Old Covenant
versus New Covenant

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The Old Covenant was a physical (earth) based agreement that was initially made at Mount Sinai with the children of Israel. It required obedience to the letter of God's law. It promised that a person or a nation would be physically blessed (health, wealth, etc.) or cursed (e.g. poverty, captivity, etc.) depending on whether or not they obeyed all of God's written commandments and statutes. It was the Being who became Jesus Christ Who established the Covenant with Israel.

The New Covenant, in contrast to the Old, is spiritually based. It is based on obedience from the heart and a fulfilling of God's laws not only in the letter but also in their spiritual intent. It promises an eternal life full of love and glory for those who obey God and eternal death for those who completely reject submission to the Creator. The beginning words of the New Covenant were given by Jesus in Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7, which is commonly referred to as the Sermon on the Mount.

Old Covenant

New Covenant

An agreement based
on physical promises.
Exodus 19:5 - 6;
Deuteronomy 28; Leviticus 26

An agreement based
on spiritual promises.
John 3:16; Hebrews 8:6, 9:15;
Romans 8; Luke 18:29 - 30

Physical circumcision
Genesis 17:9;
Exodus 12:48; John 7:22

Circumcision (repentance)
is of the heart (mind)
Acts 2:38, 3:19; Romans 2:25 - 29;
Philippians 3:3; Col. 2:11 - 13

People were not given God's Spirit
Romans 7:6; Hebrews 8:7 - 9;
Matthew 5:21 - 45

True Believers have God's Spirit
Matthew 5:21 - 48, Romans 7:6,
Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 8:10 - 12

How do we worship God in spirit and truth?

Where did Jesus give Sermon on the Mount?

Are the commandments still relevant?

Was Jesus the God of the Old Testament?

How did we get the Bible?

Map of Israel's wilderness camp

Old Covenant

 

New Covenant

If the letter of the law was obeyed a person could worship God through an earth-based tabernacle.
Hebrews 9:13;  Galatians 3:12;
Leviticus 18:5;  2 Corinthians 3:16

 

Those who obey spiritually have one-on-one access to worship God through Christ Jesus.
John 4:23 - 24, 16:23 - 27;
Hebrews 6:20, 10:23;  Romans 8:9 - 39;
Ephesians 2:18 - 22;  2 Corinthians 3:6

Had physical works of law, animal sacrifices, etc.
Leviticus 1 - 7

 

Have Jesus' sacrifice, the fruits of God's spirit and good works.
Hebrews 9:10, 10:12, 13:15;
Galatians 5:22 - 24;  
Ephesians 2:10; Romans 12:1 - 2;
 Matthew 19:17;  Mark 15:15 - 18

If God's law was transgressed a physical atonement was needed for most sins while some required the death penalty.
Hebrews 9:7 - 10;  2 Corinthians 3

 

If God's spiritual law is transgressed, a believer can be forgiven upon repentance while the unrepentant will receive a second death.
Hebrews 8:5, 9:1 - 28, 10:16 - 31;
Revelation 20:14 - 15, 21:8; 2Corinthians 3

A physical High Priest served in an earthly tabernacle.
Hebrews 8:3 - 5;  Exodus 28:1

 

A spiritual High Priest, Jesus Christ, serves in a heavenly tabernacle.
Hebrews 4:14 - 16, 5:1 - 9, 7:17;
Hebrews 8:1 - 2, 9:11

Animal sacrifices were made to justify a person to an earthly tabernacle.
Hebrews 5:1 - 3, 9:1 - 13

 

Jesus is the sacrifice offered, in a heavenly temple, in order to justify those who repent and are baptized
Hebrews 7:25 - 27, 9:23 - 28 Acts 11:18;
 Galatians 2:20; Romans 3:24 - 25

NO direct access available or offered to God the Father
Hebrews 9:6 - 8; 10:19

 

Believers have immediate and direct access to their heavenly Father
Matthew 27:51;  Hebrews 4:14 - 16;
Ephesians 7:25 - 27;  John 16;
Galatians 4:6 - 7;  Romans 8:15; Ephesians 2:18

Could not make a person's conscience clean or perfect before God
Hebrews 9:9; 10:4, 11

 

A believer's sins are spiritually forgiven. The spirit within them purges their conscience
Hebrews 10:14 - 17; 2Corinthians 3:9;
Colossians 1:27;  Matthew 5:48;
Philippians 2:5, 3:9 - 17;  Ephesians 4

Additional Study Materials
Important People in the OLD TESTAMENT
Important People in the NEW TESTAMENT
What are the different Bible covenants?
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