Preparing for Shavuot or Pentecost

Celebrating the (Re)New(ed) Covenant Involving YHVH Writing Torah on Our Hearts

Long ago Jeremiah prophesied that YHVH would make a new (or renewed) covenant being with his people Israel, which would involve both houses of Israel (Judah and Ephraim, or, prophetically speaking, the Jews and the Christians), and that he would write his Torah on their hearts.

Behold, the days come, saith YHVH, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith YHVH: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith YHVH, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know YHVH: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith YHVH: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jer 31:31–34)

Contextually, in the verses surrounding this prophecy, we discover some other important details.

Verse 27, The houses of Judah and Israel were to be mingled throughout the beast (heathen) nations of the world as punishment for breaking their covenant with YHVH that they made with him on Shavuot (the Feast of Pentecost) at Mount Sinai (Exod 19–20, 24).

Verse 28, At some point in the future, YHVH’s punishment of Israel for breaking their covenant and their resulting exile among the gentile nations will come to the end. He will rebuild and restore the nation of Israel.

Verses 29–30, Whereas in times past, Israel was punished as a collective nation for their sins when they disobeyed YHVH and were similarly blessed when they obeyed him, now each person will be cursed or blessed for his own sins. Salvation is more of an individual matter now.

Verses 31–33, YHVH promises to make a renewed covenant with the two houses of Israel at some time in the future (from Jeremiah’s perspective). It will be different from the covenant he made with Israel at Sinai in two major ways:

  • Though it will be a covenant with Israel collectively (both houses), it also will be made with individuals.
  • He will deal with the heart of each individual Israelite when he writes his Torah on their hearts.

Verse 34, This renewed covenant will involve mercy and forgiveness (grace). It will involve a personal relationship between each person and YHVH (“they shall all know me…”).

Verses 35 and 37, As the sun, moon, stars, the sea, and expanse of the heavens and the earth exist, so YHVH will renew his Torah covenant with Israel. The words of Yeshua in Matthew 5:18 are reminiscent of the this prophecy. Not one jot or tittle (Heb. yud or tag, which are the smallest elements of the Hebrew alphabet) of YHVH’s Torah will pass as long heaven and earth still exist.

Verse 36, The very survival of the nation and people of Israel (and hence the fulfillment of the covenants YHVH made with Abraham), is dependent on YHVH regathering and restoring Israel. If YHVH doesn’t bring this to pass, then YHVH is a liar and his Word is a lie and there is no hope for the world! This cannot be!

This was fulfilled during the time of the writing of the Testimony of Yeshua (New Testament). The author of Hebrews talks about this in Hebrews 8.

But now, Yeshua the Messiah has attained a more excellent public service, since He is the Mediator of a more excellent covenant, one that was legislated with better promises than the former. (Heb 8:6)

The “better promises” is everything that Yeshua taught about salvation and eternal life as a person puts their trust in him. These better promises he taught during his life and ministry, and formalized this at his last supper through the communion elements. It is all these glorious promises to which the whole Levitical and sacrificial system pointed, which, as the author of Hebrews makes clear, was fulfilled in Yeshua.

If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need to look for a second one. Finding fault with THEM He said, “Look, the days are coming, says Yehovah, when I’ll enact a New Covenant with the descendants of Israel, and with the descendants of Judah. It wont be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors during the time when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt, because they didnt remain loyal to My covenant, and I rejected them, declared Yehovah. But this is the covenant that I’ll enter into with the descendants of Israel after that time, says Yehovah; I’ll put My Torah in their minds—inscribing it on their innermost thoughts. I’ll be their Aloha, and they’ll be My people. No one will teach doctrine to their fellow citizens [evangelize], or a friend, or ask: “Do you know Yehovah” [witness to anyone], because they’ll all know Me, from the youngest of them to the oldest. I’ll be merciful regarding their wrongful behavior; and I’ll no longer remember their sins.” When He [Yeshua] mentioned, a New Covenant, He was saying that the first one was old and about to be repealed; and what was then old and failing, was about to disappear. (Heb 8:7–13, GV)

Other Scriptures Relating to the Renewed Covenant and the Heart of Man

The Tanakh is full of scriptures that speak of the renewed covenant where YHVH will write his Torah on the hearts of men. For example, in Jeremiah 32:40, YHVH reiterates his promise to make an everlasting promise with Israel. This new covenant will involve his putting his fear in their hearts. As a result, they will no longer depart from him.

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Has the Torah been “done away with”? — Hebrews 8 explained

What human deigns to have the hubris and audacity to break the immutable laws of YHVH Elohim, the Creator of the Universe, and then to call it righteousness?????

I just received this comment from a Christian minister who is well known in certain circles and who, over the decades, has done commendable work in opposing wickedness and promoting righteousness in America.

You’re a good advocate for your own perspective, and have provided a great historical outline on the rise of Hellenic thinking in the church. I’ll use some of this in my debates with Roman Catholics. BUT this is not (as you laudably acknowledge) objective scholarship on the question of keeping the Torah. You have entirely avoided Hebrews as a source, which is arguably the most relevant to this topic of all the Epistles.  Your thesis is directly challenged by Hebrews 8, for example.  In my view, keeping the law voluntarily is a matter of personal liberty, and some people benefit from maximum structure in their lives, and for all believers there is great benefit from knowing and being influenced by the Torah.  But leading people back under the Mosaic law as an obligation IS Judaizing — a term that (as used today) defines a concept with much broader Scriptural support than you admit.  

Here is my initial response to to Scott’s comment:

Well hello Scott! Welcome to my blog. I followed your and Lon’s ministry for years when you lived in Oregon, and even met you once decades ago when your office was located in my hometown, and I have appreciated your bold stand in your fight against abortion and the homosexual agenda.

With regard to my article to which you make reference, no, I didn’t cover Hebrews 8 in this particular piece. As a writer, you well know that it’s not possible to cover every facet of every topic including all of the relevant Scriptures on any biblical subject in one article, otherwise the article would be a long book and not an article. I cover Hebrews, Galatians, Romans and everything other scriptural passage in the Bible on the subject of the Torah in many of the 500 some videos on my You Tube channel, some 100 articles on our website and some 2000 articles on this blog.

Moreover, what you call Judaizing I call righteous obedience to the immutable commandments of YHVH Elohim. Judaizing is a term, as you know, that goes back to a Greek word in the NT. However, the early church fathers grossly misunderstood the writings of Paul (largely thanks to the influence of Marcion the heretic who was an anti-Jewish Torah-hater), even as Peter admits in his second epistle was occurring in his day. For Paul, Judaizing WAS NOT obedience to the Torah, or else all of Paul’s pro-Torah statements are nonsensical and contradictory. No, rather for Paul, Judaising was saying that obedience to Torah was mandatory as a requirement for salvation. This was the main thesis of the book of Galatians and the subject of the first Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. However, once saved according to the whole council of Scripture, one is duty bound to follow the Torah, which tells us how, as Paul states in Romans 13, how to fulfill the Torah, and as Yeshua states in the Gospels, how to love Elohim and our neighbor. Following the Torah is simply the fruit of the Spirit, while disobedience to it is the works of the flesh as Paul outlines in Galatians five. You see, Scott, you, to your credit, already follow much of YHVH’s Torah law. You don’t steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, covet, worship idols and so on. Where most people have a problem is with the Sabbath, biblical feasts and biblical dietary laws. These last three were the first biblical commands the ante-Nicene church fathers jettisoned because they were “too Jewish,” and the church has followed their errant ways ever since. If obeying YHVH’s Torah is Judaizing as you say, then so is not stealing, lying, coveting, murdering, etc. It’s simple logic. As James indicates, the YHVH’s Torah-laws all stand and fall together (Jas 2:10). As John states in chapter three of his first epistle, the Torah defines what sin is. So how can not sinning be a bad thing? Beyond this, to take a pick and choose approach to Torah-obedience is to follow the lie of the serpent at the tree of knowledge and to question Elohim as to what he has told us to do and to determine for ourselves what aspects of Elohim’s Word are valid and relevant for us or not. This, as Francis Schaeffer defines it, is the basis for the modern concept of secular humanism.

With regard to Hebrews chapter eight, I have addressed this chapter in my other writings, and I will do so again for your benefit on my blog right now. I invite you to go to it where you will find my response to your kind protestation.

Blessings and thank you for you comments. It has allowed me the occasion to deal with issues that keep needing to be addressed due to the misunderstandings of Scripture in mainstream, traditional Christianity.


From Natan Lawrence’s commentary on the Bible

Hebrews 8:6, Better covenant … better promises. (See Heb 9:11–15.) In the Greek, the word better is kreitton meaning “more useful, more serviceable, more advantageous, more excellent.” The Renewed Covenant is a better covenant for the reasons discussed in the notes in verse eight. In 2 Cor 3:7 calls it “the ministry of the Spirit” and refers to it as “more glorious” than the former covenant. The Renewed Covenant comes with Yeshua’s promise that from within our heart the Set-Apart Spirit will empower and lead us into all truth. Moreover, under the Renewed Covenant, the promise of salvation resulting in eternal life in the kingdom of Elohim is spelled out more clearly. The Renewed Covenant also carries with it relief from the penalty of the law, which is death, for those who put their faith in Yeshua’s atoning and substitutionary death (see notes at 2 Cor 3:7). Through the Spirit and blood of Yeshua, one’s sin conscience is now cleansed in that the guilt from sin is removed (Heb 9:14). Also, as discussed in the verse eight notes, the covenant (or contract) is the actual agreement between two parties. The terms and conditions of a covenant (or contract) are something else. Torah was the terms and conditions of YHVH’s agreement between himself and his people. When the author here uses phrase like “better covenant,” this in no way implies that the Torah has been abrogated. If this were true, then this flies in the face of what is said elsewhere in the Testimony of Yeshua to the contrary (e.g. Matt 5:17–19; Acts 21:24; 24:14; 25:8; Rom 3:31; 7:14; 1 John 2: 3–6; 3:4; Rev 12:17; 14:17; 22:14).

Hebrews 8:8, Finding fault with them. What was the fault of the first covenant? The Torah-law of Elohim, or the people who failed to abide by the terms of the covenant, i.e, the Torah? The next verse gives us the answer: “because they continued not in my covenant…” The Israelites were at fault.

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New Covenant or Renewed Covenant? What Are Its Terms and Conditions?

Matthew 26:28, New testament. (Also see notes at Heb 8:8 and notes at Ps 50:5.) 

Did you ever wonder where the terms New Testament or New Covenant came from? Yes, you will find these phrases used in the Testimony of Yeshua portion of your English Bible in exactly nine places (Matt 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor 11:25; 2 Cor 3:6; Heb 8:8, 13; 9:15; 12:24), but does the English translation do justice to the Hebrew and Greek words behind them and to the biblical concept of the “New Covenant” as it is commonly called? 

Let’s begin to answer this question by first asking a question. When you think of the word new, what comes to your mind? A brand new car? A new house? A new pair of shoes? 

You see, in English there is one common word for new, while Greek and Hebrew have more than one word for new. While English speakers are limited to one word, they nuance the meaning of new by adding qualifiers to the word new (e.g. brand new as opposed to used but it’s new to me) to differentiate between brand new versus new to me, or refurbished or repaired new. 

In the Testimony of Yeshua, there are two Greek words for new: neos and kainos, and each one has a different connotation. Neos more often means “brand new or numerically new,” while kainos means “renewed, refreshed or repaired or qualitatively new.” When you see the term New Covenant or New Testament used, in eight of nine time the authors use kainos. Only in Hebrews 12:24 is neos used in reference to the new covenant.

The Testimony of Yeshua’s preference over using the Greek word for renewed over the word (brand) new is exactly consistent with the author of the Epistle to the Hebrew’s usage of the word in Hebrews 8:8, 

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What are the differences between the “Old” Covenant and the “New” Covenant?

Hebrews 8:13, Ready to vanish away. Many who read this verse assume that the writer is saying that the Torah-law was ready to vanish away ergo the law has been done away. This belief is orthodox Christianity! But is this what the author is saying here? Read it again? Is he saying that the law is vanishing away or the covenant is vanishing away? The latter! 

So what is the difference between the former and latter covenants? The covenant was nothing more than a contract between YHVH and the people of Israel that he made with them at Mount Sinai (Exod 19–24). Think of a modern contract (e.g. buying a car, a house or agreeing to pay for services rendered). A contract is nothing more than an agreement between two or more parties. Then you have the terms of the contract. If one party fails to keep up his end of the agreement, does that mean that the terms of the contract are evil? Not at all. It means that one party failed to keep his word and the contract was then voided. The same was true with the contract of the “Old Covenant” that YHVH made with the Israelites. The terms were that if they would worship him and obey his Torah-laws, he would bless them, and if not, he would punish them. They agreed to these terms three times (Exod 19:8; 24:3,7), yet they ended up not keeping their word and instead worshipped false gods and broke his laws again and again. After hundreds of years of unfaithfulness, they finally totally abandoned YHVH. The covenant was broken for good. 

But did Israel’s unfaithfulness to his Torah-laws mean that his instructions in righteousness were evil, or rather that their hearts were evil? Logic dictates the answer to be the latter. To say that the Torah was evil and needed to be obliterated (or done away with) is like saying when you get a speeding ticket, the laws prohibiting speeding should be eliminated. Of course, this is absurd, and so it is to say that the laws of YHVH need to be eliminated because the people violated the covenant thus rendering it null and void.

Here are some more observation on the subject of the Old Covenant vanishing away and giving way to the New Covenant:

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New Covenant or Renewed Covenant? What Are Its Terms and Conditions?

Matthew 26:28, New testament. 

Did you ever wonder where the terms New Testament or New Covenant came from? Yes, you will find these phrases used in the Testimony of Yeshua portion of your English Bible in exactly nine places (Matt 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor 11:25; 2 Cor 3:6; Heb 8:8, 13; 9:15; 12:24), but does the English translation do justice to the Hebrew and Greek words behind them and to the biblical concept of the “New Covenant” as it is commonly called? 

Let’s begin to answer this question by first asking a question. When you think of the word new, what comes to your mind? A brand new car? A new house? A new pair of shoes? 

You see, in English there is one common word for new, while Greek and Hebrew have more than one word for new. While English speakers are limited to one word, they nuance the meaning of new by adding qualifiers to the word new (e.g. brand new as opposed to used but it’s new to me) to differentiate between brand new versus new to me, or refurbished or repaired new. 

In the Testimony of Yeshua, there are two Greek words for new: neos and kainos, and each one has Continue reading


 

Hebrews 8:8—Who was at fault? Elohim or the Israelites?

Hebrews 8:8, Finding fault with them. What was the fault of the first covenant? The Torah-law of Elohim, or the people who failed to abide by the terms of the covenant, i.e, the Torah? The next verse gives us the answer: “because they continued not in my covenant…” The Israelites were at fault.

YHVH gave Israel his Torah-laws (or instructions in righteousness) to teach them how to love him and to love their neighbors (Mark 12:29–31). If they followed his Torah-instructions, he promised to bless them (Deut 28:1–14), and declared that all would go well with them (Deut 4:30).

Of course, we know the sad history of ancient Israel and how they rebelled against YHVH again and again. There was nothing wrong with his Torah laws, which said, you shall not murder, steal, commit adultery, lie, covet, kidnap, commit homosexuality or incest, worship false gods, take YHVH’s name in vain, keep his Sabbaths, don’t practice divination, honor your parents and so on. What’s wrong with these? Nothing. The fault was with the people who failed to abide by these standards of righteousness, and this is exactly what the author of Hebrews is saying here.

Because the people broke their contractual or covenantal agreement with YHVH and literally abandoned him for false gods, he was forced to make a new covenant with other people who would have the heart and love and obey him.

This is exactly what Jeremiah prophesied would occur, and the writer of Hebrews is simply quoting Jeremiah in this passage.

What is the main difference between the first and second covenants? As the Israelites of old didn’t have the heart to obey YHVH because of the hardness (or carnality) of their hearts (Heb 3:8, 15; 4:2, 7), YHVH promised through Jeremiah to renew his covenant with the descendants of the ancient Israelites (i.e. the house of Israel and the house of Judah, Jer 31:31; Heb 8:8), but this time, by his Spirit, he would write his Torah-laws on their hearts and in their inward parts, so they wouldn’t resist obeying him, but would desire to be pleasing in his sight. So the fault was with the hard-hearted Israelites, not with YHVH standards of righteousness called his Torah-laws!


 

Do you fully discern the Lord’s body?


 

Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made/cut a covenant with me by sacrifice. (Psalm 50:5

Psalms 50:5, Made/cut a covenant…by sacrifice. This refers to the method by which covenants were made in ancient times between two parties. This same ritual occurred when YHVH made (or cut) a covenant with Abraham in Genesis chapter 15 except that YHVH took all the responsibilities for fulfilling the covenant upon himself, for Abraham was asleep when this covenant was cut (Gen 15:9–10, 12). All Abraham had to do was to have faith in YHVH and all the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant would fall upon him (Gen 15:6). We know from Paul’s discussion in Romans chapter four that the Abrahamic Covenant is the original biblical model for how an individual can receive salvation from Elohim. We also know that when YHVH made his covenant with Abraham, the vision Abraham had while he was asleep prophetically pointed to Yeshua’s death on the cross and his initiating the new/renewed covenant as prophesied in the Tanakh (e.g. Jer 31:31–33; also see my discussion of Gen 15:12–21 at Abraham’s vision). Yeshua at his last supper and subsequent crucifixion fulfilled this ancient prophecy as well as the spiritual types and shadows discussed in Psalm 50:7 and Genesis 15:9–21. At his last supper, Yeshua made a new covenant with his disciples through his body (the bread) and blood (the wine), which redeemed believers now commemorate when they take communion. 

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matt 26:26–28)

And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. (1 Cor 11:24)

Prior to his death on the cross, Yeshua’s predictively explained the significance of his broken body and spilled blood as it relates to covenantal agreement between him and those who would place their faith in him (as Abraham did in Gen 15).

35And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.…47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.…50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.…58This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. (John 6:35, 47, 50, 53, 58)

In the context of the Passover service when the saints through the ritual of communion annually commemorate Yeshua’s “cutting” the new covenant with his saints and then ratifying that covenant through his death, Paul has the following to say about the significance of Yeshua’s body:

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. (1 Cor 11:26–29)

Those who carelessly take communion are literally disrespecting not only the high value of the covenant that was made (or cut), but the tremendous price of making a covenant with Elohim (i.e. it cost Yeshua his life, and the believer must also die to himself as he accepts, unconditionally, Yeshua as his Lord and Master). Moreover, careless partakers of communion are not only underestimating the cost of their salvation, but the value and the benefits of that salvation, which is spiritual rewards including eternal life. Elohim is not only not duty bound to give immortality to such people, but would be foolish to immortalize people who don’t sufficiently recognize and appreciate the cost and value of covenantal agreement. In doing so, he would risk having another rebellion on his hand at some point in the future.

An ancient relic of crucifixion.

So when Yeshua died on the cross, he become the sacrifice that was cut (i.e. his body was brutally mutilated prior to and during his crucifixion) to which this verse in this Psalm 50 makes allusion. 

Moreover, Abraham not only had faith in YHVH, but he had to walk out that faith the rest of his life, for faith without works is dead (Jas 2:14–26). Similarly, those who place their faith in Yeshua must also back up that faith by doing his words (John 5:24), doing good (John 5:29; 3:21), loving him and keeping his commandments (John 14:15), coming to the light of Elohim’s truth (John 3:20–21), and showing that they are overcoming the word, the flesh and the devil resulting in eternal life and great spiritual rewards in the world to come (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). 

At the same time, those who don’t place their trust in Yeshua by accepting the covenant he “cut” through his death on the cross and then by backing that faith up with good deeds, or those who have “accepted” Yeshua, but lightly esteem him, will have a terrible price to pay.

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (1 Cor 11:29–30)

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28–29)

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)