Covenant; Agreement God made with mankind based on the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Under the new covenant God would write His law on human hearts.
There would be a new knowledge of the Lord, a new level of obedience and a new forgiveness of sin.
When did the new covenant start? I have heard some say it started at Pentecost, some say when Jesus broke bread at the last supper and some say at the resurrection of Jesus. After studying scripture I feel it started at the resurrection of Jesus. Here are the reasons that support why I believe this.
If we read Luke 22: 19-20 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-25, they make a good argument that the new covenant started at the last supper. At the last supper Jesus reminded the disciples that He was instituting the new covenant (that had been prophesied in the Old Testament). He spoke of the new covenant as “My blood,” Luke 22:19-20 (NIV): And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. And also in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 (NIV): The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
However, when I read the above scriptures it tells of something that was to happen in the future (His body had not been broken or His blood shed yet) because Jesus has not been crucified and resurrected yet. He also says to do this in remembrance of Me. This tells me that the new covenant is to start at a future time.
In Hebrews 8:8 -13 it tells what the Lord says about the new covenant. And we read in Hebrews 8:13 (NIV): By calling this covenant “new,” He has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. This tells me that for the new covenant to start something has to happen. I think that it is the death and resurrection of Jesus. That is when the new covenant is ushered in to our lives.
I also read that the Old Testament shows a covenant of the law (which we could not follow because of our sin nature) and that the new covenant (mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments) is a covenant of the promise. The blood of Jesus would start the new covenant when we are justified by His blood and by God’s grace and mercy.
The death and resurrection of Jesus served as sealing the oath (the promise from God) of a new covenant where by we would be saved. Hebrews 7:28 (NIV): For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath (new covenant), which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. I read that these things could only happen after the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Hebrews 9:15 (NIV) states; For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. To get that eternal inheritance Jesus had to die as it states in verse 15. This is another reason I feel the new covenant started at His resurrection.
Hebrews 10:22 (NIV); let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. This scripture also tells me that the new covenant started with the death and resurrection of Jesus in the ‘full assurance that faith brings”. In the old covenant we had to rely on sacrifice; in the new covenant we have faith in the blood of Jesus. “Hearts sprinkled to cleanse us.” Sprinkling of blood is talking about the blood of Jesus. “Bodies washed with pure water.” This pure water is Jesus, He is the living water. For these occurrences to happen Jesus would have to have died and then been resurrected. These scriptures are why I believe that the new covenant started with the death and resurrection of Jesus.
You may wonder why I think it is important to figure out when the new covenant started. Good question. I am interested in finding the start of the new covenant because some people (and denominations) use the start of the new covenant as a guidepost as to the meaning of things that happen in the old and new covenant. They use that date to justify their beliefs. For example, some people believe that baptism is a condition of salvation. When the question is brought up that if this it true then why did Jesus tell the thief that was next to Him on the cross (there was no proof that he was baptized) he would be in paradise with Him today? Their answer is that the thief and his death were under the old covenant law because the new covenant did not start until Pentecost.
Defining the start of the new covenant can have an effect on how scripture is viewed and in my opinion is important.
Your comments are welcome and encouraged.