“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them,
declares the Lord.
The old covenant… what is the covenant God made with the ancestors of Israel? When He led them out of Egypt… the one they did not remain faithful to? When God liberated the Israelites from slavery in Egypt to go to the Promise land of milk and honey, He made an agreement or contract (a unilateral one). The Bible Dictionary defined it as “God initiated, determined the elements, and confirmed his covenant with humanity. It is unilateral. Persons are recipients, not contributors; they are not expected to offer elements to the bond; they are called to accept it as offered, to keep it as demanded, and to receive the results that God, by oath, assures will not be withheld.” God gave them the 10 commandments in 2 tablets of stones through Moses at Mt. Sinai. He promised them blessings if they would obey his commandments and curses if they disobey. They were rebellious and not faithful to God’s covenant.
What is the new covenant?
What does it mean to have an old covenant and a new covenant? Here’s the link to a more complete explanation:
http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/covenant.html An excerpt to the idea of the new covenant:
“Jeremiah does not speak of a discontinuity of past covenants. He makes it clear that Yahweh’s covenant made, expanded, and administered in various situations, is one continuing covenant. A time is coming when the covenant would be renewed, expanded, and applied in a radically new way. Hence he spoke of what is translated as the “new covenant” with Israel and Judah ( 31:31 ) that would not be like the covenant made at Sinai ( 31:32 ). Some important points must be stressed: (1) The Hebrew term translated “new” basically refers to what was there before but appears in another (new, renewed) form like the moon, appearing as full, changes in appearance and is spoken of as the new moon. (2) A main aspect of the covenant with the patriarchs, Israel, and David will characterize the future covenant. “I will be their God, and they will be my people” ( 31:33b ). (3) The law will continue to be an integral aspect ( 31:33a ) but it will be internalized in the minds and hearts of the covenant people. (4) Yahweh remains the same; he is a forgiving and forgetting God ( 33:34 ).”
God, the Creator, initiated an unilateral agreement with man, ‘a coming together’ – the meaning of covenant in the Latin origin (con venire). He intends to be our God and we to be His people. In the old covenant, the laws were written in tablets of stones. In the new covenant, God writes them in our minds and in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our teacher and guide to follow God’s commandments – to love Him and to love our neighbour. In the old covenant, the priest had to offer sacrifices again and again for the sins of the people. In the new covenant, Jesus is the ultimate high priest who offered his life as sacrifice once and for all – for the sins of all mankind. That all who believe in Jesus will have God’s forgiveness of sins and have eternal life in heaven.
Let all men come to Jesus, and enjoy the coming together with God who is forgiving and gracious – remembering our sins no more!