What am I talking about when I say the “old” and the “new”?
I am talking about the Old Covenant, that “Jewish” Bible, and the New Covenant, the “Christian” Bible.
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For those of you who know me and are members of this ministry (thank you for subscribing and sharing), you know that I consider both of these to be one book, one Bible talking about one God who sent one Messiah. From Genesis through Revelation, it is all the same.
Except it isn’t, really, when we consider how the heroes in these different sections of the Bible are treated.
One thing I have seen repeated often in my studies (over the past 25 or more years) is that scholars state one way we can be certain of the truth of the Tanakh is that its heroes are not perfect.
What they mean is that if we really wanted to “sell” people on how wonderful it is when you worship God, then everyone would be like Superman- always truthful, always dependable, fighting for truth, justice, and God’s way.
But let’s look closer:
- Adam and Eve both disobeyed God
- Cain killed his brother
- Noah got drunk and exposed himself
- Abraham pimped his wife- twice! (Genesis 12 and 20)
- Isaac pimped his wife once (Genesis 26)
- Jacob took advantage of his brother to get his birthright
- Jacob lied to his father, and it was his mother’s idea
- The patriarchs of 11 of the 12 tribes of Israel tried to kill their brother
- Moses tried to weasel out of accepting God’s calling
- Jonah tried to avoid saving Nineveh
- Esther didn’t want to approach the king for fear of her life (it wasn’t until Mordecai told her she wouldn’t escape the slaughter that she finally said she would approach the king)
- David murdered his friend in order to steal his wife
And that’s just off the top of my head!
But, when we look in the New Covenant, we read that the Apostles are oh-so-perfect!
Well, OK, Judas Ischariot was the bad guy, but that’s it.
The other Apostles are treated like saints (pun intended). No one ever does anything wrong, no one ever makes a mistake, they are perfect in every way.
And when it comes to Shaul, gee…he starts off as a bad guy, then he does t’shuvah (turning from sin) and saves thousands of people by converting nearly all of the Middle East. What a man!
We know that each and every book in the Bible has been written by men and translated into hundreds of languages by men. If you ask me, of all the books in the Bible, the Torah (the first 5 books) is the most dependable of all as far as being close to what God actually said. In fact, this is the only place throughout the entire Bible where we are told that God told someone to tell the people what they must do.
But you might say “Wait a minute! He also did that with the Prophets.” And I would agree he did talk directly to the prophets, but he only told them to tell the people to return to doing what he already told us to do in the Torah. There were no new commandments or laws ever given to a Prophet.
My point in all this is to say that if the scholars are right (and I agree with them) in saying that one proof of the validity of the stories we read in the Bible is that the people we read about have human frailties and human desires, then there has to be some question as to the divine influence of the New Covenant writings. The only “bad” people in there are the ones who were against Yeshua or his disciples and followers. But everyone who believed in Yeshua was good, never sinning or making mistakes or even saying anything wrong.
Yeah, OK, except Judas- we already covered that.
I see the same thing in so many Christian churches, preaching about all God will do for you, and never talking about what you have to do for God. It’s a sugar-coated salvation, making it seem that heaven is a “Come-As-You-Are” party for anyone who believes in Jesus, is a “good” person (remember that Yeshua said the only one who is good is God-Mark 10:8), and who loves others as themselves.
Sorry, but that isn’t how it works.
Yes, salvation is free; and yes, salvation can’t be taken away from you (but you can throw it away); and yes, God loves you and is not just willing, but desires to forgive you (Ezekiel 18:23).
BUT– and this is a truth that you rarely hear from any church- salvation is hard to keep.
So, what am I saying about the New Covenant? I am saying that because there are no imperfect heroes that I believe it is not all divinely influenced.
I do accept that the New Covenant is a trustworthy narrative of the life of Yeshua, and that the letters written by the Apostles and the Book of Acts is also trustworthy as a historical record, and I believe the New Covenant (at least, parts of it) should be included in the Bible.
But it isn’t God’s direct word, dictated to a prophet or intermediary, changing anything he already said in the Tanakh. In fact, the only place we are told God speaks in the New Covenant is Matthew 17:5, the transformation on the mountain where all God said was “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”.
There are no new commandments, and the ones we already have are still valid for everyone who accepts Yeshua as their Messiah and, as such, becomes grafted onto the Tree of Life and an adopted child of Abraham.
My opinion is that the majority of the New Covenant, because it was put together between 200 AD and sometime in the 5th Century, long after the gentile leadership had separated themselves from the Jewish forms of worship that Yeshua, his disciples, and the original Jewish and gentile believers in the First Century practiced, should be considered as one of the “writings” (Ketuvim in Hebrew), such as Esther, Psalms, Proverbs, Kings, Chronicles, and the other books of the Tanakh that are not directly the result of what God told someone to say.
I am probably pushing a lot of defensive buttons with this message, and I pray that it shocks some of you into thinking that maybe, just maybe, you should read the New Covenant (especially the Epistles) anew, with an open mind, not already knowing what they mean, to see if you might agree (at least, a little) with what I am saying.
I am not saying the New Covenant is untrustworthy or that is shouldn’t be part of the Bible, only that it should be read and understood for what it is- the writings of men relating the early history of the Messiah and the accomplishments of his Disciples.
Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. Subscribe to this ministry on both my website and YouTube channel and join my discussion group on Facebook called “Just God’s Word” (please make sure you read and click that you accept the rules).
If you want to know more about how Christianity has changed who the Messiah is, read my latest book, “The Good News of the Messiah for Jews: Debunking the Traditional Lies about the Jewish Messiah“. It’s available on Amazon and through my website.
And remember, I always welcome your comments.
That’s it for today, so L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!