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“那些日子以后，我与以色列家所立的约是这样：我要将我的律法放在他们思想里，写在他们心里……他们不用各人教导他的邻居，和他的弟兄，说，你该认识主。因为他们从最小的到最大的，都必认识我。”— 希伯来 8:10-11
“我要给他们合一的心，也要将一个新灵放在你们里面，又从他们肉体中除掉石心，给他们一颗肉心，使他们顺从我的律例，谨守遵行我的典章。”— 以西结 11:19-20
其次，新的灵(以西结36:26-27)。过去，只有神拣选的以色列先知会被圣灵充满。同时，当先知冒犯神时，神会让圣灵离开先知，例如扫罗王的遭遇(撒母耳上10:9-10，16:14)。新约下，得救的以色列人都会得到圣灵；例如使徒行传里，和彼得一起传道、听道的人都得到了圣灵(使徒2:1-4, 6:2-3, 5, 10:44)。新约下，因为以色列人的罪被新的祭司赎了，圣灵不会再离开以色列人(希伯来8:12)。
最后，新的大祭司也是永恒的大祭司(希伯来7:16-17, 23-25)，他的一次性献祭有永久的果效(希伯来7:27)。律法规定，以色列触犯神的律法时，需要通过他们的祭司献上动物的血来弥补，叫作赎罪祭(利未4章)。但以色列人的罪不止，赎罪祭就不止。可动物的血哪能抵销人的罪(希伯来10:4)。耶稣是以色列永恒的大祭司，他将自己作为赎罪祭献上(希伯来10:12)，血偿了以色列人的所有罪(希伯来9:12-14, 25-26)。从此，以色列人再也不用献赎罪祭了(希伯来10:10)。
The new covenant implies that there was an old one. The old one is the foundation for the new one. The old one had faults, so there is a need for a new one. Understanding the old covenant is necessary for learning the new one.
“For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” — Heb 8:7
New Covenant VS. Old Covenant: What Remains?
First, the two parties associated with the covenant remain the same. The new covenant is still between God and Israel.
Secondly, the agreement doesn’t change. If Israel obeys God’s law, God will bless them; if they break the law, God will punish them.
Last, the promises don’t change. God promised the fathers of Israel that they will be a nation among other nations. All nations will have to get blessings from God through them.
The agreement part is the cause for a new covenant. The history of Israel has proved that they can’t obey God’s law. God told them not to worship idols, but Israel worshiped a golden cow and gentiles’ gods. God told them not to commit adultery, but even their king took the other one’s wife. God told them not to bear false witness, but they falsely accused God’s chosen prophets, apostles, and the Messiah and killed them.
To make God’s promises come true, Israel has to obey the law and there is no hope for this to happen. However, God is faithful. He will not swallow his words. He will make the promises true.
Therefore, a new covenant is needed.
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.” — Jer 31:31
New Covenant VS. Old Covenant: What Is Updated?
First, a new heart. Israel used to learn God and his law by teaching from brothers and neighbors (Heb 8:11). Under the new covenant, God will write his law into their heart. The new heart will help all of Israel, from the least to the greatest, to know God. The new heart will also help them to keep God’s law(Eze 11:19-20).
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” — Heb 8:10-11
“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them…” — Eze 11:19-20
Secondly, a new spirit(Eze 36:26-27). It used to be that only God’s chosen prophets would have the holy spirit in them. Meanwhile, if the prophet sinned against God, the holy spirit would leave the prophet. King Saul was an example (Sam10:9-10, 16-14). Under the new covenant, the remnants of Israel will have the Holy Spirit in them. For example, Peter and other disciples in Acts 2 and Acts 6 all had the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4, 6:2-3, 5). Because the sin is redeemed by their new priest, the holy spirit will not leave Israel anymore (Heb8:12).
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you…And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” — Eze 36:26-27
Last, the new priest has an eternal position(Heb 7:16, 23-25), and his sacrifice has an eternal effect(Heb 7:27). Israel had to sacrifice animal blood when they broke God’s law according to the rules of the sin offering(Lev 4). Israel couldn’t stop sinning, and their sin offering never ended. However, animals’ blood can’t pay for men’s sin(Heb 10:4). Jesus is the eternal priest. He sacrificed himself as the sin offering(Heb 10:12). His blood paid for Israel’s sin(Heb 9:12-14, 25-26). Therefore, there is no need for Israel to sacrifice sin offerings(Heb10:10).
“And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.” — Heb 7:23-24
“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God…” — Heb 10:12
The new covenant makes up for the fault of the old one so that Israel can see their fathers’ promises come true. In Revelation, we can read that the new Jerusalem will come to the new earth from heaven(Rev 21:2), and all nations will go to Israel for God’s wisdom(Rev 21:24). The covenant between God and Israel will be fulfilled.