Having been freed from Egyptian bondage and led to safety by God’s providence, the Israelites—descendants of God’s friend Abraham (James 2:23)—were given the opportunity to become God’s “treasured possession,” His “holy nation.” These blessings would be poured out if the nation fully obeyed God and kept His covenant. Israel responded, “All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.” (Ex. 24:3) Thus began Israel’s Law Covenant.
The Ten Commandments soon followed and formed the basis of the Jewish Law. (Ex. 20:1-17) The first four of the ten commandments defined man’s relationship to God. The fifth commandment described the relationship with one’s parents. The last five commandments described relationships with others. The final commandment makes the Law unique from all other laws in that it forbids selfishness toward others, a law that can only be enforced by God. These were combined with about six hundred other laws and regulations that governed everything from hygiene, to diet, and relationships. The Law was from God and it was holy (Rom. 7:12,14), a standard of perfection which if kept would grant life.—Lev. 18:5
Throughout Israel’s history, it was shown again and again that it was impossible to keep the Law in full. All fell short of the standard it established. Even those whom God loved fell far short of keeping the precepts of the Law in major ways, including murder, lust, envy, and hatred. In the New Testament Jesus stated that the Law hung on two main things, loving God supremely and loving others as oneself. (Matt. 22:35-40) He showed that in perfecting these two loves it was possible to satisfy the demands of the Law. Christ was the only human to ever keep the Law in every aspect and thus, he alone was worthy of life.
The Apostle Paul wrote the Law was “added because of transgressions, till the seed should come.” It was a “schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.” It revealed that all humans, including the Jews, are under sin and cannot obtain life by the “works of the law.” (Gal. 3:19,24,10) It proved the words of Romans 3:23, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” It showed the nation of Israel then and us today how very important God’s forgiveness and mercy are to our standing as favored sons and daughters.
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For more information, please see the following:
Israel in History and Prophecy
The Law Covenant
God’s Miraculous Timepiece
Future of Israel and the World
The Miracle of the Fig Tree
This Land is Mine
Blood of Atonement
My People, My Land With My Whole Heart and Soul