How was the history of Ancient Israel influenced by the Mosaic covenant and the Decalogue
The mosaic covenant promised Israel blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience, and this really influenced the people of Israel to choose an upright life. This covenant was addressed to them alone-the Israelites (Campbell, 2004). No one could separate the civil, moral and ceremonial parts of the covenant from each other, but it was to function as a unit. It was the most conditional of all the biblical covenants since it dealt specifically with how the people of God should live-the Israelites (Meyer, 2009). It was mandatory for the Israelites to live an upright life so as to receive blessings in return since they were the chosen one.
The mosaic covenant and the Decalogue contributed a lot in binding ancient Israel together thereby producing a feeling of solidarity among them. Achievement of this bond was recognized as one of the greatest work of Moses since other methods to unite ancient Israel had failed-there were no blood ties close enough to bind Israel together during this era. The predicament of coming up with concepts, covenant, that could bind together all the tribes was reached when the mosaic covenant and the Decalogue were released among the Israelites . The Israelites ended up recognizes Yahweh as their God(Mason, 1981) .
The Israelites foundation of faithfulness was strengthened through this covenant since the offender had to be punished for his/her wrongful deeds-God directly intervened to punish the offender (Campbell, 2004). This led to the mount of a faithful society which exposed good character traits and morals among themselves-the Israelites. Each clan became a vassal of Yahweh by covenant and vault to each other in a holy treaty. All the clans were equal and left free to control their internal affairs so long as the covenant obligations were protected (Meyer, 2009).
The fulfillment of this covenant was dependent upon their obedience to Gods revelation and failure to this would result to the nullification for the blessings of God for that generation in its own time-Remember that disobedience did not invalidate the unconditional terms of the covenant. Due to the Israelites sinful nature, they were prone to stray from Gods word and will. This made the mosaic covenant useful in providing a religious circumvent to keep them from fitting like all the Nations around them (Ps 119: 9).
The Israelites did not need to keep the law to be set free from their bondage for they were unchained from their oppression that they might live for deity in the center of the dishonest and wicked Gentile nations. This act strengthened their faith in God for they knew that their deity was with them at the entire era (Meyer, 2009).
We have a number of curses and blessings found in the Decalogue (Exodus 20: 4-26) which are clearly conditioned upon individual and national obedience. They are distinct from the unconditional blessings of the Abraham covenant. Registration contained in the Mosaic Covenant encouraged a serious mindset among the Israelites regarding submission to the Lord (Mason, 1981). Humility was also portrayed because of Israel unworthiness to be unique people of God, the chosen people (Deut 7: 6-11). The Israelites were expected to portray the right behavior among them and to other nations (Lev 19: 2). The mosaic legislation recognizes Israel as the nation belonging to Yahweh, who was responsible of their deliverance from Egypt. This meant that they had to follow the law to the latter since God was always with them. It was also their requirement to keep the Sabbath which was part of the Decalogue, the so- called moral law. The Sabbath was promulgated at Sinai (Neh 9: 13).
In the mosaic covenant, Yahweh had forbidden the consumption of certain animals flesh among the Israelites (Deut 14: 3 -21). The Israelites were not allowed to feed on all fresh as they were doing before thereby influencing their eating habits and diets (Campbell, 2004).
The introduction of the Decalogue and the mosaic covenant marked the start of a new-fangled period in the record of Gods people where the Israelites were declared a holy nation, and they were supposed to produce priests who could spread the word of God (Mason, 1981). This covenant made it clear to all Israeli rites that it was mandatory to worship Yahweh, but unbelievers were not to participate in worshipping since they were regarded as having no relationship to the object of worship, God(john 4: 24). The Israelites were still worshippers of Yahweh but the covenant enhanced the believers worship and service since it was not designed to bring anyone into the salvific relationship to God (Meyer, 2009). This made the people f Israel to be more serious when conducting the work of God since it was made clear to all Israelites that obedience to the laws of Moses would bring blessings to Gods people, but not salvation from sin(Rom 3: 20).
What literary themes out of the Pentateuch emerge in the writings of Isaiah, Micah and Jeremiah? Pentateuch consists of the first five books which are; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Pentateuch is a Greek term meaning five –books .
Micah writes of the life that was to come about of Israel/Judah after the Babylon exile. The book has a vision of the punishment of Israel and creation of a remnant, which is followed by world peace positioned on Zion under the leadership of Davidic Monarch where Israelites are urged to do justice and turn to Yahweh’s they await their punishment to come to an end. However, whereas Isaiah sees Israel joining the nations under Yahweh’s rule. Micah looks forward to Israel ruling over the nations (Mendenhall, 1954). Isaiah was the visionary who sees the future in mythical terms of complete renewal, only slightly tied to this world’s history by the linking of the divine victory to the return from exile (Mendenhall, 1954).
After the introduction of the mosaic covenant and the dialogue, the Israelites were not to receive salvation but they were to receive blessings if they kept and followed the laws. Isaiah promises of coming to pass in the final days that the ton of the Lords dwelling shall be recognized and all nations shall stream unto it (Meyer, 2009). . The covenant lawsuit found in Isaiah (3: 13-26), portrays God as the prosecuting attorney, plaintiff, and moderator in a court case against the defendant, Israel . the elements are incorporated as follows in Isaiah 3: the courts convenes and the lawsuit are brought against Israel, and the indictment or accusation is spoken and since the evidence shows that Israel is clearly guilty, the judgments sentence is announced. Israelites acts of violating the covenant will have the sorts of punishment listed in the covenant applied to them: destitution, diseases, deprivation and death. This is a successful method of communication to Israel that it will be punished because of its disrespect, and the sentence will be rigorous (Mendenhall, 1954).
Prophet Jeremiah was God’s spokesman during the time of fall of the kingdom of Judah. He announced of the coming destruction of Judah whereby the religion would be individual and spiritual-the coming of the new covenant (Levenson, 1980).
Prophet Jeremiah predicted- 600 years before Jesus- the coming of the new fangled covenant (Jeremiah 31: 31-34). According to him, he saw the new covenant being different from the old (particular as one God completed with the houses of Judah and Israel when he rescued them out of slavery in Egypt–definitely referring to the Mosaic Covenant). This moment, the laws would be printed on people’s hearts, all of them will know the peer of the realm, and He will wholly pardon them. The New Testament book of Hebrews says this is the agreement Christ introduced (Hebrews 8: 7-13). Micah is as forceful. The sacrifices were extra expensive in his day; in order the more for sure to buy the good turn of the Deity. Human sacrifices were in fashion, but Micah says God requires them ” to do fairly, and to love kindheartedness, and to stroll meekly with thy God” (6: 8). This does not in the smallest amount have an effect on sacrifices of the correct kind and with the true spirit (Meyer, 2009).
How did the prophets use the Mosaic covenant and the Decalogue in their critique of Israel?
Many prophets emphasis on the saving events that happened in Israel as of paramount importance since God does not simply reveal himself in the events of history but he reveals himself in the meaning that is given to those events as they are interpreted in terms of confessions and faith in which the faith is formulated (Mendenhall, 1954).
Some prophets argue that the basic pentateuchal themes which were identified by the Noth and von Rad have only been secondarily united at a late stage thereby nullifying any possibility of an original theology of an Elohist. They view it as being limited, for it only examines the theme of the promises to the Israelites and end up excluding the other major tribes. The scriptures teach that these covenants were given to Israel alone, and this nation will exist forever, and that God will never forsake it (Isaiah 14. 1; Jeremiah 31. 35-37)-The Israelites were the favored one. The mosaic covenant, eunuchs and strangers were barred from the complete pleasure of the privileges approved to Israel (Campbell, 2004). But Prophet Isaiah speaks of a covenant that declares a moment is approaching when these limits will come to an end. Prophet Isaiah declares that the stranger (eunuchs and Gentiles) who will obey and love God shall have the benefit of the privileges that have belonged wholly to the selected nation. Prophet Isaiah also shows that God wants to gather all his people together regardless of their back ground and nationality (Mason, 1981). We can be certain that Israel has a distinct place in God’s plans and a unique mission to accomplish.
Mason, R. (1981). Significant Old Testament studies since 1950. Southwestern Journal of Theology, 12(2), 20-29.
Mendenhall, G. E. (1954). Covenant forms in Israelite Tradition, Biblical Archaeologist, 17(3), 50-76.
Levenson, J. D. (1980). The theologies of Commandment in biblical Israel. Harvard Theological Review, 73 (1-2), 17-33.
Campbell, C. C. (2004). Called to the peacable kingdom: the Mosaic covenant of shalom : the Kingdom of God and Zion. Lamar, Mo.: Little Eagle Pub..
Meyer, J. C., & Clendenen, E. R. (2009). The end of the law: mosaic covenant in Pauline theology. Nashville, Tenn.: B&H Academic.
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