CONCERNING THE FIRST COVENANT
100. Did God make a covenant with the people about these things?
ANSWER: Yes; God offered to bless them with many blessings if they would obey the law that He would give them, and the people promised to do all that the Lord would command. Then the Lord gave the law, and Moses wrote it in a book, and read it to the people. He then sprinkled the book and the people with the blood of sacrifices, and thus a covenant was established between God and the people.
Proof: And 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 will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD ... And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses 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. (Ex. 24:3-8).
For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. (Heb. 9:19-21).
101. What is this covenant called in the Scriptures?
ANSWER: It is called the first, or the old, covenant.
Proof: For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second ... Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel ... In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. (Heb. 8:7-13).
102. Why is it called the first or the old covenant, seeing there was a covenant before it, namely, the covenant made with Abraham, spoken of in Question 86?
ANSWER: Because, although the covenant of the law of Moses was the last to be given, it was the first to come into force, and was the law of Israel's national life for many hundreds of years before the confirmation of the covenant made with Abraham by the shedding of the blood of Christ.
Proof: And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 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. (Gal. 3:17-19).
Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: (Rom. 15:8).
And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. (1 Cor. 11:24-26).