Currently, there are two main ways to divide between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant (also there is a third way which is much lesser known).
1. Covenant Theology: This view basically de-emphasizes the division between the OC and the NC. They would say that the NC is a Renewed Covenant, not actually a NC. This is the root system behind the Messianic movement and Theonomics.
2. Dispensationalism: This view divides between the Law Age and the Church Age (Law vs Grace). This view rightly sees that the NC is nothing like the OC and cannot be a renewal (Hebrews 8:9), but overall, it is a Biblically weak and flawed system. This teaching points forward to ending in the Laodicean Age and apostasy; then the wrath of God will show up again. So according to Dispensationalists, God poured all His wrath on Jesus on the cross, we now live in an age of grace where God remembers our sin no more, but then we are going to sin so much that God will get wrathful again and come pour out the Book of Revelation…. Yeah, that’s actually believed by some people!
New Covenant Theology: This very small stream of theologians have risen up and written some amazing books which devastate the Covenant and Dispensational systems, yet they present a third option which has many of its own problems. Basically they teach that Jesus came as a new Moses and created a New Law system. They gather up any directive in the New Testament and turn it into New Law. So in the OC there was 613 rules, according to New Covenant Theology, the New Testament has 1050 Laws!
As I have been studying and teaching about the Covenants of the Bible, I have been asked many times which of these three systems I hold to, my answer is none.
I have studied the works of theologians in all three camps extensively and have arrived at a completely different view which is yet unnamed.
Last week in my Bible school I finally went public with the name of my system of understanding the Biblical Covenants. I shared the following ten points below which show the pillars of my system. Enjoy!
Introducing: Better Covenant Theology (BCT), based on Hebrews 8:6: “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.”
The defining characteristics are:
- Jesus’ birth fulfilled the Abrahamic covenant (and some of the Davidic covenant).
- Jesus’ death created the NC (at the cross, there was: No substitution, no punishment, and no wrath)
- The NC is between the Father and the Son (We receive the benefits by marriage to Christ. The two becoming one as we are united with Christ)
- His ascension/enthronement fulfill the Davidic Kingdom promises
- The destruction of 70AD removed the OC finally and fulfills Heb. 8:13
- Between the cross and the 70AD, there was a 40-year covenant transition for the church.
- The OC and the NC co-existed for forty years (30-70AD)
- The “End of the Age” and the “Last Days” are first century references to the last days of the OC and the end of the OC age.
- There remains no application of the Mosaic Kinship/Vassal Covenants. The feasts, Sabbaths, Civil laws, ceremonial, and moral laws are done away with.
- The Law of the NC is “Love one another as I have loved you.”