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Dr Joshua Su
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New Testament Overview (12) : A Covenantal Perspective How the New Testament links with the Old Testament

20 May 2020
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Dear listeners, we have come to the last talk of our series of 12 on New Testament Survey. We begin with the emphasis that the New Testament and the Old Testament together form one Bible as the written Word of God. We went on to cover each category and every book of the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation.

In this final talk, we shall highlight how the New Testament and the Old Testament need to be synergistically understood as the one revelation of God. We can entitle this talk a covenantal perspective - how the New Testament links with the Old Testament. The best key to grasping the entire Bible, Old and New Testament together, is to track the covenants that God made with humankind in the Old Testament and the New Testament. These covenants form the divinely given backbone that links the whole Bible as one.

God made five covenants in the Old Testament and one covenant in the New Testament. All the five Old Testament covenants are interrelated so that each is built on the previous. All the five Old Testament covenants are directly linked to the one New Testament covenant which fulfills all the covenants that God has made with humankind. The one New Testament covenant is God’s covenant with all humankind with Jesus Christ as the perfect mediator. He alone saves. All who are saved becomes the church, His body. Salvation comes to those who exercise faith in Christ. All the five Old Testament covenants find that ultimate and total fulfilment in Christ and in this one covenant. Christ is the final Adam.

This is how Christ fulfills God’s first covenant with humankind which is God’s covenant with Adam in the Old Testament. He saves us from the sin and fall of Adam to give all humankind who believe in Him eternal life and a new victorious nature which is Christ-likeness - our new humanity. Christ is the new Noah, who alone saves all who come to Him from God’s judgement. This is how Christ fulfills the second covenant of God with humankind through Noah, as noted in Genesis. God gave humankind a second chance through Noah by calling him to build the ark to overcome the flood. So now, God gives all humankind a final chance to be saved from sin and final judgement by fire. The ark that Christ built is His church. All who repent of sin and receive Him as Lord and God, enters the church as members and will overcome the fires of judgement. Christ is the object of Abraham’s faith. This is how Christ fulfills the third covenant of God for our salvation in His covenant with Abraham. This covenant is also recorded in Genesis. When Abraham believed God, He counted it to him as righteousness. When Jesus Christ did the will of the Father to pay for our sins by His death and give us eternal life by His resurrection, what He has done is applied to all who believe in God. So now, all who believe in Christ are immediately saved by the completed work of Christ. Christ is the greater Moses, who gives us the new law in His Gospel, which is the law of the Spirit of life. This is how Christ fulfills the fourth covenant of God for our salvation. His covenant with Israel, with Moses as mediator. Christ fulfills the Mosaic role as the mediator of a better covenant with the New Testament church as the new Israel of God. All who respond to the Gospel and are sealed with the Holy Spirit are members of the new Israel of God, whether Jew or Gentile. Christ is the son of David, who reigns eternally. This is how Christ fulfills God’s covenant with David, that his reign through his son will never end. This is the fifth covenant that God made with humankind - His covenant with David and his descendants. This is the Messianic covenant.

The eternity and the kingship of Christ enables the fulfilment of the prophecy that Davidic reign will never end. Each later covenant is built on the last one so that they are interrelated and cumulative. This cumulative factor culminates in the fulfilment of all five covenants in the one ultimate and climatic covenant of God with Jesus Christ that brings eternity to all that believe in Him and God. This covenantal layout points us directly to how the Old Testament and New Testament are together - the one revelation of God with Jesus Christ as the centre and foundation of all. This is a structure that is embedded in the Bible by the hand of God. It is so embedded by the covenants that He made with each human covenantal partner for all of humankind.

The New Testament covenant fulfills all of God’s plan for the salvation of humankind through the mediation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came down from Heaven to be made man. He is the ultimate and final human partner with God to make the perfect covenant that cannot be broken. He paid for our sins by the sacrifice of His humanity in death. Therefore, all our sins, all our errors, all our imperfections, are cleansed and covered. Humanity is no longer prone to break our part in covenant. He gave us eternity by the resurrection of his humanity from the dead. May God bless all who receive His word into their lives. Hallelujah!

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