The Old And New Covenant

The Bible tells of a covenant that God made with Israel around 4000 years ago. It also tells of a new covenant he made almost 2000 years ago. What’s the difference in the Old Covenant and the New Covenant? As always, let’s see what the Bible says.

Deuteronomy 5:2
2. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.

Moses says God had made a covenant with them in Horeb. Then he repeats the 10 commandments, which God spoke to them from the mountain, back in Exodus 20. Read these next few verses carefully.

Deuteronomy 4:12-13
12. And the Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire: you heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; you only heard a voice.
13. And He declared to you his covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them on two tables of stone.

Deuteronomy 9:11
11. And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tables of stone, the tables of the covenant.

The Bible plainly says, the 10 Commandments is the Covenant that God made with Israel. Did you get that? The 10 Commandments is the OLD COVENANT. After quoting the 10 Commandments in Deuteronomy 5, Moses said this.

Deuteronomy 5:22
22. These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them to me.

Moses said God spoke the 10 Commandments to the children of Israel, and that’s all he said to them, then he wrote what he had said on two tables stone. The 10 Commandments is the Covenant. The 10 Commandments is the law of the Lord. Because of the disobedience of the people, Moses was angry, and he broke the tables that God had cut out, and wrote the ten commandments on. So God talked to Moses again.

Deuteronomy 10:1-5
1. At that time the Lord said to me, Cut two tables of stone like the first, and come up to me into the mountain, and also make you an ark of wood.
2. And I will write on the tables, the words that were in the first tables which you broke, and you shall put them in the ark.
3. And I made an ark of shittim wood, and cut two tables of stone like the first, and went up into the mountain, with the two tables in my hand.
4. And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spoke to you in the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, in the day of the assembly: and the Lord gave them to me.
5. And I turned and came down from the mountain, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me.

Notice that the 10 commandments were written on two tables of stone, and were placed inside the ark of the covenant itself, but, as the next verses show, the Law of Moses was written in a book, (scroll) and placed in the SIDE of the ark of the covenant.

Deuteronomy 4:14
14. And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might do them in the land which you go over to possess.

Deuteronomy 31:9
9. And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel.

Deuteronomy 31:25-26
25. That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying,
26. Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against you all.

There is clearly a difference between the 10 Commandment Covenant, which God spoke, and wrote on stone, and the law of statutes and judgments which Moses taught Israel, and wrote in a book. Keep reading.

Deuteronomy 5:30-31
30. Go say to them, Go into your tents again.
31. But as for you, stand here by me, and I will speak unto you, all the commandments, AND the statutes and the judgments, which you shall teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess.

2 Kings 21:8
8. Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, AND according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them.

The 10 Commandment Law, and the Law of Moses are two separate laws, as these verses clearly show. God spoke the 10 Commandments to the all people, then sent them to their tents while he told Moses the Statutes and Judgments he was to teach them later. In Deuteronomy chapter 7, Moses continues to speak to the children of Israel.

Deuteronomy 7:11
11. You shall therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes and the judgments, which I command you this day, to do them.

Here Moses makes a clear distinction between the commandments, AND the statutes and the judgments. He calls these statutes and judgments the law (17:11,18,19) (27:3,8,26). Then again in Deuteronomy 28:58,61, he says this law is written in a book.

Deuteronomy 28:58
58. If you will not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and fearful name, The Lord Your God;

Deuteronomy 28:61
61. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon you, until you are destroyed.

These next verses show this law, of statutes and judgments, which was written in a book, is called the law of Moses.

1 Kings 2:3
3. And keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do, and wherever you turn:

2 Chronicles 30:16
16. And they stood in their place after their manner, according to the law of Moses, the man of God:

Daniel 9:11
11. Yes, all Israel have transgressed your law, even by departing, that they might not obey your voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.

Again, it’s clear that the 10 Commandment Covenant, and the Law of Moses are 2 different laws. These next three New Testament passages talk about what was accomplished by the death of Jesus, and they all refer to the law of Moses, not the 10 Commandments.

Acts 13:38-39
38. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man [Jesus] is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
39. And by him all who believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses.

Ephesians 2:15
15. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments CONTAINED IN ORDINANCES; for to make in himself of two, one new man, so making peace;

Colossians 2:14
14. Blotting out the HANDWRITING of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

What law was against them? Which law was handwritten? Which Law had Ordinances? Look at Deuteronomy 31:26 again.

Deuteronomy 31:26
26. Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against you.

The law of Moses, with it’s statutes and judgments (ordinances) was the law that was against them. It was the Handwriting of Moses. The 10 Commandments are FOR us, not AGAINST us, and remember, the 10 Commandments were written with the FINGER of God, and the law of Moses was written by the HAND of Moses. Under the Old Covenant, animal sacrifices were offered for the sins of the people, but they had to sacrifice over and over again. When Jesus died on the cross, he became the supreme sacrifice for all sin, past and future. All the Old Covenant sacrifices pointed forward to Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Now, there’s no more need for animal sacrifices in an earthly sanctuary service, as required under the Law of Moses. Now, let’s look at another passage of scripture which is often misunderstood.

Hebrews 8:7-9
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 says, Behold, the days come, says 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, says the Lord.

We have established that the 10 Commandments was the First Covenant. Verse 7 seems to say they were faulty, but how could God’s Law be faulty? It’s God’s Law, it can’t be faulty. The fault was not with the Law, but with the people (verse 8). They didn’t keep the covenant (verse 9). The word “Covenant” is another word for “Agreement” or “Contract.” There are three essential parts to any contract. There’s the contract itself (the 10 Commandments). There’s the promises made by the party offering the contract (God), and the promises made by the party accepting the contract (Israel). These are called the terms of the contract. Both parties have to agree on these terms. Notice that, unlike some contracts, God’s contracts are not negotiable. He presents the Covenant and the terms. We choose whether or not we enter into the Covenant. Here are the terms of the Old Contract between God, and the Children of Israel.

Exodus 19:3-6
3. And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;
4. You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.
5. Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
6. And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.

There’s God’s part of the Covenant. He would make them a special treasure to himself, and a kingdom of Priests, and a holy nation. The people’s part of the contract was the commandments themselves. Notice what they said when they agreed to the terms.

Exodus 19:7-8
7. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.
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.

There it is. They agreed to the terms. They said they would do ALL that the Lord had said in the 10 Commandment Covenant. They agreed to obey God’s law, but they broke the Covenant, even before God had finished writing it on the two tables of stone. Moses then broke the tablets the Law was written on to signify that the covenant had been broken. There was nothing wrong with the Law that the agreement was based on. The fault was found in the people (Hebrews 8:7), because they did not keep their part of the agreement. Let’s continue looking at Hebrews chapter 8.

Hebrews 8:8-9
8. For finding fault with THEM, he says, Behold, the days come, says 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.

Again, the people broke the Covenant, but that did not make the Law void. The 10 Commandments were still God’s Law, and they were still God’s COMMANDS. Verse 9 says he would make a NEW COVENANT with Israel, but NOT ACCORDING to the OLD COVENANT. What’s different? Look at this next verse, which refers to Jesus.

Hebrews 8:6
6. But now hath he [Jesus] obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

Again, the Old Covenant and the New Covenant is the same Law. The difference is the terms. Remember the terms of the Old Covenant? God’s part was to love, protect and bless them as his children, and they were to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation to him. Their part was to obey these 10 simple rules. They agreed to the terms, and said they would do all that the LORD had said. Now look at the terms of the New Covenant which was established on better promises.

Hebrews 8:10
10. For this is THE COVENANT that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says 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:
11. And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more.

When we enter into the New Covenant with God through faith, our sins are washed away, and he remembers them no more (Hebrews 8:12). Instead of having the Law on two tables of stone in a box, God writes the commandments on our hearts. We become new creatures, and he gives us a robe of righteousness. He gives us the holy Spirit to help us keep his law.

Romans 3:31
31. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

Faith does not do away with God’s Law, nor make it void. His Law is still there as always. We still have the law to guide us. It was never done away with at any time. Look what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-18.

Matthew 5:17-18
17. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
18. 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.

Heaven and earth are still here, SO, nothing has changed in his 10 Commandment Law. Jesus said he “did not come to destroy the law,”…

The Bible does say, “you are not under the law, but under grace(Romans 6:14), but the first part of that verse says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you:

Romans 6:15
15. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

So being under grace does not mean it’s okay now to sin. Neither does it do away with the law.

Romans 3:20 says the law is the standard that shows us what sin is. In Romans 7:7, Paul said he would not have known what sin was without the law to tell him. The same law tells us what is sin today. All of us, the lost, and the saved.

Galatians 5:18
18. If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Here’s something that many people miss in this verse. Those who are NOT led by the spirit are still under the Law. Let me say that again. Listen closely. 

Galatians 5:18 says, “if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Those who are NOT led by the spirit, ARE still under the law. Therefore the Law is still there.

We who have been born again are not under the law because we have accepted God’s free gift of Salvation, and our sins have been forgiven. We are NOW under Grace. But, those who have not yet been saved, still need the law to show them that they are sinners so they can come to Christ, and be saved. Galatians 3:24-25 says it another way:

Galatians 3:24-25
24. Wherefore the law was our teacher to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a teacher.

Somehow, people forget that everyone is not saved. Everyone does NOT have faith. Those people STILL NEED THE LAW to tell them what sin is. They still need the law to show them they are lost, and point them to a loving Savior. We who are saved, also still need the Law

1 John 3:4
4. Whoever sins, breaks the law: for sin is breaking the law.

Whoever breaks the law is sinning. Whoever means whoever. Anyone. Even if you have been born again, if you break the Law of God, you are sinning. You have broken the Covenant you agreed to keep. You must be forgiven of that sin to be reconciled back to God. The “Once Saved Always Saved” doctrine is very dangerous. It teaches that, after you are born again, the same thing that was a sin before you came to Christ, is no longer a sin for you. That is a LIE, straight from Satan. Sin is sin, no matter who you are, but in the New Covenant God provides a way for us. Remember? He said he would forgive our sins, and be merciful to our unrighteousness. (Hebrews 8:10-12).

1 John 1:9
9. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God’s 10 Commandment Law has NOT been changed, nor done away with. IT IS STILL THERE, just as strong, and as important as it ever was. The 10 Commandments is the Old, and the New Covenant. When we accept God’s free gift of salvation, and enter into this covenant with him, we are agreeing to the terms of the Covenant, and that’s not to be taken lightly. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.(John 14:15) If you love Jesus, you should want to obey him, and keep ALL his commandments. He has promised us, if we do, we will be blessed.
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© 2016 Teddy Lynn – All Rights Reserved

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