Praise God for His Amazing Grace! "The Church"If you haven't…
Have you ever thought of that? Have you ever questioned why we call the later portion of the Bible the “New Testament”? Most haven’t yet, believe it or not, it’s an important question.
To begin, consider for a moment that in order for there to be a “New Testament” there has to be an “Old Testament”.
However, the “Old Testament” really isn’t “old” as in “old, obsolete, unuseable” which is the intended application of the term in this context. I go into some detail about that in this article.
OK so, if the old is not “old”: If the “Old Testament” is not “no longer viable, obsolete”, then is the “New Testament” “new” as in “the new and improved replacement of the old”? No, it is not. Please allow me to explain.
I know that even thinking about this perspective is pretty much unheard of and may even sound quite strange so please at least give me a chance to explain. If you are never challenged in your thinking you will never grow in your relationship with the Messiah.
A short review regarding the “Old” Testament.
Following is an excerpt from this article titled “Is the “Old Testament obsolete?”.
The reason you are probably unfamiliar with the “Old Testament” (which provides context for all of the Bible) is because, during the second century, there was a heretical Bible teacher by the name of Marcion.
Because he was wealthy, he was able to travel a lot and commit a lot of financial resources toward promoting his heretical teachings. While one or two of his contemporaries supported what he was saying, the overwhelming majority of historians such as Justin Martyr worked diligently to rebut his heresies so that they didn’t take hold.
At the time, these men were successful in their efforts. However, after he passed, Marcion’s heretical teachings began to take hold.
The first century “Church” was mostly made up of Jewish Believers. The Jewish religion is very different from the Gospel that Yeshua preached but they did have a familiarization of the Hebrew Scriptures and an understanding of Israel. This gave them tremendous context for Yeshua’s Gospel
However, Marcion was anti-Jewish and taught that the “Old Testament” Scriptures were not applicable to Christians. He even taught that the “Old Testament” god was someone different from the “New Testament” god. It is because of these heresies that the pages marked “Old Testament” and “New Testament” were eventually inserted into the Bible.
These pages create perceived divisions not only between the Historical, Hebrew Scriptures and the Gospels: But in the mind of many, they also create a division that doesn’t exist between the old and obsolete and the new and worthy.
The pages marked “Old Testament and “New Testament” should be omitted from the Bible. Some people even tear them out. Since they are usually mostly blank, I use them for notes since blank pages in Bibles are usually very few.
About the New (Renewed” “Testament”
As you may know, the oldest manuscripts we have of the “Old Testament” are mostly written in Hebrew and most of the oldest manuscripts we have of the “New Testament” are written in Greek.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some various Bible verses beginning with Genesis 1:28:
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
In Genesis 1:28 the King James Version says to “RE”-plenish the earth. Other versions translate the Hebrew word there as “fill” rather than “replenish”.
In essence, both versions say the same thing. For example, if I asked you to give the dog some water, I might say “would you please fill-up the dog’s bowl”? Or, I might just as easily, and just as accurately, say, “would you please refill the dog’s bowl”? Both approaches would be just as correct and they would both mean the exact same thing even though they are worded differently.
The exact same principle applies when you move into the “New” Testament.
In Matthew 26:28 Yeshua said that His blood was a seal for the “New” Testament.
Just as “fill” can be translated “RE”plenished in Genesis 1:28, “new” can also be translated “RE”new(ed) in Matthew 26:28 just as well; just as accurately.
It is the translators prerogative to communicate according to their understanding.
In part, the AMC New Testament Greek Dictionary defines the Greek word (Strongs #2537) “new” in Mt. 26:28 as; “New (especially in freshness; while 3501 is poperly so with respect to age):-new”.
New – especially in regards to freshness – Re-fresh: As opposed to “new” as in age.
Here is an example of the word used in this way. In John 13:34 you will see that Yeshua gave a “new” commandment that really wasn’t “new” at all. It was a “renewed” commandment that was given way back in Leviticus 19:18 which is what He was quoting.
A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
However, as I have said, “new” doesn’t always mean “new”: As evidence of that, here is the same commandment, that Yeshua was quoting, that was written back in Leviticus.
You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of you people, but thou shall love you neighbour as yourself: I am Yahweh.
The Greek word that is translated into the English word “testament” in Matthew 26:28, is actually translated into the English word “covenant” more times then it is translated into the word “testament”.
So again, it is the translator’s discretion as to which word they use in any given circumstance
So here is Strongs number G1242 as it is translated in Matthew 26:28.
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
And here is, the same word, Strongs #G1242 translated into the word “covenant”.
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
It is impossible to understand the Bible without understanding covenants and specifically, the covenants of the Bible.
Volumes of books have been written about Biblical covenants and so there is no way to even begin to do the subject justice in a couple of paragraphs.
Covenants have been likened to contracts. There is some truth in that understanding however there is so MUCH more depth involved with them than that, that even by explaining them that way, our 20th-century lackadaisical approach to contracts leaves our understanding of covenants severely wanting.
There are seven major covenants in the Bible that have dramatically influenced the relationship between God and man along with several others that are not so far-reaching.
Those seven covenants are the Edenic covenant, Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and the (RE)new(ed) covenants.
Covenants are extremely profound in the Bible. In fact, they are so profound that Yeshua shed His blood in order to “cut covenant” with His people.
A different perspective
So in Jeremiah 31:31Jehovah God said:
Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will make a (RE)new(ED) covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
With that in mind, remember when I discussed New vs (RE)newed above? Okay so remember that, and then remember what I just addressed above regarding “covenants”.
Now, what if we utilized both of those principles and instead of calling it the “New Testament” we referred to it as what it is: the “Renewed Covenant”?
What if rather than reading Matthew 26:28 like this:
For this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
we read it like this:
For this is my blood of the Renewed Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
The Bible was divided in half by heretical teaching that was originally rejected but later accepted. However, the Bible is ONE book; not two.
As I mentioned above, if you don’t understand covenants, you can’t understand the book or even God Himself. He is a covenantal God.
The first Messianic prophecy / covenant is found in Genesis 3:15:
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.
After that, other covenants were made; some of which man broke. This caused God to separate Himself from His people.
However, in spite of their faults, in Jeremiah 31 Yahweh God prophesied that he would renew the covenant that He had made and place His loving instructions on the hearts of His people. He said nothing of creating a new set of instructions. Rather He said that He was going to place His (existing) instructions in their hearts. There are several other Scriptures that echo the same thing.
“After those days, saith Yahweh, I will put my instruction (that He had already given them, Yeshua taught, and that the “New Testament” writers wrote about) in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Finally, in Matthew 26:28 Yeshua declared that He was the fulfillment of that prophecy and that He had come to REnew the covenant which had been initiated long ago.
I hope this will help you as you establish YOUR covenant with the Most High God. He is waiting….
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