Is the New Testament the New Testament?
I was discussing the New Covenant/Testament with an affable Christian guy. Although I couldn’t get a good answer about how we were differing, and had little time, he seemed convinced that the books in the Bible that we call the “New Testament” are in fact all a part of the New Covenant.
When I brought up Hebrews, he was receptive to it, but still seemed to disagree. I’m not certain why, and unfortunately we didn’t have time to go in depth as I had other, pressing matters to attend to. Regardless, in the book of Hebrews, we learn that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John do not take place all in the New Covenant, or even largely in the new Covenant. We know this because Hebrews records:
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying,
“This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in service. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.Hebrews 9:11-22
Because most of the 4 gospels took place before Christ’s sacrifice, most of them are actually not in the New Testament, but rather in the Old. Now that we are under the New Covenant, Hebrews says that we have something better for us spiritually:
For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”
Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Although in our human minds it may seem insignificant, throughout the Bible this distinction, and the importance of covenants, is promoted as of the utmost importance. For that reason, we should also endeavor to understand these things.