The New Covenant versus The Old Covenant
are fundamental differences in morality
between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament allows many things which
are contrary to the New Testament:
divorce, polygamy, owning concubines, slavery, wealth, war and vigilante
violence. I agree with those who argue
that you can justify all sorts of violence by citing the Old Testament. That is why we have to base our morality upon
the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as understood by his first
followers. Whatever the uses of the Old
Testament, it is wrong to use it in such a way that it negates the morality of
the New Testament. Which is just what
Secular Christians have been doing since the time of Augustine and before. [ see The Church of the Empire ]
the Bible a unified inspired book
without any true contradictions ?
Try duofied--the bible is properly divided into the
books of the old covenantand
books of the new covenantas
they were once rightly called. And the
crucial question for a follower of Jesus Christ is this: "what is the relationship between the
old covenant and
the new covenant ? " Testament
is a poor translation of the Greek word for covenant--diatheke. The more scholarly translations use covenant in place of testament. For example the new King James says this is my blood of the new covenant [Mt. 26.28, Mk 14.24, Lk. 22.20, 1 Cor
11.25] where old King James says blood of the new testament.
rashly conclude that there is a perfect harmony between them by quoting several
verses that seem to say that, but you can't read the scriptures that way. You have to read all of it, not just
the bits you like. That is what people
do when they pick out a half verse like Do
not judge and rush to the conclusion that Jesus told us not to make moral
old covenant passes
the author of Hebrews sees the new
covenant as replacing and abolishing the old covenant. Hebrews
8.13: In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is
ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8.8-12
quotes Jeremiah 31.31-34 which spells
out that there is to be a new covenant
in place of the old. This text notes two
major differences between the old covenant and the new covenant: 1) the moral law will be written in our
hearts instead of in a book of rules; 2)
the individual will have a direct personal relationship with God, contra the old
covenant where only Moses could talk to God directly. It makes it clear that there is a fundamental
moral and spiritual change from the old covenant to the
new. And the consequence is this: just as the new covenant has replaced the old
covenant, so the books of the new covenant have replaced the books of the old
covenant as our moral and spiritual guide book.
Basing your moral and spiritual life on the books of the old covenant is
like relying upon a 1940 repair manual to work on a 1980 airplane. You are headed for a crash.
there is a greater consequence, which is this:
we are no longer tied to the
books as the Jews were, when God spoke only to Moses and everyone else had
to depend upon what Moses wrote down in the books. As Peter spells out in his first sermon,
quoting from Joel, ( Acts 2.16-18 ) the individual followers of Jesus now
receive that Holy Spirit, which was once reserved exclusively to the Lord's
official prophet. If we are worthy of
the name of christian,
we have the Holy Spirit for a personal teacher.
(John 14.26 and 16.13; 1 John 2.27)
We learn from the Spirit. (1 John
2.20) Without that Spirit, the books
are absolutely no use
to us. In fact, they are harmful to us, because we
cannot understand them, and, by misunderstanding them, we plunge deeper into
spiritual darkness. Like the scribes and
the Pharisees--see below. Like
contemporary bible abusing evangelists--turn on any so-called Christian TV or radio station for proof
moral law must be written in our hearts (Hebrews
8.10 and Jeremiah 31.33). And, if it
isn't written there, it is no use our going back to The Law as it was written in the books of the old
covenant. That is what Saint Paul tells
the works of the law shall no flesh be justified (Galatians 2.16) if righteousness come by the law, then
Christ is dead in vain (Galatians 2.21)
Stand fast therefore in the
liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the
yoke of bondage. (Galatians
5.1) Secular Christians, who read The
Bible without the Spirit essential to understanding it, are the blind leading the blind, and headed
right for the pit.
covenants: bond or
4.24 and 2 Corinthians 3.6 also stress
the fundamental differences between the old and the new covenant. two
covenants . . . one bond, one free . . . able ministers of the new covenant,
not of the letter but of the spirit, for the letter killeth, but the spirit
giveth life. Romans, chapter 7,
argues that we are freed from The Law of
the Old Covenant like a widow is freed from a husband who has died. Clearly he means that the old law is a dead
letter for us. In Galatians 3.13-29 Paul
makes the argument that the covenant by faith with Abraham was continued in
Jesus Christ but that it bypasses the law of Moses.
shows his attitude towards the law of Moses and you have to keep that in mind
when you read 2 Timothy 3.16. What did
he regard as scripture and how did he
interpret it? Look what he does to the
law of Moses with his argument in Galatians 3.13-29. Similarly, whether Paul wrote it or not, look
what is done to the whole of the Jewish religious establishment with the
argument in Hebrews chapter 7. Why would
these teachers instruct us to disregard so much that is part of the old
covenant--the Jewish religious establishment and all its endless rules and
regulations and expect us to still hearken to the passages in which all this
was established ?
are the books of the old covenant
equally scripture for our moral instruction with the books of the new covenant even after the old covenant has been
replaced by the new covenant? Hebrews
says the opposite: Which stood only in meats and drinks and divers washings, and carnal
ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. (Hebrews 9.10) Meats and drinks and divers washings and
carnal ordinances perfectly describes most of the contents of Exodus,
Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy and Hebrews clearly means that they are no
use to us now that the time of
reformation has come. The
commandments about wave offerings and heave offerings (Exodus 29.26-27 and many
other verses ) are no longer binding upon us.
new commandment to love your
enemies (Mt 5.44)
is binding upon us and we cannot use the old testament as an excuse for
disregarding it, as so many false Christians have done. They have misused the books of the old covenant to evade the moral law of the new
covenant. They use the example of Jacob
and Joshua to cancel the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. They have used them to justify war, wealth
and slavery. Some of them, like the
Mormons, have used them to justify polygamy--with equal justification. In fact, you can justify any and every kind
of immorality by misusing the books of the old covenant as secular Christians
misuse them, although they are never logical and consistent enough to do it so
thoroughly. They use the old testament
to justify war and wealth, and maintain a discreet silence about the passages
that justify slavery and polygamy. But
you can justify one as readily as the other by the way they read it. From the time of Augustine and right down to
modern times, secular Christians did use the old testament to justify
Christians owning slaves and dealing in slaves.
[ see The Church of the Empire ]
Christ teaches us to love our enemies,
to shun the pursuit of wealth. He
teaches us that his kingdom is not of this world. The worldly Christian says "I can't live with that ! But here is some stuff in the old testament
that says the opposite. I'll go by that
covenant of circumcision
was an argument going on in the early church between those who wanted to
preserve every jot and tittle (Mt
5.18) of the old Jewish religion based upon
the law and those who insisted that the
prophets and the law prophesied until John. (Mt 11.13)
It shows up in the differing accounts that Acts and Galatians give as to
whether Paul continued to conform to Jewish observance. It appears in Acts 15 where the first major
church council dealt with the question of circumcision. Acts 15.1:
And certain men which came down
from Judea [to Antioch] taught the brethren and said: Except ye be circumcised after the manner of
Moses, ye cannot be saved. Acts
15.24: the letters which were issued by
this council said: Forasmuch as we have heard that certain [men] which went out from us
have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying: Ye must be circumcised, and keep the
law; to whom we gave no such
commandment . . . (cf Acts 16.3, 1 Cor 7.18, Gal 2.3 and 5.1-6)
old covenant was the covenant
of circumcision (Acts
7.8) and so the question of circumcision is central to the question of whether
the old covenant is still in effect.
The overwhelming evidence of these new testament writings is that it is
not. And yet circumcision was something
more than a jot or a tittle.
It was the first law
of the old covenant: Genesis
17.14: And the uncircumcised man child . . . that soul shall be cut off from
his people. He hath broken my covenant. (cf
Gen 17.11, Ex 4.24-26, Joshua 5.2)
Nonetheless, the new Christian church made it null
and void. As 1 Corinthians 7.19 says, circumcision is nothing. Galatians 5.2
if ye be circumcised, Christ shall
profit you nothing. As Jeremiah 4.4
said, it is our hearts that need to be circumcised. Jeremiah 9.25: all
the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart. Stephen says:
ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised
in heart and ears. Acts 7.51
neither circumcision nor the old covenant of circumcision are
binding upon us. So neither do the books of the old covenant teach
us as if the new covenant had not
displaced the old or had replaced it in an imperfect way. We are not bound to avoid pork. We are bound to love our enemies. These things and many others are in line with
the new covenant and contrary to the old.
century later, there were still Jewish Christians who rejected the writings of
Saint Paul because of his negative attitude towards The Law of the old covenant.
It is notable that Justin Martyr ignores the epistles of Saint
Paul. But the early church fathers
insisted, just as Saint Paul did, that Christian belief was a radical and reformed
departure from Jewish belief ( Hebrews 9.10 ).
So Ignatius of Antioch writes to the Magnesians (8,9) about the year 110 AD, just before he was
martyred in Rome: Do not be led astray by wrong views or by outmoded tales that count for
nothing. (apocryphal Jewish legends
and allegorical interpretations of the Old Testament) For if
we still go on observing Judaism, we admit we never received grace. The divine prophets themselves lived Christ
Jesus' way. That is why they were
persecuted, for they were inspired by his grace to convince unbelievers that
God is one and that he has revealed himself in his Son Jesus Christ, who is his
Word issuing from the silence and who won the complete approval of him who sent
Those then who lived by ancient practices arrived at a new hope. They ceased to keep the Sabbath and lived by
the Lord's Day, on which our life as well as theirs shone forth, thanks to Him
and his death . . . 10.3 For
Christianity did not believe in Judaism but Judaism in Christianity.
his letter to the brethren at Philadelphia (5,6) Ignatius makes a basic
distinction between the prophets and the
old religion of Judaism: And the Prophets, let us love them too,
because they anticipated the gospel in their preaching and hoped for and
awaited Him, and were saved by believing on Him. Thus they were in Jesus Christ's unity. Saints they were, and we should love and
admire them, seeing that Jesus Christ vouched for them and they form a real
part of the gospel of our common hope. 6 Now, if anyone preaches Judaism to you, pay
no attention to him. For it is better to
hear about Christianity from one of the circumcision than Judaism from a
Gentile. If both, moreover, fail to talk
about Jesus Christ, they are to me tombstones and graves of the dead, on which
only human names are inscribed.
the letters of Ignatius show that the argument between these two contending
parties was still going on (as it is even today.) This argument is often reflected in the
writings of the new covenant and the additions of the judaizers have been used
ever since then to keep the door open to the laxer morality of the old
covenant. In the time of Constantine,
the lapse into a pre-Christian standard of morality became absolutely necessary
to justify the corrupt and compromised official church establishment of the Roman
Empire. Augustine justified war, wealth
and slavery by using verses from the books of the Old Covenant to negate the
Christian morality of the New Covenant.
( As discussed at length in The Church of the Empire. )
more than a tittle
at Luke 16.16-18: The law and the prophets were until John . . . it is
easier for heaven and earth to fail than one tittle of the law to fail . .
. Whosoever putteth away his wife, and
marrieth another, commiteth adultery This passage is a sandwich in which the
assertion in the middle runs counter to the ones on either side of it. The last verse abolishes the law of divorce
laid down by "The Lord" (aka Moses) in Deuteronomy 24.1-2, as Matthew
5.31 and 19.3-10 spell out. This is
something more than one tittle--it is a major provision of the old Law. Not only does Jesus allow it to fail or pass away, he gives it a good boot to help it along.
can be accurately described as a contradiction between what "The
Lord" decreed as law and what Jesus established as law. Jesus says that this law wasn't from God at
all and that Moses allowed it because of the hard-heartedness of the Jews. But it is presented in Deuteronomy as one of
the commandments, the statutes, and the
judgments which the Lord your God commanded to teach you. (Deuteronomy 6.1) So is the lawgiver of Deuteronomy the same as
Jesus? Jesus here plainly states that he
isn't, and that what is presented as the word of "The Lord" in
Deuteronomy 24.1-2 is in fact the word of man or even the word of the devil--it
is a commandment which is contrary to the ordinance of God (Matthew 19. 4-8).
is not the only place that Jesus replaces the law of the old covenant with a
new law. The teaching of Jesus Christ
can only be understood when we see that he has given us a new law, a new
commandment, as he himself says.
Whatever he meant in saying that he wanted to preserve every jot and tittle or least
commandment of the law, (Matthew 5.18-19)
he clearly does not mean that we are still to go by all the strange and
wicked ordinances that are presented as "law" in the books of the old
covenant. (see the discussion below of
Exodus 21.1-6, 21.7, and 21.21)
Sermon on the Mount is one of the major teachings of Jesus Christ. You cannot call yourself a
"Christian" if you ignore it,
if you cancel it out in effect by taking the back door exit into the Old
Testament. That is just what worldly
"Christians" do. They quote a
half verse from the preface to the Sermon on the Mount and then use that as
their excuse for ignoring the rest of it.
You dig a
spiritual grave for
yourself when you do
Matthew, chapter 5, Jesus repeatedly uses the formula: Ye have
heard that it was said . . . but I say . . . and in each place he shows us the old law and
the new law with which he replaces it. Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye
for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But
I say unto you that ye resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy
right cheek, turn to him the other also . . . (Mt 5.38-39)
Where have we heard it said:
"an eye for an eye etc.?"
In Exodus 21.24, in Leviticus 24.20, in Deuteronomy 19.21. It is the very heart and spirit of the law of
Moses, that is, the law that "the Lord" delivers through Moses. Exodus chapters 21, 22 and 23 was known as
the Book of the Covenant, the old covenant of the circumcision. And what is Jesus doing with it
here--preserving every jot and tittle of it?
Clearly, he nullifies it and replaces it with a different law. A law which breathes a new and different
spirit: The Spirit of the New Covenant.
Resist not evil . . . turn the other cheek . . . the Secular Christian cannot take in
these teachings. He dismisses turn
the other cheek with a joke. He
evades them and cancels them by every kind of sophistry. But Jesus wasn't joking. These commandments are the central teaching
of Jesus Christ. They define the
difference between the old covenant and the new. If you can't take them in, you are not a
follower of Jesus Christ. You have taken
the name in vain. ( cf. Matthew 7.23)
Ye have heard that it hath been said,
Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies . . . (Matthew 5.43-45) In the books of the old covenant, "The
Lord's" insistence that righteousness requires them to hate their enemies
is a central theme: thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor
show mercy unto them (Deuteronomy 7.2)
he shall eat up the nations his
enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his
arrows (Numbers 24.8) utterly
destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman,
infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass (1 Samuel 15.3) "The Lord" decrees this massacre of
babies because of a 200 year old grudge.
He punishes Saul for sparing the livestock.
Love your enemies isn't a minor modification of the old
covenant. It is a commandment that is entirely contrary to the spirit that permeates
the books of the old covenant !
In the books of the old
covenant the commandment thou shalt love
thy neighbor as thyself (Leviticus
19.18) is placed in a long list of peculiar ordinances. The next verse, 19.19 prohibits
cross-breeding cattle, or wearing a linen / wool garment. (A jot
and tittle acquaintance, who feels bound by that ordinance, will not wear a
cotton / polyester shirt.) But Jesus
Christ elevates love thy neighbor to
the status of the second greatest commandment and says that on these two commandments hang all
the law and the prophets (Matthew 24.40). That in itself constitutes a drastic revision
of the law as it is found in Deuteronomy.
In Matthew 7.12 he tells us to do unto others as we would be done by for
this is the law and the prophets. Does this golden
rule accurately summarize Exodus 21.1-6:
be a slave forever or leave your wife and children behind; 21.7:
about selling your daughter;
21.21: about beating your
servant to death? Not hardly. These laws have the fingerprints of carnal
man all over them, just as the law of Moses about divorce. Jesus says as much: in vain
do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Mark
these the ordinances of God the Father?
Are these the teachings of Jesus Christ?
Were they inspired by the Holy Spirit ?
If you say yes, you slander the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit by
making them the authors of carnal
ordinances. (Hebrews 9.10)
the prophet Ezekiel, the Lord warns against the ordinances attributed to
him: I gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances by which they
could not have life; and I defiled them through their very gifts in making them
offer by fire all their first born, that I might horrify them; I did it that
they might know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel
20.25-26) That is a good reason for
doubting the eternal validity of ordinances like that found in Exodus 22.29: The first born of your sons you shall give
to me. Jeremiah 7.31 denies that the
Lord ever gave such a commandment. Both prophets agree in disowning it on the
you can eat
Mark 7.15 Jesus denies the validity of the basic Jewish laws which forbid you
to eat all sorts of things. What
"The Lord" commands in Leviticus chapter 11 and Deuteronomy chapter
14--you can eat locusts, beetles and beef but not oysters, eagles or pork,
etc., etc.--is summarily junked
by Jesus Christ in Mark 7.14-23.
(cf Acts 10.9-16) It is what comes out of your mouth, not what
goes into it, that makes you unclean.
20.10 decrees that the adulteress shall surely be put to death. But Jesus Christ, confronted with such an
adulteress (John 8.1-11) refuses to
sanction this decree. If the death
penalty required by The Law can be imposed only by one who is himself free from
sin, then it cannot be imposed. Which
squares perfectly with what Jesus says in Matthew 5.38-39 replacing the law set
forth in Deuteronomy 19.21: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.
(Contra the injunction of
Deuteronomy 4.2 that Ye shall not add unto the word which I
command you. ) Jesus did not
sanction the death penalty. His
followers can't sanction it either, as Tertullian states in chapter 17 of his
work On Idolatry.
Jesus explicitly abolishes and replaces various laws of the old covenant and He
implicitly challenges the very spirit of the rest of it by what
He teaches, and by what he does. In John
chapter 5 he not only cures a man on the sabbath but he tells him to carry his
bed away, contrary to the strict sabbath day rules of the Pharisees. Couldn't the bed have remained where it was
until after sundown ? But Jesus seems
determined to challenge their rule bound religion and the incident precipitates
the showdown with the Jewish establishment, as 5.16 states.
time of fulfillment
Matthew 5.17, Jesus says Think not that I am come to destroy the law
or the prophets: I am come not to destroy, but to fulfill. What does he mean by this
"fulfillment"? Or, to ask a
related question, when does it happen?
In Luke 24.44, Jesus says that by his death and resurrection He has now fulfilled all
things which werewritten in the law of Moses, and in the
prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
That is, the fulfillment is now done.
Saint Paul says the same in Romans 10.4:
Christ is the end of the law. So
also Luke 16.16-17 and Matthew 11.13 say that the law and the prophets were
until John. That is, they were fulfilled
in Jesus and brought to an end. This
basic Christian doctrine was mangled by Augustine to justify the Church of the
Empire. ( see The Church of the Empire
page 126 )
source of confusion is this phrase: the law and the prophets. It is much easier to see how Jesus fulfilled
the prophets, how he fulfilled the prophecies they made about him, (Luke 18.31)
than it is to see how he fulfilled something written in the law
proper. One clue is this: the law
and the prophets is a set phrase that describes the Jewish service. In Acts 13.15 it relates how Saint Paul got
up to speak after the reading of the law
and the prophets, that is, after they read passages from the old covenant
spells out that Jesus is fulfilling the prophets. ( 1.23 etc.)
Jesus himself says: this day is this scripture fulfilled in your
ears after reading a prophecy from
the book of Isaiah in the synagogue in Luke 4.21. Luke 24.25-27 describes how the risen Christ
instructed two of his disciples, beginning
at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the
things concerning himself. Peter's
first sermon in Acts 2.14-40 proclaims that the last days prophecy of
Joel is now fulfilled.
fulfillment of the law is harder to understand.
In Matthew 5.22 and 5.28 fulfillment seems to mean a strengthening of
the moral law so that it includes evil thoughts as well as evil acts. There is a further major change in that He
decrees a moral and spiritual punishment in a life beyond this one, in place of
the immediate criminal penalty The Law demanded for immoral acts. And, obviously, you can't very well stone
someone for lustful feelings. I was just admiring her hat !
other places Jesus "fulfills" the law by new commandments that tell
us to love even our enemies. Saint Paul
echoes this in Galatians 5.14: for all the law is fulfilled in one word,
even in this: Thou shalt love thy
neighbor as thyself. In all these
places it is clear
there is a new Spirit, a new law and a new covenant; that fulfillment means a
replacement of The Law of the old covenant--the 613 laws of the 5 books of
Moses--not its preservation.
the two great commandments fulfill
the 10 commandments. The great commandment to love God
with all your heart fulfills and goes
far beyond the injunctions of the left hand tablet to avoid strange gods, keep
holy the Lord's Day, and avoid taking His name in vain. The second greatest
commandment fulfills the injunctions of the right hand
tablet as Jesus shows us in Matthew 19.16-19 where He substitutes Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself
for the covet commandments in the
right hand tablet. It fulfills them and
goes far beyond them by adding hatred and lust to the proscriptions against
murder and adultery. Obviously you cannot
kill your neighbor or steal from him or bear false witness against him if you
observe the second greatest commandment.
So the 10 commandments are in fact fulfilled by the two great commandments. As Jesus says, they are the whole of the law.
these two great commandments have no
reference to the other 601 commandments of the law: Deuteronomy 24.1-2: divorce your wife by handing her a writ;
Exodus 21.21: you can get away
with beating your maid to death if you keep her alive til morning; Leviticus 16.7-11: sacrifice a goat to atone for your sins. The essential distinction between the
commandments of Jesus and The Law of the Jews, made by Paul and the early
church was obscured by Augustine and the other apostates of the 4th century to
justify their deal with the devil.
taste for blood
prophets tell us that God has little taste for much of what "the
bible" sanctions. Isaiah 1.11-17
says I delight not in the blood of
bullocks . . . your appointed feasts my soul hateth. That runs contrary to what is laid out at
length in the five books of Moses. In
Leviticus chapter 23 "The Lord" lays out a whole list of appointed
feasts with their attendant sacrifices of bullocks, rams etc. And he keeps saying: It
shall be a statute forever (Leviticus 23.14)
tells the pharisees: go ye and learn what that meaneth: I will
have mercy and not sacrifice (Mt.
9.13, Mt 12.7) And it refers them to
Hosea 6.6 which emphasizes that the prophets themselves had a different
understanding of God from that which is found in the earliest books of the old
covenant. Our modern pharisees need to
go and learn it also.
Isaiah 1.15 God rejects them because your hands are full of blood. But the Jews of Exodus and Leviticus must
have had perpetually blood-stained hands if they carried out all "The
Lord's" injunctions in respect to slaughtering people and animals. "The Lord" of the pentateuch is
literally bloodthirsty. The Lord of the
new covenant shed no blood except his own.
That isn't a minor difference that can be explained away by a random
david did it
can we !
King David a model for the Christian life?
May we do as David did and trust that the Lord will see it as
righteous? Was it all right--was it righteous--
for David to have many wives? Was it all
right for him to have concubines as well?
There is nothing said about The Lord disapproving of it. So is it all right for you and I to own a
concubine? What if you can't afford to
own one--is it all right to rent one for an hour? Can you bring home a second wife and a couple
of slave girls and tell your wife: Look in the Book, honey! Jacob's example sanctifies my doing this.
use the example set by the Old Testament heroes as a standard of moral behavior
without recognizing that what they did is often contrary even to Old Testament
law. The harems and the treasures of
King David and King Solomon (cf 1 Kings 10 and 11) are contrary to the
commandment of Deuteronomy 17.17: Neither shall [the king] multiply wives to himself . . . neither
shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
other cases, it is clear that the example they set is to be admitted only in a
limited way. Rahab the harlot (Joshua
2.1-6) is cited as an example of faith in Hebrews 11.31 and as an example of
works in James 2.25. Can we also follow
her example in telling lies? We might
just as well conclude that it is okay for a woman to be a harlot. Acts 13.15 suggests that the history books of
the Jews, with their many scandalous tales, were not used for moral instruction
in the Jewish service as were the books of the
law and the prophets. How could they
use the story of Lot's daughters in Sabbath Day school ? ! In fact, the rabbis do not claim divine
inspiration for the history books of the bible.
covenants two spirits
is a Spirit in the books of the new covenant that runs contrary to the spirit
of the old covenant, and Jesus says as much.
In Luke 9.54-56 James and John urge Jesus to command fire to come
down from heaven
and consume them, even as Elias did.
But he turned and rebuked them,
and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy
men's lives, but to save them.
Elias, alias Elijah, displays the fundamental spirit of the historical
characters of the old testament. Having
defeated the false prophets, he orders them put to death. (1 Kings 18.40) It seems to have been the fundamental belief
of everyone in the old testament that it was wicked to show any mercy to a
defeated enemy, and that righteousness required the extermination of every
living thing except maybe the fruit trees.
(Deuteronomy 20. 16-20) In 2
Kings 1.9-12 Elijah calls down fire
from heaven to consume two companies of 50 of the king's
soldiers. He doesn't do this because
they are attacking him or anyone else.
He does it to display the power he wields and the superiority of his
status such that he doesn't need to respond to the king's summons until he is
good and ready. Having snuffed the lives
of 102 men just to make his point, he
finally condescends to go.
me baldy !
Kings 2.23-24, Elisha [ the Greek form of Elijah
] sics two bears on the children that
called him baldy. Compare that with the prophet who teaches us
to bless them that curse you, do good to
them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. (Matthew 5.44) Elisha causes 42 kids to be chewed by bears
because they call him baldy. Jesus does nothing to the adults who mock
him, spit on him and beat him with a whip.
He stops someone from using a sword on his behalf and heals the
injury. He prays for those who are
crucifying Him: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23.34) If turn
the other cheek means anything, it
surely means that we must abate that prickly self pride which is the source of
99 % of our quarrels. We must at least suffer such insults as baldy without flying into a homicidal
rage and invoking massive retaliation on those who mock us.
at the difference between these two prophets.
Look at the contrast between the spirit of the one and the Spirit of the
Other. If you can't see it, there is no
use arguing with you. You have eyes and can't see, ears and can't hear. You are
the true son of a false church. You have
not the Spirit that can enable you to discern the truth of what is written in
the scriptures, whether from the old covenant or the new. You would do better to take every bible from
your house and give them to the thrift store.
Otherwise, you will deceive yourself and others and you will stand on
the day of judgment with those to whom Jesus will say: I never knew you. (Matthew 7.23)
revelation of jesus
is a progressive revelation of God in the books of the old covenant which leads
up to the final revelation by Jesus Christ.
Each prophet adds to our knowledge of God and corrects the imperfect
knowledge of the past. But it is only
through the teaching of Jesus Christ and the inward revelation of his Holy
Spirit that we come to the knowledge of God.
What shows up in the early books of the old covenant cannot be
substituted for the full revelation that comes to us only through the new
covenant, as Paul says in Ephesians 3.3-5:
by revelation he made known unto
me the mystery, as I wrote afore in few words
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may
understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ 5
Which in other
ages was not
made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed
unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
argue that Jesus Christ was God long before Abraham and that therefore
everything that "The Lord" teaches in the books of the old covenant
is also the teaching of Jesus Christ.
That may seem logical to you but then your faith is in your own logic,
which is a very poor substitute for faith in the teaching of Jesus and the
understanding that only comes from the Spirit.
Word was before Abraham, but Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, the God who
became a man, was born in a certain year and in a certain place, like every
other man. That is the great mystery of
Jesus Christ, his unique identity, that He is both the Son of God and the Son of
Man. His life, his teaching, his
battle with the prince of this world
all take place in historical time. And
the consequences only begin then. If The
Word had given a complete and final revelation to Abraham or Moses, we wouldn't
need the baby born in Bethlehem, the Sermon on the Mount, his Crucifixion, his
Resurrection. But we
do need them !
There is no salvation outside them !
is only through the teachings and the doings of Jesus of Nazareth that God is
revealed to us, that we are able to understand that revelation, that we are
given the spiritual power to live up to it.
John says: the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
(John 1.17) Just before this John says: In the beginning was the Word (1.1)
and the Word was made flesh (1.14).
But here he says Jesus Christ,
not "the Word" and he says Moses,
so as to emphasize the man and the
historical moment of that man. Grace and truth were not given to
Moses by the Word in the time of the old covenant. The truth
was only revealed after the Word was made flesh, after He appeared as a man
among men, as Jesus Christ. That truth is the full revelation of
God. That grace is the Spirit by which we are enabled to understand that
truth. It is only through Jesus Christ
in the new covenant that we receive that grace. It is only through
that grace that we can perceive the truth
which was fully revealed by Jesus Christ and recorded in the
books of the
blood of the
the revelation from Jesus Christ required something more: his death upon the cross. His teaching was still a closed book to us
until the shedding of his human blood somehow opened it. The blood that dripped from a man nailed to a post was the sacrifice that
opened the book of life for us, just as Moses ratified the first covenant by
the blood of animals, as Hebrews 9.11-28
tells us (nKJ): 18 Therefore not even the first
covenant was dedicated without blood
19 For when Moses had spoken
every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of
calves and goats . . . and sprinkled both the book itself and all the
people . . .
(as told in Exodus 24.7-8) 14
How much more shall the blood of Christ . . . purge your conscience from
dead works to serve the living God?
The difference between the blood of Jesus Christ and the
blood of the sacrificial animals is the difference between the new covenant and
the old covenant--is the spiritual gulf between them. For it is not possible that the blood of
bulls and of goats could take away sins. (Hebrews 10.4) As Jesus Himself says: this
is my blood of the new covenant, which
is shed for many for the remission of sins.
So there is no
salvation in that old
covenant or in the books which pertain to it, any more than there is salvation
in the blood of bulls and goats. Those
who turn away from the teaching of the new covenant to justify their
compromised lives by whatever they can find in the books of the old covenant
are like men who hope to save
by the blood of bulls and goats instead of by the blood of God's Lamb. It won't work !
As Paul says no one is justified
by the Law and the works of the law
are useless for salvation. [ See
my 50 page essay on Faith and Works: Luther's Distortion of Paul's Teaching.
is only through the God who became a man like us that we can become the adopted
sons and daughters of God. John
1.12: to them gave he power to become the sons of God. No one in the Old Testament dares to address
God as Our Father. It is only because Jesus Christ became a man
like us and only because he takes us home with him that we have this new
relationship with God which gives us the right to call him Father. Romans 8.15: the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry,
Abba, Father. No one knows God
except God. (John 1.18) We know God only because we have been allowed
to share in the nature of God through the human and divine life and death of
Jesus Christ. So Jesus says of us who
have received this new nature: Among them that are born of women there hath
not risen a greater than John the Baptist;
Notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater
than he. (Matthew 11.11)
respect to reading the scriptures, the most important consideration is
this: you can read them all you want but
you cannot understand them if you do not have the Holy Spirit in you. Without the Holy Spirit you would be better
off never opening those books, because, like Satan, you will only use the
scripture to deceive yourself and others.
(cf. Matthew 4.5-6, Luke 4.10)
The church is full of men who read the scriptures with a false spirit
and who use it to deceive themselves and others. They arrive at every kind of falsehood and
evil and use the covering of the scripture to make it seem good and true.
scribes and the pharisees had all the scriptures of the old covenant including
the prophets who foresaw the coming of Jesus Christ. Before the age of the printing press, they
had access to these handwritten books as others did not and they studied them
constantly. And the result was that
nearly all of them were in spiritual darkness and moral corruption. Without the Holy Spirit, the scriptures were
a source of error to them. (Acts
13.27) They used them to discredit
Jesus Christ. They are still used that
way today by our modern Pharisees who call themselves "Christians."
same lesson can be learned from the followers of Jesus. They all heard him preach the gospel. They could ask questions. But they understood little or none of it
(John 12.16, Luke 18.34) until they received the Holy Spirit after the
Resurrection of Jesus. (John
20.22; John 14.26 and 16.13; Acts 2.4)
Look at the thousands who heard Jesus preach and yet who did not take in
what he said. They heard a pure source
of the knowledge of God and it did them no good. They had ears
but could not hear, eyes and could not see, because they did
not have The Spirit.
the scribes and the Pharisees, false Christians read the scriptures with a
false spirit and they find the word of the devil there, not the word of
God. In Matthew 4.6 the devil quotes
psalm 91.11-12 to challenge Jesus to jump from a pinnacle of the temple. "Saint" Augustine finds in the second psalm a mandate
for the Roman army to massacre the Christians
of North Africa who would not conform to the state church of the Roman
empire. ( Letters CLXXXV 19-36 as
discussed in The Church of the Empire
) So down through the centuries men have
read every kind of falsehood and evil into the bible or out of it. They justified slavery for 15 centuries by
misusing the books of the old covenant.
They continue to justify war and wealth by the same kind of
argument. Beware of doing such
things! It is one thing to sin, it is
another to sin against the Holy Spirit.
(Matthew 12.31) And what does
that mean, except teaching that what is evil is good and that what is good is
evil, as Secular Christians do when they use the scriptures to negate the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Holy Spirit is our Teacher, not the bible.
And without the Holy Spirit, the bible is a false teacher. It isn't enough that the scripture be
inspired. He who reads the scripture
must also be inspired--he must have the Spirit in him. It is only when we are born again into the
new covenant with God by the blood of Jesus Christ that we receive that
fullness of the Spirit which teaches us all things. (John 14.26)
is necessary to test what we believe by the standard of what other Christians
believe, and especially by the standard of what those first Christians
believed. What I believe must square
with what John or Paul or Polycarp believed and what they wrote down. But the Holy Spirit also teaches us directly,
without the bible or the church for an intermediary. 1 John 2.20 says you
have an unction from the Holy One and ye know all things. I have not written to you because you know
not the truth, but because you know it. 1
John 2.27 says Because of the anointing you need not that any man teach you . . . it
teaches you all things. 1
Corinthians 2.10-13 says that only the Spirit of God reveals to us the things
of God. That ties in exactly with
Jeremiah 31.34 and Hebrews 8.11 which quotes it--in the new covenant each one
of us has a personal relationship with God who teaches us directly and
personally about Himself.
Holy Spirit is the very Breath or Spirit of Jesus himself. They are the same word in the ancient
language. John 20.22 says he breathed on them, and saith unto them,
Receive ye the Holy Ghost. The Acts
of the Apostles and the Epistles describe how later Christians received the
Holy Spirit. John 14.26 promises The
Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he
shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance,
whatsoever I have said unto you. By Comforter is meant the Encourager in King James English--the
one who gives us the Courage to live the Christian life and to Bear Witness to
the Truth. John 16.13 promises that when the Spirit of truth, is come, he will
guide you into all truth. The Spirit
of Jesus leads us to the Truth and gives us the Courage to Bear Witness to the
Truth. He gives us the Love we need to
live the Christian life. He is the
Spirit of the New Covenant. [ read
in 35 minutes 2-23-7 ]
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