The New Covenant versus the Old Covenant

Also, some notes on Matthew 5:17–18 and 19–20

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What does the Bible really say about the two covenants, old and new, and the difference between them? This article takes a closer look at that question, and considers and compares a number of things in connection with those covenants, including some parallels between them. It has even some notes on Matthew 5:17–18 and 19-20 and 1 John 3:4 and a number of other scriptures.

The Old Covenant was made and celebrated by Mount Sinai. The celebration of the New Covenant was to take place on Mount Zion, the City of God, the heavenly Jerusalem.

Many people may not have noticed the passage which mentions the celebration of the making of the Old Covenant. But it is there, in the Bible.

That happened up on Mount Sinai. As soon as the Israelites had for the third time said “yes” to the covenant which the Lord was proposing (see Exodus 19:8, 24:3 and 24:7), that covenant was confirmed, and a delegation went up to the Lord on the mountain. We read:

Exodus 24: […] 7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord has said will we do, and be obedient. 8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you concerning all these words. 9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: 10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. 11 And on the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. (AKJV)

Indeed, right after that covenant had been confirmed, a delegation of seventy-four men went up to the mountain, and met the Lord and ate and drank. Obviously, that was a celebration of the covenant which had been made.

Regarding the “mountain” where the New Covenant was to be celebrated – the Bible tells us where it is. See this passage, and also the notes below it:

Hebrews 12:18 For you have not drawn near to the mountain which could be touched and was lit with fire, [a] and gloom and darkness and tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice of words […] 22 But you have drawn near Mount Zion, even the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and myriads of angels, 23 and a festal gathering and assembly of the first-born ones who have been registered in Heaven; [b] and God the judge of all, and spirits of just ones who have been perfected; 24 and Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and a blood of sprinkling which speaks better things than that of Abel. (BPT)

a Verse 18, “the mountain which could be touched and was lit with fire” = Mount Sinai where the Old Covenant was made and celebrated. The ancient Israelites had drawn near that mountain. The saints had “drawn near” a different mountain, verse 22, “Mount Zion, even the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem”. (Saints: Those who received the Holy Spirit in biblical times, first century CE or earlier.)

b Verse 23: The apostle mentioned a “festal gathering and assembly of the first-born ones who have been registered in Heaven”, in the Greek NT text panêgurei kai ekklêsia prôtotokôn en ouranois apogegrammenôn. (The article eba049.htm, including its appendix 2, has some notes on that passage.) That festal gathering was to take place in the heavenly Jerusalem. That obviously was the celebration of the New Covenant, its “wedding feast”.

And yes, it was and is a heavenly city and mountain. – Many people have been caused to misunderstand Revelation 21:2 and think that it talks about a city coming down to the planet Earth. But, that is not so. It is obvious that in that vision, John stood on the ground of the heavenly land, and saw the city prepared by God come down there. – The article eba049.htm has more on what the Bible says about Heaven.

Washings in connection with the two covenants, old and new.

Exodus 19:10–14 tells us that when the ancient Israelites approached (“drew near”) the mountain of the covenant making, they had washed their clothes.

There is a New Covenant parallel to that. Even the saints had gone through a washing: Baptism. (See also Revelation 7:14.)

Exodus 24:8 records that when the Old Covenant was made, the Israelites were sprinkled by blood. This was obviously a type and shadow of things to come, a symbol for Jesus’ blood which then was shed in order to ransom mankind from the hands of the Accuser (cf. Hebrews 2:14 and John 3:16).

After the making of the Old Covenant, the ancient Israelites were to enter the earthly Promised Land. Even the New Covenant has a Promised Land.

Many of the things the ancient Israelites went through, from the time of the Exodus to the time when their children forty years later entered the Promised Land, symbolised things that were to come – they were shadows and types of New Covenant related matters. The apostle Paul wrote to the saints in Corinth:

1 Corinthians 10:1 Now, I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea: 2 and all were immersed into Moses, in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all did eat the same spiritual meat; 4 and all did drink the same spiritual drink; (for they drank of the spiritual rock, which followed them, and that rock was Christ.) 5 Nevertheless, with the greater part of them, God was not well pleased; for they were cast down in the wilderness. 6 Now, these things have become types to us, in order that we should not be lusters after evil things, even as they lusted. […] 11 Now, all these things happened to them as types; and are written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages are come. 12 Wherefore, let him who thinks he stands, take heed, lest he fall. (LO)

Verse 11, “these things happened to them as types”. Those events, from the Exodus to the entering of the Promised Land, were real, tangible events which involved real people. But at the same time, many of those events were types of what was to come. They were symbols of things in connection with the New Covenant.

Exodus 14:21–30 records that when the Israelites were freed from slavery, the Lord miraculously saved them from the hands of the Pharaoh, by making it possible for them to cross the Red Sea. It appears that that event was a type (symbol, shadow) of a future, spiritual liberation.

There was also the rebellion in the desert; see the above-quoted 1 Corinthians 10:5, along with Numbers 13 and 14. That event led to that with the exception of two men, none of those Israelites who were of mature age when they left Egypt, were allowed to enter the Promised Land. The whole nation had to stay in the Arabian desert, for forty years, until those people had died. After this, their children were allowed to enter the land of promise. Here is a part of that story:

Numbers 14:2 And all the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3 “And why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.” (NASB95)

Even that was a type of things that were to come. That is, in connection with the New Covenant’s Promised Land – the land and the city which already the faithful men of old had looked forward to. (Hebrews 11:16, “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: why God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he has prepared for them a city”, AKJV.) – In New Testament times, most Jews rejected the Lord Jesus, just as their ancestors had in the desert rejected the Lord when he was taking them to the Promised Land. Through that, those Jews of New Testament times also rejected the New Covenant’s heavenly Promised Land, the one which Hebrews 11:16 and several other NT passages refer to.

(The articles eba049.htm and exa109.htm have some notes on the New Covenant’s heavenly Promised Land.)

The sign of the Old Covenant, and the sign of the New Covenant.

The Old Covenant’s “sign” was the circumcision of males. That is why old-covenantal Jews are in some NT passages called by the epithet “the Circumcision”.

The Old Covenant’s circumcision was a symbol of what was to come. For, the New Covenant’s “sign” is the “circumcision of the heart”. We read:

Romans 2:29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. (ESV01)

That refers to the receiving of the Holy Spirit, in contrast to physical circumcision. Along those lines, the apostle Paul wrote to the saints in Philippi:

Philippians 3:3 For we are the real circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh (ESV01)

Indeed, whatever some might say, the only valid “sign” of that an individual has entered into a covenant-relationship with Jesus, is the Holy Spirit. – The article eca076.htm has some notes on the Holy Spirit as the New Covenant’s “sign” and “seal”.

Here, one must keep in mind that the Old Covenant was a temporary arrangement. The apostle Paul noted that it was “added because of transgressions”, and that it was to last “until the Offspring would come to whom the promise had been made”. Please read all of this scripture-quote, slowly and with thought:

Galatians 3:15 Brothers and sisters, I give an example from daily life: once a person’s will has been ratified, no one adds to it or annuls it. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring; it does not say, “And to offsprings,” as of many; but it says, “And to your offspring,” that is, to one person, who is Christ. 17 My point is this: the law, [c] which came four hundred thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, [c] so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance comes from the law, it no longer comes from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise. 19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring would come to whom the promise had been made; and it was ordained through angels by a mediator. (NRSV, note signs added)

c The phrase “the law” in verses 17, 18 and 19 refers to the Old Covenant. The words “covenant previously ratified by God” in the last part of verse 17 refer to the covenant which the Lord had 430 years earlier made with Abraham, including the promises.

If you read that passage with care, then you perhaps saw that the apostle explained to those saints that the Old Covenant which came 430 years after the promises, was to last “until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made”, see verse 19 – that is, until Jesus came. When Jesus came and then made his Sacrifice by giving his life in place of others, it became possible to launch the New Covenant. When that happened, the Old Covenant had served its purpose and was set aside.

A note: Some people might have problems with the fact that the Old Covenant came to its end, for many bible-translators have put into several Old Testament passages wordings which make it seem that the Old Covenant was to be “everlasting”. The article eca136.htm sorts out that matter.

The article eca086.htm has more on Galatians 3, including verse 21.

The torah of the Old Covenant, versus the ‘torah’ of the New Covenant.

It can perhaps be said that the core of the Old Covenant consisted of “the words of the covenant, the ten words” – those the Lord spoke aloud and then wrote on the two tablets of stone. [d] But, there were also many other rules; they were given to Moses who wrote them down on some other material, possibly parchment.

d The Hebrew text of the last part of Exodus 34:28 translates as “and he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten words”. There is more on this, later in this article.

The rules of the Old Covenant are recorded in the five books of Moses, the Pentateuch. The Jews call those books by the name Torah. In religious English, that word has often been translated as “the Law”, but its literal meaning was something like “instruction”, “guidance”. ‘Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament’ by Harris, Archer and Waltke states,

The word tôrâ means basically ‘teaching’ whether it is the wise man instructing his son or God instructing Israel.

Many bible-versions confuse and mislead, by translating the noun torah as “law” even in such passages as Jeremiah 31:33. They have made it to “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts”. Some writers have then quoted such translations and claimed that Jeremiah 31:33 means that it is the rules of the Old Covenant (or a “spiritual understanding” of them) that are written in the hearts of men, in connection with the New Covenant which Jeremiah 31:31–34 refers to. But, it is not so. Again, the literal meaning of the old Hebrew noun torah was “instruction”, “guidance”. Here, one must keep in mind that the New Covenant is written,

“not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:3, NRSV).

In short: The New Covenant’s “writing” consists of the Holy Spirit. Here is a translation which makes the meaning of Jeremiah 31:33 more clear:

Jeremiah 31:31 “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord. 33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” (NLT04, highlighting added)

That translation correctly renders the old Hebrew noun torah in verse 33 according to its literal meaning “instruction”. That passage refers to the New Covenant and its “writing” which consists of placing the Holy Spirit in humans. Instead of some “law code”, the New Covenant has the Holy Spirit as its ‘torah’ – guidance, instruction. Putting that in other words: It was not some “law text” that was to guide the saints [e] in the right ways. No, it was a matter of God through his Holy Spirit coming to dwell in those people and leading them in the right ways.

Again, the New Covenant is written, “not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:3, NRSV). And no, that does not refer to “the Holy Spirit teaching people the rules of the Old Covenant” (or helping people to understand those rules in a “spiritual” way), as some have claimed. The meaning is that the Holy Spirit itself is the New Covenant’s “writing”. The article eca066.htm has more on this.

A note: Many people have been caused to misunderstand the phrases “the Spirit” and “the letter” in 2 Corinthians 3. That matter is discussed later in this present article.

e The saints were a “first-fruits harvest” for God, here on Earth. The main fulfilment of Jeremiah 31:31–34 has not happened yet. In the future, there is to come a much larger harvest.

The matter of the Decalogue.

The word “decalogue” comes from the Greek Septuagint version (LXX) which has in Exodus 34:28 the phrase tous deka logous, “the ten words”. Here is an English translation of the Hebrew text of that verse:

Exodus 34:28 And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten words. (JPS1917, highlighting added)

(The actual “ten words” are recorded in Exodus 20, but it is in Exodus 34:28 and Deuteronomy 4:13 and 10:4 that they are given a “name”. The first of those passages is quoted above. The latter two contain a shorter form, “the ten words”, JPS1917.)

Again, the Hebrew text calls the writing on the stone tablets, in translation, “the words of the covenant, the ten words”, Exodus 34:28, or just “ten words”, Deuteronomy 4:13 and 10:4. It is the same in the Septuagint and even in the Latin Vulgate version. The English wording “the ten commandments” which came into use in the Middle Ages, is in fact a mistranslation.

And, which covenant does that phrase refer to – “the words of the covenant, the ten words”? The one that was made by Mount Sinai. The Old Covenant. The article eca058.htm has more on the matter of the Decalogue.

Now, did the fact that the Decalogue belonged to the Old Covenant, mean that the saints (who were under the New Covenant) could murder and steal and so on? Of course not. The New Testament, including Paul’s letters, makes it clear that the saints were to live just, righteous lives – holy, fair and pure lives. The article ega086.htm contains a study on the matter of righteousness, including what new-covenantal righteousness is and consists of.

The meaning of the phrases ‘the Spirit’ and ‘the letter’ in 2 Corinthians 3:6–8.

Many religious writers have talked about “the spirit of the law” and “the letter of the law”. Some of them have used those phrases for making people believe that the New Covenant is not new at all but merely the Old Covenant in an “enhanced” or “spiritual” form. But, that is not so. – Please note that the Bible does not contain such phrases or concepts as “the spirit of the law” or “the letter of the law”. Those things simply are not there (except in a few bible-versions which contain added and changed wordings).

Please read the following scripture-quote, slowly and with thought, point for point. When you do that, you will see that it does not contain the word “law”, not to mention such phrases as “the spirit of the law” or “the letter of the law”.

2 Corinthians 3:6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stone tablets, came in glory so that the people of Israel could not gaze at Moses’ face because of the glory of his face, a glory now set aside, 8 how much more will the ministry of the Spirit come in glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, much more does the ministry of justification abound in glory! 10 Indeed, what once had glory has lost its glory because of the greater glory; 11 for if what was set aside came through glory, much more has the permanent come in glory! (NRSV)

Verses 6 and 7 – when the apostle Paul wrote “the letter”, he referred to the Old Covenant with its written rules. And, when he wrote “the Spirit” (verses 3, 6 and 8), he referred to the Holy Spirit and the New Covenant.

Again, the Old Covenant had its written rules, but the New Covenant has instead the Holy Spirit. The New Covenant does not have any set of written rules to guide people; instead, it has God himself as the guide and instructor, through his Holy Spirit which he places in men.

Verse 9, “justification”: Some translations have “righteousness”, but it appears that the apostle was contrasting condemnation and justification. Clarification: What the above-quoted NRSV has as “justification”, is in the Greek text dikaiosunê (cf. dikaios, “just”, and dikaioô, “to justify”). That word could refer to justness (“righteousness”), but it is quite clear that in this case the apostle used it in the meaning “justification” (as opposed to condemnation, same verse).

(The saints’ justification meant that their sins were forgiven. After that, they were not to continue in sin.)

The article eca117.htm has more on 2 Corinthians 3 (and Romans 7:6).

The Old Covenant: ‘The letter kills.’ The New Covenant: ‘The Spirit makes alive.’

2 Corinthians 3:6 and 7 – why did the apostle Paul write, “the letter kills” and “the ministry of death”? Possibly for the reason that for those who were under the Old Covenant, there was no way to receive everlasting life. With the New Covenant, things are different. (As was noted earlier, the Old Covenant was a temporary arrangement which was to last “until the Offspring should come to whom the promise had been made”, Galatians 3:19 – that is, until Jesus came.)

Let us consider verses 6–8 one more time.

2 Corinthians 3:6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stone tablets, came in glory so that the people of Israel could not gaze at Moses’ face because of the glory of his face, a glory now set aside, 8 how much more will the ministry of the Spirit come in glory? (NRSV)

Verse 6, “the letter” – as the context shows, the apostle referred to the engraving on the two tablets of stone. He used those tablets as a symbol for the Old Covenant in its entirety. He noted, “the letter kills”. That does not mean that there was something deadly or bad with the actual “words of the covenant, the ten words”. The thing is that they were not alone or separate. They were an integral and inseparable part of the Old Covenant which did not provide a way to everlasting life. [f]

Then he wrote, “the Spirit gives life”. That does not refer to some “spiritual application of the Old Covenant” (or its rules) as some writers have caused people to believe. No, Paul was talking about the New Covenant which has the Holy Spirit as its “writing”.

The article eca117.htm has more on 2 Corinthians 3:6–8 and their context.

f Please note that those who were under the Old Covenant, are not “lost”. There is also the matter of resurrection; see for instance Ezekiel 37. The article eba088.htm considers the matter of the rising up of the dead. See even the article eta068.htm.

Some notes on Matthew 5:17–18.

A casual bible-reader might come to think that Matthew 5:17–18 means that Jesus taught his disciples that they were to keep the rules of the Old Covenant, down to the smallest details, “jot and tittle”. But, that is not so.

Things are easier if one considers that passage in the light of Luke 24:44 which clarifies what it means and refers to. Also: When one reads Matthew 5:17–18, it is good to know that the phrases “the Law” and “the Prophets” which appear in those verses, are names for specific sections in the book which we call “the Old Testament”.

Matthew 5:17 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all is fulfilled. (VW06, highlighting added)

And again, Luke 24:44 clarifies what those highlighted words in Matthew 5:17–18 mean and refer to.

Luke 24:44 Then He said to them, These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me. (VW06, highlighting added)

Luke 24:44 records something that happened after Jesus’ resurrection. As you can see, the phrase “the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you” obviously refers to the words which are recorded Matthew 5:17–18.

So, the meaning of both Matthew 5:17–18 and Luke 24:44 is that certain prophecies which were recorded “in the Law and the Prophets”, indeed were to be fulfilled, down to the smallest points, “jot” and “tittle”. [h]

h Regarding the words “jot” and “tittle” – in the Greek text that is iôta and keraia – in English terms, they can be said to correspond to the lower-case letter i and the dot on it. The meaning being, that prophecies regarding Jesus, as recorded in the books of Moses and in the Prophets and the Psalms, were to be fulfilled, down to the smallest details.

What about Matthew 5:19–20?

First, a note: Verse 19 is not a problem for those who first carefully study all the clear New Testament passages concerning the matter of the two covenants, old and new. They will simply note that numerous other NT passages make that matter quite clear.

(For more on the matter of the two covenants, old and new, look under the heading “Covenant, covenants” on the page key12.htm.)

Verses 17 and 18 which were discussed above, are easy to understand. Luke 24:44 makes it clear that they simply mean that certain prophecies which are recorded “in the Law” and “in the Prophets” (in the Old Testament), were to be fulfilled, down to the smallest points. But the following verse, 19, is not in “harmony” with that. So, how should one understand it?

One way to view that “problem” might be to assume that there ought to be a “chapter break” between verses 18 and 19 – that verse 19 is instead connected to verse 20 which mentions the Pharisees. In that case, the wording in the Greek text of the first part of verse 19, tôn entolôn toutôn, might be interpreted as “their commandments”, instead of “these commandments”. Clarification:

The Pharisees created numerous “commandments”, and demanded people to follow them – but they did not keep them, themselves. So, it could be that the meaning of verses 19 and 20 is that those who created rules for others but did not themselves keep those rules, were to be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. Well, there was more to the matter:

Matthew 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (HCSB)

Here, one must keep in mind that it is not the rules of the Old Covenant that define what new-covenantal righteousness is and consists of. The article ega086.htm has more on that matter.

A side-note: Many translators have put into Matthew 23:2–3 wordings that can cause casual bible-readers to think that Jesus “upheld” the Pharisees and their teachings. But, anyone who carefully studies all of that chapter, and the Gospels in general, will find that Jesus castigated the Pharisees and warned people about their teachings and said that they were deadly. The article eoa127.htm and its appendix have more on Matthew 23:2 and 3 and their context.

On 1 John 3:4 and its translation and meaning.

Even 1 John 3:4 might confuse casual bible-readers. This is because many translators have put into that verse such wordings as “whoever commits sin transgresses also the law, for sin is the transgression of the law”.

Some of the early English bible-versions have wordings which are closer to the meaning of the Greek text of the New Testament. The 1395 Wycliffe bible has this wording:

1 John 3:4 Ech man that doith synne, doith also wickidnesse, and synne is wickidnesse. (WYC)

And indeed, the Greek text of 1 John 3:4 translates as

Everyone practising sin, also practises wickedness, and sin is wickedness.

Or,

Everyone practising sin, also practises unrighteousness, and sin is unrighteousness.

The article eca127.htm has more on 1 John 3:4 and its meaning and translation.

And again, one must keep in mind that it is not the rules of the Old Covenant that define what new-covenantal righteousness is. The article ega086.htm has more on that subject.

See also the “recommended reading” section, after the appendix below.


Appendix – Some notes on the phrases ‘the Law’, ‘the Prophets’ and ‘the Psalms’.

The Jews divide the Old Testament into three main sections. In English translation, those sections have come to be called “the Law” or “the Law of Moses”, “the Prophets”, and “the Psalms” or “the Writings”. That concept of considering the OT as consisting of sections, can be seen even in the NT, for instance here:

Acts 28:17 And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together […] 23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. (AKJV, highlighting added)

The apostle Paul was talking to Jews. When he tried to persuade them “concerning Jesus, both out the law of Moses, and out the prophets”, verse 23, that simply meant that he quoted and explained passages which pointed to Jesus, in the Old Testament sections which are called “the Law” and “the Prophets”.

More details in regard to the “sectioning” of the Old Testament:

The Jews sometimes call the book which we call “Old Testament”, by the name Tanakh. That comes from the acronym TNK which is combined of the letters T (for Torah), N (Neviim) and K (Kethuvim).

A note: This usage is not “standardised”, and so, all writers may not section the Old Testament in exactly the same way.

Here is another example of the use of those OT section names, in the NT:

Luke 24:44 Then He said to them, These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me. (VW06, highlighting added)

The fulfilling of certain prophecies (Luke 24:44, quoted above), is what Jesus was talking about on the occasion which is recorded in Matthew 5:17–18. (That passage is discussed in the main part of this article.)

Some might wonder about the mention of “the law” and “the prophets” in Romans 3:22.

Romans 3:21 But now, a justification which is of God, without law, is exhibited, attested by the law and the prophets: 22 even a justification which is of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, for all, and upon all, who believe; for there is no difference. (LO)

Clarification: Even in that passage, the phrase “the Law” refers to the five books of Moses, while the phrase “the Prophets” refers to another section in the Old Testament. Details, in verse 21:

(The saints’ justification meant that their sins were forgiven. After that, they were not to continue in sin.)

Please send or mention the address to this site to others. You can also link to these pages. The address to the table of contents page is biblepages.net/articles.htm

Recommended reading here at the Bible Pages, on related as well as other matters

An explanation of the short names for the bible-translations that are quoted or mentioned at this site. → esa095.htm

What does the Bible say about Heaven? Were the saints to go there? What about others? What does it look like, in Heaven? → eba049.htm

Hebrews 4:9, the sabbatismos or rest which the saints were to enter – a clarification of its actual nature. → exa109.htm

Covenant signs, including the sign of the New Covenant which shows who are God’s people. → eca076.htm

On the word olam in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. Many bible-versions render it in ways that make it seem that the Old Covenant was to be “everlasting”, but that is not correct. → eca136.htm

On Galatians 3:17–19 and what the apostle Paul meant by “added law”. → eca086.htm

Where can one find the rules of the New Covenant, in written form? → eca066.htm

On the Decalogue, “the words of the covenant, the ten words”. → eca058.htm

What does the word “righteous” really mean? What does the Bible say about righteousness? → ega086.htm

Many talk about “the spirit of the law” versus “the letter of the law”, but those expressions are not found in the Bible. On the meaning of the phrases “the Spirit” and “the letter” in 2 Corinthians 3:6–8 and Romans 7:6. → eca117.htm

What does the Bible say about the matter of resurrection? → eba088.htm

The “great white throne judgment” – when will it take place? → eta068.htm

What does the Bible say about the Pharisees? → eoa127.htm

On 1 John 3:4 and its translation and meaning. → eca127.htm

Other articles on the matter of the two covenants, old and new. → Look under the heading “Covenant, covenants” on the page key12.htm.


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For more on quoting and sharing with others, see the page epa032.htm


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