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Reading Old Covenant Material with New Covenant Eyes

Posted by Major Dave on 8:59 AM
How are we supposed to read Old Testament passages which have some much accent on judgement, when in fact we live by the superior promises of the New Covenant?

  1. We read to understand the historical context.
  2. We read to understand and appreciate the contrasts between the Old and New Covenants.
  3. We read to find principles which continue in the New Covenant.
  4. We read to discover hidden promises.

Here are a few examples taken from Isaiah 14 and 15.

14:1-2 - Inspite of temporary discipline, Israel will outlast Babylon. If we perservere, we WIN. According to the OLD covenant, God will again choose Israel. The superior promises of the NEW covenant indicate that "the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable." (Rom. 11:29).

14:3 - a hidden promise - God wants us to experience "REST from our PAIN and TURMOIL and SERVITUDE.

14:20 from The Message: "The progeny of your evil life will never be named. Oblivion!". This is a curse - your children will not succeed you to the throne. The blessing which we (New Covenant) need to claim for our children (spiritual and natural) is that they will succeed us... and move into their inheritance.

14:30 - the promise of God and the heart of God for the "poor".

15:4 - the enemies of God will have "terror" in the depths of their souls, by contrast the NC declares the "shalom" of God ruling in the hearts of his friends and children.

Why not add a few examples that you see?


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2 Comments


Hi David,

Well said.

Whenever we read any passage in the Old Covenant, before we jump to application, we always need to ask ourselves one question: "How does the reality of the death and resurrection of Christ and the indwelling Spirit" affect the application of this verse?" If we probe these fully, the short answer is: "They change everything."

Calvary/Pentecost is the great interpretive filter for all New Covenant believers. We must bring New Covenant "lenses" to the OC, not OC lenses to the New.

Failure to do this is such a routine and widespread phenomenon in our pulpits (especially when preaching typology), that the good news of the Gospel of the grace of God in Jesus Christ has been lost in many of our churches.

It has been replaced with a religiously defined system of behavior modification and a merit/reward system of theology (do "good" and He blesses you/do "bad" and you're cursed) that is nothing but incarnate, religious, death.

If we would stop for a moment and apply that simple question before we exhort to obedience conformity, the Church would be spared untold doctrinal nonsense and bondage, and individuals would be spared untold pain.

Our obedience is not our gift to God. It is His gift to us.

God help us all.

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