THE OLD AND NEW COVENANT

INTRODUCTION

There are multiple covenants that God has made with mankind.  For this study our focus will be on the covenant that God made with the children of Israel when they entered the promised land.  A study of the old and new covenant involves multiple scriptures.  In the interest of making this a simple page, the main point of each scripture will be presented with a link to the scripture that supports it.  It sometimes become helpful to study the verses around the verse that is used for the current point.

We leave it to the reader to click on the links to view and study the scripture.

It is our goal to follow only that which the bible teaches us to do.

THE BEGINNING OF THE OLD COVENANT

The covenant begins with the sin of Adam and Eve. God speaking to the serpent (Satan) says,
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed;
Genesis 3:13-15
13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.

Click on the scripture to see the text for this reference

God never forgot this promise nor allowed man to forget it even though it was many centuries
before the promise was fulfilled.

God's promise was passed down from Adam's son Seth, through Noah, through Noah's son Shem,
through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David and for many years through a new covenant
with the children of Israel all the while waiting for Jesus Christ who is the seed of the woman.

Some twenty or more centuries after the promise in Eden, God made a promise to Abraham
that He would make of Abraham a great nation
Genesis 12:1-3
1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

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When Abraham had proved his faithfulness to God, the promise was repeated.  God declared that
through Jacob the seed should come
Genesis 21:12
12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called.

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      Genesis 22:15-18
15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven,
16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son
17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.
18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

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The promise was repeated to Jacob as he dreamed about the ladder that reached to heaven.
Genesis 28:10-14
10 Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran.
11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep.
12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.
14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

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Jacob’s Last Words to His Sons - the promise was repeated to Judah.
Genesis 49:1-10
1 And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days

...

10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people

NOTE: the scepter was a symbol of kingship

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God renewed His Promise to Moses when he was sent to Pharaoh
Exodus 6:1-9
4 I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers

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When Moses received the ten commandments, he called them the words of the covenant
Exodus 34:27-28
27 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”
28 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.

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Moses commands obedience to the covenant when Israel was about to cross the Jordan into the
promised land
Deuteronomy 4:1-4
1 Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you. 2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
3 Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at Baal Peor; for the Lord your God has destroyed from among you all the men who followed Baal of Peor.
4 But you who held fast to the Lord your God are alive today, every one of you.

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      Deuteronomy 4:8
18 And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?

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      Deuteronomy 4:11-14
13 So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.
14 And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might observe them in the land which you cross over to possess.

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God spoke to David through Nathan telling him the seed would come through him
2 Samuel 7:1-17
... 12 “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom ...

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Remembering the covenant with David
Psalms 89:1-4
1 I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.
2 For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever; Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.”
3 “I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David:
4 ‘Your seed I will establish forever, And build up your throne to all generations.’ ” Selah

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Jesus, the fruit of David's body, would be set on David's throne.
Psalms 132:11
11 The Lord has sworn in truth to David; He will not turn from it: “I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body.

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      Acts 3:22-26
22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.
23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’
24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.
25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’
26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”

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The promise of the seed of woman, resulting in the old covenant, began with Abraham leading to Jesus as shown in The Genealogy of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 1:1-17
... 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.

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WHAT IS THE OLD COVENANT?

1) It is a national covenant. It was given only to the children of Israel as a nation to govern them in the land
Jehovah had given them. It was never given to the Gentiles.

And Moses called all Israel, and said to them ...
"The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive."
Deuteronomy 5:1-3
1 And Moses called all Israel, and said to them: “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your hearing today, that you may learn them and be careful to observe them.
2 The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.
3 The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive.

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2) It is the combination of the ten commandments, the associated ordinances and all of the old testament books.
    The ten commandments constituted the basis or foundation of the old covenant.

God gave the ten Commandments to Moses
Exodus 20:3-17
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me ...

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God gave the additional ordiances to Moses
Exodus 20-31
22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel ...

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3) Old testament books were quoted by old and new testament writers.  Therefore, they are considered
part of the old covenant. They are also considered the law or the law of God.

Ezra reads from Book of the Law of Moses, also called the law of the lord
Nehemiah 8
1 Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel.
2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding ...

8 So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.
9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.

14 And they found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month ...

18 Also day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day there was a sacred assembly, according to the prescribed manner.

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Paul quotes from Genesis and calls it the law
Galatians 4:21-25
21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?
22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman.

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      Genesis 16:15
15 So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.

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Jesus quoted from the Psalms and called them the law
John 10:34
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” ’?

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      John 15:25
25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’

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Paul quoted from Isaiah and referred to a quotation as written in the law
1 Corinthians 14:21
21 In the law it is written: “With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,”

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      Isaiah 28:11
11 For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people,

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Paul quoted from the tenth commandment and spoke of it as the law
Romans 7:7
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”

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Paul quoted from the tenth commandment and spoke of it as the law
Romans 7:7
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”

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IS THERE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE COVENANT, THE LAW,
THE LAW OF MOSES AND THE LAW OF GOD?

The ten commandments, the ordinances, statutes and judgments were all considered the covenant
sometimes called the law.
Deuteronomy 5:1-22
1 And Moses called all Israel, and said to them: “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your hearing today, that you may learn them and be careful to observe them ...

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It is called the Book of the Law of Moses
Nehemiah 8-1
1 Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel.

Click on the scripture to see the text

Paul, in discussing the law given at mount Sinai by the Lord through Moses, speaks of it as the law
Galatians 3:16-18
16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.
17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.
18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

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The answer is NO.  The Scriptures know nothing of such distinction; they recognize no such differences.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE OLD COVENANT?

One purpose was to make it absolutely clear that no man is righteous before God and that no one can save himself.
Romans 3:10–11
10 There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God

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  Romans 3:20 
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

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It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed (Jesus Christ) should come ...
Galatians 3:16-19
19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.

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The ultimate purpose of the old covenant was to point people to Christ.  The law was our schoolmaster (guardian or tutor) until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.  Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Galatians 3:24–25
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

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WAS THE OLD COVENANT REPLACED?

Jeremiah prophesied that a new covenant would be made
Jeremiah 31:31-33
31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah
32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

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Jesus said his blood was the new covenant
Matthew 26:27-29
27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.
28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

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WHEN WAS THE OLD COVENANT REPLACED?

The old law was nailed to the cross
Colossians 2:13-14
13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross

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Paul proves that the Old Law "died" allowing the Jews to enter into the covenant of Christ
Romans 7:1-4
1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?
2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.
3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.

4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

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Jesus has become a surety (or guarantee) of a better covenant
Hebrews 7:22
22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.

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The priesthood being changed, there was a need for a change in the law
Hebrews 7:12
12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.

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The new covenant was established on better promises
Hebrews 8:6
6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.

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The first was taken away to extablish the second
Hebrews 8:13
13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

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       Hebrews 10:9
9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second.

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The Holy Spirit also witnessed a change in the covenant
Hebrews 10:15-16
15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,
16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord:

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ARE WE REQUIERED TO KEEP THE OLD COVENANT LAW?

The bible identifies all people as either Jewish or Gentile.  As noted above, the old covenant was given only to the children of Israel (the Jewish nation) and never to the Gentiles.  Until the old law came to an end, it was not possible to extend a covenant that would include the Gentiles.  God gave the Mosaic Law to Israel in Exodus 20
1 And God spoke all these words, saying: ...

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and the Gentiles remained under the Patriarchal Law that had begun in Eden; the details were never recorded.

For the Jewish nation:
The old covenant was replaced totally by the new covenant.  None of the old covenant is binding today on the Jews due to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  He took the old covenant out of the way and established the new covenant.  They became subject to the new covenant on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For the Gentiles:
The Gentiles continued under Patriarchal Law until the New Testament was enacted by Christ’s death and admission into the kingdom was made available by the preaching of Peter.
Acts 2
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         Acts 10
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         Romans 1:16-17
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

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         Matthew 16:19
19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth
will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

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Even though we have no written record of the Patriarchal Law, there are multiple accounts in the old testament about that law and how they had violated it. This is true concerning the account of Jonah.  God’s rebuke of the nations through his prophets bears ample testimony to their accountability to the Creator.
Amos 1
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         Jeremiah 46-51
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Therefore, for both Jews and Gentiles:
If either Jews or Gentiles practice any part of the old covenant they are violating the new covenant
and are making the sacrifice of Jesus Christ of none effect.  This includes those of us who are alive today.

If we do part of the old law we are a debtor to keep the whole law
Galatians 5:1-6
1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.

3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.

4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

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What happens if we attempt to be justified by the old covenant law?
Galatians 5:4
4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace

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If we do things written in the book of the law we are under the curse
Galatians 3:10
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them

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God is concerned that the people should keep all his commandments
Deuteronomy 5:29-32
29 Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!
30 Go and say to them, “Return to your tents.”
31 But as for you, stand here by Me, and I will speak to you all the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments which you shall teach them, that they may observe them in the land which I am giving them to possess.’
32 “Therefore you shall be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

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WHEN DID THE GENTILES COME UNDER THE NEW COVENANT?

It began with Cornelius with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.  Prior to this time, the New Covanent had been offered only to the Jewish nation.  On this occasion, the new covenant is now offered to the Gentiles also.

Cornelius was a Gentile worshiper of God.  But it was not Christianity because the gospel had not yet been offered to the Gentiles.   It was not Judaism because he was not an Israelite, nor a proselyte.   He had been living under the Patriarchal Law which was no longer valid with the coming of the new covenant.

Therefore, at this point he was not saved and needed to be converted in order to come under the New Covanent.
Acts 10:1-6
1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,
2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always
3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”
4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.
5 Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter.
6 He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.

He will tell you what you must do.”

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   Acts 10:44-48
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.
45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered,
47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.

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Paul indicated that the Gentiles which lived under the Old Testament economy were uncircumcised, thus not under Mosaic Law since that was a requirement.
Exodus 12:43-49
43 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall eat it.
44 But every man’s servant who is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then he may eat it.
45 A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat it.
46 In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones.
47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.
48 And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it.
49 One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.”

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  Ephesians 2:11-16
11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands.

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They were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise.
Ephesians 2:12
12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

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CONCLUSION/SUMMARY

The covenants begin with the sin of Adam and Eve when God promised the seed of woman would be coming.

Many centuries after the promise in Eden, God made a promise to Abraham which would become the basis of the old covenant.   This covenant was given to the children of Israel and became a tutor leading them to a new covenant with the coming of Jesus Christ.

The old covenant is the combination of the ten commandments, the ordinances, statutes and judgments of God and the books of the Old Testament.

The ten commandments constituted the basis or foundation of the old covenant.

Many New Testament writers referred to the Old Testament books as part of the covenant or law.

The old covenant is referred multiple times in the Old and New Testament as the law of Moses, the law, the law of the lord and the law of god.

The old covenant was totally taken away for the Jewish nation, when the Son of God died on the cross; the old covenant was nailed to the cross.

The Jewish nation became subject to the new covenant on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ when the Holy Spirit was poured out on Apostles.

From the beginning of creation all people were living under laws of God which eventually became the Patriarchal Law.  The Gentiles were not included when the old covenant went into effect; only the Jewish nation.  The Gentiles continued living under the Patriarchal Law.  The Patriarchal Law was no longer valid with the coming of the new covenant.  They became subject to the new covenant when the Holy Spirit was poured out on Cornelius.

As noted above, the author of Hebrews says Jesus was the “guarantor of a better covenant” and “the new covenant is established on better promises."

Both the Jews and Gentiles are now under the new covenant. Why would we even be tempted to reach back beyond the cross to borrow from a covenant that was temporary and inferior to the covenant established for us at Calvary?

For all of us here today whether Jews or Gentiles, whenever we try to justify our actions by the old covenant we are disobediant to God.  Many false teachers today call on people to keep the Law, or at least part of it, as a means to please God.  But God is never pleased when we violate his laws.

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