As I read the Bible I understand that the New Covenant began at the cross, with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Does this mean that some of Jesus’ answers were for those under the old covenant rather that the new covenant? An example would be what is called the “Lord’s Prayer” or the “Disciple’s Prayer”. It seems that forgiveness as understood in this prayer is not according to the New Covenant.
Whether a person was under the “old” covenant, or whether a person is under the “new” covenant, salvation has always been the same. Acts 10:38-43 says, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. TO HIM GIVE ALL THE PROPHETS WITNESS, THAT THROUGH HIS NAME WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHALL RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS.”
Under the “old” covenant, THEY LOOKED AHEAD by faith to the Messiah and Savior would would come and give His life for their sins. All of those sacrifices pictured the one supreme sacrifice that was yet to come.
Under the “new” covenant, WE LOOK BACK to the Savior who did come and die for our sins on the cross. So whether under the “old,” or under the “new” covenants, we all look to Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross for our sins.
The differences in the covenants, then, comes in all of the ordinances and sacrifices that the Jews were required to observe. Notice Hebrews 8-10:14, “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount. 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. For if THAT FIRST COVENANT had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 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: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL after those days, saith the Lord; I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MIND, AND WILL WRITE THEM IN THEIR HEARTS: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A NEW COVENANT, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. Then verily THE FIRST COVENANT HAD ALSO ORDINANCES OF DIVINE SERVICE, AND A WORLDLY SANCTUARY. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only IN MEATS AND DRINKS, AND DIVERS WASHINGS, AND CARNAL ORDINANCES, IMPOSED ON THEM UNTIL THE TIME OF REFORMATION. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of THE NEW TESTAMENT, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither THE FIRST TESTAMENT was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law. Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
We do not have to observe all of those Jewish ordinances that were under the first covenant. Colossians 2:14-16 says, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.” All of those ordinances in regard to eating certain meats, observing certain new moons, holy days, sabbath days, etc., have all been blotted out when Jesus died on the cross.
But some people make the mistake of trying to discount the authority of Scripture before Jesus died on the cross. They try and say that “it does not apply to us,” because it was all “before the cross.” That means that they bascially ignore the Old Testament, and Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament. But II Timothy 3:16,17 reminds us, “ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
When Jesus died on the cross, HE DID NOT BREAK the Old Testament ordinances, HE FULFILLED THEM. Matthew 5:17-19 says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I AM NOT COME TO DESTROY, BUT TO FULFIL. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Under the Old Testament ordinances, man was continually reminded of his uncleanness in a multitude of ways; in regard to food, in regard to sickness, in regard to what he touched, etc. Under the Old Testament ordinances, man was continually reminded that he needed rest; in regard to the sabbaths, in regard to the new moons, in regard to the feasts, etc.
The Lord’s prayer that He taught His disciples was one that was teaching them how to pray, not only before He died, but also after He died, and they would be carrying on the ministry of the church. Matthew 6:7-13 says, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” We need to pray about all of those things yet today in our lives.
If the Old Testament and the accounts of the Gospel in the New Testament were only good for Jews, then God would have stated that. But as you read through the New Testament, you will see God moving the writers to many times refer back to the Old Testament. The support of pastors is just one example. I Timothy 5:17,18 says, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” Jesus referred to the same Old Testament principle when talking to the men that He sent out to preach. Luke “10:1-7 says, “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for THE LABOURER IS WORTHY OF HIS HIRE. Go not from house to house.”