New Testament or New Covenant?
When Jesus was walking the earth He always spoke of the Kingdom of God being at hand/here and this is what is known as the Gospel; the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. However, it wasn’t until the “Last Supper” that He mentioned “The New Covenant”.
Hebrews 9:15-18 explains it this way ~ “15Therefore 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. 16For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.”
The New Covenant was not in effect until Jesus inaugurated it with His blood! That’s why He said ~ ““This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” (Mark 14:24)
Matthew and Luke also recorded this but, John did not! However, the entire chapter of John 13 records the surrounding events at the “Last Supper” and immediately after the part that the other 3 record the giving of the New Covenant blood; John records Jesus saying ~
“31When he (Judas) had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once…. 34A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
None of the 3 writers recorded these statements or the “New Commandment”! To be clear; they had recorded the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets ~
“37And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt.22) but that was still O.T. instruction that Jesus fulfilled as He was introducing the New Covenant!
Those are clearly good laws but, even they fall short of the glory of God which is that Jesus fulfilled all the Law and the Prophets (all Old Covenant) and gave us Holy Spirit and a New Covenant which is based on receiving His perfect love instead of us performing perfect love!
It’s not ~ “YOU must love God and others” but, “God loves you, remain in my love and love everyone with that same degree of love!”
Consider that none of the first 3 writers ever recorded Jesus speaking of God loving people. NOT ONE TIME is Jesus recorded mentioning God’s love for man in Matthew, Mark or Luke. The emphasis is always on man loving God until we get to John and I counted about 22 times Jesus instructed them to love!
John 3:16 is the first recorded time in the New Testament that refers to God loving man (However, He did convey it with his entire life!) and the context is not clear if John was simply writing or recording Jesus speaking.
Personally, I do believe that it was Jesus speaking to Nicodemus (who was a closet believer) but, the point is that Jesus was not recorded telling the masses “I love you, God loves you”. ~ Selah
(It should be mentioned that the writers did record a few times prior to this that Jesus loved someone but, they record it as something they knew and not that he ever actually spoke aloud ~ John 11:15, Mark 10:21, John 13:1 and John 13:23) I believe the significance is clearly in the recording of Jesus actually speaking the words of the New Covenant.
After Jesus gives the New Covenant blood and commandment to “Love as God loves you!“; He goes on to mention God’s perfect love almost 30 times throughout remaining John 13-17! Consider the seriousness of these few chapters and the importance of love that is completely neglected in the first 3 writers! It seems to me that Matthew, Mark and Luke spent multiple chapters recording the upcoming destruction of Jerusalem (Which John completely ignored) and totally disregarded the glory of the “Love Covenant”.
I am not by any means suggesting that the first 3 writers missed the divine inspiration of Holy Spirit (2 Tim.3:16) but, that Holy Spirit very intentionally lead all 4 writers to write exactly what they wrote. (John 14:26)
Consider that the first 3 were wrote most likely to the Jews who initially rejected Jesus, the Kingdom and hence; the New Covenant. It’s believed that the first 3 also wrote before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple; which were preventing the New Covenant from being fully ushered in as the Old was progressively passing away! (Heb.8:13 & Heb.9:8,9 & Heb.9:15-20 & Heb.10:8,9 and I believe Heb.12:24-29. *However, that last passage is not quite as clear*)
The first three recorded the “Sermon On The Mount” and events that were about to happen and John had no need to record the perfection of Old Covenant requirements or the destruction of Jerusalem because those things were fulfilled! His focus was the promise already given of the Holy Spirit and all the glory, power, truth, love, peace, joy and life of Jesus already given to us!
The Old Testament is not the Old Covenant (although the words have the same meaning) and the New Covenant is not the New Testament because it has elements of the Old in it but, the OT also has promises for us in the New Covenant!
My problem has been misunderstanding that not all New Testament is written to us and I had been “mixing” the Old and New wine (which God hates!) I am still not fully convinced about preterist teaching concerning “Last Days” events and their fulfillment but, I have learned things about our New Covenant that I have never heard anyone else fully explain and my eyes have been opened in a way they were previously shut.
If we want to please God, receive our promises of “Rest” and live the life abundantly; we need to fully understand our Covenant!