Lately, I have been marking instances of ‘heart’ in the Tanakh, or ‘old’ Testament. My specific reason is that on so many occasions, in conversations with others regarding the importance of Torah in our day, I am told that it is written on our hearts by the New Covenant, therefore, we do not have to worry about or try to keep it.
The very root of that thought is contrary to the New Covenant, so we need to demonstrate briefly that the New Covenant is not yet fulfilled before addressing the ‘heart’ of the matter. The New Covenant says,
31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to[a] them,[b]”
declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law (Torah) in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”
As we’ve discussed before, Christendom appropriated this promise, while ignoring ALL of the terms. Notice the terms and the fact that they are not, indeed CANNOT be fulfilled!
- The Covenant is with the House of Israel and the House of Judah, no mention of Gentiles. (See footnote)
- The Covenant will write TORAH on the hearts.
- The Covenant will be fulfilled when no longer does anyone teach their neighbor ‘because they will ALL know me…’
See? Not fulfilled. Very simple math. Torah written on heart is yet future!
So, Christendom’s argument that they have the New Covenant and don’t need Torah is a moot point, thus destroying the idea that somehow the New Testament has a lock on the heart that didn’t exist in the Old. So, now to the point of this post:
From the very beginning, and indeed, throughout the Tanakh, knowing Yahweh has always been a matter of the heart! Scripture evidences this over and over!
Central to the Torah and a Torah observant lifestyle is the Shema. It begins,
4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
Walking Torah is to be a matter of the heart!
From Mt. Sinai, at the very least, the expectation of the Father was that Torah be written on the hearts of the hearers. Deuteronomy, being the restatement of the Torah before entry into the Land, mentions ‘heart’ 47 times, more than any other book except Jeremiah (58), Psalms (125) and Proverbs (81).
Multiple times in Deuteronomy Israel is commanded to ‘love the Lord with all your heart.’ Besides the Shema, here are a couple notable quotes:
10:16 So circumcise [a]your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.
30:14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.
Notice, ‘IN your heart!!’ IN!
I know some contrarians will say, ‘Yeah, but it never happened. They never had the Torah written on their hearts.’ Well, here are a few argument busters:
I Kings 8:61 Let your heart therefore be [a]wholly devoted to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day.” (Solomon speaking to all Israel.)
2 Kings 23:25 Before him there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him. (Speaking of Josiah in an amazing passage and story we have written about before!)
I Chronicles 29:18 O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, our fathers, preserve this forever in the [a]intentions of the heart of Your people, and direct their heart to You; 19 and give to my son Solomon a perfect heart to keep Your commandments, Your testimonies and Your statutes, and to do them all, and to build the [b]temple, for which I have made provision.”
Psalm 37:31 The law (Torah) of his God is in his heart;
His steps do not slip.
Other verses are common that demonstrate the connection of faith and how the patriarchs lived; faith being a major component of the supposed ‘new’ Covenant and the Torah being written on our hearts:
Genesis 15:6 Then he [Abram] believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. (Torah written on his heart… see Genesis 26:5!!)
Habakkuk 2:4b …But the righteous will live by his [a]faith.
There are many more examples, but the point is simply this: a) They understood and examples do exist of Torah being written on the hearts of many in the Tanakh, and b) this has not been completely fulfilled in the ‘new’ Testament as it has yet a future greatest fulfillment.
Simply, a heart fully submitted to the Father will walk as Yeshua walked and learn Torah as our Father writes in on the heart. Faith and works, Yeshua and Torah, are matters of the heart. Abba Yahweh wants, through our faith, to write His Torah on our hearts. As we grow, we experience more and more of it, but will not reach the fulness of the New Covenant promise until the New Jerusalem!
A final note on fulfillment: The New Covenant, prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel and quoted in Hebrews, is only partially fulfilled. We see shadows of it now, but will receive it in fullness at the beginning of the New Heaven and New Earth we read of in Revelation 21. Until then, all who are grafted into Israel ought to walk as Yeshua walked, with the obedient faith of Abraham.
There is no Covenant with the Gentiles… Gentiles are grafted into Israel through the blood of Messiah. Being grafted in does not mean we replace Israel or become/appear as something different than Israel. Rather, we are joined into Israel and as obedient children, our walk should begin to look distinctly Hebrew/Biblical, not as some new religion with different holidays, different worship days, different diet, etc… (Please notice, I did not say our walk should look like Judaism, as they have plenty of traditions that need to be re-evaluated in the light of Scripture, just like Christendom…)
A good word! Thank you for providing the Scripture references and for spelling it out so succinctly!
Amein again, Brother Pete!
The new covenant is with the House of Israel ALONE. The House of Judah is only mentioned in the preamble, not the covenant. (Just a thought. Judah has had the Law all the time, without any break).
second point. The adoption, in Ephesians 2:, is to those who had been under the law, but had become alienated from it (not aliens, KJV v12), so thwese are the Isreal of the dispersion, the wild olive tree, being grafted back into the natural olive. Note, there are only two kinds of olives, and you can only graft like into like.
Shalom and welcome.
I understand what you are saying, though I do find it interesting that the author of Hebrews, in a letter tailored to Jews is careful to copy the preamble. Yes, the point is made directly to the House of Israel in Hebrews 8:10, but rest assured, if, as I mention, this is not fulfilled but will be at the beginning of the New Heaven and New Earth, then ALL mankind who step into that eternity will HAVE to have this written on their hearts… And, all would be part of the Bride/kahal/ekklesia, etc. So, I understand what you are saying, and indeed, Judah has been faithful to the Torah at least outwardly if not also inwardly, but they are human and prone to sin as we all are and thus need it written on their hearts as we do.
On point two, I agree that all of the nations come in through the House of Israel and I understand the point you make in terms of alienation (and therefore possibly making an argument for physical kinship), but I think Paul’s message was broader as a way of fulfilling the Isaiah commands to be a light to the nations and to reach the nations, where that did not seem to be a REgathering so much as a gathering!
Lots of other Scriptures connected with these that help flesh out/add details to the larger picture. Good fodder for discussion!! Thanks, and Shalom down under!
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Check out the definition of the word “human being”. http://hebrewofyhwh.wordpress.com/the-power-of-words-by-richard-anthony-guest-writer-at-hebrews-house/
Just a thought about this “preamble” question. What if Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 37 are linked? What if this “preamble” listing the houses of Israel and Judah separately, and then the covenant coming with the House of Israel tells us that the process of fulfilling the covenant means God making the two sticks of Judah and Ephraim the one stick of Israel in His hand?
I agree and considered that, however that would require the definition of ‘house of Israel’ to change from the first use to the second use… i.e., from the name of one stick to the name of both joined. Not impossible, but generally unlikely without some clarifying word like we see in Ez. 37:11 where the reference is to ‘the whole House of Israel.’
In that context, the ‘whole House of Israel’ refers to both Houses and states all are dried bones in need of raising. (Which supports your thoughts and mine.)
It is interesting that sometimes little definers like that may have been intentionally obfuscated by our Father to hide His intent until the fulness of time…
What a great mystery and epic story we are a part of!
This is just an interpretation of mine, but it seems to fit the facts.
Obadiah tells of the desire of Edom to have the land. When I look at the politics of modern Israel, there are two very different ideologies at work. One is to dwell in the land in peace, the other to have the land at any cost. I see these as the two faces, one of Judah/Israel, the other of Edom.
To me, Ezekiel 37 talks of great destruction out of the north. This will remove the Edomites from the land. The next phase will bring a full reconciliation between the two houses, Israel and Judah. “They will go up to Jerusalem, weeping”. This is the joining of the two sticks. I believe that this will lead to the triumphant return of Jesus, who will then rule for 1000 years.
Many of the signs leading up to this are already happening. The Euphrates is drying up (the Turks are diverting it for irrigation, Iraq is becoming almost a desert) and the Suez Canal has already dried up once (Isa. 11:15).
thought-provoking for this Gentile Christian. Thanks for posting.
Shalom and welcome!! So glad to have you drop by.
An easy way of understanding “written on the heart” is to say it is in our conscience. As a New Zealander, I note that many races do not have a conscience. Coincidence? Or is it a way of separating Israelites from non-Israelites? I note the the words translated “gentile” are. simply, nations. All it really means is they are not Jews. And the House of Israel, the northern kingdom, is definitely NOT Jewish.
Elohim so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son that whomsoever………