What we believe and teach

- The Old and New Covenants -



After God brought the Jews out of Egypt, He made a covenant with them in the wilderness of Sinai. That covenant had ordinances of divine service and an earthly sanctuary which was made by Moses at God’s command, according to the pattern shown him on Mount Sinai. That sanctuary was divided into two parts: the first part was called the Holy Place and the second the Most Holy Place. The levitical priests entered regularly into the Holy Place to carry on their ministry, but only the High Priest entered the Most Holy Place, and that only once a year, with the blood of certain animals which the High Priest offered every year for himself and for the people’s sins. Therefore that sanctuary was just a shadow of the true sanctuary which is in heaven and which is not a man-made sanctuary, and those sacrifices were a shadow of the true sacrifice Christ would offer in the fullness of the time. They were a shadow because that blood could not blot out sins from the worshipers’ conscience. Therefore the Old Covenant was based on imperfect sacrifices which could not cleanse man’s conscience from dead works, and in fact in those sacrifices there was a reminder of sins every year. But God promised through the prophets that one day He would make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant He made with their fathers when He brought them out of Egypt, for He would be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins He would remember no more. God made this covenant in the fullness of the time through Jesus Christ His Son, who sanctified us through the sacrificial offering of His body; that is to say, by His precious blood Jesus cleansed our conscience from dead works, which could not be taken away by the blood of bulls and goats. God, because of the blood of Jesus, was merciful to our unrighteousness and our sins He will remember no more. Therefore Jesus dedicated the New Covenant with His blood which He shed for the remission of our sins. And with that blood He entered – the same day on which the disciples saw Him go into heaven – the heavenly sanctuary, and not a man-made sanctuary like that into which the high priest entered once a year with blood that was not his own, to appear for us in God’s presence and to intercede for us always. Therefore we were reconciled to God by that blood, which is the blood of the New Covenant which God predicted He would make with us. I said before that both the earthly sanctuary and the sacrifices of the Old Covenant were just shadows and not the realities themselves; however the High Priest also was a shadow, for he symbolized the High Priest of the good things to come, that is, Jesus Christ. He was a shadow because he himself was also subject to weakness and because of this he had to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people, whereas Jesus Christ was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin, and thus He could bear our sins and offer Himself for our sins. Under the Old Covenant there were many of those priests since death prevented them from continuing in office, but because Jesus lives forever He has a permanent priesthood, therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. In addition to this, the high priests under the Old Covenant became priests without an oath, but Christ became High Priest with an oath by God, so that God might show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel.

Therefore the New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant because it was established on better promises. The New Covenant is much more glorious than the Old Covenant; the Old Covenant is ready to vanish away, while the New Covenant is an everlasting Covenant and through the blood of this Covenant God brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of sheep. To Him be the glory now and forever. Amen.