10 - The New Covenant|
In the last chapter we looked at
Jeremiah's prophecy of the coming New Covenant. The Jeremiah passage is
quoted in the New Covenant book of Hebrews, not as a prophecy, but as
the fulfillment of it.
"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. 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
did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them,
declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of
Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their
minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they
will be my people. 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. For I will forgive their
wickedness and will remember their sins no more." (Hebrews 8:8-12)
In a moment, we will look at when this new
covenant prophecy was fulfilled. First I want to examine a couple of
words in the above passage.
The first is the word "new" in the "new
covenant". Here we have the Greek word "kainos" which is the Greek
translation of the Hebrew word "chadash", which we looked at in the
last chapter. Does this Greek word also support the concept of
"renewed", as does "chadash"? There are several passages we can look at
to show this, but I think 2 Corinthians 5:17 is a good one, it says;
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new (kainos) creation; the
old has gone, the new (kainos) has come!" When someone comes to Christ,
is he recreated? Or given a compactly new body? Of course not, this
passage would read better if we translated kainos as renewed;
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a renewed creation; the old
has gone, the renewed has come!" Even the New Testament supports the
idea that the New Covenant is a renewal of the original covenant.
The second word is "laws". The Greek culture had
no concept of the Hebrew Torah, and therefore had no word equivalent
for the word Torah. The Greek writers of the New Covenant used the
Greek word "nomos", which means law, to translate the Hebrew word
"Torah". The chapter on the Torah will discuss this further, but for
now we should recognize that "nomos" is "Torah" and I will use the word
"Torah" in its place as I did in part one of this book.
Yeshua sent Peter and John, saying, "Go
and make preparations for us to eat the Passover."...[During the
supper, Yeshua] took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to
them, saying, "This is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of
me." In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This
cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you".
During the time of Yeshua, the Passover meal had
become an elaborate ceremony to celebrate the redemption of Israel from
Egypt by the hand of God. This ceremony is done much the same today as
it was in the days of Yeshua. The supper would have occurred in the
evening at sundown. After the Passover supper, Yeshua was arrested,
tried, convicted, sentenced and executed, all before nine o'clock the
next morning. The events I have briefly described here, which I will
expand on, led to the redemption of Israel and the forgiveness of their
sins as prophesied in Jeremiah 31. Let us now examine the renewal of
"I will make a new covenant with the house of
Israel and with the house of Judah." (Jeremiah 31:31 & Hebrews
God has brought to Israel the Savior Yeshua, as
he promised. (Acts 13:23)
God was not finished with Israel. They failed to
keep the first covenant. God in his grace and mercy gives Israel a
better covenant, a renewal of the original.
We will be looking at Yeshua' ministry and the
beginning of the "church". It is not what most of us have been lead to
believe. To begin with, the covenant was with the Jews, Yeshua was a
Jew, Yeshua' ministry was to the Jews, Yeshua' disciples were Jews, the
first ten years of the "church" consisted of Jews alone. In fact, the
church was not a Gentile church, as many believe, but a sect of
Judaism. This will examined closer in a later chapter.
I will put my Torah in their minds and write them
on their hearts, I will be their God, and they will be my people.... I
will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
(Jeremiah 31:33,34 & Hebrews 8:10,12)
The three promises found here are,
1. God will be Israel's God, and they will be his
2. God will forgive Israel.
3. God will write his Torah on Israel's heart.
The first promise states that he will be their
God and Israel will be his people. This promise is the same as in the
first covenant, for God said in Leviticus 26:12, "I will walk among you
and be your God, and you will be my people". This first covenant
promise is the same in the new covenant. Leviticus 26:12 is quoted in 2
Corinthians 6:16 showing that the very promise from the first covenant
is carried over into the renewed covenant connecting the two covenants
together. The second promise is that God will forgive all of Israel's
sins. This promise is accomplished through the work of Yeshua' ministry
and through his sacrifice on the cross.
Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it
to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the
covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins".
God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince
and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to
Israel. (Acts 5:31)
The third is God will write his Torah on
Israel's mind and heart. This promise will be covered in chapter 12.
Remember in the first covenant, God required Israel to put his Torah on
their own minds and heart. They failed to do this most of the time. Now
God promises to do this for them.
These promises we have just looked at are God's
promises to Israel. What is Israel's promise to God? In the first
covenant, Israel promised to obey God. Nowhere in the New Covenant do
we find Israel or anyone else for that matter declaring a promise to
God in reference to the new covenant. Does this mean that Israel has no
requirement in keeping the covenant? I don't think so. A better answer
would be that since this covenant is a renewal of the original, the
original promise to obey God is still in effect. After all, God's
promises have neither been eliminated, only added to, not taken away.
Let us see if Israel is still required to obey God.
Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must
obey God rather than men!"..."We are witnesses of these things, and so
is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him." (Acts
Once made perfect, [Yeshua] became the source of
eternal salvation for all who obey him. (Hebrews 5:9)
The man who says, I know him," but does not do
what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone
obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how
we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as
Yeshua did. (1 John 2: 4-6)
Yes, God's people are to continue to obey God.
Anyone who chooses a life of disobedience is not part of God's people
or the covenant, just as it was in the first covenant.
In the first covenant the promises were given on
the condition that the Torah be kept. It was recognized that no one was
able to keep the whole Torah completely, so when sin was recognized in
the community or individual, a sacrifice was made to God asking for
forgiveness. They knew that salvation could not come from the Torah
because no one could keep it. Salvation comes from God alone. The
individual's response from the heart to the Torah determined the
entrance into the assembly of God's holy people. If the person's heart
was to keep the Torah, they were a part of the assembly. If the
person's heart yearned against the Torah, they were cut off from the
assembly and the covenant. Such is the case for all the community, Jews
and Gentile alike.
The renewed covenant still depends on the
individual's obedience to God. The difference in the renewed covenant,
God has written his Torah on their hearts. We now have the ability to
obey. Not by our own effort, but by the help of the Holy Spirit, who he
has given us.
Israel was required to keep all of God's Torah
in order to remain in the first covenant. Israel was not able to keep
this promise to keep the Torah. Yeshua (the mediator of the new
covenant) came to fulfill the requirements of the Torah for Israel.
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the
Torah or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill
them. (Matthew 5:17)
Just as the result of one trespass was
condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of
righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just
as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners,
so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made
righteous. (Romans 5:18,19)
Yeshua not only kept the Torah for them (since
this couldn't), he also took the punishment for their disobedience of
the Torah, and therefore they are no longer under the curse of the
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Torah
by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who
is hung on a tree." (Galatians 3:13)
We must understand that although Yeshua removed
the curse of the Torah, he did not remove or abolish the Torah as was
shown previously in Matthew 5:17. Yeshua also said in John 14:15, "If
you love me, you will obey what I command". Paul also said in Romans
3:31, "Do we, then nullify the Torah by this faith? Not at all, we
uphold the Torah." In chapter 12 we will discuss the relevancy of the
Torah within the new covenant, but for the purpose of this discussion
we must understand that even though the curse is removed, the Torah
remains and all believers are to obey. A command such as "You shall not
kill" is just as relevant in the renewed covenant as it was in the
Because of Yeshua' sacrifice on the cross, we
can say that the conditions of the covenant to keep the law were
fulfilled by Yeshua. We then have an unconditional promise in the new
Deuteronomy 27:26 said, "Cursed is the man who
does not uphold the words of this Torah by carrying them out". When
Yeshua was sacrificed he took on himself the curse for disobedience of
the Torah even though he himself kept it 100%.
Having canceled the written code, with its
regulations that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took
it away, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:14)
The Greek word used for written code is
"cheirographon" which is two words put together to make the one word
meaning "handwriting". This word is only found once, here in this
passage. Notice that this passage does not say that the Torah has been
taken away, instead it says that the handwriting against us has been
taken away. The Torah was never against anyone, so what handwriting was
against us? The only thing that was against God's people was the curses
for disobedience of the Torah; therefore, the courses were against
Israel. Yeshua sacrifice on the cross removed those curses. This will
be discussed at greater detail in chapter 12.
The first covenant given to Israel is an
everlasting covenant. If it is everlasting, then it remains today just
as the everlasting covenant with Noah and its sign of the rainbow,
remains today. The covenant between God and Israel remains to this day
as the renewed covenant. Even the new covenant is identified as an
May the God of peace, who through the blood of
the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Yeshua.
I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I
will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me,
so that they will never turn away from me. (Jeremiah 32:40)
The "contract" of the covenant that we looked at
in chapter two, is the Torah. As we will see in chapter 12, the Torah
also remains to this day.
You show that you are a letter from Christ the
result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the
living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2
Corinthians 3: 3)
In the renewed covenant, God gave his Spirit to
his people, the Spirit then writes his Torah on their heart. With this
Torah now written on our hearts, rather than just on a stone tablet, we
have the desire to do his Torah out of love, rather than
Also mentioned in chapter two, as one of the
many signs of the covenant was the annual feast of the Passover. Yeshua
used this sign also as the sign of the renewal of the covenant, which
was made by his sacrifice. The bread and wine which Yeshua gave his
disciples at his last Passover meal (Last Supper) were the signs he
used for the new covenant and he told his disciples to remember him
through these signs of the Passover meal.
The Lord Yeshua, on the night he was betrayed,
took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This
is my body which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same
way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new
covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of
me." (1 Corinthians 11: 23-26)
Just as the first covenant was a covenant of
blood, so is the new covenant. At the dedication of the first covenant,
Moses sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice onto the people. In the
renewed covenant, it is the blood of the ultimate sacrifice, the
perfect man Yeshua Christ.
One of the soldiers pierced Yeshua' side with a
spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. (John 19:34)
The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a
heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so
that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of
Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to
God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we
may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a
new covenant, that those who are called, may receive the promised
eternal inheritance - now that he has died as a ransom to set them free
from the sins committed under the first covenant. (Hebrews 9:13-15)
To Yeshua the mediator of a new covenant, and to
the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Covenant before Yeshua
Those who disobeyed the Torah were
required to offer sacrifices to atone for their sins. Hebrews 9:22
states that "without the shedding of blood their is no forgiveness of
sins." Leviticus chapters 1 to 7 give all the details for the offering
of sacrifices. After the description of each sacrifice we read "and
they will be forgiven". This act had to be consistently renewed each
year, for a complete covering was not yet revealed.
Israel knew they could not keep the Torah, so
God provided the sacrificial system as a visible symbol to see God's
forgiveness. I would then ask, if the sacrifice can remove sin, what
was the purpose of Yeshua' sacrifice? Let me answer that question at
the end of this section.
We read in Hebrews 10:4, "It is impossible for
the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." How is it possible
that Israel' sins are forgiven when the blood of the animal cannot take
away the sins? The answer is on the cross and the ultimate sacrifice of
Such a high priest meets our needs - one who is
holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the
heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer
sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins
of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he
offered himself. (Hebrews 7:26-27)
In the above passage, it says that Yeshua was
"sacrificed for their sins"; That is, the sins of the priests. All of
Israel who lived under the covenant with God and died were taken to
"Abraham's Bosom" (Luke 16:22) and held there until Yeshua' sacrifice
which would then forgive them of their sins as promised.
"For I will forgive their wickedness and will
remember their sins no more." Yeshua (Jeremiah 31:34)
She will give birth to a son. And you are to give
him the name Yeshua, because he will save his people from their sins."
Then Christ would have had to suffer many times
since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all
at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
When Yeshua came out of the grave, "he ascended
on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men."
(Ephesians 4:8) Yeshua' sacrificed removed the sins of Israel who then
could be released from the grave, and since his sacrifice was "once for
all", his sacrifice also removed all future sins of Israel. The same
grace that we experience today is the same grace given to those under
the Old Covenant.
Our previous question was; If the sacrifice of
animals could remove sin, what was the purpose of Yeshua' sacrifice?
The animal sacrifices did not take away the sins of the people. They
were only symbols of the coming redemption of all of Israel, past,
present and future through Yeshua. Without the sacrifice of Yeshua
there would be no forgiveness today or in the past.
For just as through the disobedience of the one
man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the
one man the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)
God recognized that the animal sacrifices were
not required for the forgiveness of sin for he said.
For I desire mercy (the Hebrew word here, chesed,
means love), not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt
offerings. (Hosea 6:6)
God's ultimate redemption plan for Israel and
the forgiveness of their sins is through the sacrifice of Yeshua, not
in animal sacrifices. Yeshua' sacrifice removed all sin, once for all,
throughout all eternity, past, present and future.
[Yeshua] did not enter by means of the blood of
the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once
for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption...Christ
is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may
receive the promised eternal inheritance - now that he has died as a
ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first
covenant. (Hebrews 9:12,15)
Covenant after Yeshua
Although the new covenant is a renewal of
the first, we can look at the original and its renewal as two covenants
coexisting side by side. Most people believe that when the new covenant
came, the first was removed, but this is not the case.
By calling this covenant "new", he has made the
first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.
We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over
his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance
was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the
same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been
removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when
Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to
the Lord, the veil is taken away. (2 Corinthians 3: 13-16)
Hebrews 8 says that the first covenant is
obsolete, (meaning not needed because it has been renewed) and we know
that it has not been removed because it says that it is "aging and will
disappear", future tense.
Those who keep God's covenant but do not believe
in the Messiah, lives under the first covenant, whereas those who keep
God's covenant and do believe in the Messiah love under the renewed
There are those in Israel who still live under
the old covenant not recognizing the sacrifice of Yeshua as their means
of forgiveness, and have taken the Torah of God and put it in their
hearts and keep it faithfully. Will these people also receive the
forgiveness of sins through the blood of Yeshua?
"All of Israel will be saved... As far as the
gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as
election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for
God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one
time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their
disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that
they too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you.
We must determine what "Israel" means in the
passages above. Romans 9:6 says, "not all of Israel is Israel". This
appears to be contradictory, but if we read it in light of our past
discussions on the community of Israel and the assembly of Israel, we
can see that those who are faithful to the covenant and the Torah are
of the assembly of Israel. But those who reject or despise the covenant
and the Torah may still be a part of the community of Israel but are
cut off from the assembly of Israel and the covenant. Therefore we
could read Romans 9:6 as; "Not all of Israel (the community) is Israel
Therefore, those who are still living under the
first Covenant are part of the assembly of Israel and are saved by the
Grace of God and his promise to Abraham. These people, who do not
accept the new covenant, do not have the Holy Spirit to guide them
making the way difficult since they must write the Torah on their
- Yeshua' sacrifice is the ushering in of the
- The six parts of the renewed covenant according
to the New Covenant are,
- The parties; remains between God and
- Promises; God promises to forgive Israel and
continue to care for her, to write his Torah on their hearts for them.
Israel is still required to obey God.
- Conditions; Yeshua took the curse for Israel's
disobedience to the Torah, removing the condition of the
- Duration; Remains as everlasting.
- Sign; the Torah and Passover remain.
- Dedication; The blood sacrifice of Yeshua on the
- The sins of Israel while under the first
covenant were ultimately forgiven by the blood of Yeshua and not the
sacrifices performed while under the first covenant.
- The first covenant still remains for those who
do not accept the sacrifice of Yeshua.