Next in our study of the Biblical Covenants, let’s go visiting the awesome Mount Sinai to focus upon the Mosaic Covenant…placed after the Davidic Covenant in our study though it preceded the latter in time…simply to facilitate better comparison of it with the New Covenant of Grace:
Now let’s go visiting the awesome Mount Sinai to focus on the Mosaic Covenant…placed after the Davidic Covenant in our study though it preceded the latter in time…simply to facilitate better comparison of it with the New Covenant of Grace.
If at all the well-meaning Canon classifiers had anything in mind when they went about their task of Canon classification (obviously during the reign and patronage of Roman Emperor Constantine in the 4th century AD), in labeling one entire section of the Bible as Old Testament, it is apparently this Covenant, which the Lord God made with the people of Israel at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19-20). It is to commemorate this Covenant fifty days after liberation from the Egyptian bondage that the festival of Pentecost was observed by the Jews on the day the Church was born (Acts 2:1-41).
For all practical purposes, the overriding reason behind the classification and naming of one section of the Bible as Old Testament was to evidently portray the picture of the Law, symbolizing the Sinai Covenant and occupying most of the OT section, versus the Grace brought forth by the Saviour (John 1:17/ Acts 15:1-11-TLB) never better exemplified than in the Redeemer’s delicate, balanced and adept handling of a case involving a woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:1-11), saving her from the throes of painful death.
The Sinai Covenant, like the one made with the sires of the human race, has ceased to exist. As per the Sovereign Divine will, it was replaced by a new and a better one, the one which was set in motion by Christ Himself, when He instituted a Sacrament better known as the Lord’s Table, the night before His crucifixion (Matt 26:26-29). Before we finish with the subject of the Sinai Covenant, it would serve us well to observe four related facts:
If we see the Father telling what the new covenant is all about in Jeremiah 31:31-34, we see the how the Son would bring the same into effect in Isaiah 53 (by His immeasurable suffering) and how the Holy Spirit would put the same into the hearts of men in Ezekiel 36:26. Hey, the Trinity in unity at work…as at all times throughout the Sacred Scripture.
b) On the occasion that the Sinai Covenant was being birthed, about 3000 men died (Exodus 32:28) but when it’s replacement was being confirmed (ironically on the Day the Jews were commemorating its birth-the Pentecost. See Lev 23:15-21) and sealed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all the Apostles in the Upper room (Acts 2:1-12), about 3000 men were “saved” from the clutches of spiritual death-sin (Acts 2:41). Oh how true: The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Cor 3:6)!
c) Though the popular 10 Commandments were given initially, other Laws were added in due course so much so that by the time the Jews crossed the River Jordan (Joshua 3) to possess the Promised Land, they had totally 613 Laws to obey. The Book-wise break these up as follows: Exodus 111, Leviticus 247, Numbers 53 and Deuteronomy 99, and even from Genesis (which actually contains history prior to birth of the mediator, Moses) 3. These Laws, covering every gamut of Jewish life and society and including that of personal hygiene, by themselves are good; but when the core matters of them are brought in touch with the innate, rebellious Adamic nature of man, they become an explosive mix much to our detriment, as Apostle Paul so clearly states:
“Well then, am I suggesting that these laws of God are evil? Of course not! No, the law is not sinful, but it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known the sin in my heart–the evil desires that are hidden there–if the law had not said, ‘You must not have evil desires in your heart.’ But sin used this law against evil desires by reminding me that such desires are wrong, and arousing all kinds of forbidden desires within me! Only if there were no laws to break would there be no sinning.” (Romans 7:7-8 TLB).
Hear what another stalwart of the Early Church Apostle Peter has to say on the on the sheer impossibility of pleasing God by obeying the Law:
“Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” (Acts 15:7-11.
Crux of the matter when it comes to Christians of the Grace dispensation is this: The Laws were essentially given to the Jews to make them Holy, but in the Grace era, the Holy Spirit itself is given to those who accept the Redemption plan of God through Christ making them at all times Holy. So is there any need for Laws now? No!
d) Now coming to the shocker…The Sinai Covenant is applicable even today! But only for all those hard-hear ted ones who willfully wish to stay outside the “Grace of the New Covenant” (1 Tim 1:9-11).
Prayer: Father, we praise Thee for ushering in the New Covenant of Grace through Your Son. Enable us to be thankful to Thee for the same at all times. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “Of Covenant and the Pentacost” mini-series, please click here.)