Called to Covenant

Key Verse: “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.”
—Exodus 19:5

Selected Scriptures:
Exodus 19:1 – 20:21

AFTER DELIVERING Israel from bondage in Egypt when the Egyptian army drowned in the Red Sea, one of the first things God did was to give Israel his Laws. Moses went up into the mount and there he was given the Law, also known in brevity as the Ten Commandments. (Exod. 20:1-17) Although the people were frightened and held in awe with all the proceedings, Moses told them, “Do not fear, for God has come to prove you, and that the fear of him may be before your eyes, that you may not sin.”—Exod. 20:20, Revised Standard Version

Prior to this interchange between Moses and God, the nation of Israel had traveled for three months to the Sinai Desert and camped at the foot of Mt. Sinai. There Moses went up in the mountain to commune with God. God told him that if Israel “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.”—Exod. 19:5,6

God fulfilled his promise and made Israel ‘a peculiar treasure unto me [God] above all people.’ Later he would say through the Prophet Amos, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth.” (Amos. 3:2) The special favor of God brought responsibility, and the people of Israel had agreed to make a covenant with God. When the Law was given they said, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” (Exod. 19:8) If they kept the Law perfectly they could receive eternal life, but this was not possible for imperfect men to do.

Jesus came to earth, as described in God’s Word: “When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the Law.” (Gal. 4:4) Being perfect, the man Jesus was able to keep the Law perfectly. (Heb. 7:26) He removed Israel from the Law, “Blotting 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 Law served the purpose of making mankind aware of sin, as it is written: “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”—Rom. 3:20

It was possible for the people of Israel to become a kingdom of priests. When Jesus had come, God had given exclusive favor to Israel. The Christ class that God was developing could have been taken from Israel, permitting them to become “priests of God and of Christ, and reign with him a thousand years.”—Rev. 20:6

Instead, the Law became a ‘stumblingblock’ to them (I Cor. 1:23) preventing them from attaining this high honor. God went to the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name. (Acts 15:14) The disciples of Jesus in the Early Church and these Gentiles made a covenant with God by sacrifice (Ps. 50:5) and are no longer under the Law Covenant.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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