Further Study: The Two Covenants
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Read Ellen G. White, “The Law and the Covenants,” pp. 363–373, in Patriarchs and Prophets.

“But if the Abrahamic covenant contained the promise of redemption, why was another covenant formed at Sinai? In their bondage the people had to a great extent lost the knowledge of God and of the principles of the Abrahamic covenant. . . .

“God brought them to Sinai; He manifested His glory; He gave them His law, with the promise of great blessings on condition of obedience: ‘If ye [...]

Thursday: Ishmael and Isaac Today
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Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

Paul’s brief sketch of Israel’s history was designed to counter the arguments made by his opponents who claimed that they were the true descendants of Abraham and that Jerusalem—the center of Jewish Christianity and the law—was their mother. The Gentiles, they charged, were illegitimate; if they wanted to become true followers of Christ, they must first become a son of Abraham by submitting to the law of circumcision. 1

The truth, Paul says, is the opposite. These legalists are not the [...]

10: Laws and Promises – Thought Starters
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Madeline and Melvin were in love. No question about it. At every opportunity they would steal glances at each other and talk with nudges and grins. Everybody knew.1

They would soon be married.

Then Melvin dropped a bombshell. Both Madeline and Melvin had been married before, and Melvin wasn’t ready to risk a repeat performance of what he’d gone through.

“I love you, Madeline,” he said. “I love you from the bottom of my heart.” [...]

Wednesday: Hagar and Mount Sinai
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What type of covenant relationship did God want to establish with His people at Sinai? What similarities does it share with God’s promise to Abraham? Exod. 6:2–8, 19:3–6, Deut. 32:10–12. 1

God desired to share the same covenant relationship with the children of Israel at Sinai that He shared with Abraham. In fact, similarities exist between God’s words to Abraham inGenesis 12:1–3 and His words to Moses in Exodus 19. In both cases, God emphasizes what He will do for His people. He does not ask the [...]

10: The Two Covenants – Teaching Plan
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Key Thought: Self-righteousness is referred to as the old covenant. The new covenant is the everlasting covenant of grace ultimately fulfilled in Christ.

[Teaching Plan for "The Two Covenants" November 30, 2011]

1. Have a volunteer read Galatians 4:21-23.

A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. Why was the child born of the freewoman called the child of promise? And the child of the bondwoman called after the flesh?
C. Personal [...]

Tuesday: Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar
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Why does Paul have such a disparaging view of the incident with Hagar? Gal. 4:21–31, Genesis 16. What crucial point about salvation is Paul making through his use of this Old Testament story?  1

Hagar’s place in the Genesis story is directly related to Abram’s failure to believe God’s promise. As an Egyptian slave in Abram’s household, Hagar likely came into Abram’s possession as one of the many gifts Pharaoh gave to him in exchange for Sarai, an event associated with Abram’s first act of [...]

Monday: The Abrahamic Covenant
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What covenant promises did God make to Abram in Genesis 12:1–5? What was Abram’s response? 1

God’s initial promises to Abram make up one of the more powerful passages in the Old Testament. These verses all are about God’s grace. It is God, not Abram, who makes the promises. Abram had done nothing to earn or merit God’s favor, neither is there any indication that suggests that God and Abram had somehow worked together to come up with this agreement. God does all [...]

Sunday: Covenant Basics
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Many regard Paul’s interpretation of the history of Israel in Galatians 4:21–31 as the most difficult passage in his letter. That’s because it is a highly complex argument that requires a broad knowledge of Old Testament persons and events. The first step in making sense of this passage is to have a basic understanding of an Old Testament concept central to Paul’s argument: the concept of the covenant. 1

The Hebrew word translated “covenant” is berit. It occurs nearly three hundred times in the [...]

Sabbath: The Two Covenants
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Read for This Week’s Study:
Gal. 4:21–31; Gen. 1:28; 2:2, 3; 3:15; 15:1–6; Exod. 6:2–8; 19:3–6.

Memory Text:
“But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother” (Galatians 4:26)

Christians who reject the authority of the Old Testament often see the giving of the law on Sinai as inconsistent with the gospel. They conclude that the covenant given on Sinai represents an era, a dispensation, from a time in human history when salvation was based on obedience to the law. But because the people failed to live [...]