by Jerry Shugart
The Book of Hebrews
The only place in the book of Hebrews which gives details about the diatheke which is in force today is found here:
"And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament (diatheke), that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant (diatheke), they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament (diatheke) is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament (diatheke) is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth" (Heb.9:15-17).
John Gill wrote that "there must also of necessity be the death of the testator; who is Christ; he has various parts in this will or testament; he is the surety and Mediator of it; and he is the executor of it; what is given in it, is first given to him, in order to be given to others; all things are put into his hands, and he has a power to give them to as many as the Father has given him; and here he is called the 'testator': Christ, as God, has an equal right to dispose of the inheritance (Gill, Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, Commentary at Hebrews 9:16-17).
The verses found at Hebrews 9:15-17 demonstrate that the diatheke which is in force today is the Last Will and Testament of Christ, the gospel of Christ. With this fact to guide us let us look in detail at verses which others seem to think proves that it is the new covenant which is promised to the nation of Israel which is in force today:
"By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament (diatheke)" (Heb.7:22).
The Lord Jesus is now the surety of a better diatheke, and that diatheke is the Last Will and Testament of Christ, the gospel of Christ.
Those who rely on the suretyship of the Lord Jesus are those who receive salvation according to the terms of the gospel, the better diatheke which is the Lord Jesus' "Last will and Testament." The Lord Jesus is the security and the pledge that those who believe the gospel are saved and will remain saved despite the sins which are committed after being saved. And just three verses later we read the following about our High Priest:
"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Heb.7:25).
"But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better testament (diatheke), which was established upon better promises" (Heb.8:6).
As already shown on page 3, the Lord Jesus is the Mediator of a better diatheke and that diatheke is the Last Will and Testament of Christ. For more on His "Mediatorship" please go to Appendix # 2.
"For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith 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 when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the
land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put
my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people" (Heb.8:7-10).
There is no evidence that when the author quotes Jeremiah 31:31-34 that he is saying that the second diatheke is now in force.
John Walvoord understands this to be true, writing that "The argument hangs on the point that the Mosaic covenant was not faultless-was never intended to be an everlasting covenant (Heb. 8:7). In
confirmation of this point, the new covenant of Jeremiah is cited at length, proving that the Old Testament itself anticipated the end of the Mosaic law in that a new covenant is predicted to
supplant it...A further statement is made that the old covenant is 'becoming old' and is 'nigh unto vanishing away.' It should be noted that nowhere in this passage is the new covenant with
Israel declared to be in force. The only argument is that which was always true-the prediction of a new covenant automatically declares the Mosaic covenant as a temporary, not an eternal
covenant" [emphasis added] (Walvoord, "The New Covenant with Israel," Bibliotheca Sacra 110 [July 1953], 201).
"Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first diatheke, that he may establish the second diatheke. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb.10:9-10).
The first diatheke, the law, was taken out of the way as far as a person's righteous standing before the LORD and now all those who believe the gospel receive the imputed righteousness which is of God:
"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth" (Ro.10:4).
"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Ro.4:5).
"This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus" (Heb.10:16-19).
There is nothing here that even hints that the New Covenant promised to the nation of Israel is in force today. The sins of believers today are forgiven when saved by believing the New Diatheke which is in force today--the Last Will and Testament of Christ, which is the gospel of Christ.
"And to Jesus the mediator of the new testament, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel" (Heb.12:24).
Again, it has been demonstrated that the Lord Jesus is the Mediator of the Last Will and Testament of Christ, the gospel of Christ.