Did the Law of God Exist Before the Old Covenant?

In this post, let us study whether the Law of God has already existed before the Old Covenant was founded. Most importantly, discover the significance of this powerful truth that can dramatically change your life!

A lot of people today assume that the law of God and the Old Covenant are identical. They believe that when the Old Covenant was done away with, then it follows that the law of God has also stopped from being relevant and applicable.

However, a deeper understanding of the Bible would give us a different answer. Did the Law of God exist before the Old Covenant? The answer is NO

Continue reading to learn the proof.

Sin and God’s Law

The first thing I want to ask you is this:

“What is sin?”

I John 3:4 tells us:

“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”

So, sin is lawlessness. The Greek word for lawlessness is “anomia,” which means the violation of law.

With this in mind, if there’s no law, there’s no sin and if there’s sin, there’s a violation of the law

Romans 4:15 confirms this by saying:

“… Because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.”

Obviously, you can’t break the law if there’s no law to break.

Do we find sin in the Bible before the Old Covenant? Undoubtedly, sin has already existed long before God established a covenant with the nation of Israel.


[Learn more by reading, “The Real and Surprising Biblical Meaning of Sin.”]


Did the Law of God Exist Before the Old Covenant?
Did the Law of God Exist Before the Old Covenant?

Abraham keeping the commandments of God

We need to realize that Abraham isn’t an Israelite. It’s an obvious impossibility because Abraham lived before the existence of Israel.

So, the argument that the Laws of God only applies to the Jews or Israelites is false.

Why?

Because we can read that Abraham has already kept the law of God even before the Old Covenant or Sinaitic Covenant has existed.

We read:

“Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws” (Genesis 26:5).

As you can see, God didn’t simply say that Abraham kept His law. He used various words to describe His different requirements to Abraham and to mankind.

Notice the different Hebrews words used in this passage:

  • Voice – qol
  • Charge – mismereth
  • Commandment – mitsvah
  • Statutes – chuqqah
  • Laws – torah

Why am I asking you to take note of these Hebrew words? Because that’s precisely how God has also described the laws He gave to the Israelites:

“Therefore you shall love the LORD your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always” (Deuteronomy 11:1).

  • Charge – mismereth
  • Statutes – chuqqah
  • Judgments – mishpat
  • Commandment – mitsvah

As you can see, the commandments and laws of God have already existed before the Old Covenant and the nation of Israel has been established.

The only difference is that the Nation of Israel needs to keep the symbolic ceremonies and rituals of the temple and tabernacle, which was central to their worship. This didn’t apply to Abraham and to us, Christians today.

The Ten Commandments and the Old Covenant

Another misconception most Christians have is that they believe that the Old Covenant and the Ten Commandments came into existence at the same time. So, when the Old Covenant became obsolete, then the Ten Commandments also became obsolete.

However, did you know that the Ten Commandments are already in existence and in effect before the Sinai Covenant?

Let me show you.

First Commandment: You shall have no other gods before Me.

  • Leviticus 18:21-27

Second Commandment: You shall not make idols.

  • Leviticus 18:21-27

Third Commandment:  You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

  • Respecting God has always been a commandment since the time of Adam and Eve.

Fourth Commandment: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

  • Genesis 2:1-3
  • Exodus 16:4

Fifth Commandment: Honor your father and your mother.

  • Genesis 3:6-17, Adam and even dishonoring their Father.

Sixth Commandment: You shall not murder.

  • Genesis 4:9-12, Cain murdering his brother, Abel.

Seventh Commandment: You shall not commit adultery.

  • Genesis 20:3-9 
  • Genesis 39:7-9 – Adultery is a great sin against God.

Eighth Commandment: You shall not steal.

  • Genesis 3:6-17 – Adam and Eve punished for stealing and getting what is not theirs.

Ninth Commandment: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

  • Genesis 4:9-12

Tenth Commandment: You shall not covet.

  • Genesis 3:6-17

As you can see, the Ten Commandments are already being enforced by God before the Mt. Sinai Covenant.

Notice the great dismay of God in Exodus 16:28 when the people of Israel continually broke His laws:

And the LORD said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?”

Notice, Yahweh said these words before the formal establishment of the Old Covenant. This only proves further God’s laws are already in place.

The Old Covenant didn’t produce the Ten Commandments, but rather, it only codified them!

The only clear conclusion

We now established that God’s laws and the Ten Commandments have already been in existence before the Old Covenant was established.

With this in mind, we can come to the following conclusion:

The Law of God did not originate in Mt. Sinai and therefore, when the Old Covenant was made obsolete, it didn’t include the law of God and the Ten Commandments.