The Mosaic Period

The second dispensation of Bible history is commonly called the “Mosaic Period.” An understanding of this period is important for it is the history of the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham-that through Abraham’s seed God would bless all families of the earth (Gen. 12:1-3). We are informed how God developed and dealt with the family out of which the Savior of the world was born.

I. Significant Facts Of The Mosaic Dispensation:

A. Name-This period is named after Moses, for it was through him God delivered the law to the Jews.

B. Duration

1. This age begins with the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai and lasts until the death of Christ, a span of about 1500 years.

2. The Bible record of this period may be read from Exodus 20 through Acts 1.

C. Background

1. Abraham had been promised a great nation and land (Gen. 12:1-2). Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, whose name was changed to Israel, fathered twelve sons, known as the twelve Patriarchs. The descendants of these sons became known as the twelve tribes of Israel.

2. The twelve tribes of Israel formed the nation of Israel. Through Joseph, the great-grandson of Abraham, the Israelites spent 215 years in Egypt (Read Gen. 12-50). When God was ready to lead this nation to the promised land, He chose Moses to be His spokesman (Read Ex. 1-20). This occurred 430 years from the time of the original promise to Abraham (Gal. 3:16-17).

D. Importance

1. Many interesting and profitable stories are contained in this period. Valuable lessons can be gleaned from the lives of Moses, Joshua, Samson, Samuel, Saul, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, and many others (Rom. 15:4; Heb. 11:32).

2. As we survey this period, however, keep in mind the underlying thread which ties it to the rest of the Bible-God is preparing the world for Christ.

3. We can best analyze the significance of this period in relationship to Christ by studying about the law of Moses.

		 II. The Laws of Moses: Its Purpose and Duration 

		A. The Law Was Given To The Jews-Not For All Nations. 

1. The Ten Commandments were given on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 20:1-17).

2. These commandments, written on tables of stone, were important; however, we must remember that the Law of Moses included many other laws pertaining to their worship and government. The complete total of all commandments which were delivered through Moses, both religious and civil, are referred to as “the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39). The Law of Moses is the same as the Law of the Lord (2 Chron. 34:14; Luke 2:22-24).

3. This law was not given to all people or for all ages, but was given to the Jews only at Mt. Sinai (Horeb) Ex. 31:17-18; Nehemiah 9:13-14.

a. Not given to fathers, Deut. 5:1-3, 12, 15.

b. Not dealt so with any nation, Psalms 147:19-20.

c. One law for Israel and the stranger, Ex. 12:43-49.

		B. The Law Was To Serve As A Schoolmaster, Gal. 3:19-29. 

1. Worship revealed by this law consisted of animal sacrifices and observance of various days, weeks, months, and years.

2. Its sacrifices were as a shadow of the sacrifice of Christ, Heb. 9:19-28; 10:1.

3. Through its commandments man was made conscious of sin and his need for a Savior, Gal. 3:19; Rom. 3:20; Rom. 7:7,13.

		C. The Law Did Not Provide Remission of Sins, Acts 13:38-39. 

1. Every year sacrifices had to be made again because sins were remembered, Heb. 10:14.

2. For this reason, the law was called “weak and unprofitable.” Heb. 7:18-19.

		D. The Law Came To An End With The Death Of Christ. 

1. A new covenant was necessary which would provide remission of sins, Heb. 8:6-8, 13.

2. The New Testament became of force at His death, Heb. 9:15-17.

3. The law was nailed to the cross, Col. 2:14-17.

4. Both Gentile and Jew now have hope in Christ, Eph. 2:11-17; Col. 3:11-12.

5. The Ten Commandments (written on tables of stone) were also done away when Christ died, 2 Cor. 3:7-14.

6. Actually the New Testament contains every one of the ten commandments with the exception of “Remember the Sabbath Day.” Christians worship on the first day of the week (the Lord’s Day), Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10.

		E. To Serve the Law Makes the Cross of None Effect. 

1. If righteousness is by the law, Christ is dead in vain, Gal. 2:21.

2. Those who justify their religion by the law are fallen from grace, Gal. 5:2-4.

3. We do not search the Old Testament to learn how to become Christians nor to learn how to worship God as Christians.

a. We do believe and study the Old Testament, for it teaches the nature of God, the sureness of His word, and of His exceeding love for us, Rom. 15:4.

b. The example of Israel serves as an admonition to Christians, 1 Cor. 10:6-12.


		 III. Chronological Events of the Mosaic Dispensation 

		A. Forty Years In Wilderness Because Of Unbelief , Numbers 13;14; Deut. 1. 

1. Israel murmured and complained; lacked faith, Heb. 3:12-19.

2. Joshua led the Israelites after the death of Moses, Deut. 1:35-39.

		B. Conquest of Canaan 

1. Under the leadership of Joshua the Israelites gained the land promised to Abraham, Gen. 12:1.

2. Received all the land God had promised them, Josh. 21:43-45; 23:14; 1 Kings 4:21.

		C. Period of the Judges 

1. Fifteen judges ruled over a span of 450 years, Acts 13:20.

2. The most familiar names are Deborah, Gideon, Samson, and Samuel, Heb. 11:32.

		D. The United Kingdom 

1. Saul, David, and Solomon reigned forty years each.

2. Israel reached its greatest strength during this period, 1 Kings 10:1-7.

		E. The Divided Kingdom 

1. Upon the death of Solomon Israel became a divided nation. The ten Northern tribes led by Jeroboam and the two Southern tribes led by Rehoboam were separated.

2. The Northern Kingdom (Israel) was taken captive by Assyrians in 721 B.C.

3. The Southern Kingdom (Judah) was overthrown by Babylonians in 606 B.C.

		F. The Age of the Prophets (The fall of the nation and prophecies of Christ). 

1. During the decline of the nation, the captivity, and the return to Jerusalem God spoke through the prophets.

2. Their mission was to try to save the nation from its idolatry and wickedness; failing in this, they announced the nation’s destruction. However, they foretold that a remnant would be spared.

3. Out of this remnant would come the Promised Seed of Abraham (Christ), who would bring all nations to God.

		G. Return From Captivity 

1. The first remnant of Israelites was led back to Jerusalem under the guidance of Zerubbabel who started them rebuilding the temple in 536 B.C.

2. The second remnant was led by Ezra, who helped to reorganize and re-establish the nation, in 457 B.C.

3. The third remnant was led by Nehemiah who directed the rebuilding of the wall about the city of Jerusalem in 444 B.C.


		Study Questions 

		I. Answer The Questions: 

1. What were the three basic promises God made to Abraham? (Gen. 12:1-3)

		2. Why was the law “added” and “till” when? (Gal. 3:19) <br />
		3. If we are not saved by the law, what was its purpose? (Gal. 3:24-25) <br />
		4. Why was there a disannulling of the commandment? (Heb. 7:18-19) <br />
		5. Why was the law of Moses ineffective in forgiving sins? (Heb. 10:1-4) <br />
		6. What illustration shows when the New Testament came “of force”? (Heb. 9:15-17) <br />
		7. When was the first covenant “taken out of the way”? (Col. 2:14-17) <br />
		8. What is the spiritual condition of those who are justified by the law? (Gal. 5:4) <br />
		9. What proves the ten commandments were included in that which was to be “done away”? (2 Cor. 3:7-14) <br />
		10. Of what profit is it for Christians to study the Old Testament? (Rom. 15:4.)</p>

II. True or False:

1. The law of Moses was to be preached to every person on earth. (Psa. 147:19-20)

		2. The law was given to provide man redemption to God. (Gal. 3:23-25) <br />
		3. The law continues in force today along with the gospel of Christ. (Col. 2:14) <br />
		4. It is profitable for man to study the Old Testament. (Rom. 15:4) <br />
		5. If righteousness is by the law, Christ died in vain. (Gal. 2:21)</p>