God’s Covenant and Moses

MEMORY SELECTION: “If ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people.” —Exodus 19:5


THE account as given in the 19th chapter of Exodus outlines the preliminary, or preparatory, agreements that had to be reached with the children of Israel before the actual inauguration of the Law Covenant. The inauguration of the covenant is described in Exodus 24:3-8. Moses, of course, was the mediator of the covenant. From the time the children of Israel gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai and Moses ascended the mount to receive instructions from God, he was a mediator. He was a mediator in the sense that he received God’s words and in turn conveyed them to the people. Then he conveyed the words of the people back to God. The terms of the Law Covenant that were presented to the nation of Israel are detailed in Exodus, the 19th through the 23rd chapters. These are very exacting terms, so much so that no one was able to keep their requirements perfectly. Nevertheless, the Israelites agreed to the terms and Moses completed his office as a mediator of the covenant, as described in Exodus 24:3-8; and the Law Covenant was inaugurated. The Lord, through Moses, admonished the Israelites: “Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord your God. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord.” (Lev. 18:4,5) The promise to the Israelites was that if they could keep the statutes and judgments of the Law Covenant perfectly they would fulfill the measure of a perfect man’s ability to perform, thereby earning justification. Then they would no longer be under Adamic condemnation and would therefore have life.—Gal. 3:10-12

We all know of Israel’s monumental failure in endeavoring to keep the terms of the Law Covenant. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 3:19,20, explains: “Now we know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the Law is the knowledge of sin.” Because the Law was the measure of perfection, it pointed out the universality of sin and the need for a different kind of covenant and a better mediator if the world was again to be reconciled to God and to be considered just before him, earning life. (See Hebrews 8:1-13.)

It was expedient for God to demonstrate, however, that it was possible for the terms of the Law Covenant to be kept by a perfect man. Jesus, because Adam was not his father, did not inherit Adamic condemnation; and the Scriptures tell us that he was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” (Heb. 7:26) Because of his perfection he was able to keep the Law. Jesus said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled.”—Matt. 5:17,18

By his faithfulness, then, Jesus made the Law honorable, and by fulfilling it, as the apostle says, he blotted “out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”—Col. 2:14

The general principle that was the foundation of the Law Covenant, nevertheless, is the same general principle that underlies all God’s covenant arrangements. This principle is expressed by the Apostle Paul: “Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law.”—Rom. 13:9,10

Dawn Bible Students Association
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