According to the book of Amos 3:3, two can never walk together except they agree.The literal meaning of "covenant" is an agreement! According to an online Dictionary, agreement is literally a contract, from the Bible, it implies an agreement between God and His people, in which God makes promises to His people and, usually requires certain conduct from them.
"A covenant is so important to believers because it is an agreement ratified by blood by a God who cannot lie and never abandons what He promises. It is the agreement between two parties, us and God, which are contained in the Scriptures which have been revealed to us."
From what we read in Amos 3:3, it is obvious that before any relationship could be established, agreement (verbal or written) is a necessity. We have nothing to hold ourselves accountable to without an agreement. Before a marriage is established; there is the need for an agreement between the man and the woman; which is expected to be the foundation of their union.
Just as it is with marriage, it is with mankind and God. Before any reasonable or reliable relationship between God and the people of the earth; there was a covenant. God made a covenant with Abraham and subsequently the Hebrew nation after the Exodus from Egypt. That covenant then became the basis for the relationship between God and the Hebrews which we call today the OLD TESTAMENT (Covenant).
But before we go do deep into this matter, I would love to point out a couple of observations:
- Can a relationship be governed (in reality) by two different agreements?
- Can a man or woman drive or be driven by two vehicles at the same time?
- Can a person be in junior and senior classes at the same time?
- Can a man effectively stay in his father's house, live with is parents as a child and then be happily married in the same house while being a child of his parents?
- Can a seed love to remain under the soil and still expect the sun to shine upon it as the grown plants enjoy?
These observations should be in our minds as we study the book of Hebrews together now:
Hebrews 8:7-13 New King James Version (NKJV)
A New Covenant
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 9 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 did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins [a]and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
If we begin from Hebrew 8:7, then we would realize that the emergence of a new covenant is not an accidental or coincidence; but a deliberate act of God to correct a wrong. "For if that first (old) covenant (testament) had been faultless, then no place would have been for a second (new)." That clearly shows us that covenants are not things made or written to add to the existing but to replace the existing. For many of us that live in countries where there is some form of Constitutionality of government; we know that no nation on earth is governed by two or three or four constitutions. For many (if not all) nations, there are single documents (constitutions), which is the grand norm that every citizen is expected to submit to.
Each time nations have issues without their constitutions; they don't write new ones to add to the old; but the old is repelled for the new to take effect. The writer of Hebrews as inspired by the Holy Spirit noted that there were faults with the old or first covenant (testament), requiring a new one for a better society or people under God. Other words for faults are errors, mistakes, imperfections and guilts among others. Imagine a people who were in error simply because they had followed the first covenant, being SAVAGED by God through Christ with the second covenant; but deciding to ADD the first covenant with the second covenant. What do you think will be the outcome or future or destiny of such a people? No wonder God said my people perish for lack of knowledge!
8 Be8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 9 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 did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
God categorically emphasized that the NEW covenant will not be ACCORDING to the OLD covenant; and that settles the whole thing! In the word of Jesus Christ, "No one puts a piece of unstrung cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wine skins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved." (Matthew 9:16-17) The truth is, according to the design of God; the old as indeed passed away, with its demands or weakness, and the new has been established by God through Christ. That is why Jesus said to the people, I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.
The difference between the Pharisees and the disciples of Jesus Christ was basically, the Pharisees were disciples of Moses, while the likes of Peter, James and John were disciples of Jesus Christ. The disciples of Jesus knew the first covenant just like the Pharisees; but they knew that the first covenant literally terminated with and in Christ: For Christ is end (fulfillment) of the law. The point is, while God gave them the first covenant to prepare them for the real life (everlasting life) which Christ brought, the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes refused the second covenant, and decided to continue with the first. Eventually, the best they could allow was to see the first and the second joined together.
Today, what we have across the world and denominations of Christianity or the Church is different groups picking different parts of the old (first) covenant that suits their own weaknesses and then join it with parts of the new (second) covenant that suits their greed (either for power of the Spirit or wisdom of the word). The true authority of Church, which is in Christ Jesus is in the people who are called by the name of God accepting what God had ordained for their Salvation, Redemption and Enthronement. We must remember that only Christ remained at the Mount of Transfiguration: For Moses and Elijah were taken up by God, beyond the reach (visibility) of the bystanders.
Just as the likes of Peter, James and John could no longer see Moses and Elijah, but Christ; God has done it in such manner that only the second covenant which was enacted by the blood of Jesus Christ must be the basis of living for every child of God on the earth.
In that He says, "A new covenant." He has Mae the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away."
But can you believe that in over 2000 years since that moment in time; the old hasn't vanished away. Church, synagogues and even mosques are still be established on the old covenant. My prayer to God for everyone reading this article is that the eyes of your understanding will be opened, and you will know the details of your inheritance in the new covenant in Christ Jesus.
Remember, you cannot be ruled by two laws or constitutions. You either stay exclusively with the old like the Pharisees and Sadducees; or you stay exclusively with the new like Peter, Paul and I. The choice is yours, I pray you are guided by the Holy Spirit in Jesus Name.
Source: Centre for New Dimension Leadership