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Jesus, Paul and the New Covenant | United Church of God

But does this view agree with what the Bible itself says? God found fault with the people —the ancient Israelites except for a few specially selected servants. Though they had received His righteous laws, they had not yet received a righteous heart. Hebrews Hebrews But now has he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. Yet Jesus knew that His sin-bearing role would be used by some to grossly misinterpret the reason for His first coming. He realized that His sacrificial death for us—which eliminates the need for animal sacrifices and ritualistic ceremonies that had merely foreshadowed His death in our place Hebrews Hebrews 1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

He takes away the first, that he may establish the second. He warned His disciples not to fall for that distorted reasoning. This is absolutely inaccurate. In Matthew Matthew For truly I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one stroke or one pronunciation mark shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. It can only be fulfilled, never abrogated. Continuing in this chapter, Jesus expands and enhances the spiritual purpose and intent of several specific commandments.

Jesus Christ stated clearly that keeping the commandments of God is essential to receiving eternal life. Other remarks by Jesus and His apostles make it plain that the entire Bible—the Scriptures of the Old Testament and the New Testament—are included in the New Covenant as guidelines for Christian learning and behavior. Paul confirms that he held the same conviction.

He explains first that everything in the Old Testament Scriptures is profitable for living under the New Covenant.

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But some symbolic aspects of the Sinai Covenant are no longer required of Christian converts. Those symbolic aspects are clearly defined in the book of Hebrews. They looked forward to His death as payment for our sins. Therefore, those ritualistic washings and animal sacrifices are no longer necessary.

But understanding what they symbolized is still very profitable. Therefore, not even a word or part of a word is to be ignored in the reading of the Old Testament Scriptures. All of it is instructive.

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The government of ancient Israel was a theocracy. If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! The promise must have seemed unbelievable to Abraham because his wife Sarah was childless Gen. Abraham obeyed God with no hint of doubt or disbelief. Abraham took his wife and his nephew, Lot, and went toward the land that God would show him.


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Abraham moved south along the trade routes from Haran, through Shechem and Bethel, to the land of Canaan. Canaan was a populated area at the time, inhabited by the war-like Canaanites; so, Abraham's belief that God would ultimately give this land to him and his descendants was an act of faith. The circumstances seemed quite difficult, but Abraham's faith in God's promises allowed him to trust in the Lord.

In Genesis 15, the Lord reaffirmed His promise to Abraham. The relationship between God and Abraham should be understood as a covenant relationship—the most common form of arrangement between individuals in the ancient world. In this case, Abraham agreed to go to the land that God would show him an act of faith on his part , and God agreed to make Abraham a great nation Gen.


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In Genesis 15 Abraham became anxious about the promise of a nation being found in his descendants because of his advanced age—and the Lord then reaffirmed the earlier covenant. A common practice of that time among heirless families was to adopt a slave who would inherit the master's goods. Therefore, because Abraham was childless, he proposed to make a slave, Eliezer of Damascus, his heir Gen. But God rejected this action and challenged Abraham's faith: "'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.

Abraham's response is the model of believing faith: "And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness" Gen. The rest of Genesis 15 consists of a ceremony between Abraham and God that was commonly used in the ancient world to formalize a covenant Gen. God repeated this covenant to Abraham' son, Isaac Gen. Stephen summarized the story in the book of Acts The Israelites moved to Egypt during the time of Joseph.

A new Pharaoh came upon the scene and turned the Israelites into common slaves. The people cried out to the God of their forefathers. After a series of ten plagues upon the land of Egypt, God brought the Israelites out "of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand" Exo. Three months after leaving the land of Egypt, the children of Israel camped at the base of Mount Sinai Exo.

God promised to make a covenant with the Israelites Exo. Before they even knew the conditions of the contract, the people agreed to abide by whatever God said Exo.


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This covenant was between God and the people of Israel—you and I are not a party in this contract and never have been. The Ten Commandments are the foundation of the covenant, but they are not the entirety of it.

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12 Bible Verses about the Covenant

After giving the first ten commands, the people asked the Lord to speak no more Exo. Moses then drew near to the presence of God to hear the rest of the covenant Exo. After receiving the Law, Moses spoke the words of the covenant to all of the people, and the people agreed to obey Exo. Moses then wrote the conditions of the covenant down, offered sacrifices to God, and then sprinkled both the book and the people with blood to seal the covenant Exo. This covenant between God and the people of Israel was temporary—God promised a day when He would make a new covenant, not only with Israel but also with all mankind.

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" Jer. Another covenant was between God and King David, in which David and his descendants were established as the royal heirs to the throne of the nation of Israel 2 Sam.

This covenant agreement reached its fulfillment when Jesus, a descendant of the line of David, was born in Bethlehem. The New Testament makes a clear distinction between the covenants of the Mosaic Law and the covenant of Promise. The apostle Paul spoke of these "two covenants," one originating "from Mount Sinai," the other from "the Jerusalem above" Gal. Paul also argued that the covenant established at Mount Sinai was a "ministry of death" and "condemnation" 2 Cor.

The death of Christ ushered in the new covenant under which we are justified by God's grace and mercy—it is now possible to have the true forgiveness of sins. Jesus Himself is the Mediator of this better covenant between God and man Heb. Jesus' sacrificial death served as the oath, or pledge, which God made to us to seal this new covenant. The "new covenant" is the new agreement God has made with mankind, based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The concept of a new covenant originated with the promise of Jeremiah that God would accomplish for His people what the old covenant had failed to do Jer.

Under this new covenant, God would write His Law on human hearts. When Jesus ate the Passover meal at the Last Supper with His disciples , He spoke of the cup and said, "this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" Matt. Luke's account refers to this cup as symbolizing "the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you" Luke When Paul recited the account he had received concerning the Last Supper, he quoted these words of Jesus about the cup as "the new covenant in My blood" 1 Cor.

The Epistle to the Hebrews gives the new covenant more attention than any other book in the New Testament.