On an unnamed blog that I read from time to time, the question was asked,
We understand that the Old Covenant was inaugurated with blood (Ex. 34) and its terms were verbally established for God’s people through the giving of the Law. If the New Covenant was similarly inaugurated with blood (Luke 22), when was its content verbally established?
As soon as I saw the question, fireworks went off in my head! Here is an Achilles heel!
Because that blog is largely frequented by Reformed pastors and elders, I chose to watch it for 24 hours before responding. I wanted to see what answers would be posted by a ‘covenantal theology’ crowd.
Frankly, I was deeply disappointed. I shouldn’t have been, because a simple look at the question reveals that it can only lead where Christendom does NOT want to go, thus revealing an Achilles heel.
What indeed ARE the terms of the ‘New’ Covenant? Where are they stated? Is it a mystery we have to tease out of the text or is our God One who reveals His expectations clearly and plainly?
Honestly, the question hung in the air and only a few responded in the first 24 hours with some not even understanding the question and no consensus among the others.
It is a simple question, really. Maybe one we need to ask of the learned more often. They have no consensus and no real answer, thus revealing that, either,
1. We are expected by Yahweh to figure out what the terms are from the various saying of Yeshua and Rav Shaul (Paul), or
2. We HAVE the terms of the covenant clearly articulated in the Torah and indeed it is a renewed covenant.
They do not want to go to #2 at ANY cost, because it exposes multiple holes in Christian theology, so they take wild stabs, all the while ignoring the elephant in the room.
When I could stand it no longer, 24 hours being about my limit… lol, I posted this response:
You ask a fascinating question.
Jesus said, “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. “ Jn 7:16 KJV
The Father, through the author of Proverbs (4:2, KJV) says, “For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law (torah).”
At the end of the Sermon on the Mount we read, “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:” Matthew 7:28 KJV. (He didn’t teach anything new. He simply expanded to the heart what was generally practiced as an outward work.)
What was Jesus speaking? The Father, through Moses in Deuteronomy 18:18 (NASB) says, “I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in His mouth and he shall speak to them all that I command him.”
Read Deuteronomy 13:1-5. Jesus, like all true prophets, could not teach anything that even sniffed of departing from the commandments. See v. 4! And, He did say, “I did not come to abolish the law… until heaven and earth pass away…” Matthew 5:17-19
Scripture teaches that Jesus will return and reign from Mt. Zion.
Isaiah 2:1-5… v. 2… “it will come about in the last days…” v. 3b says, “For the law (torah) will go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
But that makes sense because James referred to Jesus as “the Lawgiver and Judge.” (4:12) (Even some Jewish sages/rabbis believe the Messiah was on Mt. Sinai at the giving of the Law! Pg 64 of Return of the Kosher Pig by Rabbi Itzhak Shapira quoting ancient sources as he, a Messianic believer in Yeshua, makes the case for a Divine Messiah from Rabbinic writings. Fascinating scholarly book to see the battle for Yeshua from the other side!! http://www.kosherpig.org or his Youtube videos… But, I digress.)
So, what is this ‘new’ thing? (Your question)
The Father says, “Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7 (NASB)
So, what exactly did He reveal to Jeremiah in 31:31-34?
1. ‘new’ covenant… The Hebrew word for ‘new’ means ‘refresh, renew, restore’ etc according to the Ancient Hebrew Lexicon. i.e., the covenant that Israel had broken and been scattered as a result of breaking, would be renewed opening the door for all who come, to be grafted in through the blood of Messiah.
2. The ‘new’ covenant is with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. This is a tough pill for Christendom to swallow, because we’ve been taught our whole lives that the covenant is with us. The reality is, we are grafted into Israel through the blood of Messiah! See Ephesians 2. The whole chapter, but particularly v. 12. We become members of the commonwealth of Israel. What does ‘adoption/grafting in’ really mean? Different rules? Different system? Different treatment? How then do we become ‘one new man?’
3. The law (torah) will be put in their/our hearts. When Jeremiah wrote this, do we honestly think he believed a new law would be given when the first was called ‘perfect,’ ‘holy,’ righteous,’ etc?
Jeremiah goes on to reveal how sure this is in 33:14-22. Notice ‘covenant,’ ‘house of Judah,’ house of Israel,’ ‘David,’ ‘My servant,’ ‘heaven,’ ‘earth,’ and ‘Levitical priests.’ God affirms that He WILL do this.
We’ve been taught that the ‘Law of Moses’ is BAD!
Scripture says, ‘How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law (torah) of the Lord.’ And, ‘in keeping them there is great reward.’ And, ‘I love your law (torah)’ And, ‘If you love Me, you will keep My commandments’ (covenant loyalty language…) etc, etc.
We’ve been taught that the Law of Moses is ‘too hard.’
Scripture says, “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.”
We’ve been taught that the Law of Moses is done away with.
Scripture says, “Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law” and “until heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle will pass from the Law…”
Paige, the terms of the covenant have been written down and are well established. Unfortunately, those terms are the ‘elephant in the room.’ Christendom has to begin to deal with why they allowed Paul to be twisted to say things he never said (2 Peter 3:14-17), and why we allowed pagan syncretism in the door through Constantine and many of the early church ‘fathers.’
I could write much more, but for those curious, the statement of faith for the congregation I lead is published at: http://davarchaim.org/statement-of-faith/
Shortly after that reply, I was asked to take a seat as my thoughts were not what the author was looking for. I got a bowl of popcorn and sat to observe them continue to fumble for an answer to the question, ‘What are the terms of the New Covenant?’
Indeed, there is an elephant in the room.