Deuteronomy 12:32 “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”
The Torah (law in most English translations) given to Moses by G-D at Mt. Sinai
was called everlasting and binding as an eternal decree throughout our
generations. Any prophet that added to or took away from the Torah of G-D was
deemed a false prophet and stoned. How do the Prophets of scripture measure
up to this commandment in Deuteronomy 12:32? Did they add to or build upon
the Torah at Mt. Sinai? I think it is safe to say that the Prophets built upon the
foundation of Torah, just as the Good News (New Testament) builds upon the
foundation of the living Torah, Y-shua (Jesus).
What about taking away? Do the writings of the Prophets or the Good News
take away or diminish from the Torah? How does this square with the
framework of Christian doctrine which claims that the “Law” of Moses has
been fulfilled, thus the Covenant of Sinai has been replaced by a “New”
Covenant found in the Good News? Lets us examine a portion of Hebrews that
is often taken out of context for some clues.
Hebrews 8:13 “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”
Has the author of Hebrews spoken of a day in which this commandment of G-D is longer valid? Was the author of Hebrews speaking of a Torah that was old and dying, in favor of a new Torah? Moses spoke of a Torah that would never be amended or exchanged, yet at first glance it seems as though Paul is in contradictions to Deuteronomy 12:32, after all the passage does say that the first covenant is old and vanishing. However, a closer look at Hebrews chapter 8 reveals Paul to be in complete harmony with the Deuteronomy 12:32. If we take the book of Hebrews to be divinely inspired then there can be no contradictions in it words with Torah.
By G-D’s own words His Torah is everlasting and his commandments are
eternal. Yet the words of Hebrews speak of a covenant that is old and dying.
What is the Paul saying?
To properly understand the message Paul is trying to get across we must first
understand a little about covenant theology. An often-misunderstood aspect of
covenant theology is that when a new covenant was established an old one was
done away with, consequently when G-D spoke of a New Covenant He must
have been speaking in terms of replacing an Old Covenant. In Genesis 12 G-D
makes a covenant with Abraham and tells him that through his offspring all of the
world would be blessed. In Genesis 13 G-D promises Abraham that He would
give all of the land he could see to his offspring. Does this new covenant in
chapter 13 do away with the covenant spoken of in chapter 12? This new
covenant builds upon the previous covenant. Herein lies the key to
understanding covenant theology.
With a covenant, particularly a blood covenant, sacrificial animals were cut and
separated leaving a path of blood between the parts. Both parties would then
walk through that blood binding them-selves to that covenant. What this picture
word represented was if either party broke the bonds of that covenant then their
blood would be shed like that of the animals.
Genesis 15: 9-21 “Bring me a three-year-old cow, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a dove and a young pigeon.” He brought him all these, cut the animals in two and placed the pieces opposite each other; but he didn’t cut the birds in half. Birds of prey swooped down on the carcasses, but Avram drove them away. As the sun was about to set, a deep sleep fell on Avram; horror and great darkness
came over him. AD-NAI said to Avram, “Know this for certain: your descendants
will be foreigners in a land that is not theirs. They will be slaves and held in
oppression there four hundred years. But I will also judge that nation, the one
that makes them slaves. Afterwards, they will leave with many possessions. As
for you, you will join your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age.
Only in the fourth generation will your descendants come back here, because
only then will the Emori be ripe for punishment. After the sun had set and there
was thick darkness, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch appeared, which
passed between these animal parts. That day AD-NAI made a covenant with
Avram: “I have given this land to your descendants – from the Vadi of Egypt to
the great river, the Euphrates River – the territory of the Keni, the K’nizi, the
Kadmoni, the Hitti, the P’rizi, the Refa’im, the Emori, the Kena’ani, the Girgashi
and the Y’vusi.”
In the passage G-D places Abraham in a deep sleep and makes a blood
covenant with him. While Abraham is sleeping G-D binds himself to that
covenant on behalf of both parties by walking through the blood alone,
essentially saying that if anyone breaks this covenant He will shed his blood. This
was the sealing of the covenant made to Abraham back in chapters 12 and 13.
This covenant was given to him on the basis of what? Let’s go back to verse 6 to
Genesis 12:6 “He believed in ADO-NAI, and he credited it to him as
This covenant was given not just to Abraham but to all of his sons as well.
Abraham died only seeing two heirs to that covenant, his son Isaac and
grandson Jacob. Each generation was to bare witness to the promise of that
ongoing covenant as sons of Abraham, even unto today. Let’s now go to Exodus
20 when all the sons of Israel (Jacob) are standing at Sinai. G-D is fulfilling the
covenant made unto Abraham but he is also giving a new covenant unto the
sons of Abraham for now they stand for the first time as a united people ready to
enter the land promised to them by G-D through their father Abraham. Can we
see how a new covenant being built on top of an older one can bring the
older one to fullness, thus not doing away with it but bringing it to its goal?
Romans 10:4 “For the goal at which the Torah (law) aims is the Messiah, who
offers righteousness to everyone who trusts.”
Does this sound familiar, does not Abraham receive righteousness on
account of his trust? The goal of Torah is Messiah Y-shua, for those who trust.
As we read earlier G-D seals a covenant with Abraham with the ceremonial
shedding of blood and He walks through the covenant on behalf of both parties.
Was it any surprise to G-D that the sons of Israel would break that covenant
before the fire upon Sinai was extinguished? The price for breaking that covenant
would be paid for by the shedding of the blood of our Messiah Y-shua. The
covenant is not done away with by the hands of Y-shua but it is fulfilled or
brought into fullness. Because he has brought into fullness he is able to build on
top of it. Thus we see the promise of the new Covenant by the hands of our LRD.
Whats so old about the Old Covenant?
Let’s examine in context the passage from Hebrew 8 quoted earlier
Hebrews 8: 6-13 “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was better established upon better
promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless then should no place have
been sought for the second. For finding fault with him, he saith, behold the days
come, saith the L-RD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of
Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant I made
with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the
land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarding
them not saith the L-RD. For this is the covenant that I will make the house
of Israel after those days saith the L-RD; I will put my laws into their mind,
and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a G-D, and they shall be
my people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every
man his brother, saying, know the L-RD: for all shall know me, from the
least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and
their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new
covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is
ready to vanish away.”
In regards to the new covenant Paul was quoting from Jeremiah 31: 31-34. In
this passage most people associate the old covenant that is vanishing as the
“Law” of Moses. For the moment we will assume that is the case. We know from
the earlier passages that a new covenant does not replace an older one but
builds on top of it, but why is there a new covenant, and how is the old one
vanishing away? Did G-D create something which was not perfect and with
blame? Of course not, Jeremiah tells us that the fault of the old covenant was
not in G-D’S words but it was because we broke the everlasting covenant,
“because they continued not in my covenant.” G-D’s words are true and holy,
surely there is no fault in them. So what about the covenant is decaying and old?
Notice that there is no mention of the law of Moses anywhere in this passage. It
is important to note that the covenant of laws given at Mt. Sinai are given on the
basis of first trusting G-D. So what is the Torah, what is the covenant at Mt.
Sinai and what is the New Covenant?
Rabbi Akiva admonishes us in Pirkei Avot (The ethics of the Fathers) to build a
fence around Torah. What Rabbi Akiva was alluding to is that if we protect the
Torah by putting fence around it with our traditions than we won’t come near to
breaking the actual Torah of G-D. Let us take that logic and put a little spin on it
and I think we can begin the proper understanding of Torah. Instead of us
building a fence around Torah, let Torah be a fence around us. The Hebrew word
Torah does not translate as law but it better translates as teaching. It is a fence
of love that G-D places around His Bride for protection. It teaches us a legal
standard so necessary for an orderly society that not only amplifies the promise
given to us, but secures it.
Old Covenant vs. New Covenant
II Corinthians 3: 1-18 “Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are a letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of
Messiah, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Ruach (Spirit) of the
living G-D, not on tablets of stone but on tables of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Messiah towards G-D. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from G-D, who also made is adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Ruach; for the letter kills but the Ruach gives life. But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stone, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of His face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Ruach fail to be even more with glory? For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. For if that which fades away with glory. Much more that which remains is in glory. Therefore, having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech , and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Messiah. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the L-RD, the veil is taken away. Now the L-RD is the Ruach, and where the Ruach of the L-RD is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the L-RD, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the L-RD, the Ruach.”
In verse 14 we find the only place within scripture that the term “old covenant” is
found. Never does our Messiah Y-shua refer to the Torah or Law of Moses as
old, but secures it in Matthew 5 by stating that he has come to bring its fullness
or its goal. So what is Paul calling old?
Paul was contrasting his ministry with Moses’ ministry. As Moses descended Mt.
Sinai and entered the midst of the peoples his face shone with glory. Three times
within II Corinthians 3 it is mentioned that the glory of Moses’ face was fading,
the Greek word that is translated as fading however never means to fade but in
contrast it means to render ineffective. So we can read it like this “V.11 For if that
which is rendered ineffective was with glory, much more that which remains in
glory.” We can also translate Hebrews 8 like this “V.13 In that he saith, A new
covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is
So why was it rendered ineffective?
After the sin of the golden calf Moses again goes to speak with G-D this time with
a renewed contract. As he is speaking with G-D he asked to the His face but is
denied for it would have been too much for Moses to see. Instead G-D places
Moses between the cleft of a rock and passes His back to him. When Moses
comes down to his people they could not bare to look upon his face for it shone
with the glory of G-D. Moses’ response by G-D’s command was to veil his face in
As quoted earlier the goal of the Torah is Messiah Y-shua, could it also be
true that the glory that shone upon the face of Moses what that of the living
Torah, our Messiah Y-shua? The children of Israel could not see the glory of
the Messiah for he had veiled the face of Moses from their presence.
In Moses’ ministry the veil of the Messiah was covered because they saw a
covenant of stone and not of flesh. However, in Paul’s ministry the veil was lifted
and the glory of Messiah was shone. This is the main point Paul is making in II
Corinthians chapter 3. Moses had seen the glory of the Messiah but it had to be
veiled because their Torah lacked faith, therefore it was rendered ineffective.
Remember that the covenant was given unto them on account of their father
Abraham and his trusting. They to were to trust G-D and place His covenant of
Torah given unto them upon their hearts.
Jeremiah 31 upon our Hearts
Jeremiah 31:31-34 “Here, the days are coming,” says ADO-NAI, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Isra’el and with the house of Y’hudah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers on the day I took them by their hand and
brought them out of the land of Egypt; because they, for their part, violated my
covenant, even though I, for my part, was a husband to them,” says AD-NAI. “For
this is the covenant I will make with the house of Isra’el after those days,” says
AD-NAI: “I will put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their
G-D, and they will be my people. No longer will any of them teach his fellow
community member or his brother, ‘Know AD-NAI’; for all will know me, from the
least of them to the greatest; because I will forgive their wickednesses and
remember their sins no more.” This is what AD-NAI says, who gives.”
To understand this passage properly we must first visit a bit of history. Up to this
time Isaiah had been calling the northern tribe of Israel to repent. When Jeremiah
enters the scene, time for repentance is over. Judgment and exile would occur
for they had broken the “everlasting” covenant. Exile and judgment would only be
temporary for there would soon be a new covenant, one not written on stone but
one written on flesh.
We find this same concept many times within the Torah. Deuteronomy 6:6 “and
these words which I command you today shall be upon your heart.” The
watchword of the Jewish faith, the Shema, is a call for Israel to place the Torah
from stone upon ones heart. Is there anything new about the new covenant?
Is this not what G-D had wanted for us at Sinai to begin with, to place the
Torah upon the heart? If the goal of the Torah is Messiah Y-shua than to place
it upon our hearts would reveal Him. Therefore we as believers should have a
special love for Torah above all others.
Ezekial 11:17-21 “Therefore, say that Ad-nai EL-HIM says this: ‘”I will gather you from the peoples and collect you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give the land of Isra’el to you.” Then they will go there and remove all its loathsome things and disgusting practices, and I will give them unity of heart. “I will put a new spirit among you.” I will remove from their bodies the hearts of stone and
give them hearts of flesh; so that they will live by my regulations, obey my rulings
and act by them. Then they will be my people, and I will be their G-D. But as for
those whose hearts go after the heart of their loathsome things and disgusting
practices, I will bring [the consequences of] their ways on their own heads,’ says
Ezekial 36: 22-30 “Therefore tell the house of Isra’el that Ad-nai EL-HIM says this: ‘I am not going to do this for your sake, house of Isra’el, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have been profaning among the nations where you went. I will set apart my great name to be regarded as holy, since it has been profaned in the nations – you profaned it among them. The nations will know that I am AD-NAI,’ says Adnai
EL-HIM, ‘when, before their eyes, I am set apart through you to be regarded
as holy. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you from all the
countries, and return you to your own soil. Then I will sprinkle clean water on
you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness and from
all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit inside you; I will take
the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit
inside you and cause you to live by my laws, respect my rulings and obey them.
You will live in the land I gave to your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will
be your G-D. I will save you from all your uncleanliness. I will summon the grain
and increase it, and not send famine against you. I will multiply the yield of fruit
from the trees and increase production in the fields, so that you never again
suffer the reproach of famine among the nations.”
The Marriage Contract
When Moses came down from Sinai he brought with him a new Covenant for the
Sons of Israel, which contained the marriage contract and the requirements of
that contract. It was His betrothal to us, and in that betrothal was the standard of
righteousness he calls of his bride. That standard of righteousness (Torah) is not
G-D’s standard of righteousness for him, but his standard of righteousness for
us. It is not given under the assumption that we would be without sin but
assumes that we would sin. G-D being an all merciful G-D does not leave us to
die in that sin but gives us a means of correction within his Torah, the blood
atonement. A right relationship with G-D (the path to eternal life) is one brought
about by a faith in the atonement of those sacrifices that produces good works in
righteousness. As we briefly discussed earlier the central requirement of any
covenant made is the shedding of blood in the binding of that contract.
The Levitical sacrifices played two parts, it was the binding of the marriage
contract given to the Bride of the L-RD, and it was atonement for the sins of the
Bride. The removal of sins however could only be accomplished by the shedding
of blood by the party in the contract who is without guilt. If I am guilty of breaking
that contract than the only means of salvation for me is if the party who did not
break the covenant shed his blood in return. Now we can see the Avrahamic
covenant more clearly. Do you see how G-D in his covenant had already
provided the way to return unto him.
Let’s reference again Jeremiah 31. “I will put my Torah within them and write it on
their hearts; I will be their G-D, and they will be my people. No longer will any of
them teach his fellow community member or his brother, ‘Know AD-NAI’; for all
will know me, from the least of them to the greatest A closer look reveals that the
New Covenant is given when all men will know G-D, it will then be written upon
our hearts by G-D himself. But more importantly it is given first to the children of
Israel, the Sons of Abraham and written upon their hearts; the benefactors of the
Ketuba at Sinai. Israel was, is, and always will be the chosen people of G-D. How
can the new covenant come into fullness without the children of Israel as the
primary benefactor? Whether we are of the original branch or we are grafted in
the fact remains that as believers we are irrevocably linked to Israel and the
fulfillment of the new Covenant we are living in the promise of is dependant upon
Israel as a nation saying “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the L-RD.”
Law and Grace
A common phrase within Christendom is that law and grace cannot mix. But it
ignores the fact that at the heart of G-D’s law is the need for grace.
According to the most prevalent Christian theology the new covenant is
considered to have come into fullness with the death and resurrection of the
Messiah Y-shua. Consequently, the old covenant what most assume is the Law of Moses is rendered of none effect.
The Abrahamic Covenant is the covenant of promise, G-D has chosen His Bride
and paid for her with his bride price, his own blood. The Covenant at Sinai is the
covenant of dwelling within the promise. All that is required of us is faith, and that
faith should spark within us the desire to dwell within the promise. We bare
witness of this everyday when we hold the words of our L-RD Y-shua near unto
us. Is Y-shua G-D in your life? He is the same G-D who bound himself to the
Bride price under the Abrahamic Covenant. He is the same G-D who gave to his
Bride the Torah at Mt. Sinai, and he is the same G-D who spoke “If you love me
keep my Torah” John 14:16.
We see the marriage contract at Mt. Sinai and see the promised words of
Messiah about His coming to take his bride home. We are still living under the
marriage contract at Mt. Sinai, with the promise of a New Covenant a covenant
that is made in His blood. A covenant that will come unto fullness when all of the
Sons of Israel turns towards their Bridegroom and is given a new heart, one
made of flesh.
The prophet Isaiah spoke of the Messiah as Sar Shalom the prince of peace, the
title given to the one who would establish everlasting peace on Earth.
On an individual level we can have true peace in our Messiah and have the law
of G-D written upon our hearts. No one within the body of believers would argue
this point, but this does not negate the fulfillment of the prophecies given unto our
Messiah. Just as the coming of Messiah’s return will bring the fullness of peace
so also will He bring the fullness of His word that is to be written upon our hearts.
When we become betrothed to our Bridegroom we live in the promise of that
Ketuba, the marriage contract. When we consummate the marriage we live in the
reality of that covenant. We will no longer live under our sinful nature, but within
the fullness of the covenant given at Mt. Sinai. The new covenant is the same
covenant given at
Sinai. It is the covenant that Moshe walked in, it is the covenant that David
walked in, it is the covenant that Jeremiah talked of. The old covenant that Paul
speaks of in II Corinthians is a covenant without faith. The new covenant is a
covenant with faith, a covenant that reveals to us the glory of the Messiah without
veiled faces. Having placed the terms old covenant and new covenant into their
proper context it is important to now explain that the fullness of this covenant
spoken of in Jeremiah will not come into fullness until the
L-RD returns for His bride and we no longer live as the betrothed of the L-RD but
in fullness we live as the bride. As Israel was established to be a priesthood unto
all nations, the fullness of that covenant will only be revealed when Israel finally
bows to the calling to deliver the Living Torah to all the nations.
Hosea 2:21-22 “I will make you my bride forever in righteousness and in justice and in loving kindness and in compassion. I will make you my bride in faithfulness and you will know the L-RD.”
1 John 2:3-8
“The way we can be sure we know him is if we are obeying his commands.
Anyone who says, “I know him,” but isn’t obeying his commands is a liar – the
truth is not in him. But if someone keeps doing what he says, then truly love for
G-D has been brought to its goal in him. This is how we are sure that we are
united with him. A person who claims to be continuing in union with him ought to
conduct his life the way he did. Dear friends, I am not writing you a new
command. On the contrary, it is an old command, which you have had from the
beginning; the old command is the message which you have heard before. Yet I
am writing you a new command, and its reality is seen both in him and in you,
because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.”
John is telling us that we know our Bridegroom by obeying His Ketuba (Torah).
We are living in the marriage contract as if we were married, for we are his
betrothed. The Torah has not changed and there is no other.
There are two kinds of Brides in G-D’s word. The first is the Bride who faithfully
believes the words of her Bridegroom and waits patiently within the dwelling of
the promise. The other is she who steps out of the dwelling of the promise, the
voice of her Bridegroom is faint. Which Bride are you and how will you know