About 400 years after the Abrahamic Covenant, God enters into a second covenant. The first covenant was made between God and Abraham. This second covenant was made with the Jewish nation itself.
Jacob with his 12 sons and their families went down into Egypt because of the famine. At first they prospered under the leadership of Joseph. But with the passing of time they became slaves under a Pharaoh who did not know Joseph. (Exodus 1:8)
Through all these years God never forgot His covenant with Abraham. He prepared Moses at the burning bush and said in Exodus 3:7-8 "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. "So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.
By this time the Jews had all but forgotten the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were uneducated and dirty. Nobody wanted them except as slaves. BUT God called them “my people.” He had not forgotten His covenant, His promise that through the nation of Israel all the nations of the earth would be blessed.
So God raised up Moses and delivered the Jewish people from slavery and brought them to Mount Sinai. Having been under Egyptian slavery for centuries, the children of Israel had become primitive, uneducated, and had forgotten what the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was like and His promises.
At Sinai, God started to change this multitude into the nation that would emerge from the desert. To begin this process that would bring civil, moral, and religious stability to them and allow them to enter into the promised land He entered into a second covenant with His people.
Since Moses was the appointed leader of the people, the covenant would bear his name “The Mosaic Covenant.” or simply “the Law.” Moses became known as “the lawgiver.”
There are five major components in a covenant between a ruler (in the Mosaic Covenant, God) and his subjects (the Jews) are prominent in the Scriptures.
FIRST – this covenant had a PREAMBLE. In this part of the covenant, the author of the covenant was identified and his title give. Exodus 20:1-2 And God spoke all these words, saying: " I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
SECOND – this covenant had a HISTORICAL PROLOGUE. This dealt with the acts of the ruler on behalf of his people and why they should want to enter into covenant with him. Exodus 19:4-5 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. 'Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.
THIRD – this covenant had STIPULATIONS. These were the principles that governed the relationship between the Lord and His people. It included the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and general laws (Exodus 21:1-23:19). The ancient rabbis said there was a total of 613 laws given to Israel by God.
FOURTH – this covenant had the promise of BLESSINGS AND CURSING. Blessings were promised IF the people would hear and heed the instructions of God. On the other hand there would be cursing IF they did not head and heed the Lord's instruction (Exodus 23:20-33; Deuteronomy 28). Blessing conveys the idea of the giving of life and goodness; and cursing, of death and badness.
FIFTH – this covenant had a OATH. This involved the pledge on the part of the people to observe all that was included in the covenant. Exodus 24:3 So Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words which the LORD has said we will do." Here was the willingness of the people to accept and obey the covenant.
The Mosaic Covenant, like the Abrahamic Covenant, was confirmed in blood. Exodus 24:8 And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, "This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words."
A number of important principles should be noted concerning the Mosaic Covenant.
FIRST – the Mosaic Covenant, unlike the Abrahamic Covenant, is bilateral or conditional in nature. The children of Israel agreed to the Covenant. The ruler, in this case, God, did not unconditionally promise and swear to keep this Covenant in place. The Mosaic Law was a performance code which could b nullified by God if its conditions were not met. They said in, Exodus 19:8 "All that the LORD has spoken we will do." If they did not, then God could nullify the covenant.
SECOND – the Mosaic Covenant neither replaced nor modified the Abrahamic Covenant. The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian believers: Galatians 3:17-18 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
THIRD – the Law, which never superseded the Abrahamic Covenant, was not a way TO life, it was a way OF life. No one every gained entrance to heaven by keeping the Law. Abraham believed God (concerning His promise of a coming seed), and it (his faith) was counted unto him as righteousness. Under the Mosaic Covenant, men who sought to keep the Law with proper motive were not saved because they kept the Law, but because of their faith in God's revealed Word. Attempting to “DO” the work of the Law testified to their “FAITH” in the Lawgiver. And His promise of a coming Savior.
FOURTH – the Law was good. Its weakness was not in the ruler or the rules themselves. Its weakness was in the servants of the ruler. They swore to uphold the Law and said:
Exodus 24:3 So Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words which the LORD has said we will do." But they could not – it was beyond the ability of their fallen nature.
One of the Law's primary purposes was to be a way to lead men to Christ and grace by demonstrating that they could not keep the Law. Galatians 3:24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
FIFTH – the Old Testament itself called attention to the inadequacies and temporary character of the Mosaic Covenant by speaking of a New Covenant yet to come. The prophet Jeremiah wrote in Jeremiah 31:31-33 " Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah -- "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
The New Covenant would supersede the Law and, instead of being written on tablets of stone, God would put His law in men's hearts.
Under the New Covenant men are supernaturally enabled to please God because they have been given a new nature.