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An Understanding Of The Old Covenant Vs New Covenant

By Eliza Mendoza
It is important to understand the old covenant vs new covenant as the binding agreement between two parties spelling out the nature of their relationship. The first one in the Bible is found in the book of Exodus and was made by God with the nation of Israel. The second one was established when the blood of Christ was shed for forgiveness of sin and it is between God and all mankind.

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 given to the people were difficult to keep. They failed and repented time and time again. The High Priest had to go into the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle once a year on the day of atonement. He offered up the blood of animals and this gave temporary forgiveness for sins. When Christ, as the high priest, went into the Holy of Holies and offered up His blood for atonement, mankind was redeemed and this was a not temporary state.

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.

Intermediaries were required under the old agreement. This function was fulfilled by prophets who were the mouthpieces of God and priests who served in the temple. After Christ died, this was no longer necessary. People now have direct access to God and can approach Him with confidence.

The Israelites were required to keep a weekly seventh day Sabbath rest. They were punished for breaking the Sabbath and promised blessing for keeping it. However, the new agreement specifies neither day nor frequency nor length of time. Believers enter the rest of God, the true Sabbath, by faith in Jesus Christ.

The temple of the Old Testament was built by human hands as a holy place where God could be worshiped. A physical high priest served in this earthly tabernacle. The New Testament states that the believers themselves are the temple of God. A spiritual high priest, Jesus Christ, serves in his heavenly tabernacle. His Holy Spirit dwells in His believers.

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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