Sabbath: The Priority of the Promise
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Read for This Week’s Study:

Gal. 3:15–20, Gen. 9:11–17, Matt. 5:17–20, Exod. 16:22–26, Gen. 15:1–6.

Memory Text:

“For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise” (Galatians 3:18, ESV).

Someone once asked a politician, “Have you kept all the promises that you made during the campaign?” He responded, “Yes . . . well, at least all the promises that I intended to keep.”Who hasn’t, at one time or another, been at one end or the other of a broken promise? Who hasn’t been the one to break a promise or the one to have a promise made to him or her broken?

Sometimes people make a promise, fully intending to keep it, but, later, don’t; others make a promise, knowing—as the sounds leave their mouths or the letters their fingers—it’s all a lie.

Fortunately for us, God’s promises are of an entirely different order. God’s Word is sure and unchanging. “ ‘I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it,’ ” says the Lord (Isa. 46:11, ESV).

In this week’s lesson, Paul directs our attention to the relationship between God’s promise to Abraham and the law given to Israel 430 years later. How should the relationship between the two be understood, and what implications does that have for the preaching of the gospel?

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, November 5.

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Sabbath: The Priority of the Promise — 20 Comments

  1. Thank God that technology is being used to carry ouy the work of the Lord and that i found this website because it is hard to get a hard copy at times. so thank you very much for coordinating this brilliant idea. love it!!!!!!!
    :)

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  2. I use my mobile phone to access internet since l discover this website l can have my bible study anywhere and anytime.

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  3. Man cannot improve on God’s promise. We do not
    earn or deserve the right to receive God’s grace. We
    cannot combine grace and law because there is no
    middle ground. If law changes grace at all, it
    renders it void.
    “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if
    righteousness comes through the law, then
    Christ died in vain” ( Galatians 2:21).
    Salvation and sanctification must rest on
    grace or law but not both.
    They are two opposing principles. God glorifies
    Himself by what He does. His glory does not depend
    on us. God glorifies Himself by giving something.
    Galatians 3:18
    The Law does not cancel the promise, but faith in the
    promised Christ cancels the Law

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    • McRoyal, I agree except for one thing. Faith in the promised Christ does NOT cancel the law. What it cancels is our condemnation under the law. There is a big difference there since the law is never done away with.

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    • Dear McRoyal,

      Please note that in Rom. 3:31 Paul explicitly states that the law is not nullified by faith. He says "Not at all! Rather we uphold the law."

      We "uphold" the Law by faith, because we acknowledge that its claims are far greater than we can fulfill. Knowing that we shall be judged by this Law, we cast ourselves on Christ and His mercy.

      It is only by faith in Christ that we can stand in that judgment, when His life of faithfulness stands in the place of our life of unfaithfulness. The Law makes clear to us that we need a Savior.

      When we allow Christ to be Lord in our lives, He will work out His life in us -- in a process we call sanctification. He changes our lives to come into harmony with His Law -- and that, too, is the way faith "establishes" the Law.

      A faith that does not work like this is a dead faith which is powerless to save anyone

      Unfortunately we have been trained to view the Law of God in a negative light. But from ancient times the Hebrews understood that the Ten Commandments were summarized in the two "great commandments" - as Jesus Himself summarized them (Matt. 22:37-40) - as as loving ones' neighbor and loving God with the heart, soul and mind. And we understand that the moral law, enunciated as ten precepts at Sinai, is the foundation of God's government, a transcript of His character, which is love. (1 John 4:16) Ellen White summarizes it thus: "...the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven." (Desire of Ages, p. 20)

      Paul preaches not against the Law of God, but against the teaching that human effort or "law keeping" can in any way contribute to salvation.

      .

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    • Why would Christ cancel the law after his death? If the law would be canceled why did he die? Matthew 5:17-19.
      Don't think that is what he came to do but to give grace- enabling power, to follow the royal law of liberty James 2:12 for what is a government without law? CHRIST CAME TO CANCEL THE CONDEMNATION OF SIN THAT THE LAW POINTS OUT TO THE SINNER! thank God for grace.

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  4. The confusion is obvious if we endeavor to equate the moral law to Paul's exhortations in Galatians. Notice....
    "“For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise” (Galatians 3:18, ESV)."

    This is the promise of a Savior, the person of Christ. And Christ is personified by the ceremonial law as a type of salvation. So, again, it should be obvious, Paul is contrasting Christ with the ceremonial law, not the moral law.

    Inge said.....

    "Paul preaches not against the Law of God, but against the teaching that human effort or “law keeping” can in any way contribute to salvation."

    Since she makes no difference between the ceremonial law and its function vs. the moral law and its function, she can not harmonize her view with the statement by EGW.....

    "When the judgment shall sit, and the books shall be opened, and every man shall be judged according to the things written in the books, then the tables of stone, hidden by God until that day, will be presented before the world as the standard of righteousness. Then men and women will see that the prerequisite of their salvation is obedience to the perfect law of God. None will find excuse for sin. By the righteous principles of that law, men will receive their sentence of life or of death. " {1SM 225.2}

    Only if and when we make a clear distinction between the ceremonial law and what it typifies, vs. the moral and its ongoing application to humanity, can we make any sense of what Paul is saying in Galatians.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • Bill, the ceremonial law and the moral law serve somewhat different functions, but they are both "schoolmasters" to lead us to Christ. My statement is in harmony with Ellen's statements on the topic. There is no amount of law-keeping -- whether it be of the moral law or of the ceremonial law -- that can add an iota to our salvation.

      When we stand in the judgment, our only hope is in Christ our Advocate.

      While I believe that Paul was addressing a specific problem in Galatia, concerning the keeping of the ceremonial law, the principles apply to the keeping of the moral law as well.

      In the early days of our church, there was much confusion over the schoolmaster law in Galatians, with the conservative hard-liners insisting it was the ceremonial law, and Waggoner and Jones coming along in 1888 to declare that it was the moral law -- that we cannot be saved by law-keeping.

      Since you have chosen to appeal to Ellen White, here are some things she wrote specifically on this topic: "I am asked concerning the law in Galatians. What law is the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ? I answer: Both the ceremonial and the moral code of ten commandments." (SDABC Vol. 6, p. 1109) In another comment on the same passage, she writes, "In this scripture the Holy Spirit through the apostle is speaking especially of the moral law. The law reveals sin to us, and causes us to feel our need of Christ, and to flee unto Him for pardon and peace by exercising repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." (SDABC Vol. 6, p. 1110)

      As Paul pointed out, there is nothing that we can "boast" of in our salvation -- nothing for which we can take credit, because it is all of Christ. Even the "good works" we do were "prepared beforehand that we might walk in them," (Eph 2:10) and they are His doing, so that we can take no credit.

      This recognition causes the ones saved by grace to cling to Christ in humility and gratitude. While we recognize our own utter dependence on Christ, we will have no inclination to judge others for their lack of law-keeping. After all, we're all unworthy beggars invited to a feast by the King of the universe. Our passion will be to get the invitation out to all the other beggars!!

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  5. Inge said......

    "While I believe that Paul was addressing a specific problem in Galatia, concerning the keeping of the ceremonial law, the principles apply to the keeping of the moral law as well."

    Inge, it is OK to super-impose situations that may apply to a scriptural principle. We are in agreement that the moral law also serves as a "schoolmaster" as EGW concurs.

    But when we do this, we must also acknowledge that we are doing it. In other words, we are telling others that we are going beyond the original intent of the author and applying the principle beyond its original intent.

    If we don't, then we are opening up the possibility of confusion, especially when the original intent will not fit all applications in every way.

    Now it is obvious to me, and some others as well, that whatever "law" Paul is speaking about, is one that is "added" and then can later be subtracted.

    So when Paul says, "When faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster" can in no way apply to the moral law. If Paul were especially dealing with the moral law, he never would have made such a statement.

    May I recommend that everyone read EGW's comments about this issue in her book Acts of the Apostles. The chapter entitled "Apostacy in Galatia".

    You will notice that not once does she state or even imply that the issue was over the moral law. This book was written especially for non-SDA's as part of the Conflict series. Of course, we can all benefit by this book as well as all the others she has written.

    EGW knows full well we are justified by keeping the law moral law and in the final judgment, it is the basis of the judgment decision.

    The work of judgment which began in 1844, must continue until the cases of all are decided, both of the living and the dead; hence it will extend to the close of human probation. That men may be prepared to stand in the Judgment, the message commands them to “fear God, and give glory to him,” “and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” The result of an acceptance of these messages is given in the words, “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” In order to be prepared for the Judgment, it is necessary that men should keep the law of God. That law will be the standard of character in the Judgment. The apostle Paul declares, “As many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; . . . in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.” And he says that “the doers of the law shall be justified.” [Romans 2:12-16.] Faith is essential in order to the keeping of the law of God; for “without faith it is impossible to please him.” And “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” [Hebrews 11:6; Romans 14:23.] {GC88 435.2}

    What the ceremonial law typifies is the meritorious work of Christ in which we have no part. And this is "by faith alone". But obedience to the moral law and justification by the moral law is never by "faith alone."

    Thus, James is clear, as pretaining to the moral law, we are justifed by works and not faith only. If we continue to advocate that Paul in the historical context, is refering to the moral law, like modern Protestantism, we are negating the moral law.

    This may not be the intent. But it is the only viable logical conclusion when you say the law has been "added" and is now subtracted.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • Bill, I must confess that I am under time constraints, and may not be immediately able to properly address your comments. Nevertheless, my sense is that you may be making the mistake of superimposing modern, Western (and perhaps perfect) logic on a Bible writer. Kindly remember that the human element in the Scriptures is imperfect.

      If I prayerfully seek to follow Paul's inspired line of thought here, I see him meeting the Jews of his day on their own ground. We know that justification through our own efforts in keeping the law has always and only been an impossibility. However, Paul seems to want to allow that, prior to the earthly life and ministry of Christ, the moral law had a function that is now at least less necessary -- to reveal to us our own sinfulness. Christ's purity, love, and zeal reveal to us just what the law looks like, as shown in the life. Thus we have an even clearer view of our own deficiencies, by contrast.

      I don't think we should get too hung up on the word "until." It's better to get Paul's main thrust. Translation is too imperfect an art that we should make so much of one single word like that. In short, one function of the moral law has been pretty much superceded by Christ. But that doesn't change God's character, of which the ten commandments are a transcript.

      I hope this helps. Don't know when I'll be back online. God bless.

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    • Bill, thank you for stating your position so clearly when you write:
      "EGW knows full well we are justified by keeping the law moral law and in the final judgment, it is the basis of the judgment decision."

      If what you say were true, I would be without hope. No matter how much change Christ works in me, I will still fall short of the perfect character of Christ, which is the standard of justification. My only hope is in Christ's life standing in place of mine in the judgment.

      Both the Bible and Ellen White are clear and balanced on the subject. We are justified by grace through faith, and not by any of our works. We are sanctified through the indwelling Spirit that produces "good work" in us. The "work" produced is the fruit of the Spirit -- "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (Gal. 4:22,23 NKJV)

      It is Christ who justifies and Christ who sanctifies -- not any of our keeping of the Law.

      Ro 3:20 "Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin."
      Ro 3:23-28 "For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
      "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law."

      What Paul says in Ro 3:27 is key: There is no room for anyone to boast, because we are all justified in the same manner -- through the blood of Jesus Christ.

      Of course, I could go on, because there are many similar statements in the New Testament.

      It is true that the moral law is the standard of judgment. However, only those who do not understand the holiness and far-reaching implications of the law of God can believe that they can be justified by keeping it. That was the mistake of the Israelites at Sinai. They believed they could keep God's law and promised to do so. And we know the result: They broke their covenant with God through flagrant idolatry within a very short time.

      Only the obedience of Jesus can justify.

      In the life of the Christian, obedience follows justification. It is not the basis of our justification.

      Paul writes that "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."
      Only Christ can produce the obedience that the Law requires -- whether in His own life or the life of the believer. That's why there's no room to boast.

      Ellen White lays it out nicely in this paragraph:
      "The sinner cannot depend upon his own good works as a means of justification. He must come to the point where he will renounce all his sin, and embrace one degree of light after another as it shines upon his pathway. He simply grasps by faith the free and ample provision made in the blood of Christ. He believes the promises of God, which through Christ are made unto him sanctification and righteousness and redemption. And if he follows Jesus, he will walk humbly in the light, rejoicing in the light and diffusing that light to others. Being justified by faith, he carries cheerfulness with him in his obedience in all his life. Peace with God is the result of what Christ is to him. The souls who are in subordination to God, who honor Him, and are doers of His Word, will receive divine enlightenment. In the precious Word of God there is purity and loftiness as well as beauty that, unless assisted by God, the highest powers of man cannot attain to "(The Signs of the Times, May 19, 1898). (See http://egwwritings.org)

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  6. R. G. White said......

    "I don’t think we should get too hung up on the word “until.” It’s better to get Paul’s main thrust."

    But in fact, this is "Paul's main thrust." All his letters are about a law that has been "subtracted", and if we imply this is the moral law, when he is not speaking of the moral law, we can only create confusion at best.

    If we let the bible speak for itself, it is very clear and needs little explanation. In Gal. the law that has been "added" is now subtracted.

    Paul could have used Adam in his illustration. When Adam sinned and broke the moral law, the ceremonial law was "added because of transgression." It typifies Christ and His ministry. He could have use the Cain and Abel situation to make the same point. He could have used Noah. Why did Paul use Abraham?

    Because the Jews held Abraham in high esteem and considered themselves "saved" simply because they were "Abraham's seed."

    But Paul shows "Abraham's seed" is Christ. And concludes, "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

    Paul does not contrast Christ with the moral law. This application came later when the Reformers opposed Rome who claimed "merit" for human works. Then it was necessary to show that even works in obedience to Christ by way of the moral law could never merit heaven. Christ alone merited our salvation.

    This does not mean we are not "saved" morally by keeping the law of God. Christ is our title, but He is not our fitness. And our fitness for heaven is what is judged in the final judgment. And if we have no fitness, the title is forfeited.

    Sanctification preceeds justification in the final judgment. God will not impute the righteousness of Christ to anyone who refuses the moral obligation to keep the commandments and claim they are saved without obedience to the law.

    This is not biblical, nor is it supported by EGW.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • Bill, I going to deal specifically with Heb 8:13 in this comment.

      10 "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
      11 "None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying,`Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.
      12 "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds1 I will remember no more2."
      13 In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Heb 8:10-13 NKJV)

      Notice that verses 10 through 12 are essentially a quote from Jer 31:33-34 that places the new covenant future to his time. Verse 13 is very, very clearly a reference to that quotation. The first that was made obsolete obviously then was the old covenant because Hebrews is talking covenants here not laws.

      I honestly can’t see how the ceremonial laws are a part of verse 13. First of all if you look at Exodus 24 and 25 you will find that the ceremonial laws along with the building of the sanctuary came after the ratification of what was stated on Mount Sinai, and written by Moses. That ratification had to do with what we call the old covenant (the ceremonial laws were never ratified because they were not a covenant). Besides that, the laws that the old covenant encapsulated were the Ten Commandments and all the judgments that had to do with them that Moses wrote in a book. Obviously, these were not the thing that became obsolete. The only thing left is the covenant itself which was the promises that was agreed upon by both God and the people, these must be what was made obsolete because there is nothing else that could.

      Since the ceremonial laws pointed to Christ when Christ came those laws naturally became invalid. On the other hand, the old covenant was essentially invalidated a little more than one month after it was ratified since the disobedience of the people breached that contract (covenant). Under any circumstances, neither the ceremonial laws nor the old covenant is valid after Christ died on the cross. Therefore, the only way to determine what Paul is talking about is the immediate context of verse 13 which is the new covenant. Paul therefore is comparing the new covenant with the old covenant not one law with another.

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  7. Hi Tyler,

    Personally I think the author of Hebrews is definitely speaking of the ceremonies of the sanctuary services.
    The whole book is addressing the better sacrifice, the better blood, the better high priest, the better sanctuary in heaven.

    It's talking about the blood of goats and bulls not being able to take away sin, but now we can have full forgiveness in Christ.

    The old covenant was based on shadows, the new covenant is based on the reality of Christ.

    It's obvious in Hebrews that the things fading away are the rituals and priesthood of the earthly sanctuary as now we have something infinitely better in Christ Jesus.

    The old covenant was in effect until Christ came. Surely it was not based on human promises.
    It was based on shadows promising a future reality --
    The shadows in and of themselves could never cleanse the sinner.
    The new covenant is based on the reality of Christ's life and death and resurrection and His intercessory ministry in heaven! Much better promises!

    And as Heb. 10 points out -- how much greater is our responsibility to forsake sin having so great promises? If under Moses they suffered death due to their sins, how much greater is the responsibility of people today who have the blood of Christ to cleanse them from sin?

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  8. I think we need a little more clarity on the nature of the old covenant and the new covenant. Tyler's post Why the Old Covenant? should help.

    The literal "old covenant" was ratified at the base of Mt Sinai, after Moses came down from the mountain with the "judgments" that taught how to apply the Ten Commandments in the context of their situation in life. You can read about it in Ex 24:1-8. I recommend continuing reading the rest of the chapter and on into Exodus 25. What should become obvious is that the "old covenant" (which was soon broken) was ratified before there was any talk of a sanctuary, let alone sanctuary laws.

    The "old covenant" was in effect for a very brief time of time. Within a space of days, the people spectacularly broke the covenant by worshiping a golden calf. That demonstrated clearly that the old covenant, based on human promises, was utterly ineffective.

    The old covenant was not in effect till Christ came. That is the teaching of dispensationalism which we firmly reject. No one was ever saved by the "old covenant" of works. Everyone who ever was saved or ever will be saved will be saved through the new covenant of faith in Christ.

    The sanctuary system was never part of the old covenant. It was a teaching tool for the "new covenant," in which Christ took upon him the wages of sin which we deserve so that we might have eternal life which He deserves.

    However, by the time of Christ, the people had perversely turned the system meant to demonstrate the new covenant into an "old covenant" system of works. And, yes, I believe that's what Paul mainly wrote about in Hebrews. However, it was not a literal "old covenant" but an old-covenant perversions of the sanctuary system which was never a part of the old covenant.

    Throughout Galatians, while Paul is specifically addressing the problem created by the Judaizers who tried to persuade the new Gentile Christians to adopt Jewish ceremonial laws, he is at the same time addressing the old-covenant mind set of salvation by obedience. He makes clear that anyone who tries to be saved that way will receive the curse of eternal death -- because no human obedience is sufficient to meet the standards of the holy Law of God.

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    • Inge: The sanctuary system was never part of the old covenant.

      We need to read Hebrews.

      The author is speaking of the old covenant.

      Hebrews 8:13 Since he says, A new covenant, he has made the first old. Now that which decays and grows old is ready to vanish away.
      9:1 Now that first covenant also had ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
      9:2 For there was a tabernacle made; within the first part was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the holy place.
      9:3 And after the second veil in the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant ....

      So obviously the old covenant here referred to includes the sanctuary service.

      But the author of Hebrews continues writing to his audience --

      9 This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. 10 For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.

      So the new covenant comes in with a better system.

      11 So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. 12 With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Holy Places once for all time and secured our redemption forever.

      So the book in scriptures that speaks of the old and new covenant in detail seems to me to be talking about the MINISTRATION of God's covenant.

      The old covenant was based on shadows
      The new covenant was based on the realities those shadows point to.

      Now the experience of those weeks at Sinia does have it's object lesson as well. They broke the covenant, not because they promised to obey, in fact God said they had "spoken well".

      Deut. 5:27-29 [The people said] ...we will hear it, and do it. And the LORD heard the voice of your words, when you spoke to me; and the LORD said to me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto you: they have well said all that they have spoken.
      29 O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!

      The problem wasn't in their promise but with their hearts. They thought they could do it without giving their hearts to God to purify and to deliver them from sin. So yes, they failed miserably. They broke the covenant. And it's quite true that scripture sometimes refers to that experience as "old covenant". After all Israel had fallen back into depending on self more time than not.

      But God re-instituted a covenant with them at Sinai and that too is called "old covenant" in scripture.

      It came with the same ten commandments and the same injunction to obey, but with it came the gospel in shadows -- the sanctuary service.
      Hebrews calls that the "old covenant".

      .

      You mentioned dispensationalism.
      Dispensationalism teaches two ways of salvation.
      One -- by obedience in the old
      The other by grace and faith in the new.
      Yes, we do reject that.

      God's covenant in both old and new is based on God's saving grace and people's faith in Him and the resulting obedience.

      The covenant is the plan to restore fallen human beings back into communion with God.
      .

      The difference between the two covenants is the ministration--
      The old covenant ministration was in shadows
      The new is the reality of Christ which is so much better!!! Amen!

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      • Ulrike, There is a lot I don’t understand. But from the narrative in Exodus starting with Ex 24 it is very clear that the covenant was ratified in Ex 24:6-8. After that Moses went up on the mountain to receive the law and commandments and was there for 40 days and nights (Ex 24:12-18). While he was up there God gave him all the instructions concerning the sanctuary and the laws concerning it (Ex 25-31).

        Covenants are mentioned six times after the ratification. “Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant” (Ex 31:16 NKJV). “And He said: ‘Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD. For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you’” (Ex 34:10 NKJV). Exodus 34:12 and Ex 34:15 are God’s warnings to Israel not to make covenants with the surrounding nations. “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel. So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments” (Ex 34:27-28 NKJV) which involve the second set of stone tablets and some additional laws.

        Nowhere are the laws concerning the sanctuary ever really spoken of as a covenant except in Ex 34:27 which is a short review of a few important things the Lord wanted the people to remember including the Sabbath. From chapter 24 on no other covenant is ever ratified.

        I believe these are the reasons why Inge said “The sanctuary system was never part of the old covenant.” There are indeed things in the writings of Paul, “in which are some things hard to understand” (2 Pet 3:16 NKJV). I have no idea why Paul didn’t stay close to the narrative in Exodus. It may be that he had in mind the fact that he was communicating to a particular “old covenant mind set” which is not an unreasonable assumption to make. Christ meets us where we are and Paul followed that example.

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      • Ulrike, you said, “The problem wasn’t in their promise but with their hearts.” Their hearts certainly was the reason they couldn’t keep the law but the problem was that they were trying to change their hearts themselves because they promised God they would rather than allowing God to do that. That is why Paul said, “but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone” (Rom 9:31-32 NKJV). All of this is why Hebrews states that, “He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises” (Heb 8:6 NKJV).

        As I have said in my article, “What is a covenant” the basis of covenants are the promises. Those are the things that are agreed upon which form the covenant. The new covenant is not like the old covenant because God does all the promising, man promises nothing. In it the only thing we can do is to accept God’s promises. When we do that then we will have a new birth experience because God will write His laws on our hearts according to the promise He made in the new covenant which we have accepted.

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