People have been puzzled for generations about whether both Old and New Testaments are still in effect today. Do we have to obey both of them? Do we still have to go to Jerusalem three times a year? Do we still have to offer animal sacrifice for our sins? There is an Old Testament and a New Testament (Heb. 7:22; Heb. 8:1-5; Heb. 8:6-13; Heb. 9:14-15; Heb. 12:24).
Various labels have been given to the Old Testament Law. It is sometimes called a covenant, an agreement, a testament, the Mosaic Law, the commandments, etc. Each of these is a correct label for the laws that governed God’s chosen people between Mt. Sinai and the death of Christ. The laws are found in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Some classify the book of Genesis as a book of law, but it is truly the history of the Israelite nation. The Mosaic Law formed a constitution on which the civil government of the Israelites was founded, and according to which rulers were required to rule (Deut. 17:18-20; 2 Kings 11:12; 2 Chro. 23:11). It was received by the disposition of angels (Deut. 33:2; Psa. 68:17; Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 2:2-3).
(from Nave’s Topical Bible, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1990 by Biblesoft and TriStar Publishing)
We do not in any way want to discredit God or the way He worked with the Israelite nation before the Cross. We know that God’s wisdom, understanding and righteousness are unsurpassed from the beginning of time. His commandments in the Old Law were wise and a glory and honor to His name. By inspiration of God, Moses said:
Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day (Deut. 4:5-8)?
We know it takes a righteous Lawgiver to give righteous laws to His people. We also know that the righteousness of the OT Law is fulfilled in us (Rom. 8:4) if we walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh. Do we make void the Law through faith? Romans 3:31 says we establish the law. Romans 13:8-10 says love is the fulfillment of the Law.
Using the scriptures, answer the following questions:
- What are the various labels for the agreement which God made with the Israelites?
- Which books contain the Law of Moses?
- How was the Law a glory to God and His chosen nation?
- Consider the English words ‘covenant’ and ‘testament’ Consider the English words ‘covenant’ and ‘testament’ (Heb. 7:22; Heb. 8:6). Do they mean the same thing?
- Did the Israelites initially agree to keep their part of the covenant (Exo. 20:18-19; Deut. 5:2-3; 27)?
- How did God give Moses the pattern for the tabernacle (Exo. 26:30; Exo. 39:32; Exo. 39:42-43; Acts 7:44; Heb. 8:5)?
- What is now established on better promises (Heb. 8:6)?
- Explain why there needed to be a second covenant (Heb. 7:12).
- Did God give a reason for making a second covenant (Heb. 8:7)?
- Who was the mediator (one who brought) of the second covenant (Heb. 9:14-15; Heb. 12:24; 1 Tim. 2:5)?
- Does God declare that one covenant would be better than the other (Heb. 8:6)?
- Does God find fault with the first covenant he made (Heb. 8:7-8)?
- What fault did God find with the first covenant (Heb. 8:9)?
- Did God promise to make the second covenant different from the first covenant (Heb. 8:8-9)?
- Did the second covenant have any laws for the people to obey (Heb. 8:10)?
- How many would know God under the second covenant (Heb. 8:11)?
- At the time of writing the book of Hebrews, what was happening to the first covenant (Heb. 8:13)?)?
- Considering that Jesus said He did not come to destroy the Law, was the OT itself ready to vanish away or was the OT authority ready to vanish away? Find a scripture that would prove whether or not the first covenant has disappeared completely? Explain.