15 October 2021
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The new covenant, not what you might have learned in church

In Christianity, we have something that’s called the old and the new covenant. A covenant is a somehow archaic word, sort of like a contract today where God promises to fulfill His part of the contract if we do our part. Do you know the difference between the two covenants?

Most Christians believe the old covenant expected us to obey the Torah (the law of Moses) to gain salvation. Under the new covenant, most Christians believe Jesus kept the law of Moses (the Torah) for us, so we only have to believe in Him, and God will see it as if we obeyed the law perfectly. Some, but not all Christians, will also think the new covenant is between God and the church or God and Christians because the Jews rejected Christ.

Do you know how the Bible describes the old and the new covenant?

We first read the promise of the new covenant in Jeremiah 31:33-34. In Jeremiah 31, the Bible says the new covenant will be between Yehovah (God has a name, it is Yehovah) and Israel. The text goes on to say this will be the same Israel that was once slaves in Egypt. The new covenant will be between Yehovah and the Jews, gentiles, Christians, or the church is not mentioned in Jeremiah 31:33-34. But as we are about to see, those who are born as a gentile still have hope.

In Isaiah 56 and Romans 2, Romans 11, the Bible says the true Israelite is not the one born by a Jewish mother. The true Israelite is the one who obeys Yehovahs law, the law of Moses from a circumcised heart. A circumcised heart means that we follow the law because we want to obey, not because we are forced to obey. So even though Jeremiah 31:33-34 says the new covenant is between Yehovah and Israel, everyone can share the new covenant by choosing to become Israel. How do you become a true Israelite? By repenting from lawlessness to law choosing to obey the law of Moses.

Then some would argue the law of Moses is only for the old covenant. If we are under the new covenant, the law has been done away with. But as we are about to see, the new covenant depends on the law of Moses, which has not been done away with at all. Even so, there is a difference between the old and the new covenant.

In Jeremiah 31:33-34, the Bible says the law will be written on our hearts and minds. The Hebrew word used for the law is Torah which means the law of Moses. So what Jeremiah 31 is saying is this; the law of Moses is still in effect under the new covenant. The only difference is this: in the new covenant, Yehovah will write it on our hearts and minds.

How is this a difference, and what does it mean to have the law written on our hearts and minds?

We must go back to the Old Testament to understand what it means to have the law written on our hearts and minds. It means to take the law to heart, to take it seriously. In Deut 11:8, we are told to write the law on our hearts and minds. Back then, in Deut 11:8, it was our responsibility to do so, but now in Jeremiah 31, Yehovah says He will be the one to write it on our hearts, so He will cause us to take the law to heart, to take it seriously. Do you see the difference?

From this promise, we also know what it means to be saved; if you are saved (a member of the new covenant), you will have chosen to take the law of Moses seriously. If you believe you are saved, but you reject the law of Moses, Jeremiah 31:33-34 says the law has not been written on your heart and mind. If Yehovah has not written the law on your heart and mind, you are not saved. (James 2, 1. John 2, Matt 7:21-23)

Jeremiah 31:33-34 ends with a beautiful promise. God says He will forgive our deliberate sins and forget our unintentional sins. Forgiveness of sins sounds like salvation, does it not? But did you notice a critical thing about Jeremiah 31:33-34? The cross is not mentioned; instead, we see forgiveness of sins being dependent upon our repentance from lawlessness to law.

Do you understand what you just read?

In the new covenant, the Bible says we will be forgiven of sins if we repent from lawlessness to law. If you might be tempted to believe this is only the Old Testament, keep in mind Jeremiah 31:33-34 is repeated as the foundation of the new covenant in Hebrews 8. So both in the Old Testament, and the New, the Bible says we can only be forgiven of our sins if we repent from lawlessness to law.

Where is the cross in all of this?

When you read Exodus 24:8, which is the inauguration of the Old Covenant, it goes like this: First, the people choose to repent from lawlessness to law, then Moses sprinkles the Blood on them. So repentance comes first, then comes the Blood. In Hebrews, we see this has not changed in the New Covenant. Repentance comes first; then, the covenant is sealed with the Blood of Christ. Just as in the Old Covenant, if you accept the terms of the covenant (repentance) but not the Blood, the covenant is not in effect because Blood has not been spilled. If you receive the Blood, but not the terms of the covenant, the covenant is not in effect because you refuse to do your part. To enter into the covenant, you need to accept the terms of the covenant, AND you need to seal the covenant with Blood. (Rev 12, Rev 14)

So what is the Bible trying to tell us?

1. There is a New Covenant, but it is not a covenant between the Yehovah and the church. It is only a covenant between Yehovah and Israel.
2. Everyone can become an Israelite; the only requirement is to repent from lawlessness to law. So, therefore, everyone can join Israel and the new covenant, even gentiles. You only have to repent from lawlessness to law, repent back to Moses to the law of Moses.
3. By joining the new covenant, Yehovah will cause you to take the law of Moses to heart.
4. When you have accepted the terms of the covenant, you seal the covenant with your acceptance of the Blood of Christ. Then and only then will you have become a member of Israel and a member of the New Covenant. (Or as we Christians would say, you would become saved).

Most Christians believe the old covenant expected us to obey the Torah (the law of Moses) to gain salvation. Under the new covenant, most Christians believe Jesus kept the law of Moses (the Torah) for us, so we only have to believe in Him, and God will see it as if we obeyed the law perfectly. Some, but not all Christians, will also think the new covenant is between God and the church or God and Christians because the Jews rejected Christ.

As we have just learned, most Christians are wrong and not even saved.

What about you?

Are you saved and a member of the new covenant the way the Bible describes it?