Jesus Says The New Testament Begins With His Death Not His Birth
Jesus told his disciples that the new testament started with his body being given for them and his blood being poured out for them. In Luke 22:20 he said,
“This cup is the new covenant (testament) in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
The new covenant, or New Testament as we commonly refer to it, does not begin with Matthew 1, as we have been taught. Actually, according to the words of Jesus, the New Testament begins in Matthew 27 with his death.
Hebrews 9:16-18 confirms the New Testament begins with the death of Jesus.
"In the case of a will [testament or covenant] it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood."
Forgiveness Under The Old Covenant Was Conditional
Why is it important to understand the New Testament does not begin at Matthew 1?
It is important to understand this because people will never be able to accurately interpret the Bible without a correct understanding of the old and new covenants. Consequently, they will never experience the freedom that is theirs in Jesus.
For example, Jesus says in the Lord’s Prayer,
"For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins,
your Father will not forgive your sins."
In these verses, according to Jesus, forgiveness is conditional. If you forgive others, then God will forgive you and if you do not forgive others, then God will not forgive you.
How are we to interpret this in light of the other verses that tell us God is not counting our sins against us, he has forgiven all of our sins, and that he remembers our sins no more?
Forgiveness Under The New Covenant Is Complete
Remember, Jesus and the letter to the Hebrews tell us the new covenant, where the blood of Jesus was poured out for the forgiveness of the sins for all people and where God remembers our sins no more, began when Jesus died. Matthew 6:14-15 are the words of Jesus before he died.
At this point in time, Jesus is teaching under the old covenant of law where forgiveness is conditional. However, under the new covenant of grace, forgiveness is complete. After Jesus died, the Bible teaches all of our sins are forgiven and we are to forgive one another just as God through Jesus forgave us.
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you."
What we discover in Ephesians, which was written after Jesus died on the cross and established the new covenant, is that we forgive others, not in order to be forgiven by God, but because we are forgiven by God. Remember from chapter four, Paul was taught by Jesus about grace after Jesus ascended into heaven.
So Ephesians reflects Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness after he established the new covenant of grace in his blood, whereas The Lord’s Prayer reflects Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness before the new covenant of grace was established.
This is so important to understand because a Bible teacher or Pastor who doesn’t know the difference between the old and new covenants, and most don’t, will misinterpret and miss teach these verses, thus putting people back under the condemnation of the law.
From page 50 of my book, Addicted To Grace.