Many believers today seem to think that the “New Covenant” was forged when Yeshua was crucified, resurrected, or ascended; but this is not what the Scriptures teach.
Most are unaware that the Torah clearly outlines two covenants; one as a foundation, or starting point, and the other as a renewal of this same first covenant. The good majority of the text of the Torah gives us the explicit details of the commonly accepted “first covenant”, but the second covenant- or more precisely, the “New Covenant”- can be found in Deuteronomy 29, which paints us a beautiful picture of what exactly this New Covenant is.
The origin of the “New Covenant”.
We read in Deuteronomy 29:1-4, “These are the words of the covenant which Yahweh commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which he made with them in Horeb. Moses called to all Israel, and said to them, You have seen all that Yahweh did before your eyes in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land; the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders: but YHWH has not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, to this day.”
Please note, that this covenant made at Moab was separate and distinct from the covenant that was previously made at Horeb (another name for Mt. Sinai), the covenant made with their forefathers. Until the day that the covenant at Moab had been made, the people of Israel had not been given a heart to know, eyes to see, or ears to hear, since the covenant made at Horeb (Sinai) with their forefathers was not made with the heart. However, from that point going forward- as the wording of Deuteronomy 29:1-4 implies- the covenant made at Moab was to be made with the heart of the people.
As Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, speaking of the coming of the covenant at Moab, “These words, which I command you this day, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.” It was from that point going forward, that the Torah was to be written on the hearts of God’s people.
New vs. Renewed.
The Hebrew word for “new”, “chadasha”, can also be translated as “renewed”. In this case, the “brit chadasha”, or “New Covenant”, can also be considered a “Renewed Covenant”. In the context of the Covenant, it should be clear that God’s pattern, throughout the Scriptures, is not to have “old-then-new” covenants, but rather to have “first-then-renewed” covenants.
A perfect picture of this analogy between the covenants at Horeb (Sinai) and Moab, following the “first-then-renewed” pattern, can be seen in the account of Moses and the golden calf.
We read in Exodus 15-16, 19, that “Moses turned, and went down from the mountain, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand; tablets that were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other they were written. The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tables… It happened, as soon as he came near to the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing: and Moses’ anger grew hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mountain.” And in conclusion, Deuteronomy 34:1,4, “ YHWH said to Moses, ‘Chisel two stone tablets like the first: and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke…’ He chiseled two tablets of stone like the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up to Mount Sinai, as YHWH had commanded him, and took in his hand two stone tablets.”
Notice that both sets of tablets contained the words of YHWH, written by the Hand of God Himself, and the content of each of the two sets of tablets was absolutely identical. The same covenant that was made, then broken by the people, was renewed again.
What about the “new covenant” of Jeremiah 31:31-34?
This same covenant made at Moab would later serve as the basis of the “New Covenant” promised in Jeremiah 31:31-34, and enacted by Yeshua on the cross. We read in the the book of the prophet Jeremiah 31:31-33, “Behold, the days come,” says YHWH, “that 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 bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was a husband to them,” says YHWH. “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says YHWH: “I will put my Torah in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people: and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know YHWH;’ for they shall all know me, from their least to their greatest,’ ” says YHWH: “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.”
This text is quoted in the Letter to the Hebrews (8:8-12), positioning Yeshua as the collateral (7:22), the mediator (8:6, 9:15, 12:24), and the high priest (5:10, 6:20, 7:26-28, 9:11-12, etc.) of this same covenant.
Notice that YHWH says in Jeremiah that this New Covenant will be made “…not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke…” Just like the covenant that had been made at Moab, this covenant spoken of by Jeremiah is about the heart; hence He says, “I will put my Torah in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it…”
Of course, the Torah being placed within the heart is not a new concept at all. He said in Deuteronomy 10:16, “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.” And Deuteronomy 11:18, “Therefore you shall lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul; and you shall bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for symbols between your eyes.” And also Deuteronomy 26:16, “This day Yahweh your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances: you shall therefore keep and do them with all your heart, and with all your soul.” And lastly Deuteronomy 30:16, “The word is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it.”
A clear outline of the “New Covenant”.
(The following is provided courtesy of Wikipedia)
Based on a general, non-denominational, non-interpretive, reading of the text of Jeremiah 31:31-34, the following points are discernible:
- The New Covenant is established by God Himself.
- The New Covenant is made with the “house of Israel” and the “house of Judah”.
- The New Covenant is not like the broken covenant made with Moses at Mount Sinai.
- The Law of God is written in their thinking and their affections.
- YHWH will be their God, and they will be his people.
- Every single member of the New Covenant “knows YHWH” in an intimate way.
- The sins of the members of the New Covenant are forgiven by God, and will never be recalled.
Each and every point from this list fits perfectly with the definition of the “New Covenant” as given in Deuteronomy 29, describing the Torah and the covenant at Moab. These points do not, however, fit with the modern understanding that the New Covenant would be based on an abolition of the Torah, taken from the Jews, and made with the gentiles. In fact, the “gentile church” does not fit anywhere within the New Covenant, according to Jeremiah 31:31-34.
According to the Book of Ezekiel, this “New Covenant” will also include keeping the Torah. Ezekiel 36:27 says, speaking of the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel whom Yeshua came to redeem, “I will put my Spirit within you, (an event clearly laid out in Acts 2) and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my ordinances, and do them.” Obviously, when this was written, the words “statutes” and “ordinances” that will be kept referred to the Torah.
The Purpose of the so-called “New Testament”.
There is nothing “new” in the so-called “New Testament”.
The entire corpus of “New Testament” writings were given as a guide to us, the remnant of the Northern Kingdom, the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel, who had been scattered to all the nations for forsaking YHWH’s commandments, turn our hearts to repentance. The Scriptures- both Old Testament, and New- were given exclusively to the two Houses of Israel; to Judah and Israel. To that extent, the “New Testament” and the “Gospel Message” were given to us to point us back to the source- the Torah, as it was practiced by the Messiah.
Yeshua, by His own admission, stated in Matthew 15:24, “I wasn’t sent to anyone but the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Now who was the Renewed Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34 prophesied to be made with? Certainly not to a church of gentiles, but rather “…with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah…” This Renewed Covenant was made specifically with both Houses of Israel, and no one else!
When viewing the “New Testament” through the eyes of the covenant at Moab in Detueronomy 29, the case is easy to see, that the “New Testament” is purely and simply a renewal of the Torah, the covenant that had been made with the children of Israel, and they had likewise broken, only to be scattered to the nations. Through Yeshua’s blood, it was now to be written upon the hearts of the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel, and it continues to be written on the hearts of those who diligently seek Him to this very day.