June 2017           "A Journal of Biblical Understanding"           Volume 14           

(Daniel 4:25)
" ... and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will."


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Let's Make a Deal .. or ..
A Tale of Two Covenants

It is a daunting task to even contemplate writing an exposition about the Old and New Covenants as contained in God's Word.

Why is that? Because those two covenants cover the entire Bible and existence of mankind, that is why. 

Considering this, you can see why I call it a daunting task. It will take inspiration from Almighty God and The Savior Jesus to even begin to do it justice. I feel the only way to approach this article is with the simplicity that has been used in previous articles. There will be some things omitted, and there will be some things missed completely but I will try to be as simple and coherent as possible.

Of course, there will be disagreements with what I write since this subject has been misunderstood for centuries. Assumptions have been made, and mistakes taken as facts,  as people try to fit the scriptures to their way of life rather than fitting their way of life to the scriptures. Most of the problems we have discovered are assumptions, stated as facts, based upon history and a lack of understanding.

Let me make it very plain. No one can understand the scriptures unless Jesus the Christ opens them to their understanding just as He did the two travelers on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection.

They were discussing "those things" that had happened to Jesus and the confusion following His death and resurrection. As they walked along, he walked up beside them and asked what they were discussing. The rest of the story in Luke shows that Jesus caused them to understand.

Luke 24:25 "Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
26 "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
27 "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 "And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.
29 "but they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
30 "And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
31 "And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
32 "And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, AND WHILE HE OPENED TO US THE SCRIPTURES?

There are many things that I will, of necessity, need to shorten or eliminate in order to complete this article with any reasonable length. I ask that you use this exposition to begin a study of your own into the covenants written in scripture.

What is a Covenant?

A covenant is a contract or agreement between two parties. It details what each party will do to keep their side of the covenant. THIS COVENANT IS NOT LAW! However, it IS BASED upon law. If you don't believe that, make a contract or "covenant" with someone where both parties sign it, and then BREAK your part of that contract! You WILL be brought before a judge in a court of LAW to decide what should be done with you! A contract (covenant) is a legal document about a DEAL (covenant) made between two parties to carry out an activity. That legal document will reference the law upon which the contract is based, and spell out the pertinent parts of the law and the terms that support this contract but the contract, itself, is not law.

Is that plain? In the days of my grandfather and great- grandfather, a covenant was "signed" with a shake of hands. Their word was their 'bond'. In this modern day, it has become necessary to back up a contract with the force of law using signatures of each party. 

My grandmother would say about today's society...."Land o' Goshen, what is this world coming to?" Well, you would be right, Grandma! This world (this society) has slipped a long way down and is on its way out! Jesus will soon come and with force of law MAKE those who entered covenants, fulfill them.

The OLD Covenant

Many religious people believe the Old Covenant is the Old Testament. Many believe it is "the Mosaic Law." Many believe it is the covenant God made with Abraham about circumcision, and that belief is still widely held by modern day Israelites, along with many Catholics and Protestants.

However, the Old Covenant was that which was presented to the Children of Israel when they stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai and God thundered His Law from the top of the mountain, which was "on a smoke". Thunder and lightning, clouds and thick darkness covered the top of the mountain where God had descended.

God told Moses to assemble the people at the foot of Mt. Sinai to hear Him, and that nothing should touch the Mount, man or beast, lest they die. God then THUNDERED His Commandments from Mt. Sinai. He detailed them in unmistakable terms as to what He expected from the Children of Israel. He made a COVENANT with the Children of Israel. He promised them many things that He would do if they would promise to OBEY His Law! THE TEN COMMANDMENTS WAS NOT THE COVENANT GOD HAD JUST UTTERED, but was THE VERY BASIS for the covenant because God REQUIRED OBEDIENCE to that Law!

This was such a frightening situation that they called for Moses and told him to talk to God for them and THEY AGREED TO DO ALL GOD HAD SAID! God heard their words and accepted them, calling Moses to come up into the mount to receive two tables of stone, which God, Himself, had cut out and upon which He had written the Ten Commandments. He wrote the commandments upon the most lasting substance known to mankind.... solid granite!!

What was it the Israelites agreed to do?

After God gave Moses the two tables of stone, He also gave him a number of laws, statutes, and ordinances. He told Moses to write them in a book and this book was to be read each Sabbath to the people. THIS was The Law of Moses!! The Law of Moses was based upon the Ten Commandments. IT WAS STORED IN THE SIDE OF THE ARK OF TESTIMONY (Deut. 31:26) and the two tables of stone with the Testimony of God on them were stored INSIDE the Ark along with Aaron's rod that budded and a jar of Manna. (Heb. 9:4)

We find these laws in detail, which told Israel how to obey the Ten Commandments, beginning in the book of Exodus in Chapter nineteen. Of course, this is not the only place in scripture that designates Israel's part in the Covenant, but it will give you a good idea of the Way God wanted them to go.

Chapter Nineteen also gives a brief summary of God's part in this "Old" Covenant. I'll quote that summary:

Exodus 19:4 "Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles's wings, and brought you unto myself.
5 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:
6 "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." (Ex. 19:4-6)

God intended Israel to be a Kingdom of Priests, a Holy Nation, and a peculiar treasure to Him IF they would OBEY Him! However, almost from the get-go, Israel began to break the covenant they had made with God.

Be it well known, just because Israel refused to keep their side of the deal, did not make the covenant null and void. It was still binding upon them and could be enforced by the Law!

Because God didn't immediately "take them to court" many at later dates began to reason that they were not "under the old covenant". They reasoned it had been destroyed, and along with it, The Ten Commandments. 

However, The Ten Commandments were in force BEFORE the covenant was made and was the basis of Law the covenant was made upon. Even if God HAD destroyed the covenant (which He did not), the Ten Commandments were still in effect and carried the DEATH penalty for any who disobeyed them!! The penalty for sin was in effect from the very first, even before Adam and Eve were created. Lucifer SINNED against God and

"... sin is the transgression of the law." (I Jo. 3:4)

Lucifer and his angels sinned! They were cast down and confined to THIS EARTH, called Hell (Gr. =tartaroos) in one scripture, as a place of restraint until the judgment.

Yes, But What About the NEW Covenant?

Here again, people think the entire books of the New Testament are the New Covenant. Couldn't be farther from the truth!! The New Covenant began the night before Jesus was sacrificed (killed) upon the "cross." It begins in Mt. 26:17:

17 "Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?
26 "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27 "And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28 "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins
.
29 "But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

The word Testament in verse 28 above can be, and should be here, rendered Covenant.

Also in Luke 22:
19 "And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
20 "Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament (covenant) in my blood, which is shed for you.

Also in I Cor. 11:
25 "After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me."

The scriptures in the New Testament books plainly show this was a yearly event, a MEMORIAL of Jesus' DEATH until He returns. This was the NEW COVENANT Jesus made with His disciples, and of course, with all those who believed because of the Apostles preaching.

See John 17:
20 "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:"

The New Covenant Jesus made was for them, at that time, and anyone who would later become a disciple of Jesus through their words! That includes me! At baptism, I accepted that covenant and agreed that Jesus was my Lord and Master. I agreed that I would do whatever He commanded me to do. I have slipped quite a bit in the ensuing years, but I'm still a bond servant of my Savior Jesus. I am still trying, with the help of The Holy Spirit, to KEEP His Commandments, statutes, laws and judgments.

Remember, in John 14:15 Jesus said, "if you love me, KEEP My Commandments."

Many who profess Christianity come and tell me "how good it is to love the Lord." By their actions (fruits) I know they aren't loving Jesus, because they aren't keeping His Commandments! From this, many who profess Christianity will tell me the commandments have been "done" away! This has been answered in other articles on our web site and in our printed newsletter. If you haven't read that proof, please write for a copy.

What are Jesus' Commandments Anyway?

The book of John 1:1 tells us that Jesus had a previous life as The Word, who was WITH God.

1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 "The same was in the beginning with God.
3 "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
10 "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
14 "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Yes, Jesus was the God who made the Old Covenant with the children of Israel there at Mt. Sinai! He is the one who thundered from the top of the mountain the words of the Ten Commandments. He was the one who gave Moses the Book of the Law and instructed Moses to write it. He was the one who later added the Law of Sacrifice to the Law of Moses because the children of Israel continued to sin, breaking the Ten Commandments. There is another article about that on our web site. If you can't find it, write for a copy. We have a few printed copies left.

All during Jesus' life, He and His disciples kept the commandments and statutes (Holy Days) that had been decreed at Mt. Sinai. Never did He destroy or annul ANY of them. The New Covenant was based upon the Ten Commandments just as the Old Covenant had been. Everything was based upon OBEDIENCE to God. Then God would do as He had promised in the book of Exodus. He would bless them and multiply them. He would cause the nations of the world to look at them and, as it says in the book of Isaiah, Chapter 2:

2 "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
3 "And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4 "And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.

Have you agreed to the New Covenant with Jesus? Do you KEEP His Holy Days, including the Christian Passover? Do YOU KEEP His Ten commandments, the first four telling us how to love God, and the last six telling us how to love our fellow man? Are YOU KEEPING the Sabbath (7th day) Holy?

If you are, then YOU ARE keeping your part of the New Covenant and are under the New Covenant.

IF YOU AREN'T, maybe you should do some SERIOUS thinking about all this!!!

OH HOUSE OF JACOB, COME YE, AND LET US WALK IN THE LIGHT OF THE LORD!

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