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Romans 9:4 – legislation, divine service and promises

24-06-2021 - Posted by Hans

… who are Israelites (…)the covenants and the legislation and the divine service and the promises..

Paul mentions no fewer than eight blessings to show how much Israelites are privileged over the nations. We have already seen four of them. “The covenants” (i.e., the old and new covenants) also include law and divine service.

With the legislation we naturally think of the law that Israel received from God on Mount Sinai. That legislation also speaks extensively about the divine service as it took place in the tabernacle and later in the temple (Heb.9:1,6). It concerns the whole system of rituals, priestly service, feasts, sacrifices, and so on. Typical of the Old Covenant is that law and divine service were regarded as a collection of commandments. “Under the law”, as under a burden (Acts 15:10).

Under the new covenant, on the other hand, legislation and divine worship take on an entirely new meaning. Not because the law or divine worship will expire, but because Israel will discover (the veil is taken off!) that the law is prophecy. The “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not” prove to be so many promises of God which He Himself will fulfill. What a liberation! That is how God writes his laws in their hearts.