In Part 1, we explored “Who Is God?” In Part 2, we explored “What Is Man?” In Part 3, we saw that “Man Fails the Test”. In Part 4, we explored “What Are Angels and Who Is Satan?” In Part 5, we explored “Why Israel?” In Part 6, we looked at “God’s Holy Day Plan” and how it outlines the entire plan of God. If you have missed any of these, I would advise you to go back and read them, as each succeeding part contains information that is built upon from the previous parts.
We now come to Part 7, the last in this particular series, seeing as 7 is a more religious number. [That was a joke, in case you were wondering.] In this part, we will look at the New Covenant. In the end, God wants to establish His New Covenant with all people everywhere.
First, let’s review the Old Covenant. We explored that God made extraordinary promises to a man named Abram, later renamed to Abraham. God promised a Seed would come through his lineage. However, God also promised great national, physical blessings. Israel was brought out of Egypt, and God made a covenant with them as well. The people accepted this covenant, which was basically a marriage covenant. He made them great promises of national blessings if they would keep His commandments. These blessings are listed in Lev 26 and Dt 28. It is important to remember that God did not offer the nation of Israel salvation or eternal life! Very few in the OT were even given God’s Holy Spirit, as was symbolized by the flaming sword which guarded the entrance to The Garden of Eden.
The Book of Hebrews gives a good view of what this New Covenant is all about. It talks about sacrifices, and how they are no longer necessary because Jesus shed His blood for us once and for all. It talks about how He entered the Holy of Holies in Heaven with His own blood instead of the blood of lambs and goats. Jesus is painted as a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. In chapter 8, we see that Jesus is a High Priest Who is sitting on the right hand of the very throne of God the Father. Then we see that He is a mediator of a better covenant:
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.
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when 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 when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
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:
And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
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.
~ Heb 8:6-13
So, what are the differences?
“… established upon better promises.” The main difference, which makes it a “better covenant”, is that the promises are better! Israel was given physical promises for obedience, but most did not receive salvation or the promise of eternal life! Jesus came to change that.
“…finding fault with them” means that Israel was not able to keep their end of the bargain. Remember, the Holy Spirit, symbolized by the Tree of Life, was not generally available until after Jesus’ resurrection.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send [the Holy Spirit] unto you.
~ Jn 16:7
Without God’s Spirit, they were unable to keep the covenant, but it is now available for those who are called and willing to receive it (Ac 1:5; 2:33, 38).
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God says, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts”.
The Old Covenant is being replaced by the New (the Old is “ready to vanish away”).
Now, some will look at point 4 and assume that means the Law upon which the Old Covenant was based was done away. However, how will God write “my laws” on the hearts and minds of the people if they are done away? These points must be taken together as they appear in Scripture.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
~ Mt 5:17-18
Jesus stated the Law would not be done away until “all be fulfilled”. In other words, God’s Kingdom must come to earth first! Meanwhile, it is being written on a true Christians heart and mind!
What is a kingdom, anyhow? It is a government headed by a king, is it not? You must have 1) a king, 2) subjects, 3) land and territory, and 4) laws for everyone to conduct themselves by. God is bringing His Kingdom to this earth! 1) God will rule, as King, 2) us, His subjects. 3) He will rule this earth. 4) He will establish His laws for all people!
The point is that the New Covenant does not abolish God’s Law! It does, however, give us a means (God’s Holy Spirit) to keep His Law, and it does give us the promise of eternal life.
Please take the time to read The Ten Commandments for more thorough introduction into God’s Law.
These 7 parts of God’s Plan are only the barest of outlines. You may want to go back and reread Part 6, as the key to understanding God’s Plan really is in keeping God’s Law. As you have just seen, even the New Covenant stresses not only grace (forgiveness of sins and salvation leading to eternal life) but the Law as well.