-- THE 7 COVENANTS OF GOD ALMIGHTY --
The Hebrew word for 'covenant' is berit or berith. This word is different from any other type of promise. A promise or even a contract can be broken if one party breaks his word or violates the terms of the agreement, invalidating the contract. However, a berit, or divine promise (a covenant of God) cannot be broken or invalidated. Even though the people of Israel sinned, He may exact punishing discipline, but Yahweh will not break His covenant with them. He will NEVER break His covenant with them.
The Book of Hebrews has a number of problems. First and foremost, the author is anonymous, and unknown. This fact calls into question whether or not the writings are ‘inspired’, and whether or not the book should have been included in the Christian canon in the first place. The teachings, doctrines, and theology mirror those of the so-called apostle Paul so closely, that some believe Paul was the author, however, all thirteen of Paul’s epistles included a salutation and introduction, and Hebrews does not.
Therefore, others speculate it was written by someone very close to Paul, and very familiar with his teachings, perhaps Barnabas, Apollos, or one of his several disciples. Still others suggest Priscilla, a friend of Paul’s, who along with her husband Aquila were very close friends and accompanied Paul on some of his missionary travels.
Usually, scholars can come up with a reasonable postulation of authorship, or a theory, that a majority can agree on, but in the case of the Book of Hebrews, the scholars are at a complete loss. However, as serious as the question of authorship is, or doubts about ‘inspiration’, there are deeper, ‘meat and potatoes’ problems with the Book of Hebrews upon which we will focus the attention of our study.
However, the author of Hebrews then goes on to add the comment that because the prophet referred to a ‘new’ covenant, that it meant the ‘old’ covenant would be made obsolete, contradicting what the Lord Yeshua said concerning the ‘old’ covenant, referring to the Mosaic Law. But wait. Yahweh has made more than one ‘old ‘covenant, and neither the author of Hebrews nor the so-called apostle Paul can make sweeping dismissals of the “old covenant” without consideration of the other ‘old covenants’, because they all dove-tail into one another. They are interwoven and build upon each other in a bringing forward of the older, as foundational to the next. They never vanish away. Many have found this fact, a source of confusion.
Some scholars recognize five Biblical covenants of God, others seven, and a few as many as eight. In our studies at the ecumenical examiner, we conclude that eight is simply wrong, five leaves out some important elements, and so in this brief study we will consider the seven recognized covenants of God.
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” - Hebrews 8:10-13 (NKJV)
Any Christian writer of this period, such as the so-called apostle Paul, who contributed a great deal of fine writings, with which we can find no fault, but who also contradicts the teachings of the Messiah, Yeshua, on the matters of the Covenants, and has set himself up (or herself as the case may be) as a false teacher, a false prophet, or a false apostle by the very act of contradiction. One cannot claim to speak for God and disagree with Yeshua in the same breath. To this point, note what the author of Hebrews says:
The author began by quoting from Jeremiah 31 which reads;
"Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when 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 lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." - Jeremiah 31:31-34 (NKJV)
ONE - The first covenant recorded in scripture was the Adamic Covenant, found in Genesis 3:16-19. While this covenant is implied, rather than explicit, it nonetheless includes promises made, as well as attached warnings, and penalties, therefore carrying all the same weight as any of the other covenants made between the Creator and His people. The details of this covenant include the following:
Mankind, both male and female were created in God’s image.
Mankind was granted dominion over the animal kingdom.
A divine directive was given for mankind to reproduce and inhabit the entire Earth.
Mankind was to be vegetarian (eating meat was established in the Noahide covenant which came later.)
But first and foremost, eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was forbidden, with death as the stated penalty.
As the result of Adam’s sin, the following curses were pronounced as punishment:
Pain in childbirth for women.
The ground cursed, producing thorns and thistles.
Survival to be a struggle.
Death was introduced and would become the permanent fate of all their descendants.
Although these curses are severe, punitive, and unflinchingly stern, a wonderful promise of grace was also included in the Adamic Covenant. Genesis 3:15 is often referred to as the “Proto-Gospel” or “First Gospel,” Gospel meaning ‘Good News’. Speaking directly to Satan, God says:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
In this first of all Biblical prophecies, God promises that one born of a woman would be wounded in the process of destroying Satan. The “seed” of the woman who would crush the Serpent’s head is none other than Jesus the Christ. Even while pronouncing the curse, God puts Satan on notice of his impending destruction, and makes known that He has a gracious provision for the salvation of mankind. Good news indeed.
TWO - Noahide Covenant. - “Thus, I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." And God said: "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.” - Genesis 9:11-13
It's also important to note that the 'Noahide' Covenant is understood to extend beyond the children of Abraham to all the peoples of earth, meaning Jews and Gentiles of the nations are all embraced by God's Noahide Covenant.
THREE - Abrahamic Covenant - "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly." Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." And God said to Abraham: "As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.” - Genesis 17:1-11
If the Abrahamic Covenant is also made obsolete by the ‘new’ covenant, as the author of Hebrews is declaring, then there is no longer a house of Israel, nor children of Abraham. Worse, the author of Hebrews makes a liar of God Almighty. Can there be any doubt why we condemn the book of Hebrews as ‘not inspired’ and false.
FOUR - Mosaic Covenant - The pattern of this covenant is not unlike the other ‘old’ covenants of that time because it is between the sovereign God and his people (Israel). At the time of the covenant, God reminded the people of their obligation to be obedient to His law (Exodus 19:5), and the people agreed to the covenant when they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!” (Exodus 19:8). This covenant would serve to set the nation of Israel apart from all other nations as God’s chosen people and was as equally binding as the unconditional covenant that God made with Abraham because it is also a blood covenant. The Mosaic Covenant is a significant covenant in both God’s redemptive purposes and in the history of the nation of Israel through whom God would wonderfully choose to bless the world with both His written Word and the Living Word, Jesus Christ.
FIVE - Covenant of Return - Deuteronomy 29, 30 - God made this covenant with Israel after the Mosaic Covenant and after Israel had wandered in the wilderness for forty years. God made this covenant with Israel while they were in Moab waiting to enter the Promised Land, and the covenant would serve this new generation of Israelites as a reminder of their special covenant relationship with God. Even though God set before Israel the promise of His blessings for obedience and His curses for disobedience, He knew full well they would turn from Him and His covenant and turn to idols. This is why He also promised to one day restore them to the land and have compassion on them (Deuteronomy 30:1-3).
Therefore, the ultimate outcome of this covenant does not depend on Israel and its obedience, but instead it depends on God and His unshakable faithfulness. This covenant is again reaffirming the Abrahamic Covenant in that someday the seed of Abraham will possess the Promised Land forever. Unlike the Mosaic Covenant whose promises are conditional upon Israel’s obedience to the Law, ultimate fulfillment of the promises of the Covenant of Return are not dependent upon Israel’s obedience. Instead, the Covenant of Return is an unconditional, eternal covenant (Ezekiel 16:60) because it brings forward the Abrahamic Covenant and amplifies it.
Some see these promises as having been fulfilled when Israel was returned from captivity in Babylon at the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. Yet there seem to be some aspects of this fulfillment that have not been fully realized yet. What the ecumenical examiner sees, is the beginning of the greater fulfillment as having occurred in 1948 when the nation state of Israel was re-established (see - Zion, Zionism). This was an extraordinary fulfillment of Ezekiel 37. In this, the world would know that Yahweh is God, and all that He says, comes to pass.
SIX - Davidic Covenant - The Davidic Covenant refers to God’s promises to David through Nathan the prophet and is found in 2 Samuel 7 and later summarized in 1 Chronicles 17:11-14 and 2 Chronicles 6:16. This is an unconditional covenant made between God and David through which God promises David and Israel that the Messiah (Yeshua) would come from the lineage of David and the tribe of Judah and would establish a kingdom that would endure forever. The Davidic Covenant is unconditional because God does not place any conditions of obedience upon its fulfillment. The promises are secured solely by God’s faithfulness and does not depend at all on David or Israel’s obedience. The Davidic Covenant centers on several key promises that are made to David. First, God reaffirms the promise of the land that He made in the first two covenants with Israel (the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants). This promise is seen in 2 Samuel 7:10, “I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore.” Secondly, God then promises that David’s son will succeed him as king of Israel and that this son (Solomon) would build the temple. If the author of Hebrews is correct, then the Davidic Covenant is also abolished, and if that’s true, then Jesus the Christ, Yeshua, has no standing as the Messiah in the family line of David. But then the promise continues and expands: “I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (verse 13), and “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” (verse 16). What began as a promise that David’s son Solomon would be blessed and build the temple turns into something different—the promise of an everlasting kingdom. Another Son of David would rule forever and build a lasting House. This is a reference to the Messiah, Yeshua HaMashiach, called the Son of David in Matthew 21:9, and an everlasting dynasty coming from the linage of David.
SEVEN - New Covenant - This is the covenant in question, as far as the Book of Hebrews goes. This covenant, prophesied by Jeremiah 31:31-34, promised that God would forgive sin and have a close, unbroken relationship with His people. The promise was first made to Israel and then expanded to include Gentiles of the nations, who come to Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Christ, in faith (Matthew 26:26-28) (John 10:14-16).
It is written explicitly in the Book of Hebrews, and echoed by many, that the New Covenant of Yeshua, was of such superior ascendancy, that it superseded all the older covenants of God, rendering them fossilized relics of an ancient time. This is at the heart of the specious argument of grace over works as asserted by the author of Hebrews, and the so-called apostle Paul. However, as we look back on the previous six covenants, we can see that there is never an annulment of previous covenants when a newer covenant is made. Rather, as a new covenant is declared, older covenants are brought forward foundationally, and the newer is built upon the older. Covenants of God are NEVER annulled or abolished. They stand forever. This is the thing that the author of Hebrews got so wrong, and having got something as fundamental as this wrong, it calls into question everything else in the book. This is why we say the book cannot be ‘inspired’. Nonetheless, even though it gives rise to confusion, the book is an important addition to the Christian canon because it includes many fine and faithful words, and for its historical implications - fulfillment of Messianic prophecy.
Put another way, the so-called “New Covenant” does not, and cannot abolish or make obsolete any of the older covenants, it simply builds upon them, adding dynamic new elements of structure to all that came before. This is called ‘progressive covenantalism’. In this way of thinking, new covenants build upon older covenants, expanding, compounding, shaping and framing a gradually developing relationship between the Creator and the creation. As the Abrahamic covenant was essentially absorbed foundationally into the Mosaic covenant, so the Davidic covenant was woven also into the fabric of the former. So too, the 'New Covenant' established by the Messiah's sacrificial blood, did not in any way supersede or abolish any of the previous covenants. That would be impossible. The new covenant only added another layer of revelation to previously existing covenants, whereby the Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Davidic covenants are rendered more clearly, as essential elements, building blocks, of the broader covenant of grace, and the relationship between Yahweh Almighty and His creation.
To make this point clear, we must not think that the Israelites who lived under the Mosaic covenant as owing their salvation to ‘works’ as asserted by Paul, and not to the ‘grace’ of Yahweh. Bear in mind, they were brought out of Egyptian slavery before the Mosaic Law had ever been declared to them. Release from bondage came first. This was a bringing forward of the Abrahamic covenant, as well as an act of grace. A miraculous act of salvation that these Hebrew slaves had not earned by 'works' as defined in the rubbish of Pauline doctrine.
There is no question that this way of looking at the covenants of God is controversial and has been the subject of much debate between scholars for a very long time. Many now favor the idea of dispensationalism. Dispensationalists believe that Scripture is revealed in a general unfolding of seven ‘dispensations’ or means through which God governs His interactions with His creation. For example, God’s covenant with Adam was different than God’s covenant with Abraham, and they are still different than God’s covenant with Moses. As time progresses, so does the dispensation that is in effect. With each new dispensation the old one is done away with. Dispensationalists also hold to a very strict distinction between Israel and the Christian congregation. There is a great deal of discontinuity over time in the dispensationalist formula, whereas ‘progressive covenantalism’ presents a cohesive continuity through time, and is the favored understanding of the ecumenical examiner.
THE MOSAIC COVENANT AND THE ‘LAW’
In the Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua spoke concerning the Law and the Prophets;
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 5:17-19
Let’s take a closer look at what Jesus was saying. The term He is using, ”the Law and the Prophets,” was a common figure of speech, also found elsewhere in Scripture, to describe the whole of what Christians would know as the 'Old Testament', or the Tanakh, known otherwise as the Torah, prophets, and writings. He was speaking of the Hebrew canon, which at the time, is all there was.
Most contemporary teachers will divide the ‘Law’ into three distinct sections, i.e., ceremonial law, civil law, and moral law. Such distinctions are not found in Scripture, where the Law is viewed as an aggregate whole, a complete totality. In reality there is only one Testament, not two. This was also the view of the so-called apostle Paul, and the author of Hebrews where at the time, there was no 'New Testament', and it's unlikely that they considered their writings to be equal to 'inspired' Scripture.
Ceremonial and civil law was brought to an end with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD. Any Jews that survived the slaughter were scattered to the wind or taken into slavery. James said in his epistle, that anyone who breaks one point of the Law, breaks the whole Law (James 2:10), but it should be noted that James, as well as Paul and the author of Hebrews wrote their epistles while the Temple was still standing and the priesthood still functioning. It wasn’t until after the crushing Roman ruination that everything changed.
It would surely seem that Jesus was saying that all of the Torah, prophets, and writings, what Hebrews refer to as the old law, would remain in force and valid through the gospel age, until the Kingdom of God is established on earth, and beyond. He said, “till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle (written grammatical markings) will by no means pass from the law until all is fulfilled.” The laws and teachings of Yahweh Almighty are never made invalid or obsolete, and never vanish away.
Though there are several ways in which Christ fulfilled certain elements of the ‘Old Testament.’ It was fulfilled in His perfect and sinless life, becoming the sacrificial lamb, without spot or blemish. There were none that could accuse Him of sin.
He also fulfilled all of the Messianic prophecies through His life, His ministry, His death, and His resurrection. Right up until the extraordinary manifestation of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. However, we still await His promised return, and the coming Kingdom. These remain as yet unfulfilled, and therefore the Law and the Prophets has not vanished away. The prophet Isaiah wrote concerning the kingdom age:
“So that he who blesses himself in the earth Shall bless himself in the God of truth; And he who swears in the earth Shall swear by the God of truth; Because the former troubles are forgotten, And because they are hidden from My eyes. "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, And her people a joy.” - Isaiah 65:16-18
Isaiah wrote of the hope we share with our Jewish brethren. However, the author of Hebrews took a different view:
“For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness.” - Hebrews 7:18
By this outrageous statement he is declaring the complete cancellation of the ‘commandment’ in question, which is nothing less than the Mosaic Covenant. Nothing could be further from the truth. To declare that ‘the Law has been fulfilled’ and is of no further interest or value to the Christian community, is a FALSE and DECEPTIVE STATEMENT, that in our opinion invalidates the entire Book of Hebrews. How could this statement be 'inspired'? Remember though, that this author, has a theological ally in the so-called apostle Paul. You may wonder, where did he, or Paul, learn such a flawed, erroneous teaching? Not from the words of the Christ. Yeshua said:
“For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.” - Matthew 24:24,25
In the earliest years of the nascent church, Satan wasted no time in introducing confusion. Deceiving the elect, and all of Christendom, is exactly what has occurred within the Christian canon, as Yeshua prophesied. You may deny it all you want, but there is defective, erroneous, false teaching interwoven into the Christian scriptures. Right in front of our eyes, and under our noses. Not that we would ever suggest a dismissal of the writings of Paul or the anonymous author of
There are none of us without sin, yet Yahweh has always showered his merciful grace upon his people, even the worst periods of punishment. He has always shown His grace and mercy towards his chosen people of Israel, the children of Abraham, and always will. The providential act of grace embodied in the New Covenant is that the door was opened for Gentiles of the nations to embrace the love of Yahweh in His teachings, and the way of salvation brought about through the Messiah's sacrifice. Yahweh is the God of ALL people, but the children of Abraham first.
One only needs to see the reborn State of Israel today, to see that the fulfillment of prophecy is working through her. By this we can understand that Israel is still being used by God for His purposes. "Then you shall know that I am the Lord." All the world can see that she has undergone severe disciplinary trials and afflictions, but never been abandoned. This is the prophetic fulfillment of Ezekiel 37, and the valley of dry bones being brought back to life. The inflow of Jews to this tiny nation-state continues, and has even been increasing in these dramatic, prophetic times in which we live.
What the ecumenical examiner believes is, the Law and Prophets will not be completely fulfilled until Christ returns in glory, and the Kingdom of God is established on Earth. Then there will be the new heavens and the new earth as prophesied in Isaiah 65:17.
While some parts were prophetically fulfilled in Yeshua, there was no part of the law that was done away with. The law of Moses was not "nailed to the cross", as Paul asserts, though, indeed it was changed later by the fact that the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE. What Paul reviles as the law of Moses is in fact the law of God Almighty, and remains as relevant, useful, and harmonious to Yahweh's people and purposes today, right through the Gospel age, the time of the nations, through to the End of the Age, and to time indefinite.
The only realistic reason that the early church fathers would have included the Book of Hebrews, and the epistles of Paul in the Christian canon, is that the words of Paul are used to justify the church they created for themselves, and Hebrews supports the words of Paul. That's the sum and substance of it all. Remember, nobody's salvation depends on the epistles of Paul or the Book of Hebrews. The Torah (law) constitutes the teachings of Yahweh Almighty, the instruction book on how to develop and maintain a relationship with our Creator. You can love it or hate it as you will, but it is what it purports to be, and will never vanish away.
Hebrews. These books and epistles are of extreme importance to us all as historical evidence of the Lord's prophecy quoted above, being fulfilled. However, the shrugging off, and condemnation of the Mosaic Law as suggested in these writings, can only be understood properly if one views them with the clear eyes of understanding. They are not ‘inspired,’ but they prove the Messiah’s prophecy as true, as well as other prophecies concerning the end-times, as they have indeed led most of Christendom astray.
Yet, while the Book of Hebrews is wrong, the 13 epistles of Paul are even worse, in that they declare the law and the prophets not simply abolished by the New Covenant, but 'cursed', even describing the Mosiac Covenant as a 'stumbling stone'.
Some things were meant to be carved in . . .
A brief study into the matter of confusion that was introduced through the Christian Scriptures
The result of the confusion introduced by the misrepresentation of the 'New Covenant' is what has led so many Christian churches into the error of 'replacement theology'. The reasoning is that if the Law and the Prophets have been annulled, as the author of Hebrews suggests, or cursed, as the so-called apostle Paul suggests, then it's a simple extrapolation to conclude that the Jewish people as a whole have been cursed by God, and His relationship with the nation of Israel has been broken and made obsolete. Thus, His relationship, prophecies, and promises to the Jewish people did not vanish away but were transferred to the Christian church. This dreadful theological error is also referred to as 'replacement theology,' or 'supersessionism,' suggesting that the New Covenant of Yeshua has superseded all previous covenants God made with the Israelite people, and His favor has likewise been transferred from the Jewish people to the Christian church. The terrible consequences of this error cannot be overstated.
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith." - Galatians 3:10, 11
"What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." - Romans 9:30-33
know your faith - grow your faith