The Old Covenant – 2nd of 3 Studies, Student 1

Heavily edited and adapted from the new edition of the 04 booklet Tablets of Stone and the History of Redemption by John G. Reisinger  See also All Old Testament Laws Cancelled, 09 by Greg Gibson

PROCEDURE & INSTRUCTIONS - Complete study sheets prior to meetings as homework assignments.  Do not read ahead or check your responses with the instructor's set.  Complete each exercise before moving on to the next.  Follow the directions and answer the questions that are asked.  Write down your questions, observations, and thoughts.  

The Necessity of Using Biblical Terminology

What does the Word of God itself say about the Ten Commandments (TC)? What terminology is used by the Holy Spirit?

Where do the words the "TC" first appear in the Bible?  _________________________________


Notice what are we told the first time we are introduced to the words "TC.”

1.  Who actually wrote the TC on the Tablets of Stone?  ______________  What other passages verify this?  ______________________________________________________________________________

2.  With whom did God enter a special and unique covenant relationship at Mt Sinai (Ex.34:10)?  ________________ __________________________  What other passage verifies this?  _________________________________

3.  What were the specific terms or "words of the covenant" that were written on the Tables of Stone?  ___________ ______________________________

“The TC” are “the words of the covenant," and this covenant is always associated with the Tables of Stone given to Israel at Sinai. This is the uniform and consistent teaching of the Word of God. Neither the Old nor the New Testament Scriptures change what is said about the TC in this text. The nature and function of the TC is always consistent with the first mention of them in the Bible. "Israel," "the TC," "Mt Sinai," "two Tablets of Stone," and "the words of the covenant" are phrases that always go together in the Word of God. Discussion of the TC that in any way separates them from the "words of the covenant" written on the Tables of Stone and given to Israel at Sinai is not in accord with Scripture.

Besides Ex.34:28, where else are the words "Ten Commandments" used in the Bible?


Dt.4:13 (even more emphatic than Ex.34 concerning the nature of the TC) tells us “God declared” that the covenant He made with Israel was the TC. Neither the NT Scriptures nor any of the OT prophets use the words "the TC" in any of their teaching, rebukes, or exhortations. The writers of the Psalms have much to say about "law" and "commandments" but none of them ever use the words "the Ten Commandments" (TC). These three references are the only ones in the whole Bible to “the TC" and they view them as a unit – as a technical term that refers to a specific document God wrote on the Tablets of Stone and declared to Israel as the terms of a covenant at Mt Sinai.

What terms or phrases does the Bible use synonymously and interchangeably with the words "the Ten Commandments?" 2 Cor.3:3; Ex.31:18; Ex.25:16; Heb.8:7; Heb.8:13; Ex.34:28; Dt.9:9-11

There are at least five other words or phrases that are used to refer to the TC. Realizing that we can substitute any of the following terms in place of the words "TC" will greatly help us to understand the nature, purpose, and function of the TC. All seven phrases mean the same thing when used in the Bible.

1. _________________________________ is the most common way that the Bible refers to the TC.


2. ____________________________________ is only used twice and refer to Sinai when the TC were given as a written record of the covenant conditions that would be used as the legal "testimony" against Israel if they broke the covenant.


3. _________________________ is used in two verses to describe the TC - the first when God gave Moses instructions concerning building the Ark of the Covenant to house the "Testimony" or the TC; the other when the Ark was finished and the TC were put into the Ark.


What does the form of the noun “Testimony” used in the above 4 passages show?  _________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________

4. ____________________________ is used in the Bible only twice, but it is implied in other places where the New Covenant (NC) is contrasted to the Old Covenant (OC) that it replaced. The covenant described in the words "the covenant I made with their fathers" in passages like Jer.31:33 and Heb.8-10 is clearly the "first" covenant or the TC that was given at Sinai on the tables of stone.


5. _______________________________ is implied in Heb.8:6. What distinct contrasts are made in Heb.8:6?




The OC said "do and live, disobey and die" but the New says "it is finished, believe." Notice how these three comparisons are set forth in the argument developed by the writer of Hebrews:


It is the obvious result of these comparisons that demonstrates why the OC written on the Tablets of Stone had to be replaced by the "new and better" covenant.


Explain how 2 Cor.3:14-15 is to be understood.


6. ______________________________ establish beyond question that the TC are the covenant document that established Israel as a nation or body politic at Mt Sinai.


7. ________________________ was the phrase Moses used at the second giving of the law in Dt. Moses seems to want to impress the word "covenant" on Israel's mind when he reminds them of God giving the TC as the terms of the covenant written on the Tables of the Covenant.


The Old Covenant – 2nd of 3 Studies, Student 2

Where were the stone tablets kept and why (Heb.9:4)? The word "covenant" is again the recurring theme in the ninth chapter of Hebrews which contrasts the ministry of Aaron in the earthly Tabernacle in the midst of Israel with the ministry of Christ in the true Tabernacle in Heaven itself. ______________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________

The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. Heb.9.8-9

The inability of all the ministries connected with the OC to "cleanse the conscience" is always, as in this verse, connected with "the way into the Most Holy Place" being closed off. The "once for all" sacrifice of Christ overcame this inability and forever opened up the way into the Most Holy Place. This truth is shown by contrasting the great effect of the better sacrifice of Christ with the sacrifice of animals. V.15 tells us the specific reason for the NC to be established in nothing less than the shed blood of the Son of God Himself:

For this reason [to effect what the OC could not] Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died [under the curse of the covenant in the Ark] as a ransom to set them free [Gal.4:4-6] from the sins committed under the first covenant. Heb.9:15

None of the sins against the OC were truly atoned for until the actual death of Christ on Calvary. It is the atoning work of Christ that gave Him the right to send the gift of the Holy Spirit. The coming of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the heart of the promise in the Old Testament Scriptures. However, that promise could not be fulfilled as long as the Tabernacle was still standing, and the Tabernacle must stand as long as the OC was in effect or the TC in the Ark were in force as the covenant foundation of God's relationship to Israel. It all stands or falls together.

List some of the verses in the Bible that speak of `the moral law' when referring to the Ten Commandments.


"Moral law" is a theological term developed in the Middle Ages. To be correct and useful the term would first have to be established with texts of Scripture that clearly prove the doctrine carried by the term. We have never seen this attempted with the term "moral law." How does God Himself want us to think and speak about the words "the Ten Commandments?" ____________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________

Summarize what the Bible itself says about the TC by taking all the above texts of Scripture that use the different terms as synonyms. In other words, put together a compendium using Bible texts making one definitive statement of the way the Bible treats the Tablets of Stone:





The Problem of "Two Versions"

What was written on the Tablets of Stone? The Bible gives two different "versions" of the TC that were written on the Tables of Stone. The first through third and the sixth through ninth commandments are almost identical. The greatest differences are in the fourth and fifth. Make a chart comparing the 4th commandment in Ex.20 with that in Dt.5.






























Moses clearly gave two different reasons for keeping the Sabbath holy [associating the same command with different events]. The first reason was to follow God's example in Genesis [commemorate God’s finished work] and the second was to remember the recent deliverance from Egypt.

We are not talking about two versions of a parable or miracle, but about very special and unique commandments of great significance that were written in stone by the finger of God. Is it possible that God wrote on the Tablets of Stone everything found in the both the Ex.20 version and the Dt.5 version of the TC? _____________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________

The two different versions must be reconciled to each other before it is possible to know for sure what was actually written on the Tablets of Stone.

Evaluate the three possible approaches to the problem of the two different versions of the TC below.

1.  The Bible contradicts itself. ____________________________________________________

2.  Moses, in Dt.5, "forgot" what God actually wrote on the Tablets of Stone in Ex.20 and therefore left out the part about creation. He also "added" in Dt.5 the part about deliverance from Egypt even though it was not actually part of the original TC given in Ex.20. _____________________________________________________________

3.  All that was actually written on the Tablets of Stone was the bare commandments. In the case of the fourth commandment, all that was written on the tables was the words "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy." All of the rest of the words relating to the actual observance of the Sabbath in texts are commentary added by Moses and not part of the commandment itself as written on the Tablets of Stone. ______________________________

The seventh day Sabbath was the specific "sign" of the Mosaic covenant that established the nation of Israel as a body politic at Mt Sinai. It would have been appropriate for Moses standing at Mt Sinai to point Israel back to the God of Creation as a ground for obeying the newly given covenant sign. It would also have been just as appropriate for Moses to remind Israel at the second giving of the law in Dt.5 of God's redemptive rights over Israel because of the recent deliverance by blood and power from Egypt. The two reasons together furnish a double obligation for obeying the covenant sign and the whole covenant. Both reasons are commentary added by Moses to enforce the great significance of the covenant sign (Sabbath) to Israel. [see The Key to the Bible - Instructor 1st, Ques.4]

Does Ex.20:11 prove that the seventh day Sabbath was a so-called "Creation Ordinance” (Dt.5:22)? ____________ __________________________________________________________________________________  Explain.




If anyone chooses to believe that the Sabbath commandment existed before Sinai, he must get his evidence from a source other than Ex.20 and Dt.5. [see Keeping the Sabbath in Christ] A mind-set is required that thinks and speaks in Biblical terms (ie., TC) instead of theological terms (ie., unchanging moral law of God). Whenever we hear the words "the TC" or one of the other synonyms our first thought should automatically be "the words of the OC written on the Tables of Stone at Mt Sinai." It is not that there are no laws addressing moral behavior. The TC contain mostly moral law. However, that is totally different than saying "the TC as written on the Tablets of Stone are "THE eternal unchanging moral law."

The Old Covenant – 2nd of 3 Studies, Student 3

The Bible always treats the "TC" as a single unit - a codified list that constitutes a covenant document, the Decalogue or "Ten Words." When that covenant ended, everything it represented and supported also ended. However, the specific moral duties commanded in the individual commandments written on those tables are another thing altogether. Nine of the ten individual commandments are clearly repeated by both our Lord in his role as the new lawgiver in the Gospels and by the Apostles in the Epistles. [see NC Theology: Description; Definition; Defense, 02 by Tom Wells and Fred Zaspel]

Everything that God commands is "moral law" to the individual commanded. To pick up sticks on the Sabbath was one of the most immoral things that a man could do under the OC - not because there is anything inherently wrong with picking up sticks. The man was stoned to death because the Fourth Commandment, which was the covenant sign, specifically forbade any physical labor on the seventh day. A commandment that was ceremonial in nature became a moral duty when God made it the sign of the covenant.

Was it immoral for a man to take a second wife under the same OC that had the man stoned to death for gathering sticks? ___________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________

The Ten Commandments Are a "Covenant"

The Scriptures consistently call the TC a "covenant" and treat them as a distinct and separate covenant. However, some still hold the basic presupposition that there is only "one covenant with two administrations." This is not exegetically correct. In that system, the "Mosaic arrangement or administration" is considered an "administration of the one covenant of grace." However, the Word of God is quite clear that the TC were the specific terms of a distinct and separate covenant.

So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. Dt.4:13

When I went up into the mountains to receive the tablets of stone, even the tablets of the covenant which the Lord had made with you...and the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone written with the finger of God...the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone, even the tablets of the covenant. Dt.9:9-11

Theology built on non-biblical terms that are both peculiar and essential to that particular system should be viewed with skepticism. What have we seen the emphasis in the Word of God to be? ______________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________

When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them in pieces... Ex.32:18

The Lord said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets which you broke..." Then the Lord said, "I am making a COVENANT with you..." Then the Lord said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with them I have made a COVENANT with you and with Israel.....And he wrote on the tablets the words of the COVENANT - the Ten Commandments. Ex.34:1, 27-28

The Ten Commandments Comprise a "Legal" Covenant

The OC upon the Tablets of Stone was not only a distinct covenant, it was the specific legal covenant that established Israel as a special nation before God at Mt Sinai. The Ark of the Covenant forever established the fact that the TC was the document that constituted the legal covenant terms that was the basis of God's special relationship with the nation of Israel. The TC were the actual "words of the covenant" that God made with Israel at Sinai (Ex.34:27-28; Dt.4:13, etc.) were housed in the box called the Ark of the Covenant. They constituted the actual covenant document that established and maintained Israel's special status before God.

The importance that Scripture attaches to the TC is always connected with Israel's special status before God as a unique nation. Ex.19 gives the preamble to the actual giving of the TC in Ex.20. Ex.24 sets forth the official ratification of the "Book of the Covenant" with the sealing of blood. Some emphasize the "grace" shown by God in delivering Israel from bondage in Egypt (Ex.19:3-4) but ignore verses 5-6. Did God give the TC to a "redeemed [regenerate] people for their sanctification?" ________________________________________________________________ The special favor that God showed to the Jews in their redemption from Egypt was only a physical deliverance from slavery. Most of those Israelites were still hard hearted sinners that needed to be convinced of their lost estate.

The function and goal of the OC (TC) was a ministry of death by convicting the conscience of guilt. Do not confuse the gracious purpose of God in giving the covenant at Sinai with the nature of the covenant itself. There was not an ounce of grace in the covenant itself but it was very gracious of God to give it to Israel. It was the necessary instrument to bring conviction of sin and lead them to be saved by faith in the gospel preached to Abraham. The Tablets of Stone functioned in the conscience as a ministration of death by convicting of sin, and it could only do this if it had the status of a covenant with the power of life and death.

John Owen, the greatest theologian among the English Puritans saw clearly that the TC constituted a legal covenant that was totally devoid of grace. He (like John Bunyan) was one of the few writers that knew how to separate law and grace. The following quotation is Owen's explanation of the meaning of the word "law." It is taken from a sermon on Rom.6:14 entitled "You are not under the law, but under grace:"

The law is taken two ways:--1. For the whole revelation of God in the Old Testament. In this sense it had grace in it, and so did give both life, and light, and strength against sin, as the Psalmist declares, Ps. 19:7-9. In this sense it contained not only the law of precepts, but the promise also and strength unto the church. In this sense it is not spoken of here, nor is anywhere opposed to grace. 2. For the covenant rule of perfect obedience: "Do this, and live." In this sense men are said to be "under it," in opposition unto being "under grace." They are under its power, rule, conditions, and authority, as a covenant.

Owen believed that while grace can be found in the Old Testament Scriptures, there was no grace in the OC because it was a legal/works covenant. The Tablets of the Covenant said, "Do and live, disobey and die without mercy" (Heb.10:28). Israel was "under the law" as a covenant of life and death in the sense of Owen's second definition of "the law." He calls it "The covenant rule of perfect obedience." Owen was following Paul when he showed the clear contrast between the covenant given to Israel and the covenant given to the Church. This comes out clear in the last two sentences of the above quotation. Israel was "under law" as opposed to "under grace" and that means, as Owen shows, that they were "under its power, rule, conditions, and authority as a covenant."

Owen boldly states that there was no grace in the law when it is viewed as the legal covenant given to the nation of Israel at Sinai:

Christ is not in the Law; he is not proposed in it, not communicated by it - we are not made partakers of him thereby. This is the work of grace - of the gospel. In it is Christ revealed; by it he is proposed and exhibited unto us..."

The gracious act of God was in physically redeeming Israel out of Egypt and immediately put Israel under a conditional legal covenant at Sinai. Notice how clearly the following texts of Scripture show this truth in the "if" and "then" nature of this conditional covenant:

Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, IF ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, THEN ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. Ex.19:4-6

Israel failed to earn the blessings promised in the covenant. But under the NC the Church becomes the Israel of God and all her members kings and priests (a kingdom of priests). Christ, as our covenant Surety (Heb.7:22), has kept the OC for us and earned every blessing it promised. [see Kingdom of Priests]

Ex.19:4-6 gives a list of the specific blessings that were promised IF Israel would keep the covenant (TC). Israel never obeyed the terms of the covenant and therefore never received these blessings. She was finally cast off and lost her special national privileges. 1 Pt.2:9 shows the Church inheriting those very blessings only because Christ has kept of the OC for us. Compare the two passages.

EXODUS 19:4-6

1 PETER 2:9












The Old Covenant – 2nd of 3 Studies, Student 4

Both the beginning and the ending of Israel's special national standing and privileges are connected with their keeping or breaking the TC (covenant). Ex.19:5-6 certainly proves this point as to the founding of the nation. When did Israel's special national standing and privileges end? ______________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ What sign did God give to mark that event (Mt.27:51), explain?




 What made the difference? _____________________________

The Lord said to Moses, "Tell your brother Aaron not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die..." Lev.17:2

And when Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, he gave up the spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split [the power of God that once caused men to tremble now set them free]. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life [after the resurrection of Jesus]. Mt.27:50-52

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way...Let us come boldly... Heb.10:19

Describe what happened when the historical shift from the OC to the New took place.





First century Jewry could not accept the total change of status brought into being by the change of covenants. They wanted to hang on to everything that was distinctive of the OC. [Their rejection of Christ as the Messiah and God’s rejection of them was comparable to His judgment upon the first generation of Israelites coming out of Egypt upon their refusal to enter the promised land to receive their inheritance (Num.13-14).] The Jewish nation not only rejected the message spoken by Christ, they totally dismissed one of God’s great objects lessons. By rehanging that veil they disavowed every promise and earned the judgments their own prophets had foretold. The times of the Messiah and the Gospel blessing to all people promised in the Abrahamic covenant had finally come.

The rending of the veil not only raised the believing Gentile up to be on an equal basis with a believing Jew as a member of the Body of Christ, it also lowered the status of the unbelieving Jew and put him on the same level as the Gentile "dog." The Holy Place was not the only thing that was finished - there was no longer a Court of Gentiles. Rom.9:1-11; Eph.2:11-21; Gal.3:19-4-7; Rom.2-3.

Many things were added to the Tablets of Stone that explained and applied the covenant. Ex.20-22 is called the "Book of the Covenant." The "Law of Moses" included everything in the Pentateuch, and as such was sometimes called "the Law" or "the Covenant." However the TC was the specific covenant document that established Israel's nationhood in the same sense that the Constitution of the USA is the covenant document that established the USA as a nation. The acts of Congress, the decisions of the Supreme Court, the rules of the IRS, Food and Health department laws, etc., are all part of the "law of the USA" just as the judicial, ceremonial, social, and health laws are all part of the "law of Moses." However, the Constitution is still the specific and separate document upon which all else rests. The same is true of the Tablets of the Covenant.

Foundational Covenant Document

Israel’s Nationhood

USA as a Nation


The Constitution

General Laws


Judicial Laws

Supreme Court

Civil and Social Laws

Justice Department

Health Laws

Dept. of Health

Tithing Laws

Dept. of I.R.S.

"The Law(s) of Moses"

"The Laws of the USA."

The Ten Commandments were given only to the Nation of Israel

The TC covenant document was given only to the nation of Israel (Ex.34:27-28). When Moses refreshed Israel's mind concerning their covenant relationship with God, he specifically says that the covenant (TC) was given at Horeb (Dt.5:2-3). Moses insists that the covenant was "not made with our fathers" meaning the patriarchs,7 but with the people that came out of Egypt. He then repeats the words of the covenant or TC that were written on the Tablets of Stone.

There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, WHEN the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, WHEN they came out of the land of Egypt. 1 Ki.8:9

The Prophets saw the coming of a NC and spoke of it in glowing terms. Whenever they contrasted the OC with the NC, they always state when and with whom the OC was made.

Behold days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel..., not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hands to bring them out of the land of Egypt..." Jer.31:31-32.

What 3 points does this passage make?

1. ___________________________________

2. _____________________________________________________________

3. _____________________________________________________________

Was God promising to make a new and different covenant with Israel, or a new administration of the same covenant they were already under?

The NT Scriptures always connect the OC with Israel. Heb.8:6-9 is the Apostolic interpretation of Jer.31:31-32. What topics does Heb.8:7-8 address?

... the time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel ... It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out Egypt... Heb.8.7-8

(1) ________________________________

(2) ________________________________

(3) _____________________________________________

Does this passage relate this covenant back to Adam in the garden?

What was the great difference between the nation of Israel and the Gentiles according to Eph.2:11-21? __________ _________________________________________________________________________________________

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness... Rom.2:14.

"The Law" in this passage refers to the whole law arising from the covenant. It cannot refer to "a sense of moral duty" since all men have that by virtue of being God's image bearers and Paul is talking about a law that all men definitely do not have. What is Paul's whole point in the context of this passage? _____________________________________ ___________ How does he substantiate this? _____________________________________________________ _________________________ The Jews alone have the special gift of the Law that God wrote on the Tablets of Stone and elaborated upon.

Why can’t this passage be referring to "ceremonial law”? ________________________________ Conscience by nature and without special revelation cannot convict men of disobedience to "ceremonial" laws. One of the many proofs that the Sabbath is not a "moral law" is the fact that a single instance has never been discovered of someone knowing by nature the Sabbath law. The law concerning Sabbath keeping must always be taught as special revelation just as it was to Israel at Sinai.8 Gentiles intuitively know that adultery is wrong but they don’t know that the seventh day is to be kept holy.

Does Paul say, "The law" is written in the Gentile's heart? _____________________________________________ ____________________ This fact shows that conscience is active even in the Gentiles, more so than in the Jew. This power of conscience "shows the work of the law written in their hearts." The "work" of the law is to accuse or excuse according to the standard given to it. It condemns all violations of known wrong and rewards obedience to what is known to be right. All men have a conscience and they all experience to a greater or lesser degree conviction they have done wrong.

The Gentiles did not have "the law" but they did have the "work of the law" in their hearts. The law can only "work" true repentance that leads to faith if there is (1) a covenant with clear terms and (2) the individual has a knowledge of those terms. In giving Israel the law as a covenant, God enlightened the mind and sharpened the conscience. He educated conscience under the OC and its threat of judgment. This caused a very painful death to all hope of eternal life in those who truly experienced the end for which the law covenant was given - genuine "conviction of guilt." The same law actually "blinded" the rest of the Jews and made them worse-off spiritually than the Gentiles.

The Old Covenant – 2nd of 3 Studies, Student 5

Let us distinguish between the TC as the terms of a legal covenant and the duties commanded by the individual commandments.

But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises. For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said: "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear. Heb.8:6-13

The three distinct contrasts in verse 6 were: (1) Christ has a better ministry than Aaron; (2) because Christ's ministry is based on a new and better covenant; (3) the covenant Christ administers is superior to the covenant under which Aaron ministered because it is based on better promises.

Heb.8:7-9 settles any discussion as to either when (at Sinai) or with whom (Israel only) the OC was made. Verse11 shows that all without exception in the NC community or Church, "know the Lord." In other words, the text proves that the Church born under the NC has a totally regenerate membership.

What does v.10 emphasize and what conclusions can be drawn from it?





"What is the difference, if any, between the "covenant" and the word "laws" in this passage?" Exactly what is God promising to do in this verse? What is the "NC" He is making and what "laws" is He going to write on the heart?







However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. Rom.4:5

This trust is the "rest" that weary souls enter into when they come under the yoke of Christ and are liberated from the yoke of the covenant given to Moses on Sinai.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Mt.11:28-30.

Contrast Mt.11:28-30 with Moses and old law covenant.





Exactly what "laws" does the Holy Spirit write on the heart of a NC believer? These laws as far as their content are basically the very same moral laws that were written on the tables of stone. Heb.8:10 is not talking about two different "sets" of laws that totally contradict each other as if there were two "kinds of morality." The morality of the NC does not destroy the true morality demanded in the laws of the OC. It takes that morality to a higher level. It is true that Christ adds laws that were impossible for Moses to ever give but that does not mean Christ contradicts Moses.9 Hebrews is talking about two different motivations that grow out of two different kinds of covenants." 2 Cor.3 is the Holy Spirit's commentary on Heb.8:10. Neither of these passages teaches that God "tattoos" the exact words of the Decalogue on our hearts. Both passages are talking about the powerful effect of regeneration that results in a totally new and different attitude toward God. They are picturing the removal of the stony heart that hated the Tablets of Stones and all they represented - the effect of regeneration in replacing the stony heart with a heart of flesh. The new heart of flesh loves all of God's revealed laws simply because it loves the new Lawgiver Who teaches them.

The difference is not in the specific duties demanded but the difference between law and grace as covenants. It is the difference of being constrained by love from within a heart rejoicing in a covenant of grace. These two passages are talking about the difference between the conscience being under the old Pedagogue (the Law of the OC), and being under the new Pedagogue, the indwelling Holy Spirit.


7. The writer of Hebrews, as well as the prophecy in Jer.31:33 establish that the "fathers" referred to in this passage are the patriarchs.

8. John Bunyan wrote an excellent article proving the Seventh Day Sabbath could not possibly be a so called "Creation Ordinance." See, "Questions about the Nature and Perpetuity of the Seventh-Day Sabbath," by John Bunyan, The Works of John Bunyan, Vol.2, p.359-387. Also, Is Sunday the Christian Sabbath, by Dr Robert Morey.

9. See But I Say Unto You. This book shows that Christ supersedes and replaces Moses as the New Lawgiver.

The Seventh Day Sabbath was the Sign of the Mosaic Covenant!

Because the Tablets of Stone were a distinct covenant, they were accompanied by a specific "covenant sign." The Sabbath was the sign of the covenant and therefore it had to be part of the covenant document of which it was the sign.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. Ex.31:12-18

What facts does this text establish?

1. _________________________________________

2. _________________________________________

3. _______________________________________________________

The following passage shows that the Sabbath was so important because it was the sign of the covenant.

And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man DO, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them. But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my Sabbaths they greatly polluted: THEN I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them. But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out. Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my SABBATHS: for their heart went after their idols. Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness. But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; And hallow my SABBATHS; and they shall be a SIGN between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God. Ez.20:12-20

Notice the "then" in verse 13 and its connection to v.16 and 20. Israel committed many and grievous sins but it was not until they "profaned the Sabbath" that they went into captivity. Again, this shows that breaking (profaning) the "sign" of the covenant was the same as despising the whole covenant. One of Israel's captivities was measured in terms of how many years they had refused to observe the Sabbath year law and leave the land lay idle (cf.Jer.29:10 and 2 Chr.36:21). The fact that the judgment of captivity for seventy years was for breaking the Sabbath year law shows that all of the Sabbaths were just as holy as the Seventh Day Sabbath. Looking at a few passages that demonstrate the importance of a covenant's sign will help us to understand the apparent "out of proportion" punishment in several instances like why picking up some sticks was a capital offense.

And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the Sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the lord said unto Moses, the man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the lord commanded Moses. Num.15:32-36

This was not a "tough on the first case as an example to others" action by God. Picking up sticks was breaking the "sign" of the covenant and thereby disavowing [disrespecting] the entire covenant. The Sabbath was to Israel's relationship with God exactly what a wedding ring is to a marriage relationship. They are both visible signs of a covenant. The ring is a "sign" of the obligation to keep the covenant vows just taken in the ceremony. To take off the ring, throw it at the other person, and walk away would be to denigrate the entire marriage relationship. Breaking the Sabbath disannulled the whole covenant relationship with God - denying all of the vows taken at Mt Sinai.

Name the major covenants so named in the Bible and their respective signs.






The God designed function of the TC was conviction and fear not joy and hope. The same moral rules that furnish our minds with help in pleasing our heavenly Father functioned in the conscience of an Israelite as the condemning covenant of life and death (2 Cor.3:6-18) of their covenant God.

When we see the clear contrast that Christ is making when instituting the remembrance service for celebrating the NC, everything falls into place. When Jesus said "THIS do in remembrance of ME" He was contrasting the NC, and its remembrance sign, with the OC, and its remembrance sign. He was saying, "Instead of keeping the Sabbath in remembrance of the old creation and Israel's redemption, THIS do in remembrance of Me and the new creation deliverance I have accomplished."

The OC bound men to God as their Creator and Lawgiver and celebrated the work of the old creation. The NC binds us to God as our Redeemer through our Lord Jesus Christ and celebrates the work of the new creation. The one reminds us of sin and the other reminds of forgiveness (1 Cor.11:25-27).

The Old Covenant – 2nd of 3 Studies, Student 6

The Tablets of Stone were the Center of Israel's Worship

In the wilderness, what did Israel's life and worship revolve around? __________________ The visible proof that God was among the nation was the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. God dwelt behind the veil in the Most Holy Place. That was the most important and holiest spot on the whole earth because God's immediate presence was there. Only the High Priest, on the yearly Day of Atonement, was allowed into God's presence in the Most Holy Place. Taking the blood, that had been shed on the altar, and sprinkling it on the Mercy Seat, or lid of the Ark of the Covenant, was Aaron's most important function of the whole year. As the Most Holy Place was the most holy spot on earth, so the Ark of the Covenant was the single most holy piece of furniture. That box was important and holy because of its contents.

The "Ark of the Covenant" was so named because of its CONTENT. The Ark of the Covenant was built for the express purpose of housing the covenant document that established Israel as a nation - the TC, the OC. It was called the "Ark of the Covenant" and the "Ark of Testimony" because it was the written covenant testimony against Israel when they disobeyed the covenant terms.

And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof…And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee. Ex.25:10, 16

And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent above upon it; as the LORD commanded Moses. And he took and put the testimony into the ark, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy seat above upon the ark: Ex.40:19-20

The Ark of the "Testimony" is the Ark of the "Covenant."

At that time the LORD said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the Ten Commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me. And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the LORD commanded me. Dt.5:1-5

Why were the TC placed in the Ark of the Covenant? Why was that box so sacred that humans hands were not even allowed to touch it (2 Sam.5-6)? When we understand why a man was instantly killed by God for merely putting his hand on the Ark to steady it, we will see the nature, purpose and function of the TC inside it.

There could be no entrance into the presence of God in the Most Holy Place as long as the Tablets of Stone in the Ark of the Covenant were in FORCE AS A COVENANT. What particular function did they play in the life and worship of the nation of Israel? The Ark of the Covenant closed off all approach into the immediate presence of God until the terms of the covenant spelled out on the Tablets of Stone had been fully met. The whole purpose and function of the TC in the Ark of the Covenant can be summed up in one word - DEATH. It was disregard for this message that caused Uzzah to die (2 Sam.6:6-7).

Paul is saying the same truth in the following passages:

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone...2 Cor.3:6-7

Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. Rom.7:9-10

Paul said the "commandment was ordained to life." However, because of sin, he discovered the commandment was "death to him." The TC did indeed promise life to anyone that kept them perfectly. They also promised death to all who failed to keep them. However, the Tablets of Stone could not do either of these things if it did not have the status of a covenant. A bare commandment cannot kill unless the death penalty is connected to it. And no commandment can give life unless the commandment is the terms of a covenant that promises life. Paul specifically says, "the very commandment that was intended to bring life," was what "put me to death."

Jesus responded to the rich young ruler as He did only because the TC offered life to those who perfectly obey. The young man thought he must "earn" his way to eternal life and Jesus told him to "Keep the Law" (Mt.19:17). When the young man asked, "Which one?" Jesus quoted 5 of the commandments plus the "second greatest commandment of all" (Lev.19:18). If the person perfectly kept the law it would prove that he did not have original sin in the first place. It is impossible for any son of Adam to obey the law perfectly simply because every son of Adam has a sinful nature inherited from his father Adam that keeps him from perfect obedience.

However, the Tablets of the Covenant still offer life and righteousness just as surely as they threaten death and damnation. The problem that prevents anyone from earning righteousness by keeping the OC is in the nature of the sinner and not in the nature of the covenant. The priesthood, services, sacrifices etc., all started and ended at the same time as the OC that necessitated their being established.

This is the whole burden of Hebrews 8-10.

Now the first covenant had regulations for worship [Don't confuse the actual covenant, the TC, with all of the "regulations"] and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lamp stand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar, and the gold covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tables of the covenant. Heb.9:1-4.

What was the purpose for the priesthood and sacrificial system. _____________________________________

For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. Heb.9:15

The relationship of the Law Covenant (the stone tablets in the Ark) to the Mercy Seat (the lid of the Ark) is a picture of the Gospel in the OT. It also sets forth the Biblical relationship of the law and grace. The TC in the Ark represent the just demands of the law covenant - there is the Law! The lid of the Ark covers the broken covenant of law with the blood of atonement- there is the Gospel! John Newton had it right. "It was Grace [using the law in the box] that taught my heart to fear; And Grace [through the blood on the Mercy Seat] relieved that fear."

The Ten Commandments as a Covenant Document had a Historical Beginning and End

The New Testament Scriptures are clear that TC are finished as a covenant contract between God and Israel. The moral duties commanded on the Tablets of Stone did not begin at Sinai but the use of those duties as the basis of a covenant did begin at Sinai. Nine of the TC were known by men and punished by God long before and after God gave them to Israel as a covenant at Sinai. Every specific duty commanded in the TC except the fourth (Sabbath), was punished before Mt Sinai, and likewise, every commandment except the fourth, is repeated in the NT Scriptures.

1. Some specific "law" had a historical beginning.

2. That same "law" had a historical end.

3. The historical beginning of that "law" is always associated with the giving of the Tablets of the Covenant to Israel at Sinai.

4. The historical ending of that "law" is always connected with the coming of Christ and the establishment of the NC.

The historical beginning of the law covenant coincided with the beginning of the Nation of Israel.

For before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Rom.5:13

The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more. Rom.5:20

What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. Gal.3:19

So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. Gal.3:24-25

Is Paul denying that before Sinai God punished behavior that was contrary to the moral duties set forth in the law given at Sinai as a covenant? _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________ Whatever "law" began at Sinai also forever ended at the cross. However, there is another kind of "law" that continues in the Christian life.

In what way is Paul talking about the law in the verses just quoted? ______________________________________ What is the meaning of the word "law" in Gal.3-4 and what makes you think so? _____________________________ ____________________________________________, the "law" that came 430 years after the promise to Abraham is separate from the promise of the gospel given to Abraham. The question in 3:21 [“Is the law then contrary to the promises of God?”] would be totally unnecessary. The fact that Paul spends so much time in answering the problem with a carefully worded argument proves the reality of a problem. The argument is so careful that it builds a key point on the use of the singular "seed" instead of seeds (3:16).

The law in Gal.3 had the power to "imprison the whole world" and prove it was "guilty before God" (v.21-23). The Jewish ceremonial law could never do that. Verses 17-20 refer to the waiting period between the promise to Abraham and its fulfillment – the interim imposition of the law covenant at Mt Sinai after deliverance from 430 years of slavery in Egypt. [see RPCD chap.4] The law in Gal.4:4 is the law covenant under which Jesus was born and died.

These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. Gal.4:24-25

When Paul speaks in negative terms about the law, its weaknesses or its final demise, he is referring to the law covenant. When he speaks of the law in a good sense and applies it to us today, he is speaking of the moral duties contained in the individual laws.

The following facts summarize Paul's understanding of the purpose and function of the TC today:

1. A NC was ratified in the blood of Christ at the cross. The OC written on the Tablets of Stone at Sinai have been "fulfilled" and done away. The claims of the OC have been met; its curse has been endured and removed; and its blessings have been secured by Christ and bestowed on His Church.

2. A new people or nation was born at Pentecost. The true "holy nation" of "kings and priests" (the true Israel of God) came into being (Compare Ex.19:4-5 and 1 Pt.2:9-11).

3. A new approach to God was opened upon the veil being rent from top to bottom. It was the Tablets of Stone that blocked the way into the presence of God's presence, but now the terms of the covenant have been fully met and we enter boldly into the Most Holy Place (Heb.10:1-23).

4. A new status (Sons of God) with new privileges was given to the "grown up" people of God.

5. A new Pedagogue took over in the conscience of the new covenant believer. The TC were in themselves, the old Pedagogue in the conscience of an Israelite. That old Pedagogue has been dismissed (Gal.3:24-25) and replaced by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

The Old Covenant – 2nd of 3 Studies, Student 7

The Biblical Significance of the Tables of Stone

Various writers in both the OT and NT quote individual commandments out of the Decalogue as well as the rest of the OT Scriptures and use it to reinforce a moral/ethical duty. Our Lord used Dt.6:6 and Lev.19:18 as the foundation to prove the two greatest commandments in all of Scripture.

The Medieval concept of law which broke it down into moral, ceremonial, and civil laws must be replaced with Biblical terminology. "The covenant in force at the time" was the means of establishing morality and holiness for any individual. God's commandment to Israel to "be ye holy, for I am holy" is the identical commandment that is given to Christians today. When Peter exhorts us to be holy, he quotes from the OT (Lev.11:44-46; 19:2; 20:7, etc.). However, carrying out the commandment "to be holy" as given in 1 Pt.1:15-16 is totally different from carrying out the identical commandment as given to Israel under the OC.

We cannot understand how David could enter into a polygamous marriage with Bathsheba with God's expressed approval and blessing without understanding the change in the terms of the "Be ye holy, for I am holy" commandment when it is given under the NC. Obviously David could be holy in God's sight under the OC and practice polygamy but a believer today under the NC cannot do the same thing.10 Polygamy did not break the Seventh Commandment (You shall not commit adultery) under the OC. But it violates the new and higher moral law established pursuant to the original intent of God in creating mankind as male and female that Christ gave the Church in the NC.

It is impossible to make a clear distinction between moral and ceremonial laws in Scripture. While we would all put eating unclean animals on the so called "ceremonial law list" (Lev.11:44-46) and would certainly put respecting our parents (Lev.19:2-3) on the "moral list," the Holy Spirit put them both on the same list under the OC. This is even clearer in Lev.19:18-19. In these verses, one of the two greatest moral commandments ("love your neighbor as yourself") is mixed together with "ceremonial laws."

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals. "`Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. Lev.19:18-19.

In the above passage, the Holy Spirit deliberately put the second highest moral commandment in all of Scripture in the middle of what would have to be designated a "ceremonial list. Jesus obviously did not think of the TC as the "highest moral standard ever given." The context of the text quoted by Jesus gives no indication that it is a "great moral law" and the surrounding laws are only "ceremonial." It is only when Christ chooses to use Lev.19:18, as He does in Mt.22, that the phrase in this text becomes the "second highest commandment" upon which all other laws, including the TC, hang. Dt.6:6 and Lev.19:18 are not the "summary of the TC." It is the other way around!

Look at the context of the "second highest commandment":

The LORD said to Moses, Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: `Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God . . . Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. . . . Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it. Do not practice divination or sorcery. Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard. Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD. Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness. Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD. Lev.19:1-3, 18-19, 26-30.

Neither our Savior nor Moses, the writer of Leviticus, thought of dividing up the various laws in Lev.19 into different kinds of lists. The chapter begins with the identical exhortation of "Be Holy for I am Holy" that Peter gives to Christians (1 Pt.1:15-16). The above verses quoted from Lev.19 cover honoring parents, keeping the Sabbath, loving our neighbor as ourselves, and then immediately talks about mixing different seed and different cloth and cross breading of animals. Some of these laws are "ceremonial" in nature and others are "moral" in nature.

Could "love your neighbor as yourself" be the "second greatest moral duty" for an Israelite living under the law of Lev.19? In what way was this law more important than planting his garden correctly? What about the concept of degree, the more important matters of the law Jesus criticized the Pharisees for neglecting (Mt.23:23; Lk.11:42)? ___ _________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________ Neither Moses, Christ, nor anyone else in all of Scripture created lists and used the different lists as the foundation of moral conduct.

The message of the New Testament Scriptures is the historical shift from the authority of Moses to the full and final authority of Christ. Christians are not under the authority of Moses as their lawgiver. They are under the authority of Christ the new Lawgiver. Christians are not under the OC and do not use it to define their moral absolutes any more than they use it to define their diet. They are under the NC and it defines everything in their life and worship either by clear precept or personal application of a principle. Often times the principle will be a spiritual application of an OC law. Paul's use of Dt.25:4 is only one example: "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." Is it only about oxen that God is concerned? (1 Cor.9:9)

Christians are under higher laws and a greater obligation to be holy because of Calvary. The difference in their holiness is the specific laws that they obey.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. Eph.2:19-20.

Who do the "prophets" refer to in this passage? _________________________ The life and worship of the Church is not built on Moses, his laws, or the covenant that established Israel as a nation. The foundation of the Church is Christ Himself and her life and worship is governed through the laws that He gives through the Apostles and Prophets. John Stott has said it well:

The couplet "Apostles and Prophets" may bring together the Old Testament (prophets) and the New Testament (apostles) as the basis of the church's teaching. But the inverted order of the words (not "prophets and apostles" but "apostles and prophets") suggests that probably the New Testament prophets are meant. If so, their bracketing with the apostles as the church's foundation is significant. The reference again must be to a small group of inspired teachers, associated with the apostles, who together bore witness to Christ and whose teaching was derived from revelation (3:5) and was foundational.

In practical terms this means that the church is built on the New Testament Scriptures. They are the church's foundation documents. And just as a foundation cannot be tampered with once it has been laid and the superstructure is being built upon it, so the New Testament foundation of the church is inviolable and cannot be changed by and additions, subtractions, or modifications by teachers who claim to be apostles or prophets today. The church stands or falls by its loyal dependence on the foundation truths which God revealed to his apostles and prophets, and which are now preserved in the New Testament Scriptures. John R Stott, God's New Society, p.107

The life and worship of Israel was built on the OC and the specific laws that were necessary to administer that covenant. These laws were given to Israel by the different prophets. The life and worship of the Church is built on the NC and the laws necessary to govern a community based on grace and not law. These laws are essential to administer the NC. Our full and final authority is the Lord Jesus Christ. He expresses and defines His will and authority through His Word, the inspired New Testament documents. That is what Paul means in Eph.2:19-20.

The American colonies were under the constitution and laws of England up until 1776. During that period, the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain and became the United States of America - united under the Constitution of the USA. From that moment they were "under a new rule." The laws and constitution of England no longer had any legal authority of any American. The laws of England were totally null and void in respect to us as a nation. None of England's laws could be appealed to as the final authority on any matter whatsoever. America was under the authority of a new document or covenant. The constitution of the USA was now the full and final authority over every American. That is the parallel between the covenant in stone given to Israel and the NC given to the Church. Everything that established and governed Israel as a theocracy is no longer in effect over the Church.

Our new Lawgiver has given new and higher laws in addition to interpreting the individual commandments in terms of the kingdom of grace. Could the thunder, lightening, and fear of Sinai be separated from the Tablets of Stone? _____ _________________________________________ The gospel of God's grace cannot remain pure and victorious in the conscience until the covenant of works is replaced by the NC. A great Puritan preacher said it well:

It will prove a special help to know distinctly the difference between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace, between Moses and Christ; Moses without all mercy breaketh all bruised reeds, and quencheth all smoking flax. For the law requireth, 1, personal; 2, perpetual; 3, perfect obedience; 4, and from a perfect heart; and that under a most terrible curse, and giveth no strength, a severe task-master, like Pharaoh's requiring the whole tale, and yet giveth no straw. Christ cometh with blessing upon blessing even upon those whom Moses had cursed, and with healing balm for those wounds which Moses had made. The same duties are required in both covenants; as, `to love the Lord with all our hearts, with all our souls,' &c., In the covenant of works, this must be taken in the rigor . . . This law is sweetened by the gospel, and becometh delightful to the inner man, Rom.vii.22. Under this gracious covenant sincerity is perfection. This is the death in the pot in the Roman religion, that they confound the two covenants; and it deads [deadens] the comfort of drooping ones, that they cannot distinguish them. And thus they suffer themselves to be held `under bondage,' Isa.lxi.1-2, when Christ hath set open doors before them. See "But I Say Unto You

The Holy Spirit has said it best:

You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom, and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned." The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear." But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? Heb.12:18-25


10. See "But I Say Unto You"  for a discussion of the change from the canon of conduct under which Israel lived to the canon of conduct under which the Church lives. It is vital that this change of canons be understood, especially as the two different canons relate to the polygamy and easy divorce allowed under the OC.