In this multi-part series, we explore the validity of the Old Covenant in today's context, challenging the widely accepted belief that Christ's sacrifice has freed us from the Law. It might be the most eye-opening article you read.

The notion that we are now "free" from the Law, which once afflicted the people of the Old Testament, has become widely accepted in modern Christianity. But we must ask ourselves: Is this belief truly grounded in truth?

In Part I of this series, we lay the groundwork by establishing crucial definitions and understanding the significance of covenants. We delve into the intricacies of the Mosaic covenant, examining its details and conditions. Furthermore, we explore the origin of the belief that the Old Law has been abolished.

This inquiry, inspired by our mentors, prompted my wife and I to reexamine our faith. To begin, let's clarify the meaning of a covenant.

What is a Covenant?

A covenant is a relationship between two partners who make binding promises to each other and work together to reach a common goal. They're often accompanied by oaths, signs, and ceremonies.

What is a Testament?

A testament is actually the same as a covenant for our purposes. In the Bible, covenant, and testament is the same word when looking at the Greek concordance:

G1242 – διαθήκη – diathēkē – dee-ath-ay’-kay – a disposition, that is, (specifically) a contract (especially a devisory will): – covenant, testament).

List of Covenants God Made with Man

God has established several covenants, contrary to the commonly held belief that only two exist. Let's review the list of covenants found in the Bible:

  • Covenant with Adam - Genesis 2:16 - If Adam obeyed, he would live eternally or he would die for disobedience
  • Covenant with Noah - Genesis 9:9 - God promises to never destroy the Earth with a flood again, and sent a rainbow as a covenant sign.
  • Covenant with Abraham - Genesis 12:1 (and various other points in the book) - Abraham was to leave his country and be the father of many nations.
  • Covenant with Isaac - Genesis 26:3 - Same as the covenant with Abraham
  • Covenant with Jacob - Genesis 28:13 - Same as the covenant with Isaac
  • Covenant with Israel - Exodus 19 - 24 - The Law's established and if they were obeyed, blessings followed, but if they disobeyed the laws, a curse followed.
  • Covenant with Aaron - Exodus 40:12 (also in Numbers 25) - Aaron and his descendants were to be priests forever in the temple of the Lord
  • Covenant with David - 2 Samual 7:8 - God promises that his people will always be ruled over by a descendant of David.
  • The New Covenant - Jeremiah 31:31 - God says he will make a new covenant where he will write the Law on people's hearts. This will be fulfilled when Jesus is ruling as King.

For our purpose, let's focus on the "traditional" covenants - the Old and the New Testaments.

Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

The Mosaic Covenant

The Mosaic Covenant, often referred to as the Old Covenant, pertains to the covenant with Israel delivered through Moses on Mount Sinai. Let's examine its details:

1) God said He will not break this covenant

Lev 26:44 Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the LORD their God.

Psa 89:34 I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered.

Psa 105:8 He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations

2) It was made with all tribes of Israel

Exo 19:5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine,

Exo 19:6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

3) It had conditions

Deu 11:26 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—

Deu 11:27 the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today;

Deu 11:28 the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.

4) It showed right from wrong

Rom 7:7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

5) God gave the 10 commandments

God inscribed the covenant with His own finger on tablets of stone, a pivotal aspect of the Old Covenant.

A New Thought Begins

Considering this information, questions arise. If the Old Covenant has truly been abolished, can we still adhere to the Ten Commandments? How do we reconcile the teachings in Romans and Hebrews that suggest the Law is no longer applicable?

These queries present a fundamental challenge. Scripture must remain in harmony throughout; there should be no contradictions or disagreements among authors. If conflicts were to arise within Scripture, which passage would we believe? What else could be considered contradictory? Was God's Law flawed?

These are the types of questions that have emerged on my personal journey of faith, shedding light on why Christians sometimes struggle to reconcile the portrayal of God in the Old Testament with that of the New Testament.

The Teachings from Paul & Co

The teachings of Paul and others, found in books like Romans, Hebrews, and the Gospels, introduce further questions. They contain statements such as "...The first law is obsolete and will disappear..." or "...we are released from the Law...." Below are a few examples:

Rom 7:6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

Heb 8:13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

Numerous other passages appear to declare the Laws of the Old Testament invalid, suggesting that we are now under a new covenant.

Setup for Part II

So who is correct? Are we not free from the Law and under grace? Do we only listen to the two commandments Jesus said? Should we only read the New Testament?

This sets the stage for Part II, where we will delve deeper into the new covenant and explore its implications in relation to the old covenant. Additionally, we will examine specific verses mentioned above to grasp their true meaning within the broader context of the Bible.

See you in Part II!