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.
It’s interesting the author said that your argument was not what she was looking for. So what was she looking for? Hm….
The author was looking for the opinions of those who ‘understand the DIScontinuity of the old and new covenants’ as well as those who understand ‘the Law of Moses has been abrogated.’
I quickly explained that ‘abrogated,’ a word used in the Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 19, para 3 (if I remember correctly) means ‘annulled’ or ‘abolished,’ a concept diametrically opposed to Yeshua in Matthew 5:17-19… (I did NOT come to abolish… whoever annuls or teaches to annul will be LEAST in the kingdom…’)
Ah, but the traditions of men feel better….
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Ah, I see…*sigh*
Well Im excited to say I immediatly thought of the new covenant in Jeremiah with the house of Israel as I was reading the authors questions, (I feel like a school girl clapping that she got the answer right LOL), but so sad to see the response they gave YOU. Oh my, but I have to say – way to support your theology through scripture. It is so plain. What I would like to believe is that a seed has been planted and the rest is up to the Ruach! I’ll pray that blind eyes are opened and that it will just keep nagging the author until they are compelled to relook at the scriptures you quoted.
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My prayer as well. I keep wondering, ‘when do we stop reading Scripture through denominational filters and just read what it says?’
I certainly do not blame them.. I used to think that way… We each need to come to a place where we cry out for the unvarnished truth, not matter the cost. THEN the Ruach can open eyes!
Shalom, my friend.
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First, thank you for writing so concisely. Second, a beautiful coincidence – I was talking with my Messianic congregation about this very thing tonight. You summed up our conversation perfectly. Shalom! 🙂
Thank you and welcome!
Does your congregation have a web/blog site?
They do but I’d rather not share the information publicly, Pete. Thanks for understanding.
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How could there be a prophet like unto Moses who then did away with Moses? Yeshua told us that he supplied the blood of the new covenant. But that leads us back to Jeremiah, and they aren’t going to turn down a road if they don’t like where it might lead.
I am guessing you are challenging them very gently, or you would soon be persona non grata? I got kicked off Sola Sisters for quoting scriptures they didn’t like 🙂
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I challenge as much as I feel I can without being completely alienated… It is a walk of sensitivity to the Ruach. He says, ‘time to take a break…’ I take a break… LOL!
Because I was a pastor among them and because parts of my family are still in their congregations, they, too, have a fine line to walk. Makes for interesting confrontations, but I note, none of them have ever posted over here challenging anything. I guess they either have no answer, or are scared to death of lending any “credibility” to what I write…
I just pray and keep studying, knowing the day is coming when I’ll get a call or two asking for answers, or to come share in their fellowship.
All in Father’s timing.
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I have discovered that by just hearing the Word the connections begin to be made. The Holy Ghost must be the interpreter of the Word as it enters the brain. We have to read the word in the light that created it, and hear it with the breath that spoke it. And that takes a lot of letting go.
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(Isa 5:24 [KJV])
Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, [so] their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
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I am interested to know what you do with Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia, particularly chapters 2-5. He speaks very plainly and forcefully as he calls Peter on some hypocrisy, as a good brother should.
He takes great care to explain that there are two covenants, one (mount Sinai) producing slave children and the other (from above) children who are free.
The New Covenant, according to Paul, is the refreshing or fufillment of the Divine covenant with Abraham and the law, which came 430 years later, cannot invalidate it. Indeed the law was given as a tutor until that promised seed had come.
Now that Abraham’s promised seed has come, to go back under the law, Paul says, is to be 1) under a curse, 2) severed from Christ, 3) fallen away from grace.
This is very strong language. Many who hold to and teach Torah observance have come to reject Paul entirely. They are wrong to do so but it is understandable.
Can Paul overturn Jesus? Jesus said, ‘not one jot or tittle will pass from the Law until heaven and earth pas away.’
Truth, Paul is the most misunderstood and misrepresented person in Scripture. Until someone thoroughly understands Torah and understands the truly everlasting nature of God’s Instructions in Righteousness, they will not correctly understand Paul. https://natsab.com/2013/05/02/know-your-bible-10-question-pop-quiz-subject-paul/ and another, https://natsab.com/2013/12/02/the-apostle-paul-was-not-a-christian/
Bottom-line: Paul did not teach us that we no longer have to be obedient to the Law. He taught that we are no longer under the curse of the Law. I strongly recommend JK McKee’s well researched and articulated Does the New Testament Validate Torah. I also recommend my whole series to a Baptist Sunday School Class. First couple classes are audio, the remainder are video. I address Paul for several weeks, but you need a foundation before tackling Paul. https://natsab.com/apologetics/
Then, with that foundation, study the history of the religious sects in Judaism and what the debates were in Judaism at the time of Paul. You will suddenly realize Paul is addressing proselyte conversion to rabbinic (technically Pharisaic) Judaism. The whole Pauline Gospel series at 119ministries.com is a great study, too.
Those who understandably reject Paul do so precisely because they have the jangle in their head created by a correct understanding that the 43 books that come before Paul are TRUTH, but the Paul preached by the church is contra Torah! Frankly, they reject Paul because they have trouble getting over the falsehood taught by christendom about an Apostle that staunchly kept and upheld Torah.
I hope you’ll dig deep and study this out.
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish BUT TO FULFLL. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law UNTIL ALL IS ACCOMPLISHED. “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. “For I say to you that unless your righteousness SURPASSES that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Partial verses can be misleading, I think. In the full context of the sermon here Jesus is speaking to those whose hope is set on attaining righteousness through the law. He is saying that he has come to accomplish something that no other person, not even a ‘letter of the law Pharisee’, can accomplish…the fulfilling of the Law. He has just stated that He came to fulfill the Law. Elsewhere He declares that He accomplished everything that the Father gave Him to do and said only what He was given to say. Not only that but Jesus clearly says that nothing of the Law shall pass away UNTIL all is fulfilled… Don’t mess with the Law until I have satiated it.
The salient question is: Did Jesus fulfill the Law?
If he did then the Law has been fulfilled (the jots and tittles are passed away) by our kinsman redeemer, the second Adam, God the Son and what business have we trying to add to what He has done? Having begun in the Spirit will we now be made perfect in the flesh? If He did not then still the law stands unfulfilled and how can we hope to do what He could not do?
That is what Paul had a hold of (or what had hold on him) and what he preached and was persecuted by the Jews for. He never told the Jews to stop being Jewish and He never told the Gentiles to become Jewish because he knew that in Christ there was neither. Paul counted all his Jewish and Pharisaic accomplishments in the Law as rubbish compared to the surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus the Lord. Everything he had once thought was gain (among other things, faultlessness in the Law – Philippians 3:6) he now counted as loss.
I don’t know you Mr. Rambo but I doubt you are going to surpass Paul in the Law and even if you equal him he would tell you to count it as loss.
You do not understand the word fulfill. (pleroo) You use it as if it means ‘abolish’ but Yeshua clearly said he did NOT come to abolish the Law, therefore, ‘fulfill’ must mean something else.
Now, based on what you just said, you believe the Law has been fulfilled and passed away. Do you lie? According to you, there is no Law…. Steal? etc…
Truth, I do not trust in my own righteousness, but I do know that I am called to walk in the same way that my Messiah walked. If the Torah was good enough for Him, then it is good enough for me.
Read the latter half of Psalm 19 or all of Psalm 119 and digest. Read it slowly. the Torah is forever. The Torah is truth. the Torah is the everlasting unchanging measure of righteousness. It still stands. Paul nor Yeshua overturned it else they would be the Lawless one…. Think about that.
Psalm 119:44-45 –> “So I shall keep thy Torah continually for ever and ever and I will walk at LIBERTY, for I seek Thy precepts.
Torah is forever. Torah IS Liberty.
Conversely, lawlessness is bondage!