Herbert W Armstrong Library
Sign In  |  MyHWA  |    
Has the New Covenant Been Made Yet?
Good News Magazine
June 1976
Volume: Vol XXV, No. 6
QR Code
Has the New Covenant Been Made Yet?
Garner Ted Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: February 9, 1930
Died: September 15, 2003
Member Since: 1930
Ambassador College: 1956
Ordained: 1955
Office: Evangelist

Millions of professing Christians are basing their religious lives on a careless assumption! They assume that the New Covenant — in all its terms and conditions — is now and has been in full force and effect since the first coming of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. But scripture after scripture in your Bible proves just the opposite is true.

   There exists a fully certified cashier's check with your name on it! The date is the day of your baptism. Printed on the check is: "Pay to the order of ________________." You can write your name in the blank space. The payment is not in numbers after a dollar sign or even in pounds or escudos; it's in eternal life! This is one check that cannot and will not bounce; it's absolutely guaranteed. The signature on the bottom line reads Jesus Christ of Nazareth! This particular signature is not inked in the usual blue or black pigment, but in the royal red blood of your Savior.
The Blood of the Covenant. The Bible is a legal document. It could be likened to an unsigned check with your name on it as the payee. Not just any signature of an ordinary corporate financial officer will do: only one will deliver the goods — in this case, everlasting life in the family of God.
   True Christians who have really repented, have been properly baptized and who now possess the gift of God's Holy Spirit as a result of their repentance (Acts 2:38; 5:32), have already claimed that heavenly certified check signed in the precious blood of Christ.
   Jesus Christ — the Messiah — is called, in the Bible, "the messenger of the covenant" (Mal. 3:1). Those few (Luke 12:32) who now accept the terms and conditions of this New Covenant, when they hear its message preached, may rightfully claim that heavenly certified check written in blood.
   On the occasion of Jesus' last Passover with His disciples as a flesh and blood human being, He said: "This cup is the new testament [or covenant] in my blood, which is shed for you" (Luke 22:20). Matthew's companion account says: "For this is my blood of the new testament [covenant], which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matt. 26:28). (The words "testament" and "covenant" are closely related in the English Bible.) The apostle Paul called this supreme sacrifice "the blood of the everlasting covenant" (Heb. 13:20; see also 10:29).
   Is this New Covenant — in all its terms and conditions — in full force and effect today? To understand the answer, let's go back to Genesis and begin with that book of your Bible where the word " covenant" is mentioned for the very first time.
The Noahic Covenant. This particular agreement is the predecessor of all other covenants that would be made centuries later with Noah's progeny. Notice it in Genesis 9: "And God spake unto Noah... I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed [descendants] after you..." (verses 8-9). A "covenant" is an agreement between two or more parties, whether spoken or written. It is a contract, or a compact. It may be confirmed by a written document, an oral promise, a handshake, or an understanding between two parties. Usually (as all the biblical covenants later were) it is confirmed or documented in writing.
   What was the covenant God made with Noah? Verse 11: "And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth." Never again would God allow a flood of global proportions to envelop this earth. That is the agreement God entered into with Noah and all his descendants.
   In some cases a covenant contains a convenient reminder — in the form of a sign or symbol — of the terms and conditions of the original agreement. What theologians term the "Noahic Covenant" provides for this type of stipulation. "And God said, This is the token [or sign or symbol] of the covenant ... I do set [or appoint — this wasn't the first visible operation of the sun's refraction] my bow [rainbow] in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: and I will remember my covenant... and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh" (verses 12-15).
   When God sees a rainbow it reminds Him of the original agreement He contracted with Noah and his progeny millennia ago.
Another Important Covenant. Many generations removed from Noah, God began to make a series of important covenants with Abraham, whom He had called out from among his own people (Gen. 12:1-4). I won't go into all aspects of God's covenants with him. You can obtain that information through these links for our two free booklets titled United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy and What Is The Reward Of The Saved? Suffice it to say here that Abraham and his progeny (through Isaac) were promised first the land of Canaan (Palestine or the Promised Land), and then that original promise kept being expanded until it encompassed the whole world (see Rom. 4:13).
   Notice now the terms and conditions of the most important of God's covenants with Abraham — it is the only one that bears a specific date: "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect [upright, margin]. And I will make my covenant [my agreement, my promise] between me and thee... and thou shalt be a father of many nations..." (Gen. 17:1-4).
   Abraham's part of this dated contract was to be spiritually mature before God by keeping all of His commandments, statutes and laws, as he later absolutely proved he was (see Gen. 26:5). God's part of the agreement was to give Abraham and his posterity a great inheritance (Gen. 17:5-6, 8).
   This Abrahamic covenant was like the one that God contracted with Noah in that it also contained a clause providing for a token or sign perpetually confirming the original agreement. In this case the token was circumcision of all the male children (verses 10-14).
   Abraham was promised an inheritance that far transcended his own physical life: it had to do with the very inheritance of future history — both spiritually and physically. The spiritual aspect is thoroughly explained in the two free booklets What Do You Mean... Salvation? and What Is The Reward Of The Saved? The physical part of the promised inheritance is fully expounded in the booklet United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy.
A Mysterious Passage of Scripture. In Exodus the fourth chapter is an enigmatic set of verses that have long puzzled Bible scholars. "And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him [Moses], and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah [Moses' wife] took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his [Moses'] feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. So he [God] let him [Moses] go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision" (verses 24-26).
   Max Dimont, in his book Jews, God and History, pretty much has the right explanation: "Scholars' still debate why Moses' son was not circumcised at birth. It is as if by an afterthought God realizes He has entrusted the exodus of the Jews [Israelites] from Egypt to someone who has not observed the Jewish rite of circumcision, and now he wants to kill Moses... It is Zipporah, the wife of Moses, who quickly performs the operation to appease God's wrath" (p. 39, pocketbook edition).
   Moses (a direct descendant of Abraham through Levi), who was to be the messenger of the Old or Sinaitic Covenant and who is called its mediator, had a son who did not have the token of the promises to the Fathers (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the twelve patriarchs) evident in his flesh. The why of it is obvious from the content of these verses. Moses had trouble with his family. God's instructions had been rather clear: "And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant" (Gen. 17:14).
The Old Covenant. Moses led the people through the exodus and the nation of Israel was born. In the 19th chapter of Exodus, the terms and conditions of the Old (or Sinaitic) Covenant are spelled out to the children of Israel through Moses. The terms were very simply stated:
   "... IF ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine" (verse 5).
   Moses talked the whole thing over with the elders of the people (verse 7) and everybody readily agreed to the conditions. Ancient Israel said as with one voice: "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do" (verse 8).
   In the twentieth chapter God spoke the Ten Commandments to the people and they were later delivered to Moses in codified form on two tables of stone. (It should be mentioned here that everyone of these Ten Commandments was in full force and effect from the time of Adam — long before the days of Moses. Ancient kings of Egypt knew that it was a great sin to break them centuries before their codification on Mount Sinai. We have an article available on the subject. Read our free reprint "Were the Ten Commandments in Force Before Moses?")
   Civil codes were then given in chapters 21 through 23. Finally, in chapter 24, the Sinaitic Covenant is formally ratified. After all the activity that took place in chapters 20 through 23, "Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord [the Ten Commandments, chapter 20], and all the judgments [chapters 21 through 23]: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do" (Ex. 24:3).
   The agreement was then put in writing: "And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord..." (verse 4).
Ratified in Blood. An elaborate ceremony then followed to commemorate the mutual agreement between God and the people. Young men slit the throats of young bullocks and blood gushed out into large basins. Then Moses "took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people... [and they repeated their promise yet once again] All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient" (verse 7).
   "And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words" (verse 8). In this case, the token of the covenant was the blood of animals.
   It was a bloody spectacle with the people standing with blood splotched on their garments, their faces, and in their hair. But they learned the lesson: "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission" (Heb. 9:22).
Apostasy and Revival. Throughout their history ancient Israel never did consistently keep the terms and conditions of the Old Covenant. It had hardly been ratified a week when they broke it the first time (Ex. 32). A pattern was set that eventually ended with all twelve tribes dispersed in captivity to Gentile nations.
   There were temporary revivals when a righteous king would inherit the throne. One of the most noteworthy of these occurred in the days of Josiah: an actual renewal of that original Sinaitic Covenant was made in his reign. "And the king... made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments... with all their heart... to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to [entered into, margin] the covenant" (II Kings 23:3).
   For a short time the House of Judah reaped the benefits and blessings promised in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. But the peoples' promises were all-too-soon forgotten. For most of their history the nations of Israel and Judah broke God's covenant and suffered sporadically from military conscription, loss of their property, loss of their homes, partial destruction of their cities, limited captivities, famine — all the attendant evils and curses that automatically occur when a nation transgresses God's law on a wholesale basis. Call it hazards and benefits; blessings and cursings. God says: "If you will keep my covenant I will bless you; but if you will not, all these curses shall come upon you." These are the inevitable results God built into His great law — the cornerstone of which is the Ten Commandments.
Time Element of the New Covenant. The book of Jeremiah permanently preserved for posterity God's thougnts on this whole troublesome chain of events, this vicious cycle that seemed to repeat itself time after time.
"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."
And Jeremiah recorded God's eventual remedy as well: "Behold: the days come, saith the Lord, that I will sow the house of Israel [the lost ten tribes] and the house of Judah [basically the Jewish people] with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast. And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict [why? — because they consistently broke the Old Covenant and threw God's laws to the ground]; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the Lord" (Jer. 31:27-28).
   But when will all this building and planting occur? What is the true time element? Let's read further.
   "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I [brought]... them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake [continually], although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord" (verses 31-32).
   (The Old [or Sinaitic] Covenant was in a very real sense a marriage agreement between God and His wife — the nation of Israel. God as the husband was their Protector and Provider. In return for the many benefits He bestowed upon her, she as a nation was to be an obedient and faithful wife. This beautiful biblical analogy is carefully analyzed in our free booklet titled Why Marriage! Soon Obsolete?)
   Verse 33: "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; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."
   The key to the vital time element is found in verse 34: "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
   There are no nations today that know God. Instead, this whole world, with all of its nations, lies in utter wickedness (I John 5:19), being deceived by a great fallen archangel called Satan the devil (Rev. 12:9).
   Obviously, these passages in Jeremiah speak of a time yet future — they are cast in a millennial setting. Many companion prophecies speak of the very same time — a wonderful utopian setting with Jesus Christ of Nazareth ruling this whole world (see Jer. 32:38-41; Ezek. 36:25-35; 37:21-26; Isa. 2, 11; Micah 4; Rev. 20; etc.).
   Millions erroneously believe that the New Covenant of which Jeremiah spoke is already in full force and effect on this earth today. But many clear prophecies in the Bible tell us otherwise!
   Today instead of wholesale repentance, turning to God's law and reaping the benefits, people by and large react to the preaching of the true gospel exactly as prophesied in the book of Ezekiel.
   "And thou, son of man [the person preaching the gospel], be not afraid of them... though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions.... thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.... But the house of Israel will not hearken [listen] unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me [God]: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted" (Ezek 2:6-7; 3:7).
   If the gospel is not greeted with outright rebellion, then it is received with unbelievable lethargy. "Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against [of, margin] thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another... Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord. And they come unto thee... and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after covetousness... for they hear thy words, but they do them not" (Ezek. 33:30-32).
   This is the national feedback! Does this sound like total repentance on a national scale and the humble acceptance of the terms and conditions of the promised New Covenant? Or is it apparent that the broad majority of the people during the Church Age simply will not listen and heed?
   Millions suppose this "Christian dispensation" is a "New Covenant" time — a time characterized by New Testament beliefs and teachings, which they assume have replaced and set aside all "Old Testament" beliefs and teachings.
   Millions assume the time of the "New Covenant" began with Christ's human ministry on the earth. They carelessly assume that all "Christianity" is under the terms and conditions of the New Covenant today, which, they erroneously think, frees them from any obligation to obey God!
   They believe the Bible says the New Covenant has been made with the Church' But did you read, carefully, that 31st chapter of Jeremiah? The Bible clearly speaks of a time when Christ will confirm the terms and conditions of His covenant (of which He is called the Mediator) — that of writing the laws of God in the spiritual tables of the hearts of human beings — in their "inward parts," with human nations, including the Jewish people!
   The House of Judah is clearly identified, and that never refers to the New Testament Church'
   Thus, the ratifying of the New Covenant, to the peoples for whom it is proposed, is to occur after the second coming of Christ, with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah — and, as other scriptures show, even with Gentiles who, when called and converted, become "Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise"!
   Make no mistake! The Sinaitic Covenant is waxing old (Heb. 8:13). A New Covenant IS being confirmed between Jesus Christ and those in whom He places His Spirit — the laws of God are being written on the fleshly tables of the hearts of those who obey His command to repent and be baptized! But that is by invitation, today — and not a global, worldwide phenomenon!
   Millions who assume this is the age of that "New Covenant" have never studied the Bible carefully to see how it clearly shows Christ has completed only the first half of His ministry; the ministry of confirming the covenant with many for one week — meaning a full seven-years' ministry! He was cut off (crucified) in the midst of the week (Dan. 9:27), after fulfilling only the first half of His ministry of confirming (stating the terms and conditions, explaining, proposing, etc.) the covenant with many! His truly big ministry is yet ahead!
   This is not yet God's TIME to convert the whole world. He simply is not writing His law on the fleshly tables of the hearts of all the peoples of either Israel or Judah. Today is not the only day of salvation. You will find that absolutely proved in scripture after scripture in our free booklet After Death... then What? and reprint article "Is This the Only Day of Salvation?"

Back To Top

Good News MagazineJune 1976Vol XXV, No. 6
|  Fundamental Doctrines of the Church of God  |  Comments or Suggestions?  |  FAQ  |   Holy Day Information   |   Site Map   |   Donations   |
|  Sabbath & Holy Day Services   |   Weekly Bible Study Services   |   Video Groups   |
Follow Us: HWALibrary - Mobile Site
Copyright © 2016 Herbert W Armstrong Library
Important Notice

Please Note:

The address and phone number for the Worldwide Church of God given for material are no longer valid for obtaining the material offered in booklets, magazines, telecast and radio broadcast.

HWALibrary.com has all material offered on this site 100% free. You do not need to call or mail your requests, simply do a search for the material offered on our site.

The Worldwide Church of God dissolved after Mr. Armstrong's death in January 1986.

Visit our FAQ page for instructions on downloading audio and video files.

Sabbath Services

Sabbath Services:

Hello, and welcome to our Sabbath and Holy Day service tab. The services provided are selected from the recorded library of this website HWALibrary.com.

Services are posted every Sabbath or Holy Day. Our service consists of 3 hymns, a Sermonette, a hymn, the Sermon and a final hymn.

Continue to the Sabbath Service page.

Bible Study Services

Bible Study:

Hello, and welcome to our Bible Study service tab. The services provided are selected from the recorded library of this website HWALibrary.com.

Bible Study services are posted each Wednesday. Our service consists of an opening hymn, a Bible Study and a final hymn.

Continue to the Bible Study Service page.