The New Covenant – Excerpt from Supplement to Contra Brown

IV. 40. Objection 5.34

“If the death of Jesus really inaugurated the new covenant spoken of by Jeremiah the prophet, then why hasn’t it been fulfilled?”

Brown summarizes his response with the following words: “In short, the new covenant was established two thousand years ago in incipient form and it continues to advance to its ultimate fulfillment.”

Brown bases his reasoning on the fact that a simple reading of Jeremiah (as well as some of the other prophecies in the Jewish Bible) would seem to indicate that the return from the Babylonian exile would usher in the ultimate Messianic era. Since this did not happen, Brown contends that there was a partial fulfillment with the return from Babylon while the full fulfillment is yet to come.

To quote Brown again: “Jeremiah (much like Ezekiel) expected that the return of the exiles from Babylon would be so glorious that it would be followed by the transformation of the nation – through the inauguration of the new covenant (see also Ezekiel 36:24-32) and the reign of the Messiah – leading ultimately to the transformation of the world. Were Jeremiah and Ezekiel false prophets? God forbid! Rather, what they prophesied did happen only not in the expected measure or scope. In other words, in the same way that the return of the exiles did happen, but not in the expected measure or scope, and in the same way the prophesied rebuilding of the Temple did take place, but not with the expected glory (see esp. Ezekiel 40-48, and cf. vol.2, 3.17), in the very same way the Messiah did come and inaugurate the new covenant – just as was prophesied! – but not with the expected glory or scope.”  

There are three critical flaws in Brown’s interpretation of the new covenant spoken of by Jeremiah.

The first flaw is that the Scriptural problem that Brown addresses with his interpretation was already addressed in the book of Daniel (ch. 9). Daniel expected that all of the prophecies of comfort will come to fruition at the close of the Babylonian exile. God sent an angel to inform him that this was not to be. The nation will have to undergo a preliminary purging process of 490 years before the final purging process can begin. Only with the close of the 490 years, the destruction of the city and the Temple and a lengthy refining process will it be time for the final redemption (Daniel 9:24-27, 11:31-35, 12;1-3). Daniel uses the exact same phraseology that Jeremiah uses to introduce the new covenant prophecies to let us know that he is talking of the same end-time event (Daniel 12:1 – Jeremiah 30:7).

According to the simple reading of Scripture, any prophecies of comfort that are not explicitly associated with the return from the Babylonian exile, do not apply to that return, but rather to the future, final return, as explained in the book of Daniel.

The second flaw with Brown’s interpretation is internal inconsistency. There are many features of the new covenant prophecies, and if we accept the interpretation that requires a partial fulfillment with the return of the Babylonian exile, we will realize that all of these were fulfilled soon after the return, and in direct relation to the return. Why then should we assume that the new covenant aspect of the prophecy is separated from the rest of the predictions by several centuries, and unrelated to the return in any way? How would this comfort those who returned from the exile?

For the record: The new covenant prophecy of Jeremiah 31 is also described in Deuteronomy 30:1-10, Jeremiah 3;14-18, 32:36-44, 33:1-26, Ezekiel 11:17-20, 34:20-31, 36:1-38, 37:15-28, (see also Hosea 2:16-22, Jeremiah 50:4,5).

Some of the central features of these prophecies are:

Return of the exiles – Jeremiah 31:7,22 – Deuteronomy 30:3, Jeremiah 3:14, 32:37, 33:7, Ezekiel 11:17, 34:13, 36:24, 37:21.

The planting of Israel in their land – Jeremiah 31:26 – 32:41, Ezekiel 34:29.

A great blessing of abundance – Jeremiah 31:11,24 – Deuteronomy 30:9, Jeremiah 33:9, Ezekiel 34:27, 36:35.

The joy of God in bestowing the blessing – Jeremiah 31:27 – Deuteronomy 30:9, Jeremiah 32:41.

Affirmation of the unique position of Israel as God’s nation – Jeremiah 31:35 – Jeremiah 3:17, 32:38, Ezekiel 34:30, 36:28, 37:28,

Unity amongst the tribes of Israel – Jeremiah 31:30 – Jeremiah 32:39, 33:7, Ezekiel 34:23, 37:15-20.

The beauty and glory of Israel and her land – Jeremiah 33:9, Ezekiel 37:36.

Peace and security – Jeremiah 31:39 – Jeremiah 32:37, 33:6, Ezekiel 34:25, 37:26.

Israel’s repentance – Jeremiah 31:18 – Deuteronomy 30:2, Jeremiah 3:14.

All of these are directly related to the return from Babylon (if we are to assume a partial fulfillment). So why should we assume that the new covenant stands as an unrelated event? The fact is that the Scripture itself describes a partial fulfillment of the new covenant at the time of the return from Babylon. In Haggai 2:5, God declares that His spirit stands in our midst (compare with Ezekiel 26:27). This declaration was proclaimed to the generation that returned from the Babylonian captivity, centuries before the inception of Christianity.

The Talmud relates that the urge to worship idols was purged from Israel during that generation. In fact, in the prophetic books (Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Ezra, Nehemiah) that address the generation who returned from Babylon we find no criticism of Israel for worshipping idols. This stands in stark contrast to the generations which preceded the return from Babylon. Since the return from Babylon, idolatry has not been a Jewish vice. If there had to be a partial fulfillment of the new covenant with the return from Babylon, this would be the Scriptural explanation.

The third critical flaw with Brown’s interpretation is that he turned the new covenant on its ear. The prophet describes the new covenant as something that is unique to the Jewish people. It will set them apart from other nations (Jeremiah 31:32 – and THEY shall be to Me for a nation). According to Brown, the new covenant joins the Gentiles with the Jewish people. The prophets describe the new covenant as a positive development in the history of Israel. Brown’s version of the new covenant ushered in a period of darkness for Israel (in the sense of persecution), and for the Gentiles (in the sense of crooked theology, and the guilt of persecution). The prophets describe the new covenant as something that is impossible to disobey. Brown’s version of the new covenant is easily disobeyed. (Those Christians who claim that followers of Jesus who leave the following: “never really believed”, just reveal their own pettiness. While these followers were part of the following, no one identified any fault in their loyalty.) Finally, the prophets describe the new covenant as a time when it will no longer be necessary to teach the knowledge of God amongst the people of Israel. According to Brown, the new covenant launched the most intense missionary campaign that the world has ever seen.

A straightforward reading of the new covenant prophecies in context reveals that the advent of Christianity is the polar opposite of the new covenant promised by the Jewish prophets.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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27 Responses to The New Covenant – Excerpt from Supplement to Contra Brown

  1. Dina says:

    Blindingly clear!

  2. I’m posting here rather than on the original page, at your request to avoid distracting from the focus on that page
    I claimed ‘A new covenant implies new not old mediation and a new surety or guarantor, both these changes inevitably involve some change in the law the covenant undergirds and supports, even if only in the interest of preserving and safeguarding the law concerned.’.
    You replied, ‘Scripture itself tells us that the new covenant is the undergirder of the Law of Moses’, the simple question is this, is the Law undergirded by the New Covenant entirely unmodified?
    Even the covenant with David a dim foreshadowing of what that better hope Daniel saw in chapter 9, introduced the Temple,with a considerable array of changes to the prescriptions in Torah. Change was prophesied before, prescribed in detail and exercised with accompanying sign miracles to authenticate its validity. So it was not an unmodified Law of Moses that David’s covenant preserved, indeed keeping the Tabernacle when the Temple arrived would have been an act of ingratitude and unfaithfulness.

    How much more radical and deep is the sixfold change Daniel was taught to expect, when ‘to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy’ around the time of the destruction of the Temple and the City.

    Arguably, there was seventh facet of this (seven being such an important aspect of this prophecy, ‘to confirm the covenant’ – though I grant it has a double sense.

    As you rightly say, one strong token of the New Covenant, is ‘the planting of Israel in their land’, has that not already begun in earnest?

  3. Charles
    The Temple was not a change in the Law from the Tabernacle – all of the laws from Leviticus still applied – it was the building that changed – and that was never a permanent commandment – the choice of the “place” is one of the few things that the Law itself leaves open. Neither is Daniel prophesying a change in the Law – ending transgression etc. is not a change in what defines transgression any more than Jeremiah’s prophecy that our hearts will change is not a prediction that the Law will change.
    I demonstrated clearly from Scripture itself that Deuteronomy 30:1-10 is speaking of the same event that Jeremiah speaks of – do you have any Scriptural evidence to show that I have erred?

    • I have also detailed
      why I agree with you that Jer.31 and Deut.30 describe the New not the Old Covenant, and how the Covenant at Sinai is also uniquely similar of all the ancient covenants with the New.

      There were certainly real changes to the Law in Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, in the introduction of a building, and real reasons why Nathan found himself correcting first himself then David for planning to undertake the work, without a Divine pattern, which was to be undertaken only by his as yet unborn son. (2 Sa 7:4-13)
      I reiterate going back to the Tabernacle or sticking to its form when the Temple was revealed would have been unfaithful and disobedient, despite material changes to the Law.
      The new Law better honoured and fulfilled the function and mind of the old than the old ever could.
      That a significant transformation of the Law would accompany its inscribing in the heart is evident from the far more momentous events that would accompany it, not least the absolute devastation of the Temple, and with it the priesthood and sacrifices of Leviticus, to which Daniel’s vision alludes. Yes, the Levites would continue for ever and the sacrifices will not cease, as is very clearly promised in Jer.33:21,22, but as the substance of that which had been foreshadowed, no longer a flimsy and fading fabric. Moses would not have been disappointed had he surveyed the Temple, and David, Isaiah and all the worthies will not be disappointed to see other tribes and yes even Gentiles being numbered among the Levites and Priests,
      ‘וְגַם-מֵהֶם אֶקַּח לַכֹּהֲנִים לַלְוִיִּם, אָמַר יְהוָה.’ (Isa.66.22)
      and offerings being offered from every nation
      ‘וּבְכָל-מָקוֹם מֻקְטָר מֻגָּשׁ לִשְׁמִי, וּמִנְחָה טְהוֹרָה: כִּי-גָדוֹל שְׁמִי בַּגּוֹיִם’ (Mal.1.11)
      Even Saudis (Isa.60.5-7), will bring their offerings, of whom there already many worshippers of the Jewish Messiah.

      What they certainly won’t see is just Gentile Christians, and none of their own kinsfolk.

      The death of the long awaited Messiah of which Daniel speaks is the most significant event of all, and the seal of this transformation.
      יִכָּרֵת מָשִׁיחַ

      • Charles, it’s ironic that you put such an emphasis on the יִכָּרֵת מָשִׁיחַ part of Daniel 9:26, claiming that it was because of the “cutting off” of this “moshiach” that was the initiator of the “sixfold changes” mentioned in Daniel 9:24, including the “end of transgression/sin.”

        You obviously identify this “cutting off” of this “moshiach” with the death of jesus…But what I find ironic about this is that jesus’s death did not accomplish any of the “sixfold promises” mentioned in Daniel 9:24!

        Daniel 9:24. Seventy weeks [of years] have been decreed upon your people and upon the city of your Sanctuary to terminate the transgression and to end sin, and to expiate iniquity, and to bring eternal righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies.

        Did any of these things happen after your jesus died, Charles? Has iniquity been erased from Israel as this verse states concerning “your people”? (Which refer’s to Israel, Daniel’s people.) Do you still sin?

        We both know that jesus’s death accomplished none of this…

        So the question becomes, why in the world would you associate the promises of the New Covenant with jesus’s death?! It is clear that jesus’s death did not accomplish any of these promises of the end of transgression among Israel or any other people.

        So why do you insist that jesus must be this “moshiach” mentioned in Daniel 9:26?

        It is interesting to note that Jews and Christians can agree on other passages referring exclusively to the Messiah! Here are a few:

        Isaiah 11:1. And a shoot shall spring forth from the **STEM OF JESSE,** and a twig shall sprout from his roots.

        Ezekiel 37:24. And **MY SERVANT DAVID** shall be king over them, and one shepherd shall be for them all, and they shall walk in My ordinances and observe My statutes and perform them.

        Hosea 3:5. Afterwards shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God and **DAVID THEIR KING,** and they shall come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness at the end of days.

        Jeremiah 30:9. And they shall serve the Lord their God and **DAVID THEIR KING,** whom I will set up for them.

        There is one thing all of these verses have in common: They all use a “Davidic qualifier,” meaning that they all exclusively refer to the Davidic dynasty in some fashion. This is a good reason why Jews and Christians can all understand that these future prophesies refer to one person: Moshiach ben David.

        But Daniel 9:24-27, nor the rest of the chapter, give us any indication that this “moshiach” mentioned has any connection to the Davidic dynasty, at least at face value…This lend credibility to the Jewish position that this “moshiach who was cut off” in Daniel 9:26 is not the promised Messiah son of David who is spoken of in the four aforementioned passages above that both Jews and Christians agree refer to the specific individual called “Moshiach ben David.”

        In fact, the word “moshiach” is NEVER used to exclusively refer to the individual of “Moshiach ben David” in the Tanach…Ever! Usually, the individual of Moshiach ben David is referred to as “David” or “melech/king.”

        So your interpretation of Daniel 9:26 actually runs contradictory to the rest of scripture…

        Shalom

  4. Charles
    If you agree that Deuteronomy 30:1-10 speaks of the new covenant wouldn’t that tell you that all of your hopes for a changed law are part of the dust that will be blown away when the truth is revealed?

    • Yisroel,
      I have only noticed this post, since you republished the page.
      Not at all, just as Deut 28.68 predicts the Roman conquest of Jerusalem, and the failed sale of captives in Egypt spoken of by Josephus, so Deut 30 speaks of an effective and genuine circumcision of the heart that seems to have eluded Israel’s rabbinic authorities and sages over the last 2000 years.
      The Law did change, as it anticipates it will and must. The regulations on the Tabernacle materials, their construction, care and transport were all superseded by the Temple, Torah being honoured and fulfilled, not in the least diminished. Now a Temple would be empty without the true Ark, and a return to animal sacrifices would only demean and defile it, constituting an empty blasphemy.

      Levitical mediation was flawed from the outset, even by Moses, who ultimately was denied access to the Holy Land, and the Law anticipates more effective mediation based on a properly legal atonement, prefigured but not found in VaYikra.

      One illustration of this must suffice here. Leprosy is a pattern of our inward uncleanness, as Moses was taught at Sinai. Healing leprosy is a Divine prerogative denied the Levitical priests. They are given the power to diagnose the illness and identify its cleansing.

      When Messiah healed lepers, He sought validation but not emulation for the cleansing from Levi’s priests, knowing they were as powerless to cure as they were to atone.

      The Branch is truly Davidic and regnal, but also as Zechariah foresees priestly, and on the basis of His action and that alone, iniquity is not merely recognised but pardoned and cleansed.

      • Charles Soper Welcome back! I would take the time to quote Scripture that teaches that your position is false but I remember how Scripture is putty in your hands – words mean nothing so I see no use. – But I do have one question for you – if sin is “cleansed” does that mean no more sinning? Does it mean a circumcised heart? how would you define “circumcised heart”? However for those reading Charles’ words here is my response to the three points you made: If the circumcision of the heart eluded the rabbis for the last 2000 years – what should followers of Jesus’ say? – look at their respective histories. The Law does not change as Numbers 15:37-41 affirms Neither does the Levitical priesthood – Numbers 18:19

        1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

        • Dina says:

          Please note that Charles did not cite Scripture to support his assertions anyway.

          • RT says:

            It’s clear that the new heart prophecy has not been fulfilled by Jesus. First, the renewed (or new) covenant was with the house of Israel and Judah, and this is how we know that is it fulfilled “no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord.” So when all the Jews will follow and know G-d, that will mean that this prophecy is fulfilled. Until then, I do not see the point of saying that Christians have a new heart. As Rav’ said, Christians do sins, and Deut 30 was also for the Jews as it said “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring”. It is clear that G-d will make all of the Jews to love G-d.

            Charles, you cannot forget half a passage and just quote what you want and what fits your belief. If the rest does not fit, then we know that you hope that we will not read the passage, but in context, we can know for sure that Jesus did not fulfill them.

        • cpsoper says:

          Thank you for the welcome.
          False affirmations about hermeneutics may comfort, but they won’t stand. Rabbinic critics should be careful of their own glasshouses.
          There are several allusions to scripture in my post & the webpage that accompany it (6 not counting links or NT passages).
          As to your question, circumcision is a once for all act, so is justification.
          However, repeated acts of mortification of sensual desire evidence its reality. Cleansing may encompass both, but its forensic reality is founded in the former.

          As to practice, my brother in NY says it’s common to hear of ‘Orthodox’ Jews soliciting prostitutes, anyone in a faithful church who did so once would be out immediately. There is presently a furious debate in UK rabbinic circles about hypocrisy re homosexuality. Such should never be the case amongst lovers of Torah. Much worse allegations of child abuse dog ‘Orthodox’ circles in the US & Israel, according to repeated reports in the Jewish press, almost to apostate Catholic levels of pederasty. Is this evidence of heart circumcision? I have come across only 2 instances among Bible loving evangelicals in 35 years, both were condemned & outed immediately, with the police involved.

          As to the persecution of Jews, which has an appalling history amongst professed Christians, many faithful believers of my own tradition (libellously called anabaptist) were hounded​ to death & burnt by the very same persecutors, usually for eschewing idolatry. Read about Le Chambon, the whole village that sheltered French Jews from Nazis, or Orde Wingate, or John Henry Patterson, Christian Zionists, who among many prepared later IDF for Arab onslaught,whilst the ‘Orthodox’ neglected & sometimes even scorned self defence.

          However the real issue is the priesthood. Levitical mediation was flawed from the outset, whole branches (like Eli’s invalidated) Moses was barred from entry into promise, let alone Aaron.
          Another efficacious order of priesthood was foretold & confirmed by oath, it is only found in the Branch (Zech.3.8-9) a Davidic title.

          Levites are and will be priests (Jer.33.22) but mediately through a more effective Head, bearing Jehoshua’s namesake, after David’s line.

          Unless you heed these warnings, I fear you will be caught up in the building tsunami of hatred in the lands to which you have been scattered, as I have written here before. If you choose to neglect this, please don’t claim you weren’t advised plainly.

          • Cpsoper Before I respond to your lengthy babble – let me say this. Those Orthodox Jews who act that way are indeed barred from upstanding congregations – you judge your enemies by their worst examples and you judge yourself by the best intentions of your saints Keep Jesus as your example – don’t say you weren’t warned

            1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • Dina says:

            In his comment above, Charles Soper provides yet another example of someone whose contempt for Jews and Judaism runs deep. In a review on Amazon, he wrote this:

            “An author who claims ab initio that hostility towards Jews (his main but profoundly inadequate definition of anti-Semitism) is always baseless is not well qualified to analyse the subject.”

            I agree with the commenter on this review who said in response to these vile words that “only an antisemite (whether consciously antisemitic or not) could write this.”

            Shame on Charles Soper.

          • Dina says:

            Here’s the link:

            The last comment on this page is Charles Soper’s, and if you click on the comments you will see the commenter I quoted.

          • Dina says:

            Argh, I don’t think the link works if I post it here. It just takes you to the page to buy the book Charles “reviewed.”

          • Dina says:

            When you accuse these Christians of anti-Semitic attitudes, they say:

            Who, moi??? I love the Jewish people! I support the State of Israel! I have an Israeli flag on my desk!

            I just love this nation of hypocrites, sexual perverts, sexual predators, liars, and crooks! I love this people who (I point out with unconcealed glee) will suffer most horribly for rejecting Jesus!

            Charles, you want to compare the moral record of Jews versus Christians historically, not just in their relations to each other but also among themselves? I suggest you don’t go there.

            Oh, but of course…there is that convenient little argument…A Christian who behaves badly isn’t a real Christian. A Jew who behaves badly is always a Jew, no doubt about that. And a Jew who is good is acting like a–you guessed it!–a Christian. Do you realize what this implies?

            Do you guys ever listen to yourselves? Do you realize how this sounds to Jews?

            My Jewish brothers and sisters, let us all join together and embrace the love showered upon us by our Christian friends. Because with friends like these, who needs enemies?

          • Dina says:

            Oh, and need I remind you, Charles, who loves to warn us of our dire fate resulting from our rejection of your idol, what God forced Balaam to say? He was forced to say that those who curse us are cursed. So heed your own warnings, I say.

          • Cpsoper So the Levitical priesthood is “proven” inadequate because its members were not perfect (for the record – Eli’s house was not “invalidated” – they were cursed and barred from the high-priesthood – but they remained priests). Pray tell, where does it say that the choice of the Levitical priests means that they will be perfect? but the new covenant comes with the promise of no more sin. If the sin of people who never claimed to be perfect invalidates their priesthood – then what does your history of hate do for you?

            1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • A true priest lives blamelessly, effectively intercedes for and humbly guides the weak and sinful, and offers acceptable offerings for sin (Num.16.1-10, Num.25.13 (a non-Levitical human sacrifice), Ps.99.6, Mal.3.1), Moses and Aaron beautifully prefigure this, but there are instances whey they fail both on each count. In consequence, at death, both were banned from Canaan (Deut.3.26, Deut.9.20). As indicated, a better order is needed and promised, since even the High Priest himself needed the same intercession and atonement as everyone else (Ps.110.4, Zech.3.1-4, 8-9, Zech.6.12-13)

            For the record, Zadok’s sons were foretold by Ezekiel to be the only Levitical order worthy of priestly ministry, because of the apostasy of other orders (Ezek.43.15, 1 Sam.2.31, a foretaste in 1 Ki. 2.27)

            As you know the High Priest’s office since Antiochus IV has been a Gentile appointment, and with the destruction of authorised genealogical records at the Temple, Ezra’s meticulous validation is no longer replicable (Ez.7.1-5), unlike the son of David.

            Yisroel, you need to repent of hard heartedness to your King, HaShem’s own Son.

          • Charles Soper God’s firstborn son is Israel (Exodus 4:22) – your toying with Scripture doesn’t frighten anyone – you certainly can’t frighten us into violating God’s explicit word. 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

  5. David says:

    Hi Yisroel,

    I read your response/post to my latest reply to your original post. Thank you. I think for now I’ll concentrate on responding to your original post and hopefully get through to the end of that post with my response here.

    The remainder pertains to your original post unless otherwise noted. Whenever Scripture is cited, where words are in all caps, it is my emphasis.

    Before I proceed in responding to particular items, I’ll make just one general statement.

    You seem to be operating under a false doctrine that all things in the universe are “subsumed” under the Law by reason that the word “all” is used in one part of the Law to delineate and differentiate the duties of the priests as opposed to that of the judges with respect to ruling on disputes. You further add to your error when you make the next mistake which is that because you believe that all things are subsumed under the Law of Moses, Priests and Judges therefore have the responsibility and authority to rule over “all” things including rule over prophets.

    If this were the case, then priests would rule over kings too. And of course they don’t. In effect then, if that were true, the priest or judge would become the de facto king/prophet/people of Israel, all rolled into one person. There’d be no need to mention anyone else’s duties then because the priest or judge would be it.
    The record of Scripture tells us otherwise. Priests and judges did not rule over kings. Priests and judges did not rule over prophets. Ask yourself why that was. It is clear to me that it was because they knew their authority was limited as delineated in Scripture. A king is a king; a prophet is a prophet, a priest is a priest.

    In addition to that, the fact that only particular items or areas mentioned by name in the Law are assigned to Priests and Judges tells us that priests and judges don’t rule over “all” things in the Law as you claim but only those areas indicated in the Law.
    The Law tells people for example to go to the priest if they suspect unfaithfulness in their wife. There would be no need to tell people to go to the priest on this item or any other item they ruled over “all” things. The Law would have simply said go to the priest for all questions and/or disputes in life; end of instruction. Simple. But the Law actually designates ONLY certain items out of the entire body of Law that one is to go to the priest for.
    And most importantly along those lines for the purpose of our argument, in the realm of disputes, if they (priests and judges) ruled over all things in the Law (as you claim), there would be no need to designate 3 particular areas of the Law (bloodshed, judgments/rights, and assaults) in which they have authority to judge. God would never have needed to say that. The mere fact that 3 and ONLY 3 particular areas of the Law are mentioned with regards to disputes is clear evidence that the authority to judge disputes, ONLY extends to those areas and not the whole law. It would be senseless to limit their authority to only 3 areas if God’s intent was that they rule over everything including kings and prophets.

    Lastly, the task of determining whether or not a prophecy was fulfilled was NOT given to the priests and judges in the passage of Deuteronomy 18:15-22. The passage in question was addressed to the people of Israel in general (with no mention of a priest or judge). A priest or judge cannot usurp authority that was not expressly given to them. They must remain in their authorized, law given areas of responsibilities and authority as noted in the Law such as ruling on disputes in the 3 aforementioned areas of Law (bloodshed, judgments, and assaults), ruling on marital fidelity, ruling on skin diseases, distinguishing between holy and unholy, and other areas specifically mentioned in the Law as pertaining to priests and/or judges.

    Now, as to specific items of your original post, you wrote:
    Another area in which we disagree surfaced in your last comment and that is that you believe that the new covenant spoken of by Jeremiah must mean a new Law. The Scriptures testify against this belief of yours as we shall see.

    My response:

    Jeremiah in fact does speak of a New Covenant. Scripture is plain on that. Although this does issue (of a New Covenant) does not really directly impact our discussion which pertains more to the question of the authority of priests and judges to rule on claims of prophesy. The issue came up because I was simply noting in a previous post how God has used prophets. I believe I noted such things that God has used a prophet to:
    1. Emphasize specific points of the Law of Moses in which the Israelites needed to focus more attention.
    2. Order actions (sometimes in response to inquiry or prayer of the King, prophet, priest or people) which are not specifically covered by the Law, such as whether or not to go to war, surrender, etcetera.
    3. Order or rule on exceptions to the Law of Moses.
    4. Order executions of false prophets.
    5. Order rebukes and warnings to the people, priests, kings, land, etc.
    6. Prophecy future events.
    7. Perform miracles to get people’s attention, or authenticate something.
    8. Prophecy New Covenant.
    I could probably continue if I thought about it, but regardless, it is the last item, “prophecy New Covenant” that you disagree with.
    I think I’ll let Scripture speak for itself with respect to New Covenant. And you can argue why Scripture means something other than what is written. CAPS, here and elsewhere wherever Scripture is cited is my emphasis.
    Jeremiah 31:31 – 34
    31 “(BW)Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a NEW COVENANT with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS in the day I (BZ)took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My (CA)covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. 33 “BUT THIS IS THE COVENANT WHICH I WILL MAKE with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “(CC)I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and (CD)I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 They will (CE)not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all (CF)know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will (CG)forgive their iniquity, and their (CH)sin I will remember no more.”

    You wrote:
    The Law of Moses dictates to the people when it is that they should reject a claim to prophecy. This in and of itself tells us that the status of Moses as a prophet is inherently higher than that of subsequent prophets. To illustrate – if a prophet arises and stops the sun in the sky as did Joshua and then claims that we a prophet could have a prediction fail to come to pass and still be an authentic prophet – Moses tells us that this man is a liar. And we believe Moses over this man because of Exodus 19:9.

    My response:

    You are mistaken about the status of the prophet in relation to Moses. The passage of Deuteronomy 18:15 – 22 twice describes the future prophet(s) as “like” Moses. Furthermore the standard in the passage applies to all prophets including Moses.
    And you miss the point regarding miracles. The issue of miracles is not addressed in the Law of Moses per se as a standard for recognizing a prophet. However, it is absolutely clear in reading Scripture, that God has on occasion used miracles for various purposes. Sometimes He performs miracles to authenticate and/or elevate His prophets and himself in the eyes of others (not only to the people of Israel but also to Gentiles, most famously to pharaoh). This was the case with Moses and also with Joshua.
    One purpose of miracles was so that the people of Israel would “believe.”
    God employed some rather minor miracles (relatively speaking) for example when Moses and Aaron first spoke to the assembly of Elders “in the sight of The People” in Egypt. The people “believed.” Exodus 4:30,31. Moses hadn’t yet fulfilled any prophesies, yet the people believed on the basis of these minor miracles. As with Joseph 100s of years earlier, they were expecting that God would one day fulfill his promise to bring them into the Land He had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants.

    It is important to emphasize, and I think that you and others on this thread and elsewhere have missed this point with respect to the Law and prophets, which is that the standard in Deuteronomy 18:15-22 is written in the negative, not the affirmative. What I mean by that is that the standard helps us recognize who is NOT a prophet, but it doesn’t tell us in every case who IS a prophet.

    For example I could prophecy that on the day of a full moon, the sun will rise as the moon is setting, and on that day there will be two extremely low tides and two extremely high tides, and on that day it will be cloudy and rainy and stormy somewhere in the world.
    The above scenario will happen once a month, but that doesn’t make me a prophet.

    In addition to the above, there have been times when God has sent a prophet and the people accepted a prophet with no known miracles and no known prophecies fulfilled (at least none that were recorded in Scripture at the time the prophet was accepted) such as in the case of Samuel; 1 Samuel 3:20 – 4:1 pertains.

    So evidently for the above reasons and probably others, God has chosen to write the standard as a negative rather than an affirmative. In other words, the standard is written in terms of who we are to reject rather than who we are to accept.

    But to your point, if the standard in Scripture, which is Deuteronomy 18: 22 is met, (meaning the thing spoken in the name of the YHWH does not take place or prove true) then we know that it is a word that the YHWH has NOT spoken. The Prophet, or whoever is claiming to speak in the name of the YHWH, has spoken presumptuously and must be rejected. This standard applies to anyone including Moses.

    Keep in mind that the prophet must be speaking in the name of the YHWH for us to reject the prophet under the standard of Deuteronomy 18.

    Prophets use specific phrases or actions to preface and inform their audience/listener as to when something is from the YHWH and when they are not speaking for the YHWH. In Scripture we see phrases such as but not limited to: “As the YHWH lives…” “The YHWH has shown me…” “In the name of the YHWH…” “Thus says the YHWH…” or words to that effect to indicate the thing spoken is from God and not just the prophet’s personal opinion/statement.

    Examples:
    Example 1. Nathan; 1 Chronicles 17,2, 3 pertains:
    When King David first mentioned the idea of building the house for God, Nathan said, “do all that you have in mind, for God is with you.” But this was Nathan’s own personal opinion, NOT from God. But later God told Nathan to give David specific instructions regarding the building of His house that his son would have that duty. Therefore, Nathan came back later and said, “Thus says the YHWH… ” It was the second time that Nathan spoke that the thing was from God; the first time was merely Nathan’s own opinion.

    Therefore, Nathan should not be judged on the first statement.

    Example 2. Elisha; 2 Kings 8: 10, 14, 15 pertains:

    Elisha told Hazael (the messanger of King Ben-hadad of Aram) to go and say to King Ben-hadad (who was ill) that he would certainly recover. But that was a lie that the prophet wanted Hazael to tell to his lord, the King of Aram. Elisha told Hazael that the YHWH had actually revealed to him that the king would certainly die.

    When Hazael returned and was asked by King Ben-hadad what the prophet Elisha said, he responded, “he told me that you would certainly recover.”

    Note: Hazael didn’t say, “The prophet Elisha said the YHWH has shown him that you will recover…” or words to that effect. He didn’t say that.

    The next day Hazael killed the King of Aram.

    Thus the words of the prophet spoken in the name of the YHWH which were, “The YHWH has shown me that he will certainly die, and the YHWH has shown me that you will be king over Aram…” were fulfilled.
    As in the first example, Elisha should not be judged on the words that King Ben-hadad would certainly recover. Instead he should be judged on the words that were prefaced with “The YHWH has shown me…”

    Example 3. Micaiah 2 Chronicles 18:14, 15,16, 27

    King Ahab of Israel was inquiring of his prophets whether or not he should go to war. Micaiah responded as with the other 450 false prophets, “Go up and triumph.”

    By now you get the idea. Micaiah should not be judged on the above words.

    Then King Ahab wisely noted that Micaiah (who often prophesied against him as would be expected since he was an extremely evil king) failed to invoke the name of the YHWH in his prophesy. When he was confronted on the issue, he then said, “…and the YHWH said these (sheep) have no master.” The meaning being that King Ahab would die in battle.

    The king died in battle.

    Obviously then Micaiah should be judged as a prophet on the second set of words out of his mouth (which he claimed to be spoken from the YHWH, and not the first words out of his mouth which he never claimed to be from the YHWH.

    Micaiah also said to King Ahab, “If you return in peace, the YHWH has not spoken by me. … Hear you peoples, all of you!”

    You wrote:
    Now, again, God’s word is God’s word and there is no hierarchy in God’s…

    My response:
    I’m not sure why you made that statement or what you are basing it on. But it is not based on Scripture. Frist of all, God “word” and God’s “voice” rules over the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses came into existence through God’s voice/word/will/purpose, not the other way around. God’s word/voice is not “subsumed” into the Law of Moses. Rather, the Law of Moses is subordinate to God’s word/voice which an expression of His will or purpose.

    God spoke the Law of Moses into being.
    All laws by the way, including the Law of Moses serves God’s purpose. In particular, the Law of Moses is limited in scope and application to the people of Israel and much of it is limited in application to the Promised Land.

    And, the Law of Moses is NOT an end in itself. It is a “means to an end” which makes it hierarchically subordinate to the purpose or “end” for which it was created.

    The overriding purpose of the Law was to support a people separated. And a people were separated to eventually bring the entire world to Himself.
    The various elements of the purpose for instituting the Law of Moses were first manifested with Abraham. Some of these purposes included living long and prospering on the LAND that God promised to Abraham, to separate the descendants of Abraham from others as was Abraham, to not intermarry with the people of the land remaining separate as did Abraham with his sons Isaac and Jacob, to be a light to the world as with Abraham, to have God as their only God and be God’s separated people/person, as it was with Abraham – etcetera etcetera etcetera.

    Now, regarding God’s voice/will/purpose and the Law of Moses, we can see that biblically, there is order, and hierarchy to it.

    Example 1.
    Take sacrifice as contained in the Law of Moses for example. God tells us that obedience to the “voice” of the YHWH is better than sacrifices. 1 Samuel 15:22,23 applies:
    22 And Samuel said,
    “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
    as in obedience to the voice of the LORD?
    Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to heed than the fat of rams.
    23 For rebellion is no less a sin than divination,
    and stubbornness is like iniquity and idolatry.
    Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
    he has also rejected you from being king.”

    There you have it. Obedience to God’s voice trumps the Law of Moses with regards to sacrifices.

    Example 2.
    And take for example the fact that King David violated God’s commandments on numerous occasions, adultery and murder being the most famous, yet God never rejected him, because unlike Saul, David sought the heart of God rather than just the letter of the commandments. 1 Samuel 13:14 applies:
    14 but now your kingdom will not continue; the LORD has sought out a man AFTER HIS OWN HEART; and the LORD has appointed him to be ruler over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”

    So there you have it. Two kings; both violated the Law of Moses. One rejected the other not. David sought the will of God in seeking God’s own heart. Seeking God’s heart is more important than the Law and more important than 613 mitzvots for example.

    Example 3.
    Abraham: The infamous case of Abraham attempting to sacrifice his son is a good example. We know that Abraham obeyed God’s voice, and kept God’s charge, His commandments, His statutes, and His laws. Genesis 26:5 pertains. They probably included prohibitions against such things as sacrificing your own children. Even if they didn’t, we know that in the Noahide Law there is at a minimum a prohibition against murder (slaughtering your own son would definitely qualify as murder).

    Yet, Abraham obeyed God’s voice whole heartedly and attempted to slaughter his son as a sacrifice to God. Genesis 22:16 – 18 pertains. Abraham was rewarded for obeying God’s voice even though it meant violating God’s law(s) in force at the time.

    Example 4.
    A Prophet of God orders a violation of the Law of Moses. 1 Kings 20:35 37 pertains:

    At the command of none other than YHWH, A certain prophet said to another, “strike me.”
    But the man refused to strike him.
    Then the prophet said, “Because you have not obeyed the voice of the YHWH (to strike me), as soon as you have left me a lion will kill you.”

    And then a lion killed the man.

    As you can see, once again, the “voice” of the YHWH trumps the Law of Moses, in this case even to the point of requiring violation of the Law of Moses with respect to assaults in order to obey the “voice” of God.

    And there are many other examples of exceptions (or departures, violations what-ever you want to call them) in the Law of Moses ordered by the “voice” of God. But I think you get the idea with these four.

    You wrote:

    No authentic prophet ever gave us a new set of rules to follow. They predicted that various things will happen but they did not give a new set of instructions. Their instructions were always to follow the Law that has already been given to us. In some instances the prophets gave instructions that were relevant to the people they were talking to on a short term basis – and obedience to these prophetic directives is subsumed under the Law of Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15.

    My response:

    First of all, I’ve just shown above how prophets have ordered exceptions to the Law of Moses by the voice of God. So it is not surprising that God would one day institute a New Covenant that would cause the Law of Moses to become obsolete.

    No prophet in Hebrew Scriptures had yet given the New Covenant by the close of the canon of the Hebrew Scriptures. I think we can agree on that much.

    You believe that no New Covenant has yet been given following the close of the canon of the Hebrew Scriptures and I believe otherwise.

    And, to this point I’ve already cited where Scripture has Jeremiah prophesying a “New Covenant.” And Jeremiah is part of the canon of Hebrew Scripture, and you hold Jeremiah to be a Prophet of God (as I do) and therefore cannot be lying or mistaken in your mind when he prophesies a New Covenant. Therefore, the fact that the New Covenant had not yet been manifested in the Hebrew Scriptures at the close of the canon is really quite irrelevant. The world didn’t stop turning. Life goes on. We now have a New Testament/Covenant following the close of the canon of Hebrew Scriptures.

    You wrote:

    Your “proof” from Jeremiah 26:4,5 fails simply because the word “and” is not present making it clear that obedience to the prophet is subsumed under the Law. Furthermore, if this would be proof that obedience to a prophet is separate from the Law then you would have to acknowledge that observance of the Sabbath is separate from the Law as “evidenced” from Ezekiel 20:11,12 as well as Nehemiah 9:12,13. It is obvious that the fact that when one detail of the Law is stated apart from the general Law it is still subsumed under the general Law.

    My response:
    The “voice of God” or purpose of God is not a “detail” of the Law. I’ve already demonstrated how God’s purpose as manifested in his voice/word trumps the Law of Moses. It brought the Law of Moses into being. Therefore, it is not subsumed into the Law as a detail of the Law as you, without any Scriptural citation claim. We follow the voice of God, the purpose of God or the heart of God. And, we do that when God commands us to follow the Law but also even when God contradicts the Law or makes exceptions to the Law.
    And, since the “WHOLE” Law of Moses is subordinate to the voice of God then so also would the individual parts such as the Sabbath.

    Now let’s look at the specific example you raised, Jeremiah 26:4,5 and other verses that express the voice of God. You claim that because the word “and” is not in the verse that God through Jeremiah is merely emphasizing to the people of Israel the Law and its requirements against idolatry etc. I don’t deny that quite often this is the case (maybe 50% of the time) and this could well be the case here. So for the sake of argument we’ll establish and agree that is the case with Jeremiah 26:4,5.

    Now, let’s look at other instances in Jeremiah and elsewhere where God is clearly directing our attention to items not contained in the Law per se. I’ve already noted many instances where the voice of God trumps the Law such as with Abraham, but here are cases in which the voice of God was referring to matters separate and apart from the Law.

    The prophet Miacaiah regarding whether or not to go to war has already been cited; 2 Chronicles 18 pertains.

    The prophet Elisha and the rise to kingship of Hazeal has already been cited; 2 Kings 8 pertains.

    The prophet Jahaziel and God’s command to “listen all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat” and to do nothing other than to watch the work of God as He causes the self-inflicted, self-destruction of the enemy, has already been cited in an earlier post I believe; 2 Chronicles 20 pertains.
    Other examples include:
    Example 1.
    King Hezekiah has been counseled by Jeremiah to surrender to the enemy; Jeremiah 38:20 pertains.
    “…just obey the voice of the YHWH in what I say to you and it shall go well with you, and your life shall be spared.”

    Example 2.
    The Babylonian Captain of the Guard noted that they did obey Jeremiah with regards to his order to surrender to the Babylonians; Jeremiah 40:3.
    “…all of you sinned against the YHWH and did not obey his voice.”

    Example 3.
    Jeremiah is told to buy a field. God’s word came to Jeremiah that Hanamel, his kin, would come to him asking that Jeremiah buy his field. Then in accordance with the word of God that came to Jeremiah, Hananmel came to Jeremiah in the court and asked Jeremiah to buy his field. By that Jeremiah knew that it was the word of the YHWH and he therefore obeyed the word of the YHWH and bought the field from his kin Hanamel. God did this to show that after the exile, houses and fields would yet be bought and sold in the Promised Land. Jeremiah 32:6 – 15 pertains.

    Example 4.
    The people did not go up and take the Promised Land when directed by the voice of God because they saw themselves as grasshoppers in the eyes of the Anakites. Numbers 14:22,23,24 pertains.
    “…none of the people who have seen my glory … and have not obey my voice, shall see the land, … but my servant Caleb because he has a different spirit and has followed my wholeheartedly.” Caleb and Joshua were the only ones who advised taking the Land.

    Example 5.
    The people are directed to listen to the voice of God’s angel to lead them through the desert and overpower their enemies along the way; Exodus 23:21,22 pertains.
    “…Be attentive to him and listen to his voice… if you listen attentively to his voice and do all that I say, then, I will be an enemy to your enemies…”
    Example 6.
    Although not directly related to the voice of God in matters apart from the Law, the people proclaim their allegiance to Joshua in “all things” as they had with Moses; Joshua 1:17,18 pertains.

    They promise that “… whoever rebels against your orders and disobeys your words, whatever you command, shall be put to death.”
    Example 7.
    God speaks of the requirement to obey His voice, and to do what is right in His sight and give heed to His commandments. There are numerous versus such as this one. Note that the requirement to obey God’s voice is always listed first although both are important; Exodus 15:26 pertains.
    “… if you will listen carefully to the voice of the YHWH your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give heed to His commandments and keep all his statutes …”

    Example 8.
    God tells us in Psalms that we are to listen to his voice; Psalm 85:8 and 95:7 pertain.
    “Let me hear what the God, the YHWH will speak, for He will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.”

    “… O, that today you would listen to His voice.”

    Now, let’s look at some more exceptions to the Law to prove the point once again that God’s voice trumps the Law, some of which are still observed today:

    Exception to the Law 1.
    King David was the great grandson of Rehab the prostitute, (a citizen and resident of the enemy in the land of conquest). She was married by Salmon, an Israelite of the tribe of Judah. The union was illicit, and prohibited in the Law. As a minimum 10 generations would have been required before acceptance into Israel would have been authorized for Rehab’s descendants. King David was only the 3rd or 4th generation depending on how you count it.
    Additionally, the Law of Moses required that she be killed along with the enemy, if not killed, at the very least not allowed to live amongst the Israelites, and in either case not allowed to intermarry with an Israelite as she did. She and any offspring should have been at the very least expelled from the land as was the case during the time of Ezra.
    The following Scripture pertains:
    Ezra 10:3; Deuteronomy 7:3, Joshua 23:12,13; Numbers 33:55; Nehemiah 13:26.

    Solomon and Judges 3:6 is an example of what happens when Israel intermarries.

    Yet God chose David over Saul even though he descended from multiple violations of the Law of Moses, and even though David would later violate the Law of Moses himself as had Saul. But David, unlike Saul, was after God’s own heart, a characteristic that trumps the Law of Moses in the eyes of God; 1 Samuel 13:14 pertains.

    Exception to the Law 2.
    The sin of Achan. Achan sinned by steeling devoted things and putting them in his tent. The Law of Moses required that only for their own crimes may a person be put to death; Deuteronomy 24:16 pertains.
    But the Israelites under order of Joshua executed and burned all that Achan had, including his sons, daughters, animals, and all that he had.

    Exception to the Law 3.
    The Passover. The Passover regulations are very specific as to prohibitions of participating if in an unclean state, as the appointed times for the sacrifice and length of days for unleavened bread, etc.

    The people of Israel violated in great numbers the requirement for being clean yet ate of the Passover. But the YHWH “healed” the people; 2 Chronicles 30 pertains.

    In addition to this violation and pardon from God, after the prescribed time of unleavened bread was completed, which is 7 days, the whole assembly then decided to continue for another 7 days.

    So we see with the preceding examples that God allows exceptions either after the fact or at the time of the exception. And sometimes as in the case of King David, the exception has continuing ramifications.

    You wrote:
    But God’s promise to our community is that there will always be a covenant community that is loyal to Him and to His Law so there will always be arbitrators of the Law that are in line with God’s Law.

    My response:
    Here again you are using as is your habit, the non-biblical term “arbitrators.” If by arbitrators you mean prophets, kings, people of Israel, and priests and judges, etc., then I could see how you’d make such a statement; but it is still off the mark.

    As demonstrated above in numerous examples, God’s word/voice trumps the Law of Moses. And that’s why Jeremiah was able to say that God would bring a New Covenant, a Covenant unlike that made with your ancestors. And that’s also why God has spoken and approved numerous exceptions to the Law of Moses.

    The reason is simple. God’s will is in his word/voice. The Law of Moses was given by God’s voice at a time and place as needed by the world to lead them to God. Israel’s purpose was to be a light. The purpose of God was achieved. The need for the Law of Moses is now and has been obsolete for some time. God now speaks through a New Covenant as introduced by a prophet like Moses as promised.

    If you want to continue with the Law of Moses, that’s your choice of course but it is not God’s will or command by his voice through His prophets.
    So your claim that an arbitrator, whether he be king, prophet or otherwise must be “in line” with the Law of Moses is not Scriptural.

    You wrote:
    When the Law dictates that we execute a violator of the Law it is clear that this injunction is an injunction to the community and not to every individual – the commandment of Deuteronomy 16:18 makes no sense otherwise. A community is not a mob. It functions under guidance of leaders.

    My response:
    Once again your comments are just not Scriptural. There is no requirement to pass every item through a priest or judge. You’re just your conjecture that God must have wanted to pass all things through a priest because you speculate that to do otherwise would promote mob rule.

    We see that often times that contrary to your claim, the king simply issues an order of execution. The prophet Elijah issued a command to kill 450 false prophets.

    Take Jehu, the king of Israel, for example. He killed the entire house of Ahab. God told him because he had done well in carrying out what he considered right and in accordance with all that was in God’s heart, that his sons to the 4th generation would sit on the throne of Israel. However Jehu himself was not careful to follow the Law of Moses.
    Fathers and Mothers in “that day” shall kill their idol worshiping children who are prophets. No mention here of sending anything through an “arbitrator” for approval; Zechariah 13: 2 – 6 pertains.

    The Law of Moses itself says that on the evidence of two or three witnesses the death sentence shall be executed. The hands of the witnesses shall be first against the person to execute the death sentence; Deuteronomy 17:5 – 7 pertains.

    So your claim that Israel would be a mob if it didn’t pass all things through priests or judges is not borne out by Scripture. The above shows that kings, prophets, mothers/fathers, and witnesses all have authority.

    You wrote:
    In a situation where the recognized central leadership of Israel rendered a decision …
    My response:

    The remaining few points of yours are kind of off track from our discussion as the authority of priest/judge as it relates to God’s prophet but to respond to your points:

    I say: Recognized by whom? God is the judge. It doesn’t matter that a mob recognizes (to use your words).

    Ask yourself this: why are Jews scattered all over the world, why is there no temple, no sacrifices, why is not the Law of Moses followed? God made it clear when and why that would happen. So the argument could be made that you picked the wrong horse.

    You wrote:
    The reason I accept Scripture is because I trust that God guided the covenant community right when they rendered their decision on these prophets and their books. But you believe that the covenant community can be completely mistaken – I know this because you accept Jesus, a man who was rejected by the covenant community.

    My response:
    And I believe that God guided the remnant covenant community right; they were not mistaken when they recognized Jesus and rejected the hypocritical corrupt leaders who were only bent on personal gain which you refer to as the recognized covenant community.

    You wrote:
    One last point before I close off- a new covenant is not a new law. If it would be a new law you would need to find a new law in Deuteronomy 28:69 and in 2Kings 23;3, – and since there is none – it is obvious that a new covenant simply means a new commitment not a new law.

    My response:

    As we know there are many covenants and laws that God has issued. We also know that some supersede and made obsolete previous covenants and laws and some merely added to them, supported them or amended them. The fact that you point out that there has been more than one covenant besides the Law of Moses does not support your argument that there had not been prophesied (by Jeremiah and others) that in the future (as in the past) there will come to be a New Covenant which will NOT BE LIKE the Law of Moses.

    • David
      You would save the two of us (as well as those reading these posts) much time and trouble if you would try to understand what I said before writing your response. Still and all, I thank you for taking the time and the effort to engage in this dialogue – as I said and will repeat – it is discussions like this that lead us all to greater clarity. Thank you.
      1 – In your opening “general statement” you run two concepts together. There is the authority of God’s Law and there is the authority of the various arbitrators that are authorized by the Law.
      The authority of God’s Law encompasses everything in the universe – I don’t think that you dispute this truth. Your dispute with me is over the authority of the various arbitrators of the Law – this is a different subject.
      Would you agree with me that a Jew who stands under the covenant of the Law is duty bound by that covenant to view the situations of his/her life through the lens of the Law of Moses?
      2 – In the realm of the authority of the judges/priests, I will remind you that a king is primarily a judge – 1Kings 3:9 – these are not two different offices.
      I will also remind you that the three words in Deuteronomy 17:8 (dam, din and nega) are presented as examples – just as the Bible uses examples for the laws dealing with items given for safe-keeping – Exodus 22:6. My interpretation is borne out by the account in 2Chronicles 19 – not only by the one word “all” in verse 11 but by the entire thrust of verse 10 which you consistently ignore.
      3 – The Scripture that you quoted to prove that a new law will be given refutes your position – the Scripture says nothing about a new law – it speaks of a new covenant which is not a new law. You fail to understand that covenant and law are two different things – the former refers to a binding relationship between two parties and the latter refers to a code of behavior that one party expects from another.
      4 – You are mistaken in your assumption that the Law of Moses only rules on the rejection of a prophet – the Law explicitly directs us to obey the prophet who does not qualify for rejection – Deuteronomy 18:15
      5 – Your statement to the effect that Moses was subject to the Law of Moses is obviously true – but you still have not realized that Moses’ authority as prophet is higher than that of others and that this is the basis for his authority to instruct us in the realm of rejecting claims to prophecy.
      6 – You are also correct in saying that the Law is here for a purpose and that is the relationship between God and Israel. (I actually wrote about this in “The Council of My Nation” – section II A) – you are also correct in saying that the majority of the Law of Moses does not apply to most of the world and much of it is only relevant in the Land of Israel and with a functioning Temple – but the scope of the Law is still universal for the Jew who is under the covenant of Law.
      7 – You provide examples of the “voice” of God “trumping the Law of Moses. The first example you give exposes your lack of understanding of the Law of Moses.
      You speak of the “letter” of the Law as if Moses only presented us with letter and not with spirit – The first commandment in the Law of Moses is “hearken to My voice” – Exodus 19:5. Since the Law of Moses dictates that we obey a prophet – Deuteronomy 18:15 – so not one of the examples you provided is a valid demonstration of the inadequacy of the Law of Moses.
      8 – You cite 8 “exceptions” where the voice of God went beyond the Law. The first 3 examples are subsumed under Deuteronomy 18:15, example 4 has Caleb and Joshua obeying what God had already indicated through Moses, example 5 tells the people to obey the angel – but it is Moses that will have to tell the people this directive and Moses again remains the medium through which God passes His instruction to the people, example 6 is simply Joshua as judge and king being invested with the authority of Deuteronomy 17:12 and 17:15, example 7 – obeying the voice is part of what Moses imparted to us
      9 – You provide three examples of violations of the Law – in example 1 you claim that David was a grandson of Rehab the prostitute – this is inaccurate. You do have a question as to why Rehab was allowed to live and the answer is that the she converted to the law of Moses. Example 2 deals with Joshua’s punishment fo Achan – here Joshua was acting in capacity as prophet in obedience to God’s command to him in Joshua 7:12 – and this authority is already subsumed in the Law of Moses – Deuteronomy 18:15, Example 3 is an example where extenuating circumstances dictate that the letter of the Law be set aside for the spirit of the Law – and this is all part of the Law – that the leadership of Israel – its arbitrators of the Law – king, elders and priests together make such a decision.
      10 – you claim that the Law of Moses has been “obsolete” for some time now as it has achieved its purpose. This is the basis of our discussion – but you would have to agree that those who accepted that prophet who declared the Law of Moses to be obsolete were still under the Law of Moses and were duty-bound by that Law to examine the claim in light of the Law – and every individual who will accept the claim of the prophet needs to start from the Law of Moses and examine the claim in light of the Law.
      11 – You claim that the Law of Moses authorizes individuals to execute violators of the Law. Two of the examples you provided (Elijah and Jehu) are irrelevant – these were not executions in the sense of violators of the Law but rather these were executions commanded by a prophet subsumed under Deuteronomy 18:15 and in the case mentioned by Zechariah – the prophet does not tell us that the parents will be acting lawfully – just that out of their shame and frustration they will want to harm their child who is prophesying falsely.
      12 – Your response to my Scripturally based argument is non-Scriptural. I showed you from Scripture (Ezekiel 13:9) that the punishment of false prophets is that they be cut off from the midst the covenant community. Your response about our exile is irrelevant – the exile was predicted for disobedience to the Law of Moses and God promised to restore us when we return to obedience of the Law of Moses – Deuteronomy 30:2
      13 – You make a complete joke out of God when you claim that the followers of Jesus are God’s covenant community. God promised that the sign of Sabbath observance will always accompany the covenant community – Exodus 31:17. This sign disappeared from the community which followed Jesus a long time ago – Does God’s word mean something to you? Perhaps the followers of Mohammed are the covenant community?
      14 – Go back to #3 – the word covenant and law are two different words

  6. David, Going straight to the source, lets go to Jeremiah 31:30

    “30. Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, and I will form a covenant with the **house of Israel and with the house of Judah,** a new covenant.

    31. Not like the covenant that I formed with **their forefathers on the day I took them by the hand to take them out of the land of Egypt,** that they broke My covenant, although I was a lord over them, says the Lord.

    32. For this is the covenant that I will form **with the house of Israel** after those days, says the Lord: I will place **My law** in their midst and **I will inscribe it upon their hearts,** and I will be their God and they shall be My people.

    33. And no longer shall one teach his neighbor or [shall] one [teach] his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know Me from their smallest to their greatest, says the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will no longer remember.”

    The passage says that the New Covenant will be made with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. This says nothing about the gentiles. I am aware that the NT attempts to reconcile this by saying that the gentiles were “grafted in” via Jesus. However, Jeremiah 31:31 explicitly states “Not like the covenant that I formed with **THEIR FOREFATHERS** on the day I took them by the hand to take them out of the **LAND OF EGYPT,** that they broke my covenant.” This New Covenant will not be with the gentiles because G-d did not make a covenant with the forefathers of the gentiles. Thus, this New Covenant will be made only with people who are under the Mosaic covenant. (The Jewish people.)

    Verse 32 says ” I will place **My law** in their midst and **I will inscribe it upon their hearts,** What does it mean for G-d to inscribe His law upon the hearts of the house of Israel? This is explained in verse 33.

    33. And no longer shall one teach his neighbor or [shall] one [teach] his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know Me from their smallest to their greatest, says the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will no longer remember.

    The primary difference between the Mosiac Covenant and the New Covenant is that *G-d Himself* will put the law on all of the hearts of the House of Israel so that we will not have to TEACH the law to each other. You see, under the Mosaic covenant, we are required to teach the law to each other. I believe Deuteronomy 6:6-7 demonstrates this most clearly.

    Deut 6:6. And these words, which I command you this day, **shall be upon your heart.**

    Deut 6:7. **And you shall TEACH** them to your sons and speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk on the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

    It is important to note that even the Mosaic covenant was a covenant of the heart. The New Covenant is not different from the Mosaic covenant in this respect. Rather, as Jeremiah 31:33 explains, what makes the New Covenant “new” is the mode of transmission: G-d Himself will put the law directly on our hearts so that we will not have to TEACH the law to each other. This is a future prophesy that has not come to fruition yet. Deut 30:1-6 echoes this idea:

    Deut 30:1. And it will be, when all these things come upon you the blessing and the curse which I have set before you that you will consider in your heart, among all the nations where the Lord your God has banished you,

    Deut 30:2. and you will return to the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul, and you will listen to His voice according to all that I am commanding you this day you and your children,

    Deut 30:3. then, the Lord, your God, will bring back your exiles, and He will have mercy upon you. He will once again gather you from all the nations, where the Lord, your God, had dispersed you.

    Deut 30:4. Even if your exiles are at the end of the heavens, the Lord, your God, will gather you from there, and He will take you from there.

    Deut 30:5. And the Lord, your God, will bring you to the land which your forefathers possessed, and you [too] will take possession of it, and He will do good to you, and He will make you more numerous than your forefathers.

    Deut 30:6. And the Lord, your God, will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, [so that you may] love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, for the sake of your life.

    As you can see by verse 4, this passage refers to the redemption after the final exile. Also, note that G-d says in verse 6 that He will “circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring.” This is precisely what Jeremiah was saying in Jeremiah 31:33!

    Jeremiah 31:33 And no longer shall one teach his neighbor or [shall] one [teach] his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know Me from their smallest to their greatest, says the Lord,

    This is in contrast to the Mosiac Covenant, which is discussed in Deut 6:6-7, where G-d instructs Israel to TEACH the Law to our offspring.

    Deut 6:6. And these words, which I command you this day, **shall be upon your heart.**

    Deut 6:7. **And you shall TEACH** them to your sons and speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk on the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.

    The very fact that we are having this debate right now is a testament to the fact that the New Covenant has not been made with anyone. You wouldn’t have to teach me and I wouldn’t have to teach you. (Jeremiah 31:33, Deut 30:6) It is a future covenant which has nothing to do with the death of jesus.

    Shalom and G-d bless!

  7. Concerned Reader says:

    Rabbi, I have a question. One thing I’ve noticed is that for Christians, when it comes to studying their Church fathers and sources, 3/4 of the Church literature and info is available for free in vernacular language for people’s of any nation to study, from sites such as New advent. I was curious 1. If you think it would be good for publishers like Artscroll to put the mainline commentaries (other than Rambam) online in vernacular for free, or 2. If you know of any such sources available for free in English, such as Ramban’s commentary. If the Christians put their knowledge out for free in many languages, shouldn’t rabbinic judaism do likewise? (with the addendum and or clarification that to truly get it, one must expereience Judaism directly in practice first?

    • Jim says:

      Con,

      I know you did not address this question to me, but I hope if you do not mind me offering my opinion. I would not be in favor of making the Jewish commentaries readily available online.

      For many Christians, most in fact, when they read the Torah, they only read it to find Jesus within its pages. They ignore much of the teaching of Torah to further their agenda. Even as a Christian does this, he is usually unconscious that he is doing it. He does it accidentally, as it were. But he still does it.

      The rabbinic commentaries might seem to be a way to rectify this situation, but history has already shown things to be otherwise. Too many Christians read the commentaries the same way they read the Torah, with an eye to finding Jesus hidden within the writings of the rabbis. They still read only to justify their faith. The same prejudice that corrupts their reading of the Torah corrupts their reading of rabbinic commentaries.

      I’m sure you’ve noticed among Christian authors who read rabbinic commentaries a tendency to seize upon an isolated comment and ignore the broader picture. Such tendencies can be found in Dr. Brown’s work and others, David Stern and Yitzchak Shapira among them. And this is by no means a modern trend. If the rabbinic commentaries become more widely available online, they will be subject to more and more distortion by well-meaning but ill-informed Christians who are less interested in the ideas of the rabbis they are reading than they are in reading Christian doctrine into the texts.

      Christians, trying to get back to the roots of their Christianity, will no doubt be interested in reading rabbinic commentaries, but they will unconsciously reinterpret them to be more Christological. Moreover, they will create a cacophony of personal interpretations. They will lend any discussion of the rabbinic works only confusion and no clarity. I cannot see this as a good.

      Jim

  8. Concerned Reader says:

    Yeah Jim, I realize what many Christians will attempt to do, but that’s precisely why it seems having the information out there for people to know from correct sources is still far better than not having it accessible. One of the historic bases of anti semitism after all has historically been scapegoating of a community largely unknown to most, and it seems to me that if more information is known, fear and myth are more easily dispelled.

    One main reason that missionaries are so effective is because they have a much greater presence in the flow of information. Rabbinic literature is so easily misquoted, precisely because Christian authors are masters in Rhetoric, and the information and voice to correct their misreadings is barely known, and even more inaccessible.

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