The Old and the New Covenant
It's important to understand that both the Old Covenant, and the New Covenant are both based on God's Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments never change.
The Ten Commandments are sometimes given as "Love God", and "Love your neighbor". All the Law and Prophets hang on these two great commandments.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
- Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV)
Love God =
- No other gods
- No idols
- No blasphemy
- Keep the Sabbath (Friday sunset to Saturday sunset)
Love your neighbor =
- Honour your father and mother
- No murder
- No adultery
- No stealing
- No lying
- No coveting
For the full version of the Ten Commandments, please click here.
They are Laws of love, and in fact, love is the fulfillment of the Law.
Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
- Romans 13:10 (KJV)
The Ten Commandments are a reflection of who God is. God doesn't change, nor will the Ten Commandments. They are always in place.
Over time God has made a number of covenants with man.
The Old Covenant
Salvation by grace through faith.
Sins were forgiven by the sacrifice of animals.
Note that this covenant was a conditional agreement depending on Israel's obedience.
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: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
- Exodus 19:5-6 (KJV)
Israel became the church of God. (A holy nation)
The covenant was sealed with blood and water.
For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
- Hebrews 9:19-20 (KJV)
The new covenant was also sealed with blood and water.
But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
- John 19:34 (KJV)
Note that there is a clear distinction between God's Laws (the Ten Commandments), and Moses' Laws (more than 600 laws).
The Ten Commandments are inside the Ark of the Covenant.
And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.
- Exodus 25:16 (KJV)
But Moses' laws were outside of the Ark of the Covenant.
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 thee.
- Deuteronomy 31:26 (KJV)
It was Moses' laws that were nailed to the cross, not the Ten Commandments.
Israel in the end broke the agreement by being disobedient, and the covenant was nullified.
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.
- Hebrews 8:13 (KJV)
The old covenant was nullified when Jesus died at the cross.
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
- Matthew 27:51-53 (KJV)
From this point onward the Old Covenant has been nullified, e.g. no need to keep the book of Law (Moses' laws) anymore, no more animal sacrifices, etc.
Note that the veil was torn from top to bottom. It is highly symbolic, and means that God is now accessable to all.
The change of covenant was prophesied by Daniel about 600 years before it happened.
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
- Daniel 9:27 (KJV)
The animal sacrifices stopped, and the temple was indeed destroyed in 70 AD.
The New Covenant
Salvation by grace through faith.
Sins are forgiven by the sacrificial Lamb of God.
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
- John 1:29 (KJV)
Jesus died "once for all".
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
- Hebrews 10:10 (KJV)
The new covenant was first announced in the book of Jeremiah, and also later repeated in the book of Hebrews.
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 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: 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. 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: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
- Hebrews 8:7-12 (KJV)
Very important to understand here is that God's Laws (the Ten Commandments) didn't change!!
God's Laws were merely written on a different place, e.g. the mind and the heart.
We will always need God's Laws. It is by God's Laws that we know we have sinned (transgression of the Law). When we repent it is by God's Laws.
Just because we're under grace, does not mean we should continue to sin!!
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
- Romans 6:1-2 (KJV)
The covenant is clearly made with "the house of Israel and with the house of Judah". Does that mean it doesn't apply to the Gentiles? No. This all comes down to understanding that we are now spiritual Israel.
Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
- Romans 9:6 (KJV)
In Christ we are Israel.
For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
- Romans 2:28-29 (KJV)
The New Covenant is much better than the Old Covenant.
But now 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.
- Hebrews 8:6 (KJV)
We can go directly to God and ask for forgiveness.
We don't need to go to some temple anymore.
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
- 1 Corinthians 6:19 (KJV)
An understanding of God's Laws being eternal (never changing) is vital.
We will all be judged by God's Ten Commandments.
And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament [covenant]: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
- Revelation 11:18-19 (KJV)
Therefore we ought to repent with the Ten Commandments in mind.
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
- Matthew 5:48 (KJV)