God’s New Covenant Nears Its Accomplishment
1. (a) What would happen to our earth if God did not hold to his covenant regarding the day and that regarding the night? (b) Since God loyally sticks to his covenants, of what may we be certain?
WHAT would we do if God did not hold true to his covenant regarding the day and that regarding the night? Instead of having an alternating of day and night, our earth would be illuminated by continual light or shrouded in continual darkness. (Genesis 1:1, 2, 14-19) But God loyally sticks to his covenants. So we can be absolutely certain that the moon, the sun, and the galaxies of the heavens will never be destroyed; neither will our planet Earth.
2. What did Jehovah tell the Jews in connection with his covenant of the day and that of the night?
2 Speaking of his covenant of the day and that of the night, God said to the Jews under the kingdom of the royal house of David: “If you people could break my covenant of the day and my covenant of the night, even in order for day and night not to occur in their time, likewise could my own covenant be broken with David my servant so that he should not come to have a son ruling as king upon his throne.”—Jeremiah 33:20, 21.
3. What do these words indicate regarding his covenant with David for an everlasting Kingdom?
3 In those words we have an indirect proof that our earth, together with the sun and the moon, will remain forever. (Ecclesiastes 1:4) Our earth will ever be occupied by human residents, for them to enjoy the beauties of the day and of the night under the covenant-keeping God, man’s Creator. And just as Jehovah has held firm to his covenant of the day and that of the night, so he has kept loyal to his covenant with ancient King David for an everlasting Kingdom in David’s family line. This is true even though the seat of the Kingdom has had to be transferred from the earth to the invisible heavens.—Psalm 110:1-3.
4. (a) God’s covenant with David for an everlasting Kingdom is associated with what other covenant? (b) What did Jesus Christ say regarding it, and under what circumstances?
4 God’s covenant for an everlasting Kingdom in the line of descent from David is associated with another covenant, “the new covenant.” This covenant that was to replace an old covenant was mentioned by Jesus. This was after he had celebrated the Jewish Passover with his faithful disciples on the night of Nisan 14 in 33 C.E. He set up what came to be called “the Lord’s evening meal.” He knew that, on that same Passover day, he would shed his blood in sacrifice. In view of that, he took a cup of red wine, but before passing it to his faithful apostles, he said: “This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood.”—Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:20, 23-26.
5. To whom was God’s promise of a new covenant made, and does the Republic of Israel claim to be in this covenant?
5 Like the old covenant, the new covenant is made with a nation but not with any of the nations of Christendom. Although the promise of the new covenant was made by means of the prophet Jeremiah to the nation of Israel more than 2,500 years ago, the Republic of Israel of today does not claim to be in the new covenant. Instead, the Republic of Israel became a member of the UN.
6. According to Jeremiah chapter 31, why did God see the need to make a new covenant, and in what would it result?
6 Why did God want a new covenant? Jeremiah 31:31-34 explains: “‘Look! There are days coming,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘and I will conclude with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant; not one like the covenant that I concluded with their forefathers in the day of my taking hold of their hand to bring them forth out of the land of Egypt, “which covenant of mine they themselves broke, although I myself had husbandly ownership of them,” is the utterance of Jehovah.’ ‘For this is the covenant that I shall conclude with the house of Israel after those days,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘I will put my law within them, and in their heart I shall write it. And I will become their God, and they themselves will become my people. And they will no more teach each one his companion and each one his brother, saying, “Know Jehovah!” for they will all of them know me, from the least one of them even to the greatest one of them,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘For I shall forgive their error, and their sin I shall remember no more.’”
A Better Covenant With a Better Mediator
7. Is the new covenant a renewal of the covenant that the Israelites broke, and why is it better than the Law covenant?
7 The new covenant is not a mere renewal of the earlier covenant that the Israelites broke. No, indeed! For the apostle Paul writes to the Christians at Rome, saying: “You are not under law but under undeserved kindness.” (Romans 6:14) It is really a new covenant, and it was to be expected that it would be a better one, for the Almighty God Jehovah is able to improve matters with regard to those whom he admits into the new covenant. For one thing, he raised up a better mediator, or go-between, in establishing the new covenant. This Mediator was no imperfect, sin-infected man like the prophet Moses.
8. (a) What does the new covenant have that makes it better than the Law covenant? (b) Who is the Mediator of the better new covenant? (c) What does Hebrews 8:6, 13 say about the new covenant and the superiority of its Mediator, and with what effect on the former covenant?
8 The Law covenant mediated by means of the prophet Moses was good in itself. However, that covenant provided for the sacrifice of animals whose blood could never wash away human sins. So for Jehovah God to set up a better covenant, there would have to be a better mediator with a better sacrifice. This all-necessary Mediator proved to be Jesus Christ. Pointing out the superiority of this Mediator as compared to the prophet Moses, the Bible gives us the following explanation: “But now Jesus has obtained a more excellent public service, so that he is also the mediator of a correspondingly better covenant, which has been legally established upon better promises. . . . In his saying ‘a new covenant’ he has made the former one obsolete.”—Hebrews 8:6, 13.
“Obsolete” Old Covenant Replaced
9. (a) On what day did the old covenant pass away? (b) What took place on that morning, and in verification of what?
9 That “obsolete,” or out-of-date, covenant passed away 50 days after the resurrection of the Mediator of the new covenant. This took place on the day of Pentecost. On the morning of that day, the antitype of the Jewish Feast of Ingathering began to take place. How? Well, 120 faithful disciples of the Mediator of the new covenant gathered together in an upper room in Jerusalem and received the promised holy spirit, in fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel 2:28-32. It verified the start of the new covenant by furnishing audible and visible proof to all observers.
10. On that day of Pentecost, how was it made manifest that Jesus’ disciples had been anointed with holy spirit?
10 When Jesus came up out of the waters of baptism and holy spirit was poured down upon him, the spirit was miraculously symbolized by the image of a dove hovering above his head. But in the case of the 120 Hebrew disciples on the day of Pentecost, how was their being anointed with holy spirit made manifest? By the appearing of tongues as if of fire above their heads and by their being gifted with the ability to proclaim God’s Word in foreign languages that they had never learned.—Matthew 3:16; Acts 2:1-36.
11. (a) What ought to be evident to Jews, and why? (b) How do we know that Jews are not saying to one another, “Know Jehovah!” and what happiness do they not have?
11 It ought to be evident to Jews and their rabbis that the Mosaic Law covenant is no longer in operation. Since the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman legions in 70 C.E., they have not had a temple. At that time, their genealogical records were lost or destroyed. Thus today they do not know who belongs to the tribe of Levi and who is a descendant of Aaron so as to serve in the capacity of high priest for the Jewish nation. Instead of saying to one another, “Know Jehovah!” they consider the pronouncing of the divine name to be a sacrilege. So they do not share the happiness of Jehovah’s Witnesses over the fact that the “obsolete” old covenant has been replaced by the new covenant.
“An Everlasting Covenant”
12. (a) In what prayer can Jehovah’s Witnesses join from the heart? (b) With what was Jesus resurrected from the dead?
12 In stark contrast with the Jewish situation of today, Jehovah’s Witnesses have an active, officiating High Priest at God’s right hand in the heavens. He is the Mediator of the new covenant, a mediator far greater than Moses. From the heart, these witnesses of Jehovah can join the writer’s prayer at Hebrews 13:20, 21: “Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an everlasting covenant, our Lord Jesus, equip you with every good thing to do his will.” Since that “great shepherd” laid down his human life for “the sheep,” he could be resurrected from the dead in an immortal, bloodless spirit body but with the value of the blood of the new covenant that is faithfully kept and that is everlasting in its good effects.
13. (a) How is the death of the Mediator of the new covenant remembered every year by Jehovah’s Witnesses? (b) What do the emblems symbolize?
13 The sacrificial death of the Mediator of the new covenant, Jesus Christ, is remembered every year by Jehovah’s Witnesses on the anniversary of “the Lord’s evening meal.” The unleavened bread partaken of by those in the new covenant during that “evening meal” symbolizes the perfect flesh of the Mediator, and the wine symbolizes the pure, uncontaminated blood that, according to the Scriptures, contained the very life value of the Mediator.—1 Corinthians 11:20-26; Leviticus 17:11.
14. When those in the new covenant partake of the Memorial emblems, what are they doing, symbolically speaking?
14 When those in the new covenant partake of the Memorial cup of wine at “the Lord’s evening meal,” it is only in a figurative way that they are drinking blood, that of the Mediator of the new covenant. It is also in a symbolic way that they eat his flesh when they partake of the Memorial loaf of unleavened bread. By doing this, symbolically speaking, they demonstrate their faith in the ransom sacrifice of the Son of God, the Redeemer of all mankind.
15. (a) How long has the new covenant already lasted, and how has it indeed proved to be a better covenant? (b) Why can the new covenant be referred to as “an everlasting covenant”?
15 The new covenant, now more than 1,950 years old, is nearing the accomplishment of its purpose. Already it has lasted centuries longer than the Mosaic Law covenant. Being based upon better promises and a better sacrifice with a better Mediator, it has indeed proved to be a better covenant. Because of not needing to be superseded or replaced by a new and better covenant, the successful new covenant is referred to as “an everlasting covenant.”—Hebrews 13:20.
16. For what should we be thankful to Jehovah God?
16 Thanks to the Almighty God, Jehovah, that he has raised up a Mediator better than Moses, by means of whom He could legally take the Mosaic Law covenant out of the way by nailing it to the torture stake and provide the blood of the everlasting new covenant!
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The new covenant mediated by Jesus is far superior to the old covenant mediated by Moses