Though the Gospel is clearly based upon faith in the
unmerited grace bestowed upon us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ,
there is much confusion regarding what Laws, if any, Christians are
obligated to observe. Are there Laws to keep in the New Covenant, and if
so what are those Laws? Some believe in no Law at all, some believe in
only the Laws found specifically mentioned in the New Testament, and
others believe in keeping all the Laws found in the writings of Moses.
In an effort to make some sense of what Laws are
important to Christians, some break down the Laws of the Torah (first
five books written by Moses) into sections such as "ceremonial,"
"sacrificial" and "moral," etc., and argue that only the moral Law is a
part of the New Covenant. What is painfully clear across the board is
that almost all pick and choose for themselves what they believe to be
relevant to the New Covenant.
Exodus 19 reveals that God was
offering Israel the opportunity to enter into Abrahamís Covenant of
Promise rather than the Sinai Covenant which was settled
on until Jesus, the Promised Seed should come. God instructed Moses to tell the people to consecrate
themselves for in three days the Lord Himself would speak His Covenant
to them and if they would obey this Covenant that He would make them a
"kingdom of priests", -"Now then, if you
will indeed obey MY VOICE (spoken Word) and keep MY COVENANT, then you
shall be My own possession. . .and you shall be to Me a kingdom of
priests and a holy nation." (verses 5-6) Chapter 20 tells
us that God spoke the Ten Commandments directly to them and nothing else.
With this in mind lets read Exodus 34:
verses 1 and 28, -"Now the Lord said to Moses, ĎCut out for yourself two
stone tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the
words that were on the former tablets which you shattered. . .So he was
there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; . . .And He wrote on
the tablets the WORDS OF THE COVENANT, the TEN COMMANDMENTS."
Now notice Deuteronomy 4:10-13,
-"Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb (Mt.
Sinai) when the Lord said to me, ĎAssemble the people to Me, that I may
let them HEAR MY WORDS so that they may learn to fear Me all the days
they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.í You
came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned
with fire to the very heart of the heavens; darkness, cloud and thick
gloom. Then the Lord SPOKE to you from the midst of the fire; you heard
the sound of words, but you saw no form, only a voice. So HE DECLARED to
you HIS COVENANT which He commanded you to perform, that it, the TEN
COMMANDMENTS; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone."
What is not always readily understood but is clear in
the writings of the Apostles, is that the New Covenant is the same
Covenant of Promise that God made with Abraham 430 years before the
Sinai Covenant (Gal.3:17). "And if you
belong to Christ, then you are Abrahamís descendants, heirs according to
the promise" (Galatians 3:29, NASB). "For they are not all Israel who
are descended from Israel (Jacob); nor are they all children because
they are Abrahamís (natural) descendants, but ĎTHROUGH ISAAC YOUR
DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.í That is, it is not the children of the flesh
(natural seed) who are children of God, but the children of the promise
are regarded as descendants" (Romans 9:6-8).
Isaac, not Jacob, was the child of promise and the
followers of Jesus are named after him because they are born again of
the Promised Seed and are heirs of better, eternal promises. Jesus is
the Promised Seed and those born in Him and are spiritual Israel
Since a Covenant is a contract which contains specific
terms of agreement, we must understand what our obligation is. The terms
of my car loan are very different from the terms of my mortgage. There
are certain conditions and assurances in both; but they are not the
same. Once the contract is agreed upon by both parties and ratified, no
conditions can be added or removed from it. The dealer I purchased my
car from cannot come to me a month later and say that he sold me the car
too cheap and wants to add more to my debt, nor can I go to the dealer
and demand my debt be reduced because I have decided the car isnít worth
what I am paying for it. Once the contract is ratified (today by signing
a contract), the terms, requirements, and conditions are set.
The only way to change the conditions is to void the
original contract and make a new one. Paul actually addresses this to
prove that the Sinai Covenant did not replace the promise of Abrahamís
Covenant, "Brethren, I speak in terms of
human relations: (giving an example) even though it is only a manís
covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds
conditions to it" (Galatians 3:15).
Some argue that the Torah Laws remain, but are written
into the minds and hearts of the believers in the New Covenant. Others
insist that many of those Laws are not a part of Abrahamís Covenant of
Promise, but were added to the Sinai Covenant because of the
transgressions of the people.
When reading Galatians chapter 4, it becomes clear that
the Sinai Covenant and Abrahamís Covenant are two different testaments
indeed. The Apostleís word to the Hebrews was that while the Sinai
Covenant had the priesthoodí of Aaron and Levi, the New Covenant of
Promise has a different priesthood; one that preceded and is greater
than that of Aaron and Levi, the eternal priesthood of Melchizedek,
which means there must also be a change in Law,
"For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a
change of Law also" (Hebrews 7:12).
The previous verse indicates that the Law of Moses
(Sinai Covenant) was given on the basis of the Levitical
Priesthood and not on the basis of the Priesthood of the Order of
"Now if perfection was through the Levitical Priesthood (for on the basis
of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for
another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not
be designated according to the order of Aaron.?" (Hebrews 7:11)
The children of Israel were given the Levitical Priesthood, but the
Church of Jesus Christ is a Priesthood of the order of Melchizedek-Jesus
being the High Priest, the Author and Perfecter of the faith.
The Catholic Church and virtually all Protestant
denominations believe in the necessity of keeping the Ten Commandments,
though most follow the Catholic example of setting aside or replacing
the fourth Commandment to keep holy the seventh day with the first day
of the creation week; that is, replacing the Sabbath (Saturday) with
When a Catholic is questioned about why he does not
keep the fourth Commandment as it was given by God, he will say that the
Church made the decision to replace the Sabbath with Sunday and that he
believes the Church has the power and authority to change any Law.
Protestants reject this idea. The rallying cry of the Protestant
Reformers was "sola scriptura," which is Latin for "Scripture alone;"
meaning that the Scriptures are the final authority.
Although millions of Protestant Christians keep the
Sabbath according to the Commandment, the vast majority retain the
Catholic doctrine of Sunday. When these Protestants are questioned
regarding observing the Ten Commandments, they offer various reasons why
keeping the Sabbath Commandment is different and unnecessary.
Sabbatarians of course disagree with this reasoning.
All Catholics and virtually all Protestants will
acknowledge the habit of breaking any of the other nine Commandments as
practicing sin. Perhaps here we should make it plain what the Bible
definition of sin is, "Sin is the
transgression of the Law" (1 John 3:4). So, it is clear
that Catholics and Protestants alike see the need for keeping the Ten
Commandments (or at least nine of them) in order to stay in Godís grace;
which means, keeping the Ten Commandments have a vital and active role
in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the New Covenant He ratified with His
We are saved by grace but not saved to continue to
practice a lifestyle of sin. "For by grace
you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the
gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we
are His worksmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God
prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10).
It is obvious that no Law or works of keeping Laws could save us from the
penalty of our sins, but notice that we were saved for good works that
we would walk in them.
Paul taught the Roman believers what were seemingly
opposite teachings, "because by the works of
the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law
comes the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). Further
"it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers
of the Law will be justified" (Romans 2:13). To "justify"
means to be found or made to be innocent. To bring these two teachings
into harmony we must conclude that keeping Laws cannot justify or make
us innocent; but neither can we stand justified in Godís sight if we
practice breaking His Laws after receiving justification by the blood of
Jesus (Romans 5:9).
"For if we go on sinning
willfully (on purpose) after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there
no longer remains a sacrifice for sin, but a terrifying expectation of
judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries"
(Hebrews 10:26). The following verses show that there are
two Covenants; one containing the whole Law of Moses in which a sinner
dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses, and a
greater Covenant ratified by the blood of Jesus,
"the covenant by which he (a person) is sanctified" (Hebrews 10:29).
The point being here is that there will be "severer punishment"
for those who practice sin as to "trample
under foot the Son of God" (Hebrews 10:29) and the blood
He shed for the Covenant.
When looking into the face of modern Christianity we
see the heavily ceremonial Catholic Church, the various denominations
which were birthed in the Protestant Reformation, the Sabbatarian
groups, and then the Messianics who claim to observe the Torah, the
whole Law of Moses. There is one common thread found among the vast
majority, and that is, they pick and choose what Laws they believe to be
relevant to the New Covenant. Most completely reject all the Laws in
Torah (excluding, and I might add, curiously, the Law of tithing) except
the Ten Commandments.
The Scriptures Reveal Two Covenants
God sent Moses to deliver the Children of Israel out of
bondage in Egypt. God used Moses in a very special way. He was not an
ordinary Prophet, but a deliverer Prophet and a type and shadow of the
true deliverer who came as Jesus. God gave His Laws to Israel through
Moses, and Moses sat as the judge of the people. But Moses prophesied of
another that God would someday raise up as a deliverer Prophet,
"The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among
you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to Him" (Deuteronomy 18:15).
About a thousand years later during the last
canonization of the Old Testament Scriptures, the Great Assembly of 120
faithful Israelites including Malachi, Zechariah, Haggai, Nehemiah, and
led by Ezra the Priest, added Chapter 24 of Deuteronomy and ended it
with, "Since that time no Prophet has risen
in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face" (Deut.
This was added to Deuteronomy about 450 years before
Jesus was born, so all the Prophets whose writings were a part of the
canonization had not fulfilled Moses prophecy; leaving it open for Jesus
to be received as that Prophet who would deliver the people from the
bondage of their sins. Jesus claimed to be the fulfillment of Moses
prophecy, "You search the Scriptures because
you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify
about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.
. .Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who
accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you
believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me" (John
Jesus is emphatically making the case for Himself, and was saying that
they erred in setting their hope on Moses, for Moses had not set his
hope on himself but on the One of whom he had prophesied..
Jesus is clearly saying that merely learning the
Scriptures will not give anyone eternal life, unless we receive Him to
whom the Scriptures lead us. Though Moses commanded concerning the one
who would come after him, "you shall listen
to Him," only a remnant of Israel did; choosing rather to
continue to set their hope in Moses (Deut.18:15).
Concerning this, the Apostle Paul wrote, -"But
their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the
Old Covenant the same veil (Moses wore to hide the Glory) remains
uplifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever
Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns
to the Lord, the veil is taken away" (2 Corinthians 3:14-15).
On His last Passover Jesus inaugurated the memorial
ceremony of the New Covenant saying,"This is
My Body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me. . .This cup which
is poured out for you is the New Covenant in My blood" (Luke 22:19-20).
In the Sinai Covenant, an unblemished lamb was slain and eaten on the
Passover, but the New Testament writings show that this was only a
shadow of a coming reality in Jesus,
"For Christ our Passover has been sacrificed" (1
Corinthians 5:7). John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and
declared, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes
away the sins of the world" (John 1:29). In Revelation we
see the Hosts of Heaven say of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the
earth, "Worthy are You to take the book and
to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your
blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have
made them to be a Kingdom of Priests to our God; and they will reign
upon the earth" (Chapter 5:9-10). Notice that those who
have been saved by the true Lamb are made a
"Kingdom of Priests."
This is a Priesthood of the Order of Melchizedek. As
High Priest of the New Covenant of Promise, Jesus serves as the High
Priest Melchizedek (Hebrews 7). Israel entered into the Sinai
Covenant and received the Priesthoods of Aaron and Levi; but had they
entered Abrahamís Covenant of Promise, they would have become a whole
nation of priests, "Now then, if you will
indeed obey My voice and keep My Covenant, then you shall be My own
possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you
shall be to Me a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation" (Exodus19:5-6).
Notice God connected this Covenant with obeying His voice. In the next
chapter, God Himself speaks to Israel for the first and last time,
giving them His Ten Commandments. Since Israel never "became a
Priesthood," but later received a Priesthood of the Order of Levi, we
must conclude that they never entered into the Covenant of Promise. As
they received a lesser and temporary Priesthood until the Promise should
come, they also received a lesser Covenant, the Sinai Covenant, until
the Messiah should come.
Jeremiah the Prophet foretold of another Covenant,
"Behold, days are coming,í declares the Lord, "when I will make a New
Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like
the Covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by
the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My Covenant which they
broke, although I was husband to them,í declares the Lord " (Chapter
The New Testament reveals this to be the Christian
Covenant, "But now He has obtained a more
excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the Mediator of a better
Covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. For if that first
Covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought
for a second. . .Behold the days are coming when I will effect a New
Covenant. . .For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will
remember their sins no more.í When He said, ĎA New Covenant,í He has
made the first obsolete. But what ever is becoming obsolete and growing
old is ready to disappear" (Hebrews 8:6-13).
Perhaps the most comprehensive explanation concerning
these two Covenants and how they differ is found in the Book of
Galatians. Paul, formerly a student of Gamaliel, having risen to the
level of a Master of the teachings of Moses, gives his dissertation of
the meaning of the Gospel and the New Covenant. We will go through all
the highlights of Galatians later; but now we just want to see that Paul
confirmed the existence of two Covenants, and that it is clearly
witnessed in the Torah when it is spiritually discerned.
Notice in the fourth
chapter, "Tell me, you who want to be under
Law, do you not listen to the Law"
(Gal. 4:21). In its broadest application, "Law" simply
means "instruction." The Law here is the Torah, the writings of
Moses; and Paul is saying that the Galatians erred by reading only the
letter of the Law, and were failing to understand what Moses' writings
were meant to convey spiritually. "For it is
that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman.
But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the
son by the free woman through the Promise
[or according to
(Gal.4:22-23). The Covenant of
Promise involved not only Abraham himself, but Sarah his wife, and Isaac
who would be born as a type for Messiah. Isaac was the child God
promised to give Abraham and Sarah; but Sarahís faith was not strong
enough for her to conceive for more than twenty years (Heb. 11:11).
During this time she deceived herself into believing
that God would give her the promised child through her handmaid, Hagar.
After convincing Abraham of this, Hagar conceived and gave birth to
Ishmael whom Sarah received as her own. Years passed until one day, God
appeared to Abraham and reconfirmed that He would fulfill His promise to
give Abraham a son through Sarah; to which Abraham replied,
"Oh that Ishmael might live before you!" But Ishmael was
not the child of Promise, and God reminded Abraham that Sarah would bear
a son. Abraham loved Ishmael, so God assured him that He would bless the
lad; but that His Covenant would be established through Isaac,
"But My Covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to
you at this season next year" (Gen.17:18-21).
Now back to Galatians 4
concerning who Sarah and Hagar and their sons represent,
"This is allegorically speaking, for these woman are TWO COVENANTS: one
proceeding from Mount Sinai (Sinai Covenant) bearing children who are to
be slaves; she is Hagar" (Gal. 4:24). Sarah and Isaac
represent Abrahamís Covenant of Promise which is the New Covenant
ratified by Christ, and Hagar and her son represent the Sinai Covenant
in which God used Moses. As both women and their sons were blessed,
there are blessings in both Covenants if obeyed. But the true
heirs of the eternal and better promises, come through Sarah and Isaac,
the New Covenant of Promise.
Something else we learn from this passage is that as
the two women and their two sons were not compatible, the two Covenants
cannot exist together; notice "And you
brethren, like Isaac, are children of Promise. But as at that time he
who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born
according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the Scripture
say? ĎCast out the bondwoman and her son. For the son of the bondwoman
shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman.í So then brethren,
we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman"
(Gal.4:28-31). After Isaac was born Sarah demanded that
both Hagar and Ishmael be sent away. The son she once loved as her own,
she now despised and never wanted to see again. When reading this, it is
obvious that we are receiving fresh revelation from the Apostle Paul of
the true meaning of this story.
I think we can be assured that when the
children of Israel heard Moses read every Sabbath, they never even
considered that Sarah and Hagar and their sons represented two
This is but one of many examples of
how Jesus and the Apostles lifted the veil on the true meaning of the
O.T. writings. How wonderful and blessed it is
to live at a time such as this.
The N.T. tells us that the Prophets longed to
understand what they were writing but were denied. Even the angels are
watching the Church to see and learn the mystery of God being revealed
in us. "As to this salvation, the Prophets
who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches
and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ
within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and
the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not
serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been
announced to you through those who preached the Gospel to you by the
Holy Spirit sent from Heaven -things into which angels long to look" (1
Paul wrote, "By
revelation there was made known to me the mystery. . .when you read
you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other
generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been
revealed to His holy Apostles and Prophets in the Spirit. . .the mystery
which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that
the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the Church to
the rulers and the authorities in the Heavenly places. This was in
accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus
our Lord" (Ephesians 3:3-11).
Abraham Kept Godís Laws
The Covenant announced by the Gospel of Jesus Christ is
the Covenant promised to Abraham, which is why he is called
"the father of all who believe" (Rom.4:11);
and why believers are called descendants and heirs of the promises
provided in the New Covenant, "And if you
belong to Christ, then you are Abrahamís descendants, heirs according to
Though Abraham entered into this Covenant with God
430 years before Moses, he has a testimony that he observed the Laws of
God as witnessed by what the Lord spoke to Isaac,
"I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. . .by
your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;
Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My Commandments, My Statutes and My
Laws" (Genesis 26:3-5).
This seems to make it clear that the
Covenant of Promise has Commandments, Statutes, and Laws. This should
put to rest the idea that because believers are saved by grace through
faith, that there is no obligation to observe Laws. The question is
One cannot automatically assume this to mean all the
Laws of Torah, of which hundreds were added later because of
transgressions. In fact, as we learned in Galatians 3 nothing could be
added or removed from Abrahamís Covenant,
"no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. . .What I am saying is
this; the Law which came four hundred and thirty years later does not
invalidate a Covenant previously ratified by God, as as to nullify the
That is to say, that the Sinai Covenant and its Laws do not nullify or
replace Abrahamís Covenant of Promise.
The Sinai Covenant provides that righteousness
comes from keeping all of Godís Commandments and Statutes; this is the
rule of the Sinai Covenant as witnessed in Torah, notice,
"So the Lord commanded us to observe all these Statutes, to fear the
Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today.
It will be
righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all these
Commandments before the Lord our God" (Deuteronomy 6:24-25).
But the New Testament teaches that though Abraham was obedient, his
righteousness was through his faith, "Faith
was credited to Abraham as righteousness" (Romans 4:9).
And concerning his heirs according to the Promise,
"For the Promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir
of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of
faith" (Rom. 4:13).
Both the Old and New Testaments reveal that no one was
ever truly righteous on the merits of their own works (though it was
sometimes credited), "There is none
righteous, not even one" (Ps 14:1-3, Rom.3:10). This is
one important reason why the New Covenant is superior: we donít produce
a righteousness of our own but receive the perfect righteousness of
Christ, "He made Him who knew no sin to be
sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in
Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).
One may conclude that since Abraham and his heirs
according to the Promise have a righteousness by faith and not by works
that Christians are being legalistic, trying to save themselves by works
if they strive to obey Godís Commandments. The truth is, works alone
cannot produce salvation; but true faith will produce faithful works of
obedience. James clarifies this in
his epistle, "What use is it, my brethren,
if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save
him?. . .faith, if it has no works is dead, being by itself. . .But are
you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works
is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he
offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working
with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and
the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ĎAnd Abraham believed God and it
was reckoned to him as righteousness,í and he was called the friend of
God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. .
.For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without
works is dead" (James 2:14-26)
To be completely honest, I must point out here that the
works referred to are not what we commonly think of as Law, though "Law"
means "instruction." Abrahamís works mentioned here were obeying God in
faith when He told him to leave the city of Ur to live in the desert,
receiving by faith that he would have a son in his old age, and trusting
God enough to obey Him when he told him to offer his son, Isaac.
However, obedient works are obedient works in whatever God instructs;
and we already have testimony that Abraham obeyed Godís Laws,
Commandments and Statutes.
I believe Abraham knew and
observed Godís Ten Commandments, the annual Holy Days, the Law of Clean
and Unclean meats, and the Law of Tithing. I believe these are the Laws,
Commandments and Statutes which Abraham knew and kept.
Itís obvious that the Ten Commandments were known by
all from the creation. God, Himself created and observed the first
Sabbath on the seventh day of creation week. The Sabbath is a weekly
reminder that the true God is the Creator and that there are no gods but
Him. Therefore, to worship and idol as if it were God is wrong, and was
known to be wrong from the beginning. When God gave this Commandment to
Israel He said "remember" the Sabbath to keep it holy. You cannot
remember something you never knew. Cain knew that is was sin to murder
his brother Abel, and God cursed the serpent for lying. In disobeying
God they were breaking the First Commandment. All of these are Laws from
the Ten Commandments.
Abraham may have not observed the Holy Days as the
Festivals later commanded, but itís almost certain that he knew the
annual High Sabbaths since the timing for them was given at the
"Then God said, ĎLet there be lights in the
expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them
be for signs and for seasons and for days and years" (Genesis 1:14).
The Hebrew word translated "seasons" here is "Moed" which
means, "an appointed time to assemble for a festival." When these times
were announced to Israel God began by saying,
"The Lordís appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations
- My appointed times are these" (Leviticus 23:2).
Notice, they are the "Lordís appointed times" written in the heavens from
the beginning. We see the Church observing these Holy Days in the New
Testament writings. Paul marked his travels around them and commanded
the Gentiles to keep them as well (Acts 20,1 Cor.5,11).
Abraham most certainly knew and observed the Law of
Clean and Unclean meats since it also was given and well-known from the
beginning. This is witnessed by the instruction given to Noah to take
seven pairs of clean animals aboard the Ark while only one pair of
unclean animals. Noah knew and understood the difference, and there is
no Scriptural account where God had to explain to him why, or what
constituted a clean animal from and unclean one. Obviously, it was
common knowledge in his day.
Regarding the Law of Tithing, we need go no further
than seeing that Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek, High Priest of the
Most High God.
The Ark of the Covenant
God spoke the Ten Commandments to the children of
Israel Himself. He made a divine appointment and gave them three days to
prepare themselves to appear before Him at the foot of Mt. Sinai. When
He was finished, He had given them only the Ten Commandments, nothing
"These words the Lord spoke to all your
assembly at the mountain from the midst of the fire, of the cloud and of
the thick gloom, with a great voice and He added no more. He
wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me" (Deuteronomy
Notice also, "So 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 (Deuteronomy 4:13). Here we see that Godís Covenant
is the Ten Commandments, and He added no more. God wrote these Ten
Commandments onto tablets of stone by His own finger and gave them to
Moses. Deuteronomy 9:11 refers to
these as the "Tablets of the Covenant."
The first set of tablets were destroyed when Moses
threw them down because of Israelís idolatry; but God wrote them onto
another set of stone tablets and commanded Moses to place them inside
the Ark of the Covenant. "At that time the
Lord said to me, ĎCut out for yourself two tablets of stone like the
former ones, and come up to Me on the mountain, and make an Ark of wood
for yourself. I will write on the tablets the words that were on the
former tablets which you shattered, and you shall put them in the Arkí"
Concerning this Ark, God gave very specific and
detailed instructions in how it was to be made, the type of wood, and
the size. The Lord commanded that the wood be overlaid with gold but
that the top, the Mercy Seat, was to be made of solid gold with two
cherubim fashioned above with out-stretched wings to cover the seat.
An ark is simply a vessel, box, or container.
The name reveals what it contains. For example, a cookie jar is a vessel
which contains cookies. If it contained candy then it would be called a
candy jar. "Ark of the Covenant" contains the Covenant, the Ten
Commandments written onto tablets of stone.
reveals what else was placed in the Ark, -"The
Ark of the Covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a
golden jar holding the manna, and Aaronís rod which budded, and the
tables of the Covenant." (Heb. 9:4).
(1) We see the Ten Commandments which are
Godís standard for living and which reveal to us what sin is.
(2) We see the golden jar of manna which
represents Jesus, the true Manna from Heaven who takes away the sins of
the world. Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say
to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but
it is My Father who gives you the true Bread out of Heaven. For the
Bread of God is that which comes down out of Heaven and gives life to
the world. . .I am the Bread of life; he who comes to Me will not
hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst" (John 6:32-35).
This is why we eat unleavened bread at the Passover service; we are
feeding on the unleavened (sinless) Body of Christ who is the giver of
(3) And we see Aaronís rod, a dead stick that
came to life and produced fruit. Wood is a symbol for cursed humanity.
This is why the Chief Priests demanded Jesus to be crucified on a piece
of wood. The Torah says, "Cursed is anyone
who is hung on a tree." Since we are all sons of Adam and
born under the curse, we must be born again of the Spirit of God in
order to be saved. This is accomplished by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Aaronís dead stick which came to life and bore fruit is symbolic of what
the Holy Spirit does for us. The Ten Commandments, Jesus, the Bread
from Heaven, and the Aaronís rod, the work of the Spirit, are all a part
of the Covenant of Promise.
When the time for judgment comes and the Lordís
servants receive their rewards, the true Ark of the Covenant will appear
in the Heavens, "And the nations were
enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be
judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the Prophets and the
saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to
destroy those who destroy the earth. And the Temple of God which is in
Heaven was opened; and the Ark of His Covenant appeared in His Temple"
The New Testament Teaches the Ten
Matthew 19 tells a
story of a young rich man who asked Jesus what he must do to inherit
eternal life. Now, there is eternal life only in the Covenant of Promise
- eternal life is one of the "better promises." Jesus told this
man that if he wished to inherit life he must keep the Commandments.
Since there were hundreds of Commandments in the Law of Moses the man
asked, "which ones?" Jesus then named a number of the Ten Commandments
to which the man replied, "I have always kept these. What else do I
lack?" Jesus then told him that if he wanted to be perfect, then sell
his possessions, give them to the poor, and come and be a disciple.
Jesus certainly was not meaning to say that the Commandments alone have
the power to give life, but He was saying that those who pursue life
will live obedient lives. I will follow here with a few passages
concerning keeping the Commandments.
"Do not think that I came
to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to
fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not
the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is
accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these
Commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least
in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall
be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 5:17-19)
"He who has My Commandments
and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be
loved by My Father and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him"
(John 14:21). Notice that Jesus is saying that He will
"disclose" or reveal Himself to those who keep the Commandments.
This gives a good explanation of what John wrote in His first epistle,
"By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His
Commandments. The one who says, ĎI have come to know Himí and does not
keep His Commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him; but whoever
keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this
we know that we are in Him" (1 John 2:3-5). Notice that
knowing God and having the love of God perfected in us are connected to
keeping Godís Commandments.
"If you keep My
Commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Fatherís
Commandments and abide in His love" (John 15:10).
"Circumcision is nothing, and
uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the
Commandments of God" (1 Corinthians 7:19).
"For whoever keeps the whole
Law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For He
who said, ĎDo not commit adultery,í also said, ĎDo not commit murder.í
Now if you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become
a transgressor of the Law. So speak and so act as those who will be
judged by the Law of liberty" (James 2:10-12). The "whole
Law" referred to here is obviously the whole Ten Commandments since the
two Laws specifically mentioned are the sixth and seventh Commandments.
"By this we know that we
love the children of God, when we love God and observe His Commandments.
For this is the love of God, that we keep His Commandments; and His
Commandments are not burdensome" (1 John 5:2-3). Love is
connected to obeying God. To say "yes Lord," and fail to obey Him is a
self-contradiction. Here we see that keeping the Commandments is the
love of God. Observing Godís Commandments is not a burden to those
who love Him and love others.
"And this is love, that we
walk according to His Commandments. This is the Commandment, just as you
have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it" (2 John vs
The book of Revelation
reveals that the true and faithful saints are those who keep the
Commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus, -"So
the dragon (devil) was enraged with the woman (Church accounted worthy
to be protected during Great Tribulation) and went off to make war with
the rest of her children, who keep the Commandments of God and hold to
the testimony of Jesus" (Rev.12:17).
Chapter 14 shows the difference between the
faithful saints of God and those who receive the mark of the beast,
"Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the Commandments of God
and their faith in Jesus"
(Revelation 14:12). The end-time true believers will obey
Godís Commandments and put their faith in Jesus for their salvation.
Remember, as we have learned, no Law or set of Laws
have the power to forgive and save us from the penalty of our sins. All
have sinned and have come short of the standard and glory of God.
Therefore, His Laws stand against us as a witness of our sinfulness.
This is where Jesus, the Lamb of God comes in to rescue all who will
confess their sin and turn from willfully practicing it. He washes away
our sins and stands as our faithful High Priest at the altar with His
In Adam we are born with the sin nature; but once we
are born again into Christ we are a new creation without sin, having
received His perfect righteousness by faith and are partakers of His
divine nature. Though Satan the adversary will direct charges against
us, the saints have an Advocate who stands in the gap for us,
"If we say that we have no sin (therefore no need of repentance or
forgiveness) we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If
we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not
sinned, we make Him a liar and His Word is not in us. My little
children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And
if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the
righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation (satisfied and accepted
payment) for our sins" (1 John 1:8-10, 2:1-2).
"Blessed are those who do
His Commandments, that they may have the right to the Tree of Life, and
may enter through the gates of the city (New Jerusalem)" (Revelation
22:14). As rendered by the King James Translation. This
fits perfectly with what Jesus told the young rich man,
"if you wish to enter into life keep the Commandments" (Matthew 19:17).
The New Testament writings of Christ and His Apostles
make it clear that keeping the Ten Commandments is a vital part of
walking obediently in the terms of the New Covenant. Though they have no
power to save, they reveal what is important to God and how we should
strive to live - Jesus said that these Commandments can be summed up in
the two great principles of love toward God and love toward your fellow
Does the N.T. Teach the Whole Law of
The New Testament says that the Torah is good if it is
used lawfully, "For some men, straying from
these things (from love and sincere faith) have turned aside to
fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though
they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about
which they make confident assertions. But we know that the Law is good,
if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that Law is not made for a
righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious" (1
In Matthew 5 Jesus
declared that He had not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but
the question is, what Law? Was He referring to the Book of the Law of
Moses, or the Ten Commandments, or both? In
Jesus concluded the thought with, "For I say
to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and
Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven."
What was the "righteousness" of the scribes and Pharisees? According to
Torah it was a righteousness according to Law,
"So the Lord commanded us to observe all these Statutes, to fear the
Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today.
It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this
Commandment before the Lord our God, just as He commanded us"
Jesus is saying that such a
righteousness is not good enough to get into the Kingdom of Heaven. It
will take the righteousness of God revealed in Jesus through faith.
The N.T. teaches the righteousness of Christ is
received by grace through faith, "I do not
nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law,
then Christ died needlessly" (Galatians 2:21). The
Apostle Paul wrote the Roman Church regarding how his countrymen, the
Jews, had stumbled, "Brethren, my heartís
desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I
testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance
with knowledge. For not knowing about Godís righteousness and seeking to
establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the
righteousness of God. For Christ is the end (goal) of the Law for
righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes that the man
who practices the righteousness which is based on Law shall live by that
righteousness" (Romans 10:1-5).
In Matthew Jesus
spiritually magnified the Ten Commandments while addressing some Laws in
the Book of the Law as not being acceptable for His followers. He
explained that the Commandment to not commit adultery also included
lust, and the Commandment to not murder also included not having hate or
anger for your brother. Not only did Jesus not take away these
He gave to them greater meaning. But regarding the Laws of Moses
he said, "You have heard (in Torah), ĎYou
shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.í but
I say to you, make no oath at all" (Mat. 5:33-34) This is
a clear change because Deuteronomy
commands those under the Sinai Covenant to swear by Godís name,
"You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him,
and you shall swear by His name"(Deut.10:20).
James, the brother of Jesus, wrote the Church concerning this
instruction, "But above all, my brethren, do
not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your
yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under
judgment" (James 5:12).
Jesus continues in Matthew
by giving His followers a different position on divorce than what
Moses gave in Deuteronomy 24:1 saying, "But
I say to you, that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason
of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced
woman commits adultery." (Mat.5:32) Jesus quotes Exodus
"An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" ;
but then forbids His followers to practice this Law saying,
"But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you
on your right cheek, turn the other to him also."(Mat.5:21-24,39).
Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 23:3-6, another Law of Moses, saying, "You
have heard that it was said, ĎYou shall love
your neighbor and hate your enemy.í But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your
Father who is in Heaven" (Mat.5:43-45). Notice how
many times after quoting Moses, Jesus says,
"But I say
Moses was a faithful servant of God, but he prophesied
of another who would come with greater authority as a deliverer Prophet.
Jesus is that Prophet and Moses hoped in Him too.
"Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a
heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our
confession; He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was
in all His house. For He has been counted worthy of more glory than
Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than
the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all
things is God. Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for
a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ
was faithful as a Son over His house - whose house we are, if we hold
fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end"
Under the Sinai Covenant the Holy Day Festivals
were commanded to be kept in the place where God chose. He later chose
Jerusalem (Deut. 16). During the days of the early Church
Jerusalem was still the one and only established place to observe the
Holy Days, yet the Church observed them wherever they lived (Acts
20:6 , 1 Corinthians 16:8, 1 Corinthians 5:7-8).
Perhaps the most blunt Scripture of all that showing
that the Laws added because of transgressions are contained in the Book
of the Law (Law of Moses) is found in Galatians.
Judaizers were troubling these Gentile converts by insisting that they
were not in Covenant with God unless they be circumcised and keep the
whole Law of Moses. This is the problem Paul is addressing as he says, -"Behold
I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of
no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives
circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You
have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by
Law; you have fallen from grace" (Gal.5: 2-4). Notice
that Paul is
"testifying" against them in this matter. In saying that they would be
"severed from Christ" if they receive
circumcision and begin observing the "whole Law," they would be
forsaking Abrahamís Covenant ratified by Christ, for the Sinai Covenant.
One may argue that they are not keeping the whole Law for justification
but simply for obedience sake. Concerning that, I remind you that the
Sinai Covenant based upon the Laws of Moses states,"It
will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this
Commandment (Whole Law of Moses)" (Deut.6:25).
First Church Council Addresses this
"Some men came down from
Judea and began teaching the brethren, ĎUnless you are circumcised
according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.í And when Paul
and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren
determined that Paul and Barnabas and some other of them should go up to
Jerusalem to the Apostles and elders concerning this issue" (Acts
"When they arrived at
Jerusalem, they were received by the Church and the Apostles and the
elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some of
the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, ĎIt is
necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of
Moses" (Acts 15:4-5). Obviously Paul and Barnabas was
describing the conversions of the Gentiles, the miracles which happened,
and how God gave them the Holy Spirit while uncircumcised and while
outside the Law of Moses.
After their testimonies, Peter, the Chief Apostle of
Jesus Christ, stood and reminded the saints how he was the first to
preach the Gospel to Gentiles when he was called to Corneliusí house
(Acts 15: 7). Then Peter testified that he witnessed God give
them the Holy Spirit while they were uncircumcised and outside the Law
of Moses (Sinai Covenant), "And God, who
knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as
He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them,
cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you put God to the
test by placing upon the neck of the disciples (new Gentile converts) a
yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear" (Acts
Notice that Peter is saying that requiring circumcision
and observance of the Law of Moses is putting
"God to the test." The Apostle is also making it clear that
this would be placing a yoke upon the Gentiles' neck that no
Israelite (other than Jesus) has ever been able to bear. This is
referring to the Law of Moses, and could not be referring to
circumcision only because all Israelís males were able to "bear"
circumcision on the eighth day after their birth. Circumcision was
successful, what was unsuccessful was being faithful to observe all the
Laws of Moses since all hve sinned and have broken the (Sinai) Covenant.
After hearing many testimonies and opposing
arguments, James, the brother of Jesus and Bishop of the Jerusalem
Churches, declared his judgment, "Therefore
it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God
from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain
from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is
strangled and from blood. For Moses from ancient generations has in
every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues
every Sabbath (Acts 15:19-21).
James ruled that the Gentiles were not required to be
circumcised and directed to keep the whole Law of Moses, except for
those three essentials from the Law, notice,
"For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no
greater burden than these essentials; that you abstain from
things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and
from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will
do well, Farewell" (Acts 15:28-29). This is, of course,
in addition to all the teachings of the New Covenant which had already
been delivered to them by Paul, Barnabas, and others when they had
established the Churches years earlier.
To think that these Gentile congregations were
unlearned in Scripture is to greatly err. They had been firmly
established in the faith for many years and every congregation had its
own Pastor and elders. The deepest theology found in Scripture is
contained in the epistles of Paul sent to instruct them. These letters
prove that these converts had command of Scripture and great spiritual
understanding of it.
Why did James mention that Moses is read in the
synagogues in every city? There are two reasonable explanations: (1)
That the Gentile converts to Christianity would learn the rest of the Law
of Moses as they were taught in the synagogues by Jews. (2) That
though Paul was sent as the Apostle to the Gentiles, the other Apostles
were committed to bringing salvation to their Jewish countrymen, and
they wanted the new Gentile converts to be careful to not offend them in
Letís examine the first hypothesis. There is
no Scriptural indication that the Gentile converts were attending weekly
synagogue services. In fact, if they had been, it would have discredited
the prophecy of Jesus when He prophesied concerning His followers,
saying, "They will make you outcasts from
the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think
that he is offering service to God. These things they will do because
they have not known the Father or Me" (John 16:2-3). Why
would Godís faithful Apostles send their new converts to those who
"have not known the Father or Jesus?"
Jesus called the Jewish teachers "blind guides
of the blind."
Neither Jesus, nor His theology was taught in the
synagogues; Moses was taught there. The epistles of the Apostles were
not read in the synagogues; Moses was read there. If the Gentile
converts were being taught in the synagogues, then why would Paul say
this to them? "But their (the Jews') minds
were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the Old
Covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in
Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil
lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil
is taken away" (2 Corinthians 3:14-16). When a person
turns to the Lord the veil is removed and that veil is wherever Moses is
read. This is certainly not to mean "donít read the Torah." but it does
mean that when we do we must read it as to not misapply it, or as Paul
said, "use it lawfully." It
is not the Christian guidebook, or the guidebook of Abrahamís Covenant,
but of the Sinai Covenant.
Add to this the fact that the Christians had been
severely persecuted by the Jewish leaders since even before Paul was
converted. And add this also, the epistles clearly show that the early
Church had services in private homes. We see many of these mentioned in
Scripture at the end of Paulís letters.
And concerning who would be
entrusted to guard, teach, and sanctify the Church of Jesus Christ, we
need not speculate.
Ephesians 4 tells
us that Christ gave "gifts"
to the Church to teach them His ways. Among those mentioned here are
Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. These men were
Spirit-filled saints of God who were blessed with a special anointing to
fulfill each office and calling.
It would truly be ridiculous to
believe that Jesus and His Apostles would leave the teaching and
spiritual growth of the Church to blind guides who had rejected Christ,
had become persecutors of the faithful, and those who were devoid of the
Now this is not to say that Paul and some of the other
Jewish converts did not initially go into the synagogues to try to
convince them to receive Jesus, they did. They did not go to learn,
however, but to teach the truth of the Gospel; and they were largely
So, if the new converts were not to be taught the
rest of the Law of Moses in the synagogues, then why did James mention
that Moses was read in every city? I think the best explanation is in
order that the Jews there would not be offended by the conduct of the
Gentile converts to Christianity. These converts differed from the Jews
in many ways, but they professed to believe and worship the same God and
read the same Scriptures.
The Apostles were trying to reach these Jews for Christ
and knew that they would be greatly offended if they saw Gentile
converts eating meat which had been sacrificed to idols, or eating meat
with blood in it. The Gentiles had already been taught not to commit
fornication which was a common practice in many Gentile cultures, but
perhaps James wanted to emphasize the importance of this.
Concerning the eating of meat sacrificed to idols, Paul
actually taught that under the New Covenant it was not wrong in and of
itself, but that one must be careful with his liberty so as not to
"Therefore concerning the eating of things
sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in
the world, and that there is no God but one. . .However not all men have
this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat
food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being
weak is defiled. But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the
worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. But take care that
this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the
weak. For if someone sees you who have knowledge, dining in an idolís
temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to
(follow your example) eat things sacrificed to idols? For through your
knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ
died" (1 Corinthians 8:4-11). Paul is saying that it
doesnít matter one way or the another, but that the main concern here is
making sure that there is no offence. It makes sense to me that this is
what James was concerned with when he made his ruling at the Council.
Letís remember here that the problem in
Christianity is that Catholics and Protestants as a whole pick and
choose what Laws and instructions that seem to make sense to them, and
Messianics feel as though they must observe and defend the whole Law of
Moses. I believe that the problem can be solved by understanding that
there are two Covenants, the Sinai and the Abrahamic, and that there are
major differences in them; different Priesthoods, different promises,
and different Laws, though the Ten Commandments are in both.
Step by Step Through Galatians
The problem Paul is writing the Churches about here
is that Judaizing Christians had come and told the brethren that they
were not saved and needed to be circumcised and keep the whole Law of
Moses to be saved. Paul had established these congregations in
Galatia many years earlier, had taught them his theology and had left
them in the faithful hands of ordained Pastors and elders, so he was
very perplexed as to how they were so easily moved away from what he had
Paul begins his letter by declaring that the Gospel
that he had preached to them was directly from the Father and Jesus,
"Paul, an Apostle (not sent from men nor
through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father,
who raised Him from the dead)" (Gal.1:1). Paul wanted to
first establish the authority of his message and ministry and restates
it in verses 11 and 12.
Paul labels this adding the whole Law of Moses to the
New Covenant as a distortion of the true Gospel message and even
pronounces a curse against those who were teaching this,
"I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the
grace of Christ, for a different Gospel; which is really not another;
only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the
Gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from Heaven, should preach
to you a Gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be
accursed" (Gal 1:6-8)! Notice that this distorted Gospel
was causing the brethren to "desert" the Father who had called them by
the grace of Christ. They were leaving the true faith. They were leaving
Abraham and the Covenant of Promise for the Sinai Covenant.
In the next few verses Paul reminds the brethren that
he was no stranger to these teachings, and that he had lived that life
before and was advancing in Judaism before his conversion to
Christianity. He then reminds them of how he had already gone up to
Jerusalem and had met Peter and James and had presented to them his
teachings and that they had added nothing to him.
Chapter 2 begins
with Paul stating that he, Barnabas, and Titus had gone up to Jerusalem
for the Council called to decide this very subject. Here he identifies
those as "false brethren" who had stood up there demanding that the
Gentiles be circumcised and directed to keep the Law of Moses
"But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was
compelled to be circumcised. But it was because of the
false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our
liberty which we have in Christ Jesus (New Covenant), in order to bring
us into bondage (Sinai Covenant) (Gal. 2:3-4).
The Judaizers who came from Jerusalem to Galatia had claimed that
James had sent them, but after the Council James sent the Gentiles a
letter saying, "We have heard that some of
our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their
words, unsettling your souls" (Acts 15:24).
In the latter part of Chapter
2 Paul tells the story of how he openly rebuked Peter for his
hypocrisy when he withdrew from associating with the Gentile converts at
Antioch. Certain Jews from Jerusalem had come and Peter began to treat
his Gentile brethren as though they were unclean. When Paul saw that
others were joining in the hypocrisy and were not acting straightforward
about the truth of the Gospel, he said, "If
you, being a Jew, live like Gentiles and not like Jews, how is it that
you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews" (Gal.2:14)?
Paul was reminding Peter that when these visiting Jews werenít around,
you couldnít tell the difference between him and the Gentiles. Paul was
saying, "Peter, you want Gentiles to live like Jews, but you are a Jew,
and you haven't lived like a Jew since your conversation! Youíre being a
Verse 11 says that Peter stood condemned, and of course he
repented. Paul continued to Peter, saying,
"We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles;
nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law
but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ
Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the
works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be
justified" (Gal. 2:15-16).
are especially powerful and significant, "For
through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God."
The Law referred to here is the Book of the Law which Moses wrote onto
animal skins and placed beside the Ark. We know this because it is
specifically named in Chapter 3, verse 10.
In saying that he had died to the Law Paul is saying that he has been
released from the Sinai Covenant through death in Christ in order to be
joined to another, Christ in the New Covenant.
Remember, both Covenants are a type of the marriage
Covenant. Notice Paul's epistle to the church at Rome,
"Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through
the Body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who
was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. .
.But now we have been released from the Law (Sinai Covenant/Law of
Moses) having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in
newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the Letter" (Rom. 7:4-6).
Israel had entered into Covenant with God, a type of
marriage covenant, but in order to be joined to Abrahamís Covenant of
Promise (New Covenant), a death and resurrection to a new birth was
This is why Jesus told Nicodemis that he must be born
again to see the Kingdom of God. Nicodemis was a noted Rabbi who came to
Jesus secretly at night to inquire of Him. Nicodemis understood that
Jesus had to be a man of God because of the miracles which He performed,
but he wasnít sure if Jesus was merely a Prophet, or the Messiah who
would restore the kingdom to Israel. Jesus knew what the Rabbi was
thinking and said, "Truly, truly, I say to
you, unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God" (John
3:3). This amazed Nicodemus. Nicodemus thought that he
was already an heir of the Kingdom since he was a descendant of Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob. But here Jesus was saying that it was not enough to be
born of a natural seed to enter into the Kingdom of God, but one must be
born again of the Spirit. I Corinthians 15
says that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God
- there must be a spiritual birth; but before this birth can occur, one
must die in Christ. If we die in Christ, then we are raised in Him.
Now continuing with Galatians,
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but
Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by
faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do
not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the
Law, then Christ died needlessly" (Gal. 2: 20-21).
Since we are reading Scripture regarding Law, let us
remember that keeping Law is a part of the New Covenant. When a Jew goes
from Sinai and the Book of the Law, to Abraham, he is not going to a
lawless Covenant, but is going to a Covenant which contains the Ten
Commandments, forgiveness of sins, and better promises.
"Are you so foolish? Having
begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh" (Gal.
The flesh represents the Sinai Covenant and the Spirit represents the
New Covenant. (We will see this clearly in Chapter 4) The point Paul is
making here is that the Gentiles were never in the Sinai Covenant. The
Jews began in this Covenant, in the flesh, but as Jesus told Nicodemus,
a spiritual birth is required to enter Godís Kingdom. The Jewish
converts went from the Sinai Covenant (the flesh), to Abrahamís Covenant
(the Spirit), by dying and being reborn in Christ. The Gentiles actually
began in the Spirit. So, Paul is asking, "how is it that are you now
seeking to be perfected by the flesh when even Jews must be perfected by
"Even so Abraham believed
God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness" (Gal.3:6).
Jesus once said, "You (disciples) have
believed because you have seen, but blessed are those who have believed
yet have not seen" (John 20:29). Unlike Christians today,
Abraham could not look back at the cross and see the salvation provided
for him,;he had to receive by faith that God would provide it. We can
look back, but Abraham had to look ahead and trust and believe.
"Therefore, be sure that it is those who are
of faith who are sons of Abraham" (Gal.3:7). Verse 8 says
that the Gospel was preached to Abraham beforehand and that the blessing
of that Covenant would include people from all nations.
In the New Covenant, which is Abrahamís
Covenant, righteousness comes through faith, a faith that believes that
the righteousness of Christ is bestowed upon His followers. Though the
saints strive to live holy lives, they know they can never be perfect
without receiving Christís perfect life. To violate the Law is to be a
transgressor, and the blood sacrifices of animals cannot pay the penalty
for our sins, but serve only to remind us that we are in need of a
worthy offering. "For it is impossible for
the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins" (Heb.10:4).
To become a transgressor means to incur the curse of God. Under the
Sinai Covenant the Aaronic High Priest entered into the Holy of Holies
with animal blood, but under the Covenant of Promise Jesus as
Melchizedek, stands with His own blood to atone for us so that we can
enter into the presence of God without fear for He sees only the
righteousness of Christ in us. Oh, how blessed are those
who enter into this holy Covenant!
"For as many as are of the
works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, ĎCursed is
everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the
Law, to perform them" (Gal.3:10). In the Sinai Covenant
righteousness came through keeping the Book of the Law, though everyone
failed and were cursed. (Deut.6:25) In the New Covenant,
Christians do not observe the Ten Commandments to become righteous; they
understand that they are already saved, righteous, justified, being
sanctified, and being glorified, by the work of the cross, the life of
Christ in them, the Word of God preached to them, and the Holy Spirit
which abides in them.
To be "justified" is to be examined
and declared innocent, it is not to be a pardoned criminal.
Christians are not merely pardoned,
but die with Christ and receive a new life in Him, with no history or
record of sin ever committed!
Those who enter this blessed Covenant are not cursed
when they slip up and break a Commandment because once the enter into
Christ, sin is not imputed to them; they remain perfect in the sight of
God, unless of course, they turn away from God and begin to sin
"No one who is born of God practices sin,
because His Seed (Jesus through the agency of the Holy Spirit) abides in
him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God" (1 John 3:9).
Israel was cursed because, by sinning ,they broke their
Covenant with God. All of Godís Laws are good and righteous, but when
one violates them, they are cursed as we see in verse 10. Since no man
other than Jesus has ever succeeded in practicing perfect obedience to
Godís Laws, God declares, "There are none
righteous, no not one." But in the Covenant of Promise
Jesus became the curse for us in order that we may become the
righteousness of God.
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law,
having become a curse for us - for it is written, ĎCursed is everyone
who hangs on a treeí -in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of
Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise
of the Spirit through faith" (Gal. 3: 13-14).
Break from Galatians for Points in
The real blessing is in Abrahamís Covenant not in
the Sinai Covenant. As I mentioned earlier, Israel was offered
Abrahamís Covenant which would make them a whole nation of priests, but
they backed away from God in fear. As a result, God gave them a
Covenant containing hundreds of Laws added because of transgressions.
God didnít wait for these transgressions to happen first, but looked
ahead and declared the end from the beginning. When God gave them these
Laws and entered into this Covenant, He knew already that they would
forsake Him and the Covenant. In giving hundreds of Laws, specific and
detailed, God was, in effect, closing any loopholes. These Laws were
given as a witness against a rebellious people who God knew had no heart
to obey Him.
"Cursed is he who does not
confirm the words of this Law by doing them. And all the people shall
say ĎAmení" (Deut.27:26).
"Yet to this day the Lord has
not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear"
After wandering for forty years in the wilderness,
Joshua is about to lead Israel into the land and Moses is about to die.
These are the last words of Moses as inspired by God to the children of
Israel. Moses wrote all the Laws in a scroll and gave them to the
priests and commanded that it be read at the Feast of Tabernacles each
year of remission (every seven years). This was to be done as a witness
against Israel because God already knew that they would fall into sin.
"It came about, when Moses finished writing the
words of this Law in a book until they were complete, that Moses
commanded the Levites who carried the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord,
saying, -ĎTake this book of the Law and place it BESIDE the Ark of the
Covenant of the Lord your God, that it may remain there AS A WITNESS
AGAINST YOU. For I know your rebellion and your stubbornness; behold
while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against
the Lord; how much more, then after my death? Assemble to me all the
elders of your tribes and your officers, that I may speak these words in
their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to WITNESS AGAINST
The Lord knew that they had no desire to obey Him which
is why he gave them more than six hundred Laws, spelled out in detail.
There were no loopholes to slip through. Did God say that they would be
blessed if they kept them? Yes. Did God not say that it would go well
with them if they obeyed Him? Yes again. But as we have seen, God
already knew they would not be faithful to Him because they had rejected
the Covenant of Spirit and therefore were fleshly-minded people who had
no heart for God.
Chapter 32 records the Song of Moses.
God commanded Moses to write this song and teach it to the
sons of Israel also as a witness against them. As often as
they sang this song they were reminded of how corrupt, perverse, and
rebellious they were in Godís sight. The song contrasts God's pure
heart, and their wicked hearts. "But I will
surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they will
do, for they will turn to other gods. Now therefore, write this song for
yourselves, and teach it to the sons of Israel; put it on their lips, so
that this song may be a witness for Me against the sons of Israel"
(Deut.31:19). I suggest now that you read through the
song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32.
Back to Galatians
Chapter 3, verse 15
begins to explain that though a (Sinai) Covenant was given to Israel when
they became a nation, it does not invalidate the Covenant promised to
Abraham 430 years earlier. The promises were spoken to Abraham and his
"Seed", that is Christ, not "seeds" as in his natural descendants.
"Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations;
even though it is only a manís covenant, yet when it has been ratified,
no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. Now the promises were
spoken to Abraham and to his Seed. He does not say, ĎAnd to seeds,í as
referring to many, but rather to one, ĎAnd to your Seed,í that is
Christ. What I am saying is this; the Law, which came four hundred and
thirty years later, does not invalidate a Covenant previously ratified
by God, so as to nullify the promise" (Gal. 3:15-17).
Though the Jew was offered first, Abrahamís Covenant makes children of
God from the descendants of all nations through a spiritual rebirth in
Christ. Remember, Abraham kept Godís Laws, Statutes, and Commandments;
but not the six hundred Laws of Moses Book of the Law which were added
to Israel 430 years later.
"Why the Law then? It was
added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by
the agency of a mediator, until the Seed would come to whom the Promise
(Covenant) had been made" (Gal.3:19). These Laws were and
are a witness against a sinful people. These Laws were written on a
scroll and referred to as the "Book of the Covenant." Both the Laws and
the Covenant were added because of transgressions as a witness against
Israel. This Covenant is likened to bondage because it shut the children
out of the Kingdom due to their sins. "But
before faith came, we were kept in custody under the Law, being shut up
to the faith which was later to be revealed." (Gal.3:23).
This shows the great need for a Messiah who has
qualified to take those sons upon Himself and offer forgiveness and
newness of life to those who will repent and receive. That righteous and
holy "Seed" has come. The Jewish leaders were blind to their spiritual
condition and failed to see the need for a redeemer,
"So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ĎIf you
continue in My Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will
know the truth, and the truth will make you free.í They answered Him,
ĎWe are Abrahamís descendants and have never yet been enslaved to
anyone; how is it that You say, ĎYou will become free?í Jesus answered
them, ĎTruly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave
to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever, the son does
remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed"
"Therefore the Law (Book of
the Law) has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be
justified by faith. But now that faith (Covenant of faith in Christ) has
come, we are no longer under a tutor" (Gal.3:24-25).
Where the NAS renders "tutor," some translations render "schoolmaster."
Both of these are poor renderings and should be "guardian" as
seen in Chapter 4, verse 2. Underage heirs and their affairs are managed
by guardians until they come of age to receive their inheritance, -"As
long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave
although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and
managers until the date set by the father" (4:1-2).
A "schoolmaster" or "tutor" implies that being educated
by the Sinai Covenant and its Laws are necessary to come to Christ. But
Peter, Paul and Barnabas argued against this at the Jerusalem Council,
and James agreed and ruled that the new converts were not to be yoked
with these Laws. Notice Gal.3:3
again, -"Are you so foolish? Having begun by
the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?"
Abrahamís Covenant = Spirit, Sinai
Covenant = flesh.
"Tell me, you who want to
be under the Law, do you not listen to the Law?"
The "Law" here is Torah. Though they were reading the
Law in order to follow it they were misunderstanding what it was meant
to teach them. "For it is written that
Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman.
But the son by the bondwoman was born according to flesh, and the son by
the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking, for
these women are TWO COVENANTS; one proceeding from Mount SINAI bearing
children who are to be slaves; she is HAGAR. Now this Hagar is Mount
Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the PRESENT JERUSALEM, for she is in
slavery with children. But the JERUSALEM ABOVE is free; she is our
mother. . .And you brethren, like ISAAC, are CHILDREN OF PROMISE
(Covenant of Promise). But as at that time he who was born according to
the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is
now also. (Jewish persecution of the Church) But what does the Scripture
say? ĎCAST OUT THE BONDWOMAN AND HER SON. FOR THE SON OF THE BONDWOMAN
SHALL NOT BE AN HEIR WITH THE SON OF THE FREE WOMAN.í So then, brethren,
we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free woman"
Clearly the bondwoman and her son
represent the Sinai Covenant and the children who had entered and broken
that Covenant. Those who were joined to this Covenant were in bondage to
Hagar and Ishmael were welcome in Abrahamís house until
Isaac, the child of promise was born, but then were cast out. Hagar and
her son represent the Sinai Covenant who were kept in custody in
Abrahamís house until the child of faith came. Sarah represents the
Covenant of Promise and Isaac the child of promise is a type for the
Promised Seed, which is Jesus. When Jesus ratified the Covenant of
Promise with His own blood, the bondwoman (Sinai Covenant) was cast out
for all who entered into the Promise. "But
Christ was faithful as a Son over His house -whose house we are"
As partakers of a better Covenant with better promises, we understand that
we are Godís House, a House where there is no place for the
bondwoman and her son.
Under the Laws of Moses a Gentile male could join the
commonwealth of Israel by being circumcised and keeping the Laws of the
Covenant. If he agreed to obey the Covenant, then he was circumcised and
received. This is what is taking place with the Galatian believers. They
werenít merely receiving circumcision but were leaving the Covenant of
Promise, which was ratified by Christ, to join themselves to the Sinai
Covenant and its Laws. This is evident as we pick it up in Chapter five.
"Behold I, Paul, say to you
that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you."
And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is
under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from
Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by Law; you have fallen from
grace" (Galatians 5:2-4). In the Christian Covenant
believers are born in Christ. To join Sinai, Hagar, present Jerusalem,
the flesh, you are then severed from Christ.
In the next chapter
Paul exposed these false teachers as the hypocrites they were, -"For
those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they
desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. .
.For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new
creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon
them and upon the Israel of God" (Galatians
that the "new creation" is the "Israel of God." Not sons born of the
flesh according to a natural genealogy, but sons born of the Spirit with
a divine nature and a divine genealogy in Christ.
With what you have learned in this booklet, I suggest
that you read carefully the Book of Hebrews and the Book of Romans. The
teaching of how the two Covenants differ is made plain there to see, and
will enrich your understanding.
The Book of Hebrews gives Testimony
I believe this epistle was written and sent to the
Hebrews by the Apostle Paul, who knew best how to make the case to his
countrymen of why they needed another Covenant in order to be true
heirs of the promises made to father Abraham. In
Chapter 1, he says that whereas God spoke to them in the past
by the Prophets, in these last days He was speaking to them in His Son
Chapter 2 he declares that Jesus is
greater than a mere angel and has been crowned with glory by God. Paul
teaches here that sanctification comes only through Jesus.
Chapter 3 reveals that Jesus is also
the true and eternal High Priest and that He is greater than Moses.
Chapter 4 states that Israel never
entered the true rest of God, though Joshua led them across the Jordan
into the land. The "rest" here refers to Abrahamís Covenant. Paul was
telling them that they had a rest (Covenant) yet to enter.
Chapters 5-7 give revelation of who Melchizedek was, and is,
and how he was greater than Abraham since Abraham gave Him tithes and
received a blessing from Him.
Chapter 8 explains
why a New Covenant is needed and that now that it has come the old is
obsolete, "When He said, ĎA New Covenant,í
He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and
growing old is ready to disappear" (Heb. 8:13). In Chapter 9
we see that Jesus is the Mediator of this New Covenant by which we have
forgiveness of sins and a righteousness by faith. Here we learn that
Jesus stands at the Mercy Seat with His own blood to keep us sinless.
Chapter 10 says that the old sacrifices of animals could
never take way sins. They served to remind the children that they were
in sin and were in need of a righteous sacrifice. The Father provided
the sacrifice needed to ratify a New Covenant by offering His only Son,
"For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away
sins. . .Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a Body You
have prepared for Me" (Heb.10: 4-5).
We see in Chapter 10
that we enter into the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God through
this living Way which the Father provided in Jesus. Under the Sinai
Covenant, only the High Priest of Israel could enter once a year, on
Atonement. But in this blessed Covenant, we are called through the veil
into Godís presence as His beloved children.
Chapter 11, known
as the "faith chapter" of the Bible, names the great cloud of faithful
witnesses who had gone before the Church was established. All these men
and women believed in and longed to see Abrahamís Covenant ratified by
the Lamb of God. They set their hope in this, believing without seeing.
It begins with righteous Abel who was murdered by his wicked brother,
and continues with Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Joseph, and many
of whom we donít know by name. All of these were not looking for a
temporal reward, but a heavenly, eternal reward in the presence of God.
"But as it is, they desire a better country,
that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their
God; for He has prepared a city for them" (Heb.11:16). Chapter 12
says that whereas Israel was brought to Mount Sinai, a mountain ablaze
with fire, that the partakers of this Covenant have come to Mount Zion
and to the city of the Living God.
Other Clues in Scripture
As we have seen in Galatians 4,
the truth of the Covenants was written into the Old Testament
Scriptures. When a Jew of Paulís day read the story of Abraham, Sarah,
Hagar, and the two sons, it was nothing more than historical
information. One may gain some insight into the need to wait on God
faithfully and to not act impulsively, but thatís about it. But when the
Apostle Paul read this same story under the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit, he saw two great Covenants and the great value of the Covenant
of Promise. Here, Paul was using the Law, Torah, lawfully.
There are other examples that we may
consider as illustrations of the two Covenants. The story of Cain and
Abel is instructive; Abel representing Abrahamís Covenant, and Cain
representing the Sinai Covenant.
Righteous Abel offered a lamb to God while wicked Cain
offered produce from the ground. God received Abelís offering but
rejected Cainís offering. Cain became very jealous and envious of his
brother and consequently murdered him. God had warned Cain beforehand
and had assured him that if he repented it would go well with him; but
he spurned Godís counsel, "Cain, who was of
the evil one slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him?
Because his deeds were evil, and his brotherís were righteous" (1 John
Cain went to the dark side and became a child of the
devil by surrendering to and practicing his way. The Jewish leaders, who
were stubbornly entrenched in the Law of Moses, rejected Christ and the
Covenant of Promise, killing Him as well. Jesus testified that they too
were of the evil one, "You are of your
father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was
a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because
there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his
own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44).
To tie this in with the two Covenants, notice,
"And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of Promise. (Covenant) But
as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him
who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also" (Gal.4:28-29).
Beware of "Proof Texts" taken out of
Consider that what we have studied has been exhaustive;
so please do not allow "proof texts" taken out of context to cause you
to stumble. Some will use what weíve just read, -"You
have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by
Law; you have fallen from grace." to say that if you obey
the Ten Commandments, this Scripture applies to you. But we have seen
many N.T. Scriptures teaching believers to keep these Commandments.
Paul, here is, referring to the Laws of Moses in the Sinai Covenant.
This same Apostle taught, "Circumcision is
nothing, or uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping
of the Commandments of God" (1 Cor.7:19). Paul is not
a teacher of lawlessness, but a teacher of the Laws of the right
Covenant and a revelator of the true meaning and right use of the Torah.
Messianics may point to Acts 24 where Paul is
standing before Governor Felix and says that he believes everything in
the Law. What Paul actually said was that he believed everything in the
Law that was "in accordance to the Way."
That is, the Way of Christianity. He was severely persecuted by the Jews
who made some false accusations against him, but he was clearly at odds
with their teachings as attested to in his letters; so donít just hang
your faith on a "proof text" which does not match the context and
revealed theology of the writer.
A Better Covenant: A Lesson in Contrasts
As Christians, we are under the terms of a better
covenant than the one established at Sinai. It both precedes and
supercedes it. It is as much better as freedom is better than bondage;
as eternal spirit is better than temporal flesh.
Sinai Covenant: Added
because of transgressions
Perfect Law of liberty
Sinai Covenant: Written on animal skins, ratified
by animal blood
Written on the heart, ratified by the blood of Jesus.
Sinai Covenant: Says love your neighbor, hate your
Says love your enemy, do good to those who hate you.
Sinai Covenant: Demands an eye for an eye, a tooth
for a tooth.
Demands that we turn the other cheek and leave vengeance to God
Sinai Covenant: Began with stubborn Israel after
they rejected Godís offer to make them a nation of Kings and priests
Began with righteous Abel who had a heart to please God
Sinai Covenant: Lasts until Jesus, the promised
Christian Covenant: Is
Sinai Covenant: Deals with a fleshly, stubborn
Deals with a spiritual, obedient people
Sinai Covenant: Promises a fruitful land and a long
Promises the Kingdom of heaven and eternal life
Sinai Covenant: Requires the wearing of prescribed
outward garments symbolizing righteousness
Requires putting on Christ and walking in the righteous acts of the Saints
Sinai Covenant: Commands animal sacrifice for sin
every year to make atonement
Recognizes Jesus perfect sacrifice once and for all
Sinai Covenant: Says to stay utterly separate from
Says go into all the world and make disciples
Sinai Covenant: Requires physical circumcision
Requires circumcision of the heart
Sinai Covenant: Had Aaron as High Priest
Has Jesus, appearing as Melchizedek, as a High Priest
Sinai Covenant: Symbolized by Hagar and represents
being a slave outside of Godís house
Symbolized by Sarah and represents becoming Godís house
Sinai Covenant: Represented by Ishmael, born
through the will of man by natural means
Represented by Isaac, born through the promise of God through a
Sinai Covenant: Focused on the letter of the law
and the outward man
Focuses on the spirit of the law and the inward man
Sinai Covenant: Forbade committing adultery
Forbids holding an unlawful desire for a woman in your heart
Sinai Covenant: Forbade killing your brother
Forbids holding your brother in contempt in your heart
Sinai Covenant: Says donít muzzle the ox which
treads the grain
Says to give of your physical things to Godís servants who preach Godís
Sinai Covenant: Corresponds to physical Jerusalem
Corresponds to spiritual Jerusalem, the Jerusalem above
Sinai Covenant: Severs adherents from Christ
Binds believers to Christ
Sinai Covenant: Justifies those who keep it
perfectly through their works
Christian Covenant: Justifies those
who receive it through faith in Jesusí perfect works
"Understanding Galatians 4:8-12"
"Should Christians Be Torah Observant?"