The Two Covenants – The Everlasting Covenant and the Covenant at Sinai

The Everlasting Covenant – Gods promises are good

everlasting covenant ej waggonerGod made with man a Covenant that would last forever, an everlasting covenant. The bible says “God is faithful”(1 Cor 1:9, 10:13) . God cannot lie.

Heb 6:13, 18 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself…That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

Our God cannot lie, he is faithful and keeps his promises, his covenant. At Mount Sinai God made a covenant with the people. For some reason the promises of that covenant were not good.

The Covenant at Sinai – Promises Not Good- Fault with the Covenant

Looking at the Covenant given at Sinai we find that there was something wrong with the Covenant.

Hebrews 8:6-7 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. (7) For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Christ is the mediator of a better covenant than the covenant that was given at Mount Sinai. Why? Was there something wrong with the promises at Mount Sinai? Were the promises of God at Mount Sinai not good promises? Why was their fault in the covenant at Mount Sinai? What was wrong with the covenant?

Hebrews 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

The fault wasn’t with God at Sinai. The fault was with the people. The fault wasn’t with the promises of God; the fault was with the promises of the people. God’s promises are good, faithful and true. He cannot lie. Failing to understand this is failure to recognize the power of the gospel which is life eternal.

The New Covenant is the Everlasting Covenant Given Before the Cross and even Before Sinai

Some have thought that God has a gospel dispensation that started at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ which they call “a dispensation of Grace” and that before Jesus many were under the Old Covenant and under a dispensation of time where righteousness came by works.

But God has an everlasting covenant. And no man is justified by his works. In fact the same gospel that was given by Paul after the cross, was the same gospel that Abraham received several years before the covenant made at Sinai according to Paul.

Gal 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

Abraham was a Gentile, a heathen, and God preached “the gospel” to him so that all nations would be blessed. That is all the Gentiles or the heathen were to receive the gospel through Abraham who also was a heathen. It was not just Israel who were to receive the gospel.

The Covenant to Abraham The Everlasting Covenant

Genesis 17:7-9 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. (8) And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. (9) And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

This Covenant was established with Abraham. How, and when was this Everlasting Covenant to Abraham ratified?

Heb 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

This same “everlasting covenant” that was given to Abraham was ratified by the blood of Christ. So why if it is a Covenant that was made before Sinai is it called the New Covenant? It is called “new” because of the time at which it was ratified. The Covenant at Sinai was ratified by the promises of the people at Sinai which promises were not good as we shall soon examine. This Everlasting Covenant was ratified by the blood of Christ after Sinai and in this sense it is “new”.

The Everlasting Covenant that was ratified by the blood of Christ is the New Covenant. The same Covenanteverlasting covenantgiven to Abraham.

Mat 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

The “blood of the everlasting covenant”(Heb 13:20)

Dan 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease

The Covenant given to Abraham and his seed forever was confirmed at the cross. And at that time sacrifice and offerings ceased. Many today teach that the sacrificial system was a system of works. This is an error as even “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain”(Hebrews 11:4).

The sacrifices were nothing but faith in the coming of Jesus Christ to take away the sins of the world. Those who teach the dispensational view which teaches that before the cross justification was by works, or the sacrificial system of works was not something performed by faith, teach that all of these people before the cross were “under the law”.

However the bible teaches us that before faith came we were kept under the law, and after faith is come we are no longer under the law(schoolmaster).

Galatians 3:23-25 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. (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.

If the above passage is true, then Abel who offered a more excellent sacrifice by faith was not “under the law”. If the above passage is true Abraham who “believed God” was not “under the law”. If the above passage is true, then even Moses who “Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.”(Hebrews 11:28) was not “under the law”. But “before faith came” they were kept under the law.

God promises deliverance – Everlasting Covenant – His Covenant

God had a Covenant with Abel, Abraham, and Moses. So what about the Old Covenant at Sinai? The people were pointed to a Covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Everlasting Covenant. Take careful note of the words of God here.

Exodus 6:3-8 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. (4) And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. (5) And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. (6) Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: (7) And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. (8) And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.

So God is pointing them to his everlasting covenant. He has a covenant with promises that are good, an everlasting covenant. He has already made this covenant with Abraham many years earlier and he is telling the people that He will do all that He promised and He will deliver them. It is “not of yourselves…lest any man should boast”(Ephesians 2:8, 9). It is the gift of God. He will deliver them, and His promises are good.

God has said “I will rid you out of their bondage” or “I will bring you out”. The only thing that they were to do was to believe the promises. Now following this they come to Mount Sinai. Do they accept what God will do?

Old Covenant – Based on Promises of SELF

Remember that God has promised to deliver them from the bondage and slavery that they are in. This applies to the sinner who is in bondage and a servant or slave of sin. Can you deliver yourself from sin? God is about to give them the ten commandments at Mount Sinai and he has just pointed them to the Covenant made with Abraham. This covenant was not a covenant where righteousness was attained by works.

Romans 4:11-13 And he(Abraham) received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: (12) And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. (13) For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

God has promised that if you will trust Him by faith you merely need to accept His promises that He will do in you what He has said.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

We are His workmanship. He will do in us what He has said and it is “Not of ourselves”. We cannot promise anything. We can only accept by faith that “God is faithful” and that he “cannot lie” and he “will keep you from falling”(Jude 24).

Exodus 19:4-5 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. (5) Now therefore, 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:

God had pointed them to Himself and what He would do for them. But what was the response of the people? Did they trust the Promises of Father by Faith? Did they have confidence in what God could do?

Exo 19:8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do.ark of the covenant

Of all the promises God gave that he would do in them, and here they had made a promise of their own that they would do the works of God. This was a statement that was made out of fear and a promise that they of themselves could not keep for the bible tells us that it is “not of yourselves” and this is why it is written that “he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”(Hebrews 8:6). The fault was with the promise of the people.

He accepted their promises and worked with them, however, their promises were not good and they broke the Covenant. A Covenant that promises that we of ourselves can do the works of God is a Covenant of bondage and will only lead into slavery to sin. It brings you under the law, since, “before faith came, we were kept under the law”(Galatians 3:23). Under the condemnation of the law that is.

Two Covenants – One which Gendereth to Bondage

Abraham had 2 children. One child was a child of promise. Another child was a child which was not of promise. The child that was not of promise was of works. It was a child that did not come by faith. It was a child that was established on the promises of man. Sarah did not believe or have faith in God’s promise, thus she told Abraham to go unto her bondservant Hagar and to get her pregnant so that the promise of God could be fulfilled.

The Lord had made an “everlasting covenant” with Abraham. Abraham trusted Sarah and what man could do in this instant.

Gen 17:7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

Abraham for a moment swerved from his faith and went in unto Hagar and she had a child. Abraham and Sarah thought that by their own works they could fulfill the promise and covenant of God. But this covenant that they had made was a covenant of works. It was not of Faith. This was very similar to those on Mount Sinai who thought that of themselves they could fulfill the promise of God.

But God promised a child through Sarah and promised that his Covenant would be fulfilled through her.

Genesis 17:15-19 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. (16) And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. (17) Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? (18) And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! (19) And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.

This child was a miracle child, a child that could only come by faith in the promises of God. Especially since this woman was 90 years old and her womb was dead. But God is able to bring forth life from the dead. This is what he has to do with every one of us. When God finds us we are all dead in trespasses and sins. Each one of us must be born again of the Spirit. Isaac was a child after the Spirit. Ishmael the Son of Hagar was a child born after the flesh. It was trust in what the flesh could do and not in what God could do that led Abraham to laugh when God said the child would be of Sarah. It was trust in the flesh that would lead Abraham to go in unto Hagar to try to establish the covenant with God.

So therefore when we understand that one covenant involved what God would do, or what the Spirit could do, and the other Covenant what man could do, or what the flesh could do, we begin to understand more deeply the following regarding the two covenants.

Galatians 4:21-29 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? (22) For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. (23) But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. (24) Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. (25) For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. (26) But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. (27) For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. (28) Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. (29) But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

We have learned that the covenant given to Abraham is the New Covenant ratified at the cross by the blood of Jesus Christ. We have learned that this is the everlasting covenant that God had made with all his people since before the cross and he has given to all after the cross and that it is established by the promises of God and by grace through faith alone in the promises of God.

We have learned that the covenant that was made at Sinai was established on promises that were broken, the promise of the people that they would do the works of God. We have learned that when God established that covenant with them at Sinai that God was pointing them to the covenant which he had already established with Abraham. That God had an everlasting covenant already in place and that it was not necessary for them to establish a covenant of their own, but rather to merely say “Amen” to the promise that God has already made and that promise was that God would do in them what he said he would do. They did not need to answer “All that the LORD has said WE will do”.

New Covenant with Israel and Judah

The new covenant was not established with gentiles. It was established with Israel and Judah.

Heb 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

The covenant was always with Israel and Judah and there is no new dispensation covenant with gentiles. This covenant was with Israel and Judah and in order to enter this covenant you will no longer be a foreigner of Israel, but a fellow Israelite, a Jew in the heart and spirit. This covenant is the “everlasting covenant”.

Romans 2:28-29 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: (29) But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

The covenant is with those who are Jews in the spirit. Spiritual Jews. The covenant is not with fleshly Jews. This is not to say that a fleshly Jew cannot enter into the covenant.(Romans 3:2).

Romans 9:6-8 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: (7) Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. (8) That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

To be the fleshly seed of Judah, or Israel or Abraham does not make one the true seed. It is the spiritual seed or the seed of promise who have accepted the promises of grace through faith believing that God will perform in them what he has said he will do. This is the true people of the covenant. And that covenant is the everlasting covenant. That covenant was in effect well before Jesus Christ walked the earth.

Ephesians 2:8-22 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (11) Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; (12) That at that time ye 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: (13) But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (14) For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; (15) Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (16) And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: (17) And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. (18) For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. (19) Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; (20) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (21) In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: (22) In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Many churches today feel they are the covenant people. But even in the time before the cross, though a people may enter into a covenant relationship with God, it is the spiritual children, the children who accept the promises of God who are the children of God. And when you, a gentile become a child of God, you are no longer an Israelite, but are a Jew in the heart, you were in times past a gentile, but you are now a fellowcitizen of Israel and no longer a stranger to the covenants of promise.

Many today have made an “Old Covenant” with God. Many churches and bodies of people today have done so. But ye who believe by faith, who are not saying “All that the LORD has said WE WILL DO” but rather accept that it is “not of yourselves…lest any man should boast” have come to Jerusalem which is above and is free from the bondage of self and sin, which is the mother of us all.

Hebrews 12:22-24 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (23) To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, (24) And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Recommended Reading:

The Everlasting Covenant – EJ Waggoner 
Under The Schoolmaster
The “added” Law 
Who is the Church?