A Better Covenant – A Better Hope – A New Priesthood – A New Law

bible-altarThe Book of Hebrews is one of the most important books in the New Testament. In it we read what the nature of the NEW Covenant really is…

 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levit’ical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchiz’edek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well… This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchiz’edek, who has become a priest, not according to a legal requirement concerning bodily descent [ descendants of Aaron] but by the power of an indestructible life. For it is witnessed of him, “Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchiz’edek.” On the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. And it was not without an oath. Those who formerly became priests took their office without an oath, but this one was addressed with an oath, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘Thou art a priest for ever.'” This makes Jesus the surety of a better covenant. (Heb 7:11-22 RSVA – emphasis added)

But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry which is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says: “The days will come, says the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in my covenant, and so I paid no heed to them, says the Lord. This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach every one his fellow or every one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Heb 8:6-13 RSVA – emphasis added)

How many times in our Bible reading have we breezed by these verses in Hebrews and never absorbed what the writer is really saying under the inspiration of God? It is evident that the leaders of Christendom down through the history of Christianity since it became a “religion” or “religions” have failed to understand their meaning or just plain ignored these passages. Just how much of what we do in churches today that is linked to the Old Covenant is evidence of this. Many of us just observed one of the traditional feasts, Easter (named after the fertility goddess, Ishtar). It was originally observed on the Jewish Passover when Christ died on the cross, but later was changed to the pagan feast observed in the spring according to the movement of heavenly bodies (In 725, Bede succinctly wrote, “The Sunday following the full Moon which falls on or after the equinox will give the lawful Easter.” – This formula is still pretty much what the church system goes by today, not the Jewish Passover). Then we have the feast of the winter solstice we call “Christmas” and all its associated pagan traditions when Jesus true birth date according to most scholars was in the spring of the year. 

The point I am making is that in the church today we have certain feasts that must be observed if you are to be called a “Christian” just as they had in the Old Covenant. “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God at the place which he will choose: at the feast of unleavened bread [Passover], at the feast of weeks [Pentecost], and at the feast of booths [Tabernacles]…” (Deu 16:16 RSVA).

What other traditions do we keep from the Old Law? We still have a paid professional priesthood we call “pastors.” But what does the New Covenant say about this? Aren’t all who are Christ’s His priests?

 To him [Jesus] who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Rev 1:5-6 RSVA)

 Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1Pe 2:4-5 RSVA)

 But in the church systems today we still have our special temples and synagogues [called churches and cathedrals] that we must assemble at on a regular basis so we can “worship” there. Did I hear someone say, “But isn’t that where we are to worship? Surely you don’t believe that a person can worship out on a fishing stream or while hiking in the mountains on a Sunday, do you?” Well, Jesus was quite clear on this when HE was talking about the New Covenant saying,

 Jesus said to her [the Samaritan woman], “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father… But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Joh 4:21-24 RSVA)

True worship of the Father is a state of being, not being in a certain place to be-in.

So we Christians today, like the Jews, have our special buildings where we carry on our special feasts at the hands of a special paid professional priesthood. What else? Oh yes, where there are special buildings and a special priesthood there must be support moneys coming in so we observe the law of the tithe (or at least a warped version of it). All this and much more is required in this earth-bound false system just like the Old Covenant observances and traditions were in that system that appealed to the five earthly senses with it trumpets, incense, gold and silver plating, tapestries, priestly garments, etc. But the nature of the New Covenant is one that is “a heavenly.” Even those of the first covenant who walked with God by faith were not bound in their worship of Him by the things of this world. In Hebrews eleven, the great “faith chapter” we read,

 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from which they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he has prepared for them a city. (Heb 11:14-16 KJ2000)

Do we who call ourselves “Christians” really worship our Father in Spirit and in Truth? Does the Holy Spirit in our spirits lead us in our worship which is not bound by an earthly local? Is the Living Truth, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, leading us into all truth (see John 16: 13-15) or do we still rely on human teachers to teach us all things? “And they shall not teach every one his fellow or every one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest.” Do we even know what covenant we are of?

So what about keeping the law? Surely the New Covenant incorporates all the ten commandments of the old law? Well, yes and no. In the quotes above found in Hebrews chapter seven and eight the writer is telling us that with the NEW priesthood it is necessary to have a new law and that it would be inscribed upon our new hearts. Jesus made it clear what that “new law” is saying, “A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another” (Joh 13:34-35 KJ2000). Paul went on to write,

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, self-control: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25 KJ2000 – emphasis added)

If we walk in the Spirit of Christ we will be walking in His love toward our fellow man and the love of God fulfils the whole law and commandments. In fact there is one true sign given by Jesus that we are a true disciple of Christ and that is that we are walking with one another in His love. Without His love in our hearts we are only a bunch of religious hypocrites putting on an outward show in a religion that is all about the outward things of this world.

Freedom! To walk in unity with Jesus by His Spirit is true freedom, freedom from sin and freedom from law keeping by the flesh. It is also freedom from any “new covenant” church laws made by men to keep us serving in their church systems. We are like the wind that can not be bottled up and sold by men. As Jesus said to that bound up old church man 2000 years ago, “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell from where it came, and where it goes: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.” (Joh 3:8 KJ2000). Jesus’ own words all pointed to our freedom that He died for that we might be free IN Him as we abide IN Him. The law is only a school master to keep us in check as long as we are not truly born anew by the Father. Those who are under the old fleshly natures of Adam are still subject to the law to keep them in check (see Galatians 3:24-25), but those who have receive their new natures in Christ are walking by His law of love and are the only ones on this earth that are truly free, because they are not of this world, but are of His heavenly kingdom under the rule of His Spirit, bound to Him and one another by love. Be free, my brothers and sister and walk in the light as He is in the light. Amen.

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23 comments on “A Better Covenant – A Better Hope – A New Priesthood – A New Law

  1. Patricia W. Orr says:

    What a refreshing word. Thank you. Pat Orr

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  2. Tim says:

    What an excellent post, simply beautiful. Thank you. Very direct, deep, and yet so simple to understand. Impossible to argue with this post (2 Tim 2:24-26). Wish all “internet posts” were filled with such truth, simplicity, love and grace. Thank you

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    • Thanks, Tim, for your gracious reply, Tim. The more we listen to the Spirit, the more simple, filled with truth, love and grace His words become. God bless you with His words of wisdom in your heart, my brother.

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  3. Mia says:

    Dear Michael
    Andre and I were just talking about the freedom we enjoy in our Lord Jesus yesterday! It is so incredibly beautiful, but we have been warned, that when we preach this Gospel of grace and freedom, we will be thrown out of churches, synagogues, cathedrals and the rest.

    But, we keep our eyes fixed on our LIVING Lord as we walk with Him everyday!

    Yip, dear brother, in Him (not a building, a system and all these religious cohorts) we live and move and have our being.

    Blessings to you and I hope you are enjoying the first fruits of spring!

    Mia

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  4. Thomas Gordon says:

    Thank you for your teaching and I do agree in part, for the body of Christ needs much learning and the Holy Spirit needs to be in the position in the body where He is intended to be. The church lacks true Apostolic leadership and the true prophets of God are no better accepted now in today’s church than they were in the Old Testament dispensation, because we are bound by traditions of men and doctrines of demons under the guise of church protocols. However badly the church needs repair and to be put in order we still need to meet together and be moved by the Holy Spirit as outlined in 1Cor. 12. The body of Christ will never resemble that of the first church until Christ is established in our hearts as the Head of the body and the Holy Spirit is once again moving among us as He should. We are called to unity, but unity without Christ at the helm and the Holy Spirit filling our sails is not unity at all and we are lost in the fallacies of dead men’s religion, not true Christianity, where Christ by the Holy Spirit puts the church in order and it is ran by God and not men.. What I am trying to say is until the body stops grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit when we gather as believers we can not come into unity as a body because we do not respect the head, who is Christ. Please correct me if I am wrong but until the church structure with the Apostle, the Prophet, the Evangelist, the Pastor and Teacher, who are set in place by Christ for the edification of the church and the assembling of the believers, are in their rightful place with Christ as the Head and the Holy Sprint moving in our midst, the church will never function as it should. I know you believe this but it was not made clear. Paul spoke of support for the ministers although he himself worked on various occasions and in different places as to not be a burden on those he brought into the body.. I do agree we can and should worship God at all times everywhere in spirit and in truth and not just in church settings, thus our lives are hid in Christ. We have lost much through the traditions of men and many seem to be imprisoned, in a glass jar, looking out and not being able to see, not enabling some to get outside the constraints of the pastors (who are set in the church often by men), to find true and individual fellowship with God. The body has too many controllers and not enough leaders established by God with Christ at the head. We are supposed to be servants showing the ways of Christ.. Our fellowship is with God empowered by His Holy Spirit. May our Father in Heaven and our Lord Jesus Christ continue to bless you with all heavenly wisdom and prudence as you seek to serve only Him. bless you with all heavenly blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord -Thomas Gordon

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    • Thanks, Thomas.
      True “ministries” (a word translated from the Greek meaning servants) are not “offices” (a word that is not contextually in the Greek), but rather are occupied by those whose metrons were given by God to edify and build up the saints of God into the fullness of Christ, not themselves. THAT is what is missing in the church systems of today, men who are true servants of Christ in the perfecting of the saints who spend their time “working themselves out of a job.” As it was for John the Baptist, so it should be for all Christ’s servants in the body, “He must increase and I must decrease.”
      Love in Christ,
      Michael

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      • Michelle says:

        Office vs. ministry — this is such an important distinction! Thank you, Michael for stating it so clearly.

        Much is being made today of the supposed “5-fold offices” from Ephesians 4:11 as a means of “reorganizing the church” (although the Greek construction is really a four part list with “shepherd-teachers” as the fourth.) And, interestingly, most of those who have mentioned it to me see themselves as either “apostles” or “prophets.”

        Thomas, you mention the 1 Corinthians 12 church as a structure to copy, and then you talked about the 5-fold list. I know that is what is currently being taught by a lot of pastors, but 1 Cor. 12:28 talks about 8 gifted ministries that could just as easily be interpreted as “offices” as those in Ephesians. 4.

        The point in both of these passages is that Jesus Christ empowers His church (the people, not the institution). We are all members of His royal priesthood (all believers – Jew and Gentile, men and women, slave and free) all part of His body, under His headship, all able to approach the throne of God with boldness. Each of us is gifted to serve.

        Furthermore, we can recognize a false “church” by the existence of hierarchy. Jesus told us that those in His church would NOT exercise authority over each other (Matt. 20:20-28, Mark 10:35-45). In situations where we do see people exercising authority and lording it over others, we can know it is not the church that Jesus formed.

        It helps to remember that, even though Paul may have written some of his letters before the Gospel accounts were written down, EVERYTHING that he wrote was informed by the Gospel message. He knew of the life, death, resurrection and teachings of Jesus Christ. He knew what Jesus said about exercising authority over others and lording it over others. Everything Paul wrote must be interpreted in a way that is consistent with what Jesus taught. By allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, we can also correctly interpret what Paul meant in the Ephesians and 1 Corinthians passages.

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  5. Mike says:

    John 3:8 was the first verse the Father ever illuminated to me. I failed that verse for 20 years by being bolted down in the “church”, but now I’m am free as the wind out of church and in Him not a building. Nice article, I can really relate.

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  6. Hi Michael. Glad to see you writing again. I love the book of Hebrews and I think you’re right that most of professing Christiandom either doesn’t read this book, doesn’t understand it or refuses to obey what it says. Every Christian alive will have a truly Spirit filled effectual life if they recognize these opposites and refuse to go back to what was and live in the reality of the New Covenant in Jesus. That choice no doubt is costly in many ways, though I have not and will not regret siding with my Lord and His Spirit over the vain dictates and promises of religious men. From the comments, we’re not alone!

    I enjoyed your comment to Thomas as well. He said many good things, but should look up that word “office” in the Greek as you say to realize offices and religious positions are not from God but derived from the imaginations of men.
    I’d rather be a nobody (I am) and simply be available for Him as He leads then “position” myself or “name” myself anything. Theirs no humility in either.

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    • Hey! My not so forgotten brother (at least with us), thanks for posting your comments. Most of what the Lord puts on my heart to write is in response to my interacting with His dear saints. Imagine that… the Spirit moves among us as we function as the Body of Christ and as members of one another. There is so much more that God can do in and through us as we abide in Jesus as branches on His vine. No, we are not alone.
      Part of being branches on THE Vine is that each branch (member of His body) is attached to the ONE Vine. We each get our life flow from Him, not others who try to be the Vine themselves for us. That is not abiding in HIS kingdom, but the kingdoms of men. When Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing,” HE meant it. For a branch to be attached to another branch is to become a branch that bears no fruit. True disciples of Christ are not the disciples of men. True “ministers” in the church can only point all the branches to the Vine and never allow them to become attached to themselves. Only Christ is our sufficiency. Like Paul said, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” (Phi 4:13 RSVA). Our lives and our strength come from abiding in the Son and all glory goes to Him.

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      • Markus says:

        [Most of what the Lord puts on my heart to write is in response to my interacting with His dear saints.]

        :-D… so it is with me, too!!! Great :-D!!!

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  7. TJ says:

    Amen! Wonderful post Michael. Love the simple truth of Christ Jesus and His liberty therein. But as you have stated continuously, it is IN Christ that we have such freedom and liberty….IN Him and everything else is simply in our own strength. That is why He is the sheepsgate and the narrow way.

    The truths that you have captured in this post can only be understood by the spiritual mind, of the ekklesia, and are an offense to our flesh. For satan’s deception, and thus as Paul said “who has bewitched you…..you began in the spirit but are now continuing on in the flesh…..” has many “professing christians” trying to serve Jesus by means of the old covenant. Love how you articulated this in your post…..holy days, rules, regulations, services, emulations, etc, etc…

    And as we see from the story of Naboth, satan has plundered the vineyard (ekklesia) and planted a garden (institutional/modern christianity) causing many’s affections to be misguided since the beginning with rome through to our day with rome’s daughters spewing the numerous false teachings and bondages. For the prophets prophesy lies and my people love it so. As one brother says, we have moved from the Christ-centered faith of the original disciples to a church-centered faith of the pharisees, etc. There is nothing new under the sun. Many, and I too was one and taught such, do not know how to be in Christ apart from the pulpits, steeples, stained-glass windows, hierarchies, temples, worship leaders, choirs, etc. To include the erroneous concept of “ordination” and “calling to the ministry”…..all rome’s doctrines and not of the Lord Jesus.

    So thank you for loving the ekklesia and Him to proclaim the Truth in the simplicity of Christ Jesus that there is the priesthood of all believers who are to build up and edify one another by acts of love and service for one another. That there is a plurality of experienced servants/disciples who lead by example and watch over the flock in love and concern. That there is the one-anothering of Christ’s servants “ministering” meaning serving, the brethren with all that we have whether spiritual or natural, to include our very possessions, and our very own lives, if our brethren are in need, etc. There is a total freedom in Christ Jesus that just is not to be found in the modern traditional/institutional “church.” Break loose the shackles of your Babylonian captivity and return to God in spirit and in truth!

    Godspeed! Thanks again for the post

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  8. Wow TJ, that was a whopper of a “sermon” and I really liked it! Seriously edifying my friend. I think you have come much further than you think in those few years outside. Maybe our sister Loretta had something to do with that as well.
    I appreciate what God is doing in and through you TJ- as do others. I’ll respond to your note you sent to my site some time tomorrow. I want it to settle a little….in the Spirit.

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  9. Very good article. Christ has fulfilled the Old Covenant and given us a much better way to live in the New Covenant, the way of love. The Law was (and is) a tutor and guide to the ungodly, but to those who have come to Christ, the law is no longer needed. It’s time we stop combining the Old with the New and accept the grace that Christ provides. Thanks for posting.

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  10. GiaRio says:

    love this…th simplicity in Christ is so bombarded by th harlot church, but when the true bride is presented she really do shine forth th righteousness of Christ against th darkness of this present darkness and organized religious services…would nottrade my liberty in Christ fa anythin…and am always encouraged that He will not lose one that th Father gave Him…Spirit and Truth worship…so wonderful even without comparison to th dead thang men prefer…

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  11. minamomof4 says:

    Love it, and I totally agree. I get very frustrated because I have many “churched” friends who are afraid to buck the world’s system and embrace the freedom we find in Christ. I no longer want to regurgitate the “correct” view of scripture based on man’s teaching, and desire only to be shown the truth by Holy Spirit. What the Lord speaks to my heart is often so radically different than what I’m hearing from the pulpit, and yet I know in my heart that it is right. It’s so amazing to me how absolute freedom in Christ is so feared in the American church system – if Jesus came to give us this, shouldn’t we want it? And yet, fear still rules most people’s actions, and yet they call themselves free.

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    • Mina,Gia, and Done,

      Paul wrote, “As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fulness of life in him, who is the head of all rule and authority” (Col 2:6-10 RSVA).

      In this passage you see a great tug of war in the hearts of these early believers. On the one side is the Christ that they were once rooted and built up in, the same Christ in who the fullness of God dwells mightily and had become their All in all and on the other side we see these believers being seduced by the philosophies and deceits of human tradition away from the very Christ who had taken up residence in them in a very personal way. They were rapidly trading in their freedom and life found by living IN Christ alone for the outward worldly teachings and traditions of men. What a bad trade they were making! This was not only taking place in Colos’sae, but in Galatia, Corinth but by the end of the first century we read in Revelations that each of the seven churches mentioned there are falling away from that once powerful and simple faith which the apostles preached among them. Philosophy, empty deceit and human traditions being driven by evil spirits had pretty well taken over in the early church. We as Christians who have been steeped in the teachings of religious men for the last 1900 years have so much to recover from and most of us aren’t aware of how far the church has fallen away from what could be ours if we would just turn with all our hearts and seek out the Rock of Truth which can not be shaken and tune our spiritual ears so that we listen to the voice of the ONE Shepherd as HIS sheep should be doing and no longer be seduced by those who come into His sheepfold by another way than Him. “It is for freedom Christ has set you free. Be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

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      • bill wood says:

        greetings saints priests!!!

        I read this article yesterday and then something stirred in me this morning and I was going to bring up Col.2:8…….however, our beloved brother Michael already beat me to it.

        Anyway, it appears to me that for the most part the *church* has become pretty much earthbound, when it’s always been God’s desire for her to be a heavenly dweller. I suppose this is akin to the Israelites believing the bad report and deciding to make a captain for themselves to lead them back to Egypt, instead of going into the promised land and possessing it.

        Yet there are those that believe the good report!!! Full speed ahead!!!

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      • Good to hear from you, Bill! Good to hear we are still on the same journey and hearing the same voice of the Spirit speak to us. Give me a call some time.

        Michael

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  12. Hosea says:

    NO COMMENT! MY SIBLINGS IN CHRIST HAVE SPOKEN MY HEART….agape 🙂

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  13. […] And for a great exposition of the better covenant, I implore you to read this article by Michael Clark “A Better Covenant..” https://awildernessvoice.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/a-better-covenant-a-better-hope-a-new-priesthood-a-… […]

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  14. […] And for a great exposition of the better covenant, I implore you to read this article by Michael Clark “A Better Covenant..” https://awildernessvoice.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/a-better-covenant-a-better-hope-a-new-priesthood-a-… […]

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