Two Agreements Made: One a “Covenant,” the Other a “Testament”

The Voice of Elijah® Newsletter, January 2002

Excerpt From Newsletter

The parabolic imagery in which the New Covenant is both a covenant and a testament derives from the fact that the Old Covenant was not one covenant, but two (Ex. 20 and 34). God imposed specific obligations on Jesus Christ when He accepted the terms of the New Covenant and was baptized by John. That covenant was identical to the first Old Covenant except that it was ratified with the individual members of Israel rather than with Corporate Israel. Unfortunately, none of them, except for Jesus Christ, could adhere to the conditions it set. But that New Covenant is not the New Covenant under which Believers inherit the promise. Not at all. They inherit under the terms of the second New Covenant, the one that Jesus made with His disciples at the Last Supper. Does that confuse you? It should. God planned it that way. That parabolic pantomime describes how the New Covenant is like the “testament” God made with Abraham in Genesis 15:

Brothers, I speak with respect to a man: Just as nobody can set aside a ratified testament of a man or add a codicil {to it}, the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his Seed. It does not say “and to the seeds,” as to many, but as to one—“and to your Seed”—which is Christ. But I am saying this: The Law—which came four hundred and thirty years later—cannot invalidate a testament previously ratified by the {Living} God so as to render the promise ineffective. For if the inheritance is from law, it is no longer from a promise. Yet the {Living} God granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.
(Galatians 3:15–18) —my interim translation

If you still don’t understand what Paul meant by what he said in that passage, consider this: The Hebrew term berith, which is normally translated “covenant” in the Old Testament, actually means something more general like “legal agreement.” That Hebrew term was used to refer to such things as marriage contracts, treaties, and a legal agreement widely known today as the last will and testament. And the Greek term translated “covenant” in the New Testament was commonly used to refer to a “testament” as well. So what don’t you understand in what Paul said?

In the passage above, Paul is explaining that the “covenant” God made with Abraham in Genesis 15 was, in essence, a will. It promised specific things to Abraham and to the Man Jesus Christ. Consequently, if you want to know what was in the last will and testament of God Himself, you now know where to start looking. Check it out. You will find that the “covenant” described in Genesis 15 imposed no obligations whatsoever on Abraham. It just promised him a few things would be his even if God had to die to make that happen.

“Two Agreements Made: One a ‘Covenant,’ the Other a ‘Testament,’” The Voice of Elijah®, January 2002, p. 10

Newsletter Details

Contribution of $6.00
Pages 20
Author Larry Dee Harper
Language English

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