5. Why God Didn’t Give a New Covenant Right Away at the Time of Moses
【John 1:17】 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
【Luke 16:16】 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.
It is true that there is a knot between the Old and New Testaments. John testified that there was a clear knot between the law of Moses and the grace and truth of Jesus Christ. Luke also announced that the good news had begun through Jesus Christ.
If you consider these apostles’ records carefully, you can see that there was no the good news of the kingdom of God in the Old Testament. Then, why didn’t God give you the good news of the kingdom from the beginning in the age of Moses? Why did God give the law first before giving grace and truth? What was the role and function of the law?
【John 5:39】 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,
【Gal. 3:24-25】 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
It is said that the law testifies to Jesus Christ. It means that without the law, it was impossible for mankind to immediately receive Jesus as a Savior. In the Old Testament period, it was an era when the understanding of the kingdom of God was so rudimentary that it was impossible to believe in the gospel. God needed to create a religious atmosphere in which mankind would receive the gospel before Jesus Christ came. If so, what approach did God use to make mankind realize the spiritual world?
First, God made evidence of the spiritual world through his involvement in human history. In other words, God showed omnipotence by predicting the future history of mankind and fulfilling it later.
【Isa, 41:21-23】 “Present your case,” says the LORD. “Set forth your arguments,” says Jacob’s King. “Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.
The Lord said, “You must prove yourself the real god by telling what is going to happen in future.” The prophet Isaiah wrote about what kinds of evidences would be needed for mankind to recognize the divine world. Foreseeing future events and experiencing God’s marvelous power to do so is sure evidence of the divine world.
God has been involved in Israel’s thousands of years of history to testify of the existence and power of God. The Old Testament is a record of His involvement on the history of Israel. And the highlight of the Old Testament is the Mosaic Law. Because God proved Himself the real God to the Israelites through blessings and curses based upon the law of Moses.
【Deut. 28:1-2】 If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God
【Deut. 28:15】 However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you
God gave the Mosaic Law to the Israelites. And the law contained the promise of blessing and curse. God’s blessings and retributions were unavoidable when the Israelites kept the law and broke the law. God has shown how well the promises are kept through the history of Israel.
In Israel’s thousands of years of history, their futures have been continually witnessed. And eventually the foretold future was fulfilled. A number of things centered on Israel are recorded in the Old Testament. Therefore, the Old Testament became a sure testimony to the existence and power of God. Finally, the time has come for Jesus Christ to appear and proclaim grace and truth.
Second, through the plan of redemption shown in shadow in the law of Moses, God has us to realize and understand more easily the fundamentals of the redemption of Jesus Christ.
【Heb. 8:1-5】 The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man. Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
The sacrificial offering system of the Old Testament was a shadow and a model to show the heavenly sanctuary of the new covenant. Through the system that has been preserved by the phisical Israelites for thousands of years, God has fully taught the truth of redemption that there is no remission of sins without shedding blood. Finally, Jesus Christ put on the merits of his blood set up a heavenly sanctuary for remission of sins.
It is written that the old covenant is obsolete and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear because of the coming of Jesus Christ. The old covenant was no longer needed because the role to lead us to realize the sanctuary of the new covenant was finished.
【Heb 8:13-9:1】 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear. Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.
In the words of “the first covenant had also regulations and an earthly sanctuary” we can know that the new covenant also must have regulations and an heavenly sanctuary.
The earthly sanctuary was replaced by the heavenly sanctuary, and the priesthood changed from Aaron’s to the eternal Melchizedek. The blood of the forgiveness of sins was replaced by the blood of Jesus Christ, not the blood of the beast. Through the confirmation of the sacrificial system that has been observed for thousands of years, the Saints of the New Testament Church were able to believe and accept the truth of the heavenly sanctuary established by Jesus Christ.
【Gal. 3:21-25】 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
After Adam, God chose Israelites and involved in their history, and He waited for thousands of years as a supervision of the law of Moses. How marvelous His achievement is! How grateful the grace and truth given by Jesus is! We have to know the preciousness of the new covenant we keep. The grace and truth of the new covenant is the amazing love of Jesus Christ. He has given us great and wonderful love that is hard to dare to accept as a sinner in the name of Jesus.