The Jesus Covenant, Part 10: Hebrews and the Covenant Mediator

rabbi_child_and_sefer_torahThere still seems to be some confusion between the Torah delivered at Mt. Sinai and the covenant made with Israel.

The Torah is not to be surrendered by anyone who is born of the Ruach and is now a child of YHWH through faith in Messiah Yeshua. I’ve not said that and I haven’t read here where anyone else has made that assertion either.

As far as following through on “their end of the bargain”, they, Israel, didn’t. Which is why a new covenant was promised to be cut with both houses of Israel. And holding onto a covenant which cannot be accomplished due to the weakness of the flesh while trying to affirm the operational specifics of the current covenant would cause some tension to say the least.

Maybe someone could provide a detailed explanation of what a child of YHWH should look and act like so we can all see what it means to be a son or a daughter of our Father in Heaven. Perhaps then we could cease from making so much noise about who is pretending to be a part of one culture group or another.

And by the way it was not “their covenant with God”. It was His covenant with them. His terms His conditions. I did not say that He replaced that covenant, He did. I’m just agreeing with the text of scripture. Now if someone wants to seek their justification through that covenant they are welcome to do so. But they will come up empty. Of course, if someone was trying establish something else through that covenant I would have to wonder what their motive might be. And what their ultimate objective was.

-Russ
from a comment on one of my blog posts

This is the tenth part of my series on trying to understand what the “New Covenant” is, how it relates to the previous covenants we see God making with humanity (and specifically with the Children of Israel) in the Bible, and what it’s supposed to mean today.

I’ve neglected this series terribly, mainly because it’s so hard to write. Part 9: The Mysterious 2 Corinthians 3 was published last October which will give you some idea of how long I have left this one alone. It’s not that I’ve come to any satisfactory resolution to my problem. It’s just that sometimes trying to understand all this has the same effect as repeatedly smashing my forehead against a brick wall.

But then Russ’s comment reminded me that the New Covenant is still sitting out there taunting me; daring me to try to comprehend it. Russ seems fully convinced that he understands its meaning and that it must mean something about creating a people who are born of the Spirit and (perhaps) relegating Jewish identity to that of a “culture group”.

Did God obliterate all His previous covenants with His people Israel because they were unfaithful? That sort of sounds like God tried plans A, B, and C and they didn’t work out, and then he devised Plan D: writing it on their hearts, which couldn’t fail. If covenants are replaced because covenant members are defective (which God should have known all along) and God has to (finally) create a covenant they can’t because it’s written on the heart, why couldn’t He have started out with the unbreakable covenant and avoided a lot of pain and anguish?

I don’t know, but it sounds like a set up for God to make a covenant with Israel at Sinai knowing that they were going to break it, and knowing that the consequences for breaking it was forfeiting their unique relationship with God as a distinct people and nation.

Oh, if you haven’t read through the “Jesus Covenant” series or you haven’t read through it in a while, it might be a good idea to at least scan through it again, starting with Part 1: The Foundation, just to get up to speed.

But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

Hebrews 8:6-7 (ESV)

Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 9:15-22 (ESV)

shekhinaThis is where I left off last time. These verses were to be the last step in my investigation into the New Covenant. I seriously doubt that I’m going to reach any useful conclusion here, but at least I’m continuing on the trail.

In reading these verses from Hebrews, it certainly seems as if God has tossed the Covenant He made with Israel into the trash can (and Israel along with it) and created a New Covenant replacing the Old using the blood of Jesus Christ. Of course, I can’t read Biblical Greek, so the mystery of what the oldest texts from Hebrews is trying to tell me remains a mystery. I can of course read the various commentaries on Hebrews 8:6 when I scroll down the page, but there’s not exactly a cohesive explanation telling me what I need to know.

But Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible for this verses does say something interesting:

…which was established upon better promises; which are not now delivered out as before, under the figure of earthly and temporal things; nor under a condition to be performed nor confined to a particular people and nation…

I can accept the fact that the Sinai covenant was made specifically between the God and the Children of Israel and that the New Covenant has provisions that include all of humanity through Christ. If the New Covenant didn’t function in such a manner, then no one outside of Israel could be saved. I can accept the fact that the blood of animals could never take away sins (Hebrews 10:4) and that salvation for all human beings must be through Messiah.

But where does it say that the Jews as a people must surrender being Jews in order to enter into the New Covenant? Sorry, but whenever I hear “the Old Covenant has been replaced” language, I wonder how do you do that and still keep the people who were attached to it as a people?

The days are coming,” declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.

Jeremiah 31:31 (ESV)

Waitaminute! God is saying He will one day make a New Covenant with the people of Israel and the people of Judah. Doesn’t say anything about the people from the nations who are gathered together and called by His Name through the Messiah. Of course, there are a lot of Christians who see themselves as the new “spiritual Israel” and so they write themselves into the script that way. Others believe that the Jewish people are “Judah” and that in some manner or fashion, the Gentiles who are attracted to God, the Torah, or Christ become (or in some fashion are) the lost tribes of Israel (see the book Twelve Gates: Where Do the Nations Enter for the much more likely explanation that representatives of “the lost ten tribes” actually did return, intermarried, and were eventually assimilated into Judah and Benjamin…thus, modern day Jews contain the descendants of all the Tribes of Israel).

Now try to understand the following within that context.

Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.

Ezekiel 36:22-23 (ESV)

In that sense, it’s easy to see that Israel: the Jewish people, are very much written into God’s plan for the future and they have not been discarded and dissolved as a people or a nation by God. The mystery that I was trying to investigate when I started this series was not what happens to Israel, which seems a given, but how in the world do we from among the nations get added in to this covenant? Certainly, the Abrahamic Covenant includes the nations, but we are not mentioned again in subsequent covenants until the New Covenant, and our inclusion isn’t made clear until we see Paul make his commentaries on the meaning of Messiah for the rest of us (remember, the oldest texts we have of Jesus and the “Last Supper” don’t include the word “new” when he talks about the covenant in this body and blood…we have to assume that’s what he means).

Throne of GodBut the passages I quoted from Hebrews do give the impression that what was old is being replaced with what is new. Is that a completed act, though? I don’t know. Messiah has yet to return. He has not yet completed his work. There is no new Temple built by him. There is no worldwide peace as far as I can tell. Israel is not at the head of the nations yet and she is still being threatened on all sides by numerous adversaries.

We know that the New Covenant is inexorably tied to the Jewish Messiah and he is the inescapable mediator and motive force of the New Covenant with Judah and Israel and even with the nations. All I can suggest at this point is that the New Covenant hasn’t simply been flipped on like a light switch if, for no other reason, than we aren’t really acting like the Word is written on our hearts. If it were, would we in the body of believers still be so defective, and cranky, and flawed? What if the enactment of the New Covenant is a long process, not a sudden event? After all, the many and numerous conditions and enactments of the Sinai covenant weren’t “turned on” all at once, probably because many of those conditions required the Israelites to live in the Land, and for forty years, they were wandering in the desert.

And what about this?

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.

Revelation 21:22-25 (ESV)

I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t understand what’s going on and how all this is supposed to work, but it seems like there’s a sequence of events that have not yet been completed. Will the Law, what defines the significantly unique relationship God has with Israel, the “Jewishness” of Jewish people, and the holiness of Jerusalem be eliminated from existence or meaningfulness until everything that God has said He will do has been accomplished?

I seriously doubt it but the secrets of the Bible continue to elude me. This doesn’t preclude my pursuit of a holy and meaningful life, but it does make it difficult to respond to anyone who wants the New Covenant to land on the Jewish people like a ton of lead, mashing them flat, and leaving a completely new “product” in their place.

I don’t know if I’m going to write a “Part 11: Conclusions” blog post, at least not right way. There’s still so much more to try to comprehend. But as my friend Carl said, maybe it’s the struggle that matters, not what we may come up with as a result.

I am not suggesting that there is a chaos of interpretation and no absolute truth, but that interpretation is part of the human condition, our relationship with all texts (and people, for that matter). The Holy Spirit helps us but it does not erase our humanity. In fact, your blog can be considered in large part a struggle to find an interpretive approach to the Bible that is coherent, satisfying, and works for you.

TrustI wish we could all dial things down just a bit concerning truth-claims. We have been told that love endures but knowledge is partial. That would include my knowledge (or interpretation) of the Bible. I hold a certain interpretive approach to the Bible (in common with a number of others) that I believe to be coherent and satisfying even though I know that it is limited and hope to learn from other approaches until the day I die..

I guess what I am saying is that “we know in part . . . but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.” Since we are finite and the perfect is infinite, it makes sense that our knowing is partial until will are face to face.

Finally though, we can’t ignore this:

I will never break my covenant with you.

Judges 2:1 (ESV)

Israel may have been unfaithful on many occasions, but God never let them go. Instead, He made it possible for others to come to Him as well, all through His son.

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21 thoughts on “The Jesus Covenant, Part 10: Hebrews and the Covenant Mediator”

  1. RT seems so reasonable because its so prevalent within Christianity. But put the Jewish people aside for a moment and think about what it says about God:

    1) He played a horrible trick on His “chosen” people.

    2) He’s a liar and never intended to keep His Word.

    3) That He’s unfaithful and unreliable.

    I reject all of the above, therefore I also reject RT.

  2. I agree Ruth that replacement theology isn’t sustainable from a Biblical standpoint and how portions of the Bible, including the New Covenant language has been interpreted traditionally by Christianity have been colored by the RT viewpoint. However, many churches are moving into a Post-RT area there they are re-examining their understanding of the Bible and Christianity’s relationship to ancient and modern Judaism. It’s a slow process, but I’ve been encouraged by what I’ve witnessed personally so far.

    To be fair though, the New Covenant is amazingly difficult to comprehend. There’s a tendency to go “knee-jerk” and just say the New has replaced the Old, but there are many subtle nuances involved that require much study and contemplation. Some of the wisest and most educated Biblical scholars I know continue to struggle with how it all works. For me (and I said this above), the real puzzle isn’t how the Jewish people and Israel are involved. It seems abundantly clear that the New Testament functions to confirm and expand the previous covenants God made. The real “head-scratcher” for me is trying to trace the New Covenant language from the Tanakh into the Gospels and Epistles and be able to connect enough of the dots to make some sort of reasonale picture.

  3. I’m very grateful for the shift you mention. The Church is indeed waking up to it (RT) and its historic, and horrific, repercussions.

    As far as the New Covenant itself, I agree, it can be confusing, but mostly because of RT. My approach is that it hasn’t actually happened yet (the language of Jer 31 makes that clear) but rather, we’ve had a vision of it being inaugurated. Praise God we non-Jewish believers see that it’s on it way, but we cannot jump the gun and act as if it’s a done deal.

  4. I’ve gotten several comments on Facebook saying that same thing about the New Covenant not having occurred yet. I thought the same thing or perhaps that we were in some part of the process. I remember once mentioning that idea in passing in front of someone who came to my home as part of a Bible story. The look on her face soured and she never came back.

  5. “where does it say that the Jews as a people must surrender being Jews in order to enter into the New Covenant?”

    It is called being “born again” and the willingness to “forsaking all”, lands, family, even denying ones own SELF, self meaning complete individuality. Paul spoke very eloquently of it…

    “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

    Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

    Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

    But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

    Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

    And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

    That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

    If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

    Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

    Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

    I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

  6. ” but we cannot jump the gun and act as if it’s a done deal.”

    I’m pretty sure Yeshua said “It is finished” and “I have completed the work you gave me to do”

    “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

    From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

    For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

    Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,

    This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

    And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

    Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.”

  7. Christ’s earthly life may have been finished on the cross, but obviously, this isn’t the end of the story. If it were Steven, then we wouldn’t be waiting for him to come back and finish the job. The Bible is replete with what Messiah is supposed to do upon his return, so no, it’s not finished in the sense you’re trying to communicate.

    Also, and I thought I communicated this in my blog post, Paul appears to be making a sort of kal v’chomer comparison between this accomplishments as a Jew to what he gained as a disciple of the Messiah. “If being a Pharisee, etc, etc… was such a big rip roaring deal, how much more of a big deal is it to be a disciple of the Master? In fact, in comparison to the latter, the former isn’t worth diddly.”

    Unfortunately, you’re reading straight from the supersessionism playbook right now by saying Jews have to replace Judaism with Christianity (even though Christianity started out 100% Jewish), and turn all believing Jews into Gentile Christians.

  8. “the New Covenant not having occurred yet”

    James, your wearing me out. The question, as I understand it from above, is “has the New Covenant occurred yet”.

    Messiah will do many things upon his return and is accomplishing many things as we speak. But, the New Covenant was most assuredly established. People are entering into that covenant daily. Most are not.

    “Unfortunately, you’re reading straight from the supersessionism playbook right now by saying Jews have to replace Judaism with Christianity (even though Christianity started out 100% Jewish), and turn all believing Jews into Gentile Christians.”

    No, I’m not….that’s just how you want to “characterize” what I have said. You, on the one hand pretend not to slander others, but with the other hand you speak “smooth words” to paint me as evil.

    Judaism is dead because it does not have the Messiah. Life can only be found in Messiah. You can’t pretend along with them (those who reject Christ) that Jesus did not come. You can’t pretend that Moses and the Law are witnesses AGAINST those Jews who refuse to hear the Son of G-d.

    The goal is not “Christianity” nor “Judaism” but the Kingdom of G-d.

    Joy, Peace and Righteousness in the Holy Spirit.

  9. No, I’m not painting you as “evil,” I just think you’re mistaken. How the New Covenant is established and then operationalized is a matter for great debate among Christian scholars and the laity. I’ve asked theologians point blank to explain it to me and so far, none of them can. The New Covenant is not a simple list of instructions, like how to load dishes in a dishwasher, put the soap in, and then turn it on. There is some merit to the idea that it is implemented in stages or in a gradual method, which would explain why the old is “fading” away rather than having already “faded” away and been wholly replaced by the new.

    The goal is not “Christianity” nor “Judaism” but the Kingdom of G-d.

    I’ll agree with you on this point and primarily because someone far wiser than you or I once told me not to seek Christianity or Judaism but rather, an encounter with God. I don’t think a Jew has to stop being Jewish because of the Jewish Messiah, which is what you seem to be suggesting. The first “Christians” were Jewish and they lived completely consistent Jewish lifestyles until the day they died. Paul never stopped relating to himself as a Jew and he did not teach others to abandon the Torah of Moses (though he was falsely accused of doing so).

    It seems so strange to me that you are one of the non-Jewish Christians who advocates for Christian observance of the Torah of Moses and at the same time says that Judaism is dead. And yet, Judaism is defined by Torah.

    All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, Jew and Gentile alike. It’s our job to enlighten the world with words of salvation and repentance for all. How can we do that if what shows up on the surface seems to be nothing more than prejudice?

  10. I do not believe in supersessionism. Here is what I believe.

    1) Flock one-Israel wanted a King to judge them, like the nations had. G-d said yes, and after Saul disqualified himself, G-d chose a man whose heart was after him, David and his house would rule and judge Israel. Israel rejected David’s house in Yeshua, but one day will accept the rule of his house. Messiah Yeshua is that King who will Judge Israel and in him are the 12 apostles sitting on 12 thrones of Judgment. His spirit is poured upon these. “They were yours but you have given them to me and I have kept them in your own name”, not one lost save the son of perdition.

    2) Flock 2- The Church is that membership G-d has called out of the nations and given his name and his spirit is upon these. A people who were not a people, he has made them and baptized them by fire. They will sit down in the throne of Yeshua as he sat down in his father’s throne. They will judge the nations.

    3) The two flocks will become one in his hand. “I have another flock that is not of this sheepfold; I must make them one so there will be one flock with one Sheppard. The one flock is called The Church, it is also called Israel. Israel and the Church are destined to become one in Messiah Yeshua.

    4) Both Israel and the Nations are approaching the judgment day, the “day of the L-rd”. But, the Church made of the 2 flocks will be “Raised Up In the Last Day” and made one forever more.

    5) Judaism does not keep the Torah. That is my point. The Torah commands Israel hear the voice of G-d who spoke through the Duet 18 prophet. If you err in one command you are guilty of all. The term “I will require it of him” is Duet 18 means “they will be eternally destroyed”. Who will he require it of? Those who refuse to hear. (insert Shema here) Yeshua spoke the words of G-d, he received directly, face to face, from the Father.

    6) I’ve told you before, I am a son of Abraham, of the house of David, born of the Spirit of G-d, circumcised in heart and flesh, raised up to Torah, entered into the New Covenant with the Torah written on my inward parts, taught by the Holy Spirit, sent by Yeshua and commanded to teach.

    7) Man shall live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of G-d. I’m not interested in how things appear outwardly and on the surface. I am here to do as I am instructed. If that appears prejudice on the outside, G-d knows the inside and looks on the heart.

    8) Anyone who loves Israel will tell the truth. There is Salvation in no other name, he has received a name above all names. Blessed be our King, Yeshua Messiah, and our Heavenly Father before whom I stand.

  11. Steven said: Man shall live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of G-d. I’m not interested in how things appear outwardly and on the surface.

    Jesus said: A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.Matthew 7:18-20 (ESV)

    You can’t separate behavior from “appearance.” A person’s “fruit,” by definition, is visible and tangible.

    If that appears prejudice on the outside, G-d knows the inside and looks on the heart.

    I’ll have to trust that, because the aforementioned “fruit” as visible in this text-only venue makes me a little nervous.

    Anyone who loves Israel will tell the truth.

    Have I lied?

  12. Just found this great quote thanks to a Pastor friend (no, not the one I always talk about) of mine:

    Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they cannot communicate; they cannot communicate because they are separated.

    – MLK, Jr.

  13. James says “You can’t separate behavior from “appearance.” A person’s “fruit,” by definition, is visible and tangible.”

    That is exactly what the those said who tried to kill Jesus on all those occasions and finally succeeded. They thought they could “see” the fruit of Jesus. But they were blind!

    Jesus said “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

  14. “Have I lied?”

    I have not told you to stop telling lies. What I have said is “tell the truth”. Say those things you know are the truth but you think too offensive to say to unbelievers.

    Start with this: Jesus is the only way to the Father. If you don’t have the Son, you do not have the Father.

    Can you say that James?

  15. I haven’t said anything to contradict that Steven, but if you’re trying to make me accountable to you in some sense, I can only say that I serve God, not Steven. Can you say the text from 1 Corinthians 13 or isn’t that “truth” enough for you?

    In one of my other blog posts, Carl Kinbar said the following:

    I wish we could all dial things down just a bit concerning truth-claims. We have been told that love endures but knowledge is partial. That would include my knowledge (or interpretation) of the Bible. I hold a certain interpretive approach to the Bible (in common with a number of others) that I believe to be coherent and satisfying even though I know that it is limited and hope to learn from other approaches until the day I die.

    If you had treated this guy the way you apparently treat Jewish people, then how would he ever know God loved him? I can tell that there are certain “demographics” that you feel more compassion toward than others, and I suppose that’s only human, but consider that God loves the whole world, not just those you love.

    If you have truth but no love, do you have anything at all?

  16. “the way you apparently treat Jewish people”

    James, what is that supposed to mean? You have not had an opportunity to see how I treat Jewish People. As far as I am concerned, we have only been discussing scripture and what it means, we have not been treating anyone.

    “I can tell that there are certain “demographics” that you feel more compassion toward than others,”

    No, you can’t tell that. You SUPPOSE that and you “characterize” me like that. I never told you Paul was not Jewish, your HEART made you assume that. I didn’t bring it up because it does not matter what race he is. I would have treated him the same no matter his race or nationality, sexual orientation, gender…etc.

  17. Like you said on my “silent fruit tree” blog post, maybe this would be a good point to end this exchange. You suggested that I was in error and that I should take it up with Jesus. Believe me, a day doesn’t go by when I don’t do just that. All I can suggest is that you do the same, Steven.

    Peace.

  18. Hi James, I intended to post a comment a couple days ago but I got busy and didn’t get it done. I think you are definitely on the right track with what you are suggesting in this blog. I really believe one the the main books we have misunderstood is the book of Hebrews.

    Most people quote Hebrews 8:6 to “prove” that the New Covenant has replaced the Old. But in verses 7-8 the writer points out that the problem with the Old Covenant was not with the covenant but with the people. As you point out, he goes on to say that the New Covenant is made with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. In verse 11 he points out that when the New Covenant is fully implemented, no one will need to teach his neighbor for they ALL with know the Lord (I don’t think anyone can say that is the case now). Then in verse 13 he says: “By using the term, “new,” he has made the first covenant “old”; and something being made old, something in the PROCESS of aging, is ON ITS WAY TO VANISHING altogether.” (CJB) (Emphasis mine). Or in another translation: “In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is BECOMING obsolete and growing old is READY to vanish away.” (ESV) (Emphasis mine).

    There is no debate that Yeshua initiated the New Covenant at the last seder and with His blood, and accomplished redemption from sin with his death and resurrection (“It is finished”). But the the fullness of the New Covenant is when the Messianic Kingdom arrives and the things I pointed out in the previous paragraph will be true along with the completion of the re-gathering of Israel, King Messiah sitting on the Throne of David in Jerusalem, and the Torah, the word of Adonai, will go out from Jerusalem (see Isaiah 2:2-5: Micah 4:1-2).

    If we back up to Hebrews chapter 2 there is a very important phrase that we sometimes read right past without realizing what is being said. In verse 5 the writer says: “For it was not to angels that God subjected THE ‘OLAM HABA — WHICH IS WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.” (CJB) (Emphasis mine). Or in the ESV: “Now it was not to angels that God subjected THE WORLD TO COME, OF WHICH WE ARE SPEAKING.” (Emphasis mine).

    The writer goes on in Hebrews 2:8: “you put everything in subjection under his feet.” In subjecting everything to him, he left nothing unsubjected to him. However, at present, we don’t see everything subjected to him — at least, not yet.” (CJB). Or again in the ESV: “putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.”

    Also against the idea of RT in Hebrews is a misunderstanding of the priesthood of Messiah versus the Aaronic priesthood. Yeshua ministers in the heavenly temple while the Aaronic priests minister in the earthly temple (the copy that God told Moses to make). One doesn’t replace the other. They are in different venues. That is why in the Messianic Kingdom the Aaronic priesthood can function again in the future, with sacrifices once again being offered (see Ezekiel 40-48).

    So, as you have probably heard some people say, the Kingdom of God is “now, but not yet”. This was really brought out in the teaching on the book of Hebrews done by D. Thomas Lancaster at Beth Immanuel Sabbath fellowship in Hudson, WI. I know I sent you a CD with his earlier teachings on it but I don’t think you were able to listen to them because of the format. But I wanted to let you know that he is currently doing another more in-depth teaching on Hebrews right now. The first time he did 18 teachings I believe going through the book. This time it has taken him 5 lectures to get through the first 3 verses so who knows how many he will end up with. I have been hoping he would publish a book on Hebrews because I think it is one of the most mis-understood by most Christians, along with the letter to the Galatians. Anyway, you can access his new teachings (he has 7 lectures posted currently) at: http://www.bethimmanuel.org/audio/series/145.

    Are you going to the FFOZ Shavuot conference this year? I don’t know for sure if I will make it or not. It depends on what is going on with my wife’s health issues. I would love to bring her with me. If not, there are a couple of other guys talking about going. So maybe, God willing, I will be able to see you again.

    Blessings and Shalom!

  19. Hi Mel. Great to hear from you again. Whole commentaries have been written just about Hebrews 8:13 and the meaning of the old is “passing” away and is about to disappear. I suppose you could take the short view and say that the old passed away within a generation to a century, but I like what “Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible” has to say:

    When the apostle said, All shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest, under the new covenant, he had copious authority for saying so from the rabbins themselves. In Sohar Chadash, fol. 42, it is said: “In the days of the Messiah knowledge shall be renewed in the world, and the law shall be made plain among all; as it is written, Jeremiah 31:33, All shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” We find the following legend in Midrash Yalcut Simeoni, part 2, fol. 46: “The holy blessed God shall sit in paradise and explain the law; all the righteous shall sit before him, and the whole heavenly family shall stand on their feet; and the holy blessed God shall sit, and the new law, which be is to give by the Messiah, shall be interpreted.”

    In Sohar Genes., fol. 74, col. 291, we find these remarkable words: “When the days of the Messiah shall approach, even the little children in this world shall find out the hidden things of wisdom; and in that time all things shall be revealed to all men.”

    And in Sohar Levit., fol. 24, Colossians 95:”There shall be no time like this till the Messiah comes, and then the knowledge of God shall be found in every part of the world.”

    What I get from all this is that the old will not have completely passed away and the new will not be fully enacted until the days of the Messiah’s return when he will teach us all wisdom such that it will be written on our hearts and that even little children will be wise in his ways.

    I’m going to try to make the conference this year depending on how finances work. Still “negotiating” with the missus on that part. Pray that I can make it if it be His will.

    Blessings and Good Shabbos.

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