The Old And The New covenant A covenant is an agreement between two people or two groups or people; which contains promises from both parties.

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1 The Old And The New covenant A covenant is an agreement between two people or two groups or people; which contains promises from both parties. The Hebrew word for covenant, is beriyth (ber-eeth); which means a compact or a treaty; in which both parties have a clear understanding of the agreement between one another. There is usually involved, some sort of action by both parties, which is beneficial to one another. Human covenants are usually between parties of equal level or superiority. Divine covenants, however, are always between a superior party, who is God; and an inferior party; mankind. The two main divine covenants which have been made between God and mankind, are the Old Testament, and the New Testament. The word testament comes from the Greek word diatheke (dee-ath-ay-kay); which means a contract or a covenant. 1. God made a divine covenant with Abraham; in which He promised to bless Abraham's descendants; and make them his special people. Abraham, in return, was to remain faithful to God; and serve as a channel through which God's blessings could flow to the rest of the world. Genesis 12:1-3 tells us: Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. A. God said that He would make of Abraham a great nation. Hebrew-gadowl (gaw-dole): proud, mighty, lasting, or prosperous. B. And that he would bless him. Hebrew-barak (baw-rak): to be made great, abundantly wealthy (in Spiritual knowledge and understanding, materially, financially, and in every area of life). C. And make his name great. Hebrew-gadal (gaw-dal): to be known and remembered as the father of all nations; remembered as a great leader in paths of righteousness. Gen. 17:4 tells us: As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Rom. 4:16 also tells us: Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all. D. Thou shalt be a blessing. Hebrew-berakah (ber-aw-kaw): a benediction; a prosperous sign unto others; not just a sign which is to be seen, but one which literally effects their lives. E. God said that he would bless those who bless Abraham; and curse all who

2 cursed Abraham. Hebrew-arar (aw-rar): execrate, to bring evil upon, or to make any attempt to harm or endanger in any way. 2. We are told of the covenant which God made with Abraham in Genesis chapter 15; which tells us : After these things the Word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the Word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And He brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and He said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness. And He said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? And He said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of there years old, and turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And He said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites. We read of the confirmation of this covenant in Genesis 17:1-9; which tells us: And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God

3 talked with him, saying, As for me, behold my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 3. Every covenant has a sign of confirmation. The sign of the confirmation of the covenant between God and Abraham, was circumcision. Genesis 17:10-14 tells us: This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant. 4. God had also previously made a divine covenant with Noah. The purpose of the Noahic covenant, was the promise that God would never again destroy all sinful humanity by a flood. Gen. 9:11-17 tells us: And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I

4 have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth. God was speaking of the beautiful rainbow. A beautiful sign which is still witnessed by people all over the earth; approximately six-thousand years later. 5. Another famous divine covenant was one made between God and David; in which David and his descendants were established as the royal heirs to the throne of the nation of Israel. 2 Samuel 7:12-13 tells us: And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. This covenant agreement reached it's highest fulfillment when Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of the line of David, was born in Bethlehem; approximately one-thousand years after the covenant was made. Luke 1:26-33 tells us: And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 6. Another divine covenant, which was made between God and mankind, was the covenant between God and Moses; known as the Mosaic covenant; or the old covenant. It's establishments, stipulations, exposition, and confirmation, constituted the formal basis of the redemptive relationship between God and his chosen people. However, this old covenant was superseded by a new covenant. Jeremiah prophesied of this new covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-34; which reads: Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that 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 bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying,

5 Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. 7. The Mosaic covenant sign was the Sabbath day. Exodus 31:13 tells us: Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Also we read in Exodus 31:16-17: Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. The people of Israel pledged to obey the covenant of the Lord, on the basis of which Moses sprinkled blood of the covenant on them. Ex. 24:8 tells us: 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. 8. However, the people of Israel broke the covenant soon and often. Exodus 32:1-8, tells us of how they called upon Aaron; and brought together all their golden jewelry; and how Aaron made the golden calf; and it became their god. We read: And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 9. All biblical covenants were solemnized, or confirmed, by the slaying of one

6 or more animals; by the shedding of their blood. A. In Genesis 8:20, we read: And Noah built an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. B. And in Genesis 15:9 we read: And He said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. This was God's command to Abraham; as a means of confirmation of the covenant which He had made with him. C. And Exodus 24:4-7 tells us: And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and built 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 offered burnt offerings, and 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 it in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. These bloodbought confirmations of these earlier covenants, prefigured the confirmation of the new covenant in Jesus' blood. 1 Cor. 11:25 tells us: After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. Jesus blood was shed as a sign or a confirmation of our eternal redemption; once for all people; and for all time. Hebrews 10:9-17 tells us: Then said He, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that He had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them. And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 10. There are many examples in the Old Testament, of covenants between people who were equals; such as the covenant between David and Jonathan. 1 Sam. 18:3 tells us: Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. The amazing thing about God's covenants with his people, is that God is holy, all-knowing, and all powerful. Yet He chooses to

7 enter into covenants with people who are weak, sinful, and imperfect. What could God possibly hope to gain by doing such? Nothing more than our praise, our honor, and our reverence unto Him. They are certainly not covenants between equals. Most certainly, a positive evidence, that God is love. 11. The covenant established at Mount Sinai was a covenant which could not be obeyed; due to human weakness and sin. It was most certainly a covenant of law. Romans 8:3 tells us: 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 flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. A. The Mosaic covenant could not bring lasting justification unto mankind. Acts 13:39 tells us: And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. B. The new covenant, or the New Testament, is most certainly a covenant of promise; a covenant in which God guarantees to provide salvation for all mankind; in spite of people's inability to keep their side of the agreement because of sin. We read in Ephesians 2:11-22: Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. C. The death of Jesus ushered in the new covenant; under which we are justified by God's grace and mercy; rather than our human attempts to keep the law. Jesus himself is the mediator of this new and better covenant between God and mankind. Hebrews 9:15 tells us: And for this cause He is the mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they

8 which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. D. Jesus' sacrificial death served as the oath, or the pledge, that God made to us, to seal this new covenant. He is determined to give us eternal life, and to make a way for all mankind, to have eternal fellowship with Him, in spite of our unworthiness. 12. The New Testament, which itself, means new covenant, interprets the work of Jesus Christ; as bringing the new covenant into manifestation. When Jesus was having the Passover supper with his disciples, He spoke of the cup, as the New Testament in his blood; which was shed for you. Luke 22:19-20 tells us: And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood which is shed for you. When Paul referred to the last supper, he spoke these words in 1 Cor. 11:23-26: For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. 13. The new covenant, is a much better covenant, than the old covenant. Heb. 8:6 tells us: But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. A. A more excellent ministry. Greek-diaphoros (dee-af-or-os): of more value, or of much more effect; with a much greater accomplishment; surpassing the previous to a very much higher degree. B. A better covenant; established upon better promises. Greek-kreitton (krite-tohn): stronger, or more powerful; capable of accomplishing far more beneficial and more blessed rewards; superseding in every way. The new covenant, rests directly upon the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ; not upon how well we can keep the law, or the ten commandments; or upon any thing else which mankind can do. The new covenant accomplished what the old covenant could not; which was to remove all sin and unrighteousness; and cleanse the conscience of mankind. 14. The work of Jesus Christ on the cross, made the old covenant obsolete. We read in Hebrews 8:13: In that He saith, A new covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

9 Conclusion: For centuries, mankind had to make a needless effort, to keep the laws of God, in order to be able to receive redemption from their sins. The ten commandments, or any other part of the Old Testament, or the Old covenant, were regulations or laws, which mankind could not possibly live up to. God knew this; and therefore, He ordained a new covenant; which we all know as the New Testament. The new covenant was sealed in the blood of Jesus. What could not be accomplished through the old covenant, was accomplished through the new covenant. Through the new covenant, we can now rest assured, of having eternal redemption from sin, healing for our physical bodies, the provision of every need, and have complete power and authority over our real enemy, who is Satan. And the greatest blessing of all, is that we can have an eternal relationship with our heavenly Father; which we could never obtain before; by attempting to keep the ten commandments; or by no other means. Under the old covenant, the high priest was the only one, who could ever enter into the presence, of our loving heavenly Father. But now, by our new and better covenant, Jesus Christ has opened the door, for any one who ever has the desire, to go into the presence of our heavenly Father; any time they choose to do so. All that is required, is to be washed in Jesus blood; and walk through the door in his mighty name. Calvin Smith

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