The New Covenant

Understanding the New Covenant brings the whole creation into sharp focus and allows us to strive mightily to enter the Kingdom of God.

The New Covenant is the culmination of God’s legal and moral relationship with those made in His image. While most religious groups refuse to examine the New Covenant in its full glory and impact, the Bible has a lot to say to us about it.

Many in organized religion use the New Covenant to convince its congregations that all the old laws and ways are gone; therefore, they do not have keep the Sabbath, believe God is One Person, or prepare for the resurrection from the dead.

Let us examine the New Covenant to learn the Truth as the Bible shows, not what people say.

Laws in the Mind

God gave His Laws for mankind’s good, and told them over and over that obedience brings blessings and disobedience brings curses. Jesus stated unequivocally that he did not come to destroy the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them. He did. He died for people’s disobedience and lived up to all the prophecies about him. So are we to disobey the Law because Jesus died for sinners? No, indeed! We must fulfill our obligation to the Law.

Mat 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish
them but to fulfill them.
Mat 5:18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
Mat 5:19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

Actually, the Law is so important to God that He connects the New Covenant and the Law in Jeremiah:

Jer 31:31 "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.
Jer 31:33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people."

So, the New Covenant does not discard the Law, but in fact writes it on believers’ minds. Instead of doing away with the Law, God decided to imprint it on people’s brains. There was nothing wrong with the Law; the problem was the people who became hard hearted trying and failing to obey a law written on stone. The Law had to become alive in the human heart, so it could be obeyed. It took among other things the power of the Spirit to change the stony hearted people into people who love God by obeying the Law.

Heb 8:8 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."

Yes, the problem was not the Law or the Old Covenant, but the people. But with Jesus, the Law could be burned into believer’s brain, so it could be obeyed.

In Blood

How did Jesus destroy the evil power that enslaved mankind from the beginning, from Adam?

We all know the answer. He died for our sins, and by his dying and his subsequent resurrection, brought an end to rule of sin, for believers. No longer do people have to sin.

Mat 26:28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

What covenant? The New Covenant takes away sins by Jesus’s blood.

Rom 11:27 "And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."

>From the beginning all covenants point to and develop toward the New Covenant, which God also calls the eternal covenant.

Heb 13:20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep.
New Covenant of Spirit

The major differences between the adherents of the Old Covenant and believers in the New Covenant are Jesus and the Spirit. The New Covenant asserts that Jesus is long awaited Messiah, and it brings about the ascendant of mankind to the next step in human development by being filled with the Holy Spirit to be used for God’s glory and good works.

2Co 3:6 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.

A glorious new day dawned when the New Covenant began with Jesus’s blood, and ushered in the Kingdom of God.

Covenant as Will

Those accepting New Covenant promises become heirs of the Kingdom of God. Since heirs, they become members of the God-family. Heirs cannot receive their inheritance without the beneficiary’s death, in this case Jesus’s. Thus, the inheritance exists and is available immediately. But while the Kingdom of God’s new ruler, Jesus, has not yet claimed his throne, we live in a kind of exile in whatever country we are born in or decide to move to. Therefore, our citizenship and passport are of the Kingdom of God.

Heb 9:15 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.
Heb 9:16 In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it,
Heb 9:17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.

Old Covenant

God did not discard the Old Covenant; he upgraded it and its promises.

Gal 3:15 Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case.

The reason again was not that the Old Covenant and its promises were so bad, but that the people would not, or could not keep the provisions of the covenant. The people were upgraded, too; they received the power of the Spirit to be "willing and able" to keep the provisions of the covenant, that is, the Law which was written on the heart and mind by the power of the Spirit.

Heb 8:8 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.
Heb 8:9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers 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.
Heb 8:10 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.
Heb 8:13 By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

Truly, the old covenant is going out of use and has been upgrade. When and how?

Mat 5:18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."

The "when" of the upgrading of the New Covenant is at the end of the age, when "heaven and earth disappear." Much has been already done, but not all.

Old Covenant Elements in New

The "how" of upgrading the Old Covenant is taking it up to a higher level without destroying it. It is like upgrading a computer program without the writing of an entirely new program.

Circumcision

For example, circumcision was the law of salvation. Unless a male were circumcised, he and his family could not be a part of Israel with all its promises and benefits. But even in those days, God was more interested in the new circumcision, that of the heart.

Deu 30:6 The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.

The physical circumcision ended with the New Covenant, but the circumcision of the heart did not.

Rom 2:29 No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.

You see again once more how important the Spirit is in the New Covenant. The Spirit circumcises the heart, and Jesus, as well, plays an important role.

Col 2:11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ.

The covenant of circumcision continues in the New Covenant, by upgrading the physical to the spiritual.

Promised Land

The covenant promise God made with Abraham, in addition to his progeny being like the stars in the sky, was their living in the Promised Land, the land of Canaan. This land flowed with milk and honey, the best land on Earth.

Gen 17:8 "The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God."

Growing out of the old covenant, God promised a better land called the Kingdom of God.

Heb 8:6 But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.

Even the best land on Earth could not compare to the God’s Kingdom. But, to enter God’s Kingdom, people needed the faith of Abraham and to conform to the Words of the Covenant.

God ruled the Promised Land of Canaan through men in a theocracy. But the Promised Land of the Kingdom of God will be ruled by the man, the lord Jesus, and will be the ultimate functioning theocracy. He gave three of his disciples a glimpse of this brave new world.

Mar 9:2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them.
Mar 9:3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.
Mar 9:4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

Even as Abraham attempted to sacrifice his son Isaac, God actually allowed His son, Jesus to die for our sins in order that his blood might cleanse us to allow our entry into the Kingdom of God.

1Co 15:21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.

As in all things with God, He seldom throws anything away, but rather improves on it. So the Promised Land of Canaan is a kind of prophecy for the Kingdom of God, the better covenant.

Hagar and Sarah

In his impatience to have an heir, Abraham had a son by his concubine, Hagar. But this son was not the son of promise because the son of promise must come from Sarah.

In a like manner, the one covenant comes from Mount Sinai like Hagar, but the better covenant comes through Sarah to Jesus, actually. Isaac’s progeny are the children of promise.

Gal 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman.
Gal 4:23 His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.
Gal 4:24 These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.
Gal 4:25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children.
Gal 4:26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
Gal 4:27 For it is written: "Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labor pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband."
Gal 4:28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.
Gal 4:29 At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now.
Gal 4:30 But what does the Scripture say? "Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son."
Gal 4:31 Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

Something old, something new — the covenant of promise

Priesthood

The old covenant priests made temporary sacrifices to atone for sins. The new covenant priest (Jesus) made a permanent sacrifice to atone, once and for all, for all sins of all people. Therefore, Jesus can be a better guarantee of the New Covenant.

Heb 7:21 but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever.’"
Heb 7:22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
Heb 7:23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office;
Heb 7:24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.
Heb 7:25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Heb 7:26 Such a high priest meets our need-- one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.
Heb 7:27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

Sabbath

God raised the importance of the Sabbath from the Old Covenant to the New. While not needing rest, God, nonetheless, rested on the first Sabbath, as noted in Genesis 2:1-3, thus making it holy. This cannot be emphasized enough: God made only one day of the week holy by His resting — the Sabbath.

Exo 31:16 ‘"The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant.
Exo 31:17 It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.’"

At first, Israel kept the Sabbath, mostly after a fashion; then other nations learned of God’s way from Israel, and the few foreigners who kept God’s Holy Day were blessed by it.

Isa 56:6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—

In Asia Minor, Paul preached to the foreigners on the Sabbath who might "bind themselves to the Lord."

Act 17:2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
Act 17:3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ," he said.

God said the Sabbath was a sign between God and Sabbath keepers that He alone makes people holy.

Exo 31:13 "Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.’"

The better Sabbath covenant came when God installed Jesus as the Lord of the Sabbath. When two or three gather in his name, he is present. For now, Jesus rules the Sabbath, decides the message, inspires the speaking and hearing, and gives a taste of the Kingdom of God. You see, the best Sabbath is yet to come; for one thousand years, Jesus will rule the Earth’s millennial Sabbath. The weekly Sabbath is a shadow of things to come, the Sabbath of the Kingdom of God. Each Sabbath believers get a taste of the better promise, a taste of the millennial years of rest — the great Sabbath.

Mat 12:8, Mar 2:28, Luke 6:5 "For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

Commandments

The most amazing excuse for not keeping the commandments one could hear is: the new Covenant excludes them!? They use Paul’s statements about the law being done away with. They neglect to say the law being done away with comprises the law of physical circumcision, the laws of sacrifice, the laws of the Levitical priesthood, and the law of sin and death. They expect people to believe that God who gave the commandments to Israel through Moses, who indeed wrote the commandments on stone, decided later to do away with them?

Exo 34:28 Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant-- the Ten Commandments.

The want us to believe that this God who never changes, changed what was written on stone. Let’s say it again.

Heb 10:16 "This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds."

The New Covenant upgrades the written Law carved in stone to the Law being spiritually engraved on the very minds and hearts of believers.

Ark of the Covenant

As the scriptures inform us, the original ark, which may or may not have been discovered by Indy, was a replica of heaven’s throne. In the New Covenant, the real thing, coming down from heaven to the New Earth because the old heaven and Earth will have passed away, will replace this replica. Here is a description of the New Jerusalem:

Rev 11:19 Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.

The New Promise Described

Nothing one can say begins to show the Kingdom of God in its great glory better than God's Word:

Rev 21:10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
Rev 21:11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
Rev 21:12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Rev 21:13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.
Rev 21:14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Rev 21:15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls.
Rev 21:16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long.
Rev 21:17 He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man's measurement, which the angel was using.
Rev 21:18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.
Rev 21:19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
Rev 21:20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
Rev 21:21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.
Rev 21:22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
Rev 21:23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
Rev 21:24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
Rev 21:25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.
Rev 21:26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.
Rev 21:27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Rev 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
Rev 22:2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
Rev 22:3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.
Rev 22:4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
Rev 22:5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Do we hear a Wow! And an Amen!

Gil Kovacs

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