Monday, September 7, 2015

The Difference Between the Old and New Covenants

I don't believe that I would get any arguments from other believers if I said that Christians today are a part of the New Covenant. However, there are many misunderstandings about this covenant that have caused many wrong assumptions and wrong theologies. Let's look into this issue a little more closely.

Where in the Bible do we learn about the New Covenant? We can read the entire New Testament and not find the details of this New Covenant. In order to "find" it, we must look back to the Old Testament. We can find it in the book of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 (NIV)
31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD.
33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

With whom does God make this Covenant? Verse 31 tells us that the New Covenant is made between God and the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Clearly, the New Covenant is not made between God and any entity we would recognize today as the Church. Isn't this surprising, considering what we've been taught? Our theology has been wrong. If we are not a part of Israel there is no covenant.

Verse 32 tells us that the New Covenant will not be like the Old Covenant. No surprises there!

What is different about the New Covenant compared to the Old? Verse 33 explains that in the New Covenant, God's Law will be put in believers' minds and will be written on their hearts. This also is not surprising. However, what Law are we talking about? Since Jeremiah is a part of the Old Testament there can only be one conclusion. There was only one Law of God in existence. It is called the Torah. The Torah of God will be in believers' minds and hearts. Our theology has been wrong.

When does the New Covenant begin? Traditional Christianity says that the New Covenant began when the Holy Spirit descended on the believers at Pentecost. Although it is true that from that time on believers were indwelt by the Holy Spirit and they are able to refrain from sin, verse 34 doesn't sound like anything we are experiencing today. "All will know Yehovah!" Also, in verse 31, both houses of Israel are mentioned, but in verse 33 they are mentioned together as the house of Israel. The New Covenant will not be fully evident until a time future when Israel's two houses are again one, and all Israel will know God!

Traditional Christianity has a long history of distancing itself from Jewishness. Yet, the plain reading of the Bible indicates that God's people are called Israel and it is with her that the New Covenant is made. If you are a believer who has been born again and has the Spirit of God living within, you are a part of Israel. You are a part of the New Covenant. However, if the only difference between the Old and the New Covenant is the location of God's Torah, we believers in Yeshua must embrace that Torah and not make excuses as to why we don't have to obey it. Jeremiah's description makes no mention of a change in the requirements of following the Torah, so let's just do it!


  1. So glad to see you're still mining God's word and providing studious essays. I love the Old Testament and treasure the platform it provides for better understanding the New. I've heard it said, and believe it's true: "The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed." We profit when we learn from the entire counsel of God.


    1. Yes, I'm still at it, although my time currently doesn't allow me to post as often. I love your quote! We must learn from God's entire counsel or we risk following a false gospel.

      Blessings, my friend!!