A Simple Explanation"
The new covenant is
defined by Paul in Hebrews 8:7-13, "For if there had
been nothing wrong with the first covenant, no place would
have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said:
'The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a
new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with
their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them
out of Egypt, because
they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned
away from them, declares the Lord.
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that
time, declares the Lord. I
will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my
people. No longer will
a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know
the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of
them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will
remember their sins no more.' [Paul quoting from Jeremiah
31:31-34.] By calling this covenant "new," he
has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and
aging will soon disappear."
[Paul wrote this before the Temple
had been destroyed, which when destroyed put an end to the
Levitical priesthood performing the rituals called for in
the old covenant.] The apostle Paul gave the central theme of the
new covenant just quoted in Hebrews 10:16 where he stated,
"This is the covenant I will make with them after that
time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will
write them on their minds."
That is the central core of the new covenant.
By simplest definition of what we see Paul saying in Hebrews
8:7-13, the core of the message is that those living in this
new covenant would fit into this condition:
"I will put My law in their mind and write them
on their hearts..." [vs 10] If the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we have this
ability--the law of God has been put in our minds and written
on our hearts. That
by Paul's definition, places us right in the new covenant,
even though as originally quoted from Jeremiah 31:31-34, the
new covenant does not come upon the House of Judah or the
House of Israel until after Jesus Christ's 2nd coming. But for the Church, the body of Christ, we're
in the new covenant right now if God's Holy Spirit dwells
THE NEXT QUESTION: WHICH
LAWS OF GOD IS HEBREWS 8:7-13 TALKING ABOUT?
Next question raised
by this Scripture in Hebrews 8:7-13 is: Which laws of God
are being talked about here?
The old covenant law of God was ratified by God under
Moses, but this is talking about a new covenant, ratified
in the blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So naturally, it would have to be the laws spoken
of by Jesus Christ and the Apostles in the New Testament.
Don't forget, Jesus is God in the flesh, the one who was YHVH
of the Old Testament, the one who gave the Law to Moses on
Sinai (read John 1:1-11)--The Torah. What do we find Jesus saying or quoting about what the
law of God is in the New Testament?
Mark 12:28-32. "Noticing that Jesus had given
them a good answer, he asked him, 'Of all the commandments,
which is the most important?' 'The most important one,' answered Jesus, 'is
this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your
strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
There is no commandment greater than these.'"
Jesus was quoting Leviticus 19:18.
And these two laws are a summation of the Ten Commandments.
The first one mentioned by Jesus, that we are to love
God with all our hearts, is a summation of the first four
of the Ten Commandments. The second law mentioned, loving our neighbors
as ourselves, is a summation of the last six of the Ten Commandments,
which tell us how we are to love our neighbors (i.e. not murdering
them, not committing adultery against your neighbor's wife,
not stealing from your neighbor, not lying to him or her,
and not coveting their belongings.) So Jesus indicates the Ten Commandments are
the law of God. Did
Jesus say anything, give any commandments, or re-affirm the
law of God, the Ten Commandments, or which ones were to be
followed? Yes he did.
Let's look at Matthew 5:17-30, 38-48. "Do not
think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets;
I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth
disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of
a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything
is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these
commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called
least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and
teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom
of heaven. For I tell
you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees
and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter
the kingdom of heaven."
"You have heard
that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and
anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother
will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,'
is answerable to the Sanhedrin.
But anyone who says, 'You fool!'
will be in danger of the fire of hell.
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar
and there remember that your brother has something against
you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.
First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come
and offer your gift.
Settle matters quickly with your adversary
who is taking you to court.
Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he
may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you
over to the officer, and you may be thrown in prison.
I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you
have paid the last penny."
"You have heard
that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and
throw it away. It is
better for you to lose one part of your body than for your
whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut
it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one part of your body
than for your whole body to go into hell."
An Eye for an Eye
"You have heard
that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.
If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to
him the other also. And
if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have
your cloak as well. If
someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away
from the one who wants to borrow from you."
Love for Enemies
"You have heard
that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for
those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father
in heaven. He causes
his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on
the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward
will you get? Are not
even the tax collectors doing that?
And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing
more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father
is perfect.'" Here
you find some of the basic Ten Commandment law of God being
magnified to a higher plane by Jesus.
Basically, if you search from one end of
the New Testament to the other, you will find all the Ten
Commandments mentioned and re-commanded by Jesus or the apostles
except for the Fourth Commandment, the Sabbath Command (Exodus
20:8-11). The Sabbath is mentioned in the New Testament,
but not in reference to any command that we should keep it. (The apostles used the Sabbath as an opportunity
to evangelize amongst the Jews, and kept it as a custom, they're
being Messianic Jewish Christians in the Jerusalem Church
of God--the very first Christian congregation, and Headquarters
church for many years.) If you look at Leviticus 23, the chapter which
commands God's Holy Days, the Sabbath Command is the very
first Holy Day mentioned, so the Holy Days of Leviticus 23
are integrally linked to the Sabbath Command.
But the New Testament is strangely silent about any
re-iteration of the Sabbath/Holy Day commands as far as re-commanding
their observance. Have they been abolished? The Sabbatarian churches take Matthew 5:17-19
literally and think not. The
rest of Christianity isn't sure or thinks they have been abolished. But if the Holy Days and Sabbath were really so important
a part of the Ten Commandments, what is said about them in
the New Testament to help explain this strange silence, especially
about Sabbath observance?
Have they been abolished, or has something more profound
happened to these commandments? I hope to thoroughly answer that question for
those seeking a clear and simple answer.
What follows is a listing of where most of the Ten
Commandments are re-iterated in the New Testament, and brought
to a higher plane spiritual level.
The Ten Commandments That Are Re-Affirmed and Re-Commanded
in the New Testament:
As we saw, Jesus himself mentioned the first commandment
in Mark 12:28-32.
2nd Commandment: Thou shalt not take the name
of the Lord thy God in vain
Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupt communication
proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use
of edifyng, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
Colossians 3:8, "But now ye also put
off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blashemy, filthy communication out of your
3rd Commandment forbidding idolatry:
1 Corinthians 10:14, "Wherefore, my
dearly beloved, flee from idolatry."
Galatians 5:19-20, "Now the works
of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication,
uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings,
murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like: of the which
I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that
they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of
Colossians 3:5, "Mortify therefore
your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness,
inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness,
which is idolatry."
5th Commandment: Honor thy father and they mother:
19:18, "He saith unto him, Which?
Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not
commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear
false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother..."
Luke 18:20, "Thou knowest the commandments,
Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not
bear false witness, Honor thy father and they mother..."
Ephesians 6:1-3, "Children, obey your
parents in the Lord: for this is right.
Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with
promise;) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live
long on the earth."
6th Commandment: Thou shalt not murder:
Matthew 19:18, "He saith unto him,
Which? Jesus said,
Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt
not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and they mother:
and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as theyself."
7th Commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery:
Mark 10:19, "Thou knowest the commandments,
Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear
false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother..."
8th Commandment: Thou shalt not steal:
Mark 10:19, Thou knowest the commandments,
Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal...
Luke 18:20, "Thou knowest the commandments,
Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal...
Romans 2:21, "Thou therefore which
teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?
Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou
Ephesians 4:28, "Let him that stole
steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his
hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to
him that needeth."
9th Commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness:
Ephesians 4:25 , "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth
with his neighbour: for we are members one of another."
Colossians 3:9, "Lie not one to another,
seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds."
10th Commandment: Thou shalt not covet:
Ephesians 5:3, "But fornication, and
all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not
be once named among you, as becometh saints."
Colosians 3:5. "Mortify therefore
your members which are upon the eath; fornication, uncleanness,
inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." Paul actually makes the connection between the
2nd and 10th Commandments, linking them together,
saying if you're breaking one, you're automatically breaking
the other. Also realize now that it is no longer we in our
own puny efforts or works that accomplish the keeping of this
Ten Commandment law which we see re-iterated in the New Testament
(with the one exception of the Sabbath Command). It is the Lord dwelling in us through the Holy
Spirit (John 14) who writes these laws in our minds and hearts
(Hebrews 8:10; 10:16).
don't see the Ten Commandment Law of God being done away with
in the New Testament or new covenant at all, not after reading
these plain statements. The
only commandment which never seems to be re-commanded in the
entire New Testament is the 4th Commandment, the
Sabbath Command. Also
notice that we don't see any of the ritualistic laws re-iterated
in this law
of Christ which we find in the New Testament writings. Missing are the dietary food laws of Leviticus
11. And although those
food laws may not just be ceremonial but for health as well, some teach that
it isn't necessary for a new covenant Christian to observe
them. The command of
not eating the fat, found in Leviticus, has long been proven
to be a to be a health law, and has been quoted by none other
than the famous heart doctor, Dr. Paul Dudley White on numerous
ocassions. So don't discount the Torah's health dietary
laws as merely being ceremonial laws.
Heart doctors often recommend abstinence from foods
listed as "unclean" in Leviticus 11 for their heart patients,
whether they realize these foods are listed in the Torah or
not. The quarantine
laws found in the Torah predate modern medicine's knowledge
by thousands of years, yet they're active and real. Some teach that it's not necessary that you as a new covenant
Christian keep them, but they're active health laws nonetheless. But what did Jesus say, teach about the Law of God? Read Matthew 5:17-19. But now back to the Sabbath Command, the 4th
What do you think happened to the Sabbath Command? Let's find out. So what happened to the 4th
Commandment? Was it
discarded like some old dishrag, or did something far more
interesting happen to this commandment of God.
And remember, God calls the Sabbath a Holy Day in Leviticus
23, and he calls these Holy Days, His Days. They're not Jewish, they're his. So let's find out.