The Beginning of the Book of the Covenant

Ten wordsAs we begin this this study of what is written in the Book of the Covenant, it’s important to realize that what we call “The Ten Commandments” is really called “The Ten Words”, “The Ten Sayings” or “The Ten Matters” in Greek. The English word “Decalogue” is derived from the Greek word dekalogos, Deka. In Greek this means Ten, and Logous meaning words in other words deka logous. This is where we derive the “Ten Words.”

The tablets that the covenant are made of are stone tablets. They have the book of the covenant inscribed on them. This is called luwach bĕriyth in Hebrew, meaning “tablets of the covenant.” We read about the tablets in Exodus 31:18, “and he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, the two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” Notice the Tables of testimony. Why is it called this? We need to get a clearer understanding of what this testimony is and how important it is to our walk with the Lord.

Let’s look at Psalm 119:14-15, “I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.” When you read this psalm it makes it much more clear that David is referring only the Book of the Covenant. The tables (tablets) of the testimony is the book the covenant that David is repeatedly bring into remembrance, the precepts. When we keep them they guide us in the correct path.

Let’s clear up something’s in Exodus 20:1, “And God spake all these words, saying”  Notice it does not say “and God spoke these commandments.” In Hebrew the word for commandment is “mitzvah.” It says God spoke “all these words” even though in Exodus 34:8 (King James Bible) it clearly says “Ten Commandments.” It is still translated in Hebrew from the word Dabar Meaning “Word” & “Speak” or even “Thing.” Even thought it could have the meaning of the word “command.” When you look at it in context you realize God is referring to them as sayings, utterances, or statements, but not commandments.  Just as a side note, Speaking comes out of the mouth, this is where our thoughts form a connection to the physical world.

In other words, God is giving us his best advice. He is teaching us about the basic rules of the spiritual realm. When we understand that He is giving us His best advice, and we when are willing to obey them, then we can connect more fully with the Lord. Remember just as a good parent teaches by example and gives their children the best advice they can, a good parent wants the best for their children so they can have good relationships with God and man.  In turn God gives us a promise in Exodus 19:5, “now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine.” And in Exodus 19:6, “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”

Let’s take a look in the new testament. We see Jesus speaking to a lawyer in Luke 10:25-28, “and, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  He said unto him, What is written in the law (The Covenant)? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” Jesus is only talking about the book of the Covenant not the book of the Law. We need to remember it was only though the death of Jesus that we are brought back into the Covenant. By just keeping these precepts you will not be saved or have life. Remember Jesus had to die in order to bring us back into the covenant relationship with his father.  As James 2:8  says, “if ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well.” James then goes on to talk about the book of the covenant.

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The Levitical Priesthood

Consecration of Aaron and His SonsThe Levitical Priesthood was instituted because of the sin of the golden calf, it was brought into existence to administer the book of the Law because the Covenant had been broken Hebrews 9:10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. We read in Ezekiel 20:25-26 Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; and I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the LORD.  We can also see all the way back in the book Genesis how God knew how these two priesthoods would interact with man Genesis 14:19-20 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. The Levitical Priesthood submitted through Abraham to the authority to the heavenly Melchizedek Priesthood Hebrews 7:9-10  and as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes “IN” Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father when Melchisedec met him.

Up until this time it was the firstborn that were the priests of the household now God changes that as we read in Numbers 3:12 and I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine;

The Levitical Priesthood is also mentioned in as they are setting up the Tabernacle in the wilderness Moses also is told by God to anoint Aaron and his sons Exodus 40:13-15  and thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats: And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations. We also read in Numbers 8:16-19 For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the firstborn of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto me. For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself. And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel. And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary.

You begin to realize from that the Levitical Priesthood is not so much instituted to punish Israel, even though they did this to themselves, it was instituted to protect them until the Messiah Jesus would come.

Learning about the Levitical Priesthood is very important, it’s the training program that God uses to teach about the Spiritual realm, learning about what pleases God and what does not. in our study’s Gods Word will confirm itself instructing the soul, Learning to get closer to the Lord.

 

Who is the Melchizedek ?

 Meeting of abraham and melchizadekWho is the Melchizedek ? 

We first meet Melchizedek in Genesis  14:18 – “and Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.” This is after Abram rescues Lot at the slaughter of the kings. In the book of Hebrews 7:1 we read “For this Melchisedec (Melchizedek), king of Salem, Priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him.”

Jesus is spoken of as our Melchizedek High Priest, as confirmed in the Old Testament in Psalm 110:4  “the LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Jesus is a relative of King David, and references Psalm 110 of himself  in Matthew 26:64 – “thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” Again in Matthew 22:42-45 we read, “what think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, ‘The Son of David’. He saith unto them, ‘How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then called him Lord, how is he his son?’”

Jesus is our High Priest. As Hebrews 4:14 states, “seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” Further, in Hebrews 6:20 we read, “whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”

We have identified Jesus as our Melchizedek high priest, as we will soon see there are two main Priesthoods in Scripture. These is the “Levitical Priesthood” and the “Melchizedek Priesthood.” We are at the very beginning of our study. The goal is to help bring a Biblical understanding from the New and Old testaments of these Priesthoods, shedding light on Jesus’ priesthood, and our callings as Priests of the New Covenant. As it states in Isaiah 28:10 – “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” In second 2 Timothy 2:15 it says “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” When you approach God’s word in this way it won’t be just a study for knowledge, it will be a journey towards your destination.

The first thing we need to understand is Jesus does not qualify to be a Levitical Priest. Hebrews 8:4  states, “for if he were on earth, he should not be a Priest, seeing that there are Priests that offer gifts according to the law.” If Jesus is our High Priest how is it that he could not be a Priest? The answer is that he is not a Levitical Priest, he is a Melchizedek. The Levitical Priesthood offered gifts according to the Book of Law and the Melchizedek Priesthood offers gifts according to the Book of the Covenant. Jesus is from the Tribe of Judah. In order to be a Levitical Priest you had to be from the tribe of Levi, and more specifically a descendant of Aaron. There are two things that need to be considered here. First we need to understand the book of covenant versus the book of the law.  It is important to understand that it is the Levitical Priests’ job to administer the Book of the Law and the Melchizedek Priests’ job to administer the Covenant. Second, God’s original intent was for His People to be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. As Exodus 19:6  states, “and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” We also read in 1 Peter 2:9 – “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

The Book of the Law

Deuteronomy 31book of the LawThe Book of the Law 

The book of the Law starts after the sin of the Golden Calf.  Exodus 24:12 states, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.” We see that he makes new tables which are a new hard copy of the book of the Covenant in stone. In addition God gives a Law that can be read from Exodus 24:12 through Leviticus, Numbers and much of Deuteronomy. There is no proposal, it was not accepted, it was never blood ratified, and there was no covenant confirming meal. This is because it was never part of the Covenant of Promise.

We read in  Galatians 3:19, “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” Notice that the Word says the Law was added because of transgressions.  Hebrews 9:10 states, “Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.” Paul teaches us that this law was imposed until the time of reformation, reinforcing that fact that the Law is a school master. Galatians 3:24-25 states, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

Although the book of the law was added because of transgression, it is still important because it teaches us about the patterns and designs, in turn helping us to discover spiritual the meaning of the heavenly realm. God was very specific when he spoke to Moses. We read in that God Commanded Moses in Exodus 25:40, “and look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.” God showed how the Tabernacle in the wilderness was to be built, and the governing forces of the book of the Covenant and the Book of the Law that would protect Israel until Jesus came as our High Priest to bring us back into Covenant as was originally intended.

There was also a distinct place where the Law was placed. It was put it in the side of the Ark of the Covenant as for a witness against thee. We read in Deuteronomy 31:26, “Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.”

The Book of the Covenant

Moses Coming Down From Mount SinaiThe Book of the Covenant 

To understand the Book of the Covenant, we need to go back to Genesis Chapter 15. Here we find God making a Covenant promise to Abram (his name is Abram before God changes it to Abraham). We read about the Covenant that God makes with Abram in Genesis 15:6-8, “and he believed in the LORD, and he counted it to him for righteousness. And he said unto him, ‘I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.’ And he said, ‘Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?’”  Answering Abram, God speaks in covenant biblical language that Abram would understand and moves through the pieces of the split animals. By doing this, God says that if someone should break this Covenant, then someone is going to die. Next we read the prophetic words in Genesis 15:13-14,“and he said unto Abram, ‘Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.'”

Now fast forward 430 years and the children of Israel have been set free and are at the base of Mount Sinai. Here God speaks to Moses showing the fulfillment of this prophecy in Exodus 12:36 and revealing His intent for Israel. Exodus 19:5-6 says, “now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” There are four main points to be considered. These are the steps God uses to establish His covenant: ONE – the proposal, TWO – the acceptance of the proposal referenced in Exodus 19:7-8THREE – the blood ratification, and FOUR – the Covenant confirming meal, being found in Exodus Chapter 24This incredible story is from the throne room of God it is the ratification of the covenant originally made with Abraham (which is a marriage covenant with His people).

Then we read in Exodus 32 that in less than forty days Israel breaks the covenant which changes everything. Remember in Genesis 15 the Covenant promise had a death penalty added to it ensuring that it will be kept because Abram asked “HOW SHALL I KNOW THAT I WILL INHERIT IT? “ If someone should break this Covenant then someone is going to die.

I encourage you to spend some time to read the Book of the Covenant. It starts from Exodus Chapter 19:5 – 24:8-11This book includes the Ten Commandments.

The Covenant promise required a death penalty. See Exodus 32:9-11 it states, “And the LORD said unto Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.’ And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, ‘LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?'”

See Exodus 32:30-34  it says, “And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, ‘Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.’ And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, ‘Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.’ And the LORD said unto Moses,’Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.'”

 God delays the death penalty:  Exodus 32:35 says, “And the LORD plagued the people because they made the calf, which Aaron made.” This delay is until the time when the Messiah would come, taking our place and excepting the death penalty whereby bringing us back into the covenant, also God also makes a change to the priesthood, and God adds the book of the Law.

Side note: If you’re paying close attention when studying the book of Exodus you will note it is not written in chronological order as is the book of Genesis.  It is a chronological this is important to understand if don’t see this you will miss the understanding of the sequence of events, leading you down a path of misunderstanding unable to put together what God has in store for you.

 

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