THE OLD AND NEW COVENANTS
Many covenants are made between God and Man through the centuries, but we are talking here about the Old Covenant between Abraham and God. In the Old Testament, God foretold that He would make a New Covenant with His people. In the beginning of Genesis 12:1-3, God called Abram, saying: "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee.
(2) 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:
(3) 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."
Later in the Old Testament God spoke to Jeremiah 31:33, saying, "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, After those days, said the Lord, I will put my law in their in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant and this is the promise of the New Covenant.
The most important AGREEMENT between the covenant of God and Abraham was obedience. Abraham was to obey God in worshipping only one true God (the first four commandments) and not make any images of idols to worship and to love his neighbours as himself as represented in the last six commandments by not committing crimes against mankind.
THE OLD COVENANT
Definition: pact, promise
Synonyms: agreement, bond, commitment, deed, treaty, trust.
The Lord said to Abraham, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: (2) 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: (3) 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."
God reiterated His covenant with Abraham in Genesis 17:1-4 saying, "My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations." In Exodus 6:4, God said, "And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of CANAAN (my emphasis), the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
The Old Covenant was in force on the Israelites throughout the Old Testament for about 4,000 years. Under the Old Covenant, if one exceeds the boundaries of the law then curses result (Deuteronomy 28:15). If one stays within these boundaries then blessings result (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).
Law was given in the Old Testament by Moses and the TEN COMMANDMENTS were given to the Israelites to observe. The Jews added 613 ordinances to the commandments given by God who told Moses to write down the laws on two tablets of stone. When Moses broke them in his anger against the rebellious Israelites, God wrote the same Ten Commandments again on the prepared two tablets of stone. This signifies how important the commandments were.
The Israelites rebelled againt the Lord repeatedly and God decided to make a New Covenant with them by sending Jesus Christ his mediator.
CURSES FOR DISOBEDIENCE
Deuteronomy 28: 15-68
But if shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee , and overtake thee:
Israel was disobedient and that was why the land was given to the Gentiles for about 2,000 years. The Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem 70 years after Jesus died and it was only in 14 May, 1948 that Israel regained her independence.
BLESSINGS FOR OBEDIENCE
And if shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.
Throughout the history of the Old Testament period of about 4000 years when God chose Israel as His chosen people, many disobeyed God regarding the covenant He made with Abraham. God prophesied through His prophets the time would come when He would make a new covenant with them. The Old Covenant was not really effective for many disobeyed the Lord God and He scattered the Israelites throughout the continents.
THE NEW COVENANT
In the New Covenant, the TEN COMMANDMENTS were not discarded as shown in I John 2:7, "Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning." What was discarded were the 613 ordinances of the Jews. Christians are free from observing the Jewish ordinances.
The Old Covenant failed to really work for 4,000 years and the Israelites continued to sin against God. God prophesied through Jeremiah that he would replace the Old Covenant. The emphasis on the laws of God to keep them in check was replaced by grace of the Holy Spirit (God's manifestation of power). In the Old Covenant, If the people obeyed God in the Old Testament, they would be blessed. However, if they rebelled, they would be cursed.
The New Covenant is by the grace of God, for the people do not deserve the Holy Spirit to dwell in their hearts and minds to prompt them to obey God. It is grace for it is freely given to those who love and obey God. The Holy Spirit of God is a constant reminder to keep ourselves holy in God's sight and grace. We learn to depend completely on the Holy Spirit to keep us holy. Without the Spirit of Jesus Christ, we would be helpless against the cunning and insidious attacks of the enemy of God.
THE SCRIPTURES CONCERNING THE NEW COVENANT
God spoke through Jeremiah the prophet about the New Covenant.
Jeremiah 31:31: 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.
Matthew 26:28: For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Ro 11:27: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
Heb 8:8: I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah
Heb 8:10: For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.
- Many have claimed that the New Covenant takes away completely all the laws of God in the Old Covenant, and they are completely void. In the New Covenant they claimed now that Jesus had died for the sins of the world, it is redundant to keep any written law. Just rest on Jesus and all will be well.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
- Should we throw out the TEN COMMANDMENTS?
- How can any country rule without including the TEN COMMANDMENTS or part of the ten commandments? Even communist countries also had laws that relate to good behaviour between citizens.
- In Exodus 6:4, And I have also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan (Israel)... Is God going to negate His covenant with Israel in the Old Testament with regard to Israel?
- The Scriptures in the New Covenant are more concerned with the Holy Spirit written in the hearts of the believers rather than throwing out of all the commandments of God?
- But if ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against your fathers (1 Samuel 12:15).
- Are we to abandon God's commandment?
- It is true that we must rest on Jesus Christ for our behaviour, otherwise we cannot be saved. Once we become Christians, we rely on the Holy Spirit to help maintain and sustain our integrity.
- Would we not be regarded as lawless in society if we discard all laws? Would the murderers not be convicted?
- Jesus said in Matthew 5:17: Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfil.
- The Bible does not say where Jesus said to discard all laws.
- Hebrews 8:8, 10: Jesus said, I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah... (10) I will put my laws into their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.
- This is what Jesus said in the New Testament that He would make a new covenant by putting the laws into their hearts. He did not say to discard all laws.
- Often the Bible speaks in parables and one must know how to discern the right meaning.
- Seven blind men when asked to describe what an elephant looked like, would give seven different answers.
The Lord God is perfect in all His ways. When He sets out to accomplish something, He hopes that it would be accomplished according to His will. God made a covenant with Abraham in the Old Testament that He would bless Abraham and his descendants if he kept the treaty, but otherwise He would reject him. For four thousand years the covenant continued to exist but the Israelites repeatedly violated the covenant.
Why the Israelites failed to keep the Old Covenant was probably due to pride in themselves. Pride is sinful because a proud person believes that he can do anything and everything himself without relying on God. The sinful man does not take orders from anyone for he believes in his own wisdom and intelligence to act. He believes in himself and ignores advice from others.
God was grieved and He spoke through Jeremiah in Chapter 31:31 saying, "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.  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."
The Lord kept His promise and instituted the Second Covenant sending Jesus Christ to be His mediator of His New Covenant. After the death of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit appeared on Pentecost living in the hearts of those who believed in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit which is the Spirit of God and of Jesus dwells in our hearts today teaching and guiding us into all truths. The promises of blessings in the Old Covenant still stand in the New Covenant. The TEN COMMANDMENTS remain and exist for ever.
God's Laws in the Two Covenants http://hubpages.com/hub/godslaws2covenants
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The Old and New Covenants
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