The New Covenant

April 17, 2015

The New Covenant

      We read about the new covenant in II Corinthians 3:6-11.  This is what it says.  “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.   But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:   How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?    For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.    For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.    For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.”  A word of explanation; the word “testament,” in verse six, means covenant.

J Dwight Pentecost, in his book “Things To Come,” explains what a covenant is. He says.  “If one consults a concordance it will be seen that the word covenant is one which occurs with frequency in both the Old and New Testaments.  It is used of relationships between God and man, man and man, and nation and nation.  It is used in things temporal and eternal.” [1]

We find seven covenants in the Old Testament.  They are the Adamic, the Edenic, the Noahic, the Abrahamic, the Palestinian, the Davidic, and the Mosaic.   These all deal with God’s relationship with Israel.  In this article we are only going to touch on the new covenant.

The new covenant is also mentioned frequently in the Old Testament.  It also has to do with Israel, but it extends on into God’s relationship with the Gentiles.  In Jeremiah we read about the new covenant in chapter 31:31-34.  There we read, “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:   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:    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.    And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

The new covenant is future.  In the Old Testament prophecies about it we see that it is future.  In Jeremiah 31:31 God says “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.” Hosea 2:18 says, “And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.  Isaiah 55:3 also says that.  “Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”  Therefore we know that it was future.

The following are some of the promises given in the new covenant:

  1. It is unconditional. God says what he will do. It doesn’t depend on what men do. Again Jeremiah 31:31 says the same .
  2. It is perpetual. Nothing is said about when it will end. Isaiah 55:3
  3. God promises to put his laws in the hearts of men. No longer will God’s people need to appeal to people to accept and obey the law of God.
  4. The New Covenant promises the restoration of God’s favor and blessing to Israel
  5. Forgiveness of sins is promised. That depends on the blood of Christ. Romans 11:26-27 promises this.
  6. There is the promise that everyone will know the Lord. Jeremiah 31:34 tells us that. That can’t be said in our day. There was no time in the past when that was true.Fortunately, those of us in the church age are benefiting, in some measure, from the new covenant. Christ shed his blood to make the remission of sins possible for Israel. That benefit is extended to us also. What we read in the Bible about the millennium, the 1000 year reign of Christ, gives us reason to think that the fulfilment of the New Covenant will take place at that time.

In the promises for the last days we read that it will be a time of:

  1. Peace, Isaiah 2:4
  2. Joy, Jeremiah 31:13
  3. Holiness, Isaiah 4:2-4
  4. Glory, Isaiah 35:1-2
  5. Justice, Jeremiah 23:5

The glorious truth of the new covenant is that it will reveal for 1000 years the peace and prosperity that mankind could have enjoyed from the beginning, if they would have accepted and obeyed God’s laws.  In fulfilment of the new covenant, God will do as it says in Jeremiah 31:33-34.  Now God’s laws are revealed to us in nature and in the written word of God.  Men must accept and obey them.  In this promised future time God will put his laws in the inward parts of men and write them in their hearts.  We saw that the new covenant is unconditional.  That means it won’t depend on what men do.

God and his word will be vindicated by means of the new covenant.  God gets the last word.  This, which we might call a utopia, will last for 1000 years.  We can’t live under those conditions now because God hasn’t written his laws in the hearts of all those around us.  However, we can benefit personally by obeying the moral precepts of God’s word.  It will enrich your life.


[1] J. Dwight Pentecost, “Things To Come” pp 66-67

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