Preparing For Eternity Wasn't the Old Covenant
the Ten Commandments?


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Ten Commandments

THE question of the covenants has been greatly distorted and misunderstood. Let’s begin by noticing what the old covenant was not. It was not the Ten Commandments. Why? Because God’s eternal law did not grow old and vanish away, "In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away."Hebrews 8:13. They did not have poor promises, "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, and they were not faulty, "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second." Hebrews 8:7

What was the old covenant?

Then what was the old covenant, and how was it ratified? It was an agreement between God and Israel. When Moses shared the covenant with Israel, they replied, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do." Exodus 19:8. The people promised to keep the Ten Commandments. It was ratified by the sprinkled blood of an ox, "And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words." Exodus 24:7, 8. The promises of the people failed because they tried to obey in their human strength alone.

In comparison, the new covenant was instituted and ratified by the blood of Jesus at His death, "And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel." Hebrews 12:24. "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant." Hebrews 13:20.  "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Matthew 26:28. It went into effect when He died. "For a testament (covenant) is in force after men are dead, since it had no power at all while the testator lives." Hebrews 9:17.

After the death of Christ, nothing could be added to or taken away from the new covenant.

In speaking of the new covenant, the apostle Paul writes: "Though it is only a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it." Galatians 3:15. This means that after the death of Christ, nothing could be added to or taken away from the new covenant. Jesus introduced the Lord's Supper on Thursday night before He died, so it came under the new covenant. Matthew 26:28.

Can anything be "added" after the death of Jesus, the testator?

Here's a question worth asking: "When did Sunday-keeping begin?" Everyone answers, "After the resurrection." If that is the case, then it cannot be part of the new covenant since it took place after the death of Jesus. Can anything be “added” after the death of Jesus, the testator?

"For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second." Hebrews 8:7.

Some Christians believe that the Ten Commandment law was only a part of the law of Moses, which disappeared with the old covenant. These verses in Hebrews 10 are used to support this premise.

The "law" of verse 8 is undoubtedly associated with the "first" covenant, which is taken away in verse 9. But did that law include the Ten Commandments? Those same sacrifices and sin offerings are described here in 2 Chronicles, "Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto the LORD on the altar of the LORD, which he had built before the porch, Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles." 2 Chronicles 8:12,13. So you see here in these verses that Solomon offered burnt offerings "according to the commandment of Moses."

Was the commandment or law of Moses part of the old covenant that was taken away?

This makes it plain that the law concerning those burnt offerings—the one mentioned in Hebrews 10:8— was called the commandment or law of Moses. It was part of the old covenant system that was taken away by "the offering of the body of Jesus Christ." Hebrews 10:10. But note: The Ten Commandments were not part of that. Christ is quoted in verse Hebrews 10:9, "Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second."

The full text of what Christ said comes from Psalm 40:8, which says, "I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart." This law is tied to the second (or new) covenant that was to be established. This is reinforced a few verses later in Hebrews 10, where it says, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them." Hebrews 10:16.

The law that was in the heart of Jesus and which did not end with the old covenant is the Ten Commandment law. Magnified by Christ, "The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable." Isaiah 42:21, it was transferred from the tables of stone to the tables of the heart.

"Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;" Hebrews 10:8.

Has any man been able to find a flaw in the handwriting of God?

The Bible says, "If that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second." Hebrews 8:7. So let me ask you: Has any man been able to find a flaw in the handwriting of God? The psalmist declared, "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Psalms 19:7.

Romans 7:12 adds, "The law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good." Does that sound like something weak and imperfect? No law could be perfect and faulty at the same time. It becomes quite apparent that the old covenant could not have been the Ten Commandments themselves; instead, the Commandments were the terms of the covenant, not the actual covenant.

The new covenant is the same law, but written by the Lord on the human heart.

The word "covenant" means agreement—at fault with this first agreement was the promise of the people, "All the Lord has said we will do." The new covenant is the same law, but written by the Lord on the human heart. "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." Jeremiah 31:33. Notice, it is the same law you find in the Ten Commandments, but now it's written in the heart. Indeed, the new covenant goes even deeper than the letter of the law— it goes to the spirit of the law.

Jesus illustrated this when He said, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment." Matthew 5:21, 22.

Jesus taught us that the new covenant is not based on merely obeying the Ten Commandments, but also the attitude behind our deeds. The change of heart will lead to the change of life.

"And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone." Deuteronomy 4:13


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