What’s New About the New Covenant

Covenant

  1. A binding agreement.
  2. A formal agreement or contract.
  3. An agreement between parties fixing obligations that each promises to carry out.

 

A covenant has a number of parts.

  1. There is the agreement.

*   This may be oral or written or even an implied understanding.

*   An affirmation such as a handshake or signature.

*   Perhaps a name for the covenant.

  1. The performance requirements.

*   I will do this if you do that.

*   The provisions for failure to perform.

  1. The term or length of the agreement.
  2. Parties capable of giving informed consent.

*   Typically each party will have a written copy of the agreement.

 

There are 205 verses with the word, “Covenant” in the Old Testament and 30 verses in the New Testament. In other words covenant is a major topic. God made agreements with many people in the Old Testament, Noah and Abraham come to mind immediately. Many covenants did not include God directly. These were covenants between kings and individuals for example. Jacob working for Laban to have Rachel for his wife is one example.

 

When we speak of the Old Covenant, or Old Testament, we mean the covenant God Made with the people of Israel

Here is the “Old Covenant.” Most often they are referred to as the Ten Commandments.

(Exo 20:1-17 NIV)  And God spoke all these words: {2} "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. {3} "You shall have no other gods before me. {4} "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. {5} You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, {6} but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. {7} "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. {8} "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. {9} Six days you shall labor and do all your work, {10} but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. {11} For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. {12} "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. {13} "You shall not murder. {14} "You shall not commit adultery. {15} "You shall not steal. {16} "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. {17} "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

Here is the accepting of the Old Covenant and also its renewal of acceptance.

*   (Exo 19:4-8 NIV)  'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. {5} Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, {6} you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." {7} So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the LORD had commanded him to speak. {8} The people all responded together, "We will do everything the LORD has said." So Moses brought their answer back to the LORD.

*   (Exo 24:1-8 NIV)  Then he said to Moses, "Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance, {2} but Moses alone is to approach the LORD; the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with him." {3} When Moses went and told the people all the Lord's words and laws, they responded with one voice, "Everything the LORD has said we will do." {4} Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said. He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. {5} Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the LORD. {6} Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar. {7} Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, "We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey." {8} Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, "This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words."

*    (2 Ki 23:2-3 NIV)  He went up to the temple of the LORD with the men of Judah, the people of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets--all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the LORD. {3} The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD--to follow the LORD and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.

 

Here is where the Old Covenant was kept.

*   (Deu 10:4-5 NIV)  The LORD wrote on these tablets what he had written before, the Ten Commandments he had proclaimed to you on the mountain, out of the fire, on the day of the assembly. And the LORD gave them to me. {5} Then I came back down the mountain and put the tablets in the ark I had made, as the LORD commanded me, and they are there now.

*   (1 Ki 8:9 NIV)  There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.

*   (Heb 9:3-4 NIV)  Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, {4} which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered Ark of the Covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.

The Old Covenant did not include all of the old laws explicitly, but it certainly did include them implicitly.

*   (Deu 31:26 NIV)  "Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you.

 

Here are the places the Bible talks about a new covenant. The first scripture is from the Old Testament. (Jer 31:31 NIV)  "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.

 

So the Old Testament declares there will be a New Covenant. The following scriptures all come from the New Testament where the New Covenant is revealed.

  1. (Mat 26:28 NIV)  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  (Mat 26:28 KJV)  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
  2. (Mark 14:24 NIV)  "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them.  (Mark 14:24 KJV)  And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
  3. (Luke 22:20 NIV)  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.
  4. (1 Cor 11:25 NIV)  In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."
  5. (2 Cor 3:6 NIV)  He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
  6. (2 Cor 3:14 NIV)  But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.
  7. (Heb 8:8 NIV)  But God found fault with the people and said : "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
  8. (Heb 8:13 RSV)  In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
  9. (Heb 9:15 NIV)  For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

 

So just what are the promises of the old and new Covenants?

  1. Old promise. (Ex 19:5-6) Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, {6} you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."
  2. (Heb 12:18-29 NIV)  You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; {19} to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, {20} because they could not bear what was commanded: "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned." {21} The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear." {22} But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, {23} to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, {24} to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. {25} See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? {26} At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." {27} The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken--that is, created things--so that what cannot be shaken may remain. {28} Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, {29} for our "God is a consuming fire."

And what are the differences in the two Covenants.

1.      Foremost we must say, Jesus. He is the mediator of the new covenant.

2.      The promises are different. The first was an earthly kingdom but the second is an eternal heavenly kingdom.

3.      The first requirements for forgiveness involved perpetual sacrifice, but Jesus put an end to sacrifice.

4.      Before the Covenant was written in stone but now… (Heb 8:10 NIV)  This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

The emphasis today is on love. Love God and love neighbor and even love enemy. Before the emphasis was on processes but now it is on relationships. Before it was impossible to please God, but now with Jesus as our mediator we can be found pleasing in the eyes of God. We can even become sons of God!