In the previous series on Exodus we saw how God redeemed Israel from slavery and brought them to Himself at Mount Sinai. There He entered into a covenant relationship with them. This was a critical stage in His plan to restore His creation. They were free, but not with the perverse kind of freedom to which Adam aspired.
The rest of the story describes what they did with that freedom and discovered what the LORD intended by the statement, “I will be your God and you will be My people”. This relationship is at the heart of covenant, lifting it above the notion of a mere contract.
- We will begin with a brief overview of the major covenants described in the Bible.
- The second part deals with the regulations that governed the corporate life of Israel and kept it separate from the nations. Leviticus is the main text for this section, with cross reference to the associated New Testament passages.
- In the third part we engage with the Epistle to the Hebrews, demonstrating how the purpose of the High Priesthood of Jesus was the inauguration of the New Covenant, made first with the House of Israel and the House of Judah.
- Finally, in Galatians, we see how the tension between the two Covenants is resolved in the coming of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
I am particularly indebted to Professor G.J. Wenham for his insights into Leviticus in “The New International Commentary on the Old Testament” series, and to Michael Eaton for his understanding of the Law, particularly in Galatians, in “A Theology of Encouragement”.