Comparing the Old and New Covenants
by Gary Amirault
Mosaic and Jesus’
Throughout the Church Age, there have been many Christian religious institutions, denominations and sects that have advocated the keeping of certain Old Testament laws or even all of them. The two most popular O.T. laws today are tithing and Sabbath keeping. The dietary laws are fairly popular among certain sects. The Ten Commandments are still quite popular among most denominations of Christianity.
The following Scriptural presentation compares the two covenants. The reader will find no commentary throughout this Scriptural study except a few comments after the chart. We believe the Scriptures with the aid of the Holy Spirit speak for themselves in this matter. I pray that the reader is given the light to “rightly divided the word of truth.”
Following the chart of Scriptures references
comparing the Old Covenant with the New are the Scriptures themselves
fully written out in both the King James Bible and the New International
Some Brief Comments
One of the leading causes for confusion concerning “the law” is the way Bible translators have handled certain Hebrew and Greek words. The Version that has held sway over the English-speaking church for 400 years is the King James Bible. This translation was commissioned by King James is 1603, a time in which knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew languages was poor. Fifty-four translators were divided into six teams each responsible for translating certain books. They relied heavily on the Latin text, previous English translations and to some degree the actual Hebrew and Greek texts. Dividing into six different committees created a problem the translators didn’t see as they were translating. Each committee used their own choice of English words for the Hebrew and Greek. As a result, one Hebrew word was translated by many different English words.
For example, the Hebrew word “mishpat” was translated by the KJV 31 different ways. Here are the various English words used by the KJV translators for the Hebrew word “mishpat:” cause, ceremony, charge, crime, custom, desert, determination, discretion, disposing, due, due order, fashion, form, judgment, justice, law, manner, manner of law, measure, order, ordinance, right, sentence, be judged, just, lawful, justly, use to do, worthy, wrong, wrongfully.
It gets worse. There are 15 different Greek words translated command or commandment in the King James New Testament: diatasso, eipon, entellomia, epistasso, keleuo, paraggello, prostasso, rheo, diatello, diatagma, entalma, entole, epitage, paragelia, and diatellomai. There are 16 different Hebrew words translated command or commandment: peh, amar, dabar, tsavah, teem, taam, imrah, dath, cipq, mamar, millah, miphqad, tsav, yatsa, piqqudim, mitzvah.
Many of the new translations of the twentieth century have been nothing but revisions of the King James Bible. The Revised Version, American Version, Revised Standard Version, American Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version, New American Standard Version, Twenty-first Century King James, Modern King James and many more are all simply revisions of an old and quite corrupt translation almost four hundred years old. Furthermore, many new English translations still try to stay close to the King James Version because it has become an icon. Therefore, many of the modern translations incorporated the poor translating of the KJV into their own translations. The “traditions of men which make the word of God of no effect” are hard to break, even among Bible translators.
It is often taught in seminary, church and Sunday school that the only difference between the Old Covenant and the New is that the Old Testament was written in stone while under the New Testament the very same law was written upon our hearts. This is simply false. The writer of Hebrews makes it quite clear that the New Covenant required a brand new law. Jesus makes all things new, including the law of the covenant.
The Old Covenant had an inaugurator (Moses), sacrifice and blood of animals, a Priesthood (Levitical), a city (Jerusalem), and a set of laws (Mosaic Law). The New Covenant had all the same components but each was radically different. The New Covenant was inaugurated Jesus, not Moses. He sanctified everything with His own blood, not the blood of animals. The Levitical priesthood was done away with at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD and was replaced with an everlasting priesthood, the Melchizedek Priesthood of which every born from above believer is a part.
The priests under the Old Covenant had to make their offerings in the God-ordained city of Jerusalem. Under the New Covenant, we have access to a new city, a city Abraham longed to see, that is, New Jerusalem, the mother of us all. Through the blood of Christ we have access to the heavenly realm of which the Old Covenant was but a shadow of. Christians are to minister from their rightful place, seated in heavenly places with Christ, not from some city made with the hands of men. Christians are ambassadors from the true city of peace, New Jerusalem, not the old city Jerusalem which always grieved the Holy Spirit and killed the prophets and apostles of God.
It stands to reason since everything else was changed and brand new, that the law would change too. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Mosaic Laws themselves changed many times over the course of Israel’s history. In the wilderness, when bitten by a snake one only had to look at a bronze snake on a pole and live. However, in the land of Israel, that same snake became an idol that brought forth death. As Israel grew and expanded beyond its borders into other countries, many laws were changed to accommodate them.
Therefore, it should not be unreasonable to suspect there would be a new law which would accommodate moving from the types and shadows of the heavenly realm to the heavenly realm itself. The law of the New Covenant does not require one to stone their rebellious children. It does not require one to sleep with his brother’s wife if the brother died and the wife did not bear an heir yet. The New Covenant does not require many of the things which the Mosaic Law required. The name of this law is “the Law of the Spirit of the Life in Christ Jesus.”
“Therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:1-2, KJV)
You have probably never heard a sermon or read a book on the Law of the Spirit of the Life in Christ Jesus. That is because the church for the last 2,000 years has mixed up the two covenants causing us to be blind to the truth for to come under the law of Moses brings spiritual death – it brings blindess:
“And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Cor. 3:13-17, KJV)
Millions of Christians are blinded to Spiritual truths because they live in the shadow of the Mosaic Law which brings spiritual death. It is the Law of the Spirit of the LIFE in Christ Jesus that brings spiritual life and opens our spiritual eyes and ears. That is all I want to say in this article. If the reader has been quickened by this article and would like more teaching on the subject, read “The Pillar Laws of the New Covenant” at tentmaker.org on the Internet. It is also available in booklet form from Tentmaker Ministries and Publications. Another outstanding book that helps Christians rightly divide between these two different covenants which is available at our online Christian bookstore is “Free To Live” by David Ebaugh.