What Is the New Covenant / Testament?

Sometimes called the New Testament, the new covenant is a fulfillment of the promise God made with Israel to bring them back to the land and to help them obey the law. As a result this better testament would allow Israel to reap the blessings of God’s covenant made with their fathers (Luke 1:72-75).

The beginning of this New Testament can be found in Deuteronomy 30:1-9, where God promises that he will:

  • Have compassion on them (30:3)
  • Gather them together from among the nations (30:3-5)
  • Allow them to dwell in the promised land (30:3-5)
  • Circumcise their heart so they can obey the commandments (30:6-8)
  • Make their work plenteous (30:9)

This testament would finally provide for the redemption of the nation Israel and institute what was needed to begin God’s strategy for blessing the ‘kindreds of the earth’ through their priesthood (Gen 12:3, 22:18, Acts 3:25).

What Israel would fail to accomplish on their own accord under the old covenant, God would provide for them under the new.

New Covenant prophesied

The prophets also reminded the Jews of the promised new covenant:

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:” – Jeremiah 31:31

Jeremiah goes on to describe how God will ‘put my law in their inward parts’ and will ‘remember their sin no more’ (Jeremiah 31:33-34).

Ezekiel also describes the supernatural empowerment that will accompany the new covenant as he writes:

“And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. “ – Ezekiel 36:27

The description given by Ezekiel also mentions how God will:

  • Gather them from all countries (36:24)
  • Allow them to dwell in the Promised Land (36:28)
  • ‘Multiply the fruit of the tree’ (36:30)

New Covenant confirmed

In Romans, Paul says that Jesus was a minister to the circumcision to ‘confirm the promises made unto the fathers’ (Romans 15:8).

Hebrews tells us that Jesus came as the mediator of the new covenant. Jesus testifies to this during the Passover supper with the disciples. In describing the symbolism of the meal he says:

“For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” – Matthew 26:28

During his ministry, Jesus was preparing his followers for the coming kingdom and new covenant when he taught them about obeying the law, and told them about the supernatural empowerment he would send from heaven (John 14:26, Matthew 6:24-33).

The sign to all that men were part of the New Covenant blessing was if they bore fruit, were protected from harm, and spoke of the law written in their hearts. Therefore Jesus taught that,

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” – Matthew 7:20

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them…” – Mark 16:17-18

“And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” – Luke 12:11-12

The New Covenant enforced

Hebrews tells us that the new covenant was not in force until after Christ died.

“For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.” – Hebrews 9:17

So then, after Jesus died he sent down the ‘Comforter’ who would prepare the saints with the new covenant power to enter the kingdom (John 14:26).

It is this ‘better covenant’ that the author of Hebrews describes while quoting Jeremiah 31:

“But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” – Hebrews 8:6

It was for this reason that Christ died for Israel so that their past transgressions under the old covenant would be redeemed and they could partake of the promise of the new covenant (Hebrews 9:15).

The enforcement of this covenant relationship with God was exclusive and severe. All of those who were part of the covenant were accompanied by the blessings of the covenant, while those who rejected or fell away from the covenant were denied salvation:

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” – Hebrews 10:26-27

The New Covenant never realized

During Saul’s rebellion in Acts, God’s strategy for implementing the New Covenant was halted in order to implement a different strategy for a purpose that had never been previously revealed. This revelation of the mystery dispensed to Paul was information about God’s plan for heavenly places and a heavenly people. As a result the New Covenant promises have yet to be realized. Paul explains how those promises would be realized after the future ‘fulness of the Gentiles be come in’ (Romans 11:25-27).

“And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:” (Romans 11:26)

Although the new covenant has been confirmed and established as a result of Christ’s death, the results of that covenant with Israel are yet to be realized. Israel has not assumed the promised kingdom, nor is God’s plan for the earth complete.

Instead, what pervades is the interim dispensation of reconciliation to all the world, where Christ is offered apart from any covenant or special people status or nationality (2 Cor 5:19).

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Published: Thursday, May 4th, 2006
Last Modified: March 29, 2016