What is God’s Covenant with Moses? – Exodus 19-24

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God’s Covenant with Moses was a conditional covenant between God and the nation of Israel on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19-24 ESV). Sometimes, it is also called the Sinai Covenant but it is more often referred to as God’s Covenant with Moses because Moses was chosen to lead Israel at that time. The arrangement of the Covenant with Moses is very similar to other ancient covenants because it was made between a mighty king (God) and His people (Israel). During the covenant, God reminded His people of their obligation through the Law (Exodus 19:5), and the people agreed to the covenant by saying, “We will do everything the Lord has said!” (Exodus 19:8). This Covenant will serve as a sign for the nation of Israel so that they can be set apart from other nations as God’s chosen nation and the same validity as God’s unconditional covenant with Abraham because it is also a covenant of blood. God’s Covenant with Moses is an important covenant in the history of God’s redemption and in the history of the nation of Israel which God chose to bless the whole world through His written Word and the living Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

God’s Covenant with Moses was centered on giving His commandments on Mount Sinai. In understanding the various covenants in the Bible and their relationship to each other, it is important to understand that God’s Covenant with Moses is different from God’s Covenant with Abraham and later from the other covenants in the Bible because it is conditional if Israel follows God’s commandments, God will bless them, but if they disobey God’s commandments, He will punish them. In other words, the success of this covenant depends on Israel’s obedience to God’s commandments. The details about the blessings and curses attached to this covenant can be found in Deuteronomy 28. The success of other covenants found in the Bible depends on God alone where God promises that He will keep His covenant, no matter what is done of what He promised. On the other hand, God’s Covenant with Moses is an agreement in which success depends on both sides, God and Israel and the obligations of both parties are included in the Covenant.

God’s Covenant was very important to Moses because through it God promised that He would make Israel “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). Israel will be the light in the dark world around them. They will be alone and a nation called by God so that all the nations around them will know that they worship Yahweh, the God who fulfills His promises. This is important because through this covenant, Israel accepted the Law of Moses who was the teacher who would teach them the coming Christ – the Savior (Galatians 3:24-25). The Law of Moses shows the people their wickedness and their need for a Savior, and it is the Law of Moses that Jesus refers to when He says that He does not abolish it but He will uphold it. This is an important point because there were people who believed that people in the Old Testament were saved by keeping the Law. But the Bible clearly teaches salvation by grace through faith alone and the promise of salvation through faith was made by God to Abraham as part of His covenant and still exists (Galatians 3:16-18).

Likewise, the sacrificial system under God’s Covenant with Moses does not really remove sin (Hebrews 10:1-4); it is but a simple shadow of the redemption of man’s sin, through Christ – the perfect High priest who also became the perfect offering for the atonement of sin (Hebrews 9:11-28). That is why, by itself, God’s Covenant could not save Moses, even the detailed commandments contained in it. Not because the Law itself is lacking because the Law is perfect and given by a Holy God but because the Law of Moses does not have the power to give people a new life to perfectly obey the will of God (Galatians 3:21).

The Covenant of God with Moses is also referred to as the Old Covenant (2 Corinthians 3:14; Hebrews 8:6, 13) and has been replaced by the New Covenant of Christ (Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3: 6; Hebrews 8:8, 13; 9:15; 12:24). Christ’s New Covenant is better than God’s Old Covenant with Moses. The New Testament replaced the Old Testament because the New Testament fulfilled the promises God made in Jeremiah 31:31-34, which is referred to in Hebrews 8

Related Reading:

God’s Promise Land To Israel – Genesis 12:1-7

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