Covenant Theology

Most Christians want to be convinced that they take part in the new Covenant. The Gospel message of the Bible indicates the enactment of the new Covenant. What is the new Covenant? How is it enacted? There can be much confusion around this most important topic. We need to understand! Our salvation depends on it! Notice the main verse in this topic. Speaking of Christ, the writer of Hebrews said the following:

"6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises."
(Hebrews 8:6, KJV)

Why was this better Covenant? Let’s continue in Hebrews 8:

"7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second."
(Hebrews 8:7, KJV)

Was there a problem with God's ideas on the first Covenant? Notice where the fault lies! Also notice with whom the new Covenant will be made:

"8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:"
(Hebrews 8:8, KJV)

Firstly, notice that the fault was with the people. They were unable to fulfill the terms of the previous covenant. So God planned a new Covenant that has better promises, better support, better assistance. It has a better chance of success. Secondly, notice that it deals with the house of Israel and Judah. What about the rest of  us? Are we excluded? Thirdly, what are the terms of the new Covenant? What is expected of us? These are questions that need to be answered. We need to know exactly where we fit in, what our responsibilities are, what is expected of us, and what the promises are. Notice the terms of the first Covenant, repeated for us in Deuteronomy by Moses:

"13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone."
(Deuteronomy 4:13, KJV) 

Our terms were contained in the Ten Commandments. But that was not all. Israel had further responsibilities when they entered the promised land. Notice the next verse:

"14 And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it."
(Deuteronomy 4:14, KJV)

This was a further Covenant, written in a book, for Moses and his followers to implement in the land of Israel.

"27 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel."
(Exodus 34:27, KJV)

This further Covenant came through Moses. The terms of this Covenant was later called "The Law of Moses". One of the purposes of this expanding Covenant with Israel to be implemented in the promised land was to secure the first Covenant. If they brake any of the Ten Commandments, there were penalties, particularly sin sacrifices that had to be offered. If they neglected these statutes, they would be in danger of neglecting the terms of the main Covenant, the Ten Commandments. This would lead to God withdrawing His blessings.

"14 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; 15 And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: 16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it."
(Leviticus 26:14-16, KJV)

When Christ came, He established a new Covenant, still based on the Ten Commandments, but a new support system, and better promises. Christ would sacrifice Himself, and so have the sacrificial laws fulfilled in His suffering at Calvary. Christ has now become our sin Sacrifice. This is vastly more extreme! We need to dwell on this!

"26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? "
(Hebrews 10:26-29, KJV)

And what are our terms of the new Covenant? According to Christ we must still keep the Commandments if we are to receive the promises, which extend into inheriting eternal life.

"16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."
(Matt 19:16-17, KJV)

So we know that the Laws of the Christian Covenant are still the Ten Commandments. This is the identifying sign of true Christians.

"12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. "
(Revelation 14:12, KJV)

But what about we who are not Israelites? And what about the Law of Moses? Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, salvation was granted to the Gentiles as well.

"45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost."
(Acts 10:45, KJV)

And so it was granted that Gentiles would also turn to the Lord, in repentance of breaking the Commandments of God.

"18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."
(Acts 11:18, KJV)

This would include repentance towards the keeping of the 4th Commandment, the Sabbath.

"42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath."
(Acts 13:42, KJV)

The apostle Paul explained that the Jews would turn away from Christ, and the Gentiles would be grafted into Christ, where some of the Jews and the Israelites were broken off. The whole purpose of the events of the Exodus and many of the Laws of Moses were to bring Israel to Christ.

"1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."
(1 Corinthians 10:1-4, KJV)

But now they were taken out because of unbelief, and the Gentiles grafted in.

"13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: 14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. 15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? 16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. 24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? 25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. "
(Romans 11:13-25, KJV)

Therefore the Covenant is also made with the Gentiles that turn towards God in repentance of breaking the Commandments. But what about the Law of Moses? This was an issue concerning the Gentiles in the early stages of the forming of the Church of God. This lead to the Jerusalem conference.

"1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. 3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. 5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."
(Acts 15:1-5, KJV)

Hence the Jerusalem conference was arranged to resolve the question whether the Gentiles must also keep the Law of Moses. The conclusion was that the Gentiles don't have to keep the Law of Moses, but obviously the Ten Commandments, and added some laws that the Jews called the Noahide laws, understood to be in force before the Law of Moses came.

"19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. 22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: 24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: 25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well."
(Acts 15:19-29, KJV)

Hence, the apostle Paul, who was a circumcised Jew, continued to keep the Law of Moses, such as the keeping of the Holy Days and the sacrificing of animals as explained in Leviticus, but this was not required of the Gentile converts.

"19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: 21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. 22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. 23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; 24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. 25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them. "
 (Acts 21:19-26, KJV)

We can therefor see that us Gentiles can also come under the terms of the new Covenant in Christ and repent from breaking the Ten Commandments and the Noahide laws. Keeping the Law of Moses is not required, but we do see in it further knowledge of Christ.

"23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening."
(Acts 28:23, KJV)

Hence we do study into the Law of Moses, to understand the workings of the heavenly sanctuary, for our relationship with God is built in Spirit, not in ritual. Hence we all come under the new Covenant, in repentance to the Ten Commandments and the Noahide laws, and a spiritual relationship with God, guided through understanding from the Law of Moses. Therefore what was written on stone, we obey from the heart, and what was written in ink, guides us in worship of God, through our heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ. 

"3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. "
(2 Corinthians 3:3, KJV)

This short summery gives us the reason for the distinctive doctrines of the Church of God (Seventh Day). Much more can be said on this topic, but the full knowledge of the subject is expounded in sermons. What a loving God we worship, who seeks to save all peoples of the world, through His Church. He is indeed reconciling all creation through His Son, Jesus the Christ!