Understanding The Old Covenant Vs New Covenant

By Eliza Mendoza

When comparing the old covenant vs new covenant the difference between them becomes clear. From Mount Sinai came the first agreement God made with Israel. This was in the form of a system of laws and statutes and applied only to the nation of Israel. The second binding agreement was between God and all of mankind and was a spiritual fulfillment of promises.

The commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai were written on tablets of stone. Obedience to these laws was required and those who did not obey were punished. When Christ died, the second agreement came into force whereby laws were now written on the hearts of believers. Obedience was to come from love of God and not from fear of punishment.

The laws gave people a general idea of what standards God required and set out boundaries for their behavior. Keeping these laws was difficult and the people always fell short. Once a year the high priest would have to enter the holy of holies to make atonement for their sins. Animal blood was required for forgiveness and it was temporary. When Jesus Christ shed His own blood for the eternal forgiveness of mankind, the relationship between God and man changed completely as sin no longer separated them.

Circumcision, whereby the flesh of the foreskin was removed from male babies, was required as an act of the obedience. The circumcision spoken about by Jesus Christ was of a different kind. Through acceptance of His death by faith, a spiritual circumcision takes place, removing the body of flesh.

The nation of Israel needed intermediaries like priests and prophets to relate to God for them. After Christ died for the sins of mankind, the relationship between God and man was restored. Believers are forgiven and they and are able to approach God directly with Jesus Christ as their great high priest.

The nation of Israel kept the Sabbath day holy. If they broke the Sabbath they were punished and if they kept it they were blessed. The Sabbath as one day out of seven to be dedicated to the Lord is no longer valid, because as part of the new agreement all days belong to the Lord. Worshiping God is a way of life.

As part of the first agreement, things and places were considered holy. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies. When Jesus Christ died, the veil of the temple was torn into two, opening the way for all people into the presence of God through His blood. Worship is not longer a matter of place or time but a state of heart. The emphasis has shifted to the inner man, and attitudes and motives have become more important than external actions.

The relationship between God and His people expressed in the old covenant vs new covenant is very different. It is the death of Christ that opens the way for a new kind of relationship. The first way of relating, with its emphasis on the law, obedience and punishment, is superseded by a new way of relating based on love and faith.

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