Covenant at Sinai and Obedience

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Puritan Board Graduate
Exo 19:5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel."

Were the Isralites expected to exercise complete and perfect obedience in order to receive blessings from God in this covenantal arrangement? If so, were they temporal or spiritual blessings?

Could Israel have kept this covenant, making the New Covenant unnecessary? If not (which I hope all would say), then why do we cast a light on the OC people as being flawed, when their covenant was designed to be temporary and passing away to begin with? Are we any better in the NC? Why?


Texas Aggie

Puritan Board Freshman
OK Gabriel, I'll get the ball rolling.

In a covenant relationship God can only do one of two things... blessings and cursings. God made His ways known to Moses.

The Israelites were obligated to obey the law just as we are. We are not free from the law. I believe Christ's death necessitated a change in the law (as we find in Hebrews).

The Israelites sins were taken care of via the priesthood and ceremonial law... particularly at the Day of Atonement when the high priest entered the Holiest of Holies (behind the veil) and sprinkled the ark seven times with the hyssop dipped in blood.

The blessing involved obedience unto life while the cursing was disobedience unto death (also the law of sin and death). The blessings and cursings are listed in each of the covenants.... which I believe we (the elect) are heirs. We are heirs to all of the covenants and they are not temporary and do contain spiritual as well as physical blessings.

The New Covenant was determined before the foundation of the world... Christ was slain long before in an eternal agreement (a covenant of itself). I do not believe Israel could have kept the covenant just because God knew that they could not keep the law (nor were they equipped to do so).

I see the Old Covenant as a physical means to show us something that is to be fulfilled in the spiritual realm. I do not see as Old Covenant people as flawed because I do not see the Old Covenant as flawed.... it was designed in such a fashion by God (He is not flawed).

We are better in the New Covenant simply because of the terms. God has given us all the necessary means to walk with him in righteousness and true holiness.

I could keep going but my wife is calling me to dinner. Maybe more tomorrow. See ya!


Puritan Board Graduate
I love what Luther says in his Galatians commentary:

"Let me illustrate. A man of great wealth adopts a strange lad for his son. Remember, he does not owe the lad anything. In due time he appoints the lad heir to his entire fortune. Several years later the old man asks the lad to do something for him. And the young lad does it. Can the lad then go around and say that he deserved the inheritance by his obedience to the old man's request ? How can anybody say that righteousness is obtained by obedience to the Law when the Law was given four hundred and thirty years after God's promise of the blessing?"


Puritan Board Junior
My pastor, as I might have already posted once or twice before, is preaching through Hebrews. We're on chapter 11 and we've been talking about Abraham, Sarah, and Moses.

I think it is interesting to note the status of these people when they received a call from God to act in faith. It is beyond logic to say that these promises were temporal and that they were joining themselves to a covenant of land and earth.


Because they were already wealthy.

Why would Abraham get up from Ur where he was already someone of prominence, and go to a place without knowing where it was or what it was like?

Why would Moses leave Egypt and his place in the court of Pharaoh on a death march through the desert to a place he had never known?

Temporal blessings? Both these guys already had temporal blessings.

The Hebrew writer tells us that Abraham looked for a heavenly country.

So I think it is a bit short sighted to say that Israel was only about temporal blessings in the OC.

But what does this have to do with obedience? Well, they didn't obey for what it gained them in earthly value. If they obeyed, they were looking to that heavenly city. Here's why: If they obeyed, their obedience was by faith, and faith does not rest on earthly value. The faith God gives looks to those things that eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man. The faith God gives can do nothing but return to the God who gave it. Therefore, obedience rendered to the Lord is obedience based in heaven, not earth.

That's how I look at it.

In Christ,



Puritan Board Sophomore
My view is that The Sinaitic Covenant was a readminstration and type of the Covenant of Works to National Israel. National obedience brought blessing, national disobedience brought a curse. I recommend Kline's work for futher study on this issue. The Law served as school master to bring us to Christ. All believers are saved by the promise in all ages Gal 3:17-19.



Puritan Board Sophomore
I mean the same type of Covenant was readministrated to Israel as a Nation, which is the principle of do this and you shall live Gal 3:12. You are right the Covenant of Works as broken in Adam is still in place and binding upon the unbeliever, but the Sinaitic Covenant came to an end in AD 70 Hebrews 8:13.

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