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Small edit: 2011-01. Link to, a brief version: Short NC

The New Covenant, who is it for?

It is ironic that each Christian denomination has its own heel of Achilles, its own area of error and confusion even.  As such, some will find this subject unnecessary while others will find it challenging in the extreme.  Perhaps some will even be unable to accept the teachings found on this page, despite them being backed up by scriptures.

Perhaps it would serve those reading to begin with a rhetorical question or two?

Do Christians need faith to be approved, to be saved?
Does Christ's blood cleanse all Christians living holy lives, or just some of us?

Please keep your obvious answers in mind as you press on toward the conclusion reached on this page.  Let's start with what the scriptures say.

Acts 10: 43 To him bear all the prophets witness, that through his name every one that believeth on him shall receive remission of sins.

Hebrews 8:10, Because this is the covenant that I will covenant to the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: Giving my laws into their mind, I will write them also upon their hearts; and I will be to them for God, and *they* shall be to me for people. (Darby)

Revelation of John 7:4, And I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel: (Darby)
On page four of the subject  Who are God’s People Today? that discussion reaches a conclusion about who Israel is at the end of the subject discussion.  Actually, this subject was also included because it is interrelated since the covenant is with spiritual Israel, however, here the new covenant gets its own focus and a clearer explanation emanating from this focus.

Covenant with Israel

From Hebrews 8:10 we see that the new covenant is between God, Jehovah, and Israel.  The scripture is quoting Jeremiah and he is using Jehovah.  The deletion of old of God's name in the NT  has caused much confusion because it may refer to either God or Christ, except of course when quotes make the usage singularly clear. At times, the distinction must be searched for.

Jer 31:33, For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and will write it in their heart; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Darby)
Of course, even earlier, Isaiah prophesied in several places about this new covenant.  Here is one such place:
Isaiah 59:20, 21, And the Redeemer will come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith Jehovah. 21And as for me, this is my covenant with them, saith Jehovah: My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith Jehovah, from henceforth and for ever. (Darby)
Obviously, the redeemer in Isaiah refers to Christ as shown in chapter 53 which the NT in several places applies to Jesus Christ, our sacrificial Lamb.  Likewise, Jacob just as naturally refers to the true Israelites, the spiritual Israel.

Centuries earlier than Isaiah, David implied that a new covenant would be forthcoming.  His prophecy in Psalm 110 about a priest in the manner of Melchizedek, David's Lord, who shall rule in Zion would be meaningless under the Law Covenant.  Thus the change of priesthood this indicated pointed to a new covenant, a change of law.
Psalms 110:1A Psalm of David. Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool. 2Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. 3Thy people offer themselves willingly In the day of thy power, in holy array: Out of the womb of the morning Thou hast the dew of thy youth. 4Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever After the order of Melchizedek. (ASV)
From Revelation 7:4, we may understand that the Saints, the 144,000 (a literal number or not – see Born Again Ones), are not all of spiritual Israel since they are "sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel."  Taken out, separated out of all of spiritual Israel, they are the firstfruit.  In this fashion, Revelation makes it clear on its own that there are other spiritual Israelites, as even Jesus stated about the little flock and the other sheep, who together will become one flock, one people.

The new covenant's application then is seen to depend upon who or what this spiritual Israel is.  But perhaps it may be entirely possible to sidestep this track and prove it with a different approach and in this manner have two avenues of proof, one seen on the "Who are God's People Today?" page, and another this way.
Matthew 26:28, For this is my blood, that of the new covenant, that shed for many for remission of sins. (Darby)

Romans 3:27, Where then is boasting? It has been excluded. By what law? of works? Nay, but by law of faith; 28for we reckon that a man is justified by faith, without works of law. 29Is God the God of Jews only? is he not of the nations also? Yea, of nations also: 30since indeed it is one God who shall justify the circumcision on the principle of faith, and uncircumcision by faith. 31Do we then make void law by faith? Far be the thought: no, but we establish law.

Answer these questions then:

Do all Christians leading holy lives get remission of sins through Christ's blood?

Do all Christians need faith? or are they sanctified by works of the law covenant?

The tribe of Levi and the 144,000

We are told in Deuteronomy 10:8-9 that Levi was given the ministry of the old covenant so as to serve Jehovah and Israel.

8 At that time Jehovah set apart the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, to stand before Jehovah to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day. 9 Wherefore Levi hath no portion nor inheritance with his brethren; Jehovah is his inheritance, according as Jehovah thy God spake unto him.)

The Law Covenant surely was not established between Levi and God.  That one was between all Israel and God.  Similarly we are told that the 144,000 who are to be king-priests to God ,with Christ as their high-priest, are mininisters to the new covenant.

 2 Cor 3:6: who also qualified us servants of a new covenant, not of letter, but of spirit; the for letter kills, the but spirit gives life. (Diaglott)
 6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (WEB)

As Hebrews 8:10 above mentioned, the priests of the new covenant, the 144,000, are ministers of the new covenant.  Like Levi in the past, their inheritance is God and also Christ.  The new covenant is not between them and God; it is between God and Israel, spiritual Israel, as the letter of Hebrews specified.  Therefore, Paul said that these were servants or ministers of the new covenant which is for the remission of sins for all baptized approved Christians. (Matt 26:28, Acts 2:38) 

New Covenant for forgiveness of sins
Baptism for forgiveness of sins

Your own answers most likely provide the answer as to whether all Christians are under the new covenant.  For indeed, all must receive remission of sins through Christ's blood, all must have faith in the ransom.  Most certainly, these things are a must be – to be saved. 

Hebrews 7:22, by so much also hath Jesus become the surety of a better covenant. 23And they indeed have been made priests many in number, because that by death they are hindered from continuing: 24but he, because he abideth for ever, hath his priesthood unchangeable. 25 Wherefore also he is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (ASV)

Hebrews 9:20-22, saying: This the blood of the covenant, which enjoined on you the God; Hebrews 9:21 also the tabernacle and and all the vessels of the public service with the blood in like manner he sprinkled. 22And almost by blood all things are cleansed according to the law, and without blood-shedding not takes place forgiveness. (Diaglott)

Hebrews 10:16, And this is the testament which I will make unto them after those days, saith the Lord. I will give my laws in their hearts, and on their minds will I write them: 17And their sins and iniquities I will remember no more.  (DRC)

Rev 7:9, 13 After these things I saw, and lo, a great crowd, which no one could number, out of every nation and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palm branches in their hands.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying to me, These who are clothed with white robes, who are they, and whence came they? 14 And I said to him, My lord, *thou* knowest. And he said to me, These are they who come out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
What do we hear?  That the new covenant came for the "remission of sins," that this is not the Law Covenant, but that it is our new Law of Faith.  Pay particular attention to Rev 7:9,13.  Here we see that this Great Crowd are survivors of the Great Tribulation about which Matthew says it will come upon our entire earth.  Notice in particular that these are human survivors into Paradise on earth; therefore, they have no part of the 144,000 elect, Saints, Chosen ones - who have a heavenly inheritance.

This Great Crowd of humans have also washed themselves clean in the blood of the Lamb.  His blood is not just for purifying the Saints as some seem to teach; indeed, Christ blood purifies all among mankind who eventually put faith in Christ and his ransom.

Christ's blood is the means by which the new covenant removes sin.  Individuals who are not in a new covenant relationship with God through Christ cannot have their sins forgiven. 

Baptism's purpose

For this reason we see that it says that Baptism saves us.  Why?  Because this is the public symbol of our entering into this new covenant with God through Christ.  The request for a good conscience, as it says, can only be had by remission of sins through Christ's blood if you are in a covenant relationship with God through the New Covenant, the Law of Faith having Jesus as our mediator.  This relationship is locked in when a person is baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

Its continuing in effect depends on our leading holy lives in Christ. (another subject)
I Peter 3:20, . . . when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah who prepared an ark in which a few, that is, eight souls were saved through water. 21 Which counterpart--immersion--now also saves us, not the putting away of filth of flesh, but an appeal of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (ACV)

Darby Translation Notes for I Peter 3:21:
3:21  demand (n-20)  Or 'engagement,' or 'testimony.' The Greek word here translated 'demand' is a very difficult one, and has puzzled all critics and commentators. It means 'a question.' All the commentators speak of its use as a legal term with the sense of contract, or rather stipulations or obligations of a contract.  I judge (as usual in these forms) that it refers to the question asked rather than to the asking of the question. The  legal use arises from a questioning which settled the terms of  the contract, hence called the questioning. I am disposed to  think it is the thing demanded. It requires as before God, and  has it in baptism as a figure by the resurrection of Jesus  Christ. It must be remembered that 'of a good conscience' in  English may be the thing requested or 'he who requests.' The  form of the word in the Greek would rather make it the thing  requested or demanded.
Checking various translations, it is interesting that the Norwegian translation of 1906 /1930 and the Danish Bible from "Det Danske Bibelselskab 1931" both use the word for " pact " in their respective translations instead of saying request.  From that we get the undeniable sense that a contract, a covenant is involved in baptism.

In Acts 2:28, Peter again teaches us about our baptism.
Acts 2:38, And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (ASV)

Baptism for remission of sins

Thus baptism is for the remission of sins, and as Peter also explained it is a contract, a pact, a covenant for remission of sins that is entered by the baptismal candidate.

Jesus said that the new covenant, the new pact, was for the forgiveness of sins of many.  We can then understand that all baptized Christians have entered into this new pact with God, Christ being the mediator between God and the baptized individual of this pact, and Christ's blood being the blood of the covenant that cause forgiveness of sins by faith in his ransom.
Matthew 26:28, For this is my blood, that of the new covenant, that shed for many for remission of sins. (Darby)

Number of pacts – two, Number of groups – two

E.g. When a person goes alone to a movie theatre to see a movie, how many tickets does he buy?  Yes, of course, one only!  If two people go together, they naturally buy two tickets.  Though this sounds rather ridiculous since it states the obvious, it has relevance.  When God made the Israelite nation his people select he did it by means of one pact, one covenant for one nation, for one group of people.

On Nisan 14, 33CE, the night before Christ died, perhaps between 7 to 10 PM, Jesus made two pacts with his followers.  Why did he need two pacts?  Because he said he had two groups!  He spoke about a Little Flock and also about Other Sheep – two groups that both belonged to him.  That is what he said. 
Luke 12:32, Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (ASV)
John 10:16, And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice: and they shall become one flock, one shepherd. (ASV)
Thus, we see that both groups belong to Jesus.  He has redeemed both by means of his blood.  But he uses two ' tickets' for two groups!  The first ' ticket,'  the new pact, new covenant, is the general ticket that everyone benefits from when they are baptized because by means of this one they receive remission of their sins if from then on they renounce wickedness and willful acts of sin!

The second ' ticket,' the pact for a kingdom goes as Christ says to the Little Flock that shall inherit the heavenly kingdom by receiving the heavenly resurrection.

Both groups must therefore partake of the emblems of the new pact until Christ comes, as was requested.

Spiritual Israel

It is then clear that spiritual Israel consists of the first fruit and the second fruit.  The first fruit is the little flock, the Saints, the born again, the anointed (aka christs, plural), the elect, the chosen and perhaps more.  This firstfruit embodies those that shall be kings and priests to God and Christ.  The second fruit is also spiritual Israel and is named the other sheep.  Both groups are under the new covenant.  Christ's blood applies equally to both groups.
Isaiah 66:19-22, Then shall they bring in all your brethren out of all the nations, As a present unto Yahweh, Upon horses and in chariots and in palanquins and on mules and on dromedaries Unto my holy mountain—Jerusalem, saith Yahweh,—Just as the sons of Israel, bring in their present in a pure vessel, into the house, of Yahweh. 21And of them also, will I take for priests—for Levites, saith Yahweh, 22For, as the new heavens and the new earth, which I am about to make, are to remain before me, Declareth Yahweh, So, shall remain your seed and your name. (Rotherham)

However, Christ's covenant for a kingdom only applies to one group.  More may be said about this, but perhaps if someone has questions that one may ask them.

Who may partake of the emblems?

As seen, all Christians that receive the benefit of the blood of Christ's ransom may or perhaps should partake of these emblems, the wine, and the loaf, the unleavened bread.  To do otherwise would not be correct and would be disrespectful, disobedient to Christ's commandment and to Paul's.
I Corinthians 11:25, In the same manner, the cup also, after they had taken supper, saying—This cup, is, the new covenant in my blood, this, do ye, as often soever as ye may be drinking it, in remembrance of me. 26For, as often as ye may be eating this loaf, and, the cup, may be drinking, The death of the Lord, do ye announce, until he come. 27So that, whosoever may be eating the loaf, or drinking the cup of the Lord, in an unworthy manner, shall be responsible for the body and blood of the Lord. (Rotherham)

Covenant Details

Additional details

Hebrews 12:23,24, to the company and assembly of the first-born in heaven enrolled, and to God the judge of all, and to spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24and to a mediator of a new covenant--Jesus, and to blood of sprinkling, speaking better things than that of Abel! (YLT)

Hebrews 9:14-21, how much more shall the blood of the Christ (who through the age-during Spirit did offer himself unblemished to God) purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?   15And because of this, of a new covenant he is mediator, that, death having come, for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those called may receive the promise of the age-during inheritance, 16for where a covenant is , the death of the covenant-victim to come in is necessary, 17for a covenant over dead victims is stedfast, since it is no force at all when the covenant-victim liveth, 18whence not even the first apart from blood hath been initiated, 19for every command having been spoken, according to law, by Moses, to all the people, having taken the blood of the calves and goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, he both the book itself and all the people did sprinkle, 20saying, `This is the blood of the covenant that God enjoined unto you,' 21and both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the service with blood in like manner he did sprinkle, 22and with blood almost all things are purified according to the law, and apart from blood-shedding forgiveness doth not come. (YLT)

Malachi 3:1, Behold, I send forth My messenger, and he shall survey the way before Me: and the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come into His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom you take pleasure in: behold, He is coming, says the Lord Almighty. 2And who will abide the day of His coming? Or who will withstand at His appearing? For He is coming in as the fire of a furnace and as the herb of fullers. 3He shall sit to melt and purify as it were silver, and as it were gold: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and refine them as gold and silver, and they shall offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness. (AB)

A comment about Malachi above:

It is obvious that Christ,our Lord, shall come to his spiritual temple and refine the sons of Levi, those that shall be king-priests, heirs and joint heirs of Christ.  These ones will be, as it says, God's temple.  Though more may be said later about the temple and its various parts, the holy, most holy, and the courtyard.  From this it is obvious that Christ's arrival on God and Christ's Day of Wrath has one very important purpose.  What is also seen is that Christ is the messenger of the covenant.

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