The Hebrew Love Story
The Book of the Covenant
Mount Sinai Amended!
The Hebrew Love Story is comprised of several articles all having a common thread, that being the thread of covenant. The opinions expressed throughout the series are outside the box but thoroughly Scriptural, I don’t know of anyone saying the things I’ll be saying in this article as well as the other articles I’ve written in this series. In my mind, when it’s all tied together via this series of articles it makes for a thoroughly amazing panorama of the Scriptural message, a love letter from YHWH you can actually understand! The Hebrew Love Story consists of…
The Hebrew Love Story ~ The Introduction
Part One - Abram the Hebrew
Part Two - The Book of the Covenant ~ Mount Sinai
Part Three - The Divorcement of Israel ~ Numbers 14 ~ The Sefer Keritut
Part Four - The Book of the Covenant ~ Mount Sinai Amended!
Part Five - THE NEW COVENANT ~ What Is It?
Part Six - THE MASTER’S TABLE ~ The Entry Rite Into THE NEW COVENANT!
Part Seven - Yom Kippur ~ The Consummation
Part Eight - The Marriage Supper of The Lamb!
For a period of time I believed that the book of Deuteronomy was The New Covenant, that the Mount Sinai covenant had been terminated via divorcement and in order for the children to enter into and take possession of the land they had to have a new covenant. As you will see I no longer hold any of the three positions above.
I had known for a long time that there was a problem in my theology but I didn’t know what it was. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience, you know there is something wrong but for the life of you, you just can’t figure it out! You instinctively know there is an elephant in the room but you just can’t see it. Well, just recently I got a glimpse of the elephant and realized what I saw was going to force me to have to rewrite a good deal of The Hebrew Love Story.
What I have come to realize is that the book of Deuteronomy is in fact an amendment to the original Mount Sinai covenant, that there was in fact a divorcement of Israel in Numbers 14 but that only terminated the covenant between YHWH and those divorced, it did not terminate the covenant itself. Also the children of those who were divorced entered into the land via the original covenant, which was amended in Deuteronomy prior to their entering into The Promised Land.
I chose as a name for this website, ‘the Calendar and the Covenant’ for a reason, both are in a season of restoration for those who are earnestly seeking YHWH with all of our hearts and minds. To those who remain humble in that restoration there will be times when we have to admit we’re wrong and those days can be some of the best days in this life because other doors of understanding will then open for us to go further in our understanding than we have ever been able to go before. Such is the case with me today. I’ll talk more about the elephant that has forced me to have to do this major rewrite in a separate article titled ‘The New Covenant – What Is It?’.
So let’s make sure we understand what is written in Deuteronomy is connected with what was written in Exodus, to do that let’s go to the beginning of Deuteronomy. Moses uses the first three chapters of Deuteronomy reviewing the history of the Israelite journey through the wilderness from the day they were commanded to leave Mount Sinai to the day Moses began to write the words of Deuteronomy.
Three times in chapter four Moses says he is teaching or has taught the Israelites the laws of YHWH, that is a problem for anyone claiming the Book of Deuteronomy is The New Covenant that is written upon the heart.
No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the LORD,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:34 NRSV)
In chapter five Moses reminds the Israelites of the covenant YHWH had made with them, those who were alive as Moses spoke.
The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. Not with our ancestors did the LORD make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today. The LORD spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the fire. (Deuteronomy 5:2-4 NRSV)
Moses goes on to reiterate The 10 Commandments; he makes no reference to this being a new or renewed covenant.
I. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.
II. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.
III. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.
IV. Observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.Six days you shall labor and do all your work.But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do any work---you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you.Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
V. Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you, so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
VI. You shall not murder.
VII. Neither shall you commit adultery.
VIII. Neither shall you steal.
IX. Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor.
X. Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife.Neither shall you desire your neighbor’s house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
Moses then makes it clear throughout the remainder of chapter five that he is talking about The 10 Commandments given at Mount Sinai and that this is just a reiteration of that event even though there are subtle changes to the words.
If you remember in the article titled ‘The Book of the Covenant’ I pointed out that there was a division in the covenant between laws that could be kept ‘anywhere at anytime’ vs. ‘in the land’. In Exodus it goes without mention but here in Deuteronomy it is clearly stated that the following laws in chapter six and beyond are to be kept specifically ‘in the land’! This is so important to understand and this is where so many of us go wrong!
Now this is the commandment – the statutes and the ordinances – that the LORD your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy, so that you and your children and your children’s children may fear the LORD your God all the days of your life, and keep all his decrees and his commandments that I am commanding you, so that your days may be long. (Deuteronomy 6:1-2 NRSV Emphasis mine)
This outspoken theme of a law that must be kept in The Promised Land is repeated many times throughout Deuteronomy. It is one of say three themes that I see in Deuteronomy which are emphasized. The other two, as I see it, are to hear and obey that the blessings might flow and the curses be avoided and to love God, both of which are powerfully brought home in the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NKJV)
There is throughout all of Deuteronomy an emphasis on these three things, 1) specific laws to be kept in the land, 2) hear and obey the laws to be kept in the land to receive the blessings and avoid the curses and 3) love both God and neighbor. It’s everywhere in Deuteronomy!
The chapters between 6 and 28 deliver the laws to be kept in the land and the consequences of doing or not doing so. Then in chapter 29 we read this…
These are the words of the covenant that the LORD commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant that he had made with them at Horeb. (Deuteronomy 29:1 NRSV)
It is obvious to me now that this is neither a new covenant or a renewed covenant but rather an amendment to the covenant.
You no doubt have heard that the Torah is Spiritual, we’re told as much by the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:14.
For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. (Romans 7:14)
It almost hurts to read the next verses I’ll quote from Deuteronomy 29.
Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day the LORD has not given you a mind to understand, or eyes to see, or ears to hear. I have led you forty years in the wilderness. The clothes on your back have not worn out, and the sandals on your feet have not worn out; you have not eaten bread, and you have not drunk wine or strong drink – so that you may know that I am the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 29:2-6 NRSV Emphasis mine)
So what’s the problem here? It looks to me that YHWH had not yet provided the Spirit of YHWH for them to be able to discern Him or His law. This reminds me of when Yeshua says to His disciples…
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.” (John 14:15-17 NRSV)
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth;” (John 16:12-13 NRSV)
Of course the words of Messiah Yeshua, as well as those of the prophet Joel, are fulfilled in Acts chapter 2.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. (Acts 2:1-4 NRSV)
Without the Ruach HaKodesh, is it even possible for Israel to fulfill the command given in Deuteronomy 10:14-16?
Although heaven and the heaven of heavens belong to the LORD your God, the earth with all that is in it, yet the LORD set his heart in love on your ancestors alone and chose you, their descendants after them, out of all the peoples, as it is today. Circumcise, then, the foreskin of your heart, and do not be stubborn any longer. (Deuteronomy 10:14-16 NRSV)
The prophecies in Deuteronomy and the history recorded in the prophets tell us they never did get it! It would be reasonable to conclude there were precious few who were ever indwelt with the Ruach HaKodesh as was King David. What we find is blessings followed by apostasy, followed by curses, followed by teshuvah, followed by blessings, followed by apostasy, followed by curses! Teshuvah came through curses rather than circumcision of the heart led by the Spirit of the Most High.
You stand assembled today, all of you, before the LORD your God – the leaders of your tribes, your elders, and your officials, all the men of Israel, your children, your women, and the aliens who are in your camp, both those who cut your wood and those who draw your water – to enter into the covenant of the LORD your God, sworn by an oath, which the LORD your God is making with you today; in order that he may establish you today as his people, and that he may be your God, as he promised you and as he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I am making this covenant, sworn by an oath, not only with you who stand here with us today before the LORD our God, but also with those who are not here with us today. (Deuteronomy 29:10-15 NRSV)
Those who stood there before the LORD that day were those who were under 20 years of age when YHWH divorced their parents. Although the covenant of Mount Sinai remained in existence after the divorcement, the children under 20 years of age at the time have lived out the 40-year judgment against their parents without ever having entered into the covenant. It is here that YHWH begins the process to bring them into the covenant.
It is also worth noting that it is not just those who were there before the LORD that day with whom He was making a covenant but also with those who are not there, i.e. their descendants, like you and me!
Unfortunately that which is so full of potential for good is followed immediately with reality as we see in the verses that follow directly after those above.
You know how we lived in the land of Egypt and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed. You have seen their detestable things, the filthy idols of wood and stone, of silver and gold, that were among them. It may be that there is among you a man or woman, or a family or tribe, whose heart is already turning away from the LORD our God to serve the gods of those nations. It may be that there is among you a root of sprouting poisonous and bitter growth. All who hear the words of this oath and bless themselves, thinking in their hearts, “We are safe even though we go our own stubborn ways” (thus bringing disaster on moist and dry alike) – the LORD will be unwilling to pardon them, for the LORD’S anger and passion will smoke against them. All the curses written in this book will descend on them, and the LORD will blot out their names from under heaven. The LORD will single them out from all the tribes of Israel for calamity, in accordance with all the curses of the covenant written in this book of the law. (Deuteronomy 29:16-21 NRSV)
Without a doubt there were rotten apples in their numbers. I do think it is interesting that in verse 21 we’re told that the rotten apples would be singled out rather than to throw the entire basket out.
I think it both important and interesting for us to take a look at the commandments regarding the Book of the Covenant as well as its history. We have seen first mention of The Book of the Covenant back in Exodus 24.
Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” (Exodus 24:7 NRSV Emphasis mine)
To my knowledge that is the last mention of the Book of the Covenant until we see it mentioned again in Deuteronomy. Because I used to think the covenant spoken of in Deuteronomy was a ‘2nd covenant’ I also thought, mistakenly, that the Book of the Covenant mentioned there would be a second Book of the Covenant. However there is no ground for believing that once you realize the covenant of Deuteronomy is merely an amendment to the covenant of Mount Sinai. In other words the covenant of Deuteronomy is recorded in the very same Book of the Covenant that the covenant of Mount Sinai was recorded in.
In the verses I’ll quote below which are all about the Book of the Covenant you will see the Book of the Covenant is either being read to the people ‘beginning to end’, written by hand ‘beginning to end’ or carved in stone ‘beginning to end’. I make note of this because I cannot believe this Book of the Covenant spoken of in these verses is the entire Torah, Genesis to Deuteronomy. Read the verses and see what you think.
"Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from [the one] before the priests, the Levites. "And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, "that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment [to] the right hand or [to] the left, and that he may prolong [his] days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20 NKJV Emphasis mine)
"And it shall be, on the day when you cross over the Jordan to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, that you shall set up for yourselves large stones, and whitewash them with lime. "You shall write on them all the words of this law, when you have crossed over, that you may enter the land which the LORD your God is giving you, 'a land flowing with milk and honey,' just as the LORD God of your fathers promised you.”
"And you shall write very plainly on the stones all the words of this law." (Deuteronomy 27:2, 3 and 8 NKJV Emphasis mine)
“So Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel. And Moses commanded them, saying: "At the end of [every] seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles, "when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. "Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who [is] within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the LORD your God and carefully observe all the words of this law, "and [that] their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess."
So it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book, when they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD saying: "Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you; for I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. If today, while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the LORD then how much more after my death? (Deuteronomy 31:9-13 NKJV Emphasis mine)
“Gather to me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to witness against them. (Deuteronomy 31:28 NKJV Emphasis mine)
Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.
Then Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king. Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes. (2 Kings 22:8, 10 & 11 NKJV Emphasis mine)
“And the king went up to the house of the LORD with all the men of Judah, and with him all the inhabitants of Jerusalem--the priests and the prophets and all the people, both small and great; and he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the house of the LORD. Then the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the LORD, to follow the LORD and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes, with all [his] heart and all [his] soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people took a stand for the covenant.” (2 Kings 23:2-3 NKJV Emphasis mine)
“Then the king commanded all the people, saying, "Keep the Passover to the LORD your God, as [it is] written in this Book of the Covenant." Surely such a Passover had never been held since the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this Passover was held before the LORD in Jerusalem”. (2 Kings 23:21-23 NKJV Emphasis mine)
It seems illogical to think that in each of these cases the entire Torah of Moses from Genesis to Deuteronomy is in consideration. I don’t think I would have time as the King of Israel to write with my own hand a copy of that much text and do it without any errors, which would have been the need. If you reduce it to maybe 5 chapters from Exodus, 19 – 24, and then approximately 30 chapters from Deuteronomy, 1 – 30, it would then make more sense and I believe you can apply that to all the other situations where the Book of the Law is mentioned.
Moses commands Joshua to write the laws on the walls of the altar he is to build when he crosses over the Jordan into the Promised Land. That altar has been found and it is not that large, to write the words of the law very plainly we are definitely talking about a limited amount of text.
Moses also commands the law, which he had written and given to the priests, to be read at the end of every 7th year at the Feast of Tabernacles. I really don’t think I could sit that long! Of course you can argue that it can be done over the course of the seven-day celebration but I don’t think that fits the pattern of either Moses reading it to the people on Mount Sinai in Exodus 24:7 or later in Deuteronomy 31:28, or for that matter King Josiah reading the Book of the Law when it was rediscovered during his reign. Again, we’re talking about a much more limited amount of text as compared to Genesis through Deuteronomy.
So in conclusion when talking about the covenant of Deuteronomy we’re not talking about a new covenant or a renewed covenant. It is much more clearly understood as an amendment to the original covenant of Mount Sinai, which was then being presented to those who had never had the opportunity to enter into the marriage covenant of Mount Sinai. This amended covenant of Mount Sinai is just the next step in YHWH Yeshua attaining a Bride from the family of Abraham.
All of this then begs the question, “What then is The New Covenant?”
I’ll address that in the next article in The Hebrew Love Story series with the article titled ‘THE NEW COVENANT – What is it?’
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