30 Reasons We do not Operate Under the New Testament

Justin Johnson

One common hindrance in understanding how to rightly divide the word of truth has been the generally wrong teaching about the New Covenant. The general understanding is that if we are not under the Old Testament then we must necessarily be under the New Testament. This is not true.

There is a purpose separate from Israel’s covenants called the mystery of Christ (Eph 3:4, Col 4:3). The mystery of Christ is the keystone of what God has been doing for the past two thousand years. The teaching that we are under Israel’s New Testament confuses God’s prophetic purpose in Christ with his mystery purpose in Christ.

No one on the planet today operates under Israel’s New Testament (NT). Below are a few reasons why.

  1. The NT was not a mystery. Descriptions of the NT are found in the law, the prophets, and the psalms. The prophetic nature of Israel’s new covenant contrasts the hidden nature of the fellowship of the mystery (Eph 3:9). The subject of the mystery can not be the subject of the prophesied NT.
  2. Jeremiah is a prophet of Israel. Jeremiah 31:31-34 is the most popular NT verse in the prophets. Jeremiah was writing to Israel.
  3. Jeremiah said the NT would be made with the “house of Israel”. Jer 31:31 is clear that the new covenant is made with the “house of Israel, and with the House of Judah”.
  4. Hebrews says the NT would be made with the “house of Israel”. In case the prophecy was misunderstood, the NT fulfillment is explained in Heb 8:8-12. The NT was applied to Hebrews of the house of Israel and Judah.
  5. Paul did not write Hebrews. The operation of the church today is found in Paul’s writings. Hebrews speaks most about the New Testament. However, Paul most likely did not write Hebrews. There is ample evidence that Paul was not the author, most importantly, the internal evidence of Hebrews 2:3-4.
  6. There is no “house of Israel” in the body of Christ. As a nation, Israel has no spiritual standing with God in this present dispensation. They have been counted in unbelief just as the Gentiles (Rom 11:32). There is neither Jew nor Gentile in Christ (Gal 3:28).
  7. The church of this dispensation is not Israel. This fundamental dispensational truth implies that a covenant made with Israel was not made with the church called the Body of Christ.
  8. The first testament was not made with the Body of Christ. The church of this dispensation has never been under the Old Testament which was given to Israel also. We do not need a new covenant, we need free grace.
  9. The NT promised the forgiveness of Israel’s sins only. It never promised the forgiveness of the sins of all men (Mat 20:28, Mat 26:28). A gospel to “all men” was part of the mystery purpose of Christ (1 Tim 2:6).
  10. The NT pardon would be an honour before all the nations (Jer 33:8-9). When the NT forgiveness is given to Israel, the world will know and “they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.”
  11. Jesus’ blood was not limited to the NT. Jesus’ blood instituted the NT with Israel, however, his blood would also be preached to all men through the mystery of Christ. The same blood shed at one cross performed two purposes. There is no need to place the mystery saints under the NT.
  12. The Body of Christ did not exist during Jesus’ ministry to Israel. When Jesus spoke of the New Testament blood at the Passover meal the mystery had not yet been revealed (Mat 26:28). The New Testament blood is not Paul’s teaching of the blood of Christ.
  13. NT Israel will be gathered out of all countries (Eze 36:24). The church today does not have a country to be gathered into.
  14. The New Testament included a law. Most commentators will admit that the new covenant in Jeremiah 31:33 included a law. Though it was changed, it was still part of the covenant (Heb 7:12). The mystery of Christ teaches we are not under the law and are dead to the law (Rom 6:14, Rom 7:4).
  15. The NT law was written on their hearts. The NT differed from the OT in that the law was not only “in their mouths”, but it was “in their hearts” allowing them to do the law (Jer 31:33). The letter of the NT law was not written on stony hearts but soft hearts of flesh. In both the OT and the NT the letter of the law was present.
  16. The NT included the Spirit causing Israel to walk in God’s statutes (Eze 36:27). With the law written in their hearts, the supernatural empowerment by the Spirit would cause Israel to keep the judgments of God. This is not the Spirit’s ministry in this dispensation where we are instructed to “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:18).
  17. The NT included an “unction” whereby no one needed to be taught. Jeremiah and Hebrews explain that “they shall teach no more every man” (Jer 31:34). This anointing was tasted by the kingdom remnant in 1 John 2:20 and 1 John 2:27, but is not in operation today. The church today is in need of teachers who can rightly divide the word of truth.
  18. When the NT is fulfilled then all shall know the Lord (Jer 31:34). The fact that so few understand the gospel of the grace of God is evidence that the NT promises are not being fulfilled today. They will be fulfilled at Christ’s return to Earth with the remnant of Israel.
  19. The NT law could be broken. If those under the NT did “despite the Spirit of grace” then there remained no more sacrifice for sins (Heb 10:26-29).
  20. Gentiles were strangers of the covenants of promise (Eph 2:12). According to the NT, Jesus was a mediator for Israel of a better covenant based upon better promises (Heb 8:6). Gentiles were strangers from these covenants of promise. He mediates for us by his grace.
  21. Those under the NT are waiting for a city to come (Heb 13:14). The church today has no city to come to Earth (Rev 21:2-3). We are seated in heavenly places in Christ.
  22. Those under the NT wait for future grace and forgiveness (1 Peter 1:13). We have forgiveness appropriated now (Col 1:14. Eph 4:32). Being crucified with Christ, the body of the sins of the flesh are cut off from us (Col 2:11). The new covenant will take away the sins of Israel in the future (Rom 11:27).
  23. Those under the NT wait for future salvation (1 Pet 1:9). Peter taught that salvation would come from the Lord Jesus at his return (Acts 3:19). The believing remnant needed to endure to the end to be saved (Mark 13:13). We have a present possession of salvation (Rom 5:11). We have what they hope for, but this does not place us under their covenant.
  24. The NT resulted in dwelling in the land promised to Israel (Eze 36:28). The church today is not promised nor do they receive by grace any land on Earth. The NT was oriented around Israel’s earthly promises. We are not under the NT.
  25. We are able ministers of the NT not of the letter (2 Cor 3:6). Paul says we are able to minister. He does not make us priests of the NT kingdom. Neither does he place us under the letter of the NT and its promises. We are able to minister the NT concerning the more excellent ministry of the Spirit because we have been given the manifold wisdom of God (Eph 3:10). Paul ministers the NT in Romans 9-11. Paul teaches about the Spirit in Romans 8.
  26. We received the Spirit by the hearing of faith (Gal 3:3). We did not receive the Spirit through a promised covenant but by faith. Our faith is in the gospel of Christ. The Spirit seals our position in Christ. Under the NT the Spirit’s powerful signs followed those operating under it (Acts 10:46).
  27. The Body of Christ is under the headship of Christ, not under the NT. In Ephesians 1:10 Paul explains that the two purposes of God, in heaven and in earth, will be gathered together in one, in and under Christ. We who part of his heavenly purpose are not placed under the NT earthly purpose.
  28. Israel’s New Covenant is Fulfilled in the Future. Romans 11:25-27 says that the covenant between God and Israel for forgiveness of sins (the new covenant) will be fulfilled after the present dispensation. The NT is presently incomplete. It will be completed at Christ’s return. Our present position in Christ is complete (Col 2:10).
  29. If we are under the NT now, then God is still operating with the nation Israel. Since the NT was given to that nation, concerned that nation’s promises, and is fulfilled in that nation’s earthly kingdom.
  30. God has changed his operation. Since the fall of Israel and the revelation of the mystery, God has been offering grace and salvation to all men (Titus 2:11). This is not an expansion of the NT, it is a separate thing. If God is not fulfilling the covenant in this dispensation, then we cannot be under it.

The fellowship of the mystery is not the subject of either the old or the new testaments. It is not the subject of prophecy. The mystery of Christ is the keystone of what God has been doing for the past two thousand years.

Members of the body of Christ in this mystery dispensation are not under the prophetic new covenant made with Israel. Placing saints today under any of Israel’s covenants robs us of the riches of grace we have in Christ alone and usurps the promises to Israel.

It is important that we remain consistent in our stance regarding the distinction between prophecy and mystery if the mystery of Christ is ever to be popularly understood.

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Published: March 5, 2011
Last Modified: November 19, 2016
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