Millions of professing Christians are basing their religious lives on a careless assumption! They assume that the New Covenant – in all its terms and conditions is and has been in full force and effect since the first coming of Jesus Christ. But scripture after scripture proves just the opposite is true.
Let’s say there exists a fully certified cashier’s check with your name on it. The date is the day of your baptism. Printed on the check is: “Pay to the order of,” you can write your name in the blank space.
The payment is not in numbers after a dollar sign, or any other type of money. The payment is in eternal life, this check is one that cannot and will not bounce and it is a certain guarantee. The signature at the bottom of the check reads Jesus Christ.
The book (the Bible) is a legal document; it can be likened to an unsigned check with your name on it as the payee. And, the only one that can deliver the goods-- in this case – eternal life in the Family of God.
So true converted Christians who have really repented, have been baptized and who now have God’s Holy Spirit already have claimed that heavenly certified check signed in the royal blood of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ, the Messiah is called in the Bible – “the messenger of the covenant” (Mal. 3:1). Those few who now accept the terms and conditions of this New Covenant, when they hear its message preached may rightfully claim that heavenly certified check written in blood.
At the last Passover, while Christ was still flesh and blood, He said: “This cup is the new testament (or covenant) in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20). Also in Matthew’s account we read: “For this is my blood of the new testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
The Apostle Paul called this supreme sacrifice “the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Heb. 13:20).
The question is: Is the New Covenant in all its terms and conditions in full force and effect today? Now to understand the answer we need to go back to the Book of Genesis where the word covenant is used for the first time.
“And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying; and I, beheld, I establish my covenant with you and with your seed after you” (Gen. 9:8-9).
A covenant is an agreement between two or more parties whether spoken or written. It may be confirmed by a written document, an oral promise, a handshake, or an understanding between two parties.
Now what was the covenant God made with Noah? “Neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the water of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth” (v. 11).
Never again would God allow a flood of global proportions to cover this earth. This is the agreement God entered into with Noah and all his descendants.
Now several generations removed from Noah, God began to make a series of important covenants with Abraham, a man God called out from among his own people (Gen. 12:1-4). Now notice the terms and conditions of the most important of God’s covenants with Abraham, it is the only one that bears a specific date.
“And when Abram was 99 years of age, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God, walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant (my agreement, my promise) between me and you, and you shalt be a father of many nations.
What was Abram’s part in this dated covenant? He was to be spiritually mature before God by keeping all of His commandments, statues and laws. God’s part was to give Abram and his posterity a great inheritance.
What was the sign during Noah’s day that God would keep His covenant, a rainbow? With Abraham it was circumcision of all the male children (Gen. 17:10-14)? Abraham was promised an inheritance that far transcended Abraham’s own life.
In Exodus the 4th chapter is a set of verses that has long puzzled Bible scholars (vs. 24-25).
“And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him (Moses) and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah (Moses’ wife) took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said. Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. So he (God) let him go; then she said, a bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcisim.
Moses (a direct descendant of Abraham through Levi) was to be the messenger of the Old Covenant and who is called its mediator. He had a son who did not have the token of the promises to the fathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the twelve patriarchs) evident in his flesh.
Moses was having problems with his family, but God’s instructions were clear. “And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant” (Gen. 17:14).
Moses led the people through the exodus and the nation of Israel was born. In the 19th chapter the terms and conditions of the Old Covenant are spelled out to the children of Israel through Moses.
“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” (Ex. 19:5). So Moses talked the whole thing over with the elders of the people and everybody agreed to the conditions – “All the Lord hath spoken we will do” (v. 8).
In the 20th chapter of Exodus God spoke the Ten Commandments and later delivered them to Moses on two tables of stone. The civil codes were then given in chapters 21-23 and in chapter 24 the covenant is formally ratified “All the words which the Lord hath said we will do” (v. 3). In verse 4 “Moses wrote all the words of the Lord.”
An elaborate ceremony then followed to commemorate the mutual agreement between God and the people. In verse 5 burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord. Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins: and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.”
“Moses took the book of the covenant and read in the audience of the people and they said. All that the Lord hath said will we do and be obedient. And Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people and said behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.”
Now what was the token of this covenant, it was the blood of animals. Through their history Israel never did consistently keep the terms and conditions of the Old Covenant. A week had hardly passed when they broke it the first time. A pattern was set that eventually ended with all twelve tribes dispersed in captivity to Gentiles nations.
Now there were temporary revivals when a righteous king would inherit the throne. Josiah was one of them. During his reign an actual renewal of that Old Covenant was made (II Kings 23:3).
For a short while the House of Judah reaped the benefits and blessings promised in Lev. 26 and Deut. 28. For most of their history the nations of Israel and Judah broke God’s covenant and suffered sporadically from military conscription, loss of their property, loss of their homes, partial destruction of their cities, limited captivities, famine, all the evil and curses that automatically occur when a nation transgresses God’s law on a wholesale basis.
Now the Book of Jeremiah tells us of God’s thoughts on the whole troublesome chain of events, this vicious cycle of events that seemed to repeat itself time and time again. Jeremiah recorded God’s eventual remedy as well:
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will sow the house of Israel (the lost Ten Tribes) and the house of Judah (basically the Jewish people) with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast. And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict, so will I watch over them, to build and to plant, said the Lord” (Jere. 31:27-28).
Why is God going to do this? Because they consistently broke the Old Covenant and threw God’s law to the ground.
When did all this building and planting occur? What is the time element?
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord that I will make (or renew) 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 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” (vs. 31-32).
The Old Covenant was in a real sense a marriage agreement between God and His wife, the nation of Israel. God the husband was the protector and provider and in return for Israel’s obedience they would reap the benefits of being a faithful wife.
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel (showing the two nations are now back together): 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” (v. 33).
Now the key to the time element is found in verse 34: “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brothers, saying, know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more.
There are no nations today that know God: Instead this whole world with all its nations lies in wickedness. “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness” (I John 5:19). Satan as deceived the whole world (Rev. 12:9).
So the verses of Jeremiah speak of a time yet future, it is speaking of millennial setting. Read Jere. 32:38-41; Ezk. 36:25-35; 37:21-26; Isa. 2, II, Micah 4; Rev. 20.
Today millions erroneously believe that the New Covenant of which Jeremiah spoke is already in full force and effect on this earth today. But many clear prophecies in the Bible tell us otherwise.
“And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost well among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house”
“And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, they are most rebellious” (Ezk. 2:6-7.
“But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me for all the house of Israel is impudent and hardhearted” (Ezk. 3:7).
Now God’s true gospel is greeted with outright rebellion, it is received with lethargy.
“Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against (or about) you by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying come I pray you, and hear what is the word that comes forth from the Lord.
And they come unto you as the people cometh, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their covetousness.
And lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy word, but they do them not” (Ezk. 33:30-32).
The words of Ezekiel is a national feedback, does this sound like a total repentance on a national scale and the humble acceptance of the terms and conditions of the promised New Covenant? Or is it apparent that the broad majority of the people during the church age simply will not listen and heed?
Millions suppose this Christian dispensation is a New Covenant time, a time characterized by New Testament beliefs and teachings which they assumed have replaced and set aside all “Old Covenant” beliefs and teachings.
Many assume that all Christianity is under the terms and conditions of the New Covenant today, so that frees them up from any obligations to obey God. They believe the Bible says the New Covenant has been made with the Church! But is that what Jeremiah said?
The Bible clearly speaks of a time when Jesus Christ will confirm the terms and conditions of His Covenant (of which He is call the Mediator) that of writing the laws of God in the spiritual tables of the hearts of human beings, including the Jewish people.
The House of Judah is clearly identified and that never refers to the New Testament Church. The ratifying of the New Covenant to the peoples for whom it is proposed is to occur after the second coming of Jesus Christ, with the House of Israel and the House of Judah.
And as other scriptures show even with Gentiles, who when called and converted, become Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.
Paul tells us in Hebrews 8:13 that “the old covenant is waxing old.”
A new covenant is being confirmed between Jesus Christ and those in whom He places His Spirit, the laws of God are being written on the fleshly tables of the hearts of those who obey His command to repent and be baptized. But that is by invitation today, and not a global worldwide phenomenon.
Millions who assume this is the age of that New Covenant have never really studied the Bible carefully to see how it clearly shows Jesus has completed only the first half of his ministry, the ministry of “confirming the covenant with many for one week.”
Jesus’ truly big ministry is yet ahead. Right now, it is not God’s time to convert the whole world. God is simply not writing His laws on the fleshly hearts of all the peoples of either Israel or Judah. Today is not the only day of salvation, as so many professing Christians think!