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Confusing The Covenants

Confusing The Covenants

by Frederick J. Harris

Published in
The Christian Informer
April, 2003

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Last updated:
October 14, 2003.
[This is the conclusion of a study begun last month].

In explanation to these Jews who were so concerned about not keeping the commandments of God in the Law of Moses the inspired Apostle Paul explains its purpose, duration and conclusion. In Galatians 3:19 he poses the question, "Wherefore then serveth the law?" Then gives the answer, "It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator." Why was it given? Paul says: "it was added because of transgressions..." How long was it to last: "'Til the seed should come"! Paul has just explained to these Christians that the promised "seed" was Jesus Christ. He said in verse 16, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." The coming of Christ meant the end of the Law of Moses.


He further explains that the Law was to bring the Jews to Christ. He says, "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster" (Galatians 3:23-25).

Christ said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:17-18). Does Christ say that the Old Law would never pass away? No. Only that fulfillment or completion would precede its passing. Jesus died on the cross to pave the way for a new and better covenant (Hebrews 8:6).

Christ's death was the fulfillment of the Law in every prophesy concerning the Messiah. These were accomplished in the life of Christ, and culminated with his death. The framework or foundation of the Law of Moses is what we call The Ten Commandments. But in comparison these are but a snippet of the great law God delivered to the Israelites. The many details of this Law are found in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Isn't it ironic that many people who cling to The Ten Commandments are not interested in the rest of God's commands and instructions to Israel.


Hundreds rallied in Montgomery, Alabama at the state capitol in support of the huge monument placed there by Chief Justice Roy Moore depicting the tables of stone with The Ten Commandments. Why do such religious people try to build their spiritual house on the foundation of an old structure that God planned to be temporary; one that has been completed, set aside, "torn down" for two thousand years? Evidently they are sadly confused.

The Scriptures never make a distinction between the commandments that Moses received on the mountaintop and the rest of the law with its many, sundry requirements. All of the animal sacrifices which the Lord commanded, all of the ceremonies, various feast days could not take away the sins which separated men from God (Isaiah 59:2). Hebrews 10:3-4 says, "But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." Verse 11 continues, "And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:" Therefore, it was a system described as being against us, contrary to us, a yoke of bondage. John 1:17 makes it very clear in saying, "For the law [OT] was given by Moses, but grace and truth [NT] came by Jesus Christ."


Why would anyone want to trade the grace of Jesus Christ and His shed blood for the old covenant? Sadly, many confused preachers and teachers, not "rightly dividing" the Word of God, will misguide untold millions into error. An attempt to hold onto just one practice of that Old Law both logically and scripturally binds one to keep it all. "For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law" (Galatians 5:3). The apostle Paul would reason, if you were going to bind circumcision or (Saturday) Sabbath keeping, you must keep it all.

There is a great deal of talk about the Constitution of the State of Alabama. Some say it is antiquated, unfair and even bigoted. Some claim that it just needs to be amended others want it to be abolished and a completely new constitution be adopted. The Constitution of the State of Alabama is always referred to as simply "the Constitution." It is the supreme law of the state and must be obeyed. If, as some propose, another constitution were to be adopted for Alabama, this proposed constitution would be referred to as the New Constitution, and when properly adopted by the State of Alabama, it then would be the supreme law of the state and the previous constitution would be called "The Old Constitution." The laws of the Old Constitution would no longer be binding on the citizens of the state, but the laws of the New Constitution would be binding. In this same way, the Covenant given through Moses and the covenant brought through Christ are referred to as "Old" and "New." In Hebrews 8:13 we read, " In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." There may be some laws which could be found in both the Old and New Constitutions of the State of Alabama but only a law that was found in the New Constitution would be binding on the citizens of the state after the adoption of the New.

In a similar way, Christians do not abstain from killing, stealing or committing adultery because these prohibitions are found in the Old Testament's Ten Commandments. But the New Testament teaches Christians not to do these things, and therefore, they are prohibited for the children of God today. Many principles found in the NT were also in the OT, but our allegiance is to Christ. He died to bring us "a new and living way;" he came to bring us hope of everlasting life.


Built on "better promises," God's redemptive plan allows hope to reside in the hearts of all men. Though "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), God allows forgiveness to be realized through the blood of His dear Son. Our own sin causes us to be guilty and deserving of God's punishment. The penalty for sin has always been death; the shedding of blood is necessary to cover iniquity. Hebrews 9:22 "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." The Old Testament provided that the people could offer the blood of animals in ceremonial service administered by the priests. However, forgiveness was never realized or enjoyed. The sacrifice of animals only rolled their sins forward, year by year, to be remembered again. Is this what Moore and other people are looking for today? Do they want their sins to never be forgiven, to, in fact, be called to remembrance again and again, year by year? No. They are simply confused.

There was a time when God winked at ignorance, but that time is over, "He now calleth all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30). Who will lead the erring, including some of our own brethren, to the right if not those of us who understand and appreciate the full scope of the cross of Christ? Brethren, are we content to allow family and friends to blindly follow the misconceptions of the day to their ultimate destruction? Who is willing to share the Truth with the lost?