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Wednesday: The New Covenant — 23 Comments

  1. The lesson says, "The book of Hebrews describes the new covenant as better than the old covenant (Heb. 8:1-2,6, NRSV). The obvious question, then, is Why did God establish the old covenant if it was faulty? The problem, however, was not with the covenant but with the response of the people to it."

    There can be little doubt at all that the people failed miserably but we need to see what the source of the problem was which was rooted and grounded in the covenant itself. What we see the people doing in the Old Testament was only a manifestation of their relationship within the covenant. Hebrews says that the new covenant, "was established on better promises" (Heb. 8:6 NKJV) that it was a, "better covenant" (Heb. 8:6 NKJV). It further states that, "if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second" (Heb. 8:7 NKJV) which implies that the old covenant was faulty. How anyone could misinterpret such a clear, straightforward testimony concerning this puzzles me.

    What we must realize is that a covenant is a contract that is based on promises concerning objects. It is the promises that make the covenant, not the objects, and that is where the old covenant failed because the promises were that of man rather than God. If you look at the new covenant (Jer. 31:33-34; Heb 8:10-12) you won't see one promise or any required response that comes from man, it is all from God where He says, "I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts" (Heb. 8:10 NKJV). Not so with the old covenant where the people said, "All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient" (Exod. 24:7 NKJV). Ignorantly, they promised what they could not do (Jer 13:23) and failed to include God in their promise which was their only hope of being successful (Jn 15:5). A lot more could be said but this is enough for now.

    To get a good perspective of the purpose of the old covenant and how it relates to the everlasting covenant and the new (which basically is the same) I suggest reading Patriarchs and Prophets, p 370.2 through p 373.1. I think Ellen White lays out the subject very well and says it a lot better than I can.

    You may also like to read:
    "Better Promises Make a Better Covenant"
    "Why the Old Covenant?"

    • Tyler,
      Is the testimony really "clear, straightforward?" Is the lesson author really mistaken (misinterpreting)? Maybe chapter 32 of Patriarchs and Prophets is more in line with the lesson author than the alternative; and EGW does a fine job with the subject.

      If the old covenant was the problem then is it fair to say God knowingly introduced a faulty covenant? What are the implications of such?

      Did God require of the Israelites something impossible and therefore set them up to fail? Should the people have rejected the Old Covenant and refuse to make the promise they were invited by Jehovah to make?

      Is the New Covenant or contract one sided, or does it include implied promises/pledges/vows on the part of the people? In other words do the people have any responsibility, whether or not they outrightly promise to honor this by the grace of God?

      The Old Covenant is not faulty as in inherently defective, but acts like a lesser light pointing to the greater light and exactly what was best from the perspective of Divine Omniscience. The problem was not the promise, but who was relied on to fulfill the promise. This was a decision made by carnal minds, not a flawed design of God. That a wholesome covenant was misapplied and mishandled by fallen man is a fault of the people, not God. In fact the New Covenant is also misapplied by some.

      The New Covenant was not suspended for a time, but coexisted with the Old Covenant. One does not substitute or replace the other. The relationship is complimentary. The EGW reference cited above is excellent.

      • Hugh, when scripture says, "better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second" (Heb. 8:6-7 NKJV). I think it is rather explicit as to what the problem was. We can always put a spin on something to make it conform to the way we want it but to me I can envision little in the way of a possible circumvention around this. I also think that Ellen White makes it rather clear that the promise that Israel made as part of the covenant was the problem rather than something that they did after it. To me she agrees with Heb 8:6. Furthermore, to me God is not at fault at all, never was.

        As for the concurrency of the covenants, all four were concurrent. The new covenant is only a restatement of the everlasting covenant, not a replacement, while the Abrahamic covenant essentially was the same but given to one person and the seed in which Paul states:

        Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise. What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions . . . (Gal. 3:15-19 NKJV)

        What Paul was saying is that what we call the old covenant (an inheritance dependant on the law) cannot change the terms of the Abrahamic covenant (an inheritance dependant on God's promise) which was ratified (confirmed) 400 years earlier. There is a saying in law that says "post consideration is no consideration." That holds for the promises given to Abraham according to Paul. One cannot change a contract after a person signs it (ratifies or confirms it) therefore, the previously signed contract is still in force and the proposed changes are ignored. In the old covenant Israel was reworking something that was already agreed upon so to Paul it bites the dust.

        The terms of all the covenants were the same except how Israel was to fulfill its side of the agreement. God's side of the covenant was always the same; if you keep the law then I will bless you. Up to the point of the old covenant God assumed the responsibility for both sides but with the old covenant Israel decided to change that and put the responsibility of keeping the law on their shoulders instead. They therefore unknowingly tried to turn a one sided covenant into a two sided covenant but God allowed it anyway for the purposes of instruction.

        Now as for the New Covenant as it is for the everlasting covenant and the Abrahamic covenant, God assumes responsibility for everything and because of that we can either except it or reject it but we have no authority to dictate the terms. Those covenants take the form of a treaty in which the vassal has no choice but to sign or die. They are, therefore, one sided covenants in which the people have no bargaining power - we either accept it or else. The old covenant was entirely different with respect to keeping the law, under it God no longer assumed responsibility for law keeping - the people took that responsibility upon themselves. Under it we can accept the covenant and then because of our weaknesses breach it through failure to complete the terms of the agreement. Only when God assumes both sides can we ever hope of success and that is what the new covenant (everlasting covenant) does.

        • Tyler,
          Thanks for the response and your perspective.

          Sometimes a literal read of a passage requires a deeper look, such as in Luke 14:26. Just a quick comment on Hebrews 8:7. A literal read indicates there is a fault with the Old Covenant and as a direct result there was need for another. If we apply this and accept that God gave the Old Covenant then He introduced a faulty covenant. At a minimum He signed onto it. Further the text seems to say the second only became necessary because the first was faulty, which means the second did not exist prior to the first. The question is how do we deal with the implications?

          Here are a few lines from EGW:

          “As the Bible presents two laws, one changeless and eternal, the other provisional and temporary, so there are two covenants. The covenant of grace was first made with man in Eden, when, after the fall, there was given a divine promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head…

          Another compact—called in Scripture the “old” covenant—was formed between God and Israel at Sinai, and was then ratified by the blood of a sacrifice. The Abrahamic covenant was ratified by the blood of Christ, and it is called the “second,” or “new” covenant, because the blood by which it was sealed was shed after the blood of the first covenant.

          But if the Abrahamic covenant contained the promise of redemption, why was another covenant formed at Sinai?—In their bondage the people had to a great extent lost the knowledge of God and of the principles of the Abrahamic covenant… But there was a still greater truth to be impressed upon their minds. Living in the midst of idolatry and corruption, they had no true conception of the holiness of God, of the exceeding sinfulness of their own hearts, their utter inability, in themselves, to render obedience to God’s law, and their need of a Saviour. All this they must be taught.” (RH October 17, 1907)

          • Hugh, I appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to communicate your thoughts on this important matter concerning the covenants but I think you are missing some extremely valuable lessons that God sought to teach Israel and to those who would follow after them.

            First though, you apparently want to put everything God gave Moses into the old covenant but to me that is not what happened. In Ex 20 God gives the Ten Commandments then shortly after God gave to Moses some particulars in order to clarify the Commandments. Ex 24 then details the ratification ceremony by which Israel formally accepted the covenant. From that point on God gives Moses detailed instruction concerning the building of the sanctuary with some instruction concerning the rituals. A lot of God's instruction dealing with the rituals actually came after the sanctuary was built which we find mostly in Leviticus and some in the other books Moses wrote. The sanctuary along with all its rituals were never part of the covenant that was ratified in Ex 24 and therefore the covenant was not a shadow of things to come. Also, the restatement of the covenant in Ex 34 that Moses did after the incident with the golden calf was not the ratification of the covenant, it was only a reaffirmation of the original which had the Ten Commandments as the main object of the promises.

            Secondly, the RH quotation you give is the precursor to what she said in Patriarchs and Prophets, the difference being that the some four pages I reference to in my comment gives a lot more background and fleshes out and clarifies how God was going to do that so I included far more context. But even with that the last part of the quote you presented seems to get bypassed and the rest of what she says gets truncated in an effort to say that the only fault was in the people's response after the covenant was made.

            There were two reasons for the old covenant. The first is the reeducation of Israel and the second is to have them learn that they can't do things on their own. It is this second purpose that concerns us when comparing the old with the new. God allowed them to make a covenant that He knew they couldn't keep in an effort to get them to see that they needed Him in order to obey the impossible. As Ellen White said in the same Review and Herald article starting with the next paragraph after the one you quote:

            God brought them to Sinai; he manifested his glory; he gave them his law, with the promise of great blessings on condition of obedience: "If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then . . . ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." Exodus 19:5, 6. The people did not realize the sinfulness of their own hearts, and that without Christ it was impossible for them to keep God's law; and they readily entered into covenant with God. Feeling that they were able to establish their own righteousness, they declared, "All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient." Exodus 24:7. They had witnessed the proclamation of the law in awful majesty, and had trembled with terror before the mount; and yet only a few weeks passed before they broke their covenant with God, and bowed down to worship a graven image. They could not hope for the favor of God through a covenant which they had broken; and now, seeing their sinfulness and their need of pardon, they were brought to feel their need of the Saviour revealed in the Abrahamic covenant, and shadowed forth in the sacrificial offerings. Now by faith and love they were bound to God as their deliverer from the bondage of sin. Now they were prepared to appreciate the blessings of the new covenant.

  2. Heb 8:1,2 &6
    The study guide author says the problem of the old covenant was the response of us humans. May u pls help me understand the perspective here becos I believe God does not keep changing goal posts on account of our failure. The principle of salvation remains the same in old and new - the death and blood. My submission is as follows:

    The gospel which was made flesh, dwelling within, leading me to look to Christ and thru which I obtain the righteousness of God in my life is even made better in the new covenant

    The new covenant is better becos it's not burdensome. It's not like the old which demands my outward effort regardless of how willing my heart it is to do the activity.

    The new has the heart changed to be inclined to God's will, it allows for the inscription of the law on the heart so that my good deeds flow from within and are automatically in line with the law's demands.

    So the principle of salvation regardless of the two covenants remains; by death and blood. The old, thru death of animals, pointed to death of Christ. Aft Christ's death, no need for continued ceremonies of killing animals.

    Additionally, a covenant being completed of 2 parties has
    1. requirements for God who gives His son
    2. requirements for me who lives a godly life in line with or not antagonistic to the law. The only difference is I easily with no effort of my own but of Christ who lives in me, in the new covenant, live a godly life in agreement with the law

    • Nzooma,
      When would you say the New Covenant (Everlasting Covenant) was written in the heart; before or after the Old Covenant (Deuteronomy 30:6)? What was the situation before Moses, that is where was the Covenant written?

      What did God actually require of the Old Covenant people which made it burdensome?

  3. The old testement gospel and the new testement gospel are the same. They are both about the Son of God. Paul said it so elequently back in Sundays lesson: "For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith" (Heb. 4:2, NIV). James said the same message. "Be ye doers of the word not just hearers". William's message with his article on relationships says the same. " What is a relationship with Christ?". Prayer, Bible Study, part of it, keeping the commandments is also vital to a relationship with Christ.
    The Son of God said: "If ye love Me keep my commandments."
    Seems to me that a covenent only works with a genuine relationship with Christ. Could it be that a better covenant is dependent on what you and I, do with the same covenant? I have said enough. Let me part with this. " Since I started for the kingdom, since my life He's controlled, since I gave my heart to Jesus, the longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows". "I will serve Thee because I love Thee, You are more than life to me"

  4. Perhaps there needs to be some clarification on this lesson. First I hope everyone read Ellen White's explanation of the old covenant in Patriarchs and Prophets which I think can be titled Covenants 101.

    People have always been saved the same way, by the implementation of the grace of God which we obtain through faith. We are saved because we have accepted the free gift of justification that God gives to undeserving people because of His grace. That is what the everlasting covenant is which Paul condenses in saying, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9 NKJV). Works come in as a consequence of that rather than what that causes it.

    The old covenant was a school room of sorts (Gal 3:24-25) where the ancient Israelites were to relearn the very valuable lessons that they lost under 400 years of slavery. The business of the manna in Exodus 16 illustrates this when God said, "And the LORD said to Moses, 'How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws? See! For the LORD has given you the Sabbath'" (Exod. 16:28-29 NKJV). Now keep in mind that was four chapters before the giving of the law on Mount Sinai so obviously the Sabbath along with the other laws were restated again on the mountain - it wasn't the first time the law was given to them.

    What they didn't understand was their actual condition after more than 3000 years of sin and what it had done to them, as Jeremiah said, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil" (Jer. 13:23 NKJV) which Jesus said in a different way, "for without Me you can do nothing" (Jn. 15:5 NKJV) or what Paul stated concerning himself, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells" (Rom. 7:18 NKJV). Because of this they foolishly entered into a covenant based on their own efforts which will always end in failure. As Ellen White pointed out God hoped that they would see that through their experience and revert back to the everlasting covenant which was based on God's promises, not theirs. The sad thing is that they, as a nation, never did. They never understood that salvation has always been a gift of God and that was the failure of the old covenant which they stubbornly tried to keep.

    It was for this very reason that all the rabbinic regulations and rules that were designed to keep the people from breaking the law simply added to the problem. All of it was man's effort to do the impossible. And the culmination of all of that ended in God's chosen people crucifying the Messiah.

    Paul understood all of that and for that reason wrote the letters to the Romans and to the Galatians detailing how a person is saved. In his explanation he voiced his understanding of the problem of the old covenant when he said, "What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone" (Rom. 9:30-32 NKJ). For these reasons since the cross we are back under the everlasting covenant stated as the new covenant which was ratified by the death of Christ centuries after the old covenant was ratified by Moses (see Ex 24 for the ratification ceremony of the old covenant).

    • Tyler,
      Quoted from your post: "For these reasons since the cross we are back under the everlasting covenant stated as the new covenant which was ratified by the death of Christ centuries after the old covenant was ratified by Moses (see Ex 24 for the ratification ceremony of the old covenant)."

      Here is the compound question: Under what Covenant was Israel saved, before the people were back under the Everlasting Covenant; or was there no need for it until Christ died?

      The either or approach is actually problematic, unless the Covenants were not actually required for salvation.

  5. I quote:

    “In one sense, the new covenant is not new at all …”

    In another sense, the new covenant is quite new. With the old covenant people were required to love their neighbors as themselves; with the new covenant we are commanded to love others the way Jesus loved us. People do not love themselves the way Jesus loves them.

    If the Lord had said to the children of Israel in the Old Testament: “I want you to love your neighbors the way I love you” it would have been meaningless, because they had no idea how deep God’s love for their children is. Jesus had to demonstrate his love for his followers before commanding them to love their fellow men the way he loved them.

  6. Tyd by your ,I was very inspired by your comments. I must also add that the old covenant lent itself to the High Priest being involved in the whole aspect of atonement for sins. Under the new covenant the believer can go to Jesus for himself. Therefore I would encourage everyone to confess their sins only to Jesus because no man can forgive sins.Let us capitalize on our privilege to go into the Most Holy place because in the olden days only the High Priest had that privilege.

    As we embark on a new year let us renew our covenant with God to serve Him and encourage others to serve Him. Brethren,2015 might just be the year that we have long waited for.

  7. Before sin, Genesis 2: 15, man experienced a beautiful relationship with God in the garden of Eden. God said: These are the requirements to live happily ever after. Gen. 2: 16,17. Then came Gen 3:1-14÷(. Jesus said: I made them, I take full responsibility, I will die. Gen 3:15. To remind them of His promise to die in their place, they had to painfully kill a lamb as a sacrifice in their place until the Real Lamb of God would die for all.

    Before the cross, they looked forward to the day when they would not have to painfully kill a lamb because Jesus fulfilled His Gen 3:15! Romans 6:23 first half, the wages of sin is death... Now after the cross, we look forward to the second half of Romans 6:23, The gift of GOD is eternal life through Jesus Christ our LORD!

    The Rules/Requirements/Commandments/Covenant have not changed!
    Now We go to God in Prayer, and depend on the Holy Spirit for help. It's amazing how Jesus came just on time because the closest some will ever come to a lamd is in a picture, zoo, or a lamb chop. Not enough lambs to go around like they had in those days. Our GOD IS an on time GOD.

  8. I try to live the life of a "good Christian" not only because God asks it but because there are good reasons behind everything God prescribes. I am a "good" person by most standards. I am brought up short every time, however, when I realize the standard is Jesus' love for us.
    When I am tempted to think I know it all I remember that we we be learning throughout eternity. That means there is an infinite amount of knowledge yet to be revealed to me.
    Humbling, yes, but also exciting.
    So much in store for us if we are open to it.

  9. Would someone please explain to me what says the old covenant.

    what does the new covenant say?

    what is the difference? What am l missing?

    This is very important to me. As someone from the third world, l need it in simple words. I do understand that principles don't change.

    • Clarine,

      The Old Covenant says obey and live (immediate physical blessings) (Leviticus 18:5). The New Covenant says surrender (to Jesus) and live (spiritual and eternal blessings) (John 3:16).

      A covenant is an agreement between two or more parties to do something. Therefore there must be a commitment from all parties, whether expressed in the form of a promise, pledge, vow, obligation or declaration. Until or unless a covenant offer is accepted with a commitment (promise or declaration) it is not valid. So it cannot be forcefully imposed by the initiating (originating) party on another.

      That said the New Covenant, which existed from the fall (Genesis 3:15), and which is also referred to as the Everlasting Covenant (Hebrews 13:20) is a commitment made by the Creator to save (restore the image of God in) mankind subject to the response of mankind.

      God would faithfully do His part, including providing the sacrifice on the cross and providing the power required by fallen humans to obey his law (together generally referred to as grace). Mankind’s part was to accept the pardon and to obey. Since mankind could not naturally (fallen nature) obey the law God would provide the power and humans would submit/surrender to His will. Here we have a working covenant relationship.

      The Old Covenant was a temporary arrangement which partly consisted of rituals and symbols (sacrificial system) that would help to refocus/redirect straying Israel to the Everlasting Covenant (Exodus 19:5-8; 24:1-8; Deuteronomy 6). It pre-figured/typified/pointed to the Everlasting Covenant. It utilized visible and tangible elements to help the people to make a connection to those things which were not seen and/or did not already take place in the process of salvation (Hebrews 9:1-14). It was to be an exercise of faith.

      The Old Covenant was not a failed experiment by Jehovah. It was not a substitute or replacement or alternative to the New Covenant. It was an aid or lesser light to something greater. Like the moon at night (when it is dark) it was to reflect the light of the sun (original light) to remind us that the sun is still shining although we cannot see it directly. When the Sun of Righteousness arose on the cross it was no longer necessary to continue the Old Covenant (Mark 15:37, 38).

      The New or Second Covenant was called new because it was ratified (sealed) at the cross, after the Old or First Covenant was ratified by the blood of animals. However it was always the real deal and existed before the Old Covenant.

      Hopefully this brief attempt helps a little.

    • Hi Clarine,

      As I understand it, the short answer to your question would go something like this:
      According to Paul and Jeremiah, the "New Covenant" is God's promise of redemption through Christ. (See Jere 31:31-33)

      The "Old Covenant" is any covenant based on works that supposedly effect salvation. By the time Paul wrote, the sanctuary system had been turned into a works system, in which people thought that their sacrifices paid for their sins, instead of seeing the sacrifices as emblems of the Savior to come. So Paul included both the sanctuary services and the Sinai covenant under the "old covenant."

      The difference between the new-covenant way of salvation and the new-covenant way is the main topic of the book of Galatians, and it is central to all of Paul's letters.

      Unfortunately some of the comments under this post have mixed together the Old Covenant and the New Covenant in a very confusing way.

      To sum up:
      Old Covenant = salvation by man's works of obedience
      New Covenant = salvation by grace through faith in Christ

    • Clarine

      In summery to your queries, I bring to you the apostle Paul's simple demonstrations in Galatians 4: "For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise." (Galatians 4: 22, 23).

      Then Paul went on to bring more light to the above demonstrations when He wrote; "These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar." (Galatians 4: 24).

      "But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother." (Galatians 4:26).

      In conclusion; the first covenant; "Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith." (Galatians 3: 23,24). This was the first covenant.

      "Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian." So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith... If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3: 25-29). This is the second covenant.

      • Well said Vula. God said they did not obey "My Covenant". That old covenant, that of Mt Sinai, had nothing to do with Israel's promise. God said He brought it in that sin might abound that sin might be seen to be an awful thing. If they obeyed the Law, which was the covenant, they would enter "their promised land" -the land of Israel according to the flesh - and "live" long in it. This was a type of salvation. But the promise to Abraham was not about an earthly inheritance. It was about the heavenly and eternal life. They were slaves of sin. They were physically redeemed from Egypt but not from sin. So that inspite of God's wondrous demonstrations they didn't believe. God demonstrated to us man's nature and condition and his need for a transformation of heart which comes only through Christ. Paul shows that under the ministration of the Spirit in the new covenant we produce fruits against which their is no law. An administration of law is not for a righteous man.

        • I totally agree Kenny! As Paul said; "What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise." (Galatians 3: 17).

          The Law was not the covenant, it was given to guide Israel to the requirements of the Covenant; “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you." (Genesis 17:1, 2). This is why it was referred to as the Covenant Law.

          Israel lost almost every knowledge of God after 400 years of slavery. Thus God had to teach them how to walk faithfully before Him and be blameless. Every gift of God; the Law, the Sanctuary and God's most Holy presence were means by which God wanted Israel to learn how to walk before Him faithfully and be blameless.

          "But God found fault with the people and said; “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.
          It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors
          when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord." (Hebrews 8: 8,9).

          Yes, they were redeemed from Egypt while they were slaves; and God in His kindness and longsuffering led them through His ways in hope that they may recognise Him as the God who delivered them. But they were unfaithful and kept turning back to their old ways. Instead of believing and trusting in the God of their forefathers, they keep turning back to the Egyptian gods. As a result, only 3 of those delivered from Egypt entered the Promised Land.

          God's new covenant; "In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you," (Luke 22: 20); also is based on promises; "But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which He is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises." (Hebrews 8: 6); the promise of Eternal Life in the promised Kingdom of God.

          In the Old Covenant, salvation came through the blood of animals offered year after year, (works of the Law); in the new, "Then He said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10: 9, 10).

  10. OLD COVENANT – “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel:

    You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles 'wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

    These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel. (Exodus 19:3-6 ESV)

    NEW COVENANT. "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel After those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, And on their heart also will I write them:And I will be to them a God, And they shall be to me a people:11 And they shall not teach every man his fellow- citizen, And every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord:For all shall know me, From the least to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And their sins will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8:10-12 ASV)

    The Covenant of God is the Ten Commandments. “So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” (Exodus 34:28 ESV)

    “And you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, while the mountain burned with fire to the heart of heaven, wrapped in darkness, cloud, and gloom. Then the Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice. And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments, and he wrote them on two tablets of stone.” (Deuteronomy 4:11-13 ESV)

    I do not find anywhere in the Bible where the Ten Commandments are called the “Old Covenant.” They were the basis of the Old Covenant in that they were to be kept, but are also the basis of the New Covenant. The way they were to be kept makes the difference between Old and New.

    The attempt to gain salvation by the keeping of the Ten Commandments (the Word of God) written on tables of stone and without accepting by faith the work by the Holy Spirit, to write them in the heart, is the essence of the Old Covenant. The New Covenant is the acceptance by faith that sinners need to be forgiven and to receive the work of the Holy Spirit first changing the heart (the new birth) then writing the same Ten Commandments (God’s Covenant) in the heart. Thus the New Covenant has two parts – the writing of the Law in the heart and the total forgiveness (blotting out) of sin. (See Heb. 10:15-18) Both these parts are the gift of God – the “better promises” of the New Covenant

    The Old Covenant required perfect obedience (do perfectly and live, or don’t do everything perfectly and die) and lacked the promise or blessing of forgiveness. We can have this perfect obedience only by faith in the Savior who was tempted in all points as we are yet without sin, and also the forgiveness of sin. Both are in the New Covenant. These are the better promises emphasized in the book of Hebrews.

    In Summary the requirement under the Old Covenant of perfect obedience to the Law of God is the same as in the New Covenant. The difference is under the Old Man tries to do it himself and under the New God does it with man being submissive and receptive in faith to this unspeakable gift of (God in) Jesus Christ.


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