False Ideas About Being Justified And Prospered Under The Mosaic Covenant


Printer Friendly version.

False Ideas About Being Justified And Prospered Under The ….pdf


Some people I know believe the false idea that the Mosaic Covenant teaches that God will declare righteous at the Final Judgment and prosper in this earthly life as a totally deserved reward those Israelites who:


·         generally obeyed the Ten Commandments and other laws found in the Mosaic Covenant.

·         sinned on some occasions by breaking some of the Mosaic Covenant laws.

·         participated in the relevant burnt, sin or guilt offerings required for such sins and who then obeyed all of the other Mosaic Covenant ceremonial laws relevant to those who sinned sometimes in their lives.


The above false idea about the Mosaic Covenant is one of the errors into which many of the Pharisees and teachers of Law in Christ's time fell.

Those living under the Mosaic Covenant who sinned even just once could never be justified by works of obedience to the Ten Commandments and other commands of the Mosaic Law. Such people could only be justified by God’s undeserved grace through faith. Galatians 2:15-16 and 21 emphasises that humans can only be justified by faith and not by works of Law: “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified…I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

In Ecclesiastes 5:1, Isaiah 1:11-20, Jeremiah 7:22-23, Hosea 6:6 and Micah 6:6-8, God condemns the similar false idea that humans can please Him through a merely external observance of blood sacrifices and other atonement-related ceremonial aspects of the Law of Moses without a truly faith-based repentance, humility and knowing of Him. Hosea 6:6 says: “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Ecclesiastes 5:1 states: “Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.”

In Matthew 23:23-28, Jesus condemned religious leaders living under the Mosaic Covenant who concentrated on an external observance of the cleansing rites of the ceremonial aspects of the Law and tithing but neglected faith in God and other more important matters found in the Law.

The blood sacrifices and other atonement-related ceremonial statutes were not added by God to the Law of Moses as a whole lot of extra commands by which the people of Israel could be justified, prospered and blessed by God as a totally deserved reward for works of Law. Instead the atoning blood sacrifices were symbols of and effective because of Jesus’ future death (see Hebrews 10:1-10) and were linked to receiving forgiveness for sin, removing God’s anger against them and their sins and reconciling them to Him.

Other atonement-related ceremonial laws were only effective because of Jesus’ future death also. Examples of the latter are the cleansing rites (see Leviticus 12:1-15:33), the atonement money (see Exodus 30:11-16) and the intercessions and services of the High Priest.

The ceremonial laws were expressions of God’s undeserved grace and were only effective if the participant had a real living faith in God.


Only Christ totally merited justification and prosperity


If some people living under the Mosaic Covenant were able to obey every one of the Ten Commandments and every other moral and civil law and any ceremonial law not related to atonement for sin found in the Mosaic Law every moment of every day of their lives, they would not be required to participate in any of the atonement-related ceremonial aspects of the Mosaic Law needed because of human sin. Examples of such atonement-related ceremonial statutes are the burnt, sin, guilt and peace offerings, the Day of Atonement, the cleansing rites and paying the atonement money.

Such perfect people would receive the earthly blessings promised in the Law as a totally deserved reward. But the only Person who has ever perfectly obeyed the Law of Moses all the time is Jesus Christ (see Matthew 5:17).

Even very godly believers like Moses, David, Hezekiah, Elijah and God’s other prophets sinned. Romans 3:20 and Galatians 2:16 stress that no person has ever perfectly obeyed the Law of Moses and been declared righteous as a result. Romans 3:20 says: “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight…” Because all those living under the Mosaic Covenant sinned at least once, this means none of them were justified or prospered by God as a totally deserved reward.

James 2:10-11 says that those who disobey just one command of the Law are just as guilty as those who have disobeyed all its commands: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not commit murder’. Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.”

To receive the grace of God associated with the atoning animal sacrifices and other atonement-related ceremonial aspects of the Law, people under the Mosaic Covenant had to have a real living faith in God with an associated turning from known sin. Any rewards God gave such people were not be totally deserved.


Even a 99.9% obedience does not totally merit the Law’s rewards


In Leviticus 26:3, 26:15, 26:43, Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 4:40, 6:2-3, 6:24-25, 7:11-15, 17:19, 28:1-2, 28:9, 28:13, 28:15, 28:45, 30:9-10 and 30:16, God’s blessings or curses are linked to obedience or disobedience to His statutes and/or commandments and/or judgments. [1] Note Leviticus 26:14-15, Deuteronomy 28:1 and 28:15 refer to obeying all these statutes, judgments and commandments, not just some or most of them. Even a 99.9% obedience was not enough to entitle a person to the totally deserved rewards of prosperity and earthly blessings promised in Leviticus 26:3-13 and Deuteronomy 28:1-14.

It is little wonder Paul in Galatians 3:10-11 says that no-one can be justified by the Law and that everyone who did not continually obey all the commands of the Law is cursed by the Law: “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.’ But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident…”

Note in Galatians 3:10, Paul quotes Deuteronomy 27:26 which is the verse that introduces the blessings and curses section of Deuteronomy Chapter 28. In the original Hebrew Scriptures, there were no chapter and verse numbers. So Deuteronomy 27:26 is really closely linked to Deuteronomy Chapter 28. The supposed person who could be justified by perfect obedience to the Law or works of Law, would totally deserve the earthly blessings and prosperity promised in Leviticus 26:3-13 and Deuteronomy 28:1-4 as a reward.

The only person who obeyed all of the moral, civil and non-atonement-related ceremonial statutes, judgments and commands of the Mosaic Law and who therefore could be regarded as righteous through works of Law was Jesus Christ. Therefore, only He totally deserved the earthly blessings and prosperity promised in the Law for those who perfectly obeyed it.

Christ did not need to obey any of the atonement-related ceremonial laws because He had no sin.

It is true Leviticus 26:40-45, Deuteronomy 4:25-31 and 30:1-10 refer to God by His grace and mercy blessing with earthly prosperity those who turned to Him from their sins. But note Leviticus 26:3-39, Deuteronomy 27:26 and 28:1-68 do not mention anything about God’s grace and mercy, but refer only to perfect obedience and not to obedience some or most of the time.

Also note this perfect obedience demanded by the Mosaic Law included loving God and others all the time, not just some or most of the time (see Exodus 20:2, Leviticus 19:18, Deuteronomy 5:10, 6:5, 7:9 and 10:12). No human except Jesus Christ has ever loved God and other humans all the time. So all humans are law-breakers, are cursed by the Law with death and do not fully deserve any of its rewards.


Other wrong attitudes to the Mosaic Law’s earthly rewards


Leviticus 26:3-39, Deuteronomy 27:26 and 28:1-68 do not teach that all those under the Mosaic Covenant who had a living faith in God and who obeyed His statutes, judgments and commandments in the Mosaic Law most of or nearly all the time were prospered with earthly blessings as totally deserved rewards more than those under the Mosaic Covenant who had a living faith and who obeyed these only some of the time. Nor do these verses prove that the latter were prospered as a deserved reward more than those Israelites under the Mosaic Covenant who had no living faith in God and who were living sinful lives. [2]

It is true God by undeserved grace and mercy, prospered with earthly blessings some of His people under the Mosaic Covenant who had living faith in Him which resulted in a high though imperfect level of obedience to His Law’s statutes, judgements and commandments. David, Solomon (while he was walking with God) and Hezekiah are three examples (see 2 Samuel 22:21-25, 2 Kings 18:5-7, 1 Chronicles 29:23 and 2 Chronicles 31:20-21).

But this is not how God treated all men and women of faith living under the Mosaic Covenant. Hebrews 11:35-39 refers to some of these great saints of God: “…And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourging, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented – of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise.”

God applied the prosperity principles which David spoke to Solomon, as recorded in 1 Kings 2:3 and 1 Chronicles 22:12-13 as a general rule to many of God’s people of faith living under the Mosaic Covenant. [3] But such earthly blessings were still undergirded by God’s undeserved grace and mercy and were not totally deserved rewards.


Mosaic Covenant blessings promised by unmerited grace


At the end of the list of blessings for perfect obedience and curses for disobedience to the Mosaic Law found in Leviticus 26, there is a mention of God restoring His blessings to Israelites who had confessed their sins and humbled themselves before Him. This Leviticus 26:40-45 passage is an example of God promising to bless on Earth by this totally undeserved grace those with faith and accompanying repentance.

Deuteronomy 4:25-31, 9:4-6 and 30:1-10 are other examples of God promising to be gracious to those who sincerely turn from sin to Him.


Not being treated as they deserved


In Psalm 103:8-12, David said: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Here we see that even during the Mosaic Covenant period, God exercised wonderful undeserved grace and mercy towards David and other believers.

Psalm 103:8-12 reveals that during the Mosaic Covenant period, God often did not treat people by the Mosaic Law fully-deserved-rewards and punishment-principle found in passages such as Leviticus 26:1-39 and Deuteronomy 28:1-68.


Repentant, previously very sinful people being rewarded


Deuteronomy 30:1-10 teaches that Mosaic Covenant Israelites who had previously received great earthly punishments from God because of their great wickedness, but who then turned from their sin and returned to Him, would have Him restore to them earthly blessings of prosperity.

The above principle was outworked in Jeremiah 31:16-20 when God says He was going to reward Ephraim – the tribe of Israel which led the 10 northern tribes. [4] Verse 18 reveals the Ephraimites were chastised or punished by God. Verse 19 shows they then turned back to God. Verse 20 expresses God’s mercy to these sinful undeserving people. On this foundation of mercy and grace, God says He would reward them for their work. These rewards for service were slightly deserved in one sense but totally undeserved in another.

Leviticus 26:40-45 relates to a similar grace and mercy principle to that found in Deuteronomy 30:1-10. But note Leviticus 26:40-45 refers to God being merciful to repentant Israelites according to the totally undeserved grace promised in the Abrahamic Covenant in relation to earthly blessings.


God gave His love-slaves earthly blessings also as totally free gifts


God is the perfect Master. Under the Mosaic Covenant God did not treat His slaves selfishly or for wicked purposes like human masters did. Because He loved them and had His Son die for them, God gave earthly material blessings to His Mosaic Covenant love-slaves as totally free gifts through His wonderful grace and mercy.

God’s principle of giving material blessings to His undeserving slaves under the Mosaic Covenant was reflected in His commands to the people of Israel about human slaves. In Deuteronomy 15:12-14, He commanded Israelite masters to free their slaves on the seventh year and to give them liberal material blessings at that time. Such blessings were gifts of undeserved grace and not deserved rewards.



Bible Study Questions


1.       Discuss whether people under the Mosaic Covenant received justification and prosperity as totally deserved rewards from God.

2.       Discuss whether someone under the Mosaic Covenant could totally merit the rewards of that covenant by obeying the Mosaic Law 99.9% of the time.

3.       What other wrong beliefs can we have about people under the Mosaic covenant receiving the Mosaic Law’s promised earthly rewards?

4.       Did God apply the prosperity principles which David spoke to Solomon, recorded in 1 Kings 2:3 and 1 Chronicles 22:12-13, to all His people of faith living under the Mosaic Covenant?

5.       What key lessons does Deuteronomy 30:1-10 teach us?





[1] In Hebrew, the word “statutes” in Leviticus 26:3, 26:15, 26:43, Deuteronomy 28:15, 28:45, 30:10 and 30:16 is “huqqah”. Another Hebrew word for “statutes” is “hoq”. “Hoq” is used in Deuteronomy 4:1, 4:40, 6:24, 7:11 and 17:19. In Hebrew, the word “commandments” in Leviticus 26:3, 26:15, Deuteronomy 28:1, 28:9, 28:13, and 28:15 is “miswah” and the word “judgements” in Leviticus 26:15, 26:43 and 26:46 is “mishpat”. The Hebrew words for “statutes” and “judgements” include moral, civil and ceremonial laws and the Hebrew word for “commandments” refers to both moral and ceremonial laws. The word “huqqah” is used in Exodus 12:14, 12:17, 12:43, 13:10, 27:21, 28:43, 29:9, Leviticus 3:17, 7:36, 10:9, 16:29, 16:31, 16:34, 17:7, 23:14, 23:21, 23:31, 23:41, 24:3, Numbers 9:12, 9:14 (twice), 10:8, 15:15 (twice), 18:23, 19:2, and 31:21 in relation to various ceremonial laws which are parts of the Mosaic Law. In the context of Leviticus 19:19, Numbers 27:11, 31:21 and 35:29, the word “huqqah” refers to God’s civil laws in relation to the nation of Israel. In Leviticus 17:7, the word “huqqah” is used in relation to a moral law of God. The word “judgements” or “mishpat” in Hebrew is used in Exodus 21:1 in relation to various moral, civil and ceremonial laws all mixed together in Exodus 21:1-23:33. Numbers 36:13 says the earlier parts of the Book of Numbers are commandments (or “miswah”) and judgements (or “mishpat”). Note these earlier sections in the Book of Numbers also contain ceremonial laws (see Numbers 3:5-13, 8:1-26, 15:1-29, 18:1-19:22 and 28:1-29:40) and civil laws (see Numbers 27:1-11, 31:25-54, 35:9-34 and 35:1-12). This means one or both of the Hebrew words “miswah” and “mishpat” can refer to civil and ceremonial laws also. In Leviticus 26:15, 26:43 and 26:46, disobedience to the “mishpat” or judgements is linked to the punishments or curses of the Mosaic Law. Exodus 24:12 uses “miswah” in relation to the Ten Commandments. But Leviticus 27:34 uses “miswah” to include the ceremonial laws of Leviticus Chapters 1 to 17, the moral laws in Chapters 18 and 19 and civil laws in Leviticus 19:19 and 25:23-55. It can be argued that Leviticus Chapter 26 and Deuteronomy Chapter 28 refer to obedience and disobedience to only the moral, civil and non-atonement-related ceremonial statutes, judgements and commandments found in the Mosaic Law. (The commandments are not just the moral laws. The statutes are not just ceremonial laws and the judgements are not only civil laws.)

[2] Refer to Chapter              “Bildad’s interpretation of rewards, punishments and prosperity” for Old Testament examples of wicked Israelites with no faith living under the Mosaic Covenant who were prospered far more than people of faith who mostly obeyed the Mosaic Law.

[3] It is difficult to tell whether Isaiah 33:15-16 refers to partially “deserved” rewards undergirded by grace or to fully deserved rewards that no human except Christ could receive.

[4] Jeremiah 31:16-20 states: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; For your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope in your future, says the Lord, that your children shall come back to their own border. I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself: “You have chastised me, and I was chastised, like an untrained bull; restore me, and I will return, for You are the Lord my God. Surely, after my turning, I repented; and after I was instructed, I struck myself on the thigh; I was ashamed, yes, even humiliated, because I bore the reproach of my youth.” Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For though I spoke against him, I earnestly remember him still; therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, says the Lord’”

All original work on this site is Copyright © 1994 - . Individuals may take copies of these works for the purpose of studying the Bible provided a copyright notice is attached to all copies.   Questions regarding this site should be directed to the .