When God spoke directly to the nation of Israel, He set the standard for who could become "God’s own possession," "His kingdom of
priests and holy nation," which enabled their entrance into the Promised Land (Ex 19:3-6).
In contrast to the Abrahamic Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant was bilateral and conditional.
Failure to be obedient disqualified anyone from entering the Promised Land (Deut 1:34-36).
When God spoke of the Decalogue directly to the nation of Israel (Ex 20:1-17), they
feared His voice and asked Moses to intercede. Through Moses, God elaborated on the 10 commandments in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy
with 613 commands and prohibitions. Included in this, God specified the details to other items:
- How the altar (Ex 20:24-26), Temple and Ark of the Covenant were to be constructed
- How the annual Day of Atonement was conducted, the role of the High Priest, the substitutionary sacrifice of the unblemished lamb
for sin, and the Mercy Seat (Lev 16:15-19, 34; 17:11)
- The commemoration of other religious festivals such as Passover (Lev 23:5-8;
Ex 12:1-13, 42-51).
With the Mosaic Covenant, God Himself placed an emphasis on what it meant to be holy; something must be set apart or separated from
the profane or unclean before it could come into the presence of His glory. It applied to time (Ex 20:8-12),
space (Ex 19:23), objects (Ex 28:4-43)
and people (Ex 40:12-15).
In requiring the nation of Israel to repeatedly conduct the substitutionary sacrifice of animals for the atonement if sin, God taught
what sin was (Rom 7:7) and the atonement of sin set His people apart so that they
would be His own possession (Lev 20:26).
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