Have you ever purchased something of great value? Perhaps you have purchased a house, a car, or another highly valued item. And at that time a contract is drawn up which must be signed by the seller and the purchaser.
But why should there be a contract? First, we should understand that a contract is a written agreement to make clear what things are bought and sold, rented or leased. And a contract may even include certain behaviors or limits. For example, some cellular services will place perimeters on the numbers of calls you may make in one billing cycle, or perhaps you have signed up with a gym where they specify what is supplied and is not supplied when visiting their facility. But what happens if one of the parties of the contract fails to keep their agreement? The one who has overstepped the legal requirements is found with the fault of disregarding the agreement between them. In the following we will learn more about God’s contract with with us who prayerfully desire to accept the free-will gift of salvation.
I. The Stone
A. What was presented to the Israelites?
“And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the noble of the children of Isarael he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.” Exodus 24:10-12.
- “And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.” Exodus 29:30.
Answer: Knowledge that He is their God, tables of stone, a law and commandments which He has written that Moses may teach them. Therefore it is a lesson on the majesty and character of God as well as His law to live and to teach
II. The Covenants: Old and New
A. What is a covenant?
Answer: It is an agreement like a contract. It is God who provided a covenant between Him and His people to establish certain promises and certain behavior from His people in return.
B. When did God present the old covenant?
- “The Lord said to Moses, ‘You must also tell the Israelites: Take care to keep my Sabbaths, for that is to be the sign between you and me throughout the generations, to show that it is I, the Lord, who make you holy. Therefore, you must keep the Sabbath as something sacred…So shall the Israelites observe the Sabbath, keeping it throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. Between me and the Israelites it is to be an everlasting sign…” Exodus 31:12-17.
- “Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them. But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them.” Ezekiel 20:12, 20.
Answer: After the Exodus from Egypt.
B. What is the old covenant?
- “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:” Exodus 19:5.
- “obey my voice indeed”
- “and keep my covenant,”
- “then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine.”
- What did God constantly instruct Israel?
- “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” Deuteronomy 5:29.
- “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might c. Although some individuals accepted this law with their heart, what was the general attitude?” Deuteronomy 6:5.
- “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.” Isaiah 29:13.
Answer: To obey and honor God through the root of love. If they did this they would be a precious possession in all the earth.
C. What was prophesied about the old covenant?
- “33 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jeremiah 31:31-33.
Answer: A new covenant would be made.
D. What is the new covenant?
- “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34.
- “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:” Hebrews 8:10.
- “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;” Hebrews 10:16.
- A promise not broken by His people
- “I will put my law in their inward parts,”
- “and write in their hearts;”
- “and will be their God”
- “and they shall be my people.”
- “and in their minds will write them”
Answer: A promise which is not broken by His people as they hold His law in their mind and in their hearts. They live their lives giving glory to God.
E. What is humanity’s problem?
- “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23.
Answer: All sinners have come short of the glory (goodness) of God.
F. What does glory of God mean?
- “And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:” Exodus 33:19, 22.
Answer: Glory is His character which is all His goodness.
G. And what is our need?
- “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.” 2 Corinthians 3:5-9.
- Our sufficiency is of God, not of the letter, but of the Spirit.
Answer: Though the stones which God wrote the Ten Commandments on were glorious, the letters and words themselves were not the strength, it is His character (glory) that we need.
H. How Is That Accomplished?
- What happens when we read the book of Moses?
- “But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.” 2 Corinthians 3:15.
- a veil/a covering where? On the heart!
- Why is that veil there?
- “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 3:14.
- Because their minds were blinded [reference the Greek word for blinded is pōroō (Strong’s 4456) which means to become hard like a callus. The metaphore is to lose understanding.].
- “But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.” 2 Corinthians 3:15.
Answer: This type of blindness is called the hardening of the heart which makes it extrememely difficult for this type of listener/reader to comprehend the book of Moses. And so Christ Jesus came to us personally present to us a living testimony of God’s true character.
I. What happens when we turn to Christ Jesus for our steps?
- “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.” 2 Corinthians 3:14-16.
Answer: The veil is taken away/lifted from the heart!
J. Again, how is the veil taken away/lifted off the heart?
Answer: Through Christ!
K. Let us return to 2 Corinthians 3:3 “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.” When do we obtain a fleshy heart?
- “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17.
Answer: We obtain a fleshy heart when there is liberty! An when is liberty given? When we receive the Spirit of the Lord!
L. And what is liberty?
- “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God. Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit for the letter killeth, ut the spirit giveth life. But if the minnistration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countence; which glory was to be done away: How shall not th eministration of th spirit be rather glorious? For it is the ministration of the condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.” 2 Corinthians 3:5-9.
Answer: Liberty is to VIEW the Ten commandments without a hardened heart which means that God is giving us liberty to view His glory (character/goodness) through Christ Jesus!
M. So where is He revealing the Ten Commandments?
- Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.” 2 Corinthians 3:3.
- “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” Hebrews 8:6-7.
Answer: Through Christ Jesus’ ministry the Ten Commandments (God’s character/morals) are revealed through the Holy Spirit in the fleshy heart of mankind rather than mere stone. He came to us to present Himself as a living Stone, as Christ Jesus is the Rock of our salvation.
N. Who are the one’s that receive a new covenant?
- “For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah .”
Answer: “the house of Israel and with the house of Judah”. What does that mean? Galatians 3:7 “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” Therefore all who have the same faith as Abraham will be adopted into family of Abraham and take part in the same promises that Abraham is to receive. This means we literally become children of Israel.
The Old and New Covenant is established by God and neither covenant is faulty. But the first covenant was faulty because the people broke the covenant with God. The LORD explained that there will be a new covenant “with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah”.
It is Christ Jesus who is Emmanuel [interpreted “God with us”] which manifested the law of God and lifted the veil so that we would have understanding what is written in the book of Moses which is the glory of God’s character. The new covenant is written in the minds and hearts of those that love Him, therefore new covenant “was established upon better promises” – promises where His people would uphold the covenant. A new covenant was necessary, as a covenant with God requires a people who are willing to be obedient.