The term OLD COVENANT in Scriptures refers to the Mosaic Covenant, with its laws, sacrifices, ceremonies, feasts, days, and rules, which was entirely superseded by the better things of the New Covenant of grace and mercy by Christ. The OLD COVENANT is the epitome of the “Old Heavens and Old Earth” cosmological order of animal blood sacrifice which was in existence since God slayed the first animals in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:21). The nation of Israel, the city of Jerusalem, and the temple, are also described under the term “Old Earth.”
The Old Heavens and Earth cosmological order was fully consummated and removed in AD 70, evidenced visually on earth with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in the Jewish-Roman war ending in AD 70. There was then no longer any means of making the sacrifices in the earthly temple because it was completely destroyed. There was no longer any proof of the lineage of the priestly tribe of Levites since those records were completely destroyed at that time by fire.
The nation of Israel had disobeyed the laws of the Old Covenant. They failed to continue in the Old Covenant and the Lord disregarded them. That OLD COVENANT had not been faultless and therefore a New Covenant was necessary to be established by God.
“7For IF THAT FIRST COVENANT HAD BEEN FAULTLESS, then no place would have been sought FOR A SECOND.” (Heb. 8:7).
“…I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel… 9not according to THE COVENANT (old 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; (but) because THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT (old covenant), AND I DISREGARDED THEM, says the Lord.” (Heb. 8:8b-9).
The Lord made a new covenant as a result of the failure of the nation of Israel to obey the OLD COVENANT or “first” covenant. The OLD COVENANT was made obsolete. It grew old and vanished away with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70.
“13In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made THE FIRST OBSOLETE. Now what is BECOMING OBSOLETE AND GROWING OLD IS READY TO VANISH AWAY.” (Heb. 8:13).
The destruction of the temple in Jerusalem was the visible evidence of the passing away of the Old Heavens and the Old Earth cosmological order (Heb. 9:8-9). Peter wrote about this in late AD 64. It was fulfilled shortly thereafter during the Jewish-Roman war in which the wrath of God was poured out on Israel ending in AD 70.
“10But the day (judgment)of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which THE HEAVENS WILL PASS AWAY with a great noise, and THE ELEMENTS WILL MELT WITH FERVENT HEAT; both THE EARTH AND THE WORKS THAT ARE IN IT WILL BE BURNED UP. 11Therefore, since ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE DISSOLVED, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12looking for and hastening the coming (Parousia) of the day of God, because of which THE HEAVENS WILL BE DISSOLVED, BEING ON FIRE, AND THE ELEMENTS WILL MELT WITH FERVENT HEAT?” (2 Pet. 3:10-12).
The OLD COVENANT and its laws brought death, but the new covenant and its grace brought life. The new covenant is a better covenant. It is an eternal covenant (2 Cor. 3:5-6; Heb. 9:15). With the establishing of the new covenant after the passing away of the OLD COVENANT and the physical nation of Israel as God’s chosen people, the entire OLD COVENANT law, which was fulfilled in Christ, also passed away (Matt. 5:18).
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Related full “Study Series” (available upon request if not hyperlinked):
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 7 Lesson 3b”]
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 16 Lesson 9 Rev. Chapter 21”]