Old Testament vs New Testament
There is a lot of confusion about the differences between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Some people think that the Old Testament describes a harsh and unloving God, while the New Testament describes an all loving God.
Some people think that the Old Testament has been replaced by the New Testament, while other people think that we live under a combination of the Old and the New Testament laws. While still others think that all of the Old Testament has been taken away except for the Ten commandments.
And so you can see, there’s a lot of confusion among people as to exactly what we should believe concerning these two covenants, that were both given by God. Some people have actually asserted that there are two Gods. In this article, we will let the bible itself explain to us exactly what is the difference between Old Testament and New Testament writings.
There is One God !
The first thing I want us all to understand is that there is only one God. The bible makes this abundantly clear many times over. Here are some examples…
James 2:19, “You believe there is ONE God, you do well..” That phrase is also translated as “You believe that God is ONE..” Both are absolutely correct. There is ONE God, and God is ONE. People get “off base” when trying to describe what man calls the “Trinity”. Many people have come to believe that God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three separate beings, but they are NOT. God is ONE ! Jesus even stated in Jn 10:30, “I and the Father are ONE”. (New Testament)
Deut 6:4, “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God. The Lord is ONE.” (Old Testament)
Mark 12:29, “The foremost is, Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is ONE Lord!” (New Testament)
Isaiah 45:5, “I am the Lord, and there is NO OTHER; Besides Me, there is no God..” V-6 “..There is NO ONE besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is NO OTHER.” (Old Testament)
Eph 4:4-6, “There is one body and ONE Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; ONE Lord, one faith, one baptism, ONE God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.” (New Testament)
God Does Not Change !
Heb 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and always.” (New Testament)
Malachi 3:6, “I the Lord, do NOT change !” (Old Testament)
James 1:17, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is NO VARIATION, or shifting of shadow.” (New Testament)
Numbers 23:19, “God is not human, that He should lie. NOT a human being that He should CHANGE HIS MIND. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?” (Old Testament)
God has made two different covenants with His people. The first covenant was made ONLY with the nation of Israel. The second covenant was made with ALL nations, and with ALL of mankind. Many people don’t realize that the first covenant was made only with Israel, but it’s a fact. I’ll show you scriptures that tell us that. And of course the new covenant was predicted by God as far back as 600 BC when the prophet Jeremiah prophesied about it saying, “Behold days are coming, Declares the lord, When I shall make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah..” Jer 31:31
What Is A Covenant ?
A covenant is a pact, or an agreement, it’s like a contract. And just like any contract, if one party defaults on the agreement, the contract can be made void. The first time the word covenant is used in the bible, is in Gen 6:18. God made a covenant with Noah and his family. Here’s the covenant that God made…
Gen 6;17-18, “Behold, I, even I, am bringing the flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven, and everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish My covenant with you, and you will enter the ark, you and your sons and your wife, and your sons wives with you.”
So God’s covenant with Noah, was that everyone who would enter the ark, would be saved from the flood, man and beast alike. And after the flood had ceased and dry land appeared once again, God made another covenant with Noah, but this covenant was not with Noah alone, this one was with all living beings. Listen to Gen 9:11-16…
“And I will establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said; This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between you, and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations. I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the cloud, then will I look upon it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh, that is on the earth.”
This covenant still remains to this day, and it will always remain, as long as the earth remains. But although God has promised never again to destroy the earth with water, He has promised that He will destroy it with fire. Listen to God’s promise…
2 Peter 3:7, “But the present heavens and earth, by His word, are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” V-10 says, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and it’s works will burned up.”
That’s a promise; but here’s another promise, “But according to His promise, we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” V-13 This promise is part of the new covenant that God has made with all who will obey Him. It’s a part of the Law of Christ, “the new covenant in His blood” (Luke 22:20). The “new heavens and new earth” are the eternal heavens, in the “Paradise of God”.
The Covenant With Israel
When people think of the Old Testament, they think of the Law of Moses. And that’s what I meant earlier when I said there were two covenants. These are the two “Laws” that people refer to, the Old Testament law, and the New Testament law. There actually was also a “Patriarchal Law”, which involved the instructions given by God, directly to the heads of households. These heads of households are called the patriarchs. An example of some patriarchs would be Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God spoke His laws directly to these men, who in turn spoke those laws to their respective households. But we won’t get into that now. That will have to be another lesson.
As I said, when most people refer to the Old Testament, they are referring to the Law of Moses, which was the old covenant that God had made with the nation of Israel. And again I will emphasize that this covenant was made ONLY with the nation of Israel. Here’s some scriptures that prove that point.
Jeremiah 31:31-32, “Behold days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. My covenant which they BROKE, although I was a husband to them, declares the Lord.”
Some Interesting Points Are Made In Those Two Verses.
God is predicting the New Covenant, that He will make with His people. He refers to His people as the house of Israel and the house of Judah. And God isn’t referring to the physical bloodlines of Israel and of Judah, but to the spiritual bloodlines of those who obey God out of faith. The original promise of God’s blessing was given to Abraham, in Gen 12:3 when God said, “..And in YOU, all the families of the earth shall be blessed”.
Gal 3:16 tells us, “For the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. (his offspring). He does not say; And to “seeds” as referring to many, but rather to ONE, And to your seed, that is Christ.” Christ is the “seed” of Abraham. Jesus was physically descended from the bloodline of Abraham, and thus He is Abraham’s seed. But listen to these next verses…
Gal 3:26-29, “For you are all sons of God, through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ, have clothed yourself with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male or female, you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then are you Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
You can see how God is now talking about spiritual offspring of Abraham here. Jesus was the physical “seed” of Abraham, but verse 29 just told us that if we “belong” to Christ, then are you “Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise”. And how did the scriptures tell us that we can “belong” to Christ? God said very clearly in Gal 3:27, “For all of you who have been baptized into Christ, have clothed yourselves with Christ”.
We are “baptized into Christ”, at which time we “clothe ourselves with Christ”. You belong to Christ when you are baptized “into Christ”, and thereby “clothing yourself with Christ”. If you are not baptized into Christ, then you are not IN Christ, and then you are NOT clothed with Christ, and then you are NOT Abraham’s offspring, and then you are NOT an heir according to promise. Don’t you want to be an heir of the promise of eternal life?
“And this is the promise that He has made to us, Eternal Life”. 1 John 2:25 And this is the promise that He made to Abraham back in Gen 12:3, “And in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed“. And do you know WHERE God has blessed us with All spiritual blessings? “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places, IN CHRIST.” Eph 1;3. Every spiritual blessing is IN Christ. There is not one spiritual blessing to be had, outside of Christ. And again, how do you get INTO Christ? “For all of you who have been BAPTIZED INTO Christ, have put on Christ”.
There is NO other way to get INTO Christ than to be baptized into Him. And EVERY spiritual blessing is IN Christ. Do you think heaven is a spiritual blessing? You know it is! And the only way to get into heaven later on, is to be IN Christ now. You cannot be OUT of Christ, and get INTO heaven.
(Going back to Jeremiah 31:31-32) Jeremiah was speaking to the people of the nation of Israel. And he said that God, “will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with your fathers, (Now listen close) in the day when I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt”.
The first covenant was made with the nation that God brought out of the land of Egypt ! There was only ONE nation on the earth, who God brought out of Egypt. And that nation was Israel. It was the nation of ISRAEL that God made a covenant with. The first covenant, the Law of Moses, was made with NO one else except Israel, and it was binding upon NO one else except Israel.
The Law of Moses which was what people refer to as the first covenant, was never for anyone other than Israel. If someone argues that we are still under the “Ten Commandments”, be aware that the ten commandments were a part of the Law of Moses. Those ten commandments were NEVER for anyone other than Israel in the first place, let alone for us today. That’s what the BIBLE says.
Listen to what Moses said to the house of Israel while they were in the wilderness..
Ex 5:2-6, “The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. The Lord did not make this covenant with your fathers, but with US, with all those of us ALIVE HERE TODAY. The Lord spoke to you face to face at the mountain, from the midst of the fire, while I was standing between the Lord and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the Lord, but you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain. He said; I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery!”
Wow, that’s pretty plain, isn’t it?
Israel BOKE the covenant! That’s what God said in Jeremiah 31;32, “My covenant which they broke, even though I was a husband to them, declares the Lord.” God often times compares His relationship with His people to a marriage.
Is it any wonder that God made a NEW covenant? A covenant not like the one He made with their fathers, the one that they BROKE.
Listen to how God feels about His people NOT keeping His word…
Ezekiel 44:6-7, “And you shall say to the rebellious ones, to the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord God, enough of all your abominations, O house of Israel. When you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary, to profane it, even My house, when you offered My food, the fat and the blood, (God’s sacrifices) For they made My covenant VOID; this in addition to all your abominations.”
Those again, are some pretty strong words, but some pretty clear words too.. “You have made My covenant VOID..” Is it any wonder, there’s a new covenant?
This is how the Lord our God feels about those who break His covenants. Ezekiel 17:19, “Therefore, thus says the Lord; As I live, surely My oath which he despised, and My covenant which he broke, I will inflict upon his head.” (Old Testament)
Heb 10:26, “For if we go on sinning willfully (that’s breaking the covenant) after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a CERTAIN terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.” (New Testament)
God Never Changes !
Our Time is Up
Our time here today is up, but I’ll have the finishing part of this lesson soon. In that upcoming lesson, we’ll look at more of the differences between Old Testament and New Testament laws and covenants. Thanks for being here and for listening to God’s word. I pray that all people would realize the need to read God’s word and to know God’s word and to obey God’s word.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation, to everyone who believes..” Romans 1:16
May God bless you in the study of His word.