Since the day our first parents fell in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:15), God has sought to restore the connection between Himself and humanity. The revelation of His covenant of mercy is as ancient as sin, which called forth the exercise of His forgiveness, grace, and restorative power. Since the beginning of time, all who have received His covenant have done so by faith ( Heb. 11:4-8).
The Lord raised up a special people, whom He organized into the nation Israel. Their lives were to be guided by the principles of grace, thus enabling them to receive the blessings of His salvation and to show the world the benefits of obedient faith. God chose Moses as the earthly deliverer and shepherd of Israel. And to him He committed a body of laws--moral, civil, physical, and ceremonial--that were to guide the Hebrews to knowledge of the Saviour. Under Moses' leadership, Israel was identified as "the church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38). When as a people they rejected Christ, the Israelites rejected their role as light bearers to the world. Christ transferred that honor to His church, composed of believers from every nation (Matt. 21:43).