Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Does Hebrews 8 Negate Torah?

A Christian posted recently: "The New Covenant: Hebrew 8" then he went on to say: "Why cling to the shadow when you can have the substance? Why hold on to that which is obsolete and passing away when you can have the fullness of Christ?"

All we can say is "Here we go again!" Another attempt to argue that simple obedience to God, by His rules (Torah), was somehow "done away with", and the "proof", evidently, must be Hebrews 8! Well, we have long addressed Hebrews 8 in other articles. Here are two: https://www.therefinersfire.org/hebrews.htm, and http://blog.therefinersfire.org/…/does-hebrews-8-show-that-…. But let me address the central assumption: "The New Covenant: Hebrews 8".

Hebrews 8 begins by discussing the priestly order addressed in Hebrews 7. In fact, the point is made in Chapter 7 that the Messiah (Jesus [Yeshua] Who was not of the tribe of Levi), required a change to Torah for the Messiah's righteous leadership (7:11-16). This "change to Torah", though, has nothing to do with the abolition of Torah, rather, it is referring only to a change in instructions that relate to priests! Chapter 7 goes on to explain that the Messiah's priesthood is "better" because the Messiah has conquered death (7:20-27). Hebrews 7 closes with the fact that human priest were "flawed", that is, being sinful men, they had to first make sacrifices for themselves before they could offer a sacrifice for others. But the Messiah, having no flaws, is identified in two post-Torah scriptures (verse 7:28) as anointed. These two post-Torah scriptures referred to Psalms 2 and 110.

Then, Chapter 8 begins with the fact that the Messiah is the Cohen identified in Chapter 7. Chapter 8 is very clear that it is NOT talking about Torah when it addresses those who ministered in the "shadow" of things in heaven (8:3-5), rather, the subject is the impermanence of the actions of the earthly priests via the earthly tabernacle. The Messiah's ministry is identified as "better" than the "former", still referring to the imperfect, earthly actions within the earthly priesthood. Indeed, the author refers to the "new covenant" with "the house of Isra'el and the house of Y'hudah" (straight from Jeremiah 31)! The "the house of Isra'el and house of Y'hudah" are BOTH Torah obedient children of God!

Now, note what happened to the "old covenant"! Hebrews 8:9, regarding the new covenant: "'It will not be like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by their hand and led them forth out of the land of Egypt; because they, for their part, did not remain faithful to my covenant; so I, for my part, stopped concerning myself with them,' says Adonai." Did you catch that? Torah was not the problem! The problem was that the people were not faithful to the covenant! The people broke Torah, not God!

So what was to happen? The people, who, all along were obligated to Torah as children of God, but whom had been unfaithful, would be the recipients of a "new covenant", one in which Torah would be "in their minds and written on their hearts." (Hebrews 8:10 citing Jeremiah 31:33). Torah was not declared "old"! Here is an announcement that it would be the PEOPLE who would change, not Torah! The people would have their hearts and minds opened for a love of Torah such that they would not need the formalized instruction any more from the old way of being taught by the scribes and priests. All would have this love of, acceptance of, and guidance by Torah. (Hebrews 8:11-12 citing Jeremiah 31:34-36).

And finally, Hebrews 8 closes with verse 13, one of the most misunderstood verses in all of the New Testament! The verse reads: "By saying, ‘renewed,’ He has made the first old. Now what becomes old and growing aged is near disappearing." Most take this to mean that the Torah is that which was identified as "old and near disappearing"! But that is dreadfully wrong! This error in interpretation is revealed by the preceding verse! Verse 12 reads: "Because I shall forgive their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawlessnesses I shall no longer remember."

You see, the "old covenant" required the person with the sinful nature who sinned, had to obtain an animal sacrifice offered on his behalf by a Levite Priest. But in the new covenant, Torah would be "in their minds and written on their hearts"! In other words, what was "old" was the "old sinful nature" of man, and what is "new" is the new disposition of man given to him by his having Torah in his mind and on his heart! The New Covenant did not require Torah to change - it required man to change!  Torah was and still is the measure of one’s love for God!

So the central assumption: "The New Covenant: Hebrews 8", is a bit flawed. The assumption implies that the "New Covenant" replaced Torah, while the truth is that the "New Covenant" replaced man's desire to sin with a desire instead to fulfill and live by Torah. The sacrifice of the Messiah, for you, remains so long as you live your life voluntarily without intentional sin (i.e. Torah is on your mind and in your heart). But the Messiah's sacrifice for you is negated if you reject Torah and continue to live in sin!

3 comments:

  1. I appreciate your explanations on this. The last 5 paragraphs really made sense. Thank you. Ann

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  2. Yes thank you for clearing the air very misunderstood shalom

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