Which Covenant Did Jesus Teach?
What do you think Jesus was teaching during his ministry? Was he teaching the fulfillment of the Old Covenant or was he teaching his New Covenant? If you say he was teaching the fulfillment of the Old Covenant, then Jesus was teaching within the boundaries of the Old Law. If you say Jesus was teaching the New Covenant, then he was teaching outside the Old Covenant and breaking the Old Law by teaching something different. Some will say: "it was his testament; he was testator so that gave him the freedom to make or break laws." This is inconsistent with Jesus keeping the law perfectly. So the question comes down to this; which covenant did Jesus teach?
Did He teach the fulfillment of the Old or a New Covenant? We must solve the question to rightly divide the word of God. Your answer to this question determines how you view all scripture. If you determine Jesus was teaching a New Covenant (which was different and alien to the Old Covenant) then your view of the Old Law has nothing to do with you. Therefore, I do not need to know it or understand it. The New Testament is all that I need. On the other hand, if you determine that Jesus taught the fulfillment of the Old Law. Then you understand that the Old Law plays an intricate part in the New Covenant, and the two are interleaved. Therefore, I must know the Old to understand the New Covenant.
Remember, Jesus was under the Old Testament law:
Galatians 4:4-5, "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law,"
The Old Covenant was not bad: on the contrary it was good: but the people couldn't keep it.
Hebrews 8:6-8, "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. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:"
God finds fault with them. The "them" in this verse were those under the Old Covenant. Jesus was the only one who kept the law perfectly unlike his people.
Hebrews 4:15, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
Hebrews 5:8-9, "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;"
Jesus did not teach anything different from what the Old Covenant taught or he would have broken the Law.
Deuteronomy 4:2, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."
Deuteronomy 12:32, "What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it."
Look at the following passage, which is when Jesus met a rich young man.
Mark 10:17-20, "And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth."
Jesus did not say follow the New Covenant. On the contrary, he told them to follow the current covenant he was under. At that time the rich man was under the Old Covenant. If he were teaching another covenant, would Jesus not be remised if he did not say, I've come teaching a new covenant and you must follow it to be saved. Or, After my death my servants will tell you a new law. No. He told him to follow God's Law (which, at the time, was revealed through the Old Covenant law).
Matthew 7:21-23, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Christ used the Old Testament law, which were the scriptures of their day, to prove the validity of his own teachings and mission. His listeners were to search the Old Testament scripture to test His Words.
Jesus spoke in the sermon on the mount after giving a long dissertation about "you have heard it said" or " and but I say to you", he said:
Matthew 5:17-19, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
Jesus said that until all is fulfilled, the Old Covenant is still in effect. So here's the question. When is, "till all be fulfilled"? The popular belief is that when Jesus said "it is finished" (John 19:30) on the cross, and the Temple vale tore from top to bottom, that was the fulfillment of all things. Another is that the fulfillment when Jesus said the following:
Luke 24:44, "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.".
Remember, Jesus said that which was to be fulfilled were things concerning him.
Each and every time fulfilled or fulfillment is mentioned in the scripture it specifically tells what event is being or has been fulfilled. An example, just in the book of Luke, would be Luke 1:20, 1:45, 4:21, 22:16, 22:37, 24:44. Interestingly enough there is a place that states an event is the fulfillment of all things that are written. This fulfillment would mark the complete change in the covenant ending the Old and beginning of the New Covenant.
Luke 21:21-24, "Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
Here Jesus says the fulfillment of all things that is written was the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the city, Israel politically, economically, and religiously. This throws a big wrench in the popular beliefs that the fulfillment of the Covenant was completed at the cross. Josephus records the destruction in "War's of the Jew Book 6:5" and the year is 70AD. Jesus was crucified some 40 years earlier. So why did the Apostles say we are freed from the Old Covenant even though it was still enforce?
Hebrews 8:6-13, "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. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 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."
In speaking of "a new covenant," he has made the first one obsolete. And what is obsolete and growing old will soon disappear. At the time Hebrews was written, the Old Covenant was still in effect, but was about to vanish away; but, had not yet. But, when will it vanish? When all things written were fulfilled. During the last days, or the transition period between Covenants, the First Christians had to be sealed by God. The sealing was for a specific period:
Ephesians 4:30, "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."
This is the same sealing that is going on in Revelation 7:4-9 of God's people (Israel figuratively). The uncountable number in Revelation 7:9-17 are the same group as the 144,000, but they do not need the seal anymore. This symbolizes the end of the transition period between Covenants and the New Covenant in full power also the beginning of the eternal day.
An allegory would be during the administration of an out going President. The one in power becomes the Old Administration. It becomes provisional after the election results are known. Yet, he is sill in power and Commander and Chief. This time could be referred to as the LAST DAYS of that administration, beginning at the election and ending at the swearing in. It's not a New Administration but noticeable changes are taking place marking its end. The President Elect assumes more and more power as the parties' transition the Government under the new administration. The Old administration confers with the New Administration before making decision that effects the New Administration. Then the President Elect assumes full power after he swears in as President. Until then he cannot change any laws or make any agreements on behalf of the US that can be enacted until his inauguration.
When did the last days begin and end? This would mark the beginning and the end of the transitory period of the Old Covenant and the Beginning of the New Covenant. Remember the scripture that says all things are placed under Christ feet?
Ephesians 1:22, "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,"
If you use the example above, you can easily see how the scriptures can speak of it as already happening when it has not happened yet.
Hebrews 2:8, "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him."
This plainly tells us that when Hebrews was written, all things were still not in subjection to the Son, even though it is written as if it were complete in many other places. This is not a contradiction, but rather they were sill in the Last Days of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant was gaining power awaiting the appointed day it assumes full power. This was the day when the First Christians were told when you see it coming lift up your heads because your salvation is near. That day is the same day that all things that are written are fulfilled Luke 21. The question naturally is, "When did the Father put all things under the Son's feet?"
Before that day a few things have to happen.
1 Corinthians 15:23-28, "But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all."
The scripture tells us that The Father must regain his throne of Israel that he lost when he was rejected by the people as King and they took Saul as their King in 1 Samuel 8:7. Once the Father regains his throne, then it is transferred to the Son. Many translate this as the son taking control of the kingdom and then returning it to the father at the end of time. This is inconsistent with the context. The father is the one who puts all things under the son's feet. The Father first hands over to himself and then turns it over to the Son.
Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone and the apostles and prophets are the foundation. Once a foundation of a house is laid the house being built is spoken of in the present tense or as if already built.
Ephesians 2:19-22, "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
The Hebrew writer tells us that the temple of the old covenant must be destroyed and the covenant fulfilled before another covenant can be empowered and the Spiritual Holy of Holies entered:
Hebrews 9:8-9, "The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;"
This scripture is saying that the lord could not enter into the Holy of Holies while the outer temple is standing. Again the theory about everything being completed at the cross is in question and suspect. It makes sense that the New Administration cannot take power until after the inauguration. It makes sense that the Cornerstone was laid at Calvary and the foundation was laid by the apostles after being empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit. Jesus' death was the beginning of the last day's and the completion of judgment on those of the Old Covenant was the end of the last day's. Jesus did not and would not teach another law. So when Jesus said in Matthew, "You have heard it was said" or, "and but I say unto you," he is not teaching a New Covenant. He is teaching the same message that God has said from the beginning.
Christ could not be teaching people to obey the New Testament laws, and disregard the Old Testament laws, because the New Covenant was of no force or strength while Jesus was physically alive:
Hebrews 9:15-17, " And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth."