I believe this is an important topic, and I beg all believers to work through it very, very slowly; and very, very carefully. Check everything I write against the Scriptures, but do your best to do so as though you were standing in the sandals of the prophets. I offer this special word of guidance because, if you do as I urge you to do, you might find that it is only when we read the Scriptures as a TORAH observant Hebrew that we can start to see that it may not actually say what so many of us have been taught to believe.
[NOTE: To assist readers in digesting this essay, I have broken it down into sections in the hope that this will make it easier to digest. Just take it one section at a time.]
SETTING THE TABLE
The more I study this subject, the more I realize how broadly and deeply it is spread throughout the whole of Scripture. To me, the New Covenant is inseparable from the Messiah and His mission on Earth, which is why I see the New Covenant echoed in nearly everything I read in the Scriptures: from Genesis to The Revelation of Jesus, Christ. Hence, it would both impossible and presumptuous to pretend I could address every aspect of this subject in this one post. All I hope to do here is to help those who don’t already, see a little of the breadth and depth of this subject the way I see it.
With that said, let’s look at the first passage where the New Covenant is most clearly foretold.
A NEW COVENANT IS PROMISED
Jeremiah 31:31-33 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
The first thing we should note is that the Lord, speaking through Jeremiah, speaks of two Houses: the House of Israel and the House of Judah. I cannot stress just how important it is to understand that it is YHWH who addresses the two as different Houses. In fact, if we do not understand this distinction, we cannot possibly understand Christ’s Gospel. So, if you do not have this distinction clear in your mind, I would ask that you give me the benefit of the doubt in what I have to say in the rest of this post — at least until you have had time enough to research it for yourself.
YHWH SAYS HE WAS MARRIED TO JUDAH AND ISRAEL
The next thing to note is that YHWH says He was ‘husband to the Houses of Israel and Judah:’
“…My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.“
This ties the New Covenant directly to Paul’s teachings in Romans 7 and the notion of being ‘Dead to The Law.’ This is another subject that, if you have not studied it, I would ask your tolerance of my opinion in this post until you have.
The reason it is important to understand that the Houses of Israel and Judah were married to YHWH is that that marriage covenant is what made it necessary for Christ to die. But it did so only for one House, not both! For Judah was not given a bill of divorce by YHWH, only Israel. This is an important key to the New Covenant, as well as Christ’s Gospel.
A SECOND EXODUS: A SECOND COVENANT
The Scriptures speak of a second exodus for both the House of Judah and well as the House of Israel. They are treated as two different events [NOTE: I will write about this shortly, but, for now, I beg you to be open to the possibility that this is in the Scriptures, please].
In the case of Judah, who was not given a divorce, there was no need to make a new covenant (the New Covenant does apply to the House of Judah, but only if and when individual members accept Messiah). Judah had remained faithful, so all that was necessary was for YHWH to restore them. This is prophesied in Isaiah 11:11-16.
However, the House of Israel is a different story. She was given a divorce by YHWH, so, according to the Law, the House of Israel could not be joined back to YHWH while YHWH still lived. Therefore, Messiah (YHWHW in the form of a man) came to earth to die, so that The Law may be fulfilled. After which time, YHWH could legally take Israel back as His bide (through Christ, this time). This presented the opportunity to establish a New Covenant with the House of Israel (possibly even required it).
Others may disagree but — to my understanding, anyway — there is a clear pattern here:
The whole of Israel was brought out of Egypt, after which YHWH made a covenant with His people.
Later, when Israel committed Spiritual Adultery, YHWH gave her a bill of divorce and sent her away (to be lost in the nations). Judah went away, as well, but she was never given a bill of divorce and later returned and was restored (this was Judah’s second exodus, this time out of Babylon).
So now comes the second exodus for Israel (out of the nations). Here is where we need to focus on what Christ said His Gospel is truly about:
Matthew 15:24 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
24 But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
This is what Christ’s mission is about: establishing the start of the second exodus for the House of Israel, which would then require a second covenant — the New Covenant.
THE NEW COVENANT IS WRITTEN ON THE HEART
OK, here is where I will happily admit that my understanding becomes less concrete, and more of a shadowy feeling — like looking at a reflection in a mirror (i.e. brass mirror). Still, I am convinced that I am on the right track, maybe just lacking the proper words to explain it as clearly as I’d like.
On what is The Law of Moses written? Stones, correct? Stones are dead, just as The Law of Moses is dead in the sense that it governs by an obedience out of fear. If you do not do everything that The Law dictates, you are hopelessly lost. This is because, under the old covenant, there is no way to escape the penalty for violating just one of the least of The Laws commands. In a way, YHWH was a master to us [NOTE: I am speaking here not as a member of the House of Judah, but as an unknown member of the House of Israel, or a grafted-in Gentile, as this is the only way I can understand and explain this subject.]
However, under the New Covenant, The Law still exists, but now it is written on living flesh, in the hearts and minds of those who believe and obey. Remember, Jeremiah did not say The Law would be done away, but that YHWH would make a New Covenant, where His same Law would be written on the Hearts of His people (in this case, my emphasis is placed on the House of Israel). And thus, we can now make sense of Y’Shuah’s words in the Gospel of John:
John 15:14-15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
Others may have realized this for a long time, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized Y’Shuah is restating a passage from prophecy in this passage. I say restating because He did not quote the original prophecy exactly. Instead, He placed Himself as friend, rather than Husband. Otherwise, compare John 15:14-15 to this passage:
Hosea 2:16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
16 “It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord,
“That you will call Me Ishi [my husband]
And will no longer call Me Baali [my master].
Do you see what YHWH has declared? The New Covenant will be written on the hearts of the House of Israel because they will want to obey — out of love: love for what the Father (husband) has done in sending His Son to die so that we could once again be wed to Him. So it is a double love: a love for the Father and the Son! But make no mistake: The Law remains. It may have been given a new form in some areas. Just as the Temple and the Priesthood have changed, then so must those aspects of The Law change, too (just as it says in Hebrews). but The Law is still in force, and we are still commanded to obey! It’s just that, now, for us, we obey out of an abundance of love for the Father (Israel’s Husband) and Son (our brother), whereas our Jewish brethren are still obeying out of commands from their master.
[NOTE: as with most of the posts I write, I have had to limit the passages of Scripture I cite in trying to explain what I see. Likewise, I have limited the connections I see. All I am trying to do is share my understanding with others. I leave it entirely up to you as to what you do with them, but I will tell you that, the more of my cross links you read, the more of the picture I will be able to share with you. Shalom.]
Sandals of the prophets
House of Israel