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Comparison of Old and New Covenants

Feature

Old Covenant

New Covenant

When established at Exodus at crucifixion
Parties: God and national Israel (Ex. 19-24) Christians (Luke 22:20; John 3:16-21)
People redeemed from bondage in Egypt (Ex. 20:2) in sin (Heb. 9:15)
Mediator of the covenant Moses (Ex. 20:18-19; Heb. 9:19-20) Jesus Christ (Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24)
Ratified by blood of animals (Ex. 24:8; Heb. 9:19-20) Jesus Christ (Matt. 26:28; Rom. 3:25)
Promises offered prosperity, national security, become God's treasured nation (Ex. 19:5; Lev. 26) eternal life (John 3:16), children of God (Rom. 8:14-17, 29), know God, law in heart, forgiveness (Heb. 8:10-12), with God forever (Rev. 21:3-7) 
Initiation sign of the covenant circumcision (Gen. 17:11; Ex. 12:48-49; John 7:22-23) conversion of the heart (Matt. 5:8; Acts 15:8; Rom. 2:28-29)
Continuing sign of the covenant observance of the Sabbaths (Ex. 31:16-17; Ezek. 20:12) new life of faith in Christ (Eph. 2:4-10; 4:17; 5:1-2)
Obligations obedience to the law that was given through Moses (Ex. 24:3; Lev. 26; Deut. 28) be perfect (Matt. 5:48), believe, obey Christ (Gal. 6:2; 1 John 3:23-24; Rom. 12:1; 2 Cor. 10:5)
Duration of the covenant during time of national Israel, temple and Levites (Heb. 8:13) eternity (John 5:24; 6:54-58; Heb. 9:15; 12:22-28; Rev. 21:3-7)
Priesthood Aaron and sons (Ex. 29:9; Lev. 8) Jesus Christ (Heb. 4:14-16; 5:5-6), believers (1 Pet. 2:5, 9)
High Priest entered presence of God symbolically once a year on the Day of Atonement after offering the required blood sacrifices (Lev. 16; Heb. 9:7) sat down at God's right hand forever, after offering his own blood for all (Heb. 7:20-8:2; 9:11-14)
Holy place where God can be worshiped tabernacle in wilderness (Deut. 12), temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:29-30) temple of the Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16), wherever believers are (John 4:21-24; Matt. 18:20)
Commemorations weekly Sabbath (Ex. 20:8-11, Deut. 5:12-15) and seasonal festivals (Lev. 23) Lord's Supper (Luke 22:19-20; Cor. 11:26-28)
Sacrifices continual offering of animals and food offerings (Lev. 1-7; Heb. 10:1) as a reminder of sins (Heb. 10:30) Christ's one sacrifice (Heb. 9:26-28; 10:12) forgave sins, perfects the worshipper, clears conscience (Heb. 8:12; 10:1-2, 22); Christian's life of service is to be a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1)
Law Ten Commandments (Ex. 20; Deut. 5) and 603 additional laws governing moral, civil and religious affairs, fulfilled by adherence to the letter of numerous rules (Ex., Lev., Deut.) Sermon on the Mount reveals Christian attitude and way of thinking (Matt. 5-7), law of Christ fulfilled by loving God and humans (John 13:34-35; Rom. 3:8-10; Gal. 5:14; 6:2; 1 John 2:3-6; 3:7-10, 21-24)
Contrast the letter kills (Rom. 4:14-15; 2 Cor. 3:6), slavery (Gal. 4:24-25; 5:1) The Spirit gives life (John 6:63; 2 Cor. 3:6), freedom (Gal. 4:26; 5:1)
Main feature the law was a shadow of the good things to come (Heb. 10:1) Jesus Christ, God in the flesh (Isa. 42:1-7; 49:5-13; Heb. 1; 9:11-15; 10:5-10)
Contact with God through priesthood (Lev. 1-7) individual comes to God's throne (Heb. 4:16)
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