THE NEW COVENANT
BIRTHED AT THE EXODUS
The descendants of the twelve tribes of Israel had fallen under the oppression of the slave masters of Egypt and had lost the reality of the relationship with Yahweh. The gods of Egypt had been promoted and seemed powerful and some were in subservience to these gods under who they served.
When Yahweh began the plagues on Egypt, His judgement also came upon the Israelites for the first set of plagues as they were not separated unto Him. They had joined themselves with Egypt in their lifestyle and so they were judged along with Egypt. While the magicians of Egypt were able to duplicate the miracles which Yahweh did in administering the plagues, they remained in unbelief and not until the magicians declared that "this is the finger of elohim" was there a change (Exodus 8:19) which caused the area of Goshen where they dwelt to be protected from the following plagues.
They had seen all that Yahweh was the All-Powerful God of creation and turned in faith toward Him and came into covenant relationship with Him. The test of their faith was in taking a "lamb for a house", and partaking of the sacrificial Passover meal with Him wherein they placed the blood on their doorposts.
This was a confession of their faith in Him and constituted their redemption. See Romans 10:9-10
Their journey to Sinai took them through Baptism in the Spirit and the Sea (1 Cor.10:); the provision of the Cross to the bitter waters of Marah; the re-institution of the Sabbath; and the daily Manna - all this before Sinai
The covenant at Sinai was for His already redeemed people to become His holy nation. He was to give them His laws so they would become a holy people unto Himself. The promise of the covenant was based upon "IF you obey My voice and keep My covenant" - THEN He says, "you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" Exodus 19:5-6
In the "New covenant" which is a renewal of this same covenant which they did not enter into it at Sinai, Peter repeats this promise as being offered to them again.
"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people," 1 Peter 2:9
Now, in the new covenant it was to be established on better promises and on a much better sacrifice, that of the blood of Y'shua the Messiah, the Lamb of God. With the giving of the Holy Spirit of God they would be empowered to keep the covenant.
Note that the covenant at Sinai did not include the Levitical priesthood. They were to have a plain altar of earth, based upon every man being a priest unto Yahweh and offering sacrifices on behalf of himself and his family. The terms of this covenant end in chapter 23 of Exodus.
THE PROMISED NEW COVENANT
Jeremiah 31:31 cites that the new covenant was being extended to both Houses, the House of Yehudah and the House of Israel. To the House of Yehudah who had continued to keep their covenant relationship with Yahweh, it was an ongoing spiritual elevation of their walk based upon their acceptance of Yeshua as their Messiah. Now, instead of offering a literal lamb, they had to recognise that He was the Lamb of God which Yahweh had promised that takes away their sins (John 1:29), to which all the sacrificial system had pointed.
To the House of Ephraim, it required repentance toward Yahweh for their sins and their apostasy and acceptance of Yeshua as an atonement for their sins and adoption back into the family of God through Him. The covenant itself was a renewal of that which had been made at Sinai for Israel as a nation to be a holy priesthood kingdom upon earth (Exodus 19:3-6). Both Houses (united as one at that time) had failed to "hear and obey" and walk in that initial covenant.
In the renewal of the original Sinai covenant, by means of the impartation of the divine nature and the power of the Holy Spirit, they were now enabled to walk in that holy priesthood calling. They now had a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek who was able to officiate on their behalf in the spiritual realm before the throne of God on behalf of their infirmities. It was established on better promises with a better, superior type of priesthood.
The law given at Sinai had not changed, Yahweh's principles for living are eternal - they are based upon His divine nature and cannot change, but the priesthood had changed and the conditions upon which the new covenant was established had changed. Yahweh has made many covenants with man but His law never changes.
The sign of the Noahic covenant under which Abraham lived as a king/priest prior to circumcision, was the rainbow which was a reminder to the conscience of man of His Word and His promises. Man had to walk according to His God-given conscience which retained the knowledge of Yahweh's laws.
The sign of the Mosaic covenant with the Levitical priesthood was that of physical circumcision which was an outward sign of the enactment of a blood covenant which required an inner heart condition of complete commitment to Yahweh God.
The sign of the new covenant based upon the Melchizedek priesthood was the supernatural manifestations in tongues/prophecy of the indwelling Holy Spirit through the impartation of the divine nature. The new covenant bypassed the need for circumcision as a sign of the inner covenantal relationship as it was evidenced by their spiritual renewal in manifestations of the giftings of the Spirit of God. That was the external 'sign' of their covenant relationship.
BAPTISM IN THE SPIRIT
The Baptism in the Spirit unified both Houses, although they came from different back grounds, they were made one in Yeshua the Messiah. This Paul states most clearly, identifying the incoming descendants of the House of Israel as Arameans.
As he says in 1 Cor.12:13, "For all of us likewise of one Spirit have been immersed into one Body whether Jews or Arameans, slave or free; for all of us have been nourished by one Spirit" (Aramaic Peshitta text)
And again, "All who have been immersed in Messiah have been clothed with Messiah, for there is neither Jew nor Aramean, slave or free, male or female, but you are all one in Yeshua the Messiah. And if you are of Messiah, then are you seeds of Abraham and inheritors of the promise" (Gal.3:28)
Paul is not stating that the distinction between these groups which he is comparing, has changed or will cease to exist in the new covenant, what he is saying is that spiritually they are one, and the cultural differences do not affect their spiritual status.
Culturally a Jew was circumcised and conversant with all the observances of torah. In comparison an Aramean was uncircumcised and still in a learning process to incorporate torah into his lifestyle. There were also differences between slaves and free-men in their opportunities in life as also between men and women, but all were recipients of the power of the Spirit to operate the spiritual giftings within their circumstances and opportunities in life. In Messiah they were unified and equal and all had the same opportunities for spiritual growth, as he says in Colossians 3:9b-11: "Put off therefore, the old man (nature) with all its and put on the new man that is renewed in knowledge after the likeness of his creator; where there is neither Jew nor Aramean, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, neither Greek (educated, civilized) not Barbarian, neither slave nor free, but Messiah is all in all."
RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH
When Paul received his commission to go to the "nations" he was led to spend 14 years waiting upon Yahweh to be given the revelation concerning Yahweh's plan which had previously been veiled, in bringing them back to Himself (Eph.1:5). As the younger prodigal son, they were welcomed back as the first-born son, which was their original status. When Yahweh spoke of their return through the new covenant, He said, "I am an Abba to Israel, and Ephraim is my First-born son"
“Hear the word of Yahweh, you nations, and declare it in the coastlands afar off, and say, he that scattered Israel will gather him and keep him as Shepherd does his flock." Jeremiah 31:9-10
"Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spoke against him, I do remember him still ..... I will surely have mercy upon him." Jer.31:20
Yahweh purposed to bring them back under their spiritual father, Abraham - to be generated from the rootstock of the Olive tree. Yeshua is the actual root of the tree and Abraham is the rootstock or the stump which comes from the root.
(See Rev.22:16; Isaiah 11:10 to understand this typology)
Their return is based upon coming back into relationship with Yahweh by faith in His Son, Yeshua. The same applies to the Jews, the House of Yehudah. Both the Jews and Arameans must come into Messiah by faith and become seeds of Abraham by faith. Each had the physical genealology, they needed the spiritual DNA through a 'rebirthing' by faith into Messiah.
"Now I say, that Yeshua the Messiah ministered to the circumcision (the Jews) on behalf of the truth of God in order to confirm the promises to the fathers And that the Gentiles (nations) might glorify Elohim for His mercies upon them" (Rom.15:8-9)
Paul then quotes prophetic scriptures relating to the praises that would issue up to God for His great mercy toward them. He then quotes Isaiah's prophecy of the regathering of the 'nations' to Messiah: "And again Isaiah says: there will be a root of Jesse; and he that will arise will be a prince to the Gentiles/nations; and in Him will the Gentiles/nations hope." Isaiah 11:12
The experience of each of the Houses differed. To the Jew, who understood and walked in the principles of torah, the renewal of the Holy Spirit brought them into a new realm of spiritual empowerment and confirmed the promises made to the fathers of them becoming a royal priesthood nation in the kingdom on earth.
To the Aramean, it was new hope (a lost hope restored), a new life and a very personal salvation. The returning Ephraimites had to make a dramatic change in their lifestyle - putting off all of their previous idolatrous practices and their sinful lifestyle. It was a situation which was open to the Jews imposing their lifestyle upon the Arameans and bringing them into it by "works", through legislating how they should live and not as it should be, as the outworking of a changed heart.
Paul had to teach both Jews and Arameans that redemption was by faith and not by their own efforts of righteousness - and that, as they lived by faith in Him, He would produce the fruit of righteousness in their lives as a result of a changed heart.
"But now the righteousness of elohim without torah, is manifested; and torah and the prophets testify of it (i.e. this was prophesied) Even the righteousness which is by faith in Y'shua the Messiah for everyone and upon everyone that believes in Him; for there is no distinction; for they have all sinned, and failed of the glory of elohim.
And they are granted the status of being righteous by grace and by the redemption which is in Y'shua the Messiah. (redemption is the issue here, not salvation)
Whom elohim ordained in advance as atonement by faith in his blood, because of our previous sins."
"Know there fore that those who are of faith are the children of Abraham" Gal.3:7
Paul is explaining that the righteousness which is imparted through faith is independent of the law/torah - it is not achieved by walking in the principles of God (torah). There is a different principle in operation here!
In the new covenant, Yahweh is imparting righteousness through faith, whereby the believer's heart is cleansed and they receive a new nature, the nature of Messiah.
Paul had been struggling with the "Judaisers" wanting to bring the ones he identified as Arameans (descendants of the 10 tribes from the nations) under the old system of righteousness, which as he said, would make Messiah of no benefit to them (Gal.5:2-4) - they would have fallen from grace. Instead of walking in the provisions of the new covenant, they would be placing themselves back under the old covenant of sanctification by the works of the law.
Salvation was always by faith, even in the old covenant, but the process of sanctification was by walking according to the law. Now the process is inverted!
Sanctification is instantaneous in the new covenant by rebirth, but needs to be maintained by walking according to the new nature which has been imparted to us. Some teaching is necessary to inform and renew the mind of a believer so as to have the mind of Messiah and not be conformed to the old nature (Ephesians 4:21-24)
Previously under the old covenant, if a person became convinced in the reality of the God of Israel and wished to be included in the covenant community of Israel, he had to go through a transitional period of renewal by the Word being instilled into his life and through the process of appropriating the principles of God into his life, he would become sanctified or cleansed by the Word. This was the method of sanctification under the old covenant.
Yahweh had given that instruction to Abraham as a provision for the covenant he made with him, "Have your way before Me and be perfect." (Gen17:1)
Yahweh also called the nation to become holy or sanctified (they were already His people), by hearing and obeying His voice which was expressed in the ten commandments (Ex.19:4).
David said, "How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Your Word" Psalm 119:9
Y'shua had ministered to His disciples under the old covenant on this principle, He prayed to the Father, "Sanctify them by Your truth, Your Word is truth" (John 17:17)
"Now you are clean through the Word I have spoken to you" (John 15:3)
The disciples were 'clean' (sanctified, holy) through the Word washing over their lives through their relationship with Y'shua (Eph.5:27)
But, up to this point, they had not come into the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit Baptism which was the means whereby the new covenant was inaugurated.
The new covenant was enacted on the night of His betrayal, but could not come into effect until His resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father, from where He was able to send the promise of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5). That is why Y'shua told them to wait until the outpouring of the Spirit upon them, until they received that they were still under the old covenant dispensation.
Through the impartation of a new heart and a new spirit (the life of Y'shua) the disciples received the impartation of the righteousness of God, that is, the divine nature as a free gift - something which they had not merited by anything which they had done.
But the free gift needed to be maintained by walking in His Spirit and not allowing the old human nature to gain control and take over their life again. It is a matter of abiding in Him - staying in union with Him and not living according to one's own will and one's own desires.
The principles of Yahweh's eternal laws are not done away with, but we now possess His nature which is in harmony with His laws.
It is therefore just a matter of knowing them and doing them!