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Mosaic covenant

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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 079

Moses with the Ten Commandments by Rembrandt (1659)

In Jewish theology, the Mosaic Covenant (also referred to as the Sinaitic Covenant, the Mosaic Law, the Law/Torah, or the Old Covenant) refers to the covenant between Yahweh and the Israelites. The establishment and stipulations of the Mosaic Covenant are recorded in the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, which are collectively called the Torah ("teachings") because they outline the Mosaic Covenant. In Christianity, the entire Hebrew Bible is called the "Old Testament" in reference to the Mosaic Covenant (as the "Old Covenant") and the "New Covenant". This term has been linked to Supersessionism. See also Biblical law in Christianity.

The Mosaic Covenant played a pivotal role in defining the Israelite kingdom, and subsequently the southern Kingdom of Judah and northern Kingdom of Israel, and the Hasmonean Kingdom, and Rabbinic Judaism.

In the Jewish and Christian Bible Yahweh establishes the Mosaic Covenant with the Israelites after he has saved them from bondage in Egypt in the events of The Exodus. The Qur'an, however, has the Israelites as the initiating party, offering the covenant to Allah.



Depicted is the famous Sermon on the Mount of Jesus in which he commented on Biblical law. Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant.[1]

The Mosaic Covenant has both played a pivotal role in the shaping of Christianity and has been the source of serious dispute and controversy since its inception, see for example the Expounding of the Law and List of events in early Christianity. After the resurrection of Christ, and the establishment of the church, the first Christian martyr recorded in the book of Acts (Stephen) is killed because of a controversy over the Mosaic Law and the Temple (6:13). Later, in Acts 15, the Council of Jerusalem addressed the Circumcision controversy in early Christianity.


  1. Such as Hebrews 8:6 etc. See also Catholic Encyclopedia: Epistle to the Hebrews: "The central thought of the entire Epistle is the doctrine of the Person of Christ and His Divine mediatorial office. ... There He now exercises forever His priestly office of mediator as our Advocate with the Father (vii, 24 sq.)."

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