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.
Is the Old Covenant coming back in the last days? This is an extremely prevalent belief right now, and I am setting out to prove to you – from scripture – that it’s heresy. Not only is it heresy, but this lie about the end times leads directly in to the end days deception predicted in scripture – which (I trust) will become evident as we continue.
There is a belief – which stems from the rapture doctrine – that in the last days, the Jews will, again, be the covenant people of God. Its inception is largely from the belief that all of the Christians will have been taken out of the earth for the Great Tribulation through the rapture, therefore, the Jews (those which had not received the Messiah, mind you – that’s why they weren’t included in the rapture to begin with) would be the saints spoken of in the Revelation.
It becomes, therefore, taken as a granted that in the last days, there will be the church, and there will be Israel. We interpret the New Testament prophecies with this fundamental perspective, and we retrospectively interpret Old Testament prophecies with the same assumption.
I think that the church universal would do well to study two very important books of the bible right now: the book of Galatians, and the book of Hebrews. The book of Hebrews was written – of course – to the Hebrews, and clearly addresses the Old Covenant. The book of Galatians was written to gentiles who were being proselytized by Messianic Jews into an observance of the Old Covenant. More than any other books of the bible, these two clearly reveal the Gospel with regard to observance of the Old Covenant in the after Messiah has come. So let’s look at some passages from these books, shall we?
Let’s bear in mind that these books were written by Paul (some dispute Hebrews was, but at any rate, it was written by a Jew to… other Jews), and are NOT anti-semetic. They are contrasting the Old, and New covenants, not making a negative statement about an ethnic group.
Hebrews 8:6 declares that the covenant under Jesus Christ is BETTER than the Old Covenant, and also that it is based upon BETTER promises. (The Old Covenant promises pertained to the inheritance of land, the New Covenant promise is eternal salvation through Jesus Christ (again, study the whole book of Hebrews).)
6 But now hath he [Jesus] obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
8 For finding fault with them, [God found fault with the Old Covenant] 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: [<– This statement is very important regarding this topic. Jesus did not come to establish the New Covenant with the Gentiles, He came to establish the New Covenant FIRST WITH THE JEWS. Many who perpetuate the two covenant doctrine claim that the Jews CAN BE SAVED through the Old Covenant because the New Covenant is primarily for the church age: WRONG – the New Covenant was primarily for the Jews because God had already established the first covenant with them.]
9 NOT according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel [<– Here, again, he affirms: the New Covenant was for the Jews FIRST (Rom 1:16 + 2:9&10), it was not given primarily for the ‘church age’ but for the Jews] after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
13 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.
According to this passage the Old Covenant is decayed, waxed away, and is vanished away in the light of the New Covenant. At no time did God break covenant with the Jews – He fully fulfilled the Old Covenant, AND THEN SUPERCEDED IT WITH A NEW AND BETTER COVENANT, WHICH WAS PRIMARILY FOR THE JEWS. (See also my post about the prophecy of Daniel 9:27, linked here and above.)
So the book of Hebrews was written for the Hebrews (and clearly declares the Old Covenant void). The book of Galatians is written to Gentiles but also thoroughly discusses the dichotomy between the Old, and New Covenants.
The context of this book is that Messianic Jews had been trying to convince the Galatian gentile church that they needed both the Old Covenant precepts (circumcision – the sign of the Old Covenant) AND the Messiah in order to be saved. According to their doctrine faith in Christ alone was not sufficient for salvation, but each person also had to be circumcised according to the Old Covenant, as well. The content of this book is Paul straightly charging gentiles NOT to conform to the Old Covenant. In fact, Paul makes a clear statement OPPOSITE of the teaching of these Messianic Jews and declares that if one follows the Old Covenant, then they are FALLEN FROM GRACE ((Gal 5:4) i.e. they have LOST their salvation).
But let’s start with Paul’s typological teaching about the old and new covenant, because it is very revealing (emphasis – below – is mine):
For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
24 Which things are an allegory: FOR THESE ARE THE TWO COVENANTS [surely, its clear what he is talking about]; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. [Here he speaks of the Old Covenant – likening the Old Covenant to Hagar the slave.]
25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. [Here he declares that not only is the Old Covenant a slave, but that her children (i.e. those who continue to practice the Old Covenant) are in bondage with her. (He also refers to ‘Jerusalem, quote: ‘which now is’, by which he means earthly Jerusalem the ‘Holy City’ of those under the Old Covenant.)]
26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. [Here he contrasts the earthly Jerusalem (‘which now is’) to the heavenly Jerusalem. Showing (and verified as we continue) that heavenly Jerusalem includes all of those under the New Covenant (Christians).]
27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. [Those of the New covenant are children of the promised Messiah.]
29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. [Here he references that Christians will suffer persecution at the hands of Jews – I’m not saying it, that’s what Paul wrote, right there in the bible.]
30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for THE SON OF THE BONDWOMAN SHALL NOT BE HEIR with the son of the freewoman.
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Right there in Galatians 3:30, Paul clearly declares that the son of the bondwoman (those under the Old Covenant (remember, he interpreted the Old Covenant to mean Hagar, the bondwoman)) WILL NOT be heir with those under the New Covenant. If they have not received the Messiah [New Covenant] they cannot inherit salvation. This is a bible Truth, you can bet that it applies as much during the Tribulation as it did when Paul wrote it to the Galatians.
But if that preliminary wasn’t a clear enough point, Paul continues in chapter 5 with one of the most tenacious warnings found in his letters to the churches:
1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. [Do not revert to the Old Covenant.]
2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that IF YE BE CIRCUMCISED, CHRIST SHALL PROFIT YOU NOTHING. [That is an immensely serious statement: if Christ does not profit you, THAT MEANS YOU ARE NOT SAVED!!!!]
3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4 CHRIST IS BECOME OF NO EFFECT UNTO YOU [<–Again, Paul repeats the same thought from verse 2: if you live under the Old Covenant, Christ (the whole package of His coming, the New Covenant, salvation, the indwelling Spirit, etc.), is of NO EFFECT TO YOU] whosoever of you are justified by the law; YE ARE FALLEN FROM GRACE.
So, let’s recap the points laid out in these passages:
- the New Covenant supersedes the Old (it is a better covenant, based upon better promises (Heb 8:6))
- The New Covenant was established first for the Jews (Hebrews 8:8 & 10; Rom 1:16; Matt 15:24) (so the Jews are not still under some clause where the Old Covenant could still apply to them)
- The Old Covenant is bondage, which not only cannot save – but which can in fact rob one of salvation (Gal 5:2 & 4)
Not only is the theological premise of a reversion to the Old Covenant erroneous, but it is an heresy which is specifically addressed and taught on in the bible – no doubt God knew this would be a growing deception in the latter days. (See also post: WHERE is the Israel of God? ‘Know ye not, ye are His Temple?’)
Beware of this deception, of it specifically, Paul declared:
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. (Gal 5:9)