Copyright Harley Hitchcock
Much confusion surrounds the use of the terms ‘covenant’ and ‘testament’. We’ll look at how each is separate, and also, how they interact.
AREN’T CHRISTIANS UNDER THE NEW COVENANT?
Christians are never under any covenant of any sort. ‘Covenant’ is a
term solely reserved for Israel.
BUT HAVEN’T THE CHURCH AND CHRISTIANS REPLACED ISRAEL?
No, as this comes from the wicked and erroneous interpretation of “…he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter…” (Rom 2:29) which is addressed to Jews and not a ‘substituting’ church.
SO, WHAT IS A COVENANT?
A covenant involves two parties with mutual obligations, where for example, God said to Noah that he would “…establish my covenant..” (Gen 6:18) and would “… destroy all flesh…” (Gen 6:17) except Noah “make…an ark” (Gen 6:14). No blood was shed and it was a temporary covenant until the flood subsided.
WHAT IS THE OLD COVENANT?
for everlasting land and offspring (Gen 17:1-14), God established “… an
everlasting covenant …” (Gen 17:7), requiring Abrahamic circumcision,
and so the old covenant is an everlasting one as well.
WHAT IS THE NEW COVENANT?
In the tribulation, after “… they shall look upon me whom they have pierced…” (Zech 12:10), God “…will make a new covenant (the new covenant) with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah..” (Heb 8:8). At that time God says he “…will put my laws …in their hearts.. and I will be to them a God … (Heb 8:10-12).
WHY WILL IT BE A BETTER COVENANT?
As physical work of circumcision was required of the Jews under the old
covenant, it will be better, in that, their spiritual circumcision will be
involuntarily performed for them as God “will pour upon the house of David…”
(Zech 12:10). It is also better, being “…established upon better promises…”
(Heb 8:6) as “…their sins … their iniquities will I remember no more.”
(Heb8:12). They don’t have to wait till the tribulation to be God’s people –
they can get saved right now.
WHY IS THE OLD COVENANT CALLED THE FAULTY COVENANT?
As their desert travel caused the Jews to “murmur” and “tempt Christ” (1Cor 10:9,10), they neglected their circumcision obligations, and so, as it depended upon their efforts, the covenant broke down.
JEWS (in Trib)
old covenant (Heb 8:13)
first covenant (Heb 9:1)
faulty covenant (Heb 8:7)
under any covenants
new covenant (Heb 8:8)
second covenant (Heb 8:7)
better covenant (Heb 8:6)
WHAT IS THE EVERLASTING COVENANT?
While there are other everlasting covenants, there is only one “…the
everlasting covenant between God and every living creature...” (Gen 9:16)
which was God’s promise never to send another Noahic flood.
HAS IT BEEN BROKEN?
Yes, “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants … transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” (Is 24:5)
Despite the wickedness of man, God won’t break his half of the covenant
to flood the earth again, however next time “…the earth also and the works
that are therein shall be burned up…” (2Peter 3:10)
SO, WHAT IS A TESTAMENT?
is in force with a death whether it is an animal or person, for “…where a
testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.”
AREN’T COVENANTS AND TESTAMENTS THE SAME?
Never. While a testament needs the death of a testator to shed blood for sin, a covenant involves two parties with mutual obligations, and not necessarily including death or blood.
WHAT IS THE OLD TESTAMENT?
Ever since Adam when God demanded shed animal blood for sin, a blood
testament for sin has been in force. With desert lust, idolatry, fornication
and murmuring (1Cor 10:6-10) God put Israel under the law that “… sin
… might appear sin … that sin by the commandment might become exceeding
With impossible expectations, the law cursed the Jew and purposefully cast him into sin.
Now while it was “.. not possible that the blood of bulls and of
goats should take away sins.” (Heb 10:4), God was satisfied that the
animal blood of the old testament for the covering of sins made “…an
atonement for the soul…” (Lev 17:11), albeit a temporary one.
WHAT IS THE NEW TESTAMENT?
Being “…justified by his blood…” (Rom 5:9), the new testament has the blood of Jesus providing the eternal security of permanent salvation.
Christians are under the new testament as Christ “…is the mediator of the new testament…” (Heb 9:15) and Paul also says Christ “…hath made us able ministers of the new testament (2Cor 3:6).
HOW IS THE OLD TESTAMENT DIFFERENT FOR THE NEW TESTAMENT?
As Jesus not only covers our sins but he “… washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Rev 1:5), the new testament provides eternal security and is superior to the animal blood of the old testament, which gave only temporary salvation.
TESTAMENTS (blood for sin)
the old testament (2Cor 3:14)
first testament (Heb 9:15)
the new testament
(1Cor11:25, Heb 9:15)
SO THE OLD COVENANT AND THE OLD TESTAMENT AREN’T THE SAME THEN?
They are chalk and cheese with two different functions and are separated by 440 years. The old covenant is an agreement for Abrahamic males to be circumcised with promises of land and seed, whereas the old testament were the blood sacrifices (sin, burnt, meat, trespass and peace offerings) God required for the breaking of the law 440 years later. Note: The shed foreskin blood at the old covenant wasn’t for any committed sin and no death was required.
SO THE NEW COVENANT AND THE NEW TESTAMENT AREN’T THE SAME EITHER?
No. They are two completely different, separate groups (Israel and the church) and two separate times (the church age and the tribulation) under two different conditions (one voluntary and the other mandatory) with two different elections - Abraham being involuntarily elected outside of Christ “…Get thee out …” (Gen 12:1) and the church voluntarily believing and being elected in Christ.
Since Adam, God has always demanded the death of a testator (blood) for sin. With the giving of the law in 1440BC, sins committed by the covenant people (Israel) were covered by the old testament. The everlasting covenant was made with Noah in 2440 BC with the old covenant (an everlasting one), beginning in 1880BC with Abraham.
HOW DO THE BLOOD TESTAMENTS AND THE COVENANT AGREEMENTS INTERACT?
With broken covenants (eg Is24:5), blood testaments swing into action to pay for sins. As “…there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Jesus’ blood for future sins) (Heb 10:26), and “this is my blood…for the remission of sins…” “…that are past…” (Matt26:28; Rom3:25) (Jesus’ blood for all past sins), all sins from Adam to eternity are now paid for, having been superceded and subsumed, by and into, Christ’s blood.
THE CHURCH WILL BE RAPTURED
BEFORE THE JEWISH NEW COVENANT IN THE TRIBULATION,
AND NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET EXCEPT IN CHRIST.