This is one of the most controversial topics in the church today and I believe it is at the top of the list. I will discuss what these covenants are, who they apply to, wether they are still applicable or not and what it means to us now.
What are these covenants?
The two covenants I want to discuss about in this message is the Mosaic covenant and Grace covenant.
1) Let us start first with the Mosaic covenant.
A) The Mosaic covenant is the covenant that God made with Israel or Jews through Moses, after they were taken out of Egypt. This is why it’s called the Mosaic covenant since it came through Moses. This covenant includes the Ten Commandments (the moral law), the ceremonial (which guided the Jews on how to perform sacrificial ceremonies and other ceremonies for God) and the judicial law (which was pretty much like the government or country laws). All these laws form part of the Mosaic covenant. You will find these laws in Exodus, Levictus and Deuteronomy books in the bible in that order. Now in Exodus these laws start at Exodus 20 onwards. Exodus 20:1-2 (ESVST)
1 And God spoke all these words, saying,
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery……..
These laws were spoken by God himself to the people of Israel and he then gave Moses the law which was written on two stones. Now, something very important happened before God gave the Jews or Israelites the law. This is something so important but yet no one seem to speak about it. This is what defines and differentiates the old covenant from the new. We will now discuss it. As you know by now, the law is given from Exodus 20 onwards and this very important thing happened in Exodus 19:4-8 just before the law is given.
Exodus 19:4-8 (ESVST)
You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles ‘wings and brought you to myself.
Here God reminds Israel through Moses what he did to the Egyptians when he took Israel out of Egypt. He reminds Moses how he (God) bore them, the Israelites, on his wings and brought them to himself. God is making it very clear here that he is the one that took the Israelites out of Egypt and he is the one that brought them to himself. Israelites did nothing. He did it all. Infant all Israel did was complain all the time during the way, of hunger and thirst and all sorts of things. Very ungrateful but God stayed with them until now.
5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
“Now therefore”, this means, now that you know what I have done for you. Now that you know what I did to take you out of Egypt, then, if you will indeed OBEY MY VOICE AND KEEP MY COVENANT. Now lets stop Here. If you obey and keep. Who must obey, the Israelites, obey what, God’s voice and keep what, God’s covenant. So, if Israel will obey God’s voice and keep his covenant then what, God said, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. For Israel to have all these benefits, they had to do something. For Israel to have these benefits, they had to obey and keep. This was the condition placed by God. They will not get the benefits if they do not obey and keep. Simple as that. You obey and keep, you get the benefits, you don’t, you don’t get the benefits.
This is the nucleus of the old or Mosaic covenant. Israelites needed to obey and keep, for them to benefit from God. Israel’s salvation was based on obedience to the voice of God and keeping his covenant. They could not be saved unless they did that. Infect, if you go through the laws which were given by God’s own voice, punishment for disobedience was death, all the time. Israelites needed to obey God’s voice (which is law that he gave by voice) and keep his covenant (which God also spoke and Moses wrote down. Which is actually the law. Deuteronomy 4:13 (ESVST)
And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments, and he wrote them on two tablets of stone.).
In summary, Israel had to keep God’s covenant by obeying the law and they will be saved. They will get the benefits. Why do I say saved, because the benefits says, they will be God’s own treasured possession. You can only be that, if you are holy and without sin and to be holy and without sin, is to be saved.
7 So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. 8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord.
A covenant is an agreement of the highest order. It is an agreement that should not be broken but, for there to be an agreement, there must be two parties or more to constitute an agreement. These parties must agree, for the agreement to become an agreement that is binding. God stated his conditions for the agreement and now it was for the Israelites to agree or disagree. When Moses told them God’s conditions, they all agreed and they said “ALL THAT THE LORD HAS SPOKEN, WE WILL DO”. The same statement is found is Exodus 24 after the law is given: Exodus 24:7 (ESVST)
Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.”
They agreed to be bound by the covenant. In the covenant, the requirements are that they must obey God’s voice and keep the covenant. Once they agreed, God gave them the law and punishment for disobedience, and expected them to comply as per the agreement.
This in summary, is the mosaic covenant.