for as for this Moses, the man
that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him." Ex.
15. When Moses came down from Sinai, what did he see?
"And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the
camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and
he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount." Verse 19.
NOTE.-The great object and secret of the old covenant is revealed here. The people did
not realize the weakness and sinfulness of their own hearts, or their need of divine grace
and help to keep the law; and so, in their ignorance, they readily pledged obedience to
it. But almost immediately they began to commit idolatry, and thus to break the law of
God, or the very conditions laid down as their part of the covenant. In themselves the
conditions were good; but in their own strength the people were unable to fulfil them. The
great object of the old covenant therefore was to teach the people their weakness, and
their inability to keep the law without the help of God. Like the law itself, over which
the old covenant was made, this covenant was designed to shut them up to the provisions of
the new or everlasting covenant, and lead them to Christ. Gal. 3:23,24. And the lesson
which Israel as a nation had to learn in this, each individual now must learn before he
can be saved. There is no salvation for anyone while trusting in self. Unaided, no one can
keep the law. Only in Christ is there either remission of sins or power to keep from
sinning. The breaking of the tables of the law signified that the terms of the covenant
had been broken; the renewing of the tables (Ex. 34:1,28), God's patience and
long-suffering with His people.
16. Wherein does the new covenant differ from and excel the old?
"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."
17. What are the "better promises" upon which the new covenant was
"This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those
days, saith the Lord, I will put My law if their inward parts, and write it in their
hearts; . . . I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
Jer. 31:33,34. See Heb. 8:8-12.
NOTE.-These are simply the blessings of the gospel through Christ. They are promised
upon condition of repentance, confession, faith, and acceptance of Christ, the Mediator of
the new covenant, which means salvation and obedience. In the old covenant there was no
provision for pardon and power to obey. It is true there was pardon during the time of
the old covenant, but not by virtue of it. Pardon then, as now, was through the
provisions of the new covenant, the terms of which are older than the old covenant.
18. In what statement was Christ promised as a Saviour and Deliverer of the race as
soon as sin entered?
"And the Lord God said unto the serpent, . . . I will put enmity between thee and
the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou
shalt bruise His heel." Gen. 3:14,15.
NOTE.-The covenant of grace, with its provisions of pardon peace, dates from the
foundation of the world.
19. To whom was this covenant-promise later renewed?
"And God said unto Abraham, . . . Sarah thy wife
shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac and I will establish My
covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him."
" I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, . . . and in thy seed
shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." Gel 17:15-19; 26:4.
20. Who was the seed here referred to?
"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds,
as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." Gal. 3:16.
21. What shows that the new or second covenant and the Abrahamic covenant are
virtually the same?
"And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the
promise." Verse 29.
NOTE.-No one should allow himself to be confused by the terms first covenant and
second covenant. While the covenant made at Sinai is called the first covenant, it
is by no means the first covenant that God ever made with man. Long before this He made a
covenant with Abraham; He also made a covenant with Noah, and with Adam. Neither must it
be supposed that the first or old covenant existed for a time as the only covenant with
mankind, and that this must serve its purpose and pass away before anyone could share in
the promised blessings of the second or new covenant. Had this been the case, then during
that time there would have been no pardon for anyone. What is called the new or second
covenant virtually existed before the covenant made at Sinai; for the covenant with
Abraham was confirmed in Christ (Gal. 3:17), and it is only through Christ that there is
any value to the new or second covenant. There is no blessing that can be gained by virtue
of the new covenant that was not promised to Abraham. And we, with whom the new covenant
is made, can share the inheritance which it promises only by being children of Abraham,
and sharing in his blessing. Gal. 3:7,9. And since no one can have anything except as a
child of Abraham, it follows that there is nothing in what is called the new or second
covenant that was not in the covenant made with Abraham. The second covenant existed in
every essential feature, except its ratification, long before the first, even from the
days of Adam. It is called second because its ratification occurred after the covenant
made and ratified at Sinai.
22. What is necessary where there is a covenant?
"For where a covenant is, there must also of necessity be the death of that
which establishes it. For a covenant is made firm over the dead victims; whereas it is
of no force while that which establisheth it liveth." Heb. 9:16,17, Boothroyd's
23. With whose blood was the new covenant dedicated?
"And [He took] the cup in like manner after supper, saying, This cup is the new
covenant in My blood, even that which is poured out for you." Luke 22:20, R.
24. What power is there in the blood of this covenant
"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great
Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect
in every good work to do His will." Heb. 13:20,21.
25. Through which covenant only is there remission of sins?
"How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered
Himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the
living God? And for this cause He is the mediator of a new covenant, that a death
having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first
covenant, they that have been called may receive the promise of the eternal
inheritance." Heb. 9:14,15, R. V.
NOTE.-The fact that Christ, as mediator of the second covenant, died for the remission
of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, shows that there was no
forgiveness by virtue of the first covenant.
26. Under the old covenant, what did the people promise?
To keep the law of God in their own strength.
NOTE.-Under this covenant the people promised to keep all the commandments of God in
order to be His peculiar people, and this without help from anyone. This was virtually a
promise to make themselves righteous. But Christ says, "Without Me ye can do
nothing." John 15:5. And the prophet Isaiah says, " All our righteousnesses are
as filthy rags." Isa. 64:6. The only perfect righteousness is God's righteousness,
and this can be obtained only through faith in Christ. Rom. 3:20-26. The only
righteousness that will insure an entrance into the kingdom of God is "the
righteousness which is of God by faith." Phil. 3:9. Of those who inherit the kingdom
of God, the Lord says, "Their righteousness is of Me" (Isa. 54:17); and the
prophet Jeremiah says of Christ, "This is His name whereby He shall be called, The
Lord Our Righteousness." Jer. 23:6.
27. Under the new covenant, what does God promise to do?
"I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in
their hearts." Jer. 31:33.
NOTE.-The new covenant is an arrangement for bringing man again into harmony with the
divine will, and placing him where he can keep God's law. Its "better promises"
bring forgiveness of sins, grace to renew the heart, and power to obey the law of God. The
dissolution of the old covenant and the making of the new in no wise abrogated the law of
28. Where was the law of God written under the old covenant?
"And I made an ark of shittim-wood, and hewed two tables of stone. . . . And He
wrote on the tables. . . the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the
mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the Lord gave them unto
me." Deut. 10:3,4.
29. Where is the law of God written under the new covenant?
"But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After
those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in
their hearts." Jer. 31:33.
30. What reason is given for making the new covenant?
"For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have
been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days
come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant." Heb. 8:7,8.
NOTE.-The chief fault in connection with the old covenant lay with the people.
They were not able, in themselves, to fulfil their part of it, and it provided them no
help for so doing. There was no Christ in it. It was of works and not of grace.
It was valuable only as a means of impressing upon them their sinfulness and their need of
31. What unites all believers under the new covenant?
"Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are
called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,
and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of
Christ." Eph. 2:11-13.
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE TWO COVENANTS
1. Both are called covenants.
2. Both were ratified with blood.
3. Both were made concerning the law of God.
4. Both were made with the people of God.
5. Both were established upon promises.
DISSIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE TWO COVENANTS