The Exchange of Covenants

With the appearance on earth of Christ, the Old Testament regulations were immediately supersceded. "We have seen that Jesus has been given a ministry of a far higher order, and to the same degree it is a better covenant of which he is the mediator, founded on better promises. If that first covenant had been without a fault, there would have been no need for a second one to replace it." (Heb.8:6-7).

Jeremiah had predicted this change of covenants in plain language: "See the days are coming -- it is God who speaks -- when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel (and the House of Judah), but not a covenant like the one I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant of mine, so I had to show them who was master." (Jer.31:31-32).

"No, this is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel when those days arrive: Deep within them I will plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I will be their God and they shall be my people. There will be no further need for neighbor to try to teach neighbor, or for brother to say to brother, 'Learn to know God!" No, they will all know me, the least no less than the greatest since I will forgive their iniquity and never call their sin to mind. (Jer.31:33-34).

"By speaking of a new covenant, Jeremiah implies that the first one is already old. Now anything old only gets more antiquated until in the end it disappears." (Heb.8:13).

It has not disappeared completely yet. The Old Testament is still with us today. As the contract between God and man regarding human civilization on earth, it houses the template for the final events of history. But its teaching has been supersceded by the One who was ordained by God from the beginning to do so. According to Paul, the Torah was the 'guardian' and Jesus the true Father. There was no need for the guardian, said Paul, when the true Father appeared.

It was not 'religion' that God wanted the people to have, but salvation. So in the place of the guardian's reflected light, God sent His own. In that new covenant, all the shepherds and all their laws were replaced by one true Shepherd and one true Law. (Ez.34:10-16). This exhange of covenants was one of the major issues preached by Jeremiah in his writings. (Jer.31:31-34).

The Apostles discarded everything in the Torah that was foreign to God's intent -- especially the bloody animal sacrifices that had overwhelmed the Jewish liturgy. They replaced these with elements that mirrored the love of God. "On the day of God's sacrifice, I will punish the ministers, the royal princes, and all those who dress themselves in foreign style. On that day I mean to punish all those who are near the throne, whose who fill the palace of their lord with violence and deceit." (Zeph.1:8-9).

That the Apostles had divine permission to make these changes was decreed in scripture: "I tell you solemnly, whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven." (Mt.18:18). Using this directive, the Apostles met in Jerusalem in a momentous gathering early in the history of the Church and erased the literal interpretation of virtually every injunction defined in the Old Testament. (Acts 15).

This left the developing Church free to remold the directives of the Law into a format consistent with the commandments of the Gospel. This was accomplished by letters and treatises sent to the various churches by the major Apostles, most of them authored by Paul. As soon as the Church defined which of these letters and treatises would be included in a set scripture, the binding was accomplished.

The template of Moses had already decreed that once scripture had been formed, it could not be altered or rejected. (John 10:34-35). For this reason, the New Testament, once it was formed, established for all eternity the divine articles of the new covenant.

See also: 'The Clock of God', Chapter 22, 'The Template of Moses'


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