(093) – THE TWO COVENANTS

 

There are two covenants in the Bible. The Old Covenant, and the New Covenant. “And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood’” (Luke 22:20). “…and are not as Moses, who used to put a vein over his face that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away, but their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ” (2 Cor.3:13-14).

Jehovah, with Moses as his mediator, established the Old Covenant. “Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed should come to whom the promise has been made” (Gal.3:19).

The Father, with Jesus as the mediator, established the New Covenant. “…And to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel” (Heb.12:24).

Paul did not consider Moses as the mediator between God and men, and this makes it hard to validate the old Covenant. “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim.2:5). By this statement, Paul denied the divinity of Jehovah.

Every testament is about the personal estate of the one who makes the testament. A son is a father’s heir and enjoys his possessions while he is still alive. When the father or other close relative dies, he takes complete possession of his inheritance. The testament of Jesus is completely different from Jehovah’s testament. In the Old Covenant of Jehovah the promises were earthly promises. The captain Joshua, after taking the people into the Promised Land, said, “…and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which Jehovah your God spoke concerning you has failed; all has been fulfilled for you” (Josh.23:14). Stephen said about the multiplication of the people in Egypt, “But as the time of the promise was approaching which God had assured to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt” (Acts 7:17). Every blessing and promise had as its center, Canaan, for the kingdom of Jehovah is an earthly kingdom (Ex.19:6).

Let us start by the kingdom of Jesus Christ. When this world began, it was already in existence, and this is the reason why Jesus said, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt.25:34). This kingdom is not Canaan, and it will not be in Canaan. “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world’” (John 18:36). Paul reveals that it is a celestial kingdom, and not an earthly kingdom, by saying, “The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom” (2 Tim.4:18). The apostle Peter declares that the inheritance of the Christians is in heaven. “An inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:1). Very well, authentic Christians share the eternal benefits before they enter the complete fruition of theirs rights to the kingdom of God, which is their final inheritance.

  1. They already have eternal life. “Truly, truly, I say unto you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, HAS ETERNAL LIFE, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24). Enjoy in the present a future possession. Now, death reigned in the Old Covenant. “For if by the transgressions of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom.5:17). “When a cloud vanishes, it is gone, so he who goes down to Sheol does not come up” (Job 7:9). “Before I go—and I shall not return—to the land of darkness and deep shadow” (Job 10:21). To Job, death was the end. The Old Covenant was the ministry of death. “[God] also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones…” (2 Cor.3:6-7). The inheritance of Jehovah was death. “The soul who sins will die” (Ezek.18:4). The people whom Jehovah delivered from Egypt with great promises, died in the desert (Num.14:28-30). In the book of Jude we read “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that Jehovah, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe” (Jude 5). In the kingdom of Christ, life reigns.
  2. Christians enjoy the total blessing of the Gospel. “And I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ” (Rom.15:29). What is this fullness of the blessing of the Gospel? It is the total deliverance from the curses of the law of Jehovah in the Old Covenant. All those who are of the works of the law are under curse; for it is written, “Cursed is every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them” (Gal.3:10). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us…in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the gentiles…” (Gal.3:13-14). We can see that, for the Christians to enjoy the blessing, they have to be delivered from the curses of Jehovah. If Jehovah were the Father of Jesus, the Son would have to destroy the evil works of the Father, and that is absurd! God the Father is love (1 John 4:7-8). From God the Father comes only good things (James 1:17).
  3.  In the Old Covenant, everyone drank of the cup of Jehovah. What is this cup? “For a cup is in the hand of Jehovah, and the wine foams; it is well mixed, and He pours out of this; Surely all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs” (Ps.75:8). Would God, the Father of love, give a cup of dregs to the sinners to drink? Never. The Father God, in his infinite love, has given another cup: “Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ?” (1 Cor.10:16). 

The cup, given by the Father to all, was the sacrifice of his only begotten Son, to save the sinners. In the Old Covenant, sinners were made to drink the cup of dregs of Jehovah, but in the New Covenant, sinners drink of a cup with the blood of the Lamb of God. “[Jesus] took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant of My blood” (Luke 22:20).

We can have an idea of the final inheritance by the horrible things that the children of Jehovah went through in this life. The people of Israel inherited slavery, destruction, and captivities. The book of Lamentations warns against this with dramatic and vivid colors. That poor people cried, and until today they cry by the walls of Jerusalem. The people of Israel have never had peace (Jer.6:14; 8:11). We waited for peace, but no good came; for a rime of healing, but behold, terror!” (Jer.8:15). The prophets that prophesied peace were false (Jer.14:13-14). In the New Covenant, though, peace and joy reign. “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom.14:17).

What a contrast! In the times of Jehovah there were crying and anguish, but in the times of Jesus, there is peace and joy. And those convicts did not know the way to peace (Is.59:8). They did not know Jesus, who is the way of peace, and so they were destroyed and sold away. How could they know the way of peace when Jehovah had blinded them? (Is.6:10). Jehovah blinded them and said, afterwards, “Bring out the people who are blind, even though they have eyes, and the deaf, even though they have ears” (Is.43:8).

Jesus, by his Holy Spirit, opens the eyes of the gentiles so they can believe and see the things of the kingdom of God (Eph.1:17-18). But the ones that Jehovah have blinded, nor even Jesus can open the eyes, such was the curse upon them. “But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him” (John 12:37). This was to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah, “He has blinded their eyes, and He hardened their heart; lest they see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and be converted, and heal them” (John 12:40). But the apostle Paul tells us, “But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ” (2 Cor.3:14). The Old Covenant cannot be undone, and it exists until this day. Jesus abolished the evil results: the curses and plagues, the condemnations and disgraces, the wars and vengeances, evils and pestilences, the useless sacrifices, etc. Christ has revealed that the Father would never do such things, by saying, “The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works” (John 14:9-11).

 

By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira

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