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:
Hebrews 8:8 (KJV)
New – Boy don’t we love these words! If there’s a new covenant, then surely we can dismiss that old one which was full of laws and regulations. We might conclude that Yeshua created a new covenant for a new time – the age of Christianity. If this was the case, then the author of Hebrews would have surely used the Greek word neo denoting something “new in time”. But this isn’t the word being used. The Greek word here is kainos which has a different meaning.
“kainos means ‘new in nature’ (with an implication of ‘better’). … This is now a better covenant (Heb. 7:22), infallible (8:7), everlasting (13:20), grounded on higher promises (8:6).”
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament
It’s still the covenant, just improved. A covenant is a contract and a contract requires four elements to be legally binding: an offer, an acceptance, terms, and consideration. We find the offer in Hebrews 8:10, “I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” This is no different than the offer given by God 2500 years prior in Exodus 6:7. The acceptance during the Exodus is recorded three different times in Exodus 19:8; 24:3,7. It is also now required of each one of us today. The terms haven’t changed either – it’s still the Torah. Yeshua makes this very clear in Matthew 19:17; 23:3; John 14:15; and in many other places. And finally, in order for this contract to be legally binding, it requires a consideration, or an impelling influence for the contracting party to enter into the covenant. There are multiple reasons, some of which are outlined in Lev.26 and Deut.28, others can include the gift of the Holy Spirit, etc. As we can see, the kainos covenant is practically the same one established on Mt. Sinai, just renewed.
More support for this theology can be found in the words of Yeshua.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
Obviously Yeshua isn’t giving a new commandment. “Loving one another” has been around since Moses and can be found in Leviticus 19:18. So what are we to make of the word kainos being used here as well? Yeshua was reestablishing this commandment and bringing a focus back to it. This is no different than the phrase “new covenant”. Do you see the relation? Paul saw it and relayed it to us, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
2 thoughts on “A Renewed Covenant”
I love what you are doing. Please keep it up. One point with this post. A contract requires offer of terms, acceptance of the same terms, a lawful object and consideration. You explained the first three fine but missed the fourth. The consideration of the new covenant is the holy spirit, which came out of God.
Thanks Pavel. I appreciate your input on the legalities. I’ll make a revision to the post. I also understand that this “covenant” is more of an “adhesion contract” as worded in Black’s Law Dictionary. I’ll remove the “legality” wording to replace it with “consideration”. I think I understand that this ‘consideration’ is the “cause, motive, price, or impelling influence which induces a contracting party to enter into a contract.”