The New Covenant: According to the Scriptures
Most Believers today would be quick to say that they are ‘New’ Covenant Believers. Many will say that they want no part of the ‘Old’ Covenant, for that has been replaced by the New. Many religious leaders today even go so far as to teach their followers to completely avoid the ‘Old’ Covenant.
But what do the Scriptures say? We must begin our look at these highlights of the New Covenant with a warning.
A Warning for the Bride
One important bit of information we may not realise is that the Covenant between Yahuweh and His people is actually the Marriage Contract between the Bridegroom and the Bride [See The Two Witnesses of Devarim]. A few of the highlights of this Marriage Contract are found in the New Testament writings. However, most of its promises, its provisions, and its Terms and Conditions, are ‘hidden’ within the Old Testament writings.
With that in mind, we must ask the question, “Do we really want someone else to determine our eternal destiny?” That is, do we want our religious Leaders deciding for us, what is true, and what is not — for something so important as our eternal relationship with the King of Kings? Have we not learned the lesson from the Bride in the Song of Solomon passage?
“The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.” (Song of Songs 5:7)
As we saw in The Bride: as Seen In Chavah-Eve, it is many of the ‘Watchmen’ of today — the Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, and other spiritual Leaders — who continue [unknowingly] to smite the Bride, and to kill them that are fed [See Isaiah 56:10-11; Ezekiel 34:1-3 to see their prophetic identity today]. The goal of satan is to use these Leaders who are well-meaning, but spiritually asleep, to do satan’s work out of ignorance.
As a result, through ignorance of the New Covenant, much of what some Leaders are teaching today is a mixture of Bible truths mixed with the Traditions and Doctrines of Men. Feeding upon this mixture removes the Bride qualities from those who desire to be among the Bride-Company, and prevents them from being “prepared as a Bride for her Husband” (Rev 21:2).
The Bride is hereby warned, that only by studying the Scriptures for oneself, can that one break free of the modern-day paradigms, the religious ‘spin’ that the Doctrines of Men have put on Scripture, twisting the Scriptures to mean what they do not say. Only then can the Bride prepare herself, and make herself ready (Rev 19:7). With this warning in mind, let us review some of the major points of the New Covenant.
The New Covenant: An Overview
We recall that Yahuweh made a Covenant with Abraham, and extended its promises to Abraham’s Seed:
“As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham… And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” (Genesis 17:4-5,7)
So we see here that Yahuweh’s Covenant was between Himself, and Abraham — but extended to Abraham’s Seed as an ‘Everlasting’ [eternal] Covenant. But look at the following passage:
“And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice (‘Righteousness’) and judgment (‘mishpatim’); that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” (Genesis 18:17-19)
This passage reveals the condition that must be met by Abraham, and his Seed, so that the promise may be realised. That condition is called in the above passage, “keeping the Way of Yahuweh.”
This Covenant condition is an important part of Yahuweh’s Covenant, and we will recall this when we look at Israel as our example. It is this condition that the Israelites, while in the Wilderness, did not fulfill, except for Joshua and Caleb of that original generation brought out of Egypt.
It is this same condition that Messiah did fulfill, as the ‘Seed’ of Abraham. Messiah continues to fulfill this condition, for those who continue to abide in Him. But lest we get ahead of ourselves, we will look at a few highlight Scriptures. Let’s first look at this important passage:
“He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant…” (Psalms 105:8-10)
Here we see Yahuweh’s view of His Covenant. Here we see that Yahuweh has only ONE covenant with His people. Yet, He has also expanded this Covenant, in nature and scope, each time it was made, reaffirmed or confirmed to successive generations. Men have called it many covenants — but Yahuweh calls it ‘His Covenant.’ Notice the above verse tells us it is the same ‘Law’ that was given to Jacob, that is given to Israel as an Everlasting Covenant. But now let us notice the following verse:
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ…” (Hebrews 13:20-21a)
Here we see that the Blood of Yahushua that has redeemed us is called the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant. This is a clear indicator that all who are partakers of Yahushua’s Blood-redemption are partaking of Yahuweh’s Everlasting Covenant. So we see that Yahuweh calls it ‘New’ [literally, ‘renewed’], but in the greater sense it is the Everlasting Covenant.
The name of Yahuweh’s Covenant is a vital piece of understanding for us, for there are many hidden pieces of our preparation hidden throughout the ‘Old’ Testament writings. These Everlasting Covenant provisions have been laid up, and ‘hidden’ by the Bridegroom, for the Bride to find, both in the ‘New’ Testament writings, as well as in the ‘Old’ Testament writings (Proverbs 25:2; Matthew 13:52; Song 7:13).
The Bride-Candidates will take careful notice!! that wherever the Hebrew words for ‘everlasting covenant’ appear, there is likely a Bride-preparation provision described! The Hebrew word for everlasting is owlam, Strongs number <05769>. This word is also translated ‘perpetual,’ and means “eternal; for ever.” This is the Covenant known in Hebrew as the “owlam berith.”
The Old Covenant: Israel’s Failure in the Wilderness
We are reminded (1Corinthians 10:11; Heb 4:11) that Israel’s failure to enter the Promised Land is for our example, and learning. So we had better look closely at this issue.
As we saw in Salvation: According to Scripture, an entire generation of Israelites (except Joshua and Caleb) failed to enter into the Promised Land in that day, due to disobedience. They were refused entry into the Promised Land due to disobedience of Yahuweh’s Commandments, Statutes, and Precepts!
We also saw the bigger picture, that Yahuweh’s purpose for the Promised Land was “That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws.” This is simply a more detailed description of the ‘Terms and Conditions’ that were given to Abraham and to his Seed that we saw above — the condition called “keeping the way of the LORD.”
We saw also in the above-mentioned article, that Yahuweh’s stated purpose for His people is not just a description given for the Israelites in that earlier day, but is Yahuweh’s purpose for His Redeemed, New Covenant people today! This purpose is a detailed description of the daily walk of those who are in Messiah, and describes those who will be allowed to ‘enter in.’ Like the Israelites in the Wilderness, many Believers in our day may fail to enter in for the same reason of disobedience, because they have been given wrong information by their spiritual Leaders!
To summarise the experience of Israel in the Wilderness, we may say that they had been given the Commandments, statutes, and precepts, written by Messiah’s own finger, on external tablets of stone. It was because they did not take His Commandments to heart, and did not mix them with faith, that they disobeyed His commandments. As a result, most were refused entry into the Promised Land of their inheritance, that had been promised to Abraham and his Seed.
Of that original generation, only Joshua and Caleb were allowed into the Promised Land. Together, Joshua and Caleb are a prophetic picture for us today, of those who will enter — and they reveal how the Bridegroom and Bride will enter together, through obedience.
The New Covenant: How We May Enter In
As a result of Israel’s failure we are told the following regarding Yahuweh’s Covenant:
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. (Jeremiah 31:31-33)
Here we see that Yahuweh spoke of a New Covenant, which was to be not according to the previous one that had been broken — which was external — written on outward tables of stone. The New Covenant, Yahuweh tells us in the above passage, will not be external, but internal — written on the heart. Yahuweh tells us He will write His laws inwardly, on the tables of the heart, but in this passage He does not give us details on how this is to be accomplished.
The prophet Ezekiel gives us further insight into how the New Covenant is to occur:
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
From the above passage, and from the insight given to the apostle Paul, we now understand that “Messiah-in-you” is the one who will do this writing, necessitating that one first be Born-Again, whereby Messiah Himself becomes ‘birthed’ within us, by His spirit, and grows and matures in us. Father then tells us that His Spirit will cause us to walk in [obey] His statutes [ordinances, decrees, commandments] and His judgments [His mishpatim, which can be likened to His ‘Household Rules’]. The above revelation given to us by Ezekiel is one of the many pictures of the Grace Father supplies to His people, by which we are enabled to obey.
Brothers and Sisters, did we catch that? He will ’cause us’ to obey His statutes, and His judgments [this includes the Law of Moses – see Ex 21:1; Lev 26:46]. He will not force us, or compel us to obey, but He will guide our feet into the way of peace, by guiding us, and leading us into all Truth. He will then provide us the Grace to walk in obedience. In order to do this, however, we must first choose the Fear of Yahuweh (Prov 1:28-29). Those who choose the Fear of Yahuweh are those who are totally committed to obedience to His Word, and who are willing to ‘let go’ all the Doctrines of Men that are not in agreement with His Word. It is the Bride-Company whose hearts are soft enough to obey first, and understand later. But let’s continue.
Many think that Yahuweh made an Old Covenant, which was not ‘good enough’ because it was too weak, then said, “Oops!” and then decided to make a better Covenant. But Yahuweh does not make mistakes. He merely wants His people to learn that without Messiah, we can do nothing (John 15:5) — but that if we abide [‘remain’] in Messiah, then through Messiah, we can do all things (John 15:5-8; Philippians 4:13) — we can even obey all of His Word!
The apostle Paul tells us (1Corinthians 10:1-6) that the Israelites in the Wilderness, in failing to obey the ‘Old’ Covenant, became our example [for our warning] of how we today are to live, day-by-day, in the ‘New’ Covenant! And we are told in the Book of Hebrews, chapters 3 and 4, what Israel did do, and did not do, for our warning. And those things the Israelites failed to obey, are exactly those things Messiah, living within us, desires that we obey today. But how do we know this from Scripture? Let us see.
First, in order for us to understand how the New Covenant is to operate in this regard, we must recall that it was the WORD of Yahuweh [Messiah Himself – John 1:14] who spoke all of the ‘Old’ Testament Commandments. So we see that Messiah’s commandments consist of ‘every word that proceeds from the mouth of Yahuweh’ (Matt 4:4; Luke 4:4). Thus when we read, “If you love me, keep MY Commandments” (John 14:15), consisting of all of the Scriptures, we then understand what Messiah is telling His Bride.
We then see in Scripture that it is Messiah Himself who will prepare His Bride. It is Messiah-in-us, Messiah living within us, who will cause us to obey His Everlasting Covenant. He will do this, by His Spirit, and by His enabling Grace, as we abide in Him! The Scriptures go on to tell us in detail exactly how Messiah’s Bride will become prepared. For some of these Scripture details the Reader is directed to study (Isaiah 45:8; Isaiah 61:10; Isaiah 57:14, 62:10; Ezekiel 36:27; John 15:10; Philippians 1:11; 1John 3:24).
Many are not yet prepared, however, because they do not understand the identity of those included in the New Covenant. Let us now look further at this.
The New Covenant: Only for “My People”
We next notice the identities of those with whom Yahuweh made His Covenant. As we saw in the above passage in Genesis 17, Yahuweh made a covenant between Himself and Abram, then extended His Covenant to include Abraham’s Seed as an ‘Everlasting’ [eternal] Covenant. Let’s see what Scripture tells us of the identity of these Everlasting Covenant participants:
“…and to thy seed after thee…” (Genesis 17:7b)
“…and to Israel for an everlasting covenant…” (Psalms 105:10b)
“…a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah…” (Jeremiah 31:31b)
“…this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel… and they shall be my people…” (Jeremiah 31:33b)
“And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel…” (Matthew 2:6)
Notice carefully the wording in the above passages, that Yahuweh’s Covenant is not made with any particular religion, or even with the Gentiles; but only with those called ‘thy seed’ and ‘My People,’ whose name of endearment is “Israel.” Let us discover some basic truths, to see who is included in Yahuweh’s Covenant:
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)
And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29)
In the above passages, the apostle Paul tells us two important bits of information. First, he tells us that the identity of the “Seed” of Abraham is Messiah Himself. Then Paul tells us that those who belong to Messiah [those who are ‘in’ Messiah (Rom 8:1; 2Cor 5:17)] are included in this identity.
But notice again, that the New Covenant was promised only to the house of Judah, and to the house of Israel. Notice there are no Gentiles in this promise. So how is it that the Gentiles can be included in Yahuweh’s New [everlasting] Covenant, and in the promises? The apostles Paul and Peter tell us:
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles… 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:11a, 12-13)
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people… 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1Peter 2:9a, 10)
In the above (Ephesians 2:12) passage, Paul tells us that previously, as Gentiles apart from Messiah, we were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise.” Likewise, Peter tells us in the (1Peter 2:9a, 10) passage, that the Gentiles in time past “were not a people, but are now the people of God.” The apostle Paul then tells us how one may become ‘grafted-in’ to the Olive Tree of Israel, through faith in Messiah:
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: 14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. 15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? 16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. 24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? 25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. (Romans 11:13-25)
In the above passage, Paul tells us that the Gentiles in times past had no part in Yahuweh’s Covenant, because they were not included in the commonwealth of Israel; but can now as Gentiles become a part of the overall commonwealth called ‘My People Israel’ by virtue of becoming grafted in to the natural Olive Tree of Yahuweh’s people called Israel.
Are all Gentiles grafted in? As we saw in the (Ephesians 2:12) passage above, only those who are ‘apart from Messiah’ are still aliens. Believers who are ‘in Messiah’ have been grafted-in to My People Israel. Those who are grafted-in are now partakers the promises — and are also subject to the conditions of the promises — that the fullness of the promised blessings hold true only for those who abide [‘remain’] in Messiah. This last condition is perhaps the reason that Paul continued to teach and to warn the Believers night and day with tears:
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: (Colossians 1:27-28)
Apparently there were teachers in Paul’s day who were telling the Believers that they need not be obedient to the Commandments of the Law [Torah] in order to remain [abide] ‘in Messiah,’ in direct contradiction of Messiah’s Words, and of the words of the apostles:
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers [‘Gentiles’]… 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (1Peter 1:1a, 2)
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: (1Peter 1:22)
If ye love me, keep ‘my’ commandments. (John 14:15)
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. (John 15:10)
And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit [the Holy Spirit, who leads us to obedience] which he hath given us. (1John 3:24)
These corrupt teachers in Paul’s day were apparently those who did not know Messiah. They did not know that the One who accompanied the Israelites in the Wilderness was none other than Messiah Himself (1Cor 10:4); that it was Messiah who led them by a pillar of cloud by day, and by a pillar of fire by night. Nor did these corrupt teachers in Paul’s day realise it was Messiah who gave the tables of stone to Moses, and indeed gave all the Commandments to Moses. It did not register with them, that the Commandments of the Law of Moses are part of ‘MY’ Commandments, as Messiah calls them throughout the Scriptures. Thus Messiah continues to cry out, “If ye love me, keep ‘my‘ commandments” (John 14:15).
Beloved, what are your teachers telling you?
Would you not rather read the Scriptures for yourself, to see what they actually say?
Continuing with the identity of Yahuweh’s Covenant people today, let us notice further what the Scriptures say. Notice the following passage:
“Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Psalms 50:5)
Here we see that the saints, the ‘set-apart’ ones of Yahuweh, are those that have made a covenant with Him by sacrifice. However, covenants are always cut with a Blood [representative] sacrifice involved. The only acceptable Blood sacrifice today is that of Messiah’s Blood. So it follows that these set-apart people of Yahuweh are those redeemed by the Blood of Yahushua Messiah Himself. But there is one additional identifying mark of the saints.
Just as the Blood identifies initially the parties to the Covenant, so their obedience identifies those who will enter in as a Bride. Recall that the Israelites were partakers of the Blood Covenant in Egypt, but failed to enter in due to their disobedience. Scripture reveals how the saints further identify the Bride:
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)
In these last two passages above, we are told that the saints are further identified by their obedience to Yahuweh’s Commandments; and that those who perform His Commandments, are those who will be allowed to enter in to the City of the King, which is the New Jerusalem, the Bride of Messiah.
Let’s now look at some further pictures of the New Covenant.
Jacob or Israel?
Again we confirm that the ‘My People’ that make up Israel consists of all those in Messiah, either natural or wild Branches, that are grafted in. There is, however, one thing we might mention.
Although many have made the covenant by Sacrifice in Yahushua’s Blood, not all view His Covenant in the same way. Recalling the passage in Psalms, note the two different perspectives of the same covenant:
“…And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant…” (Psalms 105:8-10
Here, Yahuweh reveals to us who we are, by how we view His Covenant. First we recall that Isaac and Jacob were both called heirs of the same promise, along with Abraham (Heb 11:9). So we see that Jacob is indeed a son of the Promise.
Next we recall that Jacob and Israel are one and the same person. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, only after he wrestled with Yahuweh, and prevailed, to receive the Blessing (Genesis 32:28, 30). So we see in the Psalms 105 passage above, that those who have the traits of Israel — those who have wrestled with Yahuweh, and have prevailed — are those who see Yahuweh’s Covenant as an Everlasting Covenant.
On the other hand, those who have not yet wrestled with Yahuweh — nor have they prevailed, nor overcome — are still as ‘Jacob.’ They are children of Promise through faith in Messiah, but they have yet to wrestle with Yahuweh. And as a result, they see Yahuweh’s Covenant not as everlasting, but as merely A Law, perhaps as a temporary decree that is no longer necessary, and is disdainful to them.
There is a time coming soon, however, when the ‘Jacob’ congregation of saints will be put in a corner, and will be forced to wrestle with Yahuweh. This will be called the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, and that time is almost upon us, as a woman in travail, as a time in which the offspring are revealed.
So, as Sons of the Promise, who are we? Are we Israel — or are we Jacob?
How we view Yahuweh’s Covenant reveals our identity.
Let us now look at some of the New Covenant provisions.
The New Covenant: Its Provisions
As we look into the identity of those who are partakers of Yahuweh’s Covenant, we see another covenant problem coming into view, which we must address. Let’s recall a Scripture from above:
“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:” (Jeremiah 31:32)
As we recall from Salvation: According to Scripture, Israel was redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb, and then was ‘water Baptised.’ They were brought out of Bondage of Egypt, all by Yahuweh’s Grace. However, in the above passage, we see that Israel broke Yahuweh’s Marriage Covenant, due to their disobedience, which we saw previously.
So we see by Israel’s example, that the first New Covenant provision of Blood has been made to bring out Yahuweh’s people, out of Bondage to Sin. But what New Covenant provisions are there that can bring in Yahuweh’s people, by obedience, in our day? Again, we saw the answer, in part, in the above Jeremiah 31 passage:
“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.” (Jeremiah 31:33)
The first part of this provision is seen above, where Yahuweh will change where He writes His Law [Torah]. In Israel’s case, it was external, on tables of stone. In our case today, it is internal, on tables of the heart. But does Yahuweh write His Laws within everyone who simply claims to be a partaker of His Covenant? Let’s look at another passage to get further light:
“Bind up the testimony, seal the law<08451> [Torah] among my disciples.” (Isaiah 8:16)
Here we see that Yahuweh’s testimony, which is being a ‘DO-er’ of the Law (James 1:23, 25). It is the performing of the Law [Torah] by Messiah living within you, just as Messiah did 2,000 years ago when He lived within His own body, that is His seal; and this seal is only to be found among Yahushua’s Disciples.
Now, let’s notice Yahushua’s own requirements for anyone who would be called His Disciple:
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)
“And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27)
“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33)
“If ye continue<3306> in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed…” (John 8:31b)
The above requirements will exclude those with mere claims, or even those with a half-hearted commitment to follow Messiah — so we are hereby warned against becoming nominal churchgoers.
Notice in the John 8:31 passage above, that the Greek word <3306> is the same word translated elsewhere as abide. We are told in the above passage that only those who continue, who abide, are Yahushua’s Disciples. So let’s look at a some of the many conditions that describe those who abide:
“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide<3306> [abide; dwell; continue; remain] in my love…” (John 15:10a)
“And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth<3306> [abide; dwell; continue; remain] in him…” (1John 3:24a)
“He that saith he abideth <3306> [abide; dwell; continue; remain] in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (1John 2:6)
“Whosoever abideth<3306> [abide; dwell; continue; remain] in him sinneth not…” (1John 3:6)
“…sin is the transgression of the law.” (1John 3:4)
By the above passages, we see the New Testament provisions for obedience. When a Believer becomes Born-Again, the spirit of Messiah becomes ‘birthed’ within. As Messiah grows, and matures within the Believer, it is Messiah-in-you who desires to be obedient. He desires that the Believer would choose to be obedient to His Father.
As the Believer learns to walk in Righteousness, and becomes obedient, Messiah writes Father’s Law [Torah], His statutes, commandments, precepts, and judgments on the hearts of those who are His Disciples. He also provides the Grace — His enablement from within — to keep His commandments. Thus we see the final result of the Redeemed Saints, when all is said and done, as we saw above:
“Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Psalms 50:5)
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Revelation 14:12)
Again, we will state that Yahuweh’s saints are those who are part of Yahuweh’s Covenant, because Yahushua has become their Sacrifice. We then see these same overcoming saints as “they that keep the commandments of Yahuweh, [even; which is] the Faith of Yahushua.”
Let’s again notice why the doing of the Commandments describes these saints:
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:14)
Beloved, this is a warning given to all who desire to enter in.
Throughout the New Testament we are given many warnings. Some of these warnings tell us exactly why Israel failed to enter in, and how their failure is an example for our admonition and our warning. These warnings are given so that we might be properly instructed, and that we might choose wisely to keep Messiah’s Commandments [all of Torah] — so that we might have right to the Tree of Life, and might ‘enter in’ through the gates into the City.
We will now turn our attention to a few examples of the New Covenant, as contrasted to the Old.
Two Covenants: The Bondwoman and the Free
Much of our misunderstanding of the New Covenant stems from twisting of Scripture, concerning the New Covenant Truths of the Law, as discussed in The Law: According to Scripture. We saw that much of today’s understanding of what Paul wrote of the Law is seen in Peter’s words:
“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest [twist; pervert], as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2Peter 3:16)
Without getting too far into details of the Law, we will on occasion refer to what Scripture calls lawful and unlawful uses of the Law in the New Covenant. Misunderstanding of legitimate New Covenant purposes of the Law carries over into misunderstanding of the New Covenant itself.
The Allegory of the two Covenants, written by Paul, is no exception. This is an allegory of the two covenants, seen as two mountains, which in turn represent two women, who bring forth two offspring.
Keep in mind that the main focus of Paul’s teaching here is on the two kinds of offspring, and on the source that brings forth each kind of offspring. We will begin a few verses prior to where most teachings on this allegory begin, for here is where the main point of the Allegory can be seen:
“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you…” (Galatians 4:19)
In this Galatians 4:19 passage above, we see the main focus of the allegory is the offspring about which Yahuweh is concerned, and which He desires — it is that Messiah is to become ‘formed’ within the Believer. This means not only is the baby to be conceived and born, but that it should grow and mature, and not remain an immature ‘baby’ all its life. Not only should the Life of Messiah become birthed within us, but we should allow His Life living in us to mature, and begin to walk in obedience, and eventually become just like the Father. There is only one offspring that can achieve this goal, but the other is unable to do so — and it is this contrast that is the focus of Paul’s allegory.
All of the subsequent verses in Paul’s allegory show how the intended offspring falls far short, if it is not engendered [brought forth] by the proper woman. We now continue in the next verse:
I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? (Galatians 4:20-21)
Here we see Paul addressing those Galatians who understand neither the Old Covenant nor the New. It is here that Paul begins to reveal both Covenants, as each being a Husband having dominion over a wife. Paul is addressing those who consider it important to be under the constraint of the Law [Torah] but who are not able to obey it.
Now let us proceed with Paul’s example:
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after [according to] the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to[brings forth] bondage, which is Agar.
25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is [physical or natural city], and is in bondage with her children. (Galatians 4:22-25)
Up to this point in the narrative, Paul has pictured the ‘Old’ Covenant as the bondwoman, as a woman who gives birth to that which is according to the flesh, in attempting to bring forth obedience by self-effort — just as we see in Hagar, who brought forth Ishmael as a result of Abraham’s unbelief.
Here also, in verse 24 we see the ‘Old’ Covenant is pictured as Mount Sinai, representing the stone tablets, and the self-effort to obey the Law, reminding us of the Israelites who failed to enter in, and who illustrate the children or offspring of that ‘Old’ Covenant.
As New Covenant Believers, we now understand that the Law [Torah] is like a looking-glass, or mirror. The mirror can show us the imperfections, but it lacks the power to cleanse. The Israelites in that day were under the constraint of the Law, but they lacked the heart, and more importantly, lacked the Grace and faith necessary to obey the Law.
The offspring are further described in verse 25 as the “Jerusalem that now is,” which corresponds to its inhabitants referred to as the ‘Circumcision’ elsewhere in the New Testament. These represent all those who would try to be justified by self-effort to keep or obey the works of the Law, but who have not been Born-again, and justified by the Blood of Yahushua.
Now let us notice now the contrast of the two different offspring:
26 But Jerusalem which is above [the New Jerusalem] is free [not in bondage], which is the mother of us all.
27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
29 But as then he that was born after the flesh [physical, natural descendants] persecuted him that was born after the Spirit [spiritual descendants], even so it is now.
30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. (Galatians 4:26-31)
In the above passages, we see the result of the ‘Old’ Covenant which [in this allegory] pictures self-effort, simply because there is the absence of the New Covenant provisions — Redemption by Blood, Righteousness by Faith, and the Holy Spirit living within, to supply Grace to empower and enable.
Here we see also in verse 28 and 29, that there is no inheritance to those offspring engendered by the flesh, by self-effort, but only to children of the free woman — the children of Promise, just as Isaac was a child of Promise. Paul tells us (Romans 4:14; Galatians 3:29) that it is not through our effort of being obedient to the Law, but only through Messiah that we become heirs according to the promise.
We must caution, however, that many years of tradition based on misunderstanding of Paul’s writings still clings to us as baggage. Because of this tradition, we can miss many important truths of how the various parts of the Law [the Torah, or Father’s House Rules] are to be considered, and how they are to be obeyed by His redeemed children. For a discussion of some of what Paul wrote in his epistles, see the writings on Sin: According to Scripture, and Salvation: According to Scripture, and further Related Articles below.
We will now look at one major highlight of the New Covenant — the concept of Bondage.
The New Covenant and Yokes of Bondage
As New Covenant Believers, much of our understanding of the ‘Yoke’ of Bondage has been from Paul’s epistles. In all of Scripture, the word yoke speaks of bondage. But have we realised there are two ‘Yokes’ of Bondage, one as part of the ‘Old’ Covenant, and one as part of the ‘New’ Covenant? One of these yokes leads to death; the other leads to Life.
One of our main tasks as Believers, then, is to understand them both, so that we might come out from, and avoid, the one that leads to death, and enter in to the one that leads to Life. Let us notice the following passages:
“I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.” (Hosea 11:4)
Here we see that the yoke is taken off, and removed by Yahuweh. As the context shows, this removing of the yoke is how Yahuweh describes Israel’s coming out from Egypt, elsewhere called the Bondage of Egypt. This bondage is the bondage of sin, and is explained by Paul partly in Romans 7:2-3, in which the obligation to obey the Law [Torah] is likened to a wife who is bound to a husband by the covenant of marriage, for as long as that husband is alive.
As Paul goes on to explain in Romans 7:3-6, if the Believer [as the wife] has become ‘dead’ to the Law [no longer under its dominion of sin] by identifying with the death of Messiah, then the Believer is said to be ‘dead to the Law by the body of Messiah.’ According to the Law [Torah], the wife is no longer in a covenant with [in bondage to] the [dead] husband, but is now free to marry [enter into a new marriage covenant with] Messiah.
That is, once a person is set free from bondage, that one is now free to choose a new Master, and a new marriage Covenant [a new yoke], which we will further discuss below. Let us first notice the contrast to the above passage in Hosea 11:4, as we look at the following passages:
“And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant…” (Ezekiel 20:37)
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light…” (Matthew 11:29-30)
In the Ezekiel 20:37 passage above, we see that Yahuweh promised to bring Israel into the bond of the Covenant, the bondage or prison of the Covenant, as the Hebrew reads — which is describing the ‘yoke’ of bondage of the New Covenant, as the context further reveals.
Then in the Matthew 11:29-30 passage above, we see the New Covenant fulfillment of this ‘yoke’ of Bondage. Here we see Yahushua invites His Disciples into the yoke of [bondage] of the marriage covenant. This appeal by Yahushua is a window into the mystery of (Ephesians 5:32) together with (Colossians 1:27), and is the New Covenant Bondservant appeal seen in Exodus:
“And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.” (Exodus 21:5-6)
So we see that under the Everlasting [New] Covenant, when we identify with the death of Messiah, we become set free from the ‘old’ yoke [of bondage to Sin and the Law]. Messiah then invites us to choose to take upon ourselves a ‘new’ yoke [a yoke of bondage of a marriage covenant with Yahushua].
We might say that Messiah sets us free from the old yoke of bondage to the old master, with the hope that we might voluntarily choose to enter into a new yoke of bondage [marriage] with the New Master. It is in this way that we will find rest, and we learn of the mystery of true delight!
Before we look at the last highlight, we must first state a few observations seen in the Scriptures, in which the ‘Old’ Covenant is contrasted with the ‘New’ Covenant.
Old vs New: A Contrast
Here we will mention a few statements in the Scriptures, in which the ‘Old’ Covenant is contrasted with the ‘New’ Covenant.
First, we must remember that we are not dealing with two separate covenants, but only one — which Yahuweh calls the Everlasting Covenant. This truth can be seen clearly in (Psalms 89:27-33), when in referring to Messiah, we see the covenant promised to Judah and Israel is called an Everlasting Covenant, but is called a New Covenant in (Jeremiah 31:31-33). We see the same parallels in (Hebrews 13:20), where the Covenant in Yahushua’s Blood is called the Everlasting covenant, but which Yahushua calls a New Covenant in His Blood in (Matt 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20).
The changes or contrasts between the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ versions of the Everlasting Covenant are seen in Scripture as enhancements or upgrades, as it were, to the Everlasting Covenant, whereby all the ‘fine print’ of the Terms and Conditions stated throughout the ‘Old’ Testament writings [the Tanak, also called the Law or Torah] remain intact even today — as they are said to be eternal, and will never be ‘done away.’
Thus we see throughout the Scriptures that the eternal Torah requirements for Yahuweh’s Covenant People have not changed. They are the same for us, as they were for the Israelites, and for Yahushua, except for the specific changes, or ‘upgrades’ mentioned in Scripture. These New Covenant ‘upgrades’ are summarised in Jeremiah Chapter 31, and are further listed in the book of Hebrews, where these changes are called ‘Better Things.’
As a summary of New Covenant promises in Scripture passages mentioned above (Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36), we saw that Yahuweh will give His people a new heart, and a new Spirit, and will cause His people to walk in His Torah (Ezekiel 36:26-27). This promise is only part of the Torah revelation that His people will become ‘Born-Again,’ as Messiah becomes ‘birthed’ within them; and they will be filled with the Holy Spirit to enable and empower them.
We then saw that as part of the New Covenant, Yahuweh promised to put His Law in their inward parts, and write it [internally] in their hearts, rather than [externally] on stone, so that they will have the heart or willingness, as well as the grace or enablement, to obey the Torah (Jeremiah 31:31-33).
Further New Covenant changes are listed in the book of Hebrews. These changes include a change in the Priesthood, wherein Yahushua has become the High Priest, after an eternal order; and a change in the Sacrifice system, wherein the Blood of Yahushua has an active and ongoing role for us today, as His Blood completely removes the consciousness of past sins, and is better than the blood of bulls and goats, which merely covered the sins. As part of the change of the Sacrifices, we are told (in Hebrews 10:8-10) that the ‘not my will’ as spoken in Psalms 40:7, is established as the new sacrifice, which has taken away the old sacrifice.
We have also seen many changes in the Everlasting Covenant that promised to enhance the Believers’ daily walk with Messiah. As a part of these ‘New’ Covenant changes, we see a heightened awareness of the significance of those provisions of the Everlasting Covenant that remain intact.
As one example, Yahushua revealed to us the importance of our participation in Passover, when He revealed to us the ‘New’ Covenant significance of Passover in (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:15-20; John 6:53-56). As another example, we can now see the importance of our participation in Messiah’s Sabbaths, after Messiah revealed to us one of the reasons the Israelites were refused entry into the Promised Land was that they “despised His Judgments” [His mishpatim, His eternal ‘House Rules’] and “polluted His Sabbaths” (Eze 20:13,16,20,21,24).
As another example, Messiah has told us in advance that He will reject the Foolish Virgins for two reasons: 1) because they are considered workers of iniquity (Mt 7:23), which tells us they were in disobedience to the law of Moses; and 2) He did not know them [they avoided the Everlasting Covenant provision that allows His Born-again people to know Him (Ex 31:13; Eze 20:12,20): by keeping His Sabbaths].
He has also told us [in advance] by His prophets that His final judgment against the earth’s inhabitants is for the same reason — because they have broken His Everlasting Covenant (Isaiah 24:5), which in context, appears to be soon-coming.
We have seen a few contrasts between the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ versions of Yahuweh’s Everlasting Covenant.
We have noted that the Torah remains intact for Believers today in the New Covenant. We must now state, however, that according to the Torah, the ‘New’ Covenant — and the ‘new’ yoke — is not one of ‘required’ obedience, or compulsion.
The New Covenant: No Compulsion
Perhaps the most surprising feature of the ‘New’ Covenant is that it remains as Yahuweh’s Everlasting Covenant, but it is now a Covenant in which obedience is no longer required. Under the ‘Old’ Covenant, obedience was required, under threat of death. Under the ‘New’ Covenant however, there is no compulsion to come under a ‘yoke’ [of bondage] of obedience to the Covenant. This difference can be understood in light of Yahuweh’s purposes.
Among the ‘New’ Covenant changes is the removal of the obligation to obey the Law [Torah]. In its place is the opportunity for the Believer to voluntarily choose to obey the Law [Torah]. As we saw above under the heading, ‘Yokes of Bondage,’ this last change is according to Torah, and reveals some of Fathers purposes in these last days.
One of Father’s purposes today is to find a Bride suitable for His Son. Father is looking for those who love His Son — that is, He is looking for those who keep His Commandments (John 14:15). He is looking for those who know His Son — who know that Messiah is the one who gave the Commandments to Moses. Thus Father is looking for those who are Born-Again (who have Messiah ‘birthed’ within them), and who demonstrate that they know the identity of His Son, by their obedience to Messiah’s Commandments written in the Law [the Torah].
When a Believer becomes ‘Born-Again,’ he is at that time set free from the old yoke of bondage, as discussed above under the heading, ‘Yokes of Bondage.’ Messiah then invites that one to come under a ‘New’ yoke of bondage, to become a bond servant of the Master. Notice however, that Yahushua does not compel anyone to become a bond servant. He does, however, compel people to come to Him to be set free, and to repent, and then compels them to come in to dine with Him.
He then desires that those that come to Him, would voluntarily enter into the bond of the ‘New’ Covenant with Him; and that because of their love for their Master, they would become yoked as bondservants to obedience to Him, and to His Word.
Love, by its very nature, can not be made compulsory; it must be of the free will, and of the heart. Yahushua sets us free, so that we are then truly free to choose whom we will serve. We may then choose to serve Him, and to please Him, and delight to do His will, or we may choose not to do so. Whatever choice we make, reveals whether we love Him, or not. However, let us also remember that He has told us:
“No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16:13)
Here Yahushua warns us, that after we have been set free from the old master [sin, and the obligation to obey the Law, under threat of death], we now have a choice of whom we will serve. Yahuweh sees to it that everyone must serve one master or another. Let us recall this passage:
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)
After being set free, many choose not to be in bondage, thinking they are free. There is no compulsion whatsoever. However, the above passage reveals that unless we voluntarily choose to serve [in obedience to the eternal Scriptures], which leads to the fruit of righteousness, we will end up serving sin, which results in death.
It is our choice of whom we will obey.
Many spiritual Leaders today have understood one side of the coin of Paul’s writings, but have failed to see the other side of the coin. They understand that as Believers we have ‘died to’ the bondage of the Law, and to sin. They are in grave error, however, to think the eternal Law [Torah] has been ‘done away’ or replaced.
According to the Scriptures, if the Law [the Torah] were ‘done away, we would not be forgiven by the Blood of Yahushua — because it is the Torah that prescribes forgiveness by an acceptable Blood sacrifice — and so it is only by the Torah that we are redeemed by Yahushua’s Blood, and forgiven of our sins (Hebrews 9:22).
We have seen that under the ‘New’ Covenant, the Believers are promised a new heart, and a new spirit, prefiguring the experiences of being ‘Born-Again’ and being filled with the Holy Spirit;
We have seen that under the ‘New’ Covenant, the eternal Commandments of Torah are no longer external, written on tables of stone, but are now internal, written on the heart, prefiguring obedience to the same, eternal Torah.
We have seen that the ‘New’ Covenant provides everything for us that the ‘Old’ Covenant could not provide, but most importantly, the Grace Messiah gives us, as He lives within us by His Spirit, to enable us, and to empower us to be obedient.
We have seen that under the ‘New’ Covenant, instead of trying to obey the Commandments by our own strength, our own ability, it is now ‘Messiah-in-us’ who gives us the ‘Grace’ — the delight, and the ability, to keep His Commandments!
We have seen that under the ‘New’ Covenant, we too will delight in the Law in the inward man, just as did the apostle Paul (Romans 7:22), when we, as Paul, begin to walk in obedience to Messiah’s eternal and Everlasting New Covenant — According to the Scriptures.
Although we have touched on a few highlights of the New Covenant, there is much yet to discuss. We must yet look at Father’s Everlasting Covenant, to see further details of how the ‘Old’ is related to the ‘New,’ and how we are to ‘connect the dots’ in our understanding.
We must look further at New Covenant Liberty — at Yokes of Bondage, and the freedom to choose. For these, see New Covenant Liberty: Freedom to Choose.
We must look further at Passover, to see how the Blood of the New Covenant is to be sprinkled physically within the Holy place [our inner man] of our Tabernacle or Temple [our bodies].
We must look further at some of the Difficult Words of Paul, and see how these all confirm the many sublime features of Father’s Everlasting Covenant… To be Continued…
and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” (Rev 3:3)