The First & Second Covenant

~ The Bible teaches that there is an Old Covenant given only to Israel, and there is a New Covenant given to the Church.

The Old Covenant, which contained the 10 Commandments was fulfilled by Jesus and thus became obsolete. That this is so is demonstrated by Hebrews 8:13. Consider…

13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

What does first one here refer to? Well … let us go back a some verses to verse 6:

“For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.” ~ Hebrews 8: 6

Moving forward we see also in Hebrews 9:1, 9:15 and 9:18 a description of the first covenant thusly. For example, Hebrews 9:1:

“Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. “

So we are seeing that there is a:
~ first covenant which is the Old Covenant, and there is a
~ second covenant, i.e. the New Covenant.

Now, both the Old Covenant and the New Covenant contains laws. The laws contained in the Old Covenant contains at the very least, the 10 Commandments. The laws contained in the New Covenant are referred to as the Law of Christ.

Lets take a look at where the Bible says that the 10 Commandments are contained in the Old Covenant:

“And the LORD said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”  So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” ~ Exodus 34: 27-28

“… our sufficiency is from God,  who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?”  ~ 2 Cor: 5-8

Notice that the words of the covenant given to Moses were the 10 Commandments.  That is what Exodus tells us.  Notice also that 2 Corinthians contrasts letters on stone (10C) with the New Covenant.  This contrast is everywhere in Scripture. Let us look at one more verse:

“Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.” ~ Galatians 4:24-25

Here Galatians tells us that two major covenants in the Bible can be contrasted. We can very easily identify these as the Old Covenant (from Mt. Sinai) and the New Covenant (from the Jerusalem above).

Putting 2 and 2 together, we see from above that Exodus and 2 Corinthians tells us that that the  Old Covenant contained the 10 Commandments. And we see that Hebrews tells us that the Old Covenant is now obsolete.

This leads us to conclude that if the Old Covenant is obsolete and it contains the 10 Commandments, then the 10 Commandments are obsolete, because the Old Covenant has been fulfilled by Jesus.

Now as mentioned up above, in the New Covenant we also find a law, the Law of Christ.  This law contains the 10 Commandments however in a transformed fashion. For example it is not enough to simply avoid murdering a person or sleeping physically with your neighbors wife – you must not even hate your neighbor or look at her with lust.  Similarly so with the Sabbath. There is a new depth given to the Sabbath. It is not to be identified with a particular day, but with eternity with God. It is identified with a salvation rest that we experience with God forever.