The Law (Mosaic Covenant)
"Wherefore, then, serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to Whom the promise was made;..." (Gal. 3: 19).
If the nation of Israel was ever going to fulfill her destiny as "the light of the world", it was now necessary for God to place them under "the law", and the law would act as a "schoolmaster": "Wherefore, the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ" (Gal. 3: 24).
The Greek word translated "schoolmaster" is paidagogos, and a paidagogos was a disciplinarian who was given the responsibility of giving children moral training and keeping them from the evils of the world. The purpose of the Law was to place the children of Israel under the precise discipline of the law, and in this way the people would be a "holy nation".
The Law, or the Mosaic Covenant, was composed of three parts. First was the "Ten Commandments", which is an expression of the righteous will of God. Next were the "ordinances". Once an Israelite sinned, he was declared "blameless" if he brought the required offering and took part in the ordinances of "atonement". Lastly, there were the "judgments", which governed the social life of Israel.
If the children of Israel would faithfully keep the law then they would be known and feared by all the nations of the earth: "The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto Himself, as He hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in His ways. And all the people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of thee" (Deut. 28: 9, 10).
"Keep, therefore, and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, who shall hear all these statutes and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people" (Deut. 4: 6).
All the people of the earth were to gain a knowledge of the one true God through Israel: "Unto them were committed the oracles of God" (Ro. 3: 2), so "that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else" (1 Ki. 8: 60).
The Lord also revealed the "the law" was both "a blessing and a curse": "I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you in this day; And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known" (Deut. 11: 26-28).
Later, God also promised King David that his son, Solomon, would "build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever" (2 Sam. 7: 13). At the dedication of the Temple that Solomon built "the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord". Over time "King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and for wisdom. And all the earth consulted Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart" (1 Ki.10: 23, 24).
But Solomon went down to Egypt for his queen, the daughter of Pharaoh, who "turned away his heart after other gods" (1 Ki. 11: 1, 4). As time went on in Israel the kingdom ruled by Solomon became a hindrance to God's purposes. Israel began to treat the Gentiles with contempt, and instead of revealing the true God to them,"the name of God" was "blasphemed among the Gentiles" through them (Ro. 2: 24). The Jews treated Solomon's Temple,which was to have been "a house of prayer to all nations" (Mk. 11: 17), as though it was not God's house, but their own, and ended up by degrading it until it became at last "a den of thieves".
Not only did the Jews fail in their commission to be the Ministers of God, they also "mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy" (2 Chor. 36: 16). Jerusalem was then destroyed by invading forces, and the Jews who escaped death were carried away captive to Babylon.
It was during this time when the prophets began to reveal a time when the children of Israel would be brought back to their land and the Lord would pour out His spirit upon the nation for empowerment:
"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit" (Joel 2:28-29).
This also refers to the time when the "Redeemer" would come to Israel and the Lord would put His "words" in the mouths of the Israelites:
"And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever" (Isa.59:20-21).