Logo Copyright © 2007 NCCG - All Rights Reserved
Return to Main Page




Symphony of Truth

In a Nutshell

Topical Guide


5 Commissions

10 Commandments

333 NCCG Number

144,000, The


Action Stations

Agency, Free





Apostolic Interviews

Apostolic Epistles

Archive, Complete

Articles & Sermons





Baptism, Water

Baptism, Fire

Becoming a Christian

Bible Codes

Bible Courses

Bible & Creed


Calendar of Festivals


Charismata & Tongues

Chavurat Bekorot

Christian Paganism

Chrism, Confirmation


Church, Fellowship

Contact us



Covenants & Vows












Ephraimite Page, The

Essene Christianity




Family, The



Festivals of Yahweh

Festivals Calendar



Gay Christians


Godhead, The






Hebrew Roots





Holy Echad Marriage

Holy Order, The

Home Education


Human Nature




Intro to NCCG.ORG



Jewish Page, The

Judaism, Messianic

Judaism, Talmudic


KJV-Only Cult





Marriage & Romance



Messianic Judaism






NCCG Origins

NCCG Organisation

NCCG, Spirit of

NCCG Theology



New Age & Occult



New Covenant Torah

Norwegian Website


Occult Book, The

Occult Page, The

Olive Branch



Paganism, Christian















RDP Page




Satanic Ritual Abuse



Sermons & Articles

Sermons Misc







Swedish Website


Talmudic Judaism



Tongues & Charismata



True Church, The




United Order, The




Wicca & the Occult


World News


Yah'shua (Jesus)




    FAQ 227
    Differentiating Old and New Covenants
    NCW 30, February 1996:
    Answering the Third Rebellion

    Click here for more information

    Q. The recent controversy in the Church [following the Larsen schism] has confused me as to the exact difference between Old and New Testament/Covenant. Where is the border? Is it Malachi|Matthew or is it somewhere else??

    There is a difference between Old and New Covenants (the two main, not not only, covenants between Yahweh and Israel) and Old and New Testaments (the Scriptural books). The Old Covenant has been replaced with the New but this does not mean that the New Testament has replaced the Old. The New Testament has only replaced parts of the Old Testament, namely, the Levitical system of animal sacrifices which have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. All else is still valid.

    The terms "Old Testament" and "New Testament" are terms invented by men to two different collections of Biblical books. Before the "Old Testament" acquired its name from Christians it was simply called the Tanakh. This word is an acronym made from the first three letters of the three main divisions or collections of the Hebrew Bible:

    • 1. TORAH (the "Law" or Pentateuch: Genesis-Deuteronomy);
    • 2. NEVI'IM (the "Prophets": (a) The Historical Books: Joshua, Judges, Samuel & Kings, (b) The Three 'Major' Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah & Ezekiel, and (c) The Twelve 'Minor' Prophets); and
    • 3. K'TIVIM (the "Writings": Psalms, Proverbs, Job, the 5 Scrolls {Song of Songs, Ruth, Ester, Lamentations & Ecclesiastes}, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah & Chronicles).

    Therefore the "Old Testament" is a completely wrong label but has become so fastened to the Christian sub-conscious that even we have problems discarding it. What, therefore, is the Old Testament?

    Before we answer that, let us be clear that Jesus Christ and all the apostles regarded the Tanakh as God's authoritative Word to mankind (Matt.11:10ff). There is absolutely no sense in the "New Testament" in which it is regarded as "old" or "inferior" or "discarded". Neither can it be claimed that the "Old Testament" is complete, that is to say, God's only authoritative Word before "New Testament" times. The Books that are to be found in the Tanakh today are there because of the decision of various councils of Rabbis. Nobody knows when the Canon of Torah was established probably because it was never questioned. The Canon of the Prophets (Nevi'im) was not fixed until about 200 BC and the Canon of the K'tivim later during the Council of Jamnia.

    Similarly the "New Testament" Canon, which we have discussed many times, is the result of various other councils too. Its present contents were not fixed until the 4th century AD.

    The difference between the "Old" and the "New" Testaments -- which did not exist originally -- became exaggerated by a 2nd century heresy started by a man called Marcion of Sinope, who broke with the Church in about 150 AD. Misinterpreting Paul, Marcion preached a doctrine of two Gods: the "Old Testament", he claimed, was the work of the "Just God", the Creator, harsh judge of men. By contrast, Jesus was the emissary of the "Good" or "Kind God", higher than the Just, sent to set men free from that God's bondage, and crucified through the malice of the "Just God". Marcion claimed that Jesus passed on His "Gospel" to the Twelve, who failed to keep it from corruption, and then to Paul, who became the only preacher of it. Not only did Marcion claim a sharp division between the "Old Testament" (belonging to the "Just God" and the "New Testament" (belonging to the "Kind God" but he claimed that much of the New Testament belonged to the "Just God" too. Marcion therefore created a New "New Testament" which included a presently unknown "Gospel" similar to Luke's plus the 10 Epistles of Paul (but omitting Hebrews and the Pastoral Letters). This "New New Testament" he called the "Apostolos".

    The present "Larsen Schism" is not at all dissimilar to the Marcionite heresy except it is even more extreme, rejecting the Pauline teachings on Church leadership and perhaps accepting the passage by Jeremiah on the New Covenant. Marcion claimed that the "Old Testament" and those parts of the "New Testament" he did not like belonged to the "Old Covenant" whereas the Apostolos belonged to the "New Covenant". That is absolutely not true. You cannot draw a single line and divide the Bible up that way. Instead, you have to set parentheses around the Levtitical Priesthood and its sacrificial system as belonging to the Old Covenant.

    The Marcionite Heresy was one of the stimulating factors leading to the formulation of a "New Testament Canon". As I said, before there was no division between the "Old" and the "New".

    So the question still remains: What is the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament?

    Firstly, the question is invalid. There is no such thing as an "Old Testament" and the "New Testament" actually only ever uses the expression "Old Covenant" (not "Old Testament", which never existed) once, in 2 Cor.3:14, where it can only refer to Torah [Law]:

      "We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over His face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant [Torah] is read. It has not been removed, for only in Christ is it [the veil] taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord the veil is taken away" (2 Cor.3:13-16, NIV).

    Interestingly what Paul says here is not that Christ takes the Law or "Old Covenant" away but that He removes the veil which conceals the fullness of its true meaning! The veil is removed when we turn to God through Christ so that we can see that part of the Law which is written on the hearts of men through faith and a willingness to obey.

    The Torah or "Old Covenant" is now progressively written on our hearts so that it becomes alive as "New Covenant" with a new Priesthood, the Melchizedek. The fact that it is written by the Spirit on the heart, and not by pen on paper, that makes it "New". The Law of Moses was written on paper. That same Law is now written on the heart, making it the Law of Christ. That is the substance of the prophet Jeremiah's message (Jer.31:31-34). With the change of Covenant has come a change of ordinance; the ordinance of admission by covenant into the Law of Moses was circumcision whereas the ordinance of admission by covenant into the Law of Christ is by baptism.

    It is not proper to speak of only two covenants, moreover. The Tanakh speaks of several covenants of which there are seven (some say there are more):

    • 1. The Patriarchal Covenant of Adam, renewed through his descendants, until the time of the Great Flood (Gen.1-3);

    • 2. The Patriarchal Covenant of Noah, renewed through his descendants, until the calling of Abraham (Gen.6:18b-21; 9:9-17);

    • 3. The Patriarchal Covenant of Abraham, renewed through Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants until the calling of Moses (Gen.15:8-18; 17:6-8; 12:3; Ac.3:25; etc.);

    • 4. The Covenant of Moses, renewed through his descendants and supplemented by the calling of David (Ex.2:25; Dt.4:37; 7:6-8; 8:17-18; 9:4-6; 14:2; Ho.13:5; Am.3:2; Ex.6:6-8; 15:13; 20:2; 4:22; Dt.8:5; 14:1; 32:6; 1 Ch.29:10; Is.63:16; 74:8; Je.3:19; Ho.11:1; Mal.16; 2:10; etc.);

    • 5. The Royal Covenant of David, renewed through his descendants until the first coming of Jesus Christ (Ps.89:3-4,26-37; 132:11-18; 2 Sa.7:12-17; etc.);

    • 6. The New Covenant of Jesus Christ, prepared by John the Baptist, and renewed through the Twelve Apostles of the New Testament Church of God (Gal.4:4; Heb.9:26; 13:20; 12:28; Mt.26:28; Mk.14:24; Lk.22:20; 1 Cor.11:25; etc.);

    Understanding the difference between these and, in many cases, sub-covenants (i.e. covenants within covenants) is very important to an understanding of what the New Covenant actually is.

    • 1. Most Christians would agree, I think, that the Adamic Covenant remains in force, and is a part of the New Covenant. Child-birth is still painful (Gen.3:16a), husbands are still to rule over wives (Gen.3:16b cp. Eph.5:22-24; 1 Pet.3:1), husbands are still to toil for their daily bread (Gen.3:17-19), etc., husbands and wives are still to become one flesh/body (Gen.2:24 cp. Eph.5:29), etc..

    • 2. Most Christians would likewise agree that the Noahic Covenant has not been changed and is a part of the New. There will never be a universal flood again and the rainbow will remain an everlasting sign of that covenant.

    • 3. Many Christians recognise that the Abrahamic Covenant is still in force. Christians are the sons and daughters of Abraham (Rom.4:16). Where the New Covenant differs from the Abrahamic is that it is sealed by baptism and not by circumcision. The promises remain the same but the ordinance sealing that agreement has changed.

    • 4. Where the greatest controversy is the relationship between the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant. Most Christians claims that the Mosaic Covenant (Torah) has been superceeded by something completely different. They have misunderstood that the word "New" does not necessarily mean "replaced" but also "completed". As you will have read in our numerous publications on the subject, we have maintained that the Law of Moses contains essentially three parts:

        (1) Laws and ordinances that divide Gentile from Jews;
        (2) Ordinances (like animal sacrifice) that point to the coming of, and atonement by, a Messiah; and
        (3) Moral and Ethical Laws.

      The New Covenant Church of God maintains that the first and second parts of this Law have been removed because they are either (a) no longer relevant (because the wall of partition between Jews and Gentile has now been removed) -- e.g. laws governing entering others homes, etc., or (b) Because they have been fulfilled in the life, mission and work of Christ -- since they were shadows, and the antetype is here, the shadows or types are no longer needed -- e.g. animal sacrifices and various other related sacrifices and ordinances.

      And finally -- and this is the crux -- the Church maintains that the third part is eternally valid in all dispensations where Christ, or the apostles through direct revelation, have not REFORMED it. The "New Testament" nowhere speaks of this part being "done away with" but rather being elevated spiritually, or purified. Often cited examples include Jesus' confirmation of the Ten Commandments, His tightening up on the laws governing divorce, His insistence that His disciples live the Law even better than the Pharisees (i.e. without hypocrisy), his insistence on purity of heart and not just outward observance of the Law, etc..

    • 5. The Royal Covenant of David of Priest-Kings has, of course, be fulfilled in Jesus Christ Himself. He is the Priest-King not only of Israel but New Israel. He is the "King of Kings" and "Lord of Lords" (1 Tim.6:15; Rev.17:14). As King-Priest He chooses and sets apart princes and other officers to govern with and subject to Him. In the New Covenant there are His apostles, pastors and others who have been given presidencies over the people of God. In the Millennial Kingdom this rulership will extend to nations as well.

    • 6. This, then, is the New Covenant. It is the gathering together of all eternal covenants which have been brought to completion and fullness in Jesus Christ which will find its final consummation in the Millennial Word to come.

    • 7. In that New Patriarchal, Millennial Covenant, and what lies beyond in the celestial world, the whole Law will be written on every heart which truly accepts Jesus as Christ. Teachers will not be needed anymore, as Jeremiah prophesied. But just as heaven is ruled by kings and princes, and archangels and angels, so also in the eternities will there be rulers -- the 144,000 -- all subject to the Great Ruler of all, Jesus Christ, who will sit -- and is sitting -- at the right hand of God the Father.

    There is, therefore, no "Old Covenant" per se but rather a filling and a purifying of that which is old until the fullness has come. That fullness is represented in, and by, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega of the Covenant (Rev.1:8; 21:6; 22:13). There is ONE COVENANT -- one which is incomplete, and one which is complete or perfect. For this perfect covenant -- the New and Everlasting Covenant of Jesus Christ -- to be written on our hearts, we must ourselves gradually grow in grace -- be sanctified -- until it is all written there and we are obeying spontaneously out of our hearts and not just as an obligation imposed by an oath.

    One of the greatest illusions taught in Christendom today is that when a man receives Christ he "receives the fullness". A man, rather, receives what he is willing to receive. If the Law is fully written on a man's heart, then he will be able to tell it all to you, in its completeness. Do you know it all? I know I don't. For if I did, and were it written on my heart, I would be living it perfectly. I would be perfect, and without sin. And that I am not.

    Therefore there is, strictly-speaking, no "border" between the "Old" and the "New Testaments". Doubtless we will continue to use these terms because they are convenient historically. The border, if it exists, is in a man's heart, when he receives Christ. From thereon the Covenant is progressively written thereon, as he is true and faithful to all the covenants which make up that New and Everlasting Covenant. This we maintain to be the truth and this is the doctrine which we teach.

    This page was created on 8 May 1998
    Last updated on 26 January 2009

    Copyright © 1987-2009 NCCG - All Rights Reserved