The Abrahamic Covenant
Genesis 22:2,8 “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.”
God was telling Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac to Him as an offering. In verse 8, however, Abraham reveals to Isaac that God will (in the future) provide Himself a Lamb. This particular wording is a great revelation and prophecy about the Lord Jesus Christ being the sacrifice and the Lamb for all our sins. This prophecy is one of the few examples of spiritual dealings in the Old Testament you can see that matches New Testament doctrine. The type of sacrifice you see in verse 8 is spiritual. Therefore, Isaac’s sacrifice is spiritual because it foretells the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which we see in the following verse.
John 1:29 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.“
In this verse, Jesus is declared to be the Lamb, the sacrifices for the sins of the world.
John 8:56 “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.“
Jesus Christ was telling the Jews that Abraham saw a spiritual sacrifice of Jesus Himself when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Issac. It represented a prophetic picture of how Jesus was going to be offered up as well. However, the Jews did not understand this as they are a physical nation that sees things from a physical perspective. They failed to see the spiritual aspect of Abraham seeing the sacrifice of Jesus Christ through a spiritual lens because they aren’t spiritual people. We need to realize that God did things in the Old Testament that symbolized things that were to come in the future under a different spiritual dispensation. We would never be able to understand God based on our physical human aspects, so we need to realize that God does everything for a specific reason (i.e. our Christian faith). Our physical eyes prevent us from seeing His true workings because God is a Spirit, thus He does things in a spiritual manner. This is why it is important to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Something interesting to note is that one of the first mentions of love between a father and a son is when Abraham has to sacrifice Isaac, his only son. This parallels Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins as God’s only begotten Son and how God demonstrated His Fatherly love.
Man’s seed has constantly been corrupted by Satan ever since the prophecy that the seed of man will one day hurt Satan. Thus, we see him run interference through the intermingling of men and animals with the fallen angels, as well as the Towel of Babel. We will see another example of this in the following verse.
Genesis 16:2 “And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.”
Recall that God promised Abraham that his seed through Isaac is where all the Israelites would come out of. Jesus Himself came out of Isaac’s line. However, Satan was trying to corrupt and ruin God’s plan by having Abraham develop another seed, Ishmael’s seed.
Genesis 16:15 And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.
Hagar bore Abraham a son, which then led to one of the major populations of today, the Muslims. This is unfortunate as we know that what the Muslim population believes that the promised seed is through Ishmael and not Isaac, which is pure deception. For those that insist that Ishmael’s line is the Abrahamic covenant promise. Look at Genesis 21. Now there is no doubt that Ishmael is Abraham’s seed. However, God does not see him as the legitimate seed of Abraham but rather recognizes Isaac’s seed as legitimate and consequently, the Jews.
Genesis 21:12 “And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.”
Reading the verses before verse 12 gives us context that Sarah wanted Ishmael and his mother to be cast-off for the sake of Isaac being the chosen seed. God agrees with her and confirms that Abraham’s seed will be called through Isaac, not Ishmael.
We do not deny that Ishmael is Abraham’s seed, the following verse proves it so.
Genesis 21:13 “And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.”
However, God does not recognize it as the seed that He will call, but rather Isaac’s seed. This is further established in Genesis 24.
Genesis 50:24 “And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”
This verse proves that Abraham’s covenant promise is fulfilled through the Jewish line.
The Mosaic Covenant
The terms of the Mosaic covenant encompass the Law.
Hebrews 9:1 “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.”
The terms are all about law, the Bible shows that God’s dealing and covenant with Moses were in the form of law.
Hebrews 9:19 “For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,”
Moses was following the law with the sacrifice of animals, tabernacle rituals, and earthly sanctuary.
Now, the Mosaic covenant consisted of various things including tabernacle rituals with verse 1 being the context. The following verses also mention tabernacle rituals.
Hebrews 9:8-9 “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;”
“The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all“
“while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:”
“Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;”
Rituals of the tabernacle.
Not only were tabernacle rituals part of the Mosaic covenant but also blood sacrifices. Let us revisit verses 9 and 19 for this.
“Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;”
“For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,”
Besides God’s tabernacle rituals and blood sacrifices, dietary rules were another Law under the Mosaic Covenant which the Israelites had to follow.
Hebrews 9:10 “Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.”
Another thing under the law is physical rules pertaining to the body such as hygiene.
“Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.”
Observance of days was another rule under the law of Moses.
Matthew 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
For those of you that don’t know, there are multiple days of sabbath that the Jews had to follow, it wasn’t only one day of the week.
Social aspects were also involved in following the law.
Matthew 22:36-40 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”
These verses talked about the social aspects (how to treat others) of the Mosaic law. If we look at Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy we see that they are comprised of chapters and chapters of rules for Jews to follow. All of the different terms we have talked about until now can be found in those books.
Now, in order for the Jews to enjoy physical prosperity, it was necessary for them to follow said rules of the Mosaic covenant. Many churches today preach and teach about a doctrine called the prosperity gospel: in other words, God will make you rich. However, physical blessings were attained by keeping the physical law of Moses. Christians do not go by this because all of our dealings are spiritual and thus, we gain spiritual blessings. Therefore, physical riches are not for Christians but for Jews. This is not to say that God cannot physically bless us because He does give us grace but mostly, it is spiritual blessings that the Christian Church receives. The Jews are primarily dealt with physically because, as you may recall, Adam’s spirit was dead, and consequently, the spirit of the Jews was as well. We see an example of God’s physical dealings with the nation of Israel in the following verse.
Deuteronomy 28:1-2 “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.
Moses tells the Jews that they have to follow all of God’s commandments.
“that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.”
Only then will they receive physical blessings.
Verses 3-14 mention the physical blessings God will give to the Jews if they are faithful in His commandments.
Sadly, a lot of Christians nowadays fall trap to prosperity gospel preachers that use these same verses from the Old Testament to prove that God does bless physically. Consequently, these Christians are deceived into giving money to their ministry to “plant a seed” for physical blessings and riches. This is why understanding dispensationalism is necessary as to not fall victim to this and other wrong doctrines. There is a separation of blessings (physical and spiritual) for both the Jews and the Christians and we know this through dispensationalism.
The theme of the Mosaic covenant is law because the majority of the five books of Moses contain rules and commandments. Another interesting thing is that the majority of the books of the Bible are consistent with the time in which the law was under effect. This theme is also noted in the following verse.
John 1:17 “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
When Jesus was born, Scripture calls it grace and truth, before then it was considered law (of Moses).
The following verse shows that the Jews were under the law before the time period of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 3:23 “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.”
Paul acknowledged that before faith in Jesus, Jews were bound by the law.
Salvation Plan of The Mosaic Covenant
Now, you’ll notice that the salvation plan of the Mosaic covenant is faith and works. However, because the theme of this covenant is the law, their works are now made even more severe.
Deuteronomy 32:18-21 “Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters. And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith. They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.”
“Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.
God considers those that have no faith to be people who forgot Him (verse 18) and those who encourage their sons and daughters to not serve God (verse 19). This is very different from Christians today where we are still saved by faith even though we sin against God.
“They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God;”
Jews going after other gods.
“they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.”
We see God’s judgment and wrath here. Thus, we see that salvation during this particular covenant is in doing works. Going back to verse 18, we see that His people forget God, and thus, the wicked things mentioned in verses 19-21 are the result of this. Compare this to the following verse.
Psalms 9:17 “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.“
This verse states that if a person does wicked things they are considered lost. This matches perfectly with Deuteronomy 32 where the people forgot God, did wicked things, and as a result, God said they would burn to the lowest hell. Now, given that the law of Moses needed to be followed for their salvation, it is foolish to believe that during the Mosaic covenant, faith alone is what saved the Jews. Not according to the verses we have seen thus far, not to mention the books that are dedicated to the rules and rituals they had to follow: it was their works that saved them.
Ezekiel 18:21-24 “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.”
“But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes,”
The wicked here are the ones who sin. God is telling them that they need to turn from their sin and follow the law.
“and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.”
If the wicked person lives by their righteousness, meaning that they will turn from their sin and follow the law, they will live. This is in the context f preserving their soul from hell.
Now, look what happens to a righteous person that forgoes living righteously.
“But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.”
The righteous person that turned to sin and stopped following the law is hell bound. So, the righteous person will die in their sins.
Ezekiel 18 mentions that one either lives by righteousness or dies in his sin! Compare this chapter to Ezekiel 3, where the soul that lives or the soul that dies in sin is expounded on. Because of this, you cannot say that the people of that time did not do works for their salvation.
Critics often like to study theology to find errors and contradictions in the Bible. However, what they fail to implement when finding supposed errors and contradictions is dispensationalism. This is how a faith and works-based salvation was changed to a faith-only salvation for those after the death of Christ. Paul, being a Jew himself, saw the differences and used spiritual dealings in the Old Testament to prove New Testament doctrine to the Jews. The Jews, however, could not understand this because they were a physical people and could not see anything through a spiritual lens.
Luke 10:25-28 “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.”
A lawyer asks Jesus about how he can inherit eternal life. Jesus replies, not through faith only, but by following the law. The next two verses encompass this as well, so it is through the law that these particular people are saved, Jesus Himself recognizes this. Not only Jesus but Paul as well in the following verse.
Romans 2:13 “(For not the hearers of the laware just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”
Paul acknowledges that people are justified if they follow the law.
A question that one may ask themselves is why God would judge a soul based on their works. The reason being, the soul is connected to the body.
Leviticus 5:1-4 “And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity. Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcase of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty. Or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever uncleanness it be that a man shall be defiled withal, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty. Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these.”
Notice that everything that the physical body does God attributes it as being done by the soul. This is why works were important in one’s salvation. There is no separation of body and soul here.
Now, in the Old Testament, God would judge a person for whatever their body did and through this, determine if they would go to heaven or hell. You may ask yourselves why a Christian soul goes to heaven no matter what they commit in their body. The reason for this is because God spiritually circumcised us from our body so there is a separation of the soul from the body. In other words, our actions in our body no longer lead us to hell because our soul is not a part of our body. This is why our salvation is based on faith only.
Colossians 2:11 “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:”
“In whom also ye”
Paul is pointing out a different type of circumcision.
“with the circumcision made without hands“
Not a physical circumcision.
“in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:”
We were completely cut off from our bodies, so no matter what sin your body commits, your soul is not contaminated. This is the opposite of what Old Testament Jews who had to have good works to maintain their soul clean.
Isaiah 51:23 “But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.”
God tells the soul to bow down but it is later known that it is the body that does the physical action. Thus, body and soul are interchangeable in much of the Bible. This is why Jehovah’s Witnesses think the soul and body are the same and when a person’s body dies, so does their soul. This along with other heretical doctrines can be solved through dispensationalism: by acknowledging that there are different things put in place for different people in different time periods. An example of this would be physical vs. spiritual circumcision and the different salvation plans throughout the Bible. By having a foundation in dispensationalism, people can easily recognize and debunk wrong doctrine.
Existence of Physical Signs and Miracles
Christians today do not need to see a literal sign or display a physical sign to the nonbelievers to witness to them, because we no longer go by the physical signs today. The reason for this is because we are saved through faith and ‘faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”, thus, God deals with us spiritually.
Unlike the Jews in the Old Testament, God dealt with them physically because they were a physical nation whose spirit was dead.
1 Corinthians 1:22 “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: “
Now, let’s look at the very first mention of signs to the nation of Israel.
Exodus 4:1-5,8 “And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee. And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.”
“And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee.”
The Jews aren’t going to believe God.
“And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.“
Therefore, a sign is needed for them to believe and they are finally able to when they see one.
Verse 6-7 show more signs for the Jews to see.
“And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.”
God states that if the Jews don’t believe the previous sign then He will send another one after it. The same is stated in verse 9. Thus we see that God’s physical dealings with physical Jews require physical signs. Christians are a spiritual Israel which are dealt with spiritually by God. Therefore, we do not need to go by physical signs. Something else to point out is that in Exodus 4:1-9, the phrase ‘God of their fathers’ is mentioned. This means that signs are exclusive to Jews.
Now, let’s revisit Hebrews 9. We will be looking at blood sacrifices and their need for the forgiveness of sins.
Hebrews 9:19-22 “For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
A physical animal is needed for a physical sacrifice. When under the law, blood was required for the remission of sins. Thus, blood sacrifice was needed for the forgiveness of sins.
The remission of sins through blood sacrifice is also mentioned in these chapters: Leviticus 4,5,6,7,16.