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Reisinger—Continued on page 4
establishing the Old Covenant withthe children of Israel at Mount Si-nai will not only help us understandChrist as our New Covenant Prophet, but it will also help in understandingthe larger issue of law and grace. Itis essential that we have a clear un-derstanding of the radical difference between the covenant God made withAbraham and the covenant he madewith the children of Israel at MountSinai. This will involve seeing exactlyhow Jacob’s (Israel) children becomethe covenant nation of God and howMoses became that nation’s Lawgiver.First, we must distinguish betweenIsrael as a nation, or body politic, andthe children of Israel as merely thechildren of Jacob. The terms
of Israel” and
of Israel” will become synonymous but they did not begin that way. Jacob’s children werenot a nation—a body politic—prior to God entering into a special andspeci
c covenant with them at MountSinai. They were not a nation—a body politic—when Joseph brought themdown to Egypt nor did they becomea nation while in Egypt. The childrenof Jacob became a
at MountSinai. It was there that Jacob’s chil-dren of
cially became a nation or a body politic. Up to that point in timethe children of Israel were not yetconstituted a nation or body politic,they were merely the children of Ja-cob (Israel). Abraham never becamea physical nation even though he wasthe grandfather of Jacob, the man who became the father of the nation. Nei-ther Abraham, Isaac, nor Jacob was a prophet, priest or king. The three of-
ces of prophet, priest and king are as-sociated with the nation of Israel andher covenant with God. The covenantat Sinai that constituted Israel as a na-tion is not the same as the covenantwith Abraham.The
rst use of the word “nation”in Scripture is God’s promise to Abra-ham.
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country,and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great
and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing …
God promised Abraham that hewould not only have a seed, he would become the father of many nations.His son Isaac, born to Sarah, would be the seed line that would bringforth the Messiah. His grandson Ja-cob would not only become a great physical nation, he would also becomethe spiritual seed that constitutesthe spiritual nation, the true churchof Christ. Ishmael, Abram’s son byHagar, Sarah’s handmaid, would also become a great nation
but would notin any sense be a spiritual nation aswas Jacob (Israel). Hagar mothered atrue son to Abraham named Ishmael but both mother and child were “castout” without receiving the inheritance(Gen. 21:10, cf. Gal. 4:30).The
rst use of the word “Israel”in Scripture is when God changed Ja-cob’s name from Jacob to “Israel.”
And he said, Thy name shall becalled no more Jacob, but Israel …
The children of Israel, as a people,are promised by God at Mount Sinaithat if they would obey the covenanthe was about to make with them, theywould become a holy and special na-tion, a body politic, bound by specialcovenant to God. God proceeds toenter into this special covenant withthe children of Israel at Mount Sinaiin Exodus 20.
In the third month, when the chil-dren of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day camethey into the wilderness of Sinai. For they were departed from Rephidim,
1 For a study of Abraham’s seeds see my
Abraham’s Four Seeds
(Frederick,Md. New Covenant Media, 1998).