What is the New Covenant?
Where is it?
and What does it contain?
As a Christian we accept Christ as our Saviour – but we also enter into an agreement, or Covenant with God – we read in Hebrews 9:15 that Christ is the Mediator of the New Testament.
Heb 9:15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant...
'Testament' can also be translated as ‘Contract', 'Will' or 'Covenant’.
Heb 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry which is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.
1Ti 2:5 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry which is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.
So now we have a Mediator between God and men, and a Covenant.
How does it affect our Christian walk - why is it important to know?
As Christians we accept Christ as our Saviour - BUT we also enter into an agreement, or 'Covenant' with God - With any contract or covenant, there are terms, or an agreement, by 2, or more parties.
(Dictionary definition of ‘Covenant’ …. ‘an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do, or not to do, something specified; a formal agreement, contract, or promise in writing, agree by lease, deed, or other legal contract.’
Example – the agreement between God and the ancient Israelites, in which God promised to protect them if they kept His law and were faithful to Him.)
Why was there a need for a NEW or better Covenant?
The Old Covenant was between Israel (consisting of 12 Tribes) and God, delivered at Mt Sinai through Moses. It consisted of The Ten Commandments, 70 Laws and statutes.
Moses read out the terms of the Old Covenant and all the people agreed, the covenant was then sealed (ratified) with the sprinkling of blood -
Exo 24:7-8 Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient." And Moses took the blood and threw it upon the people, and said, "Behold the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words."
It was a physical arrangement with physical rewards. As long as the people kept the laws then God would protect them and fight for them. The people didn’t have direct access to God but through Moses, then the Levitical priesthood.
There was no provision to forgive sin – through the Levitical priesthood there was only a ritual performed as a covering of sin and only once a year on the Day of Atonement.
This arrangement would have been fine if the Israelites were able to stick to God’s laws and not waver, and not sought after other Gods.
God had a plan to offer something better, but it wouldn’t come into effect until later.
Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second.
Heb 10:4 For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.
Christ became the ultimate sacrifice, His blood was shed – once and for all for those who believe on him would have their sins not just covered but forgotten!
Heb 10:16 -18 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,"
then he adds, "I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more."
Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
It is an incredible promise to those who believe in Christ and accept Him as their saviour - but what about the 'Covenant' part?
Heb 9:15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant.
Why talk about a New Covenant if it seems that all you need to do is believe in Christ?
Consider these scriptures in Matthew 5 -
Mat 5:17 - 20 "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
John 14:15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
So there is still emphasis on ‘Laws’ and ‘Commandments’. Christ talks about writing His Laws into their hearts and in their minds – what Laws?
The OLD Covenant is written in Exodus – is it possible that the New Covenant is also recorded in the Bible?
Are there TWO Covenants with God’s people in the Bible?
Before we can answer this question we need to become familiar with the content of the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy and the timeline of these four books. See: The first Five Books of the Bible in a Nut Shell, before going into the main Study - Start Here.