Living in the New Covenant Now! Part 1

We have seen from previous studies that whether we are Jew or Gentile we can enter and live in the ‘new covenant’ relationship with Yahweh and Messiah Jesus right now. This is a believing, trusting, loving relationship in which we are indwelt by Yahweh’s spirit presence – born again, born of the spirit. We are changed on the inside and are being transformed to be ‘one’ with the Father and Jesus (John 14:20, John 10:30).

Nicodemus asked ‘How can this be?’ – we might ask the same thing, as well as: what does it look like?, how will we recognise it? how can it be true for us now? Let’s see what the scriptures tell us.

What did Jesus tell those Jews who were following him and listening to him?

John 8:31-32 NRSV
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples;
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Notice ‘if you continue in my word’ – this is a believing, accepting, doing, ‘living it’ thing. The result of allowing this and co-operating with it is that ‘we will know the truth’, and ‘the truth’ will set us free! As we will see, we will be transformed.

But what truth is that? And what will it set us free from?

The Jews said ‘We’re Abraham’s children, never been in bondage!’, not quite true, had they forgotten about Egypt?

John 8:33 NRSV
They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, “You will be made free’?”

Jesus explained that you can be ‘enslaved to sin’:

John 8:34 NRSV
Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.

He also told them ‘the truth he is speaking about’ is from his Father, but said ‘what you do is…’:

John 8:38 RSV
I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

They argued historically Abraham is their father, and ultimately their only father is God:

John 8:39-41 NRSV
They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did,
40 but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.
41 You are indeed doing what your father does.” They said to him, “We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.”

To which Jesus responded:

John 8:42-44 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me.
43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word.
44 You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Why wouldn’t they believe him?

John 8:45-47 NRSV
But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.
46 Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?
47 Whoever is from God hears the words of God. The reason you do not hear them is that you are not from God.”

So we see that the truth is about ‘Who God (Yahweh/Father) really is’, ‘ What He has done/will do/is doing for us (setting us free from the bondage of lies and sin of a false father), and ‘Who we really are (His dear children)’. As Paul says ‘the glorious liberty of the children of God’:

Romans 8:21 NRSV
that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
In this series of studies we will look at this wonderful truth that Jesus brought and how it sets us free.

We have already seen that Satan is the father of lies (he was the one who brought lies into being!), and he works to deceive mankind with ‘lying suggestions’ (Can this be so? Is that really true? Is that what God really promises? You are not really…..!), whilst our true Father, Yahweh God, works in the opposite way – by revelation of His truth. You can only reveal truth, true reality – lies and falsehood are dispelled when truth is revealed. The parable of the sower shows us that Satan will do everything he can to prevent us receiving, understanding and accepting the truth:

Matthew 13:18-19 NRSV
“Hear then the parable of the sower.
19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.

Satan wants people to trust in their own understanding (which he is influencing), as in the case of unconverted Gentiles:

Ephesians 4:17-24 NRSV
Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds.
18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart.
19 They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
20 That is not the way you learned Christ!
21 For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus.
22 You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts,
23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Paul here describes ‘the putting off of the old nature’ and ‘putting on the new nature’, isn’t this what Jesus explained to Nicodemus?

John 3:1-3 NRSV
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.
2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”
3 Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”

John 3:5-6 NRSV
Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.
6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.

John 3:20-21 NRSV
For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.
21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”

Jesus said that he was in the Father and the Father was in him (John 14:10), and that in like fashion we would be in him and he in us (John 14:20). He said also that the Father and he would make their home (live in) with us. Paul used the expression ‘in Christ Jesus’ numerous times to refer to this new covenant, born anew, new nature life we now have as believers, and how He has brought it about by and through Jesus for us:

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 NRSV
Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are,
29 so that no one might boast in the presence of God.
30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
31 in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Notice that our Father has actually made Jesus to be our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption! How can this be? Well Paul carries on to say:

1 Corinthians 2:7 NRSV
But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.

But ‘the rulers of this age don’t understand’:

1 Corinthians 2:8 NRSV
None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

But we do because our Father has revealed it to us through His indwelling spirit presence:

1 Corinthians 2:10-13 NRSV
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
11 For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.
13 And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.

And we can now have the mind of Christ! We can think like Jesus!

1 Corinthians 2:16 NRSV
“For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

When our minds have been opened we are able to understand what has been done to make it possible to ‘live in Christ’, what we have become because we live in him, and how we are to live this life in him, in harmony with him, in complete agreement and co-operation with him. As we continue through the following parts of this study we will start to see just exactly what our Father reveals to us about this in His word.

The New Covenant Promised By Yahweh – Part 5

When Jesus came as Messiah, as messenger of the new covenant and as mediator of that covenant, the good news message he brought from Yahweh, as it had always been, was essentially: believe Me, trust Me, love Me, obey Me, and I will be your God – and this time I will give you a heart, a mind and a spirit to do it, and you will be my children. See previous studies in the Category ‘Gospel’ for related articles.

When asked which was the greatest commandment, Jesus answered:

Matthew 22:36-40 NRSV
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
37 He said to him, ” “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38 This is the greatest and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

In Matthew chapters 5,6 and 7 we have the account of ‘the sermon on the mount’ in which Jesus told the people that under the new covenant ‘keeping the letter of the law outwardly’ wasn’t going to be good enough, not the way we will be doing things from now on – the inner motivations, desires and attitudes had to change:

Matthew 5:22 NRSV
But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.

Matthew 5:27-28 NRSV
”You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.’
28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

What was expected now:

Matthew 5:48 NRSV
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 6:33 NRSV
But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 7:12 NRSV
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.

Matthew 7:21,24 NRSV
“Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.

When asked what must be done to inherit eternal life Jesus answered:

Matthew 19:16-17 NRSV
Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”
17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

And if he wanted to be perfect:

Matthew 19:21 NRSV
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

His followers were astonished at this:

Matthew 19:25 NRSV
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved?”

Jesus answered:

Matthew 19:26 NRSV
But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”

So with Yahweh God, our Father, it is now possible – but how?

Matthew 3:11 NRSV
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

John 4:23-24 NRSV
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.
24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

When Philip asked to be shown the Father how did Jesus reply:

John 14:8-11 NRSV
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father’?
10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.

Did Jesus say the Father indwelt him, was in intimate union with him, was there inside him empowering him to speak and act – ‘if you have seen me you have seen the Father, believe me, this is how it is happening!’. And what’s more, this is how it will be for you as well!

John 14:12 NRSV
Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.

John 14:15-17 NRSV
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.
17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

John 14:20-21 NRSV
On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

John 14:23 NRSV
Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

Does it say that both the Father and Jesus will indwell us, make their home with us, enabling us to love them, and to keep our Father’s words and commandments – the same way Jesus did, though not perfectly yet? Is this a promise from the Father?

John 14:24 NRSV
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

How did Jesus go on to pray for this wonderful empowering union in the new covenant?

John 17:20-23 NRSV
“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word,
21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one,
23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

When was the new covenant inaugurated? Did Jesus initiate it at the Passover, the ‘last supper’?

Matthew 26:26-29 NRSV
While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”
27 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you;
28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
29 I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Was this substantiated by his resurrection and the pouring out of the spirit?

Acts 2:32-33 NRSV
This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.
33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear.

How does Paul refer to this new covenant and compare it to the old one?

2 Corinthians 3:3, 6 NRSV
3 and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Was it active there and then?

Ephesians 1:13-14 NRSV
In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit;
14 this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

Galatians 3:13-14 NRSV
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—
14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

This is not forced on anyone, but is a believing willing choice to accept the gracious favour of our loving Father:

Ephesians 2:4-5 NRSV
But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us
5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ —by grace you have been saved—

Ephesians 2:8-10 NRSV
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—
9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

This new covenant relationship is a process we are progressing through with Our Father and Lord Messiah Jesus:

Colossians 3:1-11 NRSV
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth,
3 for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry).
6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient.
7 These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life.
8 But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth.
9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices
10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.
11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

We are to be ‘living sacrifices’ in this new covenant:

Romans 12:1-2 NRSV
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

And we are temples of the holy spirit:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NRSV
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?
20 For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

Bought with a price, an awesome price – because Messiah Jesus was not only the messenger and mediator of the new covenant, but by his sacrifice he provided the blood of the new covenant by which we are redeemed:

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 NRSV
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread,
24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Hebrews 9:11-12 NRSV
But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation),
12 he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.

Hebrews 9:28 NRSV
so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Are sins dealt with effectively and completely under this new covenant?

Hebrews 2:17 NRSV
Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people.

Hebrews 10:12 NRSV
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,”

Hebrews 10:17 NRSV
he also adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

So what does being in the new covenant now mean for those who believe?

Galatians 3:27 NRSV
As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Summary
Yahweh’s New Covenant was brought and presented to Israel as a foundation of the messianic kingdom program. However the nation as a whole rejected the Messiah, his message and the covenant at that time, so the New Covenant will not be fulfilled with the nation of Israel until the Day of the Lord (Messiah’s return to earth) when the nation in repentance accepts the Messiah whom it previously considered to be ”stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isa 53:4; Zech 12:10-14).

Before that happens, believing Jews and gentiles are blessed to be able to participate in the New Covenant. This they can do through spirit baptism into Christ at the time of conversion. Though the Servant/Messiah came to His own people, “His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name . . .” (John 1:11-12).

The New Covenant Promised By Yahweh – Part 4

When Jesus came preaching the ‘kingdom of God’ and offering everlasting life in that kingdom for all those who would believe, accept it and obey, he was actually delivering the new covenant proposal message to the people and nation from Yahweh God, our Father. We know that Jesus always said that the words (the message) he spoke were not his words but the Father’s – and that message, as it had always been, was essentially: believe Me, trust Me, love Me, obey Me, and I will be your God – and this time I will give you a heart, a mind and a spirit to do it.

We saw in previous studies (see under Category ‘Jesus’) the kind of Messiah the nation expected at that time, an all-conquering national leader giving them victory over their enemies, and that in actual fact Jesus came as a ‘suffering servant’ the first time bringing the message (gospel) of the kingdom of God and salvation – the new covenant message, as the mediator of that covenant.

Was Jesus and the covenant message he brought received eagerly and accepted by the people and the leaders in Israel, and the covenant entered into at that time? Many of the people welcomed Jesus and his message from Yahweh initially:

Matthew 7:28-8:1 NRSV
Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching,
29 for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
8:1 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him;

John 4:1 NRSV
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, “Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John”

Mark 4:1-2 NRSV
Again he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land.
2 He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:

Luke 4:14-15 NRSV
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country.
15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

John 4:39-45 NRSV
Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.”
40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.
41 And many more believed because of his word.
42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”
43 When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee
44 (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country).
45 When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival.

Luke 6:17-19 NRSV
He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon.
18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured.
19 And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

Luke 8:40 NRSV
Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him.

John 7:40-41 NRSV
When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.”
41 Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he?

Matthew 21:9-11 NRSV
The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Luke 19:36-38 NRSV
As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road.
37 As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen,
38 saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”

How was Jesus and his message received by the authorities and religious leaders?

John 3:1-2 NRSV
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.
2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”

Notice that Nicodemus came by night, not openly. Also that ‘we’, the rulers of the Jews, ‘know that you are a teacher from Yahweh God’. Jesus informed them through Nicodemus, that they must be ‘born again’ – be internally and spiritually transformed to enter into the kingdom of God and the new covenant with Yahweh (verses 3-9).

Did they understand, believe, accept and receive this?

John 3:10-15 NRSV
Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
11 “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony.
12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

Not according to Jesus in these verses.

Do other scriptures indicate that the chief priests and leaders of Israel rejected Jesus and the message he brought?

Matthew 12:24 NRSV
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.”

And Jesus answered:

Matthew 12:28 NRSV
But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

They continued to reject him:

Matthew 21:42-46 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.
44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them.
46 They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

Matthew 22:15 NRSV
Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said.

Jesus said that the Scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses seat, but that they were hypocrites:

Matthew 23:1-2 NRSV
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,
2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat;

Matthew 23:13 NRSV
”But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them.
Along with verses 15, 23, 25, 27 and 29! Seven ‘woes to them’ in chapter 23 of Matthew!

Did Jesus say that by rejecting him they would be rejecting Yahweh God?

Luke 10:16 NRSV
“Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

They not only rejected him and his message but sought to destroy him:

Luke 19:47 NRSV
Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him;

Mark 11:18 NRSV
And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching.

Matthew 26:3-5 NRSV
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
4 and they conspired to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.
5 But they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.”

Matthew 27:1 NRSV
When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death.

Mark 15:1, 10-11 NRSV
As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
10 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over.
11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead.

Even at this time they were still asking ‘are you the Christ(Messiah)?’ – not to believe him and accept him, but to accuse him and condemn him:

Mark 14:61-64 NRSV
But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62 Jesus said, “I am; and “you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,’ and “coming with the clouds of heaven.’ ”
63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses?
64 You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?” All of them condemned him as deserving death.

Luke 22:66-71 NRSV
When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought him to their council.
67 They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us.” He replied, “If I tell you, you will not believe;
68 and if I question you, you will not answer.
69 But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”
70 All of them asked, “Are you, then, the Son of God?” He said to them, “You say that I am.”
71 Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!”

And the chief priest turned the people against Jesus:

Matthew 27:20-23 NRSV
Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed.
21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”
22 Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” All of them said, “Let him be crucified!”
23 Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

The chief priests and leaders rejected Jesus, the awaited Messiah, and his new covenant message, urging and persuading the people to do likewise – resulting in his crucifixion and death. But some remained faithful:

Acts 1:15-16 NRSV
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said,
16 “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus—

Acts 2:1-5 NRSV
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.

As a result of their witness more were added:

Acts 2:41-42 NRSV
So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

But still the Jewish leaders and religious authorities rejected the gospel message and the new covenant, even when the spirit was poured out as prophesied:

Acts 2:16-18 NRSV
No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17 “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

And even when Peter, Paul and the others took it to them – as we shall see in the next study.

The New Covenant Promised By Yahweh – Part 3

When Jesus came preaching the ‘kingdom of God’ and offering everlasting life in that kingdom for all those who would believe, accept it and obey, he was actually delivering the new covenant proposal message to the people and nation from Yahweh God, our Father. We know that Jesus always said that the words (the message) he spoke were not his words but the Father’s – and that message, as it had always been, was essentially: believe Me, trust Me, love Me, obey Me, and I will be your God – and this time I will give you a heart, a mind and a spirit to do it.

We saw in previous studies (see under Category ‘Jesus’) the kind of Messiah the nation expected at that time, an all-conquering national leader giving them victory over their enemies, and that in actual fact Jesus came as a ‘suffering servant’ the first time bringing the message (gospel) of the kingdom of God and salvation – the new covenant message, as the mediator of that covenant.

Was Jesus and the covenant message he brought received eagerly and accepted by the people and the leaders in Israel, and the covenant entered into at that time? Many of the people welcomed Jesus and his message from Yahweh initially:

Matthew 7:28-8:1 NRSV
Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching,
29 for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
8:1 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him;

John 4:1 NRSV
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, “Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John”

Mark 4:1-2 NRSV
Again he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land.
2 He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:

Luke 4:14-15 NRSV
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country.
15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

John 4:39-45 NRSV
Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.”
40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.
41 And many more believed because of his word.
42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”
43 When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee
44 (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country).
45 When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival.

Luke 6:17-19 NRSV
He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon.
18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured.
19 And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

Luke 8:40 NRSV
Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him.

John 7:40-41 NRSV
When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.”
41 Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he?

Matthew 21:9-11 NRSV
The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Luke 19:36-38 NRSV
As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road.
37 As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen,
38 saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”

How was Jesus and his message received by the authorities and religious leaders?

John 3:1-2 NRSV
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.
2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”

Notice that Nicodemus came by night, not openly. Also that ‘we’, the rulers of the Jews, ‘know that you are a teacher from Yahweh God’. Jesus informed them through Nicodemus, that they must be ‘born again’ – be internally and spiritually transformed to enter into the kingdom of God and the new covenant with Yahweh (verses 3-9).

Did they understand, believe, accept and receive this?

John 3:10-15 NRSV
Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
11 “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony.
12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

Not according to Jesus in these verses.

Do other scriptures indicate that the chief priests and leaders of Israel rejected Jesus and the message he brought?

Matthew 12:24 NRSV
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.”

And Jesus answered:

Matthew 12:28 NRSV
But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

They continued to reject him:

Matthew 21:42-46 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.
44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them.
46 They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

Matthew 22:15 NRSV
Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said.

Jesus said that the Scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses seat, but that they were hypocrites:

Matthew 23:1-2 NRSV
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,
2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat;

Matthew 23:13 NRSV
”But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them.

Along with verses 15, 23, 25, 27 and 29! Seven ‘woes to them’ in chapter 23 of Matthew!

Did Jesus say that by rejecting him they would be rejecting Yahweh God?

Luke 10:16 NRSV
“Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

They not only rejected him and his message but sought to destroy him:

Luke 19:47 NRSV
Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him;

Mark 11:18 NRSV
And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching.

Matthew 26:3-5 NRSV
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
4 and they conspired to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.
5 But they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.”

Matthew 27:1 NRSV
When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death.

Mark 15:1, 10-11 NRSV
As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
10 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over.
11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead.

Even at this time they were still asking ‘are you the Christ(Messiah)?’ – not to believe him and accept him, but to accuse him and condemn him:

Mark 14:61-64 NRSV
But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62 Jesus said, “I am; and “you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,’ and “coming with the clouds of heaven.’ ”
63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses?
64 You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?” All of them condemned him as deserving death.

Luke 22:66-71 NRSV
When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought him to their council.
67 They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us.” He replied, “If I tell you, you will not believe;
68 and if I question you, you will not answer.
69 But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”
70 All of them asked, “Are you, then, the Son of God?” He said to them, “You say that I am.”
71 Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!”

And the chief priest turned the people against Jesus:

Matthew 27:20-23 NRSV
Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed.
21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”
22 Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” All of them said, “Let him be crucified!”
23 Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

The chief priests and leaders rejected Jesus, the awaited Messiah, and his new covenant message, urging and persuading the people to do likewise – resulting in his crucifixion and death. But some remained faithful:

Acts 1:15-16 NRSV
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said,
16 “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus—

Acts 2:1-5 NRSV
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.

As a result of their witness more were added:

Acts 2:41-42 NRSV
So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

But still the Jewish leaders and religious authorities rejected the gospel message and the new covenant, even when the spirit was poured out as prophesied:

Acts 2:16-18 NRSV
No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17 “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

And even when Peter, Paul and the others took it to them – as we shall see in the next study.

The New Covenant Promised By Yahweh – Part 2

We saw in Part 1 that Yahweh expected Israel to fail in keeping His covenants, and to incur the curses prescribed as a result – but that He was not willing for this to be an end for them, because of His promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and for His own great name’s sake (Ezek 36:22-28).

We have already seen that a ‘new covenant’ of a different kind was to be Yahweh’s solution, and that this was to be a covenant with Israel, an everlasting covenant, a covenant of peace, and one that would impact the whole of creation.
So what is the nature of this covenant, and how and when will it be implemented, and can it involve us?

Are we told by Jeremiah that this will be a ‘new’ covenant?

Jeremiah 31:31 WEB
Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

The Hebrew word translated ‘new’ here is Strong’s ref. 2319 meaning ‘new, fresh, new thing’. In the very next verse the covenant described as ‘new’ is also described as ‘not like’ the previous covenant:

Jeremiah 31:32 LEB
“not like the covenant that I made with their ancestors on the day of my grasping them by their hand, bringing them out from the land of Egypt, my covenant that they themselves broke, though I myself was a master over them,” declares Yahweh.”
‭‭‬‬
The same word is used a few verses earlier:

Jeremiah 31:22 CEV
Will you ever decide to be faithful? I will make sure that someday things will be different, as different as a woman protecting a man.

This same word is used to described ‘new things’ – king (Exodus 1:8), grain (Leviticus 23:16), house (Deuteronomy 20:5), wife (Deuteronomy 24:5), song (Psalms 33:3), and many other things that were ‘brand new’ as opposed to ‘renewed’. So this covenant is to be new, different, not like the old one, fresh – but in what way?

Jeremiah goes on to highlight one essential and entirely new attribute of this covenant:

Jeremiah 31:33 WEB
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people:

Jeremiah 24:7 WEB
I will give them a heart to know me, that I am Yahweh: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

It will involve ‘internal changes’– in the heart, in the mind, in motivations. Do we see this confirmed by other scriptures:

Was this prophesied in Deuteronomy and other scriptures:

Deuteronomy 30:1-6 WEB
It shall happen, when all these things are come on you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, where Yahweh your God has driven you,
2 and shall return to Yahweh your God, and shall obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul;
3 that then Yahweh your God will turn your captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples, where Yahweh your God has scattered you.
4 If [any of] your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of the heavens, from there will Yahweh your God gather you, and from there will he bring you back:
5 and Yahweh your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and he will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers.
6 Yahweh your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.

Jeremiah 32:37-41 WEB
Behold, I will gather them out of all the countries, where I have driven them in my anger, and in my wrath, and in great indignation; and I will bring them again to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:
38 and they shall be my people, and I will be their God:
39 and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:
40 and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from following them, to do them good; and I will put my fear in their hearts, that they may not depart from me.
41 Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.

Ezekiel 11:17-20 WEB
Therefore say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
18 They shall come there, and they shall take away all the detestable things of it and all the abominations of it from there.
19 I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh;
20 that they may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

Ezekiel 36:24-28 WEB
For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land.
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
27 I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my ordinances, and do them.
28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

In the scriptures above, notice how this is to be accomplished – is it by the indwelling of Yahweh’s spirit that this transformation is brought about? A change from the inside out! He makes it possible for us to internalise His good and beneficial way of life and to obey His laws.

Will this covenant involve each person in an individual, personal relationship with Yahweh, in which He will forgive their sin and completely forget it?

Jeremiah 31:34 WEB
and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Yahweh; for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Yahweh: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.

The Hebrew scriptures clearly point out that the ‘new covenant’ will be with Israel, why did Yahweh choose Israel to be His people, were they inherently better than others, would they better represent Him?

Deuteronomy 7:6-9 WEB
For you are a holy people to Yahweh your God: Yahweh your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, above all peoples who are on the face of the earth.
7 Yahweh didn’t set his love on you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all peoples:
8 but because Yahweh loves you, and because he would keep the oath which he swore to your fathers, has Yahweh brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
9 Know therefore that Yahweh your God, he is God, the faithful God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness with them who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations,

It was Yahweh’s sovereign choice, He promised and He is faithful!
However, let us not forget Yahweh’s promises to Abraham in Genesis:

Genesis 12:3 WEB
I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. In you will all of the families of the earth be blessed.”

Genesis 22:18 WEB
In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

The people of all nations will be blessed through Abraham’s descendents in Yahweh’s plan, and Isaiah describes a time when ‘foreigners’ (gentiles) and ‘others’ will also be involved in the covenant of Yahweh:

Isaiah 56:1-8 WEB
Thus says Yahweh, Keep you justice, and do righteousness; for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.
2 Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast; who keeps the Sabbath from profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.
3 Neither let the foreigner, who has joined himself to Yahweh, speak, saying, Yahweh will surely separate me from his people; neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
4 For thus says Yahweh of the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and hold fast my covenant:
5 To them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name better than of sons and of daughters; I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
6 Also the foreigners who join themselves to Yahweh, to minister to him, and to love the name of Yahweh, to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath from profaning it, and holds fast my covenant;
7 even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
8 The Lord Yahweh, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, Yet will I gather [others] to him, besides his own who are gathered.

How was this covenant to be brought and offered to the people and nation of Israel? Would there be a mediator as there was in the case of Moses at Sinai?

Isaiah 42:1, 6-7 WEB
Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delights: I have put my Spirit on him; he will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
6 I, Yahweh, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and give you for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
7 to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and those who sit in darkness out of the prison-house.

Isaiah 49:5-8 WEB
Now says Yahweh who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, and that Israel be gathered to him (for I am honorable in the eyes of Yahweh, and my God is become my strength);
6 yes, he says, It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give you for a light to the Gentiles, that you may be my salvation to the end of the earth.
7 Thus says Yahweh, the Redeemer of Israel, [and] his Holy One, to him whom man despises, to him whom the nation abhors, to a servant of rulers: Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall worship; because of Yahweh who is faithful, [even] the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.
8 Thus says Yahweh, In an acceptable time have I answered you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you; and I will preserve you, and give you for a covenant of the people, to raise up the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritage:

Isaiah 59:20-21 WEB
A Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from disobedience in Jacob, says Yahweh.
21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, says Yahweh: my Spirit who is on you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, nor out of the mouth of your seed, nor out of the mouth of your seed’s seed, says Yahweh, from henceforth and forever.

Hebrews 8:6 NRSV
But Jesus has now obtained a more excellent ministry, and to that degree he is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted through better promises.
Galatians 3:16 NRSV
Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring; it does not say, “And to offsprings,” as of many; but it says, “And to your offspring,” that is, to one person, who is Christ.

1 Timothy 2:5-6 NRSV
For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human,
6 who gave himself a ransom for all —this was attested at the right time.

Hebrews 12:24 NRSV
and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

We see that Messiah (Christ) Jesus was the mediator of the new covenant, and much more as we have seen in previous studies – see articles in Category ‘Jesus’.

In the next part we will study further what happened when Jesus came as that messenger/mediator of the new covenant.

The New Covenant Promised By Yahweh – Part 1

We have seen in previous studies that Israel entered into covenant agreements with Yahweh at Sinai, Moab and Shechem, committing to obey and have Yahweh as their God, and to be His people (Exodus 19:5-9, 24:3-8, Deuteronomy 26:16-19, 27:1-10, 29:1, 10-15, 31:24-26, Joshua 24:14-28).

On each occasion the people of Israel swore an oath and committed themselves in a covenant relationship to take Yahweh as their God (their only God), to obey and to serve Him and to keep the covenant.

Even during this time Yahweh knew that they would fail in their promises and commitments, and that a covenant of a different kind, a ‘new’ covenant would be required in the future.

Deuteronomy 31:16-20 WEB
Yahweh said to Moses, Behold, you shall sleep with your fathers; and this people will rise up, and play the prostitute after the strange gods of the land, where they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.
17 Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall come on them; so that they will say in that day, Haven’t these evils come on us because our God is not among us?
18 I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evil which they shall have worked, in that they are turned to other gods.
19 Now therefore write you this song for you, and teach you it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.
20 For when I shall have brought them into the land which I swore to their fathers, flowing with milk and honey, and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and grown fat; then will they turn to other gods, and serve them, and despise me, and break my covenant.

Deuteronomy 31:26-29 WEB
Take this book of the law, and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of Yahweh your God, that it may be there for a witness against you.
27 For I know your rebellion, and your stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, you have been rebellious against Yahweh; and how much more after my death?
28 Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to witness against them.
29 For I know that after my death you will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will happen to you in the latter days; because you will do that which is evil in the sight of Yahweh, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.

Joshua 24:19-24 WEB
Joshua said to the people, You can’t serve Yahweh; for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your disobedience nor your sins.
20 If you forsake Yahweh, and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you evil, and consume you, after that he has done you good.
21 The people said to Joshua, No; but we will serve Yahweh.
22 Joshua said to the people, You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen you Yahweh, to serve him. They said, We are witnesses.
23 Now therefore put away, [said he], the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to Yahweh, the God of Israel.
24 The people said to Joshua, Yahweh our God will we serve, and to his voice will we listen.

Why would the people be unfaithful and break the covenant and turn from Yahweh, bringing all the curses upon themselves?

Deuteronomy 29:4 WEB
but Yahweh has not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, to this day.

Will that be the end of it for Israel?

Deuteronomy 30:1-8 WEB
It shall happen, when all these things are come on you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, where Yahweh your God has driven you,
2 and shall return to Yahweh your God, and shall obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul;
3 that then Yahweh your God will turn your captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples, where Yahweh your God has scattered you.
4 If [any of] your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of the heavens, from there will Yahweh your God gather you, and from there will he bring you back:
5 and Yahweh your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and he will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers.
6 Yahweh your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.
7 Yahweh your God will put all these curses on your enemies, and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.
8 You shall return and obey the voice of Yahweh, and do all his commandments which I command you this day.

Is this the ‘new covenant’ that Jeremiah later foretold?

Jeremiah 31:31-33 WEB
Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, 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 broke, although I was a husband to them, says Yahweh.
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people:

Jeremiah 24:6-7 WEB
For I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.
7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am Yahweh: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

Notice a few important points here:

The covenant is to be made with Israel (northern 10 tribes) and Judah (southern tribes), ‘Israel’ in total.

It is a ‘new’ covenant – Strongs 2319: a fresh new thing in both time and quality.
Different from (not like) the one they broke.
Yahweh’s law would be within them, upon their hearts.
They will turn to Yahweh with their whole hearts.

Is this what Yahweh said in Deuteronomy?

Deuteronomy 30:6 WEB
Yahweh your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.

Is this confirmed elsewhere?

Jeremiah 32:37-41 WEB
Behold, I will gather them out of all the countries, where I have driven them in my anger, and in my wrath, and in great indignation; and I will bring them again to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:
38 and they shall be my people, and I will be their God:
39 and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:
40 and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from following them, to do them good; and I will put my fear in their hearts, that they may not depart from me.
41 Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.

(Notice: an everlasting covenant)

Ezekiel 37:23-27 WEB
neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of all their dwelling-places, in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
24 My servant David shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my ordinances, and observe my statutes, and do them.
25 They shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob my servant, in which your fathers lived; and they shall dwell therein, they, and their children, and their children’s children, forever: and David my servant shall be their prince for ever.
26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore.
27 My tent also shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

(Notice: an everlasting covenant of peace)

Hosea 2:18-20 WEB
In that day I will make a covenant for them with the animals of the field, And with the birds of the sky, And with the creeping things of the ground. I will break the bow, the sword, and the battle out of the land, And will make them lie down safely.
19 I will betroth you to me forever. Yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness, in justice, in loving kindness, and in compassion.
20 I will even betroth you to me in faithfulness; And you shall know Yahweh.

(Notice: this covenant will involve the creatures of creation)

Isaiah 61:8-9 WEB
For I, Yahweh, love justice, I hate robbery with iniquity; and I will give them their recompense in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their seed shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which Yahweh has blessed.

Ezekiel 11:16-20 WEB
Therefore say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Whereas I have removed them far off among the nations, and whereas I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them a sanctuary for a little while in the countries where they are come.
17 Therefore say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
18 They shall come there, and they shall take away all the detestable things of it and all the abominations of it from there.
19 I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh;
20 that they may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

Ezekiel 16:59-60 WEB
For thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will also deal with you as you have done, who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant.
60 Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish to you an everlasting covenant.

Ezekiel 36:24-28 WEB
For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land.
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
27 I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my ordinances, and do them.
28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Summary
History and the biblical record show that the people of Israel, as predicted, failed to keep the covenants they entered into with Yahweh their God. As told beforehand they went into idolatry etc and brought all the curses prescribed in the covenants upon themselves, being defeated, enslaved, deported – many lost completely out of the land and scattered amongst the nations of the world. But this wasn’t to be the end for God’s people – Yahweh has a ‘new covenant’ for them, a covenant that will impact the whole of creation.

We will continue to explore this and learn more of the ‘new covenant’ in the next part of this series.

The Shechem Covenant

When Israel were firmly established in the promised land, and Yahweh had given them rest from their enemies (Joshua 23:1), Joshua was now old and near the end of his life and he summoned all Israel before him – somewhat similar to Moses before him.
For a final time he addressed Israel to reiterate all their recent history and the gravity of their covenant relationship with their God, Yahweh.

Joshua 23:2-3 WEB
that Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders and for their heads, and for their judges and for their officers, and said to them, I am old and well stricken in years:
3 and you have seen all that Yahweh your God has done to all these nations because of you; for Yahweh your God, he it is that has fought for you.

Did Joshua admonish them to keep all the law of Moses (see the Moab Covenant)?

Joshua 23:6 WEB
Therefore be you very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that you not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left;

Did he warn them against turning back from loving and obeying Yahweh?

Joshua 23:11-12 WEB
Take good heed therefore to yourselves, that you love Yahweh your God.
12 Else if you do at all go back, and cleave to the remnant of these nations, even these who remain among you, and make marriages with them, and go in to them, and they to you;

Does Joshua remind them that Yahweh has not failed in a single promise?

Joshua 23:14 WEB
Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing has failed of all the good things which Yahweh your God spoke concerning you; all are happen to you, not one thing has failed of it.

Does he warn them against breaking the covenant of Yahweh, and turning to other gods?

Joshua 23:16 WEB
When you disobey the covenant of Yahweh your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods, and bow down yourselves to them; then will the anger of Yahweh be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land which he has given to you.

In chapter 24 at Shechem, Yahweh reminds them through Joshua of everything that He had done starting with Abraham (please read the whole chapter):

Joshua 24:2-4 WEB
Joshua said to all the people, Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, Your fathers lived of old time beyond the River, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor: and they served other gods.
3 I took your father Abraham from beyond the River, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
4 I gave to Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave to Esau Mount Seir, to possess it: and Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.

Joshua 24:6 WEB
I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and you came to the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and with horsemen to the Red Sea.

Joshua 24:11 WEB
You went over the Jordan, and came to Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Girgashite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; and I delivered them into your hand.

Joshua 24:13 WEB
I gave you a land whereon you had not labored, and cities which you didn’t build, and you dwell therein; of vineyards and olive groves which you didn’t plant do you eat.

Joshua advises them that in light of all this that they ought to sincerely and faithfully serve Yahweh – and he puts them on the spot to ‘choose whom you will serve’:

Joshua 24:14-15 WEB
Now therefore fear Yahweh, and serve him in sincerity and in truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt; and serve you Yahweh.
15 If it seem evil to you to serve Yahweh, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh.

The people answered decisively and chose Yahweh:

Joshua 24:16-18 WEB
The people answered, Far be it from us that we should forsake Yahweh, to serve other gods;
17 for Yahweh our God, he it is who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way in which we went, and among all the peoples through the midst of whom we passed;
18 and Yahweh drove out from before us all the peoples, even the Amorites who lived in the land: therefore we also will serve Yahweh; for he is our God.

However, Joshua had some reservations – ‘can you really serve Yahweh as you say? And think what will happen IF you forsake Him!’:

Joshua 24:19-20 WEB
Joshua said to the people, You can’t serve Yahweh; for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your disobedience nor your sins.
20 If you forsake Yahweh, and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you evil, and consume you, after that he has done you good.

Nevertheless, the people insisted they could and they would:

Joshua 24:21 WEB
The people said to Joshua, No; but we will serve Yahweh.

Joshua said ‘ok but you are witnesses against yourselves!’, and they said ‘alright, so be it’:

Joshua 24:22 WEB
Joshua said to the people, You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen you Yahweh, to serve him. They said, We are witnesses.

So Joshua said ‘well you had better get rid of all the foreign gods that you still have among you, and seriously turn your hearts to Yahweh the God of Israel’:

Joshua 24:23 WEB
Now therefore put away, [said he], the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to Yahweh, the God of Israel.

And the people confirmed:

Joshua 24:24 WEB
The people said to Joshua, Yahweh our God will we serve, and to his voice will we listen.

So that day a covenant was made and ratified with the people of Israel at Shechem, just prior to Joshua’s death:

Joshua 24:25-27 WEB
So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
26 Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a great stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of Yahweh.
27 Joshua said to all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us; for it has heard all the words of Yahweh which he spoke to us: it shall be therefore a witness against you, lest you deny your God.

Notice that Joshua wrote down all the words of the covenant – the statutes and ordinances, and set up a great stone as a witness to it. After this Joshua died – verse 29.

Israel did serve Yahweh and remained faithful – for a period:

Joshua 24:31 WEB
Israel served Yahweh all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, and had known all the work of Yahweh, that he had worked for Israel.

Do you remember the scriptures concerning the Sinai covenant and the people’s responses:

Exodus 19:8 WEB
All the people answered together, and said, “All that Yahweh has spoken we will do.” Moses reported the words of the people to Yahweh.

Exodus 24:3 WEB
Moses came and told the people all the words of Yahweh, and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words which Yahweh has spoken will we do.”

They confidently asserted they could and would obey and remain faithful, but Yahweh and Moses knew differently:

Deuteronomy 31:16 WEB
Yahweh said to Moses, Behold, you shall sleep with your fathers; and this people will rise up, and play the prostitute after the strange gods of the land, where they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.

Deuteronomy 31:29 WEB
For I know that after my death you will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will happen to you in the latter days; because you will do that which is evil in the sight of Yahweh, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.

Why is that?

Deuteronomy 29:2-4 WEB
Moses called to all Israel, and said to them, You have seen all that Yahweh did before your eyes in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land;
3 the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders:
4 but Yahweh has not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, to this day.

However, in the latter days things are going to be quite different:

Deuteronomy 30:1-6 WEB
It shall happen, when all these things are come on you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, where Yahweh your God has driven you,
2 and shall return to Yahweh your God, and shall obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul;
3 that then Yahweh your God will turn your captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples, where Yahweh your God has scattered you.
4 If [any of] your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of the heavens, from there will Yahweh your God gather you, and from there will he bring you back:
5 and Yahweh your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and he will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers.
6 Yahweh your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.

Notice the heart of Messiah Jesus and what he came saying:

John 5:19-20 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.
20 The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished.

John 5:30 NRSV
“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

John 14:10-11 NRSV
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.

John 14:18-21 NRSV
“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.
19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live.
20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

Are we also instructed to allow Messiah mind to be in us?

Philippians 2:5 NRSV
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

Summary
So we see that the people of Israel entered into a covenant at Shechem, prior to Joshua’s death, in which they chose to obey and serve Yahweh and committed themselves to love Him and to keep all the law of Moses. In particular they were to have no other gods – Yahweh was their God and they were His people. They said they could do it and that they would do it – unfortunately history tells a different story, a story of a nation that splits into two, of idolatry, foreign gods, abominable practices, broken covenants, captivity and enslavement, even the disappearance of the majority of the tribes of Israel, all forewarned by many prophets sent to them by Yahweh beforehand. These same prophets also foretold the coming of ‘a new covenant’ and a Messiah to deliver them.

We have already covered ‘the Messiah’ in a number of articles, and we will look at ‘the new covenant’.

The Moab Covenant

In the fortieth year after Israel had been brought out of Egypt, in the fifth month, Aaron died on Mount Hor (Numbers 33:38-39). In the next few months they moved camp several times and eventually arrived and camped in the plains of Moab, by the Jordan river opposite the city of Jericho (verses 40-50). Here they received final instructions and commandments before entering the promised land from Yahweh through Moses:

Numbers 36:13 WEB
These are the commandments and the ordinances which Yahweh commanded by Moses to the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.

Notice this scripture in the 29th chapter of Deuteronomy:

Deuteronomy 29:1WEB
These are the words of the covenant which Yahweh commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.

So here Yahweh commands Moses to make another covenant with the people of Israel – ‘besides (in addition to, as well as) the covenant made at Horeb (Sinai)’ – here in Moab, 39 years later! Also take notice that these words of the book of Deuteronomy are ‘the words (terms) of this covenant’.

Deuteronomy 1:1-5 WEB
These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah over against Suph, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab.
2 It is eleven days’ [journey] from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea.
3 It happened in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spoke to the children of Israel, according to all that Yahweh had given him in commandment to them;
4 after he had struck Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth, at Edrei.
5 Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, saying,

Deuteronomy 31:9 WEB
Moses wrote this law, and delivered it to the priests the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, and to all the elders of Israel.

Deuteronomy 31:24-26 WEB
It happened, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished,
25 that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, saying,
26 Take this book of the law, and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of Yahweh your God, that it may be there for a witness against you.

Deuteronomy 29:21 LEB
And Yahweh will single him out for calamity out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant written in the scroll of this law.

Here we see that when Moses had written all the words in a book, that this ‘book of the law’ was placed ‘by the side of the ark’ – not inside it! Inside the ark were the tablets of stone of the Sinai covenant, this was placed at the side – just as the covenant being made in Moab was ‘beside (as well as, in addition to)’ the one made at Sinai.

Notice the making of this covenant made between Yahweh and the people ‘this day’, prior to them crossing over into the promised land – this is how they were expected to conduct themselves in the promised land.

Deuteronomy 29:10-15 WEB
You stand this day all of you before Yahweh your God; your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, even all the men of Israel,
11 your little ones, your wives, and your foreigner who is in the midst of your camps, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water;
12 that you may enter into the covenant of Yahweh your God, and into his oath, which Yahweh your God makes with you this day;
13 that he may establish you this day to himself for a people, and that he may be to you a God, as he spoke to you, and as he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
14 Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath,
15 but with him who stands here with us this day before Yahweh our God, and also with him who is not here with us this day

They were to be His people and He was to be their God just as He had sworn to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
However, Yahweh had told both Moses and Aaron that they were not to be allowed to lead the people over into the promised land because of the incident of ‘striking the rock’:

Numbers 20:8-12 WEB
Take the rod, and assemble the congregation, you, and Aaron your brother, and speak you to the rock before their eyes, that it give forth its water; and you shall bring forth to them water out of the rock; so you shall give the congregation and their cattle drink.
9 Moses took the rod from before Yahweh, as he commanded him.
10 Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, Hear now, you rebels; shall we bring you forth water out of this rock?
11 Moses lifted up his hand, and struck the rock with his rod twice: and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their cattle.
12 Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron, Because you didn’t believe in me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.

So Aaron had died and Moses was about to die also:

Numbers 33:38-39 WEB
Aaron the priest went up into Mount Hor at the commandment of Yahweh, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fifth month, on the first day of the month.
39 Aaron was one hundred twenty-three years old when he died in Mount Hor.

Deuteronomy 34:5-7 WEB
So Moses the servant of Yahweh died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of Yahweh.
34:6 He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab over against Beth Peor: but no man knows of his tomb to this day.
34:7 Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

Now before Moses died he put together what is generally termed ‘the law of Moses’, the first five books of the Hebrew scriptures – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

As we will see the book of Deuteronomy was effectively a shortened summary of the whole ‘law of Moses’ – ‘the book of the law’ which was placed beside the ark of the covenant.

Moses instruction to the people before he died was:

Deuteronomy 29:9 WEB
Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.

Deuteronomy 31:9-11 WEB
Moses wrote this law, and delivered it to the priests the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, and to all the elders of Israel.
10 Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of [every] seven years, in the set time of the year of release, in the feast of tents,
11 when all Israel is come to appear before Yahweh your God in the place which he shall choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing.

Deuteronomy 32:46-47 WEB
He said to them, Set your heart to all the words which I testify to you this day, which you shall command your children to observe to do, [even] all the words of this law.
47 For it is no vain thing for you; because it is your life, and through this thing you shall prolong your days in the land, where you go over the Jordan to possess it.

We encourage the reader make a study of the book of Deuteronomy to get a fuller understanding of what was recorded there and placed along side the ark of the covenant.

Below we will set out a few of the major elements:

Deuteronomy 1 – Moses begins to explain ‘this law’, recounts the episode of the spies, they did not believe Yahweh, so He swore that generation would not enter the land. Wandering begins.

Deuteronomy 3 – Joshua told he was the one who would take the people into the promised land.

Deuteronomy 4-8 – Moses reminds them of Yahweh’s covenant at Sinai.

Deuteronomy 9 – Reiterates the golden calf event and the breaking of the first two tablets of stone.

Deuteronomy 10 – The second two tablets of stone, Yahweh was unwilling to destroy them:

Deuteronomy 10:10-16 WEB
I stayed on the mountain, as at the first time, forty days and forty nights: and Yahweh listened to me that time also; Yahweh would not destroy you.
11 Yahweh said to me, Arise, take your journey before the people; and they shall go in and possess the land, which I swore to their fathers to give to them.
12 Now, Israel, what does Yahweh your God require of you, but to fear Yahweh your God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
13 to keep the commandments of Yahweh, and his statutes, which I command you this day for your good?
14 Behold, to Yahweh your God belongs heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth, with all that is therein.
15 Only Yahweh had a delight in your fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all peoples, as at this day.
16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.

Deuteronomy 11 – Keep the statutes, ordinances and commandments. Blessing and curse choice.

Deuteronomy 12 – Warning against idolatry.

Deuteronomy 14 – Clean and unclean creatures food-wise. Tithing laws.

Deuteronomy 15 – Seventh year release.

Deuteronomy 16 – Yahweh’s appointed feasts.

Deuteronomy 17 – The administration of justice.

Deuteronomy 18 – The Levites portion. Warning against divination and other abominable practices. Yahweh’s prophets and the promise of Messiah:

Deuteronomy 18:15-19 WEB
Yahweh your God will raise up to you a prophet from the midst of you, of your brothers, like me; to him you shall listen;
16 according to all that you desired of Yahweh your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of Yahweh my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I not die.
17 Yahweh said to me, They have well said that which they have spoken.
18 I will raise them up a prophet from among their brothers, like you; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him.
19 It shall happen, that whoever will not listen to my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

Deuteronomy 19 – Cities of refuge, landmarks and giving testimony.

Deuteronomy 20 – Destroying nations who may teach you abominable practices.

Deuteronomy 21-25 – Various laws.

Deuteronomy 26 – Offering the first fruit, and the declaration of the covenant agreement:

Deuteronomy 26:16-19 WEB
This day Yahweh your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances: you shall therefore keep and do them with all your heart, and with all your soul.
17 You have declared Yahweh this day to be your God, and that you would walk in his ways, and keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his ordinances, and listen to his voice:
18 and Yahweh has declared you this day to be a people for his own possession, as he has promised you, and that you should keep all his commandments;
19 and to make you high above all nations that he has made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that you may be a holy people to Yahweh your God, as he has spoken.

All the words of this law were to be written upon large stones set up when they went over the Jordan into the land:

Deuteronomy 27:1-8 WEB
Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandment which I command you this day.
2 It shall be on the day when you shall pass over the Jordan to the land which Yahweh your God gives you, that you shall set yourself up great stones, and plaster them with plaster:
3 and you shall write on them all the words of this law, when you are passed over; that you may go in to the land which Yahweh your God gives you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as Yahweh, the God of your fathers, has promised you.
4 It shall be, when you are passed over the Jordan, that you shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with plaster.
5 There shall you build an altar to Yahweh your God, an altar of stones: you shall lift up no iron [tool] on them.
6 You shall build the altar of Yahweh your God of uncut stones; and you shall offer burnt offerings thereon to Yahweh your God:
7 and you shall sacrifice peace-offerings, and shall eat there; and you shall rejoice before Yahweh your God.
8 You shall write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly.

Joshua 4:20 WEB
Those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, did Joshua set up in Gilgal.

‘This day you have become the people of Yahweh your God’:

Deuteronomy 27:9-10 WEB
Moses and the priests the Levites spoke to all Israel, saying, Keep silence, and listen, Israel: this day you are become the people of Yahweh your God.
10 You shall therefore obey the voice of Yahweh your God, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command you this day.

Deuteronomy 27 also contains the declaration of the curses for disobedience in verses 15 to 26.

Deuteronomy 28 – Blessings for obedience and the results of disobedience.

Deuteronomy 29 – Another covenant beside the one made at Sinai, entered into ‘this day’, in accordance with all that is written in ‘the book of the law’.

Deuteronomy 30 – Another warning to obey Yahweh and keep His commandments. A choice set before them:

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 WEB
I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that you may live, you and your seed;
20 to love Yahweh your God, to obey his voice, and to cleave to him; for he is your life, and the length of your days; that you may dwell in the land which Yahweh swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Deuteronomy 31 – This ‘law written by Moses’ to be read every seven years at the feast of booths (tabernacles) – so they learn and be careful to keep this law. Yahweh commissions Joshua to lead the people into the promised land. Moses instructed to write a song and teach it to the people as a witness against them (verse 19). The book of the law placed beside the ark.

Moses predicts their failure to obey:

Deuteronomy 31:29-30 WEB
For I know that after my death you will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will happen to you in the latter days; because you will do that which is evil in the sight of Yahweh, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.
30 Moses spoke in the ears of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until they were finished.

Deuteronomy 32 – The song Moses wrote and taught them.

Deuteronomy 33 – Moses blesses the children of Israel before he dies.

Deuteronomy 34 – Moses dies and Joshua takes over the leadership.

The people of Israel now enter the promised land under the leadership of Joshua, as Yahweh’s people in covenant with Him, with a full understanding of what is required of them and how they are expected to behave in the land.

Why were they given ‘the law’?

Romans 7:7 NRSV
What then should we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet, if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

Galatians 3:24 TMB
Therefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

The law defined sin for them and was there as a teacher.

Summary
We see now that the people of Israel entered the promised land with an additional covenant formalised in Moab, beside (as well as) the one ratified at Sinai. The ‘book of the law’ containing all the terms and instructions regarding this covenant was placed along side the ark of the covenant (of Sinai). They now had all the formalised ‘statutes, ordinances and commandments’ for their life as a nation (and individuals) in the promised land.

Deuteronomy is a summary of all these things which are more explicitly detailed throughout ‘the law of Moses’ – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

The ‘Sinai Covenant’ Part 2

Last time we saw that whilst Moses was on the mountain for 40 days receiving further instructions from Yahweh regarding the sanctuary, so that He ‘may dwell in their midst’ and go with them, the people broke the covenant by making and worshipping a golden calf. This greatly angered Yahweh and He was minded to ‘consume them’:

Exodus 32:9-10 WEB
Yahweh said to Moses, “I have seen these people, and, behold, they are a stiff-necked people.
10 Now therefore leave me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of you a great nation.”

What was Moses reaction to this?

Exodus 32:11-13 WEB
Moses begged Yahweh his God, and said, “Yahweh, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, that you have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
12 Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘He brought them forth for evil, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the surface of the earth?’ Turn from your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against your people.
13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your seed as the stars of the sky, and all this land that I have spoken of I will give to your seed, and they shall inherit it forever.'”

Moses says ‘they are your people, you brought them out of Egypt, remember your covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Israel’, and Yahweh responded favourably:

Exodus 32:14 WEB
Yahweh repented of the evil which he said he would do to his people.

But there were great repercussions when Moses went back down the mountain nevertheless:

Exodus 32:19-20 WEB
It happened, as soon as he came near to the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing: and Moses’ anger grew hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mountain.
20 He took the calf which they had made, and burnt it with fire, ground it to powder, and scattered it on the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.

Exodus 32:26-29 WEB
then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on Yahweh’s side, come to me!” All the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.
27 He said to them, “Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, ‘Every man put his sword on his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and every man kill his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.”
28 The sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
29 Moses said, “Consecrate yourselves today to Yahweh, yes, every man against his son, and against his brother; that he may bestow on you a blessing this day.”

Three thousand men died that day at the hands of the Levites, instructed by Yahweh through Moses. In verses 30 to 34 Moses returns to Yahweh, confesses their great sin and asks for them to be forgiven, even offers himself – but Yahweh needed to teach the people a lesson in a different way:

Exodus 32:34-35 WEB
Now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.”
35 Yahweh struck the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.

Remember Exodus 22:20?

Exodus 22:20 WEB
“He who sacrifices to any god, except to Yahweh only, shall be utterly destroyed.

Yahweh also said as a result of the golden calf event:

Exodus 33:2-3 WEB
I will send an angel before you; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:
3 to a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of you, for you are a stiff-necked people, lest I consume you in the way.”

He would send an angel, but would not go with them Himself, but Moses persisted:

Exodus 33:13-17 WEB
Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you, so that I may find favor in your sight: and consider that this nation is your people.”
14 He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
15 He said to him, “If your presence doesn’t go with me, don’t carry us up from here.
16 For how would people know that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Isn’t it in that you go with us, so that we are separated, I and your people, from all the people who are on the surface of the earth?”
17 Yahweh said to Moses, “I will do this thing also that you have spoken; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”

Yahweh instructs Moses to cut two more tablets of stone and to return back up Mount Sinai:

Exodus 34:1-2 WEB
Yahweh said to Moses, “Chisel two stone tablets like the first: and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.
2 Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain.

Notice that Yahweh is going to write the same words on the second tablets as were on the first which were broken. Yahweh did the writing again! And He wrote the same words!

Exodus 34:28 WEB
He was there with Yahweh forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread, nor drank water. He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

Deuteronomy 10:1-5 WEB
At that time Yahweh said to me, Hew you two tables of stone like the first, and come up to me onto the mountain, and make an ark of wood.
2 I will write on the tables the words that were on the first tables which you broke, and you shall put them in the ark.
3 So I made an ark of acacia wood, and hewed two tables of stone like the first, and went up onto the mountain, having the two tables in my hand.
4 He wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which Yahweh spoke to you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and Yahweh gave them to me.
5 I turned and came down from the mountain, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they are as Yahweh commanded me.

Thirty nine years later at Moab, Moses summarizes what took place during this second time on Mount Sinai saying:

Deuteronomy 10:10-11 WEB
I stayed on the mountain, as at the first time, forty days and forty nights: and Yahweh listened to me that time also; Yahweh would not destroy you.
11 Yahweh said to me, Arise, take your journey before the people; and they shall go in and possess the land, which I swore to their fathers to give to them.

Yahweh had every right to destroy them, but was unwilling to do so – the instruction to Moses was to carry on and to lead the people to the promised land – promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Remember the instruction was ‘they were to keep Yahweh’s covenant AND OBEY HIS VOICE’, there would be ongoing directions that they were expected to follow!

Exodus 19:5 WEB
Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine;

This was still to be the same:

Exodus 34:11 WEB
Observe that which I command you this day. Behold, I drive out before you the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

Exodus 34:32 WEB
Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them all of the commandments that Yahweh had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.

Exodus 35:1 WEB
Moses assembled all the congregation of the children of Israel, and said to them, “These are the words which Yahweh has commanded, that you should do them.

These instructions included the making of the tabernacle and all the associated contents, priests garments etc – read this in Exodus 35 to 39.
In Exodus 40 we see the tabernacle erected and put into service, in the first month of the second year (after leaving Egypt):

Exodus 40:1-2 WEB
Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
2 “On the first day of the first month you shall raise up the tent of the Tent of Meeting.

Exodus 40:17 WEB
It happened in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tent was raised up.

Aaron and his sons were consecrated as priests:

Exodus 40:12-15 WEB
You shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the tent of meeting, and shall wash them with water.
13 You shall put on Aaron the holy garments; and you shall anoint him, and sanctify him, that he may minister to me in the priest’s office.
14 You shall bring his sons, and put coats on them.
15 You shall anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may minister to me in the priest’s office. Their anointing shall be to them for an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.

Notice that in verse 29 the facility for burnt offerings etc are installed at the door of the tent of meeting:

Exodus 40:29 WEB
He set the altar of burnt offering at the door of the tent of the tent of meeting, and offered on it the burnt offering and the meal-offering, as Yahweh commanded Moses.

So Moses put everything in place as instructed:

Exodus 40:33 WEB
He raised up the court around the tent and the altar, and set up the screen of the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work.

And Yahweh’s presence was with them:

Exodus 40:34-38 WEB
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of Yahweh filled the tent.
35 Moses wasn’t able to enter into the tent of meeting, because the cloud stayed on it, and Yahweh’s glory filled the tent.
36 When the cloud was taken up from over the tent, the children of Israel went onward, throughout all their journeys;
37 but if the cloud wasn’t taken up, then they didn’t travel until the day that it was taken up.
38 For the cloud of Yahweh was on the tent by day, and there was fire in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

The book of Leviticus contains many detailed instructions for how Israel were to conduct themselves under this ‘Levitical/law of Moses system’:

Leviticus 1:1-2 WEB
Yahweh called to Moses, and spoke to him out of the Tent of Meeting, saying,
2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘When anyone of you offers an offering to Yahweh, you shall offer your offering of the cattle, from the herd and from the flock.

Leviticus 7:37-38 WEB
This is the law of the burnt offering, of the meal offering, and of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of the consecration, and of the sacrifice of peace offerings;
38 which Yahweh commanded Moses in Mount Sinai, in the day that he commanded the children of Israel to offer their offerings to Yahweh, in the wilderness of Sinai.

Leviticus 25:1 WEB
Yahweh said to Moses in Mount Sinai,

Leviticus 27:34 WEB
These are the commandments which Yahweh commanded Moses for the children of Israel on Mount Sinai.

Notice that these instructions were given to Moses on Mount Sinai, and cover offerings, sacrifices, the priesthood, clean and unclean animals, purification and cleansing, diseases, forbidden things, how to love your neighbour, appointed feasts, jubilees, punishment for disobedience, vows etc.

The book of Numbers continues the record of events from ‘the second month of the second year out of Egypt’:

Numbers 1:1 WEB
Yahweh spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the Tent of Meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying,

We see the tribe of Levi being commissioned to minister at the tabernacle instead of ‘all the first born of Israel’, as had been the situation previously:

Numbers 3:5-12 WEB
Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
6 “Bring the tribe of Levi near, and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister to him.
7 They shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the Tent of Meeting, to do the service of the tabernacle.
8 They shall keep all the furnishings of the Tent of Meeting, and the obligations of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle.
9 You shall give the Levites to Aaron and to his sons. They are wholly given to him on the behalf of the children of Israel.
10 You shall appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall keep their priesthood. The stranger who comes near shall be put to death.”
11 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
12 “Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn who open the womb among the children of Israel; and the Levites shall be mine:

Chapter 8 of Numbers describes how the Levites were cleansed and purified, and offered as ‘a wave offering’ to Yahweh. They were consecrated to serve as the priesthood under Aaron and his sons.

SUMMARY
We have seen now the extent of the instructions given by Yahweh to Moses on Mount Sinai for the people of Israel. Some before the incident of the golden calf and some after it, in order that the people could be allowed to carry on and live.

The tabernacle was constructed and set up, along with the Levitical priesthood and the sacrificial system. Instructions were given to Moses regarding how the nation of Israel were to conduct themselves as they made their journey to the promised land. As we shall see in a future study, this got them as far as the plains of Moab (adjacent to the Jordan River) just under 39 years later, where they were about to enter the promised land.

The ‘Sinai Covenant’ Part 1

We have seen in our studies already that ‘covenant’ was a very serious business, and can be described as ‘A binding, formal agreement between two parties defining the kind of ongoing relationship they are to have with each other. Conditions and promises and or penalties are laid down for both parties, and it is sealed or ratified formally, usually by sprinkling of blood.’

As we go through the details concerning the ‘Sinai covenant’ please note that ‘the law’ can be the basis of the conditions built into a covenant, but the covenant is not the law itself.

Many scriptures liken the covenant Yahweh made with Israel to a marriage covenant:

Isaiah 54:5-6 WEB
For your Maker is your husband; Yahweh of Hosts is his name: and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth shall he be called.
6 For Yahweh has called you as a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even a wife of youth, when she is cast off, says your God.

Ezekiel 16:8 RSV
Now when I passed by you again and looked upon you, behold, you were at the age for love; and I spread my skirt over you, and covered your nakedness: yea, I plighted my troth to you and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord God, and you became mine.

Jeremiah 3:8 WEB
I saw, when, for this very cause that backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorce, yet treacherous Judah, her sister, didn’t fear; but she also went and played the prostitute.

Jeremiah 3:20 WEB
Surely as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, so have you dealt treacherously with me, house of Israel, says Yahweh.

Jeremiah 31:31-32 WEB
31 Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, 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 broke, although I was a husband to them, says Yahweh.

Yahweh ‘proposes’ this marriage covenant to Israel through Moses:

Exodus 19:3-6 WEB
Moses went up to God, and Yahweh called to him out of the mountain, saying, “This is what you shall tell the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:
4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to myself.
5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine;
6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (all bolding is ours for emphasis)

The details of the covenant proposed by Yahweh were outlined through Moses to the people of Israel in chapters 20 to 23 of Exodus. Notice that Yahweh intended the people to hear Him directly:

Exodus 19:9 WEB
Yahweh said to Moses, “Behold, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.” Moses told the words of the people to Yahweh.

Exodus 19:17 WEB
Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the lower part of the mountain.

Yahweh got as far as the ten commandments and the people became afraid and asked for Yahweh to cease speaking to them and for Moses to be the ‘mediator/go-between’:

Exodus 20:18-22 WEB
All the people perceived the thunderings, the lightnings, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled, and stayed at a distance.
19 They said to Moses, “Speak with us yourself, and we will listen; but don’t let God speak with us, lest we die.”
20 Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid, for God has come to test you, and that his fear may be before you, that you won’t sin.”
21 The people stayed at a distance, and Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
22 Yahweh said to Moses, “This is what you shall tell the children of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.

So Yahweh spoke with Moses, and Moses passed it on to the people.

Remember, Yahweh intended them to be ‘a kingdom of priests’, ones who would come into His presence, set an example and teach others:

Exodus 19:5-6 WEB
Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine;
6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

But they wanted a mediator themselves!

Moses therefore received the rest of Yahweh’s proposal and passed it on to the people.

How did the people respond?

Exodus 24:3 WEB
Moses came and told the people all the words of Yahweh, and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words which Yahweh has spoken will we do.”

They accepted the proposal. At this time they really believed they could keep the terms of the covenant, but they were trusting in their own strength – ‘we will’ was their answer! So the marriage went ahead. The making of this covenant was a solemn event. To impress upon the children of Israel the gravity of what they were agreeing to, an alter was built and sacrifices given upon it, twelve pillars for each tribe was erected as a witness of the proceedings:

Exodus 24:4-6 WEB
Moses wrote all the words of Yahweh, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar under the mountain, and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.
5 He sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace-offerings of oxen to Yahweh.
6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.

Were the people under any illusion as to what they were agreeing to:

Exodus 24:7 WEB
He took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people, and they said, “All that Yahweh has spoken will we do, and be obedient.”

Notice that Moses wrote everything down in ‘the book of the covenant’ which was read out to the people as part of the formal ceremony and they responded ‘we will do everything and we will be obedient’.

And the marriage covenant was sealed and ratified with blood:

Exodus 24:8 WEB
Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Look, this is the blood of the covenant, which Yahweh has made with you concerning all these words.”

Notice also that it was the ‘young men’ who were acting as priests making the offerings at this time, as Moses had instructed them.

So what were the terms of the covenant that Israel agreed to? Firstly they agreed to keep the ten commandments detailed in Exodus 20:1-17 (these were already in existence prior to this covenant, which we cover in a separate study). They also agreed to keep ‘laws for civil life as a nation’, which were amplifications and applications of the ten commandments, ordinances (Exodus 21:1). These are outlined in Exodus 20:22 to 23:19 – what the people had to do.

The overarching principle was to “love Yahweh your God and to love your neighbour as yourself”

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 WEB
Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is one:
5 and you shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

Leviticus 19:18 WEB
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am Yahweh.

Some examples from the covenant are below:

Exodus 22:22 WEB
“You shall not take advantage of any widow or fatherless child.

Exodus 23:1-2 WEB
“You shall not spread a false report. Don’t join your hand with the wicked to be a malicious witness.
2 You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; neither shall you testify in court to side with a multitude to pervert justice;

Exodus 23:9 WEB
“You shall not oppress an alien, for you know the heart of an alien, seeing you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

There were also ‘judgements’ – precedents in cases of conflict or violations of God’s laws, for example:

Exodus 22:1-2 WEB
“If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it, or sells it; he shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.
2 If the thief is found breaking in, and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt of bloodshed for him.

The principle was that the offender paid a penalty equivalent to the damage done or caused:

Exodus 21:22-24 WEB
“If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely, and yet no harm follows, he shall be surely fined as much as the woman’s husband demands and the judges allow.
23 But if any harm follows, then you must take life for life,

Exodus 21:12 WEB
“One who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death,

The death penalty was prescribed for murder, adultery and kidnapping.

Read all this section in your own bible – Exodus 20:22 to 23:19.

What Yahweh promises to do is in Exodus 23:20-33. Read this also in your bible – it included protection, victory over their enemies, provision of nourishment, healing, fruitfulness, increase and possession of the land.

Notice also at this point in time there is no inclusion of some key things later included as ‘precepts of the law’, such as sin offerings, the priesthood of Levi, central worship before the temple or tabernacle and national curses. Also note ‘The books of the Law’ (Genesis to Deuteronomy) didn’t exist at the time of the Sinai covenant (possibly written during time at Moab, 39 years later – Deuteronomy 1:1-5). When they did exist, they had to be summarized for the book of Deuteronomy, the second law.

The covenant was sealed and ratified in Exodus 24:1-11 as we saw earlier, there was even a covenant meal with the seventy elders:

Exodus 24:5-11 WEB
He sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace-offerings of oxen to Yahweh.
6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
7 He took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people, and they said, “All that Yahweh has spoken will we do, and be obedient.”
8 Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Look, this is the blood of the covenant, which Yahweh has made with you concerning all these words.”
9 Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up.
10 They saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was like a paved work of sapphireor, lapis lazuli stone, like the skies for clearness.
11 He didn’t lay his hand on the nobles of the children of Israel. They saw God, and ate and drank.

Notice ‘the book of the covenant’ was read to the people and the covenant was ratified with the blood of oxen or young bulls, half against the alter and half upon the people.

Yahweh then called Moses back up the mountain and the elders and the people were instructed to wait below with Aaron and Hur in charge:

Exodus 24:12-14 WEB
Yahweh said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and stay here, and I will give you the tables of stone with the law and the commands that I have written, that you may teach them.”
24:13 Moses rose up with Joshua, his servant, and Moses went up onto God’s Mountain.
24:14 He said to the elders, “Wait here for us, until we come again to you. Behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever is involved in a dispute can go to them.”

Now remember that Israel were expected to “obey my voice, and keep my covenant” (Exodus 19:5) – Yahweh called Moses up because He had further instructions to give. These concerned building the tabernacle, the ark of the covenant, tablets of stone etc in Exodus 25:1 to 31:18.

Exodus 25:8-9 WEB
Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.
9 According to all that I show you, the pattern of the tent, and the pattern of all of its furniture, even so you shall make it.

Exodus 25:10 WEB
“They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Its length shall be two and a half cubits, its breadth a cubit and a half, and a cubit and a half its height.

Exodus 25:23 WEB
“You shall make a table of acacia wood. Two cubits shall be its length, and a cubit its breadth, and one and a half cubits its height.

Exodus 26:7 WEB
the rings shall be close to the rim, for places for the poles to carry the table.

Exodus 26:31 WEB
“You shall make a lampstand of pure gold. Of hammered work shall the lampstand be made, even its base, its shaft, its cups, its buds, and its flowers, shall be of one piece with it.

Exodus 27:1 WEB
“You shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and its height shall be three cubits.

Exodus 28:1 WEB
“Bring Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, near to you from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.

Exodus 29:1 WEB
“This is the thing that you shall do to them to make them holy, to minister to me in the priest’s office: take one young bull and two rams without blemish,

Exodus 30:1 WEB
“You shall make an altar to burn incense on. You shall make it of acacia wood.

Exodus 30:18 WEB
“You shall also make a basin of brass, and the base of it of brass, in which to wash. You shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it.

Exodus 31:1-3 WEB
Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
2 “Behold, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,

Exodus 31:18 WEB
He gave to Moses, when he finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, stone tablets, written with God’s finger.

Notice also Exodus 31:16-17, the Sabbath was a covenant sign between Yahweh and the people of Israel:

Exodus 31:16-17 WEB
Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.'”

But while all this was taking place with Moses up the mountain conversing with Yahweh, what were the people doing?

Exodus 32:7-8 WEB
Yahweh spoke to Moses, “Go, get down; for your people, who you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves!
8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it, and have sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.'”

They made and worshipped a golden calf! Breaking their covenant with Yahweh within forty days.

Notice Yahweh now refers to them as ‘your people’ that ‘you brought out’! And His initial intention was:

Exodus 32:9-10 WEB
Yahweh said to Moses, “I have seen these people, and, behold, they are a stiff-necked people.
10 Now therefore leave me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of you a great nation.”

Will Yahweh destroy them? Next time we will continue to see the outcome.