THE HEART OF THE OLD COVENANT TO THE NEW COVENANT
This section is not an in-depth expounding of the two covenants.
We are, since the death of Jesus and the coming of the Holy
Spirit on the feast of Pentecost, under the NEW COVENANT, no
question about it, no argument needed.
A lot can be written about the old covenant and all
its laws, some individual, some national, some for health,
some for farmers, some for the priesthood and tabernacle, some
for the king etc.etc. I have a series of 5 cassette tapes
dealing with those laws and how to understand them today under
the new covenant. They can be yours for a donation of $10. I
am not here addressing all that detail. I want to answer the
question as to what is the basic heart of going from the old to
the new covenant.
The new covenant was not the idea of the apostles, nor was it
some new "thought up" teaching of the early A.D. Church of God.
The coming of a NEW covenant was proclaimed and foretold in
the writings of the OLD covenant.
There were two things very evident about the old covenant - 1.
Personal salvation for the masses was never promised (Numbers
11:16-29) and, 2. The Israelites did not have the heart to
obey God (Deut.5:29; 29:4).
So the coming of a NEW covenant was foretold, yes it was, I
will give you the passage shortly. But before we turn to it we
need to ask: Will the foretelling of this new covenant also
give us the basic HEART of it?
Let us turn to where the foretelling of the NEW covenant is found
- Jeremiah 31 and verses 31 to 34. Read it carefully friend -
mark it well.
"Behold, the days come saith the Lord, that I will make a NEW
COVENANT with the house of Israel, and with the house of
Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their
fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them
out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they break,
although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: but this
shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of
Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I WILL PUT MY LAWS IN
THEIR INWARD PARTS, AND WRITE IT IN THEIR HEARTS; and I will
be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach
no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother,
saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the
least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I
will FORGIVE THEIR INIQUITIES, and I will REMEMBER THEIR SINS
Aaaahhh! There it is friends, forget about all the fine points
about which old covenant laws are not applicable within the new
covenant, put aside all that fine tuning, look at the HEART of
the matter - the basic foundation of the new covenant. Law is not
"done away" under the new covenant. IT IS PUT INTO THE INWARD
PARTS - WRITTEN INTO THE HEART - SALVATION WOULD BE EVERYWHERE
AND PERSONAL - SINS WOULD BE FORGIVEN AND FORGOTTEN!
Do you see it friend? Do you see the new covenant was all
about LAW AND GRACE! It was not to be Grace OR Law, it was not
to be Grace WITHOUT Law. The NEW covenant was to be Grace AND
Law. The new covenant was not to be external laws taught to you
from a priesthood, but personal salvation - a personal
relationship with God where His laws would be written in your
heart and where your sins would be forgiven - a covenant of law
The heart of the new covenant is NOT "doing away with" law but
ESTABLISHING it much deeper than under the old covenant. That is
why it was also foretold that the Messiah would come not to
abolish law but to MAGNIFY IT and make it HONORABLE (Isaiah
What was the BASIC fault with the old covenant? Was it all the
laws that people want to argue over? Not according to the writer
of new covenant book of Hebrews. Yes the first covenant was not
perfect - it did have a MAJOR fault, but that fault was not
the laws per se - read it yourself in your Bible, It has been
there all along friend, I didn't come last night and write it in
your Bible, it's been there for centuries. What was the fault of
the old covenant? Hebrews 8:8, "For FINDING FAULT WITH THEM."
The fault was with the PEOPLE, not the laws as such of the old
The people Moses said WERE NOT GIVEN THE HEART TO OBEY THOSE
LAWS, they were NOT GIVEN THE SPIRIT OF GOD EN MASS - personal
salvation with God's Spirit writing those laws on their heart and
coming under His grace WAS NOT GIVEN TO THE PEOPLE AS A WHOLE.
God was now, under the NEW covenant, going TO RECTIFY THAT
FAULT! The New covenant would be a better covenant, established
upon better promises. The writer of Hebrews (many believe it
was Paul ) then goes on to quote from the passage we have read in
How clear, how plain, a child can understand. The New
Covenant is Law AND Grace!
There is one more thing - very important - to the heart of the
NEW covenant. The prophet Ezekiel was inspired to give us the
"And I will give them one heart, and I will put a NEW
SPIRIT WITHIN you; and I will take away the stony heart of
the flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may
WALK IN MY STATUTES, AND KEEP MINE ORDINANCES, AND DO THEM:
and they shall be my people and I will be their God...... A
NEW HEART also will I give you, and a NEW SPIRIT WILL I PUT
WITHIN you...... And I will PUT MY SPIRIT WITHIN you, and
cause you to WALK IN MY STATUTES, AND YE SHALL KEEP MY JUDGMENTS,
AND DO THEM......(Ezekiel 11:19,20).
The prophet Joel was also given this wonderful message of the New
Covenant promise of the Spirit of God to come for the masses of
the people. A better promise for a better covenant. Read it in
Joel 2:28-32. This began to be fulfilled on the feast of
Pentecost recorded in Acts chapter two. Peter referred to this
very prophecy of Joel in what was taking place on that great
The HEART of the NEW covenant is not doing away with law, it is
ESTABLISHING the law of God not in stone or on paper, but in the
heart of man, it is giving the heart and mind of man
the very Spirit of God which enables man to think and act as God
does. The HEART of the NEW covenant also is Grace and Mercy -
the forgiveness of sins through the shed blood of God, who became
man in order to over-come sin by living a sinless life, and
giving His life on the cross for the sins of the whole world.
The HEART and CORE of the NEW covenant is to ESTABLISH LAW
through the SPIRIT of God, and to be FORGIVEN by the BLOOD of God
when we break that law and sin.
WILL ALL SINCERE CHRISTIANS BE IN THE KINGDOM AT CHRIST'S
Have you ever been a part of the Sunday keeping Christians? I
have. Do you have friends, or relatives that are part of the
1st day observing Christians? I do.
Occasionally at the request of one of these friends, for some
special reason or event, I will attend a Sunday service (Sunday
School and Worship hour). Occasionally I am invited to
a friend/relative wedding of one of their children in a Catholic
or Protestant church. There have been many changes over the
last 30 years in many Catholic/Protestant churches as to HOW
services are conducted, but there is still an overall message
that has not changed that much from the days I was a faithful
Sunday observer. Most Catholic and Protestant churches still
teach that Christians should obey 9 of the ten
commandments, and there are some that still teach the 4th
commandment was transferred to the FIRST DAY of the week. My
wife and I are around and have friends who teach these things, so
we know first hand what the Catholic/Protestant groups by and
large teach about the ten commandments.
There are millions and millions of sincere Christians who observe
Sunday as the day of rest, who believe and teach it is wrong to
lie, to steal, to covet and lust, to murder, and to break
the ten commandments, including the 4th (but they say it is
now Sunday). Now if the Sabbath command is either "done
away" or "changed" under the new covenant, and all these
hundreds of millions of Christians are trying not to break the
other nine commandments, if they teach you should not break
them, does the other differences of doctrine really matter that
Many will say it does not matter.
Many will say it does not matter if you believe you do not go to
heaven at death and I do. Many will say because you believe in
baptism by full immersion in water and I think sprinkling is
okay, it does not matter, we will all get into the Kingdom.
These millions will tell you as long as Jesus is accepted as
Savior, that we are saved by His blood, by His grace through
faith, and that we try to live by the golden rule of the ten
commandments, NOTHING ELSE really matters, we are all part of
the body of Christ and headed for the Kingdom or heaven.
How many Christians are there in the world? Well the Roman
Catholic church has nearly a BILLION for starters. All the
Protestant churches around the world may add up to about another
billion. Quite a sum of people would you not say, yes I think
The majority of all these people are SINCERE in their Christian
life, sure some are phony and just hang on to the churches for a
free meal or whatever physical gain they can obtain, but the
majority are wanting to serve the Lord to the best of their
knowledge, to the best they know how.
If the Sabbath Day question makes no difference and it is one of
the BIG TEN, then the other differences all these churches
have between themselves make even less of a difference. If this
is true, and for our argument we will say it is true, then a HUGE
SEGMENT OF THE POPULATION OF THE WORLD, and a MAJORITY part of
those who call themselves "Christian" SHOULD BE IN THE KINGDOM OF
GOD AT JESUS' RETURN!
To believe this view then one has to do some pretty fancy foot
work around some clear and blunt statements of Jesus that teach
it is NOT THE MANY BUT THE FEW that will make it into the
Kingdom at His return.
Jesus told His disciples that unless their righteousness EXCEEDED
that of the scribes and Pharisees they would not get into the
Now the scribes and Pharisees were very very careful in trying
to observe the letter of the law of God, but they fell short in
the "spirit" of the law. Nevertheless, it does not sound like
Jesus was making entry into the Kingdom as easy as "falling off
Then a little later in this "sermon on the mount" as it is often
called, Jesus said this: " NOT EVERY ONE that saith unto me,
Lord, Lord, SHALL ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM of heaven; BUT he
that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Mat.7:21).
So some who were thinking they were serving the Lord, who knew
Jesus was the Lord, who NO DOUBT called themselves "Christian"
and thought they should be in the Kingdom, WOULD NOT MAKE IT!
They did not make it because they some how did NOT DO the WILL of
the Father. So there is a condition then to being saved by grace
through faith, HOW ELSE would you understand this very plain
statement of Jesus? Christ went on to say: "MANY will say to me
in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils? and in THY NAME done many
wonderful works?" (verse 22).
These were probably very sincere Christians, who thought they
were saved by grace through faith, who told people they were
children of the Lord, who were busy doing what they considered
the "work of the Lord." They were probably what we would call
They were people you would like as neighbors and friends. They
probably taught that at least 9 of the ten commandments should
be obeyed and they may have taught even the 4th one should be
also, except it was changed (they were told by their ministers or
priests) from Saturday to Sunday under the new covenant, or it
was totally "nailed to the cross" under the age of grace.
These were probably very sincere Christians.
They will be arguing with Jesus as to why they should be in the
Kingdom. I'm sure there will be many more arguments put forth
than the ones Jesus gives us in this little massage. But notice
the answer Christ gives them. He did not say they did not
understand what "grace" was, or what "faith" was, or why He had
to shed His blood, or that they did not know what the "fruits of
the Spirit" were. No, it was none of that. He will answer
"I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from me, ye that WORK LAWLESSNESS"
(verse 23, original Greek).
Somewhere along the line they had been living and practicing the
BREAKING OF THE LAW!
I didn't say it friend. Don't get angry at me. I didn't come
last night and write it in your Bible. It has been there all
along for you to read. It was there when I read it at the age
of 7, 8 and 9.
These were people who possibly thought or were taught that one
or more of the laws of God were "void" or "changed" under the
New covenant. They may have been sincere, but you can
be sincere and be sincerely WRONG! Whatever the case, these
people thought they were at liberty to practice as a way of
life, LAWLESSNESS - the breaking of the law of God.
Jesus did not say they had not earned enough brownie points to
work their way into salvation, of course not, Jesus knew
salvation could not be earned by obedience to laws, but Jesus was
making it plain that to live lawlessly would keep you out of
the Kingdom, would disqualify you from the gift of grace that
does save you.
Jesus did not end it there. He went on to say that you must
build upon the ROCK - Himself.
His teachings - hearing and DOING THEM. Those that did not do
that were building their house on the SAND and when the test
would come they would find themselves blown away (verses 24-27).
Again let me repeat, it seems so obvious, but I must repeat it
for those who, cannot see the obvious. This teaching of Jesus'
is straightforward, simple and easy to understand, even a child
can comprehend it, no theology degree needed, just read it and
believe. Living a life of lawlessness - believing you can
practice as a way of life, breaking the law of God, any one of
its points as James put it, would keep you out of the Kingdom of
God, no matter how sincere a Christian you were. Sincerity was
not enough according to Christ. There is something that does make
a difference. Not all by any means who carry the name of Jesus,
who call Him Lord, will make it into the Kingdom of heaven.
Jesus talked about HEARING and DOING His sayings and teachings.
Now you look in the four gospels, you look into all the
teachings of Jesus as He expounded the New Covenant, and you
see if you can find where Jesus taught the Sabbath command as
written in the old covenant, as written in Exodus 20, was "done
away" or going to be done away with at His death, or when the
Holy Spirit would be sent, or any time after, for that matter.
Jesus taught NO SUCH THING!
He taught by His words and by His example, complete perfection
of 7th day Sabbath keeping.
Look, you want to believe Paul "did away with" the 4th
commandment (you are 100% wrong in your thinking), then you
follow this false idea, but I will follow CHRIST. I call myself a
CHRISTian because I follow Christ not your imagined Paul. I can
even show you where Paul said HE FOLLOWED CHRIST! Many today
need to start calling themselves after their false idea of Paul
- a Paulian, and stop calling themselves CHRISTian, because
following Christ they are not if they do not observe the 7th day
Sabbath. They may think they are Christian, they may think they
belong to Christ, they may call Him, "Lord" - but if they are
lawless people and will not repent, they will hear these
shocking (to them it will be) words: DEPART FROM ME, ye that
If all the living hundreds of MILLIONS (and there are hundreds
of millions who have died) who call themselves by the name of
Christ, who believe you should keep at least 9 of the 10
commandments (and tens of millions believe the 4th one is still
in effect, only it has been changed to the first day of the week,
or you can choose whichever day you like so they choose the
first day), if they are going to be in the Kingdom at Jesus'
return, that is a very large segment of the world as I have said
before. If all those sincere (most of them are no doubt) people
are truly a part of the body of Christ, then how does that square
with Jesus' statement in Luke 12:32? Jesus said to His
followers, "Fear not LITTLE FLOCK; for it is your Father's
good pleasure to give you the Kingdom."
The original Greek here is a double diminutive which really
means, and what Jesus really said was, "fear not LITTLE LITTLE
flock" or as we may say it today, "fear not VERY LITTLE
This does not sound to me like Jesus ever taught that His
true followers would become a HUGE segment of the world's
population. Somewhere there would be a difference drawn in the
eyes of Jesus between those who called themselves Christian and
those who really WERE Christian. We have already seen Jesus
names the difference as a willingness to not only HEAR the word
of the Lord but to also DO IT! Jesus has already said
the difference would be between those who were LAW ABIDING and
those who were LAWLESS! The difference would be between those who
would OBEY the Law and word and sayings (teachings) of Jesus, and
those who would only give lip service to God but would rebel at
some point of the Law and so be classified by God as "doing
lawlessness" - iniquity. It should be evident by now that Jesus
put the difference between true Christians and false Christians
as a BASIC attitude and life style of DOING and PRACTICING His
word and the laws of God, or NOT DOING THEM! Jesus did not say
the difference would be in knowing the truth about whether you
have an immortal soul or not, or about if you will ever get to
heaven or not, or the truth about when you are really born
again, or the truth about the identity in Bible Prophecy of the
Anglo-Saxon peoples. Jesus did not say the difference would be
understanding all the many prophecies concerning the reign of
Christ on the earth in the coming millennium.
I'm not saying that we should not know the truth to all these
things, for the truth on these matters is contained in the word
of the Lord. What I am saying is that knowing the truth on these
topics will not put you into the Kingdom! It is nice to know the
truth on these things, but the difference between a true
Christian and a deceived Christian is much more basic and much
more fundamental, and much more "down to brass tacks" than mere
intellectual mind knowledge. The difference is based on the Holy,
Righteous, Good, Perfect, Spiritual law of God, the law that
James TWICE called the "law of LIBERTY." The difference is
between those who would DO and TEACH others even the least
commandments, and those who would BREAK and teach others to
break these commandments (Matthew 5:17-20).
Did Jesus ever say that it would be the MANY who would be
deceived into a false Christianity by teachers that would come
in the name of Christ? Indeed He did!
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, TAKE HEED that no man
DECEIVE YOU. For MANY shall come IN MY NAME, saying I am the
Christ; and shall DECEIVE MANY" (Matthew 24: 4, 5).
So, it is possible to come in the name of Jesus, to say that
Jesus is the very Christ, to teach in His name, yet DECEIVE MANY!
Notice the emphasis Jesus gave on the word "many." It was many
not the few who would come in Jesus' name, and it was the many
not the few who would be deceived.
The deception within a so called Christianity - using the name of
Christ, would become so great that even the very elect would
be deceived if it were possible (verse 24).
How do you read your Bible? Do you see and do you believe what
Jesus said? Or do you think He was mistaken, that He just did
not know what He was talking about?
These words of Jesus do not sound to me that the majority of
those who use the name of Jesus are really the called and
elected of Jesus. It sounds to me that Christ taught it would be
the MANY - the majority - who would be, calling themselves
Christian but would in fact be deceived.
We have seen Jesus said that MANY would call Him Lord but would
not make it into His Kingdom at His return, and Jesus said he
would claim not to know them because their work was
So, you know that there are perhaps about 1 to 2 billion people
alive today who call themselves Christian. Would you like to ask
Jesus a very specific question, like, "Are there few that will be
saved out of this huge Christian population"?
Well, there was a man who saw the same situation in his day and
did ask Jesus this very question.
Turn to Luke the thirteenth chapter and begin to read in verse
22. "And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and
journeying towards Jerusalem. Then said one unto Him, Lord,
are there few that be saved?"
Here was the golden opportunity for Jesus to make it plain to all
people for all times, HOW EASY IT WAS TO BE SAVED, how it was
just a matter of accepting Him as the Messiah, believing in His
death for sins, just accepting grace, sort of willing to obey
nine of the ten commandments, but not the 4th because it would
become "void" at the cross. Jesus has this wonderful chance to
say all these things and "put the record straight" that getting
save had nothing to do with obedience to law, and the MANY - THE
VAST MAJORITY who walked down the isle to accept Jesus into their
heart, would be saved.
According to the popular preachers of today, to hear them answer
this question, that should have been the kind of answer Christ
should have given to this inquiring man. These preachers would
have us believe Jesus answered something like, "Sure, the many
will be saved" or, "It is as easy as breathing to be saved" or,
"Having me in your mind will save you, so billions upon billions
through the ages will be saved."
Shocking as it may seem to you, JESUS ANSWERED WITH NO SUCH
Let's read how Christ answered this very specific, precise,
pointed and pertinent question.
"And He said to them, STRIVE to enter by the NARROW DOOR - force
yourselves through it - for MANY, I tell you, will try to enter
and WILL NOT BE ABLE" (verses 23, 24 Amplified Bible, emphasis
mine). HHHOOO! What an answer! I is a shocking answer to many
that have never read it, or that have been fed by the preachers
the "believe on the name of Jesus and you shall be saved"
verses of scripture only.
I had read this answer of Jesus from my youth up. I remember the
stunned look on the faces of fundamental Protestants when I gave
them this section of scripture when they tried to tell me being
saved was as easy as blinking your eye lid. I was stunned that
they had never read this answer from Jesus.
They could not figure out how to put those two answers on being
saved, together. The one from Christ and the one that said, "if
you believe with all your heart you shall be saved." It seemed
like a huge contradiction to them.
It is not a contradiction, not at all. Jesus just simply
expounded in practical terms the kind of belief with your
heart you must have to be saved.
Let's continue to read how Jesus amplified believing with
all your heart.
"When once the Master of the house gets up and closes the door,
and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door (again
and again) saying, Lord open to us. He will answer you. I do not
know where (what household, certainly not Mine) you come from.
Then you will begin to say, we ate and drank in Your presence,
and You taught in our streets. But He will say, I tell you,
I do not know where (what household - certainly not Mine) you
come from; depart from Me, all you wrongdoers!" (Luke 13:25-27
VERY SOBER WORDS INDEED from Jesus. Why are not these words read
to the new converts in the churches of our land? Why do people
want to pick and choose the parts of the Bible that tickles them
and puts them to sleep with day dreams of how inheriting eternal
life is like the "lazy old sun that has nothing to do but roll
around heaven all day."? As I have said, you can not EARN
salvation by your works, Jesus certainly never taught that idea,
yet you have just read one of His teachings. Those who work at,
live at, practice as a life style, WRONGDOING, will be on the
outside looking in.
The Amplified Bible renders the Greek translated as "iniquity" in
the KJV, as wrongdoers.
They were sincere no doubt, but they were sincere WRONGDOERS!
They were doing and practicing a thing or things that were
contrary to the laws and will of God, they were disobedient
to God somewhere in their way of life.
The INTERLINEAR GREEK NT by George Berry translates this word as
These people were not practicing righteousness - they were
UN-righteous. They believed in Jesus, they called Him Lord, they
thought they were within His presence, they thought He was
teaching them, but it is obvious from Jesus' words, they were
teaching and living contrary to the righteousness of God.
What is a Bible definition of righteousness? Turn to Psalms
119:172 and you will see that ALL of God's COMMANDMENTS are
righteousness. And that was written in the Old Covenant
where the command concerning the Sabbath Day is found.
So the MANY - the majority - will not be in the Kingdom at
Christ's return, it will be only the few. Now what specific law
of righteousness do the MANY within Christianity ignore or claim
is "done away" or is changed? Most are willing to teach and
practice 9 of the 10 commandments, but the one most refuse to
obey and to practice is the 4th commandment, and in not obeying
it they practice as a way of life - iniquity, sin,
Yes this large group of Christians who will be on the outside
looking in, will include those who teach and practice other sins
such as Homosexuality, Lesbianism, Fornication, Abortion, and the
like. But the number of Christians who believe you can do these
things and be in the good graces of the Lord are VERY FEW in
relation to the hundreds of millions today and in the past
who have believed and practiced the sin of breaking the 4th
commandment. Let me again say:
Most professing Christians and their ministers teach you should
obey NINE of the ten commandments, it is only the 4th they have
trouble with, put down, change, or cast out completely.
After reading what Jesus said, after reading all of this
expounding of mine, most of Christianity would still say I'm
over-reacting, being fanatical, and just continue on their merry
way as before. Jesus knew this would be the case that is why He
went on to say that those who called themselves Christians and
would not be in the Kingdom, would be WEEPING AND GNASHING
THEIR TEETH - they would be in UTTER SHOCK to hear Jesus tell
them He never knew them. Oh yes, very SOBER words from
Let me close this section by saying that Jesus and the word of
God also makes it very clear that you could be a Sabbath - 7th
Day observer, keep it in the letter and spirit very well, and not
be in the Kingdom at Christ's return. Your attitude and practice
of another of the commandments(like the rich young man of Matthew
19) may be unrighteous, wrongdoing, and lawlessness. Sabbath
keeping is a PART of true Christianity, but it is only a
True Christianity is a constant humble and repentant attitude for
being a sinner (under grace) and a desire to become perfect even
as your Father in heaven is perfect (believing to righteousness
- Romans 10:8-10).
Such that be a DAVID will inherit the Kingdom of God, and today
those are not the many but the FEW!
HOW TO INHERIT ETERNAL LIFE - ACCORDING TO JESUS
I have before turned your attention to how Jesus answered the
rich young man who asked Him how to inherit eternal life. But we
need to look at that section of scripture in Matthew 19 another
time, we need to ask a few more questions and find
An argument put forth is that Jesus, in listing certain
commandments that needed to be observed in order to inherit
everlasting life, did not mention the 4th commandment - the
Sabbath command. So the carnal mind reasons that the observance
of the fourth commandment is not obligatory on Christians under
the New Covenant.
TO BE CONTINUED
Written April 1995
All articles and studies by Keith Hunt may be copied, published,
e-mailed, and distributed as the Spirit leads. Mr.Hunt trusts
nothing will be changed (except for spelling and punctuation
errors) without his consent.