Archive for May 20, 2010

Israel’s Old Covenant

May 20, 2010

Who are Israelites; to whom pertains … the giving of the law (Romans 9:4).

Paul clearly tells us that the “giving of the law” pertained to Israel. God did not give the Law of Moses to everyone – He gave it to the nation Israel.

This “Mosaic Covenant,” as it is sometimes referred to, is also called the “old” covenant in the Greek Scriptures that were written to the Hebrews.

In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first old (Hebrews 8:13).

This Old Covenant concerns Israel’s National Law. As we mentioned previously, there are three things needed to have a nation: (1) a people, (2) a government, and (3) a land. Law is necessary for there to be a government. Three fourths of Israel’s 613 commandments were governmental, not personal, in nature. Read carefully the prelude to the giving of the law. These are God’s words spoken to Moses.

“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you will be a Peculiar Treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: and you shall be unto Me a Kingdom of Priests, and an Holy Nation. These are the words which you will speak to the Children of Israel.” And Moses came and called for the elders of The People, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him. And all The People answered together, and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses returned the words of The People unto the Lord (Exodus 19:4-8).

The Law of Moses was clearly given to a specific people – the Nation Israel. Every nation needs a law, and this was Israel’s.

Little wonder that Peter, the Apostle to the Circumcision (Galatians 2:8), wrote to Israel some 1400 years later and said,

But you are a chosen generation, a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation, a Peculiar People; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (I Peter 2:9).

Notice the unmistakable language of Israel’s Apostle Peter and its parallel to the earlier passage of Exodus 19.

Peculiar Treasure – Peculiar People
Kingdom of Priests – Royal Priesthood
Holy Nation – Holy Nation

Sadly, many miss Peter’s entire point. Peter is not addressing members of the Body of Christ; he is addressing Israel’s remnant. Paul alone is the divine spokesman of Christ to His Body. Members of the Body of Christ are not a “Royal Priesthood,” nor are they a “Holy Nation.” These positions belong to Israel alone.

We are not a nation, but a body. We are His Body among the nations – an international out-calling (ecclesia).

We are not priests, but ambassadors. Ours is not an earthly, ceremonial, national calling. This belongs only to Israel. Ours is a celestial, international calling, of which we are heavenly ambassadors.

Moreover, many do not realize that God gave the law to Israel as a test for them (Exodus 20:20), to show them (as a divine illustration to the rest of humanity) that they were sinners and needed Christ (Acts 13:38-39). Under God’s wise hand, the law’s purpose was to:

Give the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).

Make sin abound (Romans 5:20).

Produce guilt (Romans 3:19)

Curse mankind (Galatians 3:10), and

Work wrath (Romans 4:15).

Some list, huh? Contrary to what religion may teach, the law could never justify a man (Galatians 3:11). Instead, the law would work in the hands of the Master-Designer as “schoolmaster” (or “escort” – CLT) to lead to Christ (Galatians 3:24-25).

With these truths in mind, we are now better prepared to hear the grand revelation concerning the law given to Paul our Apostle. Here is a simple outline of these enormously liberating truths:

Christ Abolished the Law

Having abolished in His flesh the enmity [hostility], even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of two one new man, so making peace (Ephesians 2:15).

We Are Delivered from the Law

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter (Romans 7:6).

We Are Not Under the Law

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14).

We Have Been Made the Righteousness of God

For He has made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (II Corinthians 5:21).

The Law Was Not Made for a Righteous Man

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man (I Timothy 1:9).

Nothing Is Unclean of Itself

I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him who esteems anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean (Romans 14:14).

All Things Are Pure to the Pure

To the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled (Titus 1:15).

All Things Are Lawful

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any (I Corinthians 6:12).

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not (I Corinthians 10:23).

Love Is the Fulfilling of the Law

Owe no man anything, but to love each other: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law … Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:8-10).

For, brothers, you have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve each other. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; “Love your neighbor as yourself” … (Galatians 5:13).

The law was a national law given to the Nation Israel. It was designed and used by the hand of God to demonstrate and illustrate the absolute failure of man without Him. The law was never given to the Body of Christ as a rule of life by which to live (Galatians 5:22-23).

God’s Spirit produces in us a fruit, and “against such there is no law.”

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free … (Galatians 5:1, KJV).

In the freedom, then, with which Christ did make you free – stand ye … (Galatians 5:1, Young).

Christ has set us free in freedom; stand fast therefore … (Galatians 5:1, Darby).

For freedom Christ frees us! Stand firm, then … (Galatians 5:1, Concordant).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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