It is defined as agreement or promise between two or more parties. Example, God would never again destroy the earth with a flood (Gen 9: 8-17).
Old Covenant also can be called the law of Moses (Mosiac Law). God gave the Israelites some laws after they are out of Egypt. But, no covenant has been made because a covenant is made when both parties agree with it. Old Covenant was made during Moses’ time in Exodus 19, as the Israelites agreed to obey God. In verse 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, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said,” So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord.
The book of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deutronomy consist all the Mosaic Law.
Some common area from Mosiac Law:
- Observing Sabbath.
- Circumcision and strict diet.
- Feast or Festivals. Example, Passover.
- Offering, Sacrifice or Tithing. Examples, Sin Offering, Guilt Offering.
Prophesy of New Covenant
In Jeremiah 31: 31-33,
“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I too them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, thought I was a husband to them, declares the LORD.
“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, “declares the LORD.
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
The Connection – From shadow to light
Therefore do not let anyone judge you buy what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. – Col 2: 16-17
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – not the realites themselves. – Heb 10: 1
Old Covenant is the shadow for New Covenant (Col 2: 16-17). Example, before you see someone, you will see the shadow first (assuming right angle of light).
Old Covenant came first but overriden by New Covenant. Another word, Old Covenant is obsolete now (Heb 8: 13). Analogy, someone wrote a will in 2000 and he wrote a newer one in 2007. This means the old will in 2000 became obsolete.
New Covenant cannot exist without Old Covenant.
There are too many differences we can find when we compare Old Covenant with New Covenant. But, I will just focus in the area of access to God.
|Old Covenant||New Covenant|
|Who can access?||High priest (Heb 9: 7)||Through Jesus (John 14: 6; Eph 2: 18)|
|When?||Once a year (Heb 9: 7)||Anytime|
|Where?||Holy of holies. (Heb 9: 1-7)||Anywhere|
|What sacrifice need to offer?||Blood from animal of no defect||Jesus Christ own blood (Heb 9: 12)|
|Need to offer sacrifice continually?||Yes.(Heb 9: 25; 10: 1)||No. Jesus die once and for all. (Heb 9: 11-12, 25-28)|
Today, we do not need to obey the Old Covenant (Mosiac Law) because it is obsolete. If this is the case, should we never read Mosaic Law from now? Certainly not. Indeed, we should continue to read it but with a different perspective, to understand the purpose of the law, rather than to take it literally. Example, the reason why the Israelites were restricted to strict diet and need to be circumcised due to health reason.
I like how Douglas Jacoby phrased it, “It is not a sin to observe a special day (Romans 14: 1-6), but it is a sin to try to make others do so.”
- Shining Like Stars – by Douglas Jacaby.
- Life Application Study Bible (NIV).