The Sinaitic Covenant, part 1


Notes on Sinaitic Covenant from AW Pink’s Divine Covenants

  • Abrahamic Covenant promised the Messiah would spring from Abraham’s descendants
    • This necessitates that Abraham’s line be kept separate
      • The Messiah must trace his unmixed lineage back to Abraham
      • Abraham’s descendants must be separate from the heathen to preserve the knowledge and worship of God
      • Hebrews sheltered in Egypt when they were few and weak
        • Hebrews protected from the gods and inter-marraige with the Canaanites
        • Egyptians despised Israelites (Gen 46:34) – nations kept separate – people and religion
        • Egypt afforded an great opportunity for the Hebrew people to learn writing, building, etc.
        • Hebrews left Egypt with approx 2 million unmixed and faithful to Jehovah
  • God delivered the Hebrews from bondage by the hand of a mediator
  • The people are brought to Sinai where God constitutes them a nation and makes a covenant with them
    • The covenant was a national covenant with the nation of Israel that promised blessing for obedience and cursing for disobedience
    • Regarding individuals -> every man (in his natural state) was fallen in his father (and representative head) Adam (by the transgression of the Covenant of Works) or he stood in his Savior and representative head (by virtue of the Everlasting Covenant of Grace) – the Lord Jesus Christ.
    • The national covenant made with the nation of Israel was not for the salvation of individuals
      • It was for the purpose of keeping Israel separate
      • It was a type of the Covenant of Grace between Christ and believers – “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things..” (Heb 10:1)
      • At times, Israel was faithful to God and received his blessing and favor – yet there were unbelieving individuals in it.
      • At times, Israel was unfaithful to God and received his condemnation and wrath – yet there were believing individuals in it
    • The covenant made with Israel was temporal and carnal
      • It was a temporary system of government of religion and government until its purpose was fulfilled
      • It was preparatory for a new and better and unending covenant
        • Preserved God’s word
        • Preserved Abrahamic promise of a redeemer seed
        • Taught the people of God’s holiness, righteousness, justice, patience, mercy, and grace
        • Taught the need for forgiveness, a sacrifice, a mediator
      • The blessings of the covenant were not salvation as a reward for obedience, but rather long life , health, and blessing in the land of Canaan

AW Pink recommends a close reading, and re-reading the words of Thomas Scott on these matters.  He says that the following  quotation “contains the most lucid, comprehensive, and yet simple analysis of the Sinaitic covenant which we have met with in all our reading. It draws a clear line of distinction between God’s dealings with Israel as a nation, and with individuals in it. It shows the correct position of the everlasting covenant of grace and the Adamic covenant of works in relation to the Mosaic dispensation.”

 

The national covenant did not refer to the final salvation of individuals: nor was it broken by the disobedience, or even idolatry, of any number of them, provided this was not sanctioned or tolerated by public authority. It was indeed a type of the covenant made with true believers in Christ Jesus, as were all the transactions with Israel; but, like other types, it ‘had not the very image,’ but only ‘a shadow of good things to come.’ When, therefore, as a nation, they had broken this covenant, the Lord declared that He would make ‘a new covenant with Israel, putting His law,’ not only in their hands, but ‘in their inward parts’; and ‘writing it,’ not upon tables of stone, ‘but in their hearts; forgiving their iniquity and remembering their sin no more’ (Jer. 31:32-34; Heb. 8:7-12; 10:16, 17). The Israelites were under a dispensation of mercy, and had outward privileges and great advantages in various ways for salvation: yet, like professing Christians, the most of them rested in these, and looked no further. The outward covenant was made with the Nation, entitling them to outward advantages, upon the condition of outward national obedience; and the covenant of Grace was ratified personally with true believers, and sealed and secured spiritual blessings to them, by producing a holy disposition of heart, and spiritual obedience to the Divine law. In case Israel kept the covenant, the Lord promised that they should be to Him ‘a peculiar treasure.’ ‘All the earth’ (Ex. 19:5) being the Lord’s, He might have chosen any other people instead of Israel: and this implied that, as His choice of them was gratuitous, so if they rejected His covenant, He would reject them, and communicate their privileges to others; as indeed He hath done, since the introduction of the Christian dispensation”  (Thomas Scott).

This perspective on the Old Covenant steers a path between the Dispensationalists who see the Old Covenant as a way of salvation by law keeping and the Reformed who see it as an administration of the Covenant of Grace.  C

 

 

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