What are the differences between the “Old” Covenant and the “New” Covenant?

Hebrews 8:13, Ready to vanish away. Many who read this verse assume that the writer is saying that the Torah-law was ready to vanish away ergo the law has been done away. This belief is orthodox Christianity! But is this what the author is saying here? Read it again? Is he saying that the law is vanishing away or the covenant is vanishing away? The latter! 

So what is the difference between the former and latter covenants? The covenant was nothing more than a contract between YHVH and the people of Israel that he made with them at Mount Sinai (Exod 19–24). Think of a modern contract (e.g. buying a car, a house or agreeing to pay for services rendered). A contract is nothing more than an agreement between two or more parties. Then you have the terms of the contract. If one party fails to keep up his end of the agreement, does that mean that the terms of the contract are evil? Not at all. It means that one party failed to keep his word and the contract was then voided. The same was true with the contract of the “Old Covenant” that YHVH made with the Israelites. The terms were that if they would worship him and obey his Torah-laws, he would bless them, and if not, he would punish them. They agreed to these terms three times (Exod 19:8; 24:3,7), yet they ended up not keeping their word and instead worshipped false gods and broke his laws again and again. After hundreds of years of unfaithfulness, they finally totally abandoned YHVH. The covenant was broken for good. 

But did Israel’s unfaithfulness to his Torah-laws mean that his instructions in righteousness were evil, or rather that their hearts were evil? Logic dictates the answer to be the latter. To say that the Torah was evil and needed to be obliterated (or done away with) is like saying when you get a speeding ticket, the laws prohibiting speeding should be eliminated. Of course, this is absurd, and so it is to say that the laws of YHVH need to be eliminated because the people violated the covenant thus rendering it null and void.

Here are some more observation on the subject of the Old Covenant vanishing away and giving way to the New Covenant:

According to Jeremiah 31, the new covenant will be made (or finalized) after YHVH has gathered (or redeemed, v. 11) all the families of Israel (v. 1; i.e. the houses Ephraim or Israel [i.e. Christians] and Judah [i.e. the Jews], vv. 9, 20, 27, 31) who will be returning from the north country, the coasts of the earth and the isles (vv. 8, 10) back to Zion with joy, singing and dancing (vv. 12–13, 24). This will occur after Ephraim (the church) repents (v. 20) of its Torahlessness, and YHVH’s spiritual daughter turns away from her backsliding (vv. 21–22), and upon coming out her captivity in the end times (v. 23; from spiritual Egypt or Babylon the great). At that time, YHVH will make a new (or renewed) covenant with the two houses of Israel (vv. 31–33; loosely speaking, the Jews and the Christians), and all Israel will know Elohim from the least to the greatest. This prophecy has yet to be fulfilled.

The author of Hebrews quotes Jeremiah 31:31–33 (Heb 8:7–13) asserting that the new covenant is the same covenant about which Jeremiah prophesied. From that author’s perspective (Heb 8:13), the new covenant isn’t fully in place yet, and the first covenant is decaying (wearing out), growing old and vanishing away (disappearing). The implication is that the old covenant has not totally gone away yet (see also 2 Cor 3:11).

We know that Yeshua initiated the new (or renewed) covenant at his Passover seder (also called the last supper; Luke 22:20). This covenant has been given to believers in Yeshua, but it hasn’t been universally applied to all Israel yet. This will occur when the two houses of Israel will return to the Promised Land after they have been set free from spiritual Babylon at Yeshua’s second coming. 

YHVH’s Word tells us that no man can add or subtract from the terms of the old covenant (Gal 3:15). Although YHVH made this covenant with men, it is a divine covenant, and YHVH himself (not men) determines its terms and conditions! When Yeshua initiated the new covenant at his Passover, the old covenant and the Torah were still in force, and not one jot or tittle will be removed from the Torah until heaven and earth pass away (Matt 5:18). The Torah determine the terms of both the old and new covenants. Any traditions that have come into the Christian (e.g. Sunday, Christmas, Easter, the law being annulled by Yeshua, etc.) or Jewish religious systems that are contrary to the Torah are men’s additions, and are therefore invalid and irrelevant.

Even as there was a gradual process of phasing into the first (or old) covenant, the same is true of the new covenant. With the former covenant, the Israelites put the blood of the lamb on their door posts at Passover, prepared themselves to meet YHVH at Mount Sinai (Exod 19), were then presented with the terms and conditions of the Sinai covenant on the Feast of Weeks (Heb. Shavuot, Exod 20–23), and then the covenant was ratified (Exod 24). After that, subsequent generations of Israelites automatically entered into that covenantal agreement as they were born (Deut 29:12–15) even as Americans, for example, are still bound to the U.S. Constitution many generations after its ratification. Similarly, Yeshua initiated the new covenant with Israel in his day when his blood was put on the cross at Passover, then wrote his Torah (the terms and conditions of the new covenant) on their hearts by his Spirit on Pentecost. This began the process of regathering scattered and adulterous Israel back to YHVH through the blood of Yeshua the Lamb of Elohim. When the process of regathering Israel is finally completed (during the Millennium). YHVH will finalize his new covenant agreements with them. It will be called the everlasting covenant (Jer 32:40; Ezek 37:26; Isa 55:3) or the covenant of peace (Isa 54:10; Ezek 34:25; see also 59:10; Hos 2:19–19).

This process of redeeming or regathering Israel will continue into the millennium as pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles (Heb. Sukkot), which is the time of the great fall harvest. During the Millennium, those who have already entered into the new covenant and who have kept YHVH’s Torah commands and have the testimony, faith or patience of Yeshua, and who have been preparing themselves to be the bride of Yeshua by keeping their spiritual lamps full of oil (a metaphor for the Torah and the Holy Spirit), and by putting on spotless white wedding garments (which is a metaphor for the righteous deeds or works of Torah) before the second coming will be Yeshua’s kings and priests. What will they be doing? They will be teaching a world full of physical humans the ways of Torah and faith in Yeshua.

Not all people will submit to Yeshua during the Millennium. Everyone will be tested with regard to their allegiance to YHVH-Yeshua and his word. During the millennium, YHVH will enter into covenant with all Israel who will be saved, but when Satan is released at the end of the Millennium to test mankind, many will follow the devil in rebellion against Yeshua. This corresponds to Hoshana Rabbah, which means “save us O Great One,” which is the last or seventh day of Sukkot. This corresponds to the time of the great white throne judgment of Revelation 20 when all the wicked who followed Satan’s rebellion and who fell in with Gog and Magog, along with all the wicked dead will stand before YHVH to receive the reward of rebellion against him—to be cast into the lake of fire. 

After the white throne judgment occurs Shemini Atzeret, which is the last of YHVH’s seven biblical holidays and prophetically pictures the coming of the New Jerusalem. Only those who have become spirit-born children of YHVH and who have passed the spiritual tests laid out before them and have continued in their obedience to Torah and their faith in Yeshua the Lamb of Elohim will be a part of YHVH’s everlasting spiritual kingdom, which is epitomized by the new heavens, the new earth and the New Jerusalem.

Other Scriptures on the Renewed Covenant 

The following scriptures point to YHVH establishing a covenant with both houses of Israel during or at the end of the millennium after all the scattered people of Israel have returned to the land of Israel. 

Ezek 34:25, YHVH will make a covenant of peace with the lost and scattered sheep of Israel and David (Messiah Ben David or Yeshua from the cross onward as well as King David during the Millennium) will rule over them. This prophecy began to be fulfilled at the time of Yeshua and will be fully fulfilled. Edom, the perpetual enemy of Israel will be destroyed (at the second coming, Ezek 35).

Ezek 37:26, YHVH will make an everlasting covenant of peace with reunited Israel/both houses (after the destruction of Edom, the Valley of Dry Bones and the reuniting of the two sticks of Israel) and David will be ruling over them in the Millennium. After this, at the end of the Millennium, YHVH will test the inhabitants of the earth by letting Satan loose for a little season. Satan will entice Gog and Magog and a multitude as the sand of the sea to rise up against the saints, and YHVH will destroy them (Rev 20:7–10). There may be two Gog/Magog events: one just before the second coming of Yeshua and one at the end of the Millennium.

Isa 55:3, YHVH to make an everlasting covenant with Israel and David shall be a leader and commander of YHVH’s people (v. 4). This covenant is formulated sometime in the future in relationship to the establishment of the New Jerusalem (54:11–17).

Jer 32:40, YHVH will make an everlasting covenant with the children of Israel and the children of Judah (vv. 30,32) after he has gathered them out of the countries where he scattered them and has brought them back to the land of Israel (v. 37). He will make them one by giving them one heart and one way (v. 39), which corresponds to the two sticks of Ezekiel 37 coming together (a process which started at the time of Yeshua and will continue to the end of the millennium), and then he will make an everlasting covenant with them (v. 40).

Jer 50:5, YHVH will make a perpetual covenant with the children of Israel and Judah after they have reunited to seek YHVH together (v. 4) as they are returning to Zion (v. 5) from out of Babylon (v. 8). This occurs after Babylon is fallen/defeated at Yeshua’s second coming (Rev 18 and 19).


1 thought on “What are the differences between the “Old” Covenant and the “New” Covenant?

  1. Thank you Natan! This is a most clear, concise rendering of the truth on this subject that I have ever read 🙂 Oh the plans He has for HIS kids!

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