings. The Abrahamic Covenant is the basis of all the other theocratic covenants and provides blessing in three area: (Genesis 12 1-3)
National: “I will make you a great nation”.

Personal: “I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing”.

Universal: “In you all families of the earth shall be blessed”. ( The Messiah )
This covenant was first given in broad outline and was later confirmed to Abraham in greater detail (Genesis 13:14-17, 15:1-7, 15:18-21, 17:1-8). The Abrahamic Covenant constitutes an important link in all that God began to do, has done throughout history, and will continue to do until the consummation of history. It is the one purpose of God for humans into which all of God’s programs and works fit.

 

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