The Value of the Old and New Testament
The Old and New testaments have been separated into two and yet they are one lesson book. In this study the two covenants will be examined in terms of their application to our lives. What is a testament? A testament is a person’s Will that does not come into being until a person dies.
Hebrews 9:16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is of force after men are dead; otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
The first Testament/Covenant was dedicated by the blood of animals in order to be made effective.
Where did the conditions of the first covenant come into being?
Isaiah 1:18 Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.
Here God comes to the sinful nation of Israel and says “Let us reason together” and ”If ye be willing and obedient.” Where did God make his covenant with Israel?
Exodus 19:3 And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel. 4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles wings, and brought you unto myself. 5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people for all the earth is mine.
This is the making of the 1st covenant – the outline of the agreement. What did the people say in response to God’s arrangement?
Exodus 19:8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.
Deuteronomy 26:16 This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all then heart, and with all thy soul. 17 Thou has avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice. 18 And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people. As he hath promised thee, and that thou shoudest keep all his commandments.
Avouched means – A solemn promise. The people promised to keep the commandments and God avouched that they would be His peculiar people.
Where was the arrangement or the agreement finalized?
Exodus 24:5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord. 6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. 8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.
God sealed the book with a ceremony. Moses read out the covenant for the people to hear and then it was ratified by animal blood.
Hebrews 9:16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
Hebrews 9:18 Whereupon neither was the first testament dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of the calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people. 20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
What happened to this testament that was ratified with animal blood?
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: 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day [that] I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
They broke it – The people of Israel broke their covenant with God when they built a calf of God and worshipped and danced around it while Moses was on the Mount. The Old Covenant was broken – How did the new covenant come into being?
Exodus 34:24 And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.
Moses broke the first two tables of stone in anger when he came down from the mount and saw the people dancing around the golden calf. The 10 Commandments were re-written with the finger of God and the people entered into the same agreement but this time based on God’s better promises to forgive His people when they failed to keep His law.
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: 33 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.
Was there anything different about the first (Old) covenant to the second (New) one?
Hebrews 8:6 But how 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. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8 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: 9 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. 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.
In the first covenant the people made a promise to God that they would keep his commandments but they broke them – this covenant was based on the promises of man to God. In the second covenant God promised to write His laws in the peoples hearts and minds and to be merciful to their sins if they failed to keep His law. This covenant was built on better promises, God’s promises. In order for the New Covenant to become a testament – it required the death of someone.
Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
The second or New Testament was dedicated with the blood of Jesus approximately 1400 years after the new agreement was made between Israel and God.
2 Corinthians 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
In the second or New Covenant God declared that His law would be written in the fleshy tables of the heart. Is there a scripture that leads people to think that the Old Covenant has been done away with?
Hebrews 8:13 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.
Jesus died for the redemption of those who failed to keep the first covenant but when we have gained the experience of the new covenant, the old one is no longer necessary because God’s law is written in our heart. Did Abraham rely on the New Covenant like us? Was Abraham born again like us?
Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and aid unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 4 As for me, behold my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
Genesis 17:19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed,; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. 20 And as for Ishamel, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation (Arab Nation) 21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
Abraham was 86 years old when Ishmael was born and 100 years old when Isaac was born Gen 16:16, Gen21:5. Agar and Ishamel were sent away when Ishmaal was about 19 yrs old – this was very grievous for Abraham (Gen 21:11) because he loved Ishmaal very much and had hoped that the promise might be fulfilled through this son.
Galatians 4:24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.(Agar is the bondwoman – mother of Ishmael) 26 But Jerusalem which is above thee is free which is the mother of all. (Sarah mother of Isaac) 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh (Ishmael) persecuted him (Isaac) that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. (Ishmael mocked Isaac as the son of promise because all his life he had been led to believe that he was going to be the heir)
Genesis 4:31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Both covenants go right back, before the time of Moses to Abraham. Sarah didn’t believe God’s promise to give her a child in her old age. So Sarah gave Abraham her bond woman (Agar) and Agar bore him a son called Ishmaal – but this child was not the child of promise, he was the child of unbelief. Ishmael & Isaac represent the two covenants.
Galatians 4:28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
Isaac represented the new covenant – God’s promise. Ishmael represented the old covenant – man doing things his own way and failing.
Genesis 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. 5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws
But did Abraham keep the 10 Commandments? Abraham through lack of faith had a son with Hagar because He didn’t believe God’s promise to give him a son by Sarah. When Abraham realized he had failed at keeping the law, he too entered into the new covenant based on better promises and became born again. Where is it written that Abraham had to rely on the promises of God – as do all those who are born again?
Hebrew 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar of, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Isaiah 56:1 Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
We enter into the new covenant only when we begin to realise our own inability to keep the law of God. It is then that we truly come to the appreciation of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His great work in reconciling us back to God when we fail to keep God’s law. Jesus died for our inability to keep the Old Covenant however both covenants were based on the same set of conditions – The 10 Commandments – God’s Law did not change. The difference arose in that the first covenant was based on man’s baseless promises to keep God’s law (man cannot keep the law for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God) and the second or New Covenant was based on better promises, the promise of God to forgive Man when he fails to keep His law and also His promise to write His Law on the fleshy tables of the heart.
Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all are under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
The law is our schoolmaster so we try with all our might to keep it as a requirement of going to heaven – but we fail. This is where God’s beautiful Grace is revealed to us – we begin to realize that we can’t keep the law in our own strength and so we enter into the new covenant based on the promise of God to forgive us and cleanse us of our sins when we fail to keep his commandments. When we enter into the New Covenant just like Abraham did – we become born again.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever.