Monday, April 16, 2012

The "New" Covenant Part 3

We have examined the words new and torah in an effort to determine what the "New Covenant" really means. Today, we will look at the word "covenant." The Hebrew word translated covenant in Jeremiah 31:31 is berit. According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, between nations, the word refers to a treaty or alliance of friendship. Between individuals, it means a pledge or agreement. Between a monarch and subjects, it is a constitution. Between God and an individual, it means a covenant accompanied by signs, sacrifices, and a solemn oath that sealed the relationship with promises of blessing for keeping the covenant and curses for breaking it. YHWH has said that He is going to write the terms of His covenant, i.e. the torah, on the hearts of his people. Jeremiah 31:33 states: "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith YHWH, I will put my torah in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people." YHWH wants His people to be obedient to the way He wants them to live their lives.

There are blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. Every parent understands this principle. If our children obey us, we are more likely to bless them. It is unusual that a blessing follows disobedience. Now consider that most all churches have thrown out torah obedience as a requirement. The torah tells us when, how, and where we are to worship. YHWH has determined how He wants His people to worship Him. Instead of following the torah, the church has in effect said, "No, God. We will give you Christmas and Easter, but not your Biblical feasts." We know that Yeshua spent forty days with His disciples after the resurrection. Whatever He taught them, we know that it didn't include Christmas or Easter. How do we know? We know because the early church (actually synagogue) did not celebrate Christmas or Easter. They celebrated Pesach (Passover), the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), and Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost). We know that Yeshua did not cease teaching the dietary rules. How do we know? We know because over a decade has passed when Kefa (Peter)has a vision in Acts 10 about clean and unclean animals. Kefa says in Acts 10:14: But Kefa said, Not so, Adonai; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean." (Note: the vision is not about food, it is about people.)Man should not dictate to YHWH how He is to be worshipped. Yet, that is exactly what the church has done.

The New Covenant is about a renewal of YHWH's instructions to His people being written on their hearts. He has made an oath to His people. He is our Elohim (Hebrew for "mighty one" and is usually translated "God" in English bibles). As His people, we owe Him obedience. We should not substitute our ideas about worship for His. If we want the blessings, we need to obey and we cannot obey if we disregard His instructions to us. That is being a New Covenant believer.