Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Mat 26:27-28
Today’s reading in the Old Testament was in Exo 23-24, where Moses ratified the covenant between God and Israel, saying: “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words.” Exo 24:8
This is what the disciples would have been thinking of, as Jesus said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant.” You know, we have read of the making of many covenants between God and man so far. Blood was shed when Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden, at the making of the Adamic covenant (Gen 3:21-24 – where did the skin come from, for the making of the tunics?). Blood was shed when Noah gave thanks to the LORD for preserving them through the Flood, at the making of the Noahic covenant (Gen 8:20-22).
The blood of the covenant was shed at the making of the Abrahamic covenant (Gen 15). The Abrahamic covenant remained in force, with no blood shed in the making of a new covenant, until Exo 24 when the blood of the Mosaic covenant was shed. And likewise, the Mosaic covenant remained in force, with no blood shed in the making of a new covenant, until Mat 26 when Jesus prepared His disciples for it, by saying that the wine represented His blood of the new covenant which was shortly going to be shed.
Paul teaches us in Gal 3:15-18, that a covenant previously ratified by God, cannot be annulled by a later covenant. So the Adamic covenant, which provided for death as a consequence of sin, was not annulled by the Noahic, which provided for the blessing of God, fruitfulness, multiplication, and never again a world wide destruction brought by flood, to Noah and his sons. The Noahic covenant was not annulled by the Abrahamic – rainbows still appear in the sky! The Abrahamic added to the general blessing of God which was upon all men, a specific and detailed blessing and promise to Abraham and his seed.
The Mosaic covenant, likewise, Paul teaches, does not annul the Abrahamic. The promise and blessing of Abraham is still in force. The Mosaic adds a calling and commission upon the nation of Israel, as God’s own people, to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests (Exo 19:4-6). Thus the explanation of what obedience to God’s commandments mean, takes up a large portion of Torah. God was commissioning a holy nation which would live and conduct itself in a manner unlike the other nations of the world, in order to teach them about God by example.
Now, if that is true, it is also true that the Messianic covenant, the new covenant, does not annul the one previously ratified by God, the Mosaic. This is why Jesus said that He did not come to abolish the Law (Mat 5:17-19). So what is new about the new covenant?
“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 — not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them,” says the LORD. “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says the LORD. “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” says the LORD. “For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jer 31:31-34
(Thus we see, that the Mosaic covenant was a marriage covenant between YHVH as the husband, and the nation of Israel as the wife. The seed of their union was the Promised Seed, Messiah Yeshua, YHVH’s only begotten Son.)
It is not the keeping of the Law that has been done away with, but the place upon which the Law is engraved that is new – on the tablets of the heart, rather than only on tablets of stone. (Whenever I mention the keeping of the Law, I must also be sure to mention that the Scripture teaches from Genesis to Revelation, including Moses, that the keeping of the Law does not bring one into the covenant, into salvation! Moses never taught the keeping of the Law for salvation, as we will see as we progress through Torah!)
For further study: Meditate on each phrase and sentence of the prophecy from Jeremiah. How does the new covenant made in the blood of Jesus Christ, fulfill it?