According to tradition, it was on this day that Moses received the first tablets of the law, written by the fiery finger of God, as in the book of Exodus:
“And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses
two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18)
These are the same two tablets that Moses later destroyed when he saw the people worshipping the Golden Calf. This great sin put Israel in jeopardy because God was ready to wipe them out and raise up a nation from Moses. But Moses did not step aside. Instead, he interceded on their behalf, reminding God of His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Because of this intercession, God forgave the nation of their rebellion and relented of the intended retribution. However, the tablets of the Law were still broken and had to be replaced. God instructed Moses that he would have to hew new tablets out of the rock himself. He did so and presented them to God and what happened next is very important to take note of. When God wrote His Commandments on this second set of tablets, He didn’t use different words; He wrote the same words that He had written on the original tablets.
“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke.’” (Exodus 34:1)
There is an important concept embedded in this event: a second set of stone tablets, hewn by man, but with the same words as the first, written by God. This is extremely important when we consider that Moses is a type of the Messiah. As such, he stood in the gap on behalf of the entire nation when they were justifiably threatened with annihilation (Exodus 33:12-17). Because of that intercession, God forgave the Israelites of their sin and renewed the covenant with them by giving them His commandments a second time. In other words, God didn’t make a new and different covenant with them after the first had been broken – He renewed the covenant that they had broken.
Many people are under the misconception that the Messiah came to give us a new covenant, meaning that the New Covenant invalidated the so-called “Old Covenant.” In reality, the Messiah renewed the covenant, established from the foundation of the world. He didn’t disconnect us from the so-called Old Testament, as some people would have us believe. To the contrary, Messiah made it possible for us to better understand the “Old Covenant” and to better appropriate the concepts and precepts recorded in the Torah. He basically says this in Matthew 5:17-18:
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
Taken literally, the meaning of His words is pretty simple to understand. He came to fulfill, which is to say, He came to fill the words of Moses and the prophets with meaning so that we can better understand what God was saying in the words He gave to Moses and the Prophets. Perhaps that’s why Paul wrote that Messiah is the “end” of the law (Romans 10:4). A simple word study would reveal that “end” is better rendered as “goal” – Messiah is the “goal” of the law. He did not say, “I came to fulfill these things so that you can ignore them.” He didn’t come to do away with the Old Testament or disconnect us from it. He followed the Word and fulfilled the Word, in large part, that we might better understand the Word as we walk it out. Ultimately, our obedience to the Word of God should not drive us away from Him but draw us closer to Him because He is the “goal of the law.”
Also, consider that heaven and earth have not passed away and, according to the words of Jesus, that means not one “jot nor tittle” – not even the most seemingly insignificant components of the Torah or the Prophets – have passed away. To the contrary, Scripture teaches that, because of the Messiah, these same laws and statutes will, one day, be inscribed by the fiery finger of God, not in stone, but upon our hearts (Ezekiel 36:26-27; Hebrews 8:10).