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THE GREAT COMMANDMENT vs. THE NEW COMMANDMENT...First vs. Second Covenant... By Doug Krieger

Yes, both (First and Second Covenants) are “Marriage Contracts” . . . both involve LOVE between two parties; yet, there is a stark difference as to the “capacity to love” recited in both contracts.

Again, the NEW COVENANT is mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels (Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20) but the term (New Covenant) is NOT mentioned in John’s Gospel – only the NEW COMMANDMENT is mentioned (John 13:31-35). Why is this so? So, is the New Commandment the same as the New Covenant?

“But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: 'Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Hebrews 8:6-10

From the onset of this discussion of the New Commandment vs. the Great Commandment or the New Covenant vs. the First Covenant I wish to express my sincere appreciation for the work that both Dr. Douglas Hamp of the Commonwealth of Israel Foundation and the Way Congregation and brother Gaylord Enns of the Love Revolution Now Ministry who have so generously contributed to these discoveries or illuminations of the Holy Spirit from His Word.

Several items here are of major theological consideration. The FIRST COVENANT (Note: I did not say OLD TESTAMENT) is—as a result of our Lord’s “sacrifice of His Own body on the tree”—superior. It is a BETTER COVENANT established on BETTER PROMISES. His SECOND COVENANT is predicated upon prophetic forecast to which we, having insight into COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY, recognize involves a MARRIAGE CONTRACT as per Romans 7:1-5. What was taking place at Mt. Sinai in Exodus 19:3-6 was directly related to that first marriage contract/covenant whereupon united Israel’s response was: “All that the LORD has spoken we will do” – This was the “I do” or “I will” of the First Covenant. The Second Covenant is a completely separate announcement--the Almighty says “I WILL” (Jer. 31:31-34: “I will make a New Covenant”).

The peculiar phrase whereupon Moses “said to the people, ‘Be ready for the third day; do not come near your wives’” (Ex. 19:15) highlights not only the intensity of the pending consecration in preparation for the marriage of Adonai to Israel but, among other matters, signals that this marriage foresees the One Who would forever betroth the House of Israel and the House of Judah in RESURRECTION—for on the Third Day was He raised from the dead: “Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law (viz. the First Covenant of Marriage, as well) through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God” . . . “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (Rom. 7:1-5; 1 Cor. 15:3-4 – Berean Study Bible).

We must keep in view that this Second Marriage Covenant was expressed in this manner: “I will make a NEW COVENANT with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:8). This “marriage contract” is based upon “better promises” (Heb. 8:6). “Because they [both Houses of Israel] did not continue in My covenant, and I DISREGARDED THEM, says the LORD” (Heb. 8:10). Yes, DISREGARDED—Adonai even gave the House of Israel (the 10 Northern Tribes) a certificate of divorce (Jer. 3:8) even though “her (the House of Ephraim/Israel) treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.”

This NEW COVENANT is not based on Israel or Judah’s “I will” but upon IT IS FINISHED--Adonai's “I will.” She (both Houses—Judah-Israel and Ephraim-Israel) were promised this New Covenant from the LORD God. In Jeremiah we read:

“ ‘Return, O backsliding children,’ says the LORD; ‘for I am MARRIED TO YOU. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion . . . in those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together . . ..’ ” Jer. 3:14, 18

The question persisted: How could Adonai take Ephraim-Israel (now given a certificate of divorce) and her treacherous sister, Judah, back as long as her first husband still lived? This First Marriage Contract was in STONE--chiseled on two tablets, if you would--sprinkled in blood and consented to by Israel's “I will” (Exodus 19:3-6). According to the “law of marriage, divorce, and remarriage” (as well), as long as the “first husband” lives the divorced woman cannot remarry . . . so, how could Adonai take her back? How could He remarry her? She couldn't remarry until the death of her first husband!

“When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a bill of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, [2] and if she goes and becomes another man's wife, [3] and the latter husband dislikes her and writes her a bill of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies, who took her to be his wife, [4] then her former husband, who sent her away [the first time], may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring guilt upon the land which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance.’” Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (RSV, verses marked)

We as believers in Yeshua/Jesus must come to grips with the reality of this new marriage contract—this NEW COVENANT, BETTER COVENANT. For to Israel’s 10 assimilated tribes among the nations (Hosea 8:7-9) was the initial better promise made (Jer. 31:31--by sequential order), but, as well, to Judah--BOTH would partake of this New Covenant. Listen, her (Israel-Ephraim and Israel-Judah) first husband had to die for her to remarry without committing adultery. Adonai could not break his very own law of marriage, divorce, and remarriage--yet He claimed He had betrothed her forever? Speaking of unfaithful Israel and Judah He said:

“I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.” Hosea 2:19-20


“After those days (days of DISREGARD), says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more’ . . . In that He says, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. Now what is become obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” Heb. 8:10-13; Jer. 31:31-34

No, there are not TWO NEW COVENANTS (one for Israel and one for the Church)--there is but one New Covenant which is "THE COVENANT OF PEACE BETWEEN THEM BOTH.”

“Moreover I will make a COVENANT OF PEACE with them [i.e., the House of Israel and the House of Judah], and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them.” Ezekiel 37:26

Why? Because it is predicated upon the . . .

Blood of the Everlasting Covenant” inaugurated by the death and resurrection of Messiah [Heb. 9:20-22].

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is OUR PEACE, who has made both [viz. Jew and the elect of the Nations] one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation . . . so as to create in Himself ONE NEW MAN from the two, thus MAKING PEACE, and that He might reconcile them both to God in ONE BODY through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and PREACHED PEACE to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:13-18

God Almighty, through death and resurrection, has REMARRIED “All Israel”—both the House of Israel and the House of Judah—He has “raised up the ruins of the Tabernacle of David—the UNITED KINGDOM OF DAVID—according to Acts 15:14-17—“So that the rest of Edom/mankind may seek the LORD, even all the NATIONS who are called by My name, says the LORD who does all these things.’” (Ref. Amos 9:11-12).


So – let’s “cut to the chase!” The NEW COMMANDMENT vs. the GREAT COMMANDMENT, simply put, is altogether superior in that it is based upon the NEW COVENANT whereby instead of the Great Commandment wherein our commitment is in view in keeping it (as per the initial marriage contract of “I will” – i.e., the First Covenant) . . . and we know we should keep it but our energy and ability in doing so vs. the New Covenant in My Blood (Matt. 26:28; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25) enables us to do precisely what Jesus said: “A NEW COMMANDMENT I give you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.’” (John 13:34). Yes, this is the EKKLESIA Jesus is building--it is based upon the NEW COMMANDMENT.

Notice how Jesus is altogether selfless in His expression—at this point He does not tell them to love the Lord with all their being, but to LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU . . . as He loved us, we are to love one another—this is wholly based upon the New Marriage Contract in resurrection—herein is the New Covenant in His Blood whereby He has placed His laws within us and written them upon the fleshy tablets of our hearts and NOT etched upon the tablets of stone brought down from Mt. Sinai (1 Cor. 3:3). Once we enter into the reality of the New Covenant whereby the initiative is based upon “better promises”—by the Spirit of the Living God placing in our hearts HIS LOVE—then we are enabled to love one another AND, as Peter came face-to-face with the Son of Man: “Peter, do you love Me . . . feed My sheep.” Then shall we love one another by caring, feeding His sheep.

“Teacher, which is the GREAT COMMANDMENT in the law?” . . . “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and GREAT COMMANDMENT. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’” Matthew 22:36-40

Again the GREAT COMMANDMENT is marvelous; however, we simply, like the rich young ruler, cannot forsake our “wealth” – our human effort – but He knew we would forsake Him – thus, did He DISREGARD us in our sin—but He made a way through His abundant mercy by including us “all in disobedience that He might have mercy on us all” (Romans 11:32) and gave us an eternal pardon based upon the “Blood of the Everlasting Covenant” that we might enter into this New Marriage Contract, the New Covenant, the New Commandment!

Adonai had to die--our first husband--that we “may be married to another--to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God” (Rom. 7:4). TO GOD BE THE GLORY! Now we live by the NEW COMMANDMENT, remarried via the NEW COVENANT . . . and guess what? The Great Commandment to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind and our neighbor as ourselves is wholly within reach because He first loved us!



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