The New Covenant

“to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant…” (Hebrews 12:24).


The Greek language has two words–kainos and neos–which can be accurately translated into English as “new”. Both are used in the book of Hebrews.

Three times in Hebrews kainos is used. It denotes the idea of something that is “new” in the sense of being of superior quality. The covenant promised by God through His prophet Jeremiah is “new” because it is better than the covenant made at Mount Sinai with the nation of Israel (Hebrews 8:8). Jesus is the mediator of this new/superior covenant (Hebrews 9:15).

This idea of superior quality is found in other places in the New Testament. Kainos is used in reference to Jesus’ command for His disciples to love one another as He has loved them (John 13:34). It is also employed when describing the eternal environment and abode of God’s people in 2 Peter 3:13 and Revelation 21:1-2.

The only time neos is found in Hebrews is in the verse above. It denotes the idea of something that is “new” in the sense of time. It is something younger or more recent than what it is being compared to (see “younger” men, women, and widows in 1 Timothy 5:1, 2, and 14).

Its employment in Hebrews 12:24 is for the purpose of distinguishing God’s most recent covenant–the gospel of Christ–with the one made at Mount Sinai which became old and obsolete (Hebrews 8:13). Jesus is the mediator of this new/recent covenant (Hebrews 12:24).

God’s most recent (neos) covenant is the superior (kainos) covenant. It has one mediator–Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).

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Author: jchowning

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