Chapter 1 Important Distinctions Between the New Testament and the New Covenant

Jer 31:31-34  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:  (32)  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 DID THEY BREAK, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:  (33)  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.  (34)  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, 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.

Eze 36:22-28  Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.  (23)  And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.  (24)  For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.  (25)  Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.  (26)  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  (27)  And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.  (28)  And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

The notion that the church is under the New Covenant is prevalent in Christianity. However, it sets up a false (and disillusioning) expectation concerning what our spirituality should look like. It leads to legalism on the one hand and naivety on the other because the New Covenant has terms and provisions that are not for us today.  The New Covenant, (which is specifically for the house of Israel), is said to replace the mosaic covenant, which they broke. The purpose of the New Covenant is primarily to allow them to keep maintain their place in the land as mortals during the Millenium. It is a covenant for mortals who are going to live a very long time during the Kingdom. It is a covenant that God makes with the house of Israel to enable them to keep his ways. Under the mosaic covenant they did not keep his ways, and for that reason could not stay in the land. He kept having to discipline them. When the land is desolate, and the temple is destroyed, and your enemies have your people in captivity, for all practical intents and purposes your expression of your kingdom is demolished during that time.

God’s intention is to have his kingdom.  The purpose of the New Covenant so that God’s people Isarael people can stay in the land and can walk in obedience, and they can walk in his ways. Again, every time the New Covenant is mentioned in the Bible we are told it’s for the house of Israel. It will be fulfilled in the millennium when God pours out His spirit of grace and supplication on them.

If you want to understand something of the New Covenant look at the 144,000 (Rev 14:4-5). There will be zero sin found in them, not a lie on their lips.  They will given a new heart, and He will put His spirit in them and cause them to walk in His ways; His “statutes and judgements”. He will keep them in His way so that they will not depart from Him. They will not fall back. They will not backslide. They will not apostatize. They will have a whole new heart. He’ll write his law in their in heart and in their mind, and they will literally be holy mortals through and through, dwelling in the land He promised them. We have not seen that kind of spirituality on earth yet in men who are not Jesus, and even Jesus had a higher spirituality because He the God Man.

Similarities Between the New Covenant and Pauline Spirituality (New Testament Ministry)

There are some similarities and overlaps between what we have (as the Church) and what they will have.  However we must remember that as Gentiles, we had nothing to do with any covenants.  We have no covenants. We are according to (Ephesians 2:12)  “strangers to the covenants of promise.” The covenants were given to Abraham and his physical seed. As Gentiles, we were strangers to Abraham and the covenants. We were certainly not under the mosaic covenant, and so it doesn’t make sense to think that we would be under a covenant that is designed to replace it.

God has not said to us, “you didn’t keep my mosaic covenant.  I’m going to make a New Covenant with you that’s not like the one I made with your fathers, which they broke.”  That’s not our history as Gentiles.  We have nothing to do with the Mosaic covenant or its replacement, the New Covenant. Those words simply don’t apply to us as they are addressed to a people who were under the Old Covenant.

The Old Covenant again is the covenant of Moses. It has the Aaronic priesthood, and it has the ten commandments.  The Old Covenant is not the same as the covenant God made with Abraham concerning the land and the seed. That is a different covenant, made 430 years prior (Gen 12, Gen 15). It is also not the covenant that God made with David concerning the throne and that his seed would be the son of God (2 Sam 7:12-17). That’s called the Davidic covenant.  We don’t have anything to do with the Mosaic covenant or the Davidic Covenant.  But when the Bible talks about the “Old Covenant” it specifically is referring to the law of Moses.

The Father’s Covenant with the Son

Again, Gentiles don’t have anything to do with any of these covenants!  The covenants concerning the land, the throne, the Old Covenant with Moses or its replacement (the New Covenant) have nothing to do with us. Galatians tells us that God made a covenant with Abraham’s seed, (which is Christ) and that covenant is called the “Everlasting Covenant”(Heb 13:20). Hebrews refers to this in chapter 13, that God raised Jesus from the dead to be the Great Shepherd of the sheep by “the blood of the Everlasting Covenant”.  The Everlasting Covenant is a covenant between God the Father and God the Son who was also the Son of Man. This was not a covenant made with Abraham. It was made while Abraham was asleep, and it’s said in Galatians 3 to be made with Abraham’s seed, which is Christ (Gal 3:15-17).   

When Abraham was asleep there was a furnace and a torch that passed through the pieces of the animals, the Father and the Son (Gen 15:17). God made a covenant with Himself! This is refer to in Hebrews 6:15-19.  It was impossible for God to lie, but for our sake, He made an oath.

Heb 6:13-18  For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,  (14)  Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.  (15)  And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.  (16)  For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.  (17)  Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:  (18)  That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

Since He couldn’t swear by anyone greater, He swore by Himself.  This is what secures our inheritance, which is entirely based on the obedience of Christ, the Shepherd of the sheep (Heb 13:20). It is a covenant that He made with His Father to lay His life down for the sheep (John 10:18). It was Their agreement. It’s called the Everlasting Covenant, and it was made in eternity past. Really, even though it was manifested in time, this was an agreement in the Godhead. This is why he’s called the “lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8), and He’s the shepherd of the sheep. The covenant that appoints him the shepherd of the sheep is the Everlasting Covenant.

We do have something to do with that covenant, but it’s not a covenant with us. It’s a covenant for us, and the way we are related to it is we are baptized into Christ, and we have put Him on. We have clothed ourselves with Christ, and because we’re in Christ, and we are one with his person, we are one person with the seed of Abraham with whom God made this covenant:

Gal 3:27-29  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  (28)  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  (29)  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Because we are in Christ, and He is the heir, we are also called beneficiaries and heirs. Paul says because we are baptized into Christ (who is Abraham’s seed) we are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise. Our relationship to the Everlasting Covenant is due to the fact that we are in Christ, and this makes us heirs with Him.  Really, it is His inheritance that we are sharing!

In reality, we are not talking about a covenant for us but a testament. We are not parties in a covenant with certain terms on us and certain terms on God. Instead, we are beneficiaries and heirs of what God has agreed to with Christ and what Christ has accomplished to fulfill that covenant. Galatians 3:20 makes a point that a covenant is something that establishes trust between two parties, but God is one. In other words there’s not another party for him to make this covenant with. He made it with Himself.  Again, this is confirmed in Hebrews 6:13-18.

We are not in a covenant with God!  A covenant is something that’s done to establish trust between two parties who each have obligations to fulfill in order for the covenant to be in effect, but we have nothing to do because we are dead! And we were crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20) and we were baptized into his death (Rom 6:4) and we were baptized into him, and we put him on (Gal 3:27). He is the one who keeps the Everlasting Covenant, and that covenant makes him the shepherd of the sheep and guarantees our eternal life and our inheritance.

Not a Covenant, but a Testament

We haven’t become parties of a covenant; we become heirs to a testament. Hebrews tells us that because there’s been the death of a testator, there’s a will in effect. We are heirs of a testament because Christ died to secure our inheritance, and now He has risen to be the mediator of a testament.

Heb 9:15-17  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 which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.  (16)  For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.  (17)  For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

 This is where it can get a little confusing because covenant and testament are the same word in the Greek, but the context governs its usage.  When dealing with the accomplishments of Christ of which we are beneficiaries and heirs, we are talking about a covenant that became a testament.  It was a covenant for Christ to keep, but a testament for us to inherit. So there is an overlap because our testament is the covenant that Christ kept with the Father (the everlasting covenant), but the context dictates which is the most appropriate use of the word.  The same is true of the Greek word, oikonomia, which is translated to dispensation, administration, stewardship and fellowship depending on the context in the KJV.

Are we beneficiaries of a testament, or are we parties in a covenant? We are not parties in a covenant. There’s no obligation on us. God has not made an agreement with us that says, “if you do these, I will do this, and if you don’t do that, I won’t do this”.  No, God has made us heirs of a testament in which He says, “I have done it all already, before you even entered into it, before you became a beneficiary, I already secured the will.” You don’t call the heirs together and describe the inheritance until the testator has died, and the mediator declares the will, declares the inheritance, after the testator has died and after the inheritance is already ready to be divided up. It’s a finished deal! It’s his estate. He’s done. It’s a finished work!

As, gentiles we had nothing to do with the covenant.  Even Jews who get saved in this time are baptized into the body of Christ and are cut out of Adam. And so they are not reckoned based on their status as physical heirs. They are taken out of the land covenant relationship and the things that God  promised as an earthly inheritance to the children of Isarel. Instead they are made heirs together with Christ, who is heir of all things not only on earth but also in the heavens! Just as we are members of one body, we are heirs together with Christ.

Christ is the seed to whom all the covenants were made. Not only is he the second party in the Everlasting Covenant to make him the Shepherd of the sheep, but He is the seed of Abraham, and He’s the seed of David, and He’s the seed of the woman. So he inherits all the covenants that God made with man. He inherits the Davidic covenant, which says “you’ll be the son of God, and you’ll sit on the everlasting throne forever” (2 Sam 7:13-14) He inherits the land covenant with Abraham’s seed (Gen 12:7; Gen 13:15;Gen 15:18;Gen 17:8). According to Galatians 3, his seed is not many but one, Christ (Gal 3:16).  

In Revelation, we see the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the root and offspring of David taking the title deed to the land out of the hand of the father, and now, he’s possessing the land (Rev 5:1). He’s dispossessing of its enemies. Now the land there is specifically Israel, but then it’s the nations too, because in resurrection he inherited the nations (Rev 11:15).

Psa 2:7-8  I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.  (8)  Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

That is his inheritance as the seed of David, and yet he shares that inheritance with the church because we are coheirs together with him (Rev 2:26-27). So that’s why we’ll reign together with him on the earth because we are co-heirs (Rev 5:10). He is the Seed to whom all these promises were made, and we are baptized into him. And we are many brothers with him, children of God with him, co-heirs with him to reign with him and enjoy as an inheritance all these benefits. It’s an inheritance for us, the finished work of Christ!

So that puts us in a different position because our inheritance includes being glorified together with Christ (Rom 8:29). We receive Christ as life. We are made members of the body of Christ (Eph 5:30). We receive Christ as our portion and our enjoyment. We’re brought into the holy of holies. We’re brought into God himself, and God is brought into us (John 14:20). And He begins to work in us by his life to conform us to the image of his son, and glorify us, and will fashion our resurrection body like unto his heavenly spiritual body or his heavenly body (1 Cor 15:38-48). And we’ll shine with him in glory. We will be heavenly. We’ve been blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ (Eph 1:3) That’s way beyond what Israel was ever promised in any of her covenants!

All of this is because we are heirs of the Everlasting Covenant, and we’re baptized into Christ. We are heirs together with Christ. We are sons of God. It’s a different position. When we were baptized into Christ, we were made heirs. We have a testament, and the testament based on a covenant because He is the one to whom the covenants were made. And He is also the one that made the everlasting covenant with the Father and is the mediator of all covenants.

The  Everlasting Covenant overlaps with and is the root of all these other covenants. The covenant He made with the Father to execute all the terms and keep it and fulfill it made Him also the mediator of the covenants. He’s the other party in the covenants, but He’s God Himself. And He’s also the mediator of the covenant, as well as the mediator of the testament.

1 thought on “Chapter 1 Important Distinctions Between the New Testament and the New Covenant”

  1. Thank God the burden of having to be faultless in my behavior is taken away by the fact that we are not under a new covenant that is made for Israel and Judah. It was hard but not impossible to convince myself that I was not a sinner anymore. Just goes to show you how delusional a Christian I was. I always thought now this is it. I will sin no more. I have a new heart and God’s law is written in there. Always to sin again. Another disappointment. How nice to not have to mind my p’s and q’s and try to please God so I can convince myself that I am still a child of God. Pop pop fizz fizz oh what a relief it is.

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