Before we embark on this journey, let us be crystal clear on what a covenant is.
By definition, a covenant is a written agreement between 2 or more parties, where one proposes what is required from another to perform in return for a reward. In whatever manner that makes it official, binding and enforceable, it is generally ratified, sealed, stamped or recorded.
There were many covenants starting with Adam, Noah, Abraham etc. But these particular ones for analysis this time, were specifically called such, because they were based on time/change.
Anyone steeped in religion knows that the covenant referred to as “Old Covenant” became “old” because it has been replaced by a “New Covenant” as prophesied and planned.
The Old Covenant:
The following verse that addresses its specificity, proved this point:
Jeremiah 31:31-32 ”Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.”
Notice from the preceding verse, the following caveats about this particular and specific Old Covenant;
That it will be changed, as prophesied and not the same as originally laid out. But, what that change in particular will be revealed and understood in the future.
2. Parties to the Covenant
It was a covenant with the Lord, aka.,God-Creator who was Yahweh to Moses, El Shaddai to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but LOGOS/Word to John. The same person incarnated to “man-Christ Jesus”. It was made specifically with the nation Israel which subsequently was divided, after reign of King Solomon and succeeded by Rehoboam, into the northern house of Israel with Samaria as capital, and southern house of Judah with Jerusalem as capital.
3. When was it?
And as to the time when this occurred, it was when Israel was taken “by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt”, not before. It was after Israel was freed by God from slavery in Egypt.
4. There was a mediator
That it was through a mediator(Moses) at Mt Sinai as in Exodus 20:18-21. “Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.”
5. The Covenant itself
The core of the agreement between God and Israel was specifically identified as the Ten Commandments written in 2 tables of stones as in Deuteronomy 9:10 “The LORD gave me two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God. On them were all the commandments the LORD proclaimed to you on the mountain out of the fire, on the day of the assembly.”
And Israel agreed to follow, as in: Exodus 19:7-8. “…All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord.”
6. Reward for following
The reward for following the Covenant was:“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine” (Exodus 19:5-6) and take them to the “land of milk and honey”
7. Marriage covenant
God (El-Shaddai/Yahweh/LOGOS) was a “husband” to them in this covenant. It was therefore a marriage covenant that bonded God and Israel as husband and wife.
Notice there was “marriage” contract already without period of courtship, engagement, wedding ceremony as in our culture and in Hebrew culture.
8. Israel-Judah broke the agreement.
Soon after the agreement, Israel broke that covenant. And, subsequently God divorced Israel as in Jeremiah 3:8 “Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.”
9. What is the sign of this covenant that ratified and sealed it ?
Exodus 24:4-8: “And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel which … sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.”
In essence, the Old Covenant comprised the Ten Commandments written in 2 tables of stone, agreed upon by the whole Israel, ratified by the blood of oxen, enforceable and to be rewarded for Israel to be a “special treasure to Me above all people” and dwell in the “land of milk and honey”
Why was the Old replaced with a New,
The reason for replacement of the Old Covenant was because it was faulty.
Consider Hebrews 8:7 “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.”
Certainly, there was no need for the first covenant to be changed if it was faultless. But, where does this fault emanate? Was it coming from the Decalogue itself? Not really, as the following verses proved;
Psalm 19:7. “”Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”
Psalm 19:7-8 “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;”
This verse was quoted by Paul in Romans 7:12 “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”
The Law is eternal, an everlasting covenant as in Psalms 119:160 “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.”(NIV)
Luke 16:17 “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.” ( emphasized its primacy over heaven and earth).
Matthew 19:17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
Paul also reiterated it’s everlasting enforceability in Romans 3:31 “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”.
Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill”
Precisely, that the Law/Decalogue which is “just, holy and good“, “perfect and pure” cannot be at fault. Instead, it is eternal, and was established.
And fulfilling it is essential to enter into life. (as man-Jesus did) as in:
Revelations 22:14 “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.”
I Corinthians 6:9-10 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Moreover, it is an “all or none law”, as in “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all”
Unfortunately, some well respected people interpret these verses wrongly, reach a different conclusion and say otherwise with “three absolute proofs that the covenant which disappeared was not the Ten Commandments” just because the reasons given were that the Decalogue has “poor promises, but not faulty and not void”. Obviously their interpretation and logic do not comport with the truth. So, what is the proper interpretation of where the fault lies?
Where does the fault lie?
If not the Decalogue itself, where is the fault?There were only 2 parties to this agreement and God can not be at fault. So, where does the fault come from? Here it is;
Hebrews 8:8“For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: “
Hebrews 8:9 “Because they continued not in my covenant … I regarded them not.”
As the preceding verses proved, the fault was on Israel, the other side to this agreement and not on God. Still, it begs a corresponding question:
Why was the human side at fault?
Truly, Israel did not follow the Decalogue and sinned. Still, why do humans violate the commandments of God whose infinite power was known to them through many of their experiences? Why do we sin? Paul explained this as taught by Jesus’ in-dwelling in him:
Yes, by nature, the spirit is “willing”!and the flesh is“weak“, as created and subject to temptation(sin-prone flesh) although “fearfully and wonderfully made” as in Psalms 139:14 and the “angels shouted for joy” as in Job 38:7. Weak in the sense of still missing a component for the “living being” as in Genesis 2:7 (NIV). That missing link was the “ Holy Spirit(spirit-power of God)” that would be given as in Romans 8:4 to empower the “spirit-of-man that is willing” to “walk not after flesh but after the Spirit”(Romans 8:4 KJV). Humans have “sin-prone nature” (subject to temptation) but not a “sin-nature”. Job and “man-Christ Jesus” did not succumbed to temptation on their own altho Job was still counted with the sin of Adam and needs a Savior, while man-Jesus does not as he “came from above.”
Romans 8:3-4 “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful (hamartia) flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”(KJV). This is why the “flesh” will be changed “in a twinkling of an eye” but through a process of first having the “spirit-of-man/breath of life”in “oneness “ with the Holy Spirit of the Father.
The timing behind giving that empowering “Holy Spirit” was after Yahweh-Elohim’s incarnation to “man-Christ Jesus” to be the “first of the firstfruits/wavesheaf”, to receive this power as a gift to be the “captain/trailblazer” of our faith. And, this was “based on hope” for man-Christ Jesus, “flesh Christ” “hopefully as a human”, but with the “in-dwelling Holy Spirit” at Jordan River, will go through with the foundational plan to die as a Passover for the sins of all humanity (to take on the consequence of sin which is eternal death towards our salvation ) as a reconciliation with the Father.
Consider Romans 8:20 “For the creature was made subject to vanity(mataoites/frailty-depravity), not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,(ESV). Note: The Father who is omniscient preferred to base this on hope even for “man-Jesus”and “hope that is seen is no longer hope”. The Father’s hope on man-Jesus materialized as Jesus “delivered” by following the guidance of the Holy Spirit in him.
As promised, the Father then resurrected Jesus, (the first human to become the begotten “Son of God” according to his plan) and directly gave him the “empowering Spirit” for others as well (through Christ).
This fact that there is inherent flaw at creation, “spirit (of man) is willing but the flesh is weak” was emphasized 3 times before “man-Christ Jesus” was to die for mankind. Consider Matthew 26:42-44 at 3rd time Jesus saw them sleeping he said the same words at the 2nd time.
“O my Father if this cup may not pass away from me except I drink it, thy will be done “.
Yes, “man-Christ Jesus” had to voluntarily agree to die , i.e., to “drink the wine/blood” as a Passover. If Jesus did not die, he would not have been resurrected as “Son of God” to receive the “Comforter/Holy Spirit” for us, as in John 16:7.
This narrative in the garden of Gethsemane was a teaching moment for all of us, too.
Jesus received as a gift the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit directly from the Father to overcome Satan and do miracles. and so shall we be “overcomers”, too.
After resurrection, Jesus then received the Holy Spirit from the Father to be given to us; as a gift first to the disciples in particular and subsequently in general to others at Pentecost. With the “in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit”, we will then “bear fruits”. All our own “righteous acts are as filthy rags”; and so, our righteousness has to come through Christ via the Holy Spirit bearing fruits.
Instead of human’s effort or “human works through the flesh” as in “we will do on our own,” the “work” has to be as in “to make you perfect in every good work … working in you.” And that is through the mechanism of “in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit” that empowers the “spirit-of-man and flesh” (living being) to overcome evil and follow the Law. But, how is this power made available? Because of what Jesus did on the cross: “Through the shedding of Jesus’ blood of the everlasting covenant.”
The New Covenant:
The New Covenant is basically the same as the Old Covenant except in the manner of execution to fortify the fault inherent in the previous agreement, which is the “wiling spirit-of-man and weak flesh”.
1. What comprised this New Covenant?
The core of the agreement between God and Israel did not change. It is still the Ten Commandments. But instead of prohibitive and with negative tone “thou shall not”, it is now prescriptive and positive as in “bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit”, and “against such, there is no Law”. By, “walking and following” the guidance of the in-dwelling Holy Spirit, one “bears fruits”, thereby actually following the Law given to Moses but now Law of the Spirit. Not our own righteous acts/works which are “filthy rags”, but the “works of the Holy Spirit” in us which are “sweet/pleasing aroma/savor” to the Father.
Remember, Matthew 5:18 “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished”(ESV).
Yes, “until all is accomplished.” And, it was “man-Christ Jesus” who fulfilled all of the Ten Commandments and “bear fruits of the Holy Spirit” in-dwelling in him from the baptism at River Jordan by the Father. Jesus is the “trailblazer, captain of our faith”for us to be led to the path and process of salvation. So, the “letter of the Law written on tables of stone” has been changed and is now the “Law of the Spirit written in our “mind and heart of flesh through the power of the Holy Spiirit for us to follow and also “bear the fruits” which are;
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
This is the “rest” that Paul was referring to, not our own works as in:
Hebrews 4:9-11 “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”
Genesis 2:2-3 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Exodus 20:8-10 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 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 male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.
Psalms 55:6 “ I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.”
Mark 2:27 “Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
This is the rest Jesus called us to in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Notice that it was God who blessed and made that 7th day holy, Not you, me or anybody else. Only God can make it “holy”. Although, we have to “remember and keep it holy“. It is God who will be “working in you” through “in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit”. For us to keep the Sabbath “holy”, it has to be through God’s power to do the “works “, i.e., God “working in you” as in Philippians 2:13
2. To whom was the New Covenant? Still Israel but now counted as referring to “children of promise”, “not after the flesh” but after the Spirit. Gentiles with the Holy Spirit are “grafted to Israel”.
3. When was the New Covenant instituted?Similar to the Old Covenant when “Israel was taken out of slavery in Egypt”. Figuratively for New Testament believers, Egypt represents our old life of slavery to sin. Essentially, the timing was when Jesus died and resurrected to receive the Holy Spirit from the Father to take the road to freedom from “slavery of Egypt”. Remember, as Israel had to spend years to reach the promised land “flowing with milk and honey”, so shall it will take some time for us to be sanctified and become “sons and daughters of the God-kingdom”.
4. It was a Marriage Covenant.
Yahweh-Elohim/El Shaddai/Logos was married to Israel of old, but was divorced because Israel violated the agreement. After incarnation to man-Christ Jesus, he died and can now be married to another, but to “spiritual Israel”.
It was a marriage agreed upon by both parties that will bring out “children of God”. Personally, I think the wedding has happened and now producing “sons and daughters of the God -Kingdom”.
5. Ratified and sealed: As the Old Covenant was ratified by blood, the New Covenant was also ratified by the blood of the Passover Lamb/man-Christ Jesus and was sealed by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.
6. Mediator of New Covenant is superior. As the Old Covenant has a mediator Moses, we now have a mediator as in Hebrews 8:6, Jesus as mediator of the new covenant.
“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.
The better promises refer to the promise of “in-dwelling Holy Spirit” that will bring out to deliver “sons and daughters of the God-Kingdom”. The promise to Israel was not just land from River of Egypt to Euphrates River as in Genesis 15:18-21 but to “spiritual Israel” ( those with in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit) as promised to Abraham’s seed(not seeds).
7. Written agreement, how?
Just like the Old Covenant, the New covenant was also a written agreement but this time using a different method of re-writing it.
Jeremiah 31:33 “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
This was written in the fleshy tables of our heart and mind through the Holy Spirit; unlike the Old Covenant written in “tables of stones” and with the “finger of God.” And this was written into the disciples and in Pentecost and beyond, not with the “finger of God” but by breathing it out directly into them.
8. What will the Holy-Spirit do to empower the “spirit-of-man”/“breath-of-life”?
Ezekiel 36:24-25”For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Notice: process of sanctification
Jeremiah 31:34 “No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’because they will all know me,from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Notice: guidance to truth.
Matthew 5:18 “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.” (fulfilled by man-Jesus who was appointed Son of God by resurrection) as empowered by the Holy Spirit and so will other “sons/daughters of God). Notice: with the empowering in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit and our willingness to follow its guidance, we will fulfill the Law, entirely, through the Law of the Spirit.
Romans 10:4 “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” ( Fulfillment of the law on your own does not cut it; it has to be “fruits of the Holy Spirit” which was attained by Christ for us who “ended the law of righteousness on our own” so now our righteousness is a result or “fruits” of the gift of the empowering Holy Spirit.
9. What is the reward?
Following the guidance of the Holy Spirit to be in “oneness with the Father”, has a reward. Much like that the Old Covenant has reward to Israel as promised in Exodus 3:17 the reward for the New Covenant is more expansive and superior, in line with the promise to Abraham(Genesis 15:18-21; Genesis 17:4-6; Genesis 13:16, Genesis 15:5, Genesis 22:16-18) which actually is to his seed (not seeds, specific seed, “man-Christ Jesus”). And this can only be achieved in the context of creation of “immortal spiritual sons and daughters of the God-Kingdom” through the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit.
The Old Covenant is a mutual agreement by God-Creator/El-Shaddai/Yahweh-Elohim/Logos to Israel/Judah, a marriage covenant with conditions and promises that was ratified with blood. As Israel/Judah did not fulfill her part, she was given a certificate of divorce. That Covenant was faulty and changed to New Covenant as planned. The fault was in the very composition of man, viz. “flesh+breath-of-life/spirit-of-man”.
Adam and subsequent patriarchs have the same intrinsic fault in their composition so they sinned as well. The fault is in the “breath-of-life/spirit-of-man” which is willing but the “flesh is weak”. As originally created, it has a “missing link” that would fortify this flaw which will be revealed later through the “incarnated Creator-God”, man-Christ Jesus. As written: “until the seed should come” (Galatians 3:19).
Israel/Judah violated the Old Covenant because the “spirit is willing but flesh is weak” (needs to be empowered in the future) and was made so, subject to futility/failure predicated on “hope” for the coming “man-Christ Jesus” (the incarnated Creator-God) so that we “by grace, will be saved through faith” of Jesus. This “hope on him” materialized, to the Father’s expectation, at Gethsemane, at which time Jesus said “not my will but yours be done” for him to be crucified and die for the sin of humanity (imputed/counted on one-man sin of Adam) for reconciliation with the Father as planned . Notice that in Gethsemane, the “will of Jesus” was “let this cup pass from me”, not to experience the harrowing and excruciating death by crucifixion. But he had “faith and trust” in that the Father will fulfill his promise to him, so, “not my will but your’s be done”. This is why our “spirit-of-man/breath-of-life” has to defer to the “Holy Spirit” as in DNA helix bond.
The Law of Moses was brought in/introduced so that people would see how sinful they were. The Old Law given to Israel was “added” and a tutor to lead us to Christ, “but after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor/guardian/schoolmaster” (Galatians 3:24-25). It was taken away and nailed to His cross (Colossians 2:14).
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, his face shone because he had been speaking with God. But, after he finished speaking, he put a veil over his face, to remain until his next visit with Jehovah (Exodus 34:29-35). The veil hid the fact that the brightness of his face was fading (2 Corinthians 3:7), suggesting that the glory of the Old Covenant is now fading away, being superceded by a New Covenant with greater glory.
Similarly, notice the epexegesis of apostle Paul:
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God”.
2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:7 “But if the ministrationof death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:”
But through Christ the veil is removed, and made believers to “open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me”.(Acts 26:18)
After resurrection, Jesus (as firstborn, Son of God) received directly from the Father, the promised “Comforter”, the power that was then given by Christ to us, first to the disciples, then in a general way at Pentecost and subsequently to us through an “Ongoing Creation” of the God-Kingdom. This is the quaesitum that empowers the “spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” and develops us from our nonage. This is the “gospel of Jesus Christ”, the “Ultimate Covenant” between El-Shaddai/Creator-God and the Father, before the foundation of the world.
Paul warned the Galatians to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).
Ezekiel 36:28 “Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.
Post published March 2, 2021
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