Secret of the Covenants

Bible Study Guide

(To see the introduction to this Study - go to Start Here)

 

The Holy Bible is a huge book. There are 66 books in the Bible written by 40 different authors. It can be a daunting task trying to make sense of the story flow as we open it for study. God reveals himself in the pages and has a plan for mankind which is difficult to explore unless we discover a pattern which applies to us as Christians.

 

Now, whilst all the books are inspired by God for instruction in all matters, we can see that a pattern exists in the books that deals directly with a nation that God used to show his plan for mankind. With this in mind we would like to study four books in the Old Testament and explore how they will show that God gave us an example to follow if we desire to know our destination in our walk ( 1 Cor 10: 11 ) as a Christian.

 

The four books are Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. We will not involve Genesis at this stage but will acknowledge the history and generations mentioned there briefly during the study.

 

We used a commonly used Bible Commentary and selected the paragraph headings as a guide to proceed with the sequence of events which show the pathway to understand the story flow of each of the books. (You would have seen these referred to in the introduction, and the Charts).

 

The nation, we are referring to above, that God had selected to show His plan for mankind and to be an example to the nations around them, was Israel.

 

This nation was in captivity in Egypt, and through a series of miracles God released them and brought them out of Egypt, and lead them through the wilderness to a place He had promised them, called the Promised Land. (There is an incredible analogy here that equates to our Christian walk and our journey to the Kingdom of God which we will look at another time.)

 

Exodus

 

Let’s review Chart 1 'Exodus Overview' again -

This time there are some points that we would like you to consider as you read through it:

  • Exod 19:1 Note that it is three months from when the Israelites left Egypt
  • Exod 24:7-8 After Moses reads the book of the Covenant to the people he sprinkles the people with blood - "the blood of the Covenant which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words"
  • Exod 31:1 the Golden Calf incident - still only around three months from when they left Egypt
  • Exod 34: 21-22 mention of the Sabbath and Holy Days (three times a year)
  • Exod 35:1 The Tabernacle is constructed on the first day of the first month of the second year

We thought it helpful to show the Old Covenant written in Exodus broken down by verse, on a separate chart, which will be helpful later in the study …

See Chart 2: Exodus 20 – 23

This shows the 10 Commandments given on Mt Sinai in Ex: 19-20, followed by the Covenant He made with them, (Ex: 20-25-31).

As you study Chart One you will see that God, through Moses, made a covenant with the people of Israel after they had agreed to the terms. You will notice that this Covenant (The Old Covenant) was ratified with blood (verse 8) by Moses at Mt Sinai, after the young men offered the sacrifices (note - there was no priesthood at this stage).

 

Elsewhere it is stated that the shedding of blood seals a Covenant (Heb 9: 18), and a Covenant can’t be changed (as in Deut 12: 32 & Deut 4: 2), unless the Covenant is broken by the death of one of the parties.

 

The Old Covenant was made on Mt Sinai and ratified with blood. Moses read the book of the Covenant to the people, that God had given to him on the mountain, and all the people said “all that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient”. (Exod 24: 5-8)

 

We should also note that included in the Old Covenant are three seasons: Unleavened Bread; Feast of Weeks; and Ingathering (Ex 23: 14-16). The Holy Days, which were given to Israel, for worshiping God.

 

This whole outstanding event happened at Mt Sinai, just three moons, or three months, out of Egypt. This incredible scenario was heralded by lightning, thunder, black clouds, smoke, fire and quaking, and the sound of ‘blowing’, (the Bible says ‘a trumpet’ but the Hebrew word is Strong’s 8643 which is 'clamor', from Strong’s 7321 i.e. ‘ear piercing noise’). What an exciting event heralding the giving of God’s Law and Covenant on a smoking mountain – no wonder the people were afraid. Luckily, God had set boundaries to protect them.

 

God, also gave Moses instructions, while he was on the mountain 40 days, as to how the tent of the meeting, or Tabernacle, was to be built, and in verse 11 of chapter 40 the Tabernacle was erected on the first day of the first month of the second year – so one year from Egypt the Tabernacle was up and ready for the new priesthood (Ex 40: 14).

 

Recapping:

 

Chart one (Exodus Overview) shows the history of Israel from the calling of Moses to the erecting of the Tabernacle one year out from leaving Egypt.

 

Chart two shows in detail the 10 Commandments and the Old Covenant.

 

Now Chart Three (Leviticus Overview) organised similarly to Chart one, setting up the rituals of the tabernacle and establishing the priesthood.

 

Leviticus

 

As we review Chart 3 'Leviticus Overview' again -

There are some points that we would like you to consider as you read through it:

  • Chapter one - starts off with the different offerings required and goes to chapter 7. Having laid down the sacrifices we now move on to Aaron, and his sons, being instigated as priests (Chapter 8).
  • Chapter 11 - talks about the clean an unclean foods, childbirth, leprosy, and issues of health.
  • Chapter 16 - Now this is an interesting chapter but let us study it as it appears in God’s word. Here we have a special day, a day mentioned in verse 23, another Holy Day.

 

Why is a day added to the Holy Day list here one year AFTER the rest were ratified with blood on Mt Sinai, when nothing could be added or taken away from the Covenant?

 

The all wise, all knowing God, knew that the people would not be perfect and would sin, as all humans do, so He devised a plan to cover the sins of Israel once a year. This is done on the Day of Atonement. Looking forward, the plan of God makes provision; a way of forgiving sins.

 

We as Christians, accept the blood of Jesus Christ, repent and on being baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us in our Christian walk. Our sins are removed as far as the east is to the west. We go on in confidence. But not so for the ancient Israelites – they weren’t given this chance, but God had prepared a plan in advance for them and their sins (hark back to the Golden Calf incident, three months out of Egypt, while Moses was on Mt Sinai, they broke every rule in the book!).

 

God devised a plan to cover their sins for 12 months, and continue to cover their sins annually on the Day of Atonement, as an everlasting statute for them (the nation of Israel).

 

This is the precursor of an event to occur in the future when Jesus Christ’s blood would be shed for the remission of sins for ALL and done once! (Heb 9:1-28)

 

Note on Holy Days: Trumpets and Atonement

There is little explanation of the meaning of these two days in the Bible.

The only explanation is that Trumpets was a memorial of the ‘sound of blowing of trumpets’ (see Strongs 8643) and we have already explained what happened at Mt Sinai to have this recorded as an annual National celebration.

As for the Day of Atonement - It is a ceremony to cleanse and cover the sins of the priesthood and the congregation, once a year.

Now Atonement means ‘covering’. In Genesis 6, verse 14, Noah atoned the Ark with pitch (Strong’s 3722) which means ‘to cover’. This is the same word used in Leviticus 16, ‘Atonement’ means ‘covering’ and that’s what the result of the Day of Atonement was – a covering of their sins, for 12 months, and it happened year after year, unlike our Saviour’s sacrifice, it happened once, for all and lasts forever.

 

The first way of dealing with the people’s sin was to cover it (temporary) and the real and second way God deals with sin is to abolish the penalty, and eventually abolish it forever, through Jesus Christ. How wonderful a plan! How it fits now reveals a merciful God offering salvation!

 

Numbers

 

Once again, as you review Chart 4 'Numbers Overview', the breakdown of paragraphs, provide a clear description of the events of the fourth book in this study. Chart Four is the basis of understanding the journey of the Israelites through the wilderness to the plains of Moab, forty years later.

 

The start to the book of Numbers, provides an endless list of names and tribes, all necessary but off-putting for a casual reader. But we’re not here to be distracted, the following is an important part of the story of the Secret of the Covenants.

 

Important Laws are given for various activities as they traveled through the wilderness for 40 years.

  • Chapter 9: a supplementary Passover for those who, for various reasons, missed the original.
  • Chapter 10: covers the journey from Sinai to Paran – note: this journey started on the 20th day of the 2nd month of the 2nd year (Num 10: 11),
  • Chapter 13: the Israelites sojourning at Kadesh.
  • Chapter 20: the journey from Kadesh to the Plains of Moab,
  • Chapter 22: Events on the Plains of Moab,
  • Chapter 28: Holy Days again are mentioned, Note: the two extra Holy Days are mentioned again, as in Leviticus 23.

We have already seen in Exodus 23:14 that there are only three of the Holy Days mentioned – Unleavened Bread, Harvest, and Ingathering, given in the (old) Covenant at Mt Sinai.

 

So how and why are there two extra Holy Days here for Israel to celebrate? This will be made clear in the next book – Deuteronomy! A book of exciting revelations!!

 

Deuteronomy

 

Now we come to that book that reveals some very interesting revelations. Deuteronomy is so full of surprises that we will spend a little more time discussing it.

 

Here we are in the fortieth year, the eleventh month and the first day of the month [Deut. 1: 3] ready to cross the Jordan River into the promised land, their destination.

 

Let's review Chart 5: 'Deuteronomy Overview'.

It is important to note the next points.

  • Chapter 5: Verse 6 - The 10 Commandments given this day.
  • Chapter 6: Verse 4 - Law in your heart --- Very New Testament.
  • Chapter 26: Verse 16 - End of the covenant.

(Chart 6 shows this 2nd law with all the commandments and ordinances listed.)

 

In chapter 16: verse 1, we have the Holy days listed again but notice - the listing is back to three seasons a year. Passover/ Unleavened Bread, Ingathering (Verse 10) and Booths (Tabernacles).

 

Why are the three seasons commanded in Exodus and Deuteronomy in the covenants there, and in Leviticus and Numbers, there are two extra Holy Days added? Remember that a Covenant once ratified with blood cannot have anything added to or taken away from it.

 

Let’s leave that question while we explore another misunderstood subject. It’s always been said that the two covenants mentioned in Exodus and Deuteronomy are the same only a few minor changes were made for the conditions that changed from a wilderness sojourn to a permanent occupying of the promised land. Let’s see if this is true.

 

Studying charts 8 and 9, we will see that there are approximately 70 laws and ordinances in Exodus, and approximately 80 in Deuteronomy! Furthermore, there are only 8 that are the same and 6 that are similar! The 10 Commandments are stated in both of the covenants and this is significant also as we will show later in the study. Upon reading both covenants one can easily see they differ dramatically.

 

After comparing charts 8 & 9 the question arises - for what reason are they so different?

 

First they were given to God’s chosen people on Mt. Sinai, then again on the banks of the Jordan River on the plains of Moab 40 years later, when all but two of the original congregation, (Joshua and Caleb), finally entered the Promised Land.

 

Was it God’s plan to conceal the Deuteronomy covenant for a future time? He dramatically delivered the Exodus covenant, at Mt Sinai, in such a fashion that it would be indelibly imprinted in the minds of the people, while it was Moses, on the plains of Moab, who read the words of the covenant in Deuteronomy 29, a less momentous event.

 

It might be part of a divine plan that God uses to conceal the purpose of his dealings at that time so it can be hidden until the appropriate time when He is ready to reveal it. This is a method that the writer, and deliverer of the word of God uses to explain his word to various people.

 

At this stage we should study Chart 7 for an understanding of the covenant God gave his people and the covenant he makes with us called the 'New' Covenant.

 

What is the New Covenant, Where is it mentioned in the Bible, What was Jesus’ teaching on it?

Chart 7 Where is the New Covenant

Introduction:

 

Firstly, read the set of scriptures in Hebrews that state the purpose and importance of the new covenant.

  • Heb 9:15  Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant.
  • Heb 10:9 then he added, "Lo, I have come to do thy will." He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.
  • Heb 8:13 In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
  • Heb 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry which is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.
  • Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second.

 

Tracking it back:

Now compare these scriptures.

  • Heb 10:16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,"
  • Ezek 36:24,26 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds," and V26 A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
  • Jer 31:31-33 "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, V32  not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. V33  But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
  • Deut 30:6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

 

All of these scriptures have the same theme:

  • After those days… future time.
  • Law in your hearts…   personal attitude
  • Forgiveness of sins… saved by Christs sacrifice.

 

Why have we suddenly switched from the two covenants in the wilderness to the reason for a new covenant and what Jesus’ sacrifice portrayed!?

 

Where was it spoken?

 

Deut 1:1. ‘These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan…” and Deut 29:1 "... in the land of Moab…”.

 

When was this spoken?

 

We find that the Bible records that it was spoken on the fortieth year of the eleventh month on the first day, from when they left Egypt. (Deut 1:3)

 

And, it was BESIDES the one given at Horeb (Mt. Sinai). (Deut 29:1)

BESIDES from Strong’s means BESIDES, alongside, so it is another set laws and ordinances given to the Israelites at a different time!

 

Really? Let’s repeat Ex 20: 1-17. God spoke the 10 Commandments and ordinances at Mt. Sinai and Moses spoke the 10 Commandments and ordinances at the plains of Moab (Deut 27:1 THIS day, Verse 10 and 28 :1).

 

Now note this, speaking of the covenant God made with them on the plains of Moab, it was also relevant to those “who are not with us today also”. (Deut 29:14 & 15 Nor is it with you only that I make this sworn covenant, V15  but with him who is not here with us this day as well as with him who stands here with us this day before the LORD our God.)

 

Covenant Hidden!

 

Well, Jesus Christ in his parables, when teaching the crowds was asked by his disciples why He spoke in such a way. Matt 13:10 “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? V11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

 

See also Isa 6:9 -10 And he said, "Go, and say to this people: 'Hear and hear, but do not understand; see and see, but do not perceive.'

 

V10  Make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."

 

Track it back to the previous four scriptures, following the directions on the chart (Chart 7)

 

People Blinded:

 

Other scriptures state that his people are blinded to God’s word. (Deut 29:4, Also Isa 29:10 and Matt 13:10.)

 

Similarly, in the New Testament, we read that Israel is to be made jealous because God will reveal the covenant to the gentiles and offer them salvation first. (Rom 10:18 and 19, and 11:1-5)

 

Also, in the Song of Moses (Deut 32:1-43).

 

Where is the New Covenant?

 

It must be becoming obvious by now the great plan of God reveals that He has selected a people, not by their choosing, but by God’s that He has used as a precursor to a new plan involving a chance of salvation for all and has revealed it in His word, the Holy Bible. Clearly, in the Old Testament the plan was enacted by His people Israel and recorded for us as an example to follow. (1 Cor 10:6:13) So likewise, he has a new plan called the new covenant and we boldly state that this set of laws and ordinances is laid down in scripture as THE NEW COVENANT in the Book of DEUTERONOMY!

 

The NEW COVENANT includes:

  1. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
  2. STATUTES and ORDINANCES

 

God’s Law is forever and cannot be abolished or done away with!

 

When did the New Covenant start?

 

This covenant commenced for those who are called now, Christians, and it was ushered in on the day Jesus Christ died (Matt 26:28), His last Passover.

 

Who is it applicable to?

 

These scriptures show -

  1. Those called now, chosen by God… Rom 11:5
  2. Gentiles called now by God...            Rom 10:19
  3. Israel & Judah. after those days...   Jer 31:31-33
  4. All humanity in the future…                Rom 11:15

 

What a fantastic plan, doesn’t it show the wisdom of our creator God.----- But there’s more!

 

The New Covenant in the Book of Deuteronomy reveals Jesus’ teachings!

 

Before continuing please observe carefully our article on ‘The Teachings of Christ from Deuteronomy

 

You will notice some Bibles have footnotes that refer to another scripture elsewhere in the Bible. When we scrutinize the words of Jesus and the extension of his words in the gospels and epistles, they refer back to one particular book: THE BOOK OF DEUTERONOMY!! (The Revised Standard Version is a good example.)

 

The text shows that the NEW COVENANT we are under, as Christians, is recorded, hidden in the book of DEUTERONOMY.

 

“The Lord reveals his plan to His servants”. (Deut 29:24)

 

A quick summary:

 

  • 1. The two Covenants revealed in the Bible relating to the ancient nation of Israel are different. The Deuteronomy covenant is ‘besides’ the Exodus one and is presented fourty years later. (Note: The Ark of the Covenant contained the Old Covenant, Exod 40:20, and in Deuteronomy the Covenant is placed BESIDE the ark - meaning not part of the Old Covenant, but added, Deut 31:26)

 

  • 2. The Exodus Covenant was ratified with the blood of sacrifices, The Deuteronomy covenant is also for ‘others not there’ at Moab (Deut 29:15) and wasn’t ratified at the time, but came into effect with Christ’s sacrifice and shedding of His blood (Heb 9:15).

 

  • 3. The NEW COVENANT is in the book of Deuteronomy - the teachings of Christ reveal it.

 

  • 4. The Old Covenant is still applicable to those who are under it, for example those of the israelites who are still to accept Christ’s sacrifice.

 

The SECRET of the COVENANTS reveals that the OLD Covenant is fading, and one with better promises is replacing it, which we believe, is recorded in Deuteronomy.

 

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You may also like: 'The Extra Holy Days'

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