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Sinai Covenant- only half-gone?
(by Sam Pestes)

This simple question continues to divide the Christian community as no other.

When Jesus nailed the Sinai Covenant to the cross, did He miss part of it?

When God speaks of a new [covenant or agreement], He makes the first

one obsolete- out of use. And what is obsolete- out of use and annulled

because of age- is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether.

Hebrews 8:13 (Amp).

Why was the Sinai (Old) Covenant dispensed with?

For if that first covenant had been without defect, there would have been no room for another one or an attempt to institute another one.

However He finds fault with them, [showing its inadequacy], when He says, Behold, the days will come, says the Lord, when I will make and ratify a new covenant or agreement with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.

Hebrews 8:7,8 (Amp).

The terms "old" and "new", in this case, do not refer to the order in which those covenants were presented by God. Rather, they refer to the order in which they were finalized, or "confirmed", one by the blood of animals, the other by the blood of Christ when He died on the cross.

Question: Was the covenant God gave to Abraham complete and sufficient to meet the challenge of saving the human race from sin, or did it need amending by the covenant God later made with Israel at Mount Sinai? Galatians 3:15 tells us that,

…Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. (Emphasis supplied).

Why, then, did God give Israel the law at Mount Sinai? Was it not to convince them that they were sinners, and in need of a savior from outside of themselves?

What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. Verse 19.

One of the main impediments to clear thinking on this subject is the misconception that when the New Testament speaks of "the law", or of "the commandments" as in Revelation 12:17, 14:12, 1John 2:3, 3:24 and 1Cor.7:19 it refers specifically to the 10 commandment law. Some people have been mentally conditioned to automatically visualize the law on stone every time the see the word "commandment". That is not so! The Greek word translated "commandments" is usually the word entole. It simply refers to the "whole counsel of God", or more specifically to "a thing given in charge". That takes on fresh meaning when we realize that Jesus’ teaching included far more than the elementary extracts (10 commandments) taken from God’s eternal law of the Spirit.

People who are taught to focus on the Sinai law as the ultimate goal to be reached, lock themselves far below God’s standard of righteousness. That is why Israel failed. Their attention was so focused on not sinning, that they had little energy left for doing good. Jesus illustrated this in the parable of The Good Samaritan. When we cease our striving, and accept the gift of Christ’s righteousness, we are freed to forgive and to love. Forgiveness was not part of the law on stone. Its terms were simply perfection, or death! (Deuteronomy 6:25). That is why it was eclipsed by the Law of the Spirit.

We remember that Jesus lived and taught while the Sinai Covenant was still in effect. The transition from the Old to the New did not take place until Jesus was crucified. The change from the Old to the New was so dramatic, that the people who refused to move on with the advancing light of the Gospel of grace, saw the New Testament church as law breakers, and persecuted them as the enemies of God. Paul himself was a victim of that blinding indoctrination until God miraculously set him free on the road to Damascus.

Old Covenant laws, and even the sanctuary structure itself, were only symbols, or shadows of the much more glorious plan of salvation. Hebrews 8:5 tells us that,

They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.

The purpose of the Sinai Covenant and the sanctuary services was to illustrate to Israel the provision God had made for their redemption. When the Messiah died, their usefulness was fulfilled, according to Jesus’ prediction in Matthew 5:17.

Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law and the prophets; I have not come to do away with or undo, but to complete and fulfill them.

What do Jesus’ words tell us? First, His life and ministry were proof that He was the Messiah to whom all the prophets pointed. In that sense, He was the fulfillment of their predictions. His life did not destroy their prophecies, but fulfilled and verified them.

Secondly, His life was the full expression of the Law of the Spirit, which not only covered the elementary expressions of the law on stone, but rose far above them. He was love incarnate! He not only fulfilled and satisfied the simple demands of the elementary version of the law given to Israel, but He lifted the lid and showed them that even if they could have satisfied those demands (which they couldn’t), they would still have only begun. He lived His life to perfection, and became our perfection! Just because He eclipsed that law does not mean that He destroyed it. It simply vanished from sight as the moon does in the mid-day sun. Hebrews 8:13. Who misses the moonlight at noon?

God’s Word asks us to focus not on the laws (covenant) of Moses, but on Him who became our Redeemer. 2Corinthians 3:15 warns us that only by looking to Jesus can the veil that comes with the Mosaic Covenant be lifted from our eyes.

Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

The Bible is clear that the entire Mosaic (Sinai or Old) Covenant was fulfilled and terminated on the cross of Christ. There is no indication in Scripture that it was split into sections, and that part of it survived. How, then, does this affect the 10 commandments?

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