Troublesome Topic: The Witnesses of the New Covenant

Lesson 7 of 15

We have already seen how the ancient cultures usually named their gods as witnesses to a covenant with the idea that the gods would watch to make sure that each party would fulfill his part. In the case of the violation of a covenant, it was to be the gods who would fulfill the corresponding curses. In this way the witnesses were considered guarantors of the covenant.

God utilized this idea but in a slightly different way. For the Former Covenant, the witnesses were reminders to help keep the people on the right path.

In the New Covenant, the witnesses once more served as guarantors of the covenant but in a different way than anything ever seen before this.

The Most Commonly Mentioned Witness of the New Covenant Is the Holy Spirit

The key verses that explain this role of the Spirit are the following:

2 Corinthians 1:22


He has placed His seal on us, and He has given the down payment

Go to footnote number

of the Holy Spirit into our hearts


He has placed His seal of ownership on us, and He has put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit that guarantees full payment.

Ephesians 1:13


Having believed,  you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit


After you believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit just as Jesus promised.

Ephesians 1:14


who is the security deposit of our inheritance, to the ransom of His possession, to the praise of His glory.


The Holy Spirit is the advance-payment of our inheritance ensuring that God will fully purchase what He has laid claim to (us), which will result in more praise for His glory.

You probably already know that the seals of those days were made of melted wax into which was pressed the “seal” or symbol of the king, usually worn on his ring (there were also cylinders used for larger seals). Thus, when the package arrived at its destination, the recipient would know if it had been opened or not by looking to see if the seal had been broken. This was then considered a type of guarantee.

The deposit is another form of guarantee which we still practice today. It guarantees that we have both the intention and the capability to make all the payments involved in purchasing the item in question. They knew that the ideas of “witness” (for the purpose of a covenant) and financial “guarantor” were one and the same.

How Does the Holy Spirit Function as the Guarantor of the New Covenant?

He guarantees that if we seek God with all our heart we will have what is needed to fulfill the New Covenant. Under the Former Covenant it was impossible for anyone to fully keep all its conditions, but the New Covenant can be kept because God dwells in each believer by His Spirit. In the covenants of other nations of antiquity, the witnesses to the covenant were intended to cause fear and thus inspire people to adhere to the covenant conditions. Our God does not use fear in the New Covenant, rather He provides just what is necessary, stimulating us toward thanksgiving, love and obedience. The Spirit is the one who guides us in all truth so that we may understand what is needed to live the Christian life (Jn 16:13).

Go to footnote number

God does not make us obey the covenant by force, but He provides those who sincerely desire to follow Him with everything they need for life and godliness (II Peter 1:3).

Go to footnote number

So we see that the Holy Spirit is the witness, or the guarantee, of the New Covenant not because He makes sure that we always get it right (we only wish it were that easy), nor because He seals in spiritual concrete the salvation experience of each one making what they do irrelevant, but rather by being the provision of all that we need to live victoriously. If we have everything we need to live in victory, whose fault is it if we don’t do so? This is not intended to make us wallow in depression, but we need to get serious and take responsibility for what we are becoming in Christ. It would seem from this that we have no “good” excuse for not being a powerful impact in our world. There is no excuse for living under the domination of lust, or envy or self-pity or anger, or bad habits or poor attitudes, etc. When II Peter 1:3 says that “His divine power has given us everything for life and godliness,” it is the Holy Spirit that appropriates all of God’s provisions into our lives in a way that enables us to live for Him.

The Other Witness/guarantor of the New Covenant Is Jesus

We learn this from:

Hebrews 7:20


To the degree that [this] was not done without an oath – those certainly have become priests without an oath –


To the degree that Jesus became a high priest in a better manner, i.e. through an oath from God, whereas those other priests became priests without any oath,

Hebrews 7:21


however, He with an oath through the one saying to Him, “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, You are a priest to the age,”

Go to footnote number


Jesus became a high priest with an oath from God when God said, “I the Lord have sworn and I will not go back on my word, You are a priest forever,”

Hebrews 7:22


To that same degree He has become the guarantor of a better covenant.


to that same degree Jesus has become the enabler of a better covenant.

The degree to which Jesus is a better High Priest, whose priestly office is based on a better foundation, is the degree to which He is able to be the guarantor of a better covenant, one which was inaugurated with better assurance  – His own blood.

Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant (Heb 8:6 & 12:24), the sacrifice of the New Covenant, and a witness of the New Covenant in that He is the guarantor of the same. Thus the Holy Spirit and Jesus are both guarantors of this covenant under which we live. They both provide assurance that God will do what He said He would do. They also enable us to live for God’s glory. The Holy Spirit enables us by applying to our lives the full provision of everything we need for life and godliness (II Pet 1:3). Jesus enables us by interceding to God the Father on our behalf (Heb 7:25). Whereas Satan accuses us before God (Rev 12:10), the Holy Spirit and Jesus both intercede on our behalf (Rom 8:26 & Heb 7:25). 

Hebrews 7:25


Wherefore He is powerfully capable

Go to footnote number

to save throughout

Go to footnote number

all time

Go to footnote number

those who are drawing near to THEOS through Him, [since] at all times He is living for the purpose

Go to footnote number

to meet and make supplication

Go to footnote number

[to God] for them.


That is why He is plenty capable of saving those who, at any given time, are drawing near, by His agency, to THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS because He is always living in order to intercede to God for them.

This is how Jesus acts as the guarantor of the New Covenant; He intercedes for us before the Father. This means that every time an accusation comes to God about something we have done which deserves punishment, Jesus reminds God the Father that He has already taken that punishment for us. Forgiveness is provided before we even ask for it; all we need to do is ask.

The next lesson in all three series on Covenants is: Righteousness/Holiness


1: "payment"

This is a financial term which usually meant “Earnest money, down payment, advanced payment, deposit.” It was a guarantee of what would come.

2: Jn. 16:13a

When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.

3: II Peter 1:3

According to His divine power He has given us everything for life and godliness.


A partial quote from Psalm 110:4.


What I have expressed as “powerfully capable”  is a verb in Greek which means “to be powerful, to be capable, to be dynamic, to have the ability.” It is a very strong word, seen by the fact that from it we get our English word “dynamite.”


This preposition usually means “into or unto” but it can also mean things like “in, among, toward, throughout.” I have chosen “throughout” in order to match my rendering of the next word as “all time.”


This is an adjectival form of the word “all, complete, entire, through all time.” Here the theme is that of Jesus’ perpetual priesthood based on His victory over death, therefore I think the idea being communicated is that He can save people at any possible time because He will always be alive and functioning in the capacity of High Priest.


Here we see the word which is usually translated “into or unto” but can also be rendered “for the purpose of.”


This word is usually rendered “to intercede” but its fundamental idea is “to intersect with or to meet with someone or something.” There can be several reasons to meet with someone, one of which is to make a supplication,” hence the idea of “intercede.”