|The New Covenant - Not For Today
|By James Scott Trimm
The New Covenant is very similar to what Dispensationalists call "The Kingdom Age" or "The Millennium". The terms of this covenant are found in Jer. 31:31-34; 32:40-44; Ezkl. 16:60-63; 37:26-27 and Is. 59:20-21 where we are told that G-d will make a "New Covenant" with "the House of Israel and the House of Judah" (Jer. 31:31), ie. those with whom the Mosaic Covenant [at Sinai] had been made (Heb. 9:15, 18-20). This covenant, like the others, is to be eternal (Jer. 31:35-37; 32:40; Ezkl. 37:26). The terms of this "New Covenant" are:
There is quite possibly more confusion about the New Covenant than any of the other covenants. The following are just a few of the misunderstandings being propagated:
The truth is that the New Covenant is not the Good News (Gospel) but is a covenant which YHWH will make with "the House of Israel and the House of Judah" when He establishes the Kingdom. There is nothing in the Scriptures to indicate that there is more than one New Covenant. The following are just a few reasons we know the New Covenant is not for today:
Heb. 8 simply teaches that the New Covenant is better than the Mosaic Covenant, not because it has replaced it, but because the Mosaic Covenant was to be found in the earthly holy of holies. The corresponding item in the Heavenly holy of holies is the New Covenant. In Heb. 8, Paul argues that Jeremiah's usage of the word "new" made the Mosaic Cov. "old." However, if this in itself made the Mosaic Law obsolete, then the Law was made obsolete by JEREMIAH'S use of the phrase NEW COVENANT around 600 BC!!! Obviously, this is not what Paul meant. I will discuss Heb. 8 in another article in more detail soon.
Heb. 10 is an example of Proem Homiletic Midrash. This is a form of Midrashic exegesis which utilizes Hillel's second rule (g'zara sheva - equivalence of expressions) to tie together two passages, present a drash (exposition) and then close by quoting a third verse which also ties through a phrase and which helps summarize the results of the exegesis. Paul begins this midrash by quoting Ps. 40:6-8 (Heb. 10:5-10). Paul ties this passage to Jer. 31:34 (Heb. 10:16-18) based on the key words SIN and IN THEIR HEARTS (which appears in Ps. 40 but is truncated off in Paul's quote) and [no] OFFERING. Finally Paul concludes by quoting Hab. 2:3-4 (Heb. 10:37-38) through the key words HE WHO IS COMING and HAS NO PLEASURE. I believe Paul's source here is the Aramaic of the Peshitta Tenach, for it is only here that the word "pleasure/will" is the same in Ps. 40 and Hab. 2:4 and the LXX does not agree with the wording of Hab. 2:3-4 = Heb. 10:37-38. My textual analysis of Heb. 10:5-7 = Ps. 40:7-9 (6-8) can be found on pp. 62-63 of my book THE SEMITIC ORIGIN OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
The context of Heb. 10 is that Paul has just discussed Y'shua in relation to the Yom Kippur ceremony in Heb. 8 through 9. Then in Heb. 10:1-3, Paul argues that the sacrifices continue as a remembrance. Paul then opposes those who oppose the Temple and encourages Temple attendance (Heb. 10:25).
The keywords tell us what Paul's subject is: The offerings, and what is and is not pleasing to G-d. Paul argues that the end of offerings for sin in Ps. 40:6-8 and the placing of the law in the heart (Ps. 40:8) tie Psalm 40:6-8 to the New Covenant in Jer. 31:34 which has yet to occur. To Paul, Ps. 40 describes a time when sin offerings will not be offered because sin will not be remembered, all of this because G-d does not have pleasure in sin offerings because they result from sin which, when the New Covenant is made, God will forget. Thus, the offerings will end with the coming of the New Covenant (Heb. 11:18 see also Heb. 8:13). Paul closes by citing Hab. 2:3-4 (giving what seems a polemic against the interpretation given in the Hab. commentary at Qumran) All of this Paul ties to the [second] COMING of the Messiah and the establishing of the New Covenant.
In Heb. 8-10, Paul does not teach that the New Covenant has come or that it has abolished the Mosaic Law.
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