THE NEW COVENANT

God set the parameters of the present creation through the Covenant with Noah. He established his people through whom He would restore the creation through the covenant with Abraham. At Sinai, He began the covenant of blessings and curses with His people Israel. In the Davidic covenant he affirmed the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel with the Son of David and the Levitical priesthood. While each of these covenants have remained valid and in force, none of them have been brought into full and complete manifestation. This ultimate fulfillment of the covenants requires a final and ultimate covenant that will complete and fulfill all of the others. This is called the New Covenant.


The New Covenant is announced and explained in Jeremiah 31:31-37. This covenant called a “new covenant” is to be made with the House of Israel and the House of Judah (not with Gentiles). It will be different than the Sinai covenant in that it will not be broken by Israel and Judah. In this covenant, God will place his Law (Torah) on their hearts resulting in the full obedience manifesting that He is their God and they are His people.

This covenant will not require proclamation or evangelization. They will not tell each other to know the Lord because they will all know Him from the greatest to the least. And they will be forgiven.

This covenant is needed because the one at Sinai is flawed. Not the Torah. The Sinai covenant is flawed because of the flesh. What the Law could not do because of the weakness of the flesh, God is doing in sending His Son, the Messiah to, address the flesh and sin. That is the heart of the Good News (Gospel) which is related to the New Covenant but is not the New Covenant. So the New Covenant will complete and fulfill the other covenants and bring full restoration and salvation to God’s creation. This will be accomplished in the Messiah and through the people of Israel being restored to the Promised Land in full obedience and blessing. This requirement that Israel is at the heart of this fulfillment is found in this same Jeremiah passage (31:35-37). God addresses the covenant with Noah by saying that if the fixed order of the sun and moon and the creation can be measured and explored fully, then and only then would Israel cease to be a people or be cast off. While the creation stands, Israel stands as the people of God. And the New Covenant will bring all the promises to full operation.

Jesus addresses this himself when he declares that he has not come to annul the Law or the prophets but to bring them into full operation (Matt. 5:17-19). He also claims that none of it has or will pass away, let alone be replaced, until it is fully operating and manifest and that this will remain as long as the present creation (heaven and earth) remains. It is clear that the New Covenant fulfills the others rather than replaces them.

At the Last Supper during Passover, Jesus took the elements of the Seder and claimed that they were the establishment of the New Covenant. He said this is this cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood. His death and resurrection would bring about the establishment of the New Covenant with Israel and Judah. And through the mystery of the Gospel, this would also include Gentiles in the promise of full restoration. That will be our next post.

H Bruce Stokes, PhD