The 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.