The Berean Expositor
Volume 42 - Page 88 of 259
Index | Zoom
The First Principles of the Oracles of God
(A series especially addressed to new readers)
The Covenant of Sinai (Part 1)
pp. 16 - 20
We have traced the Lord's dealings with Israel from their call in Abraham, and their
deliverance from Egypt to their arrival at the wilderness of Sinai (Exod. 19: 1). Sinai
marks a crisis in the history of this people, and is of fundamental importance in their
typical story. Israel are to show once and for all the utter inability of the flesh to enter
into blessing by a covenant of works. This necessitates the New Covenant with its better
promises and its better sacrifices, which is the theme of the epistle to the Hebrews. "The
law made nothing perfect."
In Exod. 19: 3, 8 and 20 we have recorded three ascents of Sinai by Moses,
culminating in  the giving  of the law.  Three more ascents  are recorded in
Exod. 24: 9-32: 14; 32: 31-33 and 34: 4-28, culminating in the building of
the Tabernacle, the Ark and not the people receiving the tables of stone written the
second time, and so bearing witness to Israel's failure and their need of Christ. There is
therefore a distinct connection between the old and the new covenants as Jer. 31: 31-34
The Old and the New Covenants.
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the
house of Israel, and with the house of Judah" (Jer. 31: 31).
Let us observe how definite the Scripture is with regard to the covenanting parties.
"The Lord" on the one hand, and "The house of Israel and the house of Judah" on the
other. It is a covenant properly drawn up, and no one who is not of the house of Israel or
Judah, or who cannot show full Scriptural warrant for being reckoned with such or
`grafted in', can have part or lot in it.  Rom. 11: reveals the method whereby some
believing Gentiles came within the bounds of the new covenant. They are spoken of as
wild olive branches grafted into the true olive, and, with the branches that remained
unbroken, `partaking of the root and fatness of the olive tree' (Rom. 11: 17). Such is the
widest extension of the bounds of this covenant. The moment Israel as a nation passed
off the scene, that moment the new covenant and all pertaining to it was withdrawn, to be
reserved until the day when:
"All Israel shall be saved . . . . . For this is MY COVENANT UNTO THEM"
(Rom. 11: 26, 27).
We now proceed with the statement of Jer. 31::
"Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took
them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt" (verse 32).