The Renewed Covenant vs the New Covenant
In this study we will explain that there are no such things as “old” and “new” covenants for YHVH’s chosen people, but one everlasting Covenant that has been renewed.
The “New Testament” and the “Old Testaments” are foreign for the Hebraic mindset terms crafted by the Roman Catholic Church with the intent to divide the Word of YHVH and His people.
The Scripture and the people were thus divided so that today we have the so-called “new covenant bibles” and “new covenant churches” for “the new covenant Christians”. They were divided to such an extent that the Christians do not even bother to read “The Old Testament” any longer. In their minds, the so-called “the old covenant” had been replaced by the better “new covenant”, and the old one is considered obsolete and archaic.
However, is there such a thing as “new covenant”?
Uninspired pages in the Bible
There is a mean stream doctrine in the Christianity that Apostle Shaul taught “the New Covenant” to the new Gentile converts (called “Christians”). Part of this doctrine is the creation of a new religious body apart of Israel (called “the Church”) and a new religion (called “Christianity”).
We should recall that none of the apostles called himself “Christian”, not even Shaul who allegedly preached “Christianity”. Yeshua the Messiah never said such a word, much less to preach it. We find the word “Christian” only in Acts 11:26 and Acts 26:28, and in its immediate textual context it is obvious that the word “Christian” was the manner how the pagans labeled the former pagans who joined the new sect in Judaism called “The Way” (Acts 19:23, Acts 24:14, Acts 24:22). It is also obvious that the members of the new sect The Way (called after the one who said “I am the way”) called themselves “Nazarenes”, not “Christians” (see Acts 24:5), because it was said, “He shall be called a Nazarene”.
Note: the Greek words hristianos “Christians” is a translation of the Hebrew word mashiach which means “anointed one”. The transliteration of mashiach in English would be “Messiah”. The new converts were such called by the pagans, because they became followers of Yeshua HaMashiach, the Anointed One of YHVH. But the apostles and the new converts had never called themselves “Christians”.
There are two pages in the Scripture that are not written by any of the prophets or the disciples: the first one is placed before Gen 1:1 and the second: before Mat 1:1.
The page before Gen 1:1 reads “The Old Testament” (aka The Old Covenant) and the page before Mat 1:1 reads “The New Testament” (aka The New Covenant). We know for a fact that Mosheh (Moses) had never written the page “The Old Testament” and Matityahu (Matthew) had never written the page “The New Testament”.
So, who inserted these uninspired pages in the Scripture and by what authority it was made, because at the time of their writings neither had Mosheh nor Matityahu known such words as “The Old Covenant” and “The New Covenant”? There was and still is only one Covenant.
The word “testament” occurs as the rendering of the Greek diatheke. The Vulgate (the Latin translation of the Bible) translates incorrectly diatheke as testamentum, hence the terms “Old Testament” and “New Testament”. These two pages were inserted into the Bible to divide it into “old” and “new”.
In Latin, a will or testamentum is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage or to inherit his or her estate at death. Or, the term “testament” should be properly rendered “a final will”.
But the intelligent reader knows that the Scripture was not written in Latin, and that we should be more concerned with the question whether there is a Hebrew word that means “covenant”.
We know that the word “covenant” is a legal term in use even today and means a contract or an agreement. And as in any legal contract, both sides of the contract have obligations and rights. This contract or agreement in Hebrew is called berit which literally means to cut meat in pieces.
The cutting of meat was used in the ancient world when making agreements, including agreements in daily business transactions. The significance of such a covenant or agreement was to remind both sides that whoever would break his obligations in the contract would be cut in pieces as the animal had been cut in pieces. Hence, berit: cutting of meat.
The literal meaning of berit can be best seen in the covenant YHVH made with Avraham aka the Covenant of the Pieces. YHVH told Avraham to cut the animals in half and He Himself passed between the pieces to seal the Covenant, hence Covenant of the Pieces.
We should note here that blood is shed in berit hence it is also called Blood Covenant, as we find it in Exo 24:8 and Mat 26:28.
There is a Hebrew word that couples with berit and this is the word chadashah. This Hebrew word is often translated as “new”, but there is much to it than that. Chadashah is also translated as “moon” or “month”, but these are not its literal meanings, but applications.
That chadashah does not refer to the planet Moon is evident in Gen 37:9 where we find the Hebrew word yareach and levanan in Isa 24:23 for Earth’s satellite. And since the moon makes twelve cycles around Earth, we have twelve cycles or months in the Biblical year. Therefore, “moon” and “month” have one thing in common: they make cycles.
And since there is nothing new in a cycle, but in a cycle everything is renewed, we come to the literal meaning of the Hebrew word chadashah: “renewed”. And rightly so, since the moon that reappears every month is not “a new moon”, because the Moon has been around for 6,000 years, but a renewed moon; from this we derive the applications of chadasha as “moon” or “month”.
That chadashah means “renewed”, i.e. as in a cycle, is best seen in the following example,
What has been is what shall be, what has been done is what shall be done, and there is no new (chadash) under the sun. Is there a matter of which it is said, “See, this is new (chadash)”? It was here already, long ago. (Ecc 1:9-10)
So, if one wants to know what new YHVH is going to do, all he or she has to do is to look at what YHVH has already done. See also Ecc 3:14-15. And this is the core idea in the Book of Ecclesiastes: there is nothing new under the sun.
The Renewed Covenant in the hearts
What is interesting to note here is that we find both words berit and chadashah coupling in Jer 31:31 in the legal term berit chadashah, Renewed Covenant, as we read,
Behold, the days are coming, declares Yehovah, when I shall make a renewed covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Yehudah not according to the covenant I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, declares Yehovah. For this is the covenant I shall make with the house of Israel after those days, declares Yehovah: I shall put My Torah in their inward parts, and write it on their hearts. And I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people. (Jer 31:31-33)
The covenant which YHVH will make with both houses of Israel in the future is called berit chadashah “Renewed Covenant” or more properly Covenant of Renewal, as contrasted with the covenant made with the fathers at Sinai. And since YHVH has never called His Covenant with Israel (native and non-native) “old”, there is no legal justification for the term “new covenant”.
And because there is no defect found in the Covenant of Sinai (Lev 24:8, Eze 16:60), there is no reason of a new covenant. However, a defect had indeed be found, but not in the Covenant but in the people, who broke it. And if a covenant is broken, the covenant is not abolished to make a new one, but the guilty part is found liable to legal charges.
Therefore, the proper reason why a renewed covenant is made is that the people have broken the Covenant of YHVH, hence the necessity to renew it. Because of this, it is wrong to say that YHVH in virtue of His unchangeable faithfulness would alter the relation He Himself had established with Israel. But by renewing the covenant, He will do away with the sin of the people who broke it, if repentance is found.
In order to give sound security of the promise that the Renewed Covenant will be fulfilled, YHVH points in Jer 31:35 to the everlasting duration of the natural laws: if His laws of nature were to cease, then Israel would also cease to be His people.
This promise regarding the continuance of Israel as a nation of YHVH is reconfirmed a second time in Jer 31:37, which declares the impossibility of rejection. Even if the depths of the heavens and the earth could be measured, YHVH will not reject Israel.
In the context of Jeremiah 31 (see also Eze 16:60-62) we understand that the Covenant YHVH will make with His people is not new, but a renewed covenant in which He will put His Torah in the hearts and minds of Israel.
The Character of the Renewed Covenant
The writing of the Renewed covenant on the heart is the key moment to understand its character. This contrasts with the Christian Replacement Theology that since the writing on the tables of stone of “the old covenant” was external to the people, “a new one” was necessary to come that would be put in the hearts; this is how the “theologians” distort Shaul’s words in 2Co 3:3. And if “a new covenant” is necessary, the invention of “a new people” will be necessary to replace “the old people”: this is the subtle deception.
But what YHVH asks us to do is to receive His Torah into our inner parts through the circumcision of the heart (Deu 30:6), that we may love YHVH our Elohim with all our hearts and with all our souls. This circumcision of heart and the love for YHVH with the whole soul (see Deu 6:5, Deu 10:12, Deu 10:16), are impossible, unless the Torah be received first into the heart.
Thus the Covenant at Mount Sinai (renewed at Mount Nebo, renewed again at Mount of Olives, and once again renewed with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah) is renewed every time we break it. Therefore, the Renewed Covenant is anything but a completion of Covenant at Sinai.
Put simply, in the Covenant at Sinai, we were urged to put the Torah of YHVH in our hearts, minds, and souls. But because we failed to do it, YHVH will do it. This indeed is the true relation between YHVH and His people.
So, where do some “theologians” see the replacement of “the old” with “the new”?
We should also note here that the Berit Chadashah is made with all Israel, the House of Israel and with the House of Judah, not with any gentile nation. If the gentiles wish to be in covenantal relations with the Creator, the new converts should see themselves grafted into the olive tree of Israel, as Apostle Shaul clearly and plainly says it in Romans 11. And once they become a part of Israel, they cease to be “gentiles” as he also says, “once you were Gentiles”. There is no other way around the words of YHVH.
In conclusion, the Renewed covenant is not about its contents, but its location: in the hearts, in the minds, and in the souls. The Covenant of YHVH is unchangeable, everlasting, and as King David says in Psa 119, it is perfect, sweeter than honey in his mouth. And if something is perfect, it cannot be changed, abolished, it cannot be even improved: something “the Church” does not want to see and hear.
The fulfillment of the Renewed Covenant began with the onset of the Age of the Messiah, when the long-awaited prophet indeed came, according to the Redemption Plan of YHVH, and with His blood He ratified it and renewed it.
But the complete fulfillment of the Renewed Covenant will be done at his return, and it will be done according to the words of YHVH in Jeremiah 31. Then, Israel will no longer be divided into the House Israel and the House of Judah, but it will be one nation to YHVH under one covenant.
But, how should we understand Shaul’s teaching in Hebrews, because it seems that he speaks of “new” and “old” covenants?
There are indeed some hard to understand teachings of Shaul, which those unlearned in the Scripture have twisted for their own destruction. Actually, this is how Apostle Shimon (Peter) warned them,
So then, beloved ones, looking forward to this, do your utmost to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and reckon the patience of our Master as deliverance, as also our beloved brother Sha’ul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him, as also in all his letters, speaking in them concerning these matters, in which some are hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the other Scriptures. You, then, beloved ones, being forewarned, watch, lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the delusion of the lawless, (2Pe 3:14-17)
And where the apostle said, “led away with delusion of the lawless”, he meant it to be understood as “the delusion of those without the Law”.
Meanwhile, those who seek to learn more about the truth, may read the article “You are not under the Law of God” Exposed.
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.