If you were like me, you were taught that the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah was put into place after the death, burial, and resurrection of Y’shua on the stake. The old covenant was fulfilled by Y’shua, and now we have no need for the old because we are under the New Covenant. Is this really the case though? Are we actually under a new covenant today?
First, it’s important to understand that the idea of there being only the Old and New Covenants is a manmade doctrine that we can attribute to Marcion of Sinope. There were many covenants made between man and YHWH throughout the scriptures. The easiest way to think of the covenants that YHWH made with us is to view them simply as our instructions on how to live a righteous life in his sight. We could say that the first covenant was made with Adam. He was told to live a carefree life in the presence of YHWH in the Garden of Eden, and his only requirement was NOT to eat of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. That was it! Of course, we know that Adam broke that covenant. As a result, there was a consequence that had to be paid.
YHWH went on to make several covenants with various people or groups in the scriptures, from Noah (Gen 6:18, Gen 9:9-16) to Abraham (Gen 15:18, Gen 17:2-11) to Israel in bondage in Egypt (Exo 2:23-24, Exo 19:5-8). Each one of these covenants tied together, however. They are not NEW covenants; they are the same covenant with additional guidance on how to live righteously added to them. From the very beginning, all YHWH wanted was for us to be his people, a holy, righteous people, but man continued to think we could find a better way of doing what YHWH wanted from us. Instead of just following the instructions of our Father, man continually strayed from his instructions and each time he had to amend his covenant with us to allow us, an unrighteous, undeserving people, a way to stay in covenant with him. As man strayed farther and farther away from his original covenant, he had to add more and more to that covenant about how we should live in order to be considered righteous in his sight.
Numbers 15:38 is a perfect example of this concept in action. Part of our responsibility under YHWH’s covenant was to rest on the Sabbath day. In Num. 15, we find a man collecting sticks on the Sabbath. YHWH ruled that this man should be put to death for breaking the Sabbath and then immediately tells Moses to instruct all the children of Israel to make tzitzit or tassels with a string of blue in them to remind them of the covenant they had made with him. Man messed up, and YHWH added to his covenant by telling us all to wear tassels to remind us to keep his statutes, commandments, and instructions.
This brings us to Jeremiah 31:31. Of all the additions that YHWH made to his covenant with us not once did he ever declare them to be NEW. It’s not until the Prophet Jeremiah that we hear about the New Covenant being made. We have a problem here though because the word translated as NEW does not mean new. The Hebrew word used is chadash and means to “renew or repair.” For more on this take a look at our resource titled “NEW OR RENEWED” So, it is not actually a New Covenant as many believe, but a renewed covenant, which we showed YHWH has been doing since the beginning.
These verses in Jeremiah are speaking of a future event and about a specific group of people, so we have to examine the intricacies of this Renewed Covenant to see if we are under it or if it is yet to happen. Let’s take it verse by verse and dissect it to see if we are under this Renewed Covenant or not.
Right off the bat, it needs to be pointed out that the Renewed Covenant is going to be made with the “house of Israel” and the “house of Judah.” This is crucial because contrary to what many may have been taught; this Renewed Covenant is not made with the Christian Church.31 Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will make a renewed covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers…what does that mean exactly? Well, the covenant that was made with their fathers was written on Stone, and as we will see in a moment, the Renewed Covenant will not be written on stone.32 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 broke, although I was a husband to them, says Yahweh.
Again, we see the covenant being made with Israel, and instead of being written on stone, it stays that He will put His law, or TORAH in our inward parts and our hearts. If his plan is to write Torah on our inward parts then, it doesn’t sound like His Renewed Covenant was in any way meant to do away with Torah. In fact, if YHWH’s Torah was written on our inward parts and in our hearts, I find it hard to believe that anyone would be capable of breaking Torah, and it’s a fact that we all break Torah daily. Consider for a moment what this verse is saying and ask yourself if you would be able to break YHWH’s Torah if it were literally written on your heart? This is not to say that the Holy Spirt does not help us to keep the commandments, but I do not believe having the Ruach is synonymous with having the Torah written on our hearts.33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people:
According to Jeremiah, one of the conditions of the Renewed Covenant is that we will no longer be teaching people about YHWH because EVERYONE from the least to the greatest will know Him. Considering that we are still sending out missionaries to teach people about YHWH, it seems pretty clear that the Renewed Covenant is not fully in effect. The last part of this verse is also very telling. YHWH will forgive our iniquity and will not remember our sins anymore. This sounds like a Judgment time event to me. It is my opinion that the Renewed Covenant is an end time prophecy that will not take place until the Day of Judgment and will tie in with the Renewed Heavens and the Renewed Earth.34 and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Yahweh; for they shall all know me, from their least to their greatest, says Yahweh: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.
If we let the scriptures speak for themselves, then it is clear that all the conditions of the Renewed Covenant have not been met. We are still telling people about YHWH today, and we are still breaking Torah, so his Torah can’t be written on our hearts, YHWH forgives our sins, but he has not forgotten them. We still have to give an account of our lives on Judgment Day, good and bad. Because of this, YHWH has to remember our sins in order to be judged by them.
I realize there are verses from the B’rit Chadasha (New Testament) that suggest we are under a New Covenant, and I agree that it was started by Y’shua’s first coming, but will not be fully ratified until after his second coming. Our resource titled “Y’shua and the Renewed Covenant” goes into more detail about this!