GOD'S WARNINGS THROUGH MOSES TO
HIS EARTHLY PEOPLE.
God's first covenant with Israel was very broad in scope, but was
conditional in character; that is to say, the performance of its promises by
Jehovah was dependant upon certain express conditions, which the Israelites
bound themselves to fulfil. Here are the terms of that covenant, as proposed
by God and agreed to by "all the people":
"Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed and keep my covenant" -
note the condition - "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 an holy nation"
Here are three things, which, upon the express conditions of obedience
and fidelity on the part of the children of Israel, God promised to make of
that people: first, a peculiar treasure to Himself; second, a kingdom of
priests; third, a holy nation. There was no promise of earthly territory in
that Siniatic covenant.
Thereupon Moses, in his character of mediator of that covenant, called
for the elders of the people and laid before their faces all these words which
the Lord commanded him. "And all the people answered together, and said, All
that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the
people unto the Lord" (vv. 7,8). So the terms of the contract were agreed to
by both the contracting parties.
Then God spake in their hearing the "Words" they were to keep, the Ten
Commandments (Chap. XX); and He also gave to Moses "the judgments" whereby
their dealings with one another were to be governed (Chaps. XXI - XXIII). And
thereupon "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 hath said we will do" (Ex. 24:3).
Accordingly the contract was reduced to writing and was executed in a
most solemn manner; it being a blood covenant, which was the most binding
sort. For Moses took "the book of the covenant," that is the scroll of
parchment on which the terms of the contract were inscribed, and read in the
audience of the people, and took the blood and sprinkled it on the people and
said, "Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you
concerning all these words" (24:6-8). Here is where we read of the blood of
the old covenant; with which we should compare what is written concerning the
"blood of the new covenant" (Matt. 26:28; Heb. 13:20).
Within the space of forty days that covenant was broken by the
abominable idolatry of the golden calf and the shameless rites with which the
people, led by Aaron, worshipped it (Chap. XXXII); and it should be noted that
the terms of that covenant were never again ratified with that people. We
shall see presently what were the terms of the substituted covenant that God
made with the children of Israel, but we would impress upon the reader, as
truth of the highest importance, that the three wondrously glorious promises
of the covenant of Exodus XIX - XXIV were reserved for another people, the
true Israel. For to them, the apostle Peter writes that God had made them
apart from all conditions, "a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar
people" (1 Pet. 2:9).
When the Israelites made and worshipped the golden calf, God was
minded to destroy them and to make of Moses a great nation (Ex. 32:10). Had He
done so, He would nevertheless have fulfilled the promises He made "to Abraham
and his seed" (Gal. 3:16); for Moses was a direct descendant of Abraham. For
the same reason it follows that, in fulfilling those promises to Jesus Christ
(Gal. 3:7, 29), God has kept His covenant with Abraham in letter as well as in
But Moses interceded for the people; and God spared the people, and
commanded Moses to lead them to the land He had promised to Abraham, Isaac,
and to Jacob 33:1; and He made with them another covenant (34:10); which
covenant, in respect to what was promised thereby, was very inferior to the
covenant they had broken; for this substituted covenant (which was not a blood
covenant) was restricted to the terms and conditions upon which God would
permit them to continue in possession of the land of Canaan.
Those terms and conditions are set forth in detail in the book of
Deuteronomy; where, after the recital of them, Moses writes :
"These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to
make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant
which He made with them in Horeb" (Deut. 29:1).
The subsequent history of the Israelites shows that they broke this
substituted covenant also; and not in one particular only, but in every
particular, thereby forfeiting irretrievably all the stipulated blessings, and
incurring all the curses thereof. That covenant having been finally annulled
("done away," 2 Cor. 3:11; Heb. 10:9, etc.), there remains now, of all the
covenants ever made by God with a people in this world, none but "the
everlasting covenant," or "new covenant," whereof Jesus Christ is the
Guarantor ("Surety," Heb. 7:22), who fulfils all the conditions of perfect
obedience, even "unto death"; and is also the Mediator (Heb. 9:15; 12:24) ;
which covenant was, as we have seen, sealed with His own blood.
Therefore, as regards God's covenants with that earthly people,
"Israel after the flesh," the matter stands thus: the conditional promises
thereof were all nullified by their breach of covenant; whereas the
unconditional promises were all fulfilled to them, to the last detail, through
Moses and Joshua; and God, moreover has caused that fact to be plainly
recorded, as we shall presently see.
Let us now notice briefly some of the records made by Moses concerning
the covenant under which the Israelites entered into possession of the land
that God had sworn to their fathers to give them:
A very comprehensive prophecy is found in Numbers 33:55,56, where God
plainly says, through Moses, that in case they should fail to drive out the
inhabitants of the land, as He had repeatedly commanded them to do, then as a
first consequence, those that were permitted to remain should become pricks in
their eyes and thorns in their sides; and "Moreover, it shall come to pass
that I shall do unto you as I thought to do unto them"; and what He purposed
as to those idolatrous nations was their national extermination and their
expulsion from that land. This prophecy concerning the earthly Israel has been
Deut. 4:1. Here is a summary of the covenant. They were to hearken
always to God's statutes and judgments; and, upon that express condition, they
were to go in and possess the land. Every blessing mentioned in this book is
made to depend upon that same condition. This chapter lays special emphasis
upon the Second Commandment (vv. 15-24); for it was because of the breaking of
that commandment that the Siniatic covenant had been nullified; and now God
proclaims to the whole nation, and makes it a matter of record, what would
certainly be the penal consequences to them if they should break this
substituted covenant. And not only so, but He confirms His word with a solemn
oath, saying, "I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that
ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over to Jordan
to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be
destroyed" (v. 26). Will God fulfil His word? Shall heaven and earth bear
witness that He did not mean what He said?
Careful note should be taken of the promise of mercy (Verses 29,30)
which should be fulfilled to them if, when scattered among the heathen (vv.
27,28), any of the should turn to the Lord:
- "If from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find Him,
if thou seek Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art
in tribulation and all these things are come upon thee, if thou turn to
the Lord thy God and shalt be obedient unto His voice."
This is the promise of the gospel of Christ. It is repeated in Isaiah
55:7 ("the sure mercies of David," Isa. 55:3, Ac. 13:34); and is recalled by
Paul in 2 Cor. 3:16. It is the one and only hope for the natural Israelite, as
for all mankind. The conditions are, "turn to the Lord" (i.e., repent) and be
"obedient to His voice" (obey the gospel by coming in faith to Jesus Christ).
Specially is it to be noted that this promise is to the individual, there
being no collective promise for the nation as a whole. This is the mercy of
the everlasting covenant which God had sworn to their fathers (v. 31). Thus it
stands in the Word of God.
But compare this with the now current system of teaching, according to
which God will being the Israelites in a body again after the day of gospel
salvation is ended, to Palestine "in unbelief"; and will there convert the
entire nation, not by faith, but by the sight of Jesus Christ standing on the
Mount of Olives!
The above quoted warning and oath of God that He would, in the event
of their lapse into disobedience and idolatry, destroy them from off the land,
was never revoked or modified, that I can find; but on the contrary, it was
reiterated again and again.
Deut. 6:14,15. "Ye shall not go after other gods of the people which are
round about you... lest the anger of the Lord be kindled against thee, and
destroy thee from off the face of the earth" (or land).
Deut. 7:1, 2, 3. Here they are forbidden to make any covenants with the
Canaanites and to intermarry with them (they subsequently did both); the
penalty for disobedience being stated thus: "So will the anger of the Lord be
kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly" (v. 4). For while He "keepeth
covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments," yet He
"repayeth them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them." (vv. 9.10).
Deut. 8:1-18. This chapter is of capital importance. In it Moses charges
the children of Israel to remember all God's dealings with them in Egypt and
in the wilderness, saying:
"Otherwise it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord
thy God, and walk after other gods and serve them, I testify against you
this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord
destroyed before your face, so shall ye perish, because ye would not be
obedient unto the voice of the Lord you God."
Here God declares explicitly the completeness of their destruction as
a nation. It was to be such as obliterated those nations which the Lord had
destroyed before their face. Can it be supposed He did not mean this? And if
He meant it, how can anyone maintain, in the face of so clear a statement, the
doctrine of a national restoration for Israel?
Furthermore, the form of this tremendously impressive warning, "Ye
shall surely perish," is like that given to Adam, "Thou shalt surely die." But
in the case of Adam, God's enemy, the father of lies, raised a question
concerning the divine utterance; "Yea, hath God said?" With This example and
its disastrous consequences in mind, we should be suspicious as to the source
of the doctrine which declares, concerning the nation of Israel, that, it
shall not perish, but that, on the contrary, it is to be not only saved, but
also is to be exalted to the place of supremacy among and over the nations of
Deut. 11:1-9. Moses here recalls God's judgments upon Pharaoh, his land and
his army; also His judgments upon Dathan and Abiram; and he admonishes the
people of Israel to be warned thereby, and to keep the commandments of the
Lord, "that ye may prolong your days in the land." (Over and over Moses
declares that God was giving them that land solely because He had promised
their fathers He would do so; and that their continued possession of it
depended upon their obedience and fidelity).
And again in this same chapter (vv. 16,17), Moses bids them take heed
that "ye turn not aside and serve other gods and worship them; and then the
Lord's wrath be kindled against you... and ye perish quickly from off the good
land which the Lord giveth you."
And at verses 26-28 we read the choice God presented to them: "Behold,
a blessing and a curse! A blessing if ye obey... a curse, if ye obey not."
Then how about those that obey not the gospel (2 Thess. 1:7-9)?
Then follow a number of chapters (XII-XXVI) containing "the statues
and judgments," they were to obey as the condition of their remaining in
possession of the land and enjoying God's favor and blessing therein; and in
chapter 24: 14-26 are twelve several curses which, after they should have
entered the land of Canaan, the Levites were to recite, as coming upon those
who should sin against the Lord; and to each curse all the people were to
Then in the following chapter (XXVIII) is the solemn declaration that,
if they would not hearken and obey, "all these curses shall come upon thee...
until thou be destroyed" (vv. 15-20). And then, after the recital of a long
list of the appalling evils that were to overtake them, Moses says: (vv.
"Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness and with
gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou
serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee;... and He shall
put a yoke of iron upon thy neck until He have destroyed thee."
This was fulfilled in the Roman oppression of Israel, iron being the
symbol of the Roman empire (Dan. 2:40; 7:7). And the follows (vv. 50-67) that
marvelously exact and vividly descriptive prophecy, which God gave through
Moses, of the final siege and destruction of Jerusalem, the horrors of which
were to be unsurpassed in all history; which prophecy ends with this
prediction (vv. 63-67):
"And it shall come to pass that, as the Lord rejoiced over you to do
good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you,
and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land
whither thou goest to possess it. And the Lord shall scatter thee among all
people, from the one end of the earth unto the other... And among these
nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have
This is their condition at the present time; and it should be noted
that in this same chapter Moses says concerning "all these curses" that "they
shall be upon thee, for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed forever"
Deut. 29:1. Here we learn that the covenant under which the Israelites were
given possession of the land of Canaan was not, as appears to be commonly
supposed at this present time, the covenant of Sinai (and we have already seen
that the covenant said not a word about their possession of any earthly
territory). For here we read: "These are the words of the covenant which the
Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab,
beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb." And this is followed by
a further warning that the breach of this latter covenant would be punished by
an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah; that is, an irrecoverable ruin
Deut. 30:1-10. "And it shall come to pass when all these
things come upon thee" - so it was all to happen, and what then? Special heed
should be given to this chapter, because here is where mercy is promised them;
and here are stated the conditions on which they may obtain it, after they
should have been destroyed as a nation, plucked from off their land, and
scattered among all the nations of the earth. First there is the promise of a
return from captivity if, among the nations wither the Lord should have driven
them, they should "return unto the Lord thy God" (v. 2). Then follows a
passage (vv. 11-14), which is quoted in part by Paul in Romans 10:6-10, and
concerning which he says that "the word," there spoken by Moses, is "the word
of faith which we preach, that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord
Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou
shalt be saved."
Thus we find that the very last hope of mercy that is held out through
Moses to that "disobedient and gainsaying people," to whom God says "I have
stretched out my hands all the day long," is the "one hope" of the gospel of
Verse 15-20 (of Deut. 30) are intensely solemn, and their meaning is
so plain it would be like charging God with trifling (as scoffers make light
of His warnings concerning hell and eternal torment) to say that this pledge,
which God calls heaven and earth to witness, does not mean exactly what it
says. Again we have the plain statement, "If thine heart turn away... ye shall
surely perish, and shall not prolong your days in the land."
Deut. 31:15-21. God now appears to Moses and plainly tells him that "this
people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of strangers, and will
forsake Me, and break My Covenant. And My anger shall be kindled against
them." Therefore He commanded Moses to teach them that remarkable prophetic
"song," which witnessed beforehand what they would do, and what was to befall
them. "For," says God, "I know their imagination even now, before I have
brought them into the land" (21).
To this Moses adds (vv. 27-30) that he knew their rebellion even while
he was with them; "And how much more," he asks, "after my death? For I know
that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and evil will befall
you in the latter days" (and no subsequent recovery is hinted at; though
surely, if such a thing were to be, it would appear here).
Deut. XXXII. Here is the "song" which bears so clear a testimony against
them. Notice the following points:
"They have corrupted themselves; they are a perverse and crooked
generation" (5): "Remember" all that the Lord did for them (7-14); "But" - how
they requited Him; and then, what He will do because thereof: "I will hide my
face from them, I will see what their end will be" (20). "A fire is kindled in
Mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell," etc., (22). Threats of
vengeance are found in verses 23-26; and there is the declaration that, were
it not that their adversaries would be gratified thereby, God would have made
"the remembrance of them to cease from among men" (26). In verses 28-42 we
find more of what was "laid up in store" for them, and sealed up among God's
"treasures" (of wrath - see Rom. 2:5; Job 14:14; Jer. 2:22). "Their foot shall
slide in due time" (34,35). Finally He lifts up His hand to heaven and swears
a great oath of vengeance against all enemies (40-42).
Verse 21 is specially significant because of the prophetic reference
therein to that new "nation" which was eventually to displace the natural
Israel (see Rom. 10:9). And the last verse of all is most important in the
light of the interpretation the Holy Spirit has given through the apostle
Paul: "Rejoice, O ye nations with His people." This is a promise of the gospel
to the Gentiles, to whom Paul was made the special messenger of God (Rom.
15:10). Paul had already shown (11:7) that "His people" was not the nation of
Israel in its entirety, but only that part of it ("the remnant according to
the election of grace") which He foreknew; with which remnant the saved from
among the Gentiles were to be incorporated; thus forming the true Israel of
God, represented by the "good olive tree."
Thus it has been foreseen of God, from the beginning of the earthly
Israel, that the only hope of the natural Israelite at this stage of human
history is to believe in Jesus Christ and be graffed into "their own olive
tree." What better thing could be desired for them?
WHAT THE APOSTLES WERE LOOKING FOR.
It is appropriate we should take notice in this connection of the fact
that the apostles of Christ, and they who follow their teaching, were (and
are) looking for the very same things which were in the vision of the fathers
of Israel; for as Peter - writing "to them that have obtained like precious
faith with us" (the apostles of Christ) says: "We, according to His promise,
look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness" (2 Pet.
Thus the outlook of the true "Israel of God," that "holy nation" which
is, and always was, composed only of those who are "of the faith of Abraham,
who is the father of us all" (Rom. 4:16), was ever the same. And it was, as we
should expect, a radically different outlook from that of the degenerate and
apostate Jews, who looked for an age (or "dispensation" as it is now called)
of earthly glory for the reconstituted Jewish nation; an age in which that
nation will occupy the place of dominance over the Gentiles. Manifestly Peter
could not have written the above quoted verse if he had held the now current
doctrine of a millennium of earthly greatness for the Jewish nation.
Indeed the entire chapter bears strong testimony against that
doctrine. The general subject of the chapter is "the promise of His coming"
(v. 4); and its special purpose is to warn the Lord's people of what would
seem to them a long delay in His second coming and to assure them that the
Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some would regard it, but that
the reason for the seeming delay was because of the long suffering of God, and
of His desire that not any should perish, but that all should come to
repentance (vv. 3-9).
To all that give due attention to this passage it must surely be
evident that what is immediately to follow this day of salvation for all men
is "the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (v. 7), "the day of the
Lord" (v. 10), "the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be
dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat" (v. 12).
Manifestly, if this present day of salvation were to be followed by a
day of glory, peace and prosperity for the earth, a day in which the entire
Jewish nation and other nations as well, are to be saved, there would be no
long suffering and mercy in prolonging the Saviour's absence; but just the
reverse. The apostle's reason for the delay is valid only if the return of the
Lord is to usher in the day of judgment, and if it coincides with "the coming
of the day of God." The apostle reminds us that the world that existed in the
time of Noah, "being overflowed with water, perished"; and goes on to say
that, "the heavens and earth which are now... are kept in store" - not for a
thousand years of peace and plenty, but - "reserved unto fire" (v. 7).
In verse 10 he warns us, as do other Scriptures (Mat. 24:42; 1 Thess.
5:2; Rev. 16:15), that our Lord's coming will take the world by surprise; and
he couples the warning with information which shuts out all possibility of a
millennial dispensation to follow His coming; for the apostle says:
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which
the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt
with fervent heat; the earth also and the works that are therein shall be
And then he admonishes us as to what our "conversation" (manner of
life) ought to be in view of the immanency of these exterminating judgments;
and that we should be "looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of
God, wherein the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements
shall melt with fervent heat" (v. 12).
Manifestly it is impossible that we should be "looking for," and more
so that we should be "hasting unto," the coming of that day, if a millennial
age is to intervene.
This passage in Second Peter is referred to again in
ERRONEOUS TEACHING CONCERNING THE SINIATIC COVENANT
Dr. Charles W. Rankin, President of the Fundamentalist College in
Shanghai, China, calls attention in a recently published booklet to the
grievous doctrine of the leading Dispensationalists concerning the Law of God
which He gave the Israelites at Mount Sinai. Dr. Rankin cites several notes on
Exodus 19:3 in the popular "Reference Bible," referred to above, which state
"the law was not imposed until it had been proposed and voluntarily
Also the note on Gen. 12:-
"The dispensation of Promise ended when Israel rashly accepted the law
And Dr. Rankin comments as follows:
"In other words, God did not intend the Mosaic Law to be accepted by the
Jews, the Jews 'rashly' accepted it, - did something God did not want them
to do. Therefore God did not intend the Mosaic Law to be a part of the
Bible. He merely proposed it to the Jews, of course not desiring them to do
a rash ting and accept it, and so it was the Jews who put it into the Bible
by their 'rash' action. It was not even put into the Bible by human wisdom,
as avowed Modernists teach, but was put in by man's will when acting rashly.
Therefore having thus by man's 'rash' action of course improperly come into
the Bible, the Mosaic Law cannot truly be a part of the Bible. Accordingly,
put it out. This is the logic of the teaching of these Premillennialist
leaders. And there can be no escape from this logical destruction of the
Pentateuch under their teaching. To the extent of striking at the authority
of the Mosaic Law, no Modernism could be worse.
"Moreover it is the most aggravated impiety and irreverence to teach that
God having proposed to men a covenant, a Law, that they could act 'rashly'
in giving heed to His proposition and accepting it.
"God had just led the Jews out of Egypt by the strength of His mighty
arm. They were not in a position from any standpoint to make law for
themselves, and moreover, the Mosaic Law was not only the necessary State
law for the Jewish nation which God Himself was to govern, but it was a
revelation from God of Himself, of His moral law, and of His plans for both
Jew and Gentile. It contains the prophecies of the coming Messiah, the Ten
Commandments, the Levitical System typifying the Atonement of Christ. The
Mosaic Code is the foundation for the entire Bible.
"And God led the Jews to Sinai to receive His Law. Under most sublime and
awe-inspiring conditions was Moses called up into the mount to receive it
for them. And he was commanded to teach it to them (Ex. 24:12). Moreover, it
was the duty of the Jews to receive it (Deut. 4:13-14). The Mosaic Law was
God's commands, - was His Law. And had the Jews failed willingly to accept
it, they would simply have been in rebellion."
Beyond all question, when God offered to the children of Israel the
covenant of Sinai, it was with the intention that they should accept it and
faithfully observe it; and beyond all question, the law He gave them at the
beginning of their history as a nation has been an unspeakable blessing to
them, with incidental benefits to other nations.