The study of the covenants between man and God is an intriguing one. There are many questions though concerning this topic. Questions like, “What is the difference between the old and new?” “Why was there a need for a new one?” “When did the new covenant take place or has it taken place yet?” All of these are difficult to answer if you don’t have the Scriptures to look upon. So we’re going to take a look at these questions and study this topic a bit further, to expand our knowledge of what God has and will do for us.
First before we take on the first question we need a good definition of the word “covenant” and its origins. A covenant basically is “an agreement between two people or a coming together of people.” It originally came from the Latin word (con venire) which means a coming together. Lets look at the Old Covenant and see why there was a covenant to begin with. It originally started in Genesis, right after the flood ceased and Noah and his family and all the animals came out of the ark on dry land. Genesis 9:8-11 accounts :Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you – every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” This is the first account of a covenant made by God with man. He promises to never destroy the earth with water again. Could it be that a covenant can be a promise? Yes, but not always.
Another covenant within the Old Testament we see is in Exodus 34:10. This is the biggest covenant God makes with his people yet. This is where he tells them his commandments for him. To not make idols to other gods, and observe feast days, and make sacrifices to God. All these things were contained in the covenant.
When we think of the old covenant we think of the sacrifices, feast days, and altars. But what about the new covenant? Is there one, if so whats the difference between the two? Lets look at an answer. First in my opinion, there is a new covenant how. How do i know that? Well prophets predicted a new covenant. Jeremiah 31:31 predicted: “‘The days are coming’ declares the LORD, ‘when i will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.’” It clearly states a new covenant is approaching quickly. Luke 22:20 gives us the answer as to what the new covenant is. It says: And likewise the cup after they had eaten saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” But who is speaking here? Jesus. Jesus is the new covenant. The blood that was poured out for us on the cross represents that covenant. The new covenant is about love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
In the old covenant you could not get rid of sins. You could worship God and live a godly life but the sacrifices and the altars could not get rid of the sin. As Hebrews 10:4 says “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” That’s why the new covenant and Jesus had to come into effect to take away those sins. But that’s one reason (and a big one at that) why there had to be a new one. Hebrews 8:7-8 says “For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,” The sins that could not be forgiven with the old covenant can be forgiven with the new. And its all made possible with the blood of Christ.
One more question before we end is “when did this new covenant take place?” At the cross. In Matthew 5:17 Jesus talks about the old law not going away until all is “fulfilled”. “Fulfilled” means to complete or finish. At the cross Jesus says “It is finished” (John 19:30) which in Greek means to “make an end to” according to the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. When Jesus died the old law was complete, he himself fulfilled it and it was over. The new covenant is now in effect and will be until he comes again. Hebrews 8:13 “In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” Paul says the new is obsolete and Jesus said that it is fulfilled. There is no need to abide by the old law anymore because it is no longer in effect.
In conclusion, the old covenant is no more and the new covenant is alive. We no longer have to make sacrifices, and make specific altars to him or observe feast days. God found fault in it so that’s why he made new covenant. Through Jesus and his blood we are forgiven of sins which the old covenant could never provide a way for. Be thankful for Jesus and the new covenant because through him we have eternal life.