Significance of Mosaic Covenant in the plan of salvation history

My notes from a class assignment:

The significance of the Mosaic covenant in the plan of salvation history can be described through highlighting three main points.

First, God’s revelation of His divine name to Moses in the theophany of the burning bush: YHWH (“I AM WHO I AM”) (Exodus 3:14). This revelation was the culmination of a progression of revelations that God had manifested with his mediators throughout salvation history and an entirely unique identity. To disclose His name, God made Himself known in a more intimate and personal way to His chosen people (cf. CCC 203). YHWH communicates this when he tells Moses that He has “seen the afflictions of [His] people” (Ex 3:7) and “will be with [Moses]” (3:12). YHWH is faithful and He will never abandon His people. At the same time, this divine name is both mysterious (infinitely above our comprehension) and demands serious reverence (the Israelites do not even pronounce His name (cf. CCC 209)). YHWH’s revelation to Moses forms the foundation of the monotheistic aspect of creed: “Hear O Israel: the Lord is our God is one Lord” (Dt 6:4). This fundamental truth was reaffirmed in the New Testament as a core deposit of faith. St. Paul exemplified this revelation when he wrote: “One God and Father of all who is above all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:6).

Second, the Exodus – signified by the Passover event for the Mosaic covenant – transforms “the twelve tribes in God’s national family, Israel” (Hahn, A Father Who Keeps His Promises, 65). The chosen people of God have moved into a more intimate relationship with God from “tribal proportions” under the covenant with Abraham to a national family under the covenant with Moses (Hahn 64-5). The Passover event signifies the mighty deeds of God in freeing His chosen people from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. The Israelite’s Exodus from Egypt proves God’s faithfulness and His desire to reconcile all of us back into right relationship with Him.

Third, as a result of God’s national family being formed through the Passover event, God had to hand on a detailed system of law: the Ten Commandments and other directives for Israel’s wellbeing (cf. Hahn 65). The Ten Commandments, written “with the finger of God” (Ex 31:18), are a summary and proclamation of God’s law in order to keep His chosen people from a life a sin and allow them to live in the freedom of God’s protection (cf. CCC 2057). In revealing His holy will to Israel, “God reveals Himself to His people” (2059). Properly seen only in relation to God’s covenant with His chosen people (2062), the Decalogue has maintained a central role throughout the rest of salvation history as the basis upon which we can fulfill Christ’s command to love God and love our neighbour. 


  1. Thanks so much Richard for sharing your notes with us. It has helped me to understand more about salvation history. GOD Bless.

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