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The Veil of Moses – Misunderstandings regarding 2 Corinthians 3:12-18

Paul’s words to the Corinthians about the Veil of Moses is commonly understood to be a metaphor for the Old Covenant. The Christians who have this understanding say that this veil which is the Old Covenant was removed through Messiah and the New Covenant. We shall test this theory using Scripture and see whether context and the references from the Old Testament story of Moses putting on a veil over his face, can shine some light on this particular passage.

This study has been broken down into the following sections:
1. 2Cor 3:1-5 and the Context in “being commended”
2. Letter of the Law and Spirit of the Law
3. Old Testament and New Testament
4. Moses and the Veil
5. 2Cor 3:6-11 and the Glory of the Ministries
6. 2Cor 3:12-18 and the Spiritual Vail which covers God’s Glory
7. 2Cor 4:1-6 and the Glory of God in Messiah
8. Conclusion

1. 2Cor 3:1-5 and the Context in “being commended”
In his 2nd Letter to the Corinthians, Paul discusses a variety of subjects, but comes back to one theme, time and time again, where he speaks of not needing earthly commendation. Let’s look at the start of this theme, as it will provide context to the verses in question.

2Co 3:1-5 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

Paul asks the question whether he needs to commend himself, or whether he needs letters of commendation from the Corinthians. He answers his own question by stating that the best epistles of commendation are in fact the Corinthians themselves and the lives they live in front of others. He says that the Corinthians are not his own epistle but of Christ, which were written through him, and he alludes to the New Covenant in prophecy, saying “written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart”(Jer 31:33, Eze 11:19,20, Eze 36:26,27). The theme of “receiving commendation from God is more glorious than having it of man”, continues throughout the letter as we see below.

2Co 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
2Co 5:12  For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.
2Co 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
2Co 10:18  For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.
2Co 12:11  I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.

It is clear that there was some doubt of Paul’s apostleship among the Corinthians(2Cor 13:3, 11:5,13) that he needed to reaffirm his position and also say that he need not be commended by man to be glorified by God(2Cor 12:11,12). There were some who were saying that the letters Paul wrote were weighty and powerful, but his demeanor and speech were weak(2Cor 10:8-12) thereby questioning his ability to be an Apostle.

2. Letter of the Law and Spirit of the Law
The Law! A subject which is looked at with contempt and disgust, even though it was given by God Himself and praised by many. Under the law, bondage, curse, fallen from grace, nailed to the cross, and many such phrases come to mind when we speak of the Law. But seldom does anyone try to examine and learn about the Law of God, the reason for it’s existence and Paul’s view of it. Instead most of us are used to taking the majority view as the correct path.

What is the Law of God?
The Law of God was given to us to know what sin is(Rom 7:7). The breaking of the Law is Sin(1Jn 3:4). It exists to point us towards what is right and wrong. If we do the right thing according to the Law of God, we are blessed with life – while disobedience to it brings the curse of Death(Deut 30:19). No man is justified/made righteous through the Law of God(Psa 143:2, Gal 3:11) as a person who keeps the whole law, yet break even one, he becomes guilty of all(Jas 2:10). We are not saved by keeping God’s Law, but through the faith we put in God, and the Grace He shows towards us(Rom 4:2-4). But that does not make God’s Law void(Rom 3:31). After we are saved through the Grace of the Father, we need to be obedient to His Law(1Jn 2:4, 3:24). Faith which exists without the practicing of His Word/Law, is dead faith(Jas 2:20).

What is the “Letter of the Law”?
The Letter of the Law, the engraved Commands along with the precepts, statutes and the judgments is what defines Sin. If not for the Law, we would not know what sin is(Rom 7:7). The breaking of God’s Law which is Sin(1Jn 3:4) would lead us to death(Rom 6:16). The Law was not given for people to attain justification/salvation – which was a free gift of God(Eph 2:8). Seeking justification/salvation through the obedience to the Law, would be a certain death sentence, as it would become legalism, as you become one who does not need God, relying on your own self to be deemed righteous – when the true use of the Law was the knowledge of sin(Rom 3:20). If there was no Law, there would not be “sin” as categorised by God. Sin, judgement and death are active because of the Law(Rom 7:9-11). But this does not mean the Law is against Grace, as the Law was never supposed to give Life or justification/righteousness(Gal 3:21).

What is the “Spirit of the Law”?
As explained above, through the Letter of the Law everyone is adjudged a sinner, who should receive the punishment of death. And this is where the Passover sacrifice of Yeshua(Jesus’ true name) comes in(1Cor 5:7). The blood of an unblemished lamb is substituted for your own life(1Pet 1:19), where all who come under the blood of Messiah are seen as dead(Col 3:3) for our offence of breaking the Law of God. The curse OF the Law, which is death (not to be confused with the popular false teaching that God’s law IS a curse – Rom 7:13) is what Christ redeemed us from(Gal 3:13). He did not take on Himself the punishment for sin, so that we can keep sinning (remember that sin is breaking God’s Law). Rather, that we can now be obedient to His Law without the curse which came whenever we broke His Word. We are to go beyond the plain sense of the letter of the Law and seek out the Spirit as well. Not that we discard the plain sense, but that we go beyond the plain sense and set ourselves a higher standard as Messiah taught. For example He set a higher standard for the Law of adultery in Mat 5:27,28. Does this mean he changed the letter of the Law? Did He abolish it? God Forbid. He merely fully taught the Spirit of the Law. This is what he meant when he said “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil”.

3. Old Testament and New Testament
Before we proceed, we must understand what the 2 covenants mentioned in this passage really are. It sounds trivial to define what these covenants are. But the fact is that many of us do not understand what they entitle at all.

What is the Old Testament or Mosaic Covenant?
The Covenant was made with the Children of Israel using Moses as a mediator and ratified with blood(Heb 9:19,20, Exo 24:7,8). The Covenant consists of the Ten Commands(Exo 34:28, Deu 4:13, 2Ch 6:11) which were called the Tables of the Covenant(Deut 9:9, Heb 9:4) and the Book of the Covenant(Exo 24:7, 2Kin 23:2) which had all the statutes, judgements and precepts(Deu 5:24-31)

What is the New Testament/Covenant?
The Covenant was made with the House of Israel & the House of Judah using Messiah as a mediator and ratified with the blood of Yeshua the Messiah(Jer 31:31-33, Heb 8:8-10, Heb 9:15,16). The Covenant entails God’s Law being put inside the people and being written in their hearts(Heb 8:10, Jer 31:33).

According to the above, we see an immediate relationship between the 2 covenants. The Mosaic Covenant was the revealing of God’s Law and the New Covenant was the internalising of it by being written in the heart and put inside. The Mosaic Covenant brought forth the Letter of the Law and the New Covenant showed the Spirit of the Law. The Law is common to both Covenants. The difference being, one was written on tables of stone and the other on tables of the heart as alluded in 2Cor 3:3. The Spirit of God is what helps keep the Spirit of the Law, which is the Law written in the heart and put inside us(Eze 11:19,20, Eze 36:26,27). The Law given through the Mosaic Covenant is an integral part of the New Covenant, as the Law of God is what is internalised and written in the tables of the heart instead of the tables of stone.

2Co 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

When Paul says that the “Letter of the Law” kills, he is speaking of the reason for the Law revealed in the Old Covenant – which is to provide the knowledge of sin, which leads to judgement and death. He contrasts this with the “Spirit of the Law”, much in the same way as he does in Rom 7:6, as this is what the New Testament is – an internalising of the Law of God – an obedience which comes from the heart and from inside, instead of a rigid system of obedience to the letter without love.


4. Moses and the Veil

The event where Moses covered his face with a Veil plays an integral part in this passage, as Paul draws on this part of Scripture to make a parallel. Let us examine the story in Scripture, before we move onto Paul’s explanation.

Exo 34:27-35 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai. And Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel which he was commanded. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

veilWhen Moses went upto the Mount of Sinai and received the Covenant, he stayed up in the mount for 40 days and 40 nights without food or water. When he returned from God, his face was shining visibly, that everyone including Aaron and the rulers of the congregation were afraid to come near him. God’s glory was somehow transferred visibly to Moses’ face temporarily. And He would cover his face from the people, with a Vail until he went back before God. Whenever he returned with a face which shined forth God’s glory, he would cover it with a vail.

5. 2Cor 3:6-11 and the Glory of the Ministries
Now that we have a basic understanding of the context and the Biblical concepts used by Paul, we will move onto the next part of his writing.

2Co 3:6-11 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

We must understand what Paul is saying in these few verses to get a proper explanation of the main passage in concern. We have already looked at how the context is on being commended for the work he is doing as an Apostle and the questions raised on the validity of his apostleship(2Cor 13:3, 10:8-12, 11:5,13).

Here in verse 6, he continues to explain that God has made them into ministers of the New Covenant. Not of the “Letter of the Law” which condemns us as sinners worthy of death, but ministers of the “Spirit of the Law” which counts us righteous through the Grace of God in obedience of a higher/stricter Law taught by Messiah and internalised by the Spirit. Now in verse 7, Paul moves into a parallelism with the story in Exo 34 by saying that Moses who brought the Law of God to the Children of Israel, was the minister of the Mosaic Covenant which is the “Letter of the Law” which was engraved in stones and condemned us as disobedient sinners. The Glory he speaks of here is regarding the “ministration” and not “The Law” or “The Covenants”. This is a common mistake made by many when reading this passage. In the same way Paul is in the Ministration of the New Covenant, Moses was in the Ministration of the Mosaic Covenant. The Glory which is paralleled is of “The Ministration” and not “The Covenants” or “The Law”. Now calling the “Ministration of the Mosaic Covenant”, the “Ministration of Death” can seem like a negative statement, but as Paul had explained before, the Letter could not save anyone, but put them to death. This was the reason for the existence of the Law – the knowledge of what sin is, and what death is. As Moses was in the ministration of the Mosaic Covenant, which was engraved on stone, his face shone temporarily with the Glory which was from God, that the Children of Israel could not look at the face of Moses. This imparting of Glory on the face of Moses was temporary as we see in Exo 34. Now in verse 9, Paul compares the glory of the Ministry of the Mosaic Covenant, to the Ministry of the New Covenant. He says that the Ministry of the Spirit is more glorious than the Ministry of the Letter. That the Ministry of Righteousness (being seen as one who has paid for sin, and being deemed righteous through the death of Messiah) is more glorious than the Ministry of Condemnation (being labelled as sinners by the Law, deserving of death). Paul goes onto say in verse 10, that if you compare the glory of the Ministry of the New Covenant to the glory of the Ministry of the Mosaic Covenant, the glory of the Ministry of the New Covenant exceeds so much more, that the Ministry of the Mosaic Covenant is almost as if it had no glory at all. (Again please remember that Paul is comparing the “Glory of the ministration”, not the covenants or the Law). In verse 11, he once again reiterates that if the Ministration of the Mosaic Covenant was glorious, in which the Glory of God seen on the Face of Moses, faded away(see end of verse 7), how much more glorious is the ministration of the New Covenant which is in effect today. With this Paul moves onto the passage in concern below.

6. 2Cor 3:12-18 and the Spiritual Vail which covers God’s Glory

2Co 3:12-18 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Paul who thus far compared the glory of the “Ministry” of the Mosaic Covenant and the “Ministry” of the New Covenant, says in verse 12 that they have hope of a greater ministry, that they speak clearly/openly unlike Moses. Moses covered his face with a vail that the Children of Israel could not gaze at what came to be ceased – which is his face that temporarily shone. What he covered with a veil was the “Glory of God” that was temporarily manifest on his face. In verse 14, Paul compares this physical vail that covered the Glory of God that shone forth in Moses’ face to a spiritual vail which blocked the eyes of the Children of Israel from witnessing the fullness of God’s Glory. Paul exclaims that the same spiritual vail or blindness is still blocking their view, that even when they read the Old Covenant they cannot see God’s true Glory because of the spiritual veil which is blocking the light from shining forth. This spiritual vail can only be removed through Christ as per Paul. (It is important to note that the thing that is done away in Christ is not the Old Covenant or The Law, but the spiritual vail which covers their eyes). Paul continues in verse 15 saying, that even in his day, the vail is still upon their hearts when they read the 5 Books of Moses, which can only be removed when their hearts turn to God. In other words the majority of Jews of his day were reading God’s Word without seeing God’s true Glory. This is the difference Paul spoke of earlier, in the Letter of the Law and Spirit of the Law. And that only God’s Spirit will lead people to true liberty. In verse 18, Paul continues to explain that through God’s Spirit, our spiritual vail has been taken away that we look at God’s Glory with an uncovered face (without vail), and are being changed to His glory by looking at a reflection of His Glory (which is Christ, as we see stated in 2Cor4:4,6).

7. 2Cor 4:1-6 and the Glory of God in Messiah
We must continue the reading without stopping here, as Paul has not finished making the point he started making in the start of this chapter. Paul is writing a letter without verses and chapters to the congregation of Corinth. It is important to keep note and continue forward to see what the conclusion of his argument is.

2Co 4:1-6 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

In verse 1 of Chapter 4, Paul comes back to his main argument of seeking commendation, to say that therefore we have a ministry where we showcase God’s Glory, through God’s mercy and without being weary of the obstacles against them. In verse 2, Paul strongly shares that in his ministry they have not being deceitful in handling God’s Word (The Old Testament Scriptures) and that they have not used trickery or been dishonest. He goes onto say that we have been commended to each of the believers’ conscience by the use of the truth of God’s Word and Good News. (We see that Paul is still trying to explain his ministry and the uselessness of being commended by people, when true commendation and glorification comes from God). Verse 3&4 is where Paul explains the vail once again, saying that whoever is blind to the Good News they bring are them that are lost who have been blinded by the god of this world, so that they might not see the glory of the Good News of Christ, which is the Fullness of Glory of God which would shine forth from Christ in the same way that it did from Moses. In Verse 5, Paul yet again speaks how they do not preach/herald themselves but Christ, and themselves only as servants of the congregation and Christ. Paul closes this particular topic in verse 6 by saying that God who created light to come forth from darkness in the beginning of time, has done a similar thing with our own lives. Our hearts which were in darkness have been lit up with knowledge of the Glory of God, which shines forth permanently from the face of Christ, in the same way that the Glory of God shined forth from Moses’ face temporarily towards the Children of Israel.

7.Conclusion
In the congregation of Corinth there seems to be some sort of doubt of Paul’s apostleship (2Cor 13:3, 11:5,13) that made him reaffirm his position and also say that he need not be commended by man to be glorified by God(2Cor 5:12, 10:18, 12:11,12). There were some who were saying that the letters Paul wrote were weighty and powerful, but his demeanor and speech were weak(2Cor 10:8-12) thereby questioning his ability to be an Apostle.

In the chapter in concern, Paul mainly defends his position and Ministry, comparing the glory of the Ministry of the Old Covenant done through Moses to the Ministry of the New Covenant carried out by Paul. The Glory he speaks of here is regarding the “ministration” and not “The Law” or “The Covenants”. This is a common mistake made by many when reading this passage. In the same way Paul is in the Ministration of the New Covenant, Moses was in the Ministration of the Mosaic Covenant. The Glory which is paralleled is “The Ministration” and not “The Covenants” or “The Law”.

Then he moves onto the vail that Moses wore and compares it to a spiritual blindness which keeps some from seeing God’s full Glory. This vail can only be removed by Messiah Yeshua. It is important to note that the thing that is done away in Christ, is not the Old Covenant or The Law, but the spiritual vail or blindness which covers their eyes.

In the beginning of the 4th chapter, Paul concludes by saying that they are being commended to each of the believers conscience by the use of the truth of God’s Word and Good News. We see here that Paul is still trying to explain his ministry and the uselessness of being commended by people, when true commendation and glorification comes from God. He explains that some do not see the glory of the Good News of Christ, which is the Fullness of Glory of God which would shine forth from Christ’s face in the same way that it did from Moses.

Taking all of the above into consideration, we see that this particular passage does not speak of an abolishing of The Law of God or of The Mosaic Covenant. This simply was a case made against opposition made to his ministry, and the blindness of some towards the Glory that comes from God.

Understanding Sacrifices and Offerings, and whether they are done away in Christ

The “Scriptures” or the Old Testament, as it is known today, consist of many Sacrifices and Offerings which were instituted by Our Heavenly Creator. Though many of us are vague on the details of such, and see these sacrifices and offerings as archaic and barbaric, we must not forget that they are part of God’s Word. While these sacrifices/offerings have ceased with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70AD, many Christians believe that they are done away in Christ, never to be re-instituted again. While much of this thinking stems from the idea that “God’s Law is a curse that was done away in Christ“, there are many prophecies which speak otherwise.

the-lamb-illustration-1It is the objective of this study to give you, the reader, a basic understanding of the different kinds of sacrifices and offerings instituted by YHVH through Moses, to unravel the reasons for such actions and see whether they have ceased altogether or whether they will reappear in the time of the Millennial rule of Messiah Yeshua.

 

 

This study is broken down to the following sections:
1. What are Offerings & Sacrifices?
2. The different varieties of Offerings
3. What was the reason for offering sacrifices?
4. Sacrifices & Messiah
5. Earthly Priesthood & Heavenly Priesthood
6. Sacrifices in the Millennial Kingdom?
7. Conclusion

1. What are Offerings & Sacrifices?
Offering – The word translated as “offering” in our English translations of the Bible come from the Hebrew word “Korbawn” (H7133 – something brought near the altar, that is, a sacrificial present: – oblation, that is offered, offering). An offering was a gift brought before God, similar to a manner of approaching a king, with humility and due honor. It did not necessarily consist of Animal Sacrifices, but could be anything from bread to jewels(Num 28:2, 31:50). We see Yeshua alluding to the same “Corban” in Mark 7:11 when rebuking the Pharisees.

Sacrifice – The word translated as “sacrifice” in our English translations of the Bible come from the Hebrew word “Zabach” (H2076 – to slaughter an animal. usually in sacrifice: – kill, offer, sacrifice, slay). An Offering was not necessarily a “Zabach” (animal sacrifice). The difference could be seen clearly in Lev 3:1 And if his oblation(Korbawn) be a sacrifice(Zabach) of peace offering, if he offer it of the herd; whether it be a male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD.

2. The different varieties of Offerings
While Animal Sacrifices(Zabach) was just one type of offering, there are also many other types of offerings, that we are not familiar with. Offerings could be divided to 2 main categories as “blood offerings” and “bloodless offerings”.

BLOOD OFFERINGS mainly consisted of
“Olah” translated as Burnt Offerings (H5930 – ascending, going up in smoke: – ascent, go up)
“Shelem” translated as peace offering (H8002 – requital, that is, a sacrifice in thanks)
“Chattath” translated as sin offering (H2403 – offence, and its penalty, occasion, sacrifice, or expiation; also an offender: – punishment of sin, purifying for sin, sinner). Both “Sin” and “Sin Offering” is called “Chattath” (Lev 4:3).
“Asham” translated as Trespass offering (H817 – guilt; by implication a fault; also a sin offering: – guiltiness, offering for sin, trespass)

BLOODLESS OFFERINGS mainly consisted of
“Minchah” translated as Meat/Meal Offering (H4503 – apportion, that is, bestow; a donation; euphemistically tribute; specifically a sacrificial offering. usually bloodless and voluntary: – gift, oblation, meat offering, present, sacrifice).
“Nesek” translated as Drink Offering (H5262 – libation; pouring out, pour)

RITUALS OF OFFERING THE ABOVE
“Terumah” translated as Heave Offering (H8641 – something raised, lifted, offered up). For example, part of the Peace offering could be lifted up, and therefore called a heave offering (Lev 7:32)
“Tenuphah” translated as Wave offering (H8573 – tumult; specifically the official undulation of sacrificial offerings: – offering, shaking, wave). For example,  part of the Peace offering could be waved, and therefore be called a wave offering (Lev 7:30). Several offerings were waved, such as the Leper’s trespass offering (Lev 14:12), Consecration offering (Lev 8:27), Sheaf of Firstfruits (Lev 23:11) and Loaves at Pentecost (Lev 23:17).

THE SIX MAIN OFFERINGS COMMANDED BY GOD
1)Burnt Offering (Olah)
2)Meal Offering (Minchah)
3)Peace Offering (Shelem)
4)Sin Offering (Chattath)
5)Trespass Offering (Asham)
6)Drink Offering (Nesek)

Different combinations of these above categories of offerings were used for different instances – such as – consecration of priests, nazarite vow, cleansing of leper, person defiled with issue, women giving birth, jealousy trial, etc.

3 MAIN GROUPS OF OFFERINGS
• Sweet savour offerings – Burnt and Peace offerings
• Atonement offerings – Sin and Trespass offerings
• Supplementary offerings – Meal and Drink offerings (added to other offerings)

1) BURNT OFFERING
Burnt Offerings are first seen many years before Moses, being offered by Noah(Gen 8:20),  Abraham(Gen 22:2) & Job(Job 1:5). Better translated as “Ascending Offerings”, these were wholly burnt at the Altar.

Commanded Burnt Offerings –
1) Continual Burnt Offering – One lamb was to be offered each morning and evening (Exo 29:42) at the Temple, and the fires would continually burn through morning to evening, and so on.
2) Sabbath Burnt Offering – On top of the continual burnt offering, on the Sabbath, two lambs were offered (Num 28:9,10).
3) New Moon/Month Burnt Offering – Two young bullocks, one ram & seven lambs were offered on the first day of each month (Num 28:11).
4) Burnt offerings at the seven Feasts/Appointments – Passover(2Chr 30:24), Unleavened Bread(Num 28:24), Firstfruits(Lev 23:12), Pentecost(Lev 23:18), Trumpets(Num 29:2), Atonement(Lev 16:24), Tabernacles(Num 29:13-38)
5) Consecration – of priests(Lev 8:18, 9:2), of people (Lev 9:3-7) of Levites(Num 8:12)
6) Dedication – of the altar – (Num 7:87), of the temple(1Kin 8:64)
7) Cleansing – of women bearing children(Lev 12:6), of lepers(Lev 14:19), of people with some kind of bodily discharge(Lev 15:15), a defiled Nazarite(Num 6:11)
8) Completion of a vow(Num 15:8), specifically a Nazarite vow as well(Num 6:14)

Each day, each sabbath, each month, each feast, in consecration, dedication, cleansing and completion of oaths, physical contact with God was prescribed. They were constant reminders of who is King, Lord & God. All important events and commemorations were celebrated by offering such gifts to God.

Voluntary Burnt Offerings
An individual could bring a burnt offering on his own free-will, but what should be offered and how it should be offered was instructed(Lev 1:2 onwards). Even the people who were not native born Israelites (aliens/strangers) were capable of making burnt sacrifices(Lev 22:18). The poor could also offer pigeons and turtle doves instead bullocks and lambs(Lev 12:8 & 1:14).

The process of sacrifice
• Offering – being accepted by God
It was offered only at the brass altar in front of the door of the tabernacle/temple(Lev 17:8-9).
The offerer then laid the hand on the animal, identifying with it, and showing that he himself is offered up(Lev 1:4)
• Shedding blood – being atoned/covered by God
The offerer killed the animal and shed the blood, which was sprinkled around the altar by the priest(Lev 1:5). Then he had to skin the animal, at which point the skin was kept by the priest(Lev 7:8). Then the offerer cut the meat into pieces, which was placed on the altar by the priest(Lev 1:6-8). The inwards and legs were washed with water, and placed by the priest on the altar(Lev 1:9)
• Burning – Being adored by God
Then all of the animal was completely burnt on the altar as a pleasant smell to God(Lev 1:9)

While in some offerings, the offerer and the priest shared a part, in the burnt offering they burnt it whole to God as a sweet savour. The same applied for a poor man who brought a pigeon – the only difference being the priest would kill it instead(Lev 1:14-17).

The burnt offerings were accompanied by a drink offering and meal offering, with various sizes according to the animal(Num 15:3-12). Trumpets were sounded over the burnt offerings done on the New Moon days and appointed feasts(Num 10:10).

2) MEAL OFFERING
Usually translated as meat offering in the King James Version, the reason for this was that “meat” was generally used for food in the early days. It is also translated as meal offering or grain offering in various translations, but the meaning derived from the Hebrew word “Minchah” is Gift/tribute/apportion. First seen in Gen 4:3-5 in the offerings of Cain & Abel, it is seen again in Gen 32:20 & Gen 43:26 translated as present. The Meal offering is an act of remembrance(Lev 2:2), of worship, gratitude and request for future blessing. As a supplementary to other offerings such as the daily, Sabbath, Feast day offerings, Consecration of the priests & levites, End of a Nazarite vow and the Cleansing of the leper, the portion of the meal offering varied according to the animal sacrificed(Num 15:4-10).

The ingredients of the meal offering consisted of fine flour, oil and frankincense(Lev 2:1). Every meal offering was also seasoned with salt, called the “salt of the covenant”(Lev 2:13). Salt being a preservative agent, was certainly used to ratify covenants(Num 18:19, 2Chr 13:5). Anything Leavened was not part of Meal offerings.

The process of sacrifice
The meal offering according to Lev 2:2-3 is;
• a memorial – reminder of the indebtedness to God
• Offering made by fire – consumed by fire to indicate being devoted wholly to God
• Sweet Savour – Giving satisfaction to God

3 states of wheat could be used for the meal offering:
1) Corn – Ears of wheat parched on a pan and rubbed to obtain roasted grains (Lev 2:14)
2) Flour – Wheat ground into fine flour and mixed with oil to make a batter (Lev 2:1)
3) Bread – The flour baked into bread could be offered by baking in the oven, baking in a flat plate or baking in a frying pan (Lev 2:4,5,7)

It was brought by the offerer to the priest, who burned the necessary quantity at the altar. The amounts of oil and frankincense used with the component of wheat differed according to the animal sacrificed(Num 15:4-11)

After it was burnt at the Alta, whatever was left was provided to the priests (sons of Aaron) as food. It was to be eaten inside the holy place, in the court of the tabernacle, and never to be baked with leaven. Only people who were ritually pure could eat it, and this was said to be a statute forever(Lev 6:14-18).

3) PEACE OFFERING
Derived from the root word “Shalam” (H7999) meaning to be safe, it was an offering of giving thanks, and were divide into 3 types of peace offerings (Lev 7:11-16)
1)Thanksgiving for received salvation(Lev 7:12)
2)a fulfillment of a vow – when expected salvation is received(Lev 7:16)
3)voluntary offering of giving thanks(Lev 7:16) – as an expression of rejoicing with God, as in the case of Solomon at the dedication of the Temple (1Kin 8:63)

The peace offering consisted of a part of an animal sacrificed to God through fire, part given to the priest as food and the rest eaten as a festive meal in fellowship.

The offerer could bring an ox, sheep or goat from his flock(Lev 3:1,6,12) but it would need to be without blemish. There was more freedom of choice as a male or female could be offered up, but there was no provision for a pigeon or dove as the whole point of the offering was the sacrificial meal, and a chance to join with God in a time of fellowship and thanksgiving.

The peace offering was also accompanied by 4 varieties of cakes(Lev 7:11-14)

The process of sacrifice
Similar to the burnt offering, the offerer brought the animal to the door of the tabernacle, laid hands on it, identifying himself with it, and killed it. The priests sprinkled the blood, after which the offerer removed all the fat of the animal as part of God’s burnt offering(Lev 3:3-5,9) set forth as a sweet savour to Him. The fat was prescribed as the food of YHVH offered up by fire(Lev 3:16). The second portion was given to the sons of Aaron as per the instructions of God(Lev 7:34, 10:15) The remainder was used in a sacrificial meal eaten inside the temple court with all of the offerers family including his servants(Deut 12:11,18) with much rejoicing(Deut 12:7). This is what Paul alludes to in 1Cor 10:18. They were having communion with God. The meal was to be partaken on the same day, but could be eaten the next day if it was for a vow or a voluntary offering. Whatever was left had to be burnt with fire on the third day, and nothing left or eaten(Lev 7:15-18).

If the sacrificed meat came in contact with something unclean, it could not be eaten but burnt. All who ate it had to be ceremonially clean as well. Any who broke these precepts were said to be cut off from His people by God Himself(Lev  7:19-21).

The fat was not to be eaten as it was God’s portion, and the blood was not to be eaten(Lev 7:22-27) as it was used for atonement and had life(Lev 17:11).

4) SIN OFFERING
With the giving of the Law, everyone was given the knowledge of Sin (Rom 5:13). No more could one say “I did not know”. This offering was intended for such a person who had broken God’s Law to be restored back to a right relationship with God(Lev 4:31). Willful sin could not be atoned through this offering. Lev 4:2,13&22 shows whether it is the individual, the congregation or a ruler, they must all atone for sinning through ignorance. Lev 5:1-4 specifically mentions a few unwitting sins – a witness who keeps quiet, a person who touches an unclean thing and realizes it later and a person who makes a rash oath and realizes his guilt. Confessing the sin was of utmost importance(Lev 5:5). The sacrificed animal would take the place of the person for his guilt and act as atonement.

Different people in different offices had to bring different sacrifices according to the greater responsibility they carried. The higher the rank, the more valuable the sin offering would be.
• The high priest must bring a bullock (Lev 4:3-12)
• The whole congregation must bring a bullock (Lev 4:13-21)
• A ruler must bring a male goat (Lev 4:22-26)
• A common man must bring either a female goat(Lev 4:27-31), a female lamb(Lev 4:32-35), two turtledoves or two pigeons(Lev 5:7-10), or a tenth of an ephah of fine flour(Lev 5:11-13).

Sin done knowingly was not covered through the sin offering and God had mentioned that people doing such would be cut off from His people(Num 15:30).

The process of sacrifice
The offering was brought to the brass altar at the door of the tabernacle(Lev 4:18). Then the offerer laid his hands on the offering(Lev 4:33), and possibly confessed the sin(Lev 5:5, 16:21). Then the animal was killed by the offerer(Lev 4:29). Blood was sprinkled as atonement(Lev 4:5-7) and the fat was burnt on the bronze altar(Lev 4:8-10). The remainder would be burnt wholly outside the camp in case of the priest’s or congregation’s sacrifice(Lev 4:12,21), but was left for the priest’s consumption in other cases(Lev 6:26).

5) TRESPASS OFFERING
The trespass offering and sin offering are closely associated to each other. While sin was the act, trespass was the result. The word “Asham” (H817) is used for the trespass(Psa 68:21), the trespass offering(Lev 5:18) and the compensation paid for it(1Sam 6:3).

Trespasses were divided among things done against God(Lev 5:14-19) & things done against the neighbor(Lev 6:1-7). A trespass against his neighbor is also counted as a trespass against God (Lev 6:2).

The process of sacrifice
The trespass was confessed, assessed and paid with a fifth being added to what was taken/lost(Num 5:7). After the trespass was recompensed, a ram was offered to God(Lev 6:5-7). When David said “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned”, he understood that the trespass against Uriah was a sin against God. If the person who was wronged was dead or had no family, the payment would go towards the priest(Num 5:8). Just as in the sin offering, the animal was killed near the altar, blood sprinkled and the fat burned, while what remained was given to the priest to be eaten in the holy place(Lev 7:1-6).

6) DRINK OFFERING
The drink offering which had the act of pouring out, usually consisted of Wine. In Gen 35:14 Jacob pours a drink offering as well as David is seen doing the same in 2Sam 23:16. Used as a complementary offering, it was used for all offering other than the Sin offering and Trespass offering. Even though oil and water was also used as drink offerings, the prescribed drink offering of the temple was of Wine(Exo 29:40). And even strong wine was used(Num 28:7).

The process of sacrifice
Various quantities of wine was offered alongside the main sacrifice, and was poured on them(Num 15:5,7,10). The table of shewbread consisted of a jug and cup for the pouring out of these sacrifices(Exo 37:16, Num 4:7 – cover should be translated “poured out/cup”). The drink offering was most probably poured on the sacrificed animal(Lev 23:18). It was a sweet savour offering before God’s eyes(Num 15:10) and is never mentioned to have been drunk by the priests.

3. What was the reason for offering sacrifices?
The sacrifices each person had to offer for various reasons at various occasions created a profound sense of responsibility, accountability of personal actions and duty/reverence towards the King over all – our Father in Heaven. While in our current lives we have no way of measuring sin, or better, the wages of sin – the people who made physical sacrifices of blood and wine experienced what it took to cover sin, to approach God, to be holy before Him. Offerings gave weight to Sin, in a way we can never understand, as each person had to offer their own sacrifices, killing animals, thereby getting covered in their blood – experiencing first hand, that it took life to cover death – it took blood to cover sin.

Another reason for many of the misunderstandings regarding these offerings, stem from a wrong understanding of what Atonement is. Derived from the Hebrew word Kaphar(H3722) “Atonement” means “to cover”, as covering your sin. A good example for the above is Gen 6:14, where “Kaphar” is used as cover instead of atonement. While the blood covered the shamefulness, nakedness and sin, the forgiveness wrought from offering sacrifices could not have been a complete, spiritual forgiveness. In Yeshua, we have spiritual forgiveness so that even if our body dies, it can be resurrected anew. The earthly forgiveness, that sacrifices brought was a temporary bridge so that we were not cut off from a Holy God because of our Sinful nature. To understand this more fully, we must understand the connection between Sacrifices & our Messiah.

4. Sacrifices & Messiah
As a lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Messiah’s Sacrifice was the pinnacle of all Sacrifices, and it is evident that all sacrifices pointed to Him. But it is important to understand that His sacrifice is not offered up in an earthly temple, but in the heavenly construction(Heb 9:23-26). What was created on earth was a duplicate of the heavenly(Exo 25:40, Heb8:5), and it is in this heavenly temple that Yeshua offers up His blood. His sacrifice is what purifies the soul and clears our conscience(Heb 9:9), which could not have been wiped clean with the blood of earthly sacrifices, but only covered(Atoned).

When we as Children of the Most High, sin, we bring shame to Our Father. And for such actions we should ideally be punished – but Our Messiah took on our shame, thereby taking the just punishment we should receive, on Himself. The love that Yeshua showed us is boundless for this reason. In animals, the life given for our own, was of a lesser being which was only able to cover us for the time, but not give just satisfaction for the trespass done against God. Yeshua’s Life was a just exchange for our own lives which were destined for death, but in Him have been transformed to Life.

So the question should never be “whether Earthly Sacrifices are done away in Christ”. Rather, the Heavenly Sacrifices offered by Yeshua are a means of receiving purification for our life beyond the earthly bodies, while the earthly sacrifices were a means of being covered on earth, so that we are not cut off from God, in our walk till we attain eternal life. The two should not be mixed up, as one has nothing to do with the other – the heavenly being for eternal life and the earthly being for the temporary life on earth.

5. Earthly Priesthood & Heavenly priesthood
In the previous section we saw that the Earthly Temple built in Jerusalem was a copy of a Heavenly temple structure. The Earthly Temple was handed over to the Levites and the Sons of Aaron to be managed, and it is a clear fact that Yeshua can never be a priest on earth(Heb 7:13,14). All throughout the Book of Hebrews, its author explains how Yeshua, in the order of Melchizedek, has taken charge of the heavenly service and sacrifice, where better sacrifices are offered(Heb 9:23). On earth, fleshly bodies needed cleansing even after Yeshua’s death. A good example being Paul’s own sacrifice and purification done in the Temple in Jerusalem. Just as the Earthly Sacrifices should not be mixed up with the Heavenly Sacrifices, the Earthly priesthood should not be mixed up with the Heavenly priesthood. One does not replace the other, but only foreshadows the better – the Heavenly.

Heb 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

6. Sacrifices in the Millennial Kingdom?
Most of the prophets in the Scriptures speak of the Millennium reign of Yeshua. And one interesting fact is that almost all of these verses speak of various offerings such as Burnt sacrifices and Animal Sacrifices made at the time. A few such instances are given below.

Isa 56:6-8 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings(Olah) and their sacrifices(Zebach) shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.

Jer 33:15-18 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings(Olah), and to kindle meat offerings(Minchah), and to do sacrifice(Zebach) continually.

Dan 9:27  And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice(Zebach) and the oblation(Minchah) to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

The greatest detail of such sacrifices comes from not these, but Ezekiel Chapter 40 to 46. All sorts of details from the sizes to the appearance of the new temple is prophesied through Ezekiel. Ezek 43:18-27 speaks of the animal sacrifices offered on the altar by the Levites, while chapter 44 goes on to speak of the Levites in service and especially the lineage of Zadok. Chapter 45 & 46 continue to speak of animal sacrifices, and all of the instituted offering in the book of Leviticus, as well as specific offerings made on the sabbaths, new moons and feast days.

Eze 40:42  And the four tables were of hewn stone for the burnt offering, of a cubit and an half long, and a cubit and an half broad, and one cubit high: whereupon also they laid the instruments wherewith they slew the burnt offering(Olah) and the sacrifice(Zebach)
Eze 44:11  Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house: they shall slay the burnt offering(Olah) and the sacrifice(Zebach) for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them.
Eze 46:24  Then said he unto me, These are the places of them that boil, where the ministers of the house shall boil the sacrifice(Zebach) of the people.
Eze 43:18-27 And he said unto me, Son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; These are the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it, to offer burnt offerings(Olah) thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon. And thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that be of the seed of Zadok, which approach unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord GOD, a young bullock for a sin offering(Chattath). And thou shalt take of the blood thereof, and put it on the four horns of it, and on the four corners of the settle, and upon the border round about: thus shalt thou cleanse and purge it. Thou shalt take the bullock also of the sin offering(Chattath), and he shall burn it in the appointed place of the house, without the sanctuary. And on the second day thou shalt offer a kid of the goats without blemish for a sin offering(Chattath); and they shall cleanse the altar, as they did cleanse it with the bullock. When thou hast made an end of cleansing it, thou shalt offer a young bullock without blemish, and a ram out of the flock without blemish. And thou shalt offer them before the LORD, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt offering(Olah) unto the LORD. Seven days shalt thou prepare every day a goat for a sin offering(Chattath): they shall also prepare a young bullock, and a ram out of the flock, without blemish. Seven days shall they purge the altar and purify it; and they shall consecrate themselves. And when these days are expired, it shall be, that upon the eighth day, and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt offerings(Olah) upon the altar, and your peace offerings(Shehlem); and I will accept you, saith the Lord GOD.

The context of the above Scriptures is the Millennial Kingdom beyond any doubt. And it is clear that these prophets have spoken of Sacrifices being offered up at that time, just like before. So the thought we need to consider is why such sacrifices are offered in the future. As mentioned before, the Heavenly Sacrifices done through the Heavenly Priesthood is Spiritual in nature and brings eternal life through the wiping away of sin, while the Earthly Sacrifices done through the Earthly Priesthood is physical in nature and acts as a temporary cover from sin on earth.

In the Millennial Kingdom, Sin is still an active facet of life(Zec 14:16-19, Rev 20:7,8) and will not be expunged till the end of the Millennial Kingdom(Rev 20:14). Paul is right in saying “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin(Rom 3:20).” During the 1000 year reign of Yeshua, righteousness and holiness will prevail, but those with earthly bodies will still have a sin nature, and there will be a need to teach about how offensive sin is to a holy and righteous God. Animal sacrifices will serve that purpose, “but in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year”(Heb 10:3). A temporary cover for sin will be required at this time, through offerings made at the active Temple in Jerusalem. Only after the Millennial reign, will the Heavenly Jerusalem come down, replacing the Old Temple with the Heavenly(Rev 21:1-4). When sin and death are cast off, there will be no more reason for physical animal sacrifices – till that time, the re-instituted system of Temple Offerings will stand according to Scripture.

7. Conclusion
The reason for the objections brought against an earthly sacrificial system stem from the belief that “Sacrifices” took away sin. We have seen that the blood of animals could never wipe away sin, but rather act as a temporary covering. What’s more, the sacrifices also gave weight to “Sin” and served as a lesson to the sinner, that the relationship with God was based on purity and obedience. Just as one cannot approach a king without right attire, a man in sin could not approach a Holy God. In the earthly realm, the instituted offerings dressed up the person so that they were not naked before God, in their walk in this temporary body. Offerings showed how great and holy God was and what drawing near to Him entails.

Yeshua’s sacrifice and His Blood could never be offered in the earthly temple, but in the Heavenly construction where it cleared the conscience and made us pure in Spirit so that one could receive Eternal Life. While the earthly foreshadows the heavenly, the two are separate and have nothing to do with each other – one meant to be a temporary cover for temporary life and the other wiping away sin wholly, opening a path to Eternal Life. This is why the Sacrifice of Messiah did not abolish the Earthly Sacrifices. It is why even the Apostle Paul went to purify himself through sacrifices in the temple many years after the death of Messiah(Acts 21:23-26). It is why the prophets speak of a time where offerings will be re-instituted with the building of a third Earthly Temple in Jerusalem.

Even though these offerings were expressions of ones heart, symbolic of the offerer being offered up as an offering, they were never a substitute for obedience to God(1Sam 15:22, Mic 6:6-8). The psalmist put it aptly when he said “An afflicted heart would be desired more by God, than burnt sacrifices(Psa 51:16,17)”. What matters is obedience, when it comes to His Word. And the sacrifices and offerings instituted by YHVH are part of His word. It was never abolished in Yeshua, but rather ceased temporarily with the destruction of the temple only to be re-instituted when it is rebuilt. In the interim we can only bring our prayers as Offerings, and our lives as a sacrifice unto Him. Let us be obedient in all He has instituted, walking in holiness, and do what is possible till the prophesied time of His return.

Once Saved Always Saved? Learnings from the Parable of the Sower

The topic of salvation is a massive subject, with varying opinions. One of the most controversial issues regarding salvation is, whether the idea of “once saved, always saved” is true or false. Some say that you are eternally secure and that you cannot lose the salvation which has been freely provided, in anyway. Others say that there is a chance of falling away, and losing your salvation if you do not continue in the faith. Which of these contrasting opinions is true? Can we or can we not lose the “life” given to us by God?

This study consists of the following sections
1) 4 categories of terrain that reflect 4 different kinds of people and outcomes
2) Once saved always saved? Is it Scriptural?
3) Salvation is conditional
4) But what is the right path? The path of Righteousness?
5) Who is really saved?
6) Testing the Scriptural proof provided for the doctrine of “Eternal Security”
7) Conclusion

parable of the sowerAnswering the questions posted above and figuring out whether the doctrine of “Eternal Security” (Once saved, Always saved) is Biblically accurate, will be the objective of this study. And for this purpose, we will use the help of, one of the most famous parables communicated to us by Messiah Yeshua(Jesus’ true name) ; The Parable of the Sower.

The Parable
Luk 8:5-8 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold.
The Meaning
Luk 8:11-15 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

1) 4 Categories of Terrain that reflect 4 different kinds of People and outcomes
This famous parable which is even taught to the youngest of Christians, is of special importance to us. We see Christ explain that the “Seed” is the “Word of God”, and then move on to the different terrains which this seed falls on, explaining the meanings as given below:
1. Way side: They hear, but do not believe and are not saved
2. Rocky: They hear, believe, but fall away when confronted with temptation
3. Thorny: They hear, believe, but bear no fruit because of cares and pleasures of this life
4. Good Soil: They Hear, keep the Word and bears fruit

God’s Salvation through Messiah, is available for all of the 4 categories of people mentioned above. But it is clear that, some reject this salvation through unbelief. Some believe, but wither away as they do not continue in faith. Some believe, but bear no fruit as they are choked with the worries and pleasures of this life. Only some keep the word they heard through faith and bear fruit. It is clear that the word which went into the ears of the people mentioned as “rocks”, heard, believed, but still fell away. So can there be people who hear, believe and still are not saved? according to Yeshua – the answer is a yes!

When we say “we are saved”, what we actually mean is that we believe in receiving “eternal life” and being saved from “eternal death”. Even though we call ourselves “saved” right now, when will we be really saved from eternal death which is the lake of fire(Rev 20:15)? Is it not at the end of time, when we receive the promised everlasting life(Rom 6:22)? Don’t get me wrong; we have been given the guarantee of salvation, but we will receive it only when we stand in front of the judgement seat of God. When we come to believe God through Messiah in repentance and obedience, our names are written in the book of life. But if we are like the rocky terrain or the thorny terrain, we must remember that God has the power to blot out our names, as we read “Rev 3:5  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels” (also read Psa 69:28).

Only the ones who hear God’s Word and obey it, bear much fruit as the ones called “good soil”. To bear fruit, we must abide in Messiah(Joh 15:4-6) or be burned as fruitless branches(Luk 13:9) at the day of judgement (Mat 13:41,42). Hearing is worthless if you do not keep/obey His Word(Mat 7:24, Luk 11:28, Joh 14:23, Heb 5:9, Jam 2:24).

2) Once saved always saved? – Is it Scriptural?
Just because a person believes in God, does not guarantee him/her salvation. If that was the case, then the seed which fell on rocky terrain should not wither away, nor should the seed that fell among thorns be choked. We must remember that, in the kingdom of heaven there are no fruitless branches/trees(Joh 15:2). The Word of God that is deposited in your being must bring forth fruits that shows the seed which has sprouted in your heart(Mat 7:16,17). Let’s look at a few other examples of Scripture, that cements the fact that all who believe are not assured of Salvation. (If you are a believer in the doctrine of “eternal security”, please test it against the following Scriptures, and may the Holy Spirit show you the truth)

Mat 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity(transgress the Law).
Mat 24:13  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Luk 12:45,46 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
Rom 2:6-9 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 
Rom 11:22  Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
1Co 9:27  But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
2Co 13:5  Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates(rejected)?
Gal 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 
Col 1:22,23 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
Php 3:11,12 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Heb 3:14  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
Heb 5:8,9 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
Heb 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Heb 10:26  For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
Jas 5:19,20 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
2Pe 2:21  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
Rev 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Rev 2:23  And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
Rev 21:7,8 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Rev 22:14  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Eze 18:24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.

3) Salvation is Conditional
Some would disagree with me on this point. But a simple review of the basic principles taught by Messiah, is enough to understand this fact. The free gift of salvation depends on a change in lifestyle. Turning towards God from the sinful path we were in – which is known as “repentance”(Luk 13:5, Mar 1:15). Repentance is not only a thought, but an act – it is not merely being sorry and asking forgiveness for the sins we have done, but correcting our ways not to repeat the same again. True repentance brings about a wrestling in one’s inner being(Rom 7:19-24). Without true repentance, no person can have true salvation(Act 2:38, 3:19, Rev 2:5). It is not only repentance, but continuing on the right path till the end, that assures Salvation(Heb 3:14).

4) But what is the right path? The path of Righteousness?
A person who is truly “saved” or has received “salvation” is a person who has left the old sinful self behind(Rom 6:13-16). This person knows the difference between sin and righteousness, and is on a corrective path(2Tim 2:21). He/she does not engage in willful sin(Rom 6:1,2). Which brings us to the question, what is sin?

1Jn 3:4-6 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

Sin is breaking God’s Law as seen above. Without God’s Law, we cannot know what “sin” is(Rom 7:7). The knowledge of “sin” is through God’s Law(Rom 3:20). Many of us misunderstand what the Law is, saying “if you follow God’s Law, you have fallen from Grace”. This is not what Paul wrote in his letters. His words were “whoever is JUSTIFIED by the Law, is fallen from Grace“(Gal 5:4). In other words, no one can attain righteousness for themselves by following the Law. Grace is a free gift given by God because of our faith in Him(Rom 5:2). He is the one who let’s us enter into life from death. He is the one who saves us because of His grace. But after we are “saved”, how do we know what is right from wrong? That is what the Law is there for. As a guide, to help us become obedient to Him. If a person claims to be saved, but still disobeys God’s Law(which is not the curse) – he/she is committing sin whether it is deliberate or unintentional.

5) Who is really saved?
To recap, a person who is saved(attained salvation from death) cannot be a sinner(one who dwells in sin/breaking God’s Law). If a person claims to be saved, and continues in willful sin, his/her “salvation” is questionable at best. He/she has not repented truthfully, and may not be saved even though they believe so. This does not mean to say, that a true believer who is saved can never fall short of God’s standards and commit sin. A person who falls short, will admit his failure and correct himself in repentance. A good example for such a person is David – who is known as “a man after God’s own heart” (Act 13:22, 1Kin 15:5). In our personal walk with God, there might even come a time when each of us find out(through reading His Word/Commandments/Laws), that we have been doing something that God resents. At such an occasion, we will ask for His forgiveness for continuing in that sin, and change our ways from that day onward. Such an example can be seen with King Hezekiah in 2Chr chapter 29.

6) Testing the Scriptural proof provided for the doctrine of “Eternal Security”
Many proof texts are put forth as evidence for the doctrine of “once saved always saved”, which do not agree with the entirety of Scripture. It is therefore necessary for us to test these scriptures and see whether the interpretation derived from them are true or false. While there are quite a number of verses quoted as proof, we will test some of the most famous scriptures given as evidence of this doctrine. (Please read and test the examinations provided for each of the text, given in red color subsequent to the said passage)

Rom 8:38,39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Paul is right to say that no external force on heaven or earth can separate each of us from the love of God. But this does not mean that we can be assured of His love, His Grace or His Salvation, if we choose to go back to our old ways of living in sin. External forces cannot effect our salvation, however we are able to affect it by how we live our lives)

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (Each person who believes in Messiah is given the free gift of everlasting life. But we also need to understand that a true believer needs to put his/her faith into action. Having faith without keeping His word is an empty endeavour – Jas 2:19,20)

Joh 10:28,29 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. (Christ is clear when He says that no one who He gives eternal life to, can be plucked from His hand. The only thing we need clarification on is, who He is speaking about. He is speaking of His sheep who hear His voice and follows Him. This comes back to the argument that we made previously about the good soil – whoever keeps His word/follows Him till the end, will for sure be saved from eternal death) 

Jud 1:24  Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Christ is able to present us faultless through His blood and also help us keep from falling through the example he has left us. As verse 23 states, the believer needs to hate the things of the flesh which is sin. A person who is on the right path, is who He will present faultless before the Father [Rev 3:5])

Rom 8:29,30 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Eph 1:5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (Is it true that God has predetermined or that He knows of all the true believers who will come to Him? Definitely! But this does not mean every person who professes to believe or believes and falls away afterwards, would have been in God’s list in the first place. Time does not affect Him, and because of this reason He already knows whether each of us will make it to the Kingdom or not. In His eyes we have made those decisions already.)

There are many more verses that are utilized to prove the doctrine of “once saved, always saved” which, when examined in light of the whole Word of God, does not stand as sound pieces of evidence.

7) Conclusion
While we remember that salvation is a free gift of God which is provided to every living soul, we must also keep in mind that, we alone have the power to (1) reject it as the “way side” terrain, (2) believe but fall away as the “rocky” terrain, (3) believe but get caught up with this life as the “thorny” terrain, or (4) believe and put the word to practice thereby bearing fruit like the “good soil” terrain. The simple fact is, that a person who believes today, and falls away tomorrow to never come back in repentance, would most assuredly lose the salvation promised by God, as it is their own choice to abandon it. Only the ones who continue in the righteous path would get to the gates of the Kingdom of God to receive the promised Salvation(Mat 7:13,14).

Not all who say “Lord, Lord”, not all who prophesy in His name, not all who cast devils in His name, not even all who do many other wondrous works in His name, will enter into His Kingdom (Mat 7:22,23). What makes us so sure to promise unwitting believers that the moment they believe in Christ, they are assured of receiving Salvation? We must first ask them to transform their lives and start following God’s Word(Rom 12:2). We must ask them to reach for perfection which starts from Scripture itself (2Tim 3:16,17). We must preach and teach them, warning them, so that they are presented perfect to Christ (Col 1:28). And to hold onto the faith till the end(Heb 3:14). We need them to prepare their lives as “Good soil” which is ready to receive the seeds of “God’s Word” which grow and bare much fruit, so that when the owner of the field returns, He will be happy with the harvest yielded, and would gather them into His Barn(Mat 13:30).

Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Is God’s Law a Curse?

The belief that the “Law is a curse”, is a doctrine that has been handed down for many generations in Christianity. Each New born Christian is taught one way, or the other, that the Law is useless, done away and even a curse. They are taught that whoever “obeys/does” the Law of God is “under a curse”. The proof for this idea comes from the letters of Paul – “the misunderstood apostle” as I call him. Today, we will delve into the Scriptures in hope of uncovering the truth behind his words and clear out any misunderstandings these verses have created.

Let us review the words of Paul that have been misinterpreted by most Christians
Gal 3:10 
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Gal 3:11 
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Gal 3:12  
And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Gal 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Life&DeathReading the above, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that whoever obeys “God’s Law” is “under a curse” and that the “Law is a curse”. If many more Christians knew the context of Scripture, that Paul himself is quoting the Old Testament here, and understood the Covenant God made with His people, these misunderstandings would cease to exist. The core of this misunderstanding lies in not knowing that God set forth both Blessing & Curses, and Life & Death, when He made the Covenant with His people.

 

The Blessings & Curses of the Law
When God made the Covenant at Sinai & confirmed it at Horeb, He set forth Blessings & Curses before His people. If the people obeyed, they would be blessed. If the people disobeyed, they would be cursed.

Deu 11:26-28 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
Deu 30:15,19 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
Deu 29:21 And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law:
Dan 9:11  Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.
Jos 8:34  And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law.

Read the list of Blessings for obedience(keeping His Covenant by obeying God’s Law) in Deut 28:1-14 & Lev 26:1-13

Read the list of Curses for disobedience(breaking His Covenant by disobeying God’s Law) in Deut 28:15-68 & Lev 26:14-39

The above verses are clear on the fact that God set forth blessings and curses for the ones who obey or disobey.
Life, good & Blessings were for the obedient.
Death, evil & Curses were for the disobedient.
This was the Law of God. The Law of God could save no one. Neither did it have a mind of its own. It was merely a set of instructions to live by. Whoever lived by them had life, good & blessings, while whoever disobeyed had death, evil & curses on their lives.

Now let’s  focus our attention on what Paul wrote about, in Gal 3:10-13

Gal 3:10
Paul quotes Deut 27:26 saying that whoever “does not continue/does not abide” in God’s Law is “cursed”. Deut 27:26 reads “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.” (Also read Jer 11:3, Eze 18:24)

Gal 3:11
Paul differentiates the Law & Faith, saying no one will be justified through the Law of God but by faith quoting Hab 2:4 “the just/righteous shall live by faith” in God. This is exactly what the Prophet Habakkuk spoke through the Spirit, in Hab 2:4 which reads “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

Gal 3:12
Paul furthers his argument saying that the Law has no connection to faith, but that whoever does/obeys the Law will live in them (will have life through it) quoting Lev 18:5 “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.” (Also read Neh 9:29, Eze 20:11,13)

Gal 3:13
Then, Paul goes onto explain an important point that is the root of this misunderstanding. It is important to note that, it is not the fault of Paul but our own, that we have misunderstood this for so long. Paul says that through Christ’s death on the cross, He has redeemed us from the curse of the law. It is clear that Paul is not calling “God’s Law” a curse. He is simply saying that Christ redeemed us from the “Curse OF THE Law”.

What was the curse of the Law? The Curse of the Law was that whoever disobeyed/sinned would die(Eze 18:24). Sin led man to death(Rom 5:12). We know what Sin is, only through the Law(Rom 7:7)

What did Christ redeem us from? He redeemed us from death which was the wages of Sin(Rom 6:23). Paul was right to say that Yeshua(Jesus’ true name) saved us from the Curse of the Law, as the “Curse of the Law = Death”.

A short review of the points made by Paul in the above 4 verses;
• Whoever does not obey God’s Law is cursed (Gal 3:10/Deut 27:26)
• The righteous are not justified before God, through Law, but by Faith (Gal 3:11/Hab 2:4)
• The Law is different to Faith, but who “obeys/does” the Law will have life(Gal 3:12/Lev 18:5). So, conversely, if someone does not obey/do the Law, they will have death.
• But Through Christ’s sacrifice we are free from the curse of the Law, which is Death(Gal 3:13). Not that we can be disobedient to Him, but that we would have grace & mercy, through repentance, whenever we fall short of obeying God’s Law.

With the above understanding, let’s review Gal 3:10-13
Paul has made his case that no one is “justified/made righteous” before God through the Law, but by having Faith in God. But he has also said that whoever disobeys God’s Law is under a curse. Even though we are “justified/made righteous” through faith, Obedience to God’s Law is necessary to not be under the curse of Death. In other words, We are saved/justified/made righteous through Faith, but our obedience to God & His Laws decides whether we stay under His favour/grace and obtain Life eternal. Just because someone who believes in God’s mercy, is saved, does not mean he/she can go on disobeying God and still have His favour/grace towards him/herself. But, whenever we fall short, and break His Law (Sin), we are now not under the curse of the Law, because Christ has taken the Curse, which is Death, on Himself.

“Sin” or “Disobedience” against God is the “breaking of God’s Law” (1Jn 3:4  Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.) This could be written as a simple equation as given below;

COMMITTING SIN = BREAKING GOD’S LAW brings CURSE OF THE LAW = DEATH
LIVING RIGHTEOUSLY = OBEYING GOD’S LAW brings BLESSING OF THE LAW = LIFE

Because of Christ, even when we break The Law, we can still receive mercy through repentance, and not be under the “Curse of the Law” which is Death.

Conclusion
Paul never called God’s Law, “a curse”. This is a man-made doctrine which has existed in the Christian congregations, from as early as the 3rd Century AD. The “Curse of the Law” was Death, which was the wage needed to be paid for Sin. Through Christ’s intervention and death, He took this curse on Himself, giving us freedom from Death and passage to eternal Life. Our Messiah did not take away the Law through His death. He took away the “Curse of the Law” through His death. We receive salvation through Faith, and not by keeping God’s Law. This was the same with the people of Israel, as they were saved from Egypt & Slavery through God’s Grace & Mercy, and not because of any righteousness they had. After they were saved, God wanted obedience from them. This is the same pattern seen throughout the Scriptures. We are also required to be obedient towards our Heavenly Father after He saves us through His grace. And whenever we fall short, He still has mercy towards the repentant, because of the redemption work of Messiah Yeshua.

We cannot call the Law of God, a curse, as it is only a guide on how we should live. The choice is upto us. We can choose to live in the blessings or to die in the curses. We cannot blame God’s Law for the choices we make. Let us walk in the “Blessings of the Law” by being obedient to our Creator and choose life Eternal, for He has paid the ultimate price for our lives, so that we are never under the “Curse of Law”, which is death.

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Defining the term “Salvation”

As Christians we believe we are “Saved”. We believe that through Christ, we have received Salvation. But do we really understand what Salvation is? What are we saved from? Is the “Salvation” we receive, permanent? Are “Christians”, as some state, “once saved, always saved”?

Defining Salvation and understanding this key concept in Christianity is important in understanding our Creator, God Almighty, as well as His Word.

We are born to this world and continue in the path of Adam, as sinful beings and are under the control of Sin from our youth. “Sin” is breaking or not obeying God’s Commandments / Laws (1John 3:4). Everyone who sins, comes under the curse of God’s Law(Deut 11:26-28), which is Death (James 1:15).

Contrary to popular belief, God’s Law is not the curse. The curse came upon all who broke God’s Law, which includes every soul on earth. This is the curse of the Law that Christ took upon himself (Gal 3:13). He saved us from the Penalty of breaking God’s Law. He saved us from the Penalty of Sin, which is Death.

The name in which our Messiah was addressed as, on earth was “Yeshua”.  He was a Hebrew, born amongst Hebrews, who spoke Hebrew. His name was “Yeshua” which means “Salvation” in Hebrew. And this name was given to Him, as His mission was to save people from “Sin” (Mat 1:21).

A “Christian” is someone who emulates “Christ”. A true “Christian” cannot be a “Sinner”(one who dwells in Sin). We have all been “Sinners”. But we have all left our old selves behind when we accepted Yeshua as our Messiah. We cannot be partakers of Sin anymore.

Does this mean we cannot Sin after starting our walk with God? Certainly not. We will fall short one time or the other. Some will sin more than others. And that is why we have His Grace. Grace is a free gift given to us, not so that we can keep on living our own lives the way we see fit, but so we can obey Him and not be cursed with death when we fall short (Rom 6:15,16). It is not a free pass to “sin”(Sin is breaking God’s Law).

A true Christian cannot be constantly and willfully sinning. Such a person is taking the blood sacrifice made by Yeshua lightly (Heb 10:26-31).

So what then of Salvation? A person who accepts God and receives Salvation from Death, can also as easily let go of it by going back to their old ways (Heb 6:4-6, 2Pet 2:20-22). Some say or think that they do not “Sin”, as “Sin” in their mind is not what the Scripture defines it to be. The Scriptures are clear. “Sin” is breaking or not obeying God’s Commandments / Laws (1John 3:4).

The doctrine of “Once saved, always saved” is baseless when using Scripture in proper context. Telling people “come as you are, God will accept you” is not entirely correct. God does give every sinner a chance to become a child of His. But the sinner needs to change his or her ways. They cannot come to God and still dwell in their earlier sinful life. In other words, you can come to God as you are. But you must change your ways, after you come to Him. If a sinner comes to “Salvation” and then returns to the earlier sinful life, how can that person be “Saved”? Salvation is part of a Righteous Life, just as Death is part of a Sinful Life (Rom 6:1,2).

We have learned that Sin leads to death. So what leads to life? It is God’s Word that leads to Life Everlasting (John 5:24, 14:23,24). God has called us to live righteous lives (1John 3:6-10). Righteousness is the opposite of Sin, which means Righteousness = Keeping God’s Law, as Sin = Breaking God’s Law (1John 3:4).

At the end of time, at the judgement seat of God, each of us will have to stand and give account to what we have said and done. All of us will be judged according to our works (Rev 20:11,12). Not according to our Faith. The Righteous judge, will decide whether each of us are worthy of Life or Death. Our Salvation will be completed only on that day, when we enter His Kingdom. Until that day, let us strive to obey God to our best ability with the Grace we receive through Yeshua.

Old Covenant abolished by New Covenant? Part II – Does the Book of Hebrews prove that the Old Covenant is no more

In the 1st Part of this study, we studied all the Covenants mentioned in the Bible and checked what is commonly known as the “Old Covenant” & “New Covenant” as well. We saw that their was evidence in the Scriptures to say that these Covenants were Everlasting. (If you have not read the 1st Part of this study, please start there for a better understanding of this complex subject we are trying to address).

This post is dedicated to studying the book of Hebrews. Specifically, the claim that some make, saying that the book of Hebrews is clear proof that the “Old Covenant” is done away with and that it is decaying and vanishing away, as seen in Heb 8:13.

Before we proceed any further, I would like to ask you to keep an open mind. Do not approach this article thinking “here’s another person trying to get us to follow traditions and Laws”. You are more than welcome to disagree with me. But I humbly ask you, not to disagree with Scripture. Test everything written in this article. See whether everything falls into place. Remember that there can be no disagreements between the Biblical Authors. There can be no conflict between two verses in the Bible, when taken in CONTEXT.

All of the pieces in the puzzle needs to fit perfectly. We cannot force pieces of the puzzle to fit where we want it to. It needs to be in perfect harmony to all the pieces around it, giving us a complete picture. We have all been taught by someone or the other where these pieces of the puzzle fit. Personally, for a long time, I did not question the placement. I knew some of the pieces and their placements did not make sense. But I thought, others knew best. I thought who am I to question the placement which has been this way for centuries, approved and taught by great men and women of God. But some of the time, you can come across verses that go against your beliefs and doctrines. Now, some people, like I was before, have the ability to just read over these lines and not even notice them. I was like Paul (but not even 1% as knowledgeable as he was), on my way to Damascus, with my understanding and belief of the Word. All of us need Yeshua to open our eyes. All of us need the guidance of God’s Spirit. No one person, including me, has the whole puzzle figured out. All of us are learning. If you have and open mind to look at the puzzle again, let us proceed.

The Book of Hebrews has caused a lot of misunderstandings and confusion in Christianity.(Actually, it is not the fault of the Book or the Author of Hebrews. It is our fault for not reading it carefully, in complete synchrony with all of the other Scriptures and not giving heed to Peter’s warning in 2Peter 3:16 about taking Scripture out of context). As I was studying this complex Subject myself, I came across an Article, that is clearly in alignment with God’s Word. I believe that I could not do a better job of my own regarding the Book of Hebrews, without losing out on key points mentioned in this article. Given below, is this Article written by Jon Sherman from 119 Ministries.

Hebrews 7:12-18; 8:6-13 – Does the Better Covenant Equal a New High Priesthood or God Abolishing His Law?
by Jon Sherman
Hb 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

Hb 7:18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

Hb 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

Hb 8:13 In that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

So what do these verses mean? Can we take four verses out of this letter and build a solid doctrine? Does this mean that God did away with His own law that scripture stated to be perfect, good, and just (Psalm 19:7, James 1:25, Proverbs 4:2, Romans 7:12, Romans 7:16, 1 Timothy 1:8)? Are we to abolish the Law of God in our faith (Romans 3:31)? Did God somehow make an already perfect law according to His own standards even better by changing the commandments, or as some say, by abolishing them?

Or perhaps did He improve the covenant by simply removing the imperfect human element from the priestly system and inserted Yeshua (Jesus) as the new perfect High Priest thus leaving all of God’s perfect law completely intact? Those are our only two choices. Both positions can not co-exist without conflict. We must test all of this to Scripture, to determine if Hebrews teaches that God took His perfect law and made perfect better, or if God simply replaced an imperfect High Priesthood with a perfect High Priesthood to improve the covenant.

Hebrews is a letter, and as with any letter, it serves a specific point and purpose by answering a specific issue to the intended audience. To properly answer the questions outlined above it seems to make sense to start at the beginning of the letter (instead of the middle) to build context as we arrive to the verses of contention.

Every letter ever written in the history of man was written to be read from beginning to the end. No letter in the history of man was ever written with the assumption that someone will read the letter a couple of translations and hundreds of years later and then decide to pull a few sentences out of it to build a theological doctrine. Obviously that would be quite absurd. Yet is that not what we do? The following will extract the main points out of each chapter to begin forming the foundation and context of the letter. Please consider reading the whole chapters and ensure that you agree to the summary points being made below.

Chapter Main Points

Chapter 1
1) We learn that Yeshua (Jesus) is now better than the angels. Thus the context already seems to be built around our Lord and Savior.

Chapter 2
1) Yeshua (Jesus), was initially made lower than the angels and He then prevailed over sin and death.

Chapter 3
1) Yeshua (Jesus) is now our High Priest. He was worthy, whereas the previous human priestly administration (Levitical Priesthood) was disobedient and imperfect. The context is forming quickly and is becoming clearer.

Chapter 4
1) The author of Hebrews begins to cite examples of how men were imperfect in the Levitical priesthood and then details the resulting consequences. Like those coming out of Egypt (3:11), disobedience could forfeit our still pending rest in Him(4:6, 11). Some confuse chapter 4 and conclude that we are already in God’s rest. If all of chapter 3 and 4 are read it is quickly understood that we enter God’s rest at the end of the race and we should strive to enter it in obedience and faithfulness. Thus the case is built for a perfect High Priesthood that will lead us in the straight and narrow and not fall into the problems that plagued the priesthoods of the past.

2) Yeshua (Jesus), our new High Priest, can sympathize with our weakness.

3) Hebrews 4:9 declares that there is still a “Sabbath keeping” for the people of God (sabbatismos = Literally means “Sabbath keeping” in the Greek; Derivative from G4521, sabbaton, or Sabbath)

Note: The context so far is completely about Yeshua (Jesus) and His worthiness to be our High Priest and the established need to change out the current imperfect priesthood administration to a perfect administration. Note that the author of Hebrews has not yet offered anything negative about the Law of God. As the problem statement or issue is more clearly defined, we should expect that the solution should be directly related to the problem statement. We need to continuously ask if the problem is with the Law of God, and thus needed to be changed, as that is the point of contention and answer we seek.

Chapter 5
1) Yeshua (Jesus), our new High Priest, unlike men as High Priests, will not have compassion with those who are ignorant or deviating from His ways. Imperfect men in the priesthood allowed God’s people to deviate from God’s ways. This is a problem. In chapter 4, the author already stated that Yeshua (Jesus) as our High Priest would not sympathize with our weakness (we are accountable) but He still affords us grace (forgiven). Again, the solution is being foreshadowed as the problem statement is solidified.

2) The author of Hebrews establishes that Jesus is scripturally and rightfully called to be the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. The context is set. The author has defined the problem (imperfect priesthood) and is strongly hinting at the solution.

3) After establishing that the change in the High Priesthood has been prophetically foretold in the Law and Prophets, the author expresses concern that his audience needs to invest more focus in the oracles of God (God’s law in other scriptural references). The author of Hebrews declares God’s law as the milk that is necessary to discern both good and evil. We need to move past milk (understand God’s law) before we can eat meat (deeper teachings of God’s Word). The author now takes a break and actually rebukes his audience for not being able to figure this out in their study as it is all written in God’s Word.

Question: Why is it important for the author of Hebrews to reference scriptural support in his suggestion that (Yeshua) Jesus is now our High Priest, meaning a change in the law and covenant has occurred?

Answer: Amos 3:7 Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.

The author of Hebrews knows full well that nothing in the law can change or will ever change unless God told us before hand that it was going to change and exactly how it was to change. That is an important scriptural truth to understand in the context of many teachings that suggest that many of God’s laws have been abolished. God never told us beforehand that He would ever abolish His law in any capacity. In fact, the opposite is true in which the Law of God is stated to be perpetual, continual, and forever.

Chapter 6
1) The author of Hebrews appeals to his audience to move beyond the elementary and simple matters of Christ and the gospel and begin understanding the more complicated matters.

2) Yeshua (Jesus) has entered into the Heavenly sanctuary and is making constant intercessions on our behalf as our High Priest.

Note: A High Priest necessitates a priestly system. That is simply how it works and how it is established in the Law of God. If we state that the priestly system has been discarded or abolished, then by default, as an unfortunate yet profound consequence, we have then also discarded (Yeshua) Jesus as our High Priest. We cannot have one without the other. What this simply means is that if anyone teaches that the sacrificial system is abolished, then they are in essence firing their High Priest in their own theological doctrine. Which of course would mean that we would not have a High Priest making continuous intercession for us on our behalf and are all still under curse of the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2).

It is not that the sacrificial system has been abolished, it just now operates perfectly in the Heavens instead of imperfectly on Earth.

Therefore, by now, we are starting to understand that the priestly system has not been abolished, just transferred to a new administration, as prophecy foretold in the order of Melchizedek. The author of Hebrews will now begin discussing the detail behind such change, as apparently the author of Hebrews is highly disappointed in their initial inability to grasp this concept without his help.

Chapter 7
1) Melchizedek is a priestly order that is forever, and even Abraham gave tithes to him (therefore the point is established that he is greater than Abraham)

2) The Levitical priesthood system was not perfect. That in of itself was a serious problem, and now the problem at hand has been well established.

3) The former was set aside, as the law could not make us perfect/righteous. Because of this, imperfect beings were in administration of the High Priest duties and another solution was obviously necessary. The problem at hand has been clarified more.

4) The author of Hebrews establishes that the Lord does not change His mind, and Yeshua (Jesus), being worthy, as established earlier, can be the perfect SOLUTION to the “imperfect man” priesthood PROBLEM. This in fact means that there is not a problem with the law, as some imply, but the problem is directly related to the “who” is in administration as the High Priest, which was imperfect man. The context is sealed in cement here.

5) This is a permanent solution, as He continuously makes intercession for us in the eternal priestly system. From this point on, we will always have a perfect priestly administration system and will never revert back to a priestly system operated by imperfect man.

6) This was always the plan, and it is established again that Yeshua (Jesus) is perfect, and man was not, thus the logic behind the change that has been foretold at least since the law was written.

Some commentary is warranted regarding verse 12
Hb 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

Some also confuse this verse and mistakenly offer it as clear evidence that the law has been abolished, simply because Jesus Christ is now our High Priest. This confusion is hard to understand, because it specifically states that the law is changed, not abolished. In fact, this same author uses this same Greek word, G3346 – metatithemi, in chapter 11 verse 5:

Hb 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated (metatithemi) that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated (metatithemi) him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

Here, the translators translate the same word as “translated.” Obviously Enoch was not abolished or deleted. He was simply transferred or translated into the Heavenly realms without seeing death.

Strong’s defines the word to literally mean to translate or carry over something. As one incorporates this into the overall teaching that the letter to the Hebrews is offering us, it is quickly apparent that all verse 12 is stating is that the priestly laws that were once laws for the Levitical (imperfect) priesthood, are now transferred in responsibility to our perfect High Priest Jesus Christ (Yeshua), thereby removed from the Levitical priesthood and established with Jesus Christ (Yeshua) as our new High Priest.

This understanding leads into verses 18:
Hb 7:18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

Note that it states that there is a disannulling of a commandment, not commandments. If it was the whole law of Moses being cancelled then we would be dealing with more than one commandment. We know that the law is not weak and unprofitable, however the author does not clarify yet at this point what is weak and unprofitable. Later we discover it is the “sinful man administration of the priesthood” that is causing the weakness, which is the root cause of the problem at hand.

We do not want to ignore what we learned in verse 12 when reading verse 18. We know that the commandment was not erased, but translated, or transferred from the Levitical Priesthood to Yeshua (Jesus) in the order of Melchizedek.

The Greek word for disannulling (G115 – athetesis) helps clarify exactly what is occurring here. Athetesis means “to set aside something, to refuse to recognize its validity, or the complete removal of something“

To the Levitical Priesthood, the commandment that placed them in charge of the High Priesthood, it was “set aside”, and “removed,” and “they were no longer recognized” as the administers of the Priesthood, but in fact, as verse 12 already clearly stated, the law was not thrown out the window, but handed off, or transferred, to the perfect administrator, Yeshua (Jesus). He, unlike the Levites, was without sin.

Hebrews is simply a teaching on the well orchestrated solution to a well articulated problem. What often sadly occurs at this point is many teachers mistakenly claim that the law was the problem and therefore the law was abolished. So far, we can see in using context and the words used, that interpretation is failing. In chapter 8, the root problem is even more clearly established, warranting the “transfer of High Priesthood” solution that God implemented.

Isn’t it quite simple when we take the verses before a verse to discover meaning, instead of bringing our own bias into the text?

Now that verses 12 and 18 have been beaten into the ground, let’s examine the more complicated matters.

Note: The context so far is completely about Yeshua (Jesus) and His worthiness to be our High Priest, the reason for it, and the scriptural method on how it was accomplished. Note the context is still not about the abolishing of the Law of God.

Chapter 8
1) Verse 2, specifically states that even the tabernacle in which Yeshua (Jesus) is now High Priest is the eternal, heavenly tabernacle, not made by corrupted and polluted man.

2) The Earthly tabernacle was built as a foreshadowing of the Heavenly tabernacle with Yeshua (Jesus) as the High Priest.

3) Verse 6, specifically states that Yeshua (Jesus) as a mediator of this covenant is superior (because Yeshua (Jesus) is a perfect High Priest).

Hb 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

The focus of verse 6 is the “ministry” that Yeshua has obtained. The Greek word being used here is “G3009 – leitourgia” which means a “public function such as a priest” according to Strongs Greek Concordance. This should not be a surprise to us, as that has been the whole point of Hebrews so far. Yeshua was given a new office as our new High Priest. It is BECAUSE Yeshua (Jesus) is the new High Priest (“by how much also he…”) that the covenant was made better. Some propose the covenant was made better because God abolished some of His commandments. That teaching is found nowhere in the letter to the Hebrews. The covenant was made better because of the new office/ministry/priesthood of Yeshua (Jesus) our Messiah.

To prove it, all we need to do is simply read the following two verses. The author of Hebrews explains this to us! Watch.

4) Verse 7, specifically states that something was WRONG with the covenant, again establishing the need for Yeshua (Jesus) as the High Priest for this improvement in the covenant. This again begs the question, what was so wrong with the covenant, God’s commandments or God’s people?

Hb 8:7 For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Verse 7 says that the first had been faultless. Notice how “covenant” is in brackets. It is in brackets because it is not in the original Greek. This is a literary tool called an “ellipsis” which we will cover in more detail shortly. The point is this, the translators placed “covenant” after “first” to hopefully offer more clarity for the reader. Unfortunately, as we already read in verse 6, the subject is the new “leitourgia” (public office as High Priest) of Yeshua (Jesus), thus the translators have shown their own bias. It was not the first covenant at fault, but the first priesthood of Israel that was at fault.

Can we prove this? Yes!
Once again all we have to do is read the next verse to discover who or what was at fault.

5) Verse 8, specifically states that God found fault with the PEOPLE, which is the root cause of what was wrong with the covenant.

Hb 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

The covenant built on God’s law, as established earlier, is just, holy, perfect, and good.

Question: If we adopt the dominant teaching on Hebrews that states that God’s law was replaced by a better law, then how can we answer the following question considering the totality of scripture? If God’s covenant and law was already perfect, how did God make it better? Can you make perfect even more perfect? Of course not, that is absurd. There is another answer.

Answer: The author of Hebrews has simply stated this: Yeshua (Jesus) is perfect and man is not. It is not good for an imperfect man to be the administrator of a perfect law and covenant system specific to the component of the priestly system. Yeshua (Jesus) was the perfect solution and is now our perfect High Priest, thus solving the problem. This is not a problem with God’s law or covenant. The administration of the High Priesthood, as a component of God’s law and covenant is what was made better, by transferring from an imperfect administration, to a now perfect administration. This is all amazing yet profoundly simple.

The most important thing to consider is that God fixes what was broken. Does this not make sense? Would we expect God to “fix” what was not broken?

God found “fault with them,” not His own law. Thus God fixed the priestly system (them) and made it perfect (through Yeshua), just like His already perfect law.

6) Verses 9-12 specifically references the Old Testament prophecy indicating that this change has all been foretold. Notice that the prophecy speaks of the High Priesthood, not the whole Law of God as written by Moses. Notice that the New Covenant is made with the House of Israel (northern Kingdom) and the House of Judah (southern kingdom), which is collectively Israel as a whole. This is why Romans 11 and Ephesians 2 declares all believers in Yeshua (Jesus) as Israel, which should bring a new perspective to the commands in the Bible that were given to Israel and stated to be perpetual, lasting, and forever. These are the same commands that are stated to be supposedly abolished as a result of a serious misunderstanding of the letter to the Hebrews. Also note that the law is written on our heart, which means that we want to obey out of love. If the law has been abolished as some teach, then what law is being written on our heart? Do a search on commandments and love in scripture, and relationship to love and the commandments will be very clear.

In verses 8-12 (which is quoting Jeremiah 31:31-33) we learn that the whole point of the New Covenant is for us to actually walk in God’s law. Remember, the problem outlined before is that the priests consistently failed in teaching God’s law to the people. We now have a perfect High Priest who taught and walked God’s law perfectly. He demonstrated to us perfect obedience which is the same image we are to conform to. Where we fail in applying the perfect law we are covered by His grace. His grace is His manifestation of His love for us. Because of His love for us we are to love Him back (1 John 4:19). Loving God is defined as keeping His commandments (1 John 5:3).

The irony is that mainstream doctrine tries to teach us that the new covenant solution was to abolish God’s law or commandments in God’s law. They fail to recognize that Yeshua (Jesus) was to be our example in how to practice and observe God’s law and that He is now established as our High Priest, not replacing God’s law, but replacing the imperfect priestly administration.

And now we should be well equipped to understand this verse:

Hb 8:13 In that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Note: In the actual manuscripts, “covenant” does not actually exist, but is inserted by translators to attempt to clarify, and the same applies to verse 7 as already briefly mentioned. This is why many translations either put “covenant” in brackets or italics to let the reader know that it is not really God’s Word, but man’s commentary inserted into God’s Word. This is an honest attempt that translators used to help. However, in this case, it only confuses and leads others in the wrong direction as we will see.

Question: What has the whole context of Hebrews been about? What went away? Was it God’s law and covenant, or the simply the imperfect Levitical priestly administration to be replaced by Yeshua (Jesus) as our new High Priest in the order of Melchizedek? If you have read the letter to the Hebrews up to this point, and did not just start reading in chapter 8, then answering this question is quite simple and not complicated at all.

Let’s just review the next few verses to let the context to continue to speak for itself:

Hb 9:1 Then verily the first had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. (What is the subject? The answer is the priestly system and the Tabernacle, thus the “first” is defined for us)

Hb 9:2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.

Hb 9:3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;

Hb 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

Hb 9:5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

Hb 9:6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service [of God].

Hb 9:7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:

Isn’t it simply evident that the focus at hand is the priestly system, the problem it had, and the solution that was provided? That is the “first” (ellipsis) that is in context. The “first” is not the covenant as presumed in the ellipsis. The letter to the Hebrews never leaves that subject alone for one second. Embarrassingly, the scripture supporting the abolishing of the Sabbath or God’s Holy Feast days is completely lacking.

Hb 8:13 In that he saith, A new (PERFECT HIGH PRIEST ADMINISTRATION THROUGH YESHUA) he hath made the first (HIGH PRIEST ADMINISTRATION THROUGH LEVITICAL PRIESTS) old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old (LEVITICAL PRIESTLY SYSTEM) is ready to vanish away. (And it did by 70 A.D. with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem)

Goodbye human administration priesthood and enter in the Yeshua (Jesus) High Priesthood in the order of Melchizedek.

This is a clear example of the type of confusion that can happen if we start in the middle of a letter, or enter into scripture with a preconceived idea of what we believe it is going to reveal to us by relying on doctrines to teach us instead of God’s Word. These same methodological mistakes, which Peter even warns us about (2 Peter 3:15-17), are also evident in Paul’s letters, and are often even more doctrinally embarrassing than in this demonstration. Yet they all can be simply addressed just as the letter to the Hebrews.

There are still some more chapters to cover in Hebrews, so let’s continue. The context, of course, continues as expected.

Chapter 9
The author of Hebrews begins diving into the detail of the problems with the Earthly tabernacle and associated priestly processes. These laws associated with the priestly system have not been abolished, but transferred to our new and perfect High Priest operating in a perfect tabernacle, making continuous intercession for us.

Chapter 10
Consistent with all of the other problems with an Earthly priestly system, even the sacrifices were imperfect. This should be of no surprise to anyone that understands the gospel. Yeshua (Jesus) died for our sins as the perfect Passover Lamb, and death can now pass over us. His sacrifice is eternally sufficient and given to us by grace from the Father as we accept it in faith and trust in Him.

Chapter 11
The author of Hebrews then begins to lay a historical foundation that our faith is our hope and it is evidenced visibly by our actions and works.

Chapter 12
Therefore, we need to remove any sin that ensnares us, look to Christ as our example and establisher of our faith, and also recognize that the Father will chasten us and correct us, making us better, producing even better fruit. Pursue holiness (being set apart) and straight paths for our feet (His ways).

Chapter 13
Continue to love others (which is defined in scripture as keeping God’s commandments), do not be carried away with strange doctrines, and live honorably.

Note: It should be fairly evident, that unwarranted claims that the letter of Hebrews offers scriptural support that God’s law or parts of God’s law has been abolished are just simply unsubstantiated. There is certainly more that can be said on the letter to the Hebrews, but this should certainly be sufficient in addressing the confusion that is often unaddressed or ignored.

Why did translators find it necessary to insert “covenant” in the first place? Why did it make sense to insert anything into the text?

Answer: Ellipsis

Hebrews 8 – What is an “ellipsis?”

A literary device known as an ellipsis is apparent in Hebrews 8, which means that “covenant” is indeed not in the Original Manuscripts. This ellipsis forces the reader to fill in the context following the word “first.” Ellipses occur in verses 8:7; 8:13; 9:1; & 9:18. Most translations have filled in the gap left by the ellipses for us by incorrectly inserting “covenant” instead of “High Priest administration.”

If one examines the context, inserting “covenant” to fill the hole created by the ellipses instead of “High Priest administration” is an error as it conflicts with the overall theme of Hebrews and immediate surrounding text.

Definition of an ellipsis:
ellipsis or ellipse, the omission from a sentence of a word or words that would be required for complete clarity but which can usually be understood from the context. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellipsis)

The critical question is what is the context? If the author of Hebrews felt comfortable using ellipses in these verses (8:7;8:13;9:1;9:18), you would think he would have set the context so clearly that we would not even be capable of misinterpreting him. Is the context of Hebrews abolishing or annulling the whole covenant as supposed, or just the Levitical High Priesthood? How about even the surrounding text? Believe it or not, the author of Hebrews clearly tells us just only a few verses earlier his main point of his whole letter:

Hb 8:28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.

Hb 8:1 Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.

Scripture defines the main point or context of Hebrews to be a new High Priest administration. It is clear that it states that the men are weak and that they are the problem, which needed replacing, not the law. We clearly have the context for the ellipsis.

Everything prior to this “main point” statement sets up the foundation, problem statement, and solution for the main point, and everything following offers additional support of that “main point” and then leads into specifics about Tabernacle conversion resulting from our new High Priest that happens to be residing in Heaven. The Tabernacle conversion, by intended consequence, also satisfied another problem, which was a tabernacle built by imperfect man, which could not house a perfect administration or mediator (Yeshua/Jesus).

Because it supports the law abolishing paradigm, many maintain that the quote from Jer. 31 establishes brand new context, when in reality, the author citing Jer. 31 is just supporting the continuation of what the author already clearly established as the root cause problem. Thus the Jer. 31 quote is just supporting the overall solution as the context and main point. Not only does the context continue through chapter 8, but chapter 9 begins to discuss in detail the priestly system, not the nature of the whole covenant that is supposedly being made obsolete instead of just the Levitical Priesthood administration.

It is quite clear that Priesthood remains the “main point” throughout the Book of Hebrews and does not temporarily leave the overall teaching just to focus on quickly deleting a covenant just to immediately leave that subject and begin talking about the priesthood again.

The root problem was men as high priests instead of Yeshua (Jesus), therefore the solution is Yeshua (Jesus) as the High Priest. Another related problem is that men built the tabernacle instead of a Heavenly tabernacle. The law that assigns a high priest is not even deleted or abolished. It has just changed assignment to Yeshua through the order of Melchizedek (7:21)(5:6)(5:10), as was foretold.

Another problem was man’s disobedience and we refused to want to obey. All of these problems and solutions have nothing to do with deleting a covenant or God’s law. Yet we want to state that the entire covenant was deleted and replaced, as being made obsolete and fading away. Men’s flesh might want that to be true, but those after the Spirit want God’s law. We will cover more of that later.

Because we were not supposed to conclude that we were to delete the Law of God, no one can clearly figure out exactly which commandments we are supposed to be obedient to anymore. This is always the debate and the source of so much confusion.

Are we only supposed to obey the commands Yeshua (Jesus) specifically stated? Well, He told us to obey the whole Law of Moses when it is read from the Seat of Moses (Matthew 23:1-3).

Are we only supposed to obey the commandments in the New Testament as if commandments in the Old Testament are not part of the Bible? Where is the third commandment in the NT, can we now take the Lord’s name in vain? Can we now marry our brother and sister? Something does not seem right.

The only thing the whole letter of Hebrews mentions as being made obsolete is the Levitical priesthood, which is not a law, but “who” is administering the priestly laws.

Is the main point the removal of God’s law or laws by removing the whole Mosaic covenant? No. Then how can we make it such? More importantly, why do we want to?

By mistakenly inserting “covenant” after “first” in verses 8:7;8:13 & 9:1 one changes the main point of Hebrews to be about the covenant instead of what the author of Hebrews clearly stated as the subject as defined in 8:1 and evidenced throughout the whole letter. This would even be against the whole “main point” that the author is trying to teach in Hebrews. Perhaps we should again remind ourselves that the author of Hebrews even specifically told us the whole main point of the letter in Hebrews 8:1 which is ironically right in the middle of all of the verses that are commonly confused!

The brief mention of the word covenant is simply just citing Jer. 31. It is necessary for the author of Hebrews to cite this verse to establish scriptural support for the change or transfer that the author of Hebrews is trying to prove (3:1). He is proving to his audience that the problem was with THEM (8:7) (not the law) and the fact that they did not remain faithful to the covenant (8:9)(Jer. 31) was indeed the problem. This means that they broke the covenant. They broke the law. They were sinners. Every man is a sinner. Therefore the solution can not be men, or even making a covenant obsolete. Consider this, how could making a covenant obsolete solve a problem with the imperfect nature of man and the High Priesthood? What could we even be logically proposing the relationship would be between the clearly stated problem (them) and the abolishing of a covenant? It simply would not make any sense.

The real solution was for Yeshua (Jesus) to replace THEM the PEOPLE (8:7,8:9) not replace the covenant. Therefore, the only thing that can be old and fading away is the commandment (singular)(7:18) that previously assigned THEM (8:7), the PEOPLE to the High Priest system, and instead the commandment changed/transferred (7:18) to Yeshua (Jesus) as our current perfect High Priest (6:20)(7:28). Yeshua (Jesus) was worthy and man was not (7:26-27).

Why in the world are we suggesting that He abolished a previous covenant, when scripture declares that he refreshes it or makes it new in freshness (G2537 – kainos)? He refreshed the covenant by taking men out of the High Priest system and replacing it with himself. This is one central reason the covenant was made better, because of a perfect High Priest. The other reason it was made better is because God’s law (which was not abolished) was written on the hearts of Israel (us).

If we are stating that the whole covenant is abolished and obsolete (instead of the human High Priest administration), then we have numerous problems that are impossible to reconcile.

For example:
1) Hebrews 7:12 makes it clear that it was a transferring/change of the priesthood that occurred, not a deleting of a supposed obsolete covenant. There happens to be a difference between a covenant with God and the performance of a priesthood.

2) Hebrews 7:18 makes it clear that it was a commandment that changed, not commandments. If the Sabbath and Feast days were removed as part of the changes that Hebrews is teaching, which is what many want to do, the focus would be on commandments, not a commandment (singular). The author would have also specifically mentioned those changes, which he did not. He mentioned countless times how the High Priesthood changed, yet mentioned no other specific change as it relates to the covenant. Was he leaving the Hebrews in the dark? Hebrews even tells us which commandment was transferred. The commandment that was transferred was the one that assigned the High Priesthood from the imperfect man (Levites) to Yeshua (Jesus). (Ex. 29:44; Ex. 30:30; Ex. 31:30; Ex; 38:31 etc.)

3) Hebrews 8:7 makes it clear that the problem that existed was the people, not the covenant. The covenant was made better because man was no longer the High Priest, but Yeshua (Jesus) is now the perfect high priest. The covenant was not made better because it was made obsolete. At no point in all of scripture is it ever mentioned that God’s Feast days or Sabbaths were ever a problem and needed to be deleted or changed in any capacity. Men who do not like God’s law decided those commandments were a problem, so they were deleted through doctrine’s of men, not by divine decree. God simply never does anything without telling us through His prophets first. In addition, if He was going delete His most special holy days He would have at least told us why. We are often told that the reason why is because God’s law was not perfect, but we know that God’s law was perfect. We are also often told that the reason why is because God’s law was bondage, but God’s Word says His law is easy and freedom.

4) The author of Hebrews’ focus is on the Levitical High Priesthood being abolished and obsolete for man and reassigned to Jesus Christ in the order of Melchizedek. There is no such context established with the whole covenant. There is no prophecy that stated that the Mosaic covenant would be made obsolete and replaced, just made new or refreshed, improved, or made better.

5) The MAIN POINT as stated in 7:28-8:1 is about the change in the High Priesthood and thus establishes the context required by the ellipsis. This main point does not mention a covenant made obsolete.

6) The author’s point of citing Jer. 31, is to show that the problem with man was already prophesied in advance and the solution was to be part of the refreshing of the covenant. This is keeping in context of what he is already discussing. The author wants to prove what he just said in 8:7-8 by testing it to scripture (Jer. 31)

How do we address the above if we were to make the covenant obsolete?

What does it state in verse 9 when the author of Hebrews cites Jer. 31?

Hb 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

….hence a problem with THEM, the PEOPLE, the administration of the covenant, which is not the covenant itself.

So now the author has shown in scripture that the problem was foretold and the solution as Yeshua (Jesus) in the order of Melchizedek was also foretold.

Notice what was not foretold was the making of covenant obsolete. As something as important as deleting a covenant from God, you would expect it to be mentioned by God somewhere instead of saying it was going to be there forever.

7) 9:14-15 clearly states that the Christ’s sacrifice of himself enabled Him to the mediator (intercessor) of the covenant, it does not state that Christ’s sacrifice enabled the annulling of the covenant and that had anything to do with helping anything.

8) 7:22-8:1 makes it clear that the covenant was made better by Yeshua (Jesus) replacing imperfect man High Priesthood administration with His perfect High priesthood administration.

9) The last ellipsis, the same as all of the others (first…) also clearly demonstrates that the subject is the High Priest administration as the context describes the covenant blood that is spilled and dedicated to the priestly administration, tabernacle, and vessels. It was through Christ’s blood that the perfect High Priest administration was dedicated (9:19-26)

10) How can we erase the very covenant that supports the High Priesthood?

11) How can we erase laws that are part of the covenant when this contradicts the statements of Jesus in Matthew 5:17-19?

The bottom line is this. The context of the ellipsis is either the covenant or a human high priest administration. It is really simple.

Let’s explore the usage of the ellipsis literary tool in detail and once again apply the surrounding context to properly utilize the ellipsis.

Here is verse 7, the first ellipsis.

Hb 8:7 For if that first (ellipsis) had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Whatever is not faultless is the subject and context of what is defined as the “first”. What exactly had fault might I ask? I really need to know, so that I can then know the precise context of the ellipses. Is the context the covenant or is it the human high priest administration? Whatever the answer is, that is what the “first” is in 8:7.

Watch. What is not faultless?
Hb 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

What was at fault, and therefore is the context of the ellipses was THEM and therefore verse 8:7 (as defined by verse 8:8) is understood as:

Hb 8:7 For if that first [high priesthood administration] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

It was the high priesthood administration that was NOT faultless (thus we needed a second), which is exactly what 8:7 describes as “first.”

So then, what is the “first” and old?
Answer: The human imperfect High Priesthood administration.

What is the “second” and new?
Answer: The perfect High Priesthood (Yeshua/Jesus) administration.

So every time going forward the author of Hebrews uses the “first” and the “second” we KNOW that he is talking about what was replaced, because the first (High Priesthood administration) of Israel was indeed NOT faultless (they had fault).

Then the author continues with citing Jer. 31 to prove from scripture that they were indeed at fault:

Hb 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

So the solution is exactly what the author of Hebrews proposed as the main point and WHOLE THEME of Hebrews, which is Jesus as a High Priest, not the abolishing and making obsolete of a whole covenant.

The author uses the same exact linguistic structure of the ellipses from 8:7 in 8:13, continuing the same context and then supporting his point that the fault was with man (not the covenant) and the solution Yeshua (Jesus) as the new High Priest administration:

Hb 8:13 In that he saith, A new [high priesthood administration], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

One last point
If 8:13 is speaking of God’s covenant and law, then why does 13 state that it is now ready to vanish away and that it is in the process of decaying? How does a covenant gradually decay and fade away after it has already been made obsolete? Why is it still ready to vanish away instead of having already vanished away? Isn’t this a difficult question to answer? If the covenant is made obsolete, is it made ready to vanish and decay away, or is it in fact already gone? How do we answer this? Why is 8:13 in present tense and still progressing?

Well, when we realize that 8:13 is NOT about God’s covenant but the Levitical High Priesthood then it makes complete sense. When Yeshua (Jesus) became the High Priest there were still those of the Levitical priesthood that were playing out their roles. Is this what Hebrews specifically states?

Let’s go back to verse 8:4 and it will make what seems complex very simple.

Hb 8:4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

Nowhere does the author of Hebrews suggest that the priests offering these sacrifices (long after Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and the Feast of Pentecost when God’s Spirit was given to the Church in Acts 2), were doing so illegitimately. On the contrary Hebrews asserts that Jesus Christ Himself can’t offer sacrifices even if He was on Earth while the Levitical priesthood exists!

This is because the Levitical Priesthood, though obsolete, was still fading and decaying away!

The Heavenly High Priest administration (Yeshua/Jesus) was perfect and operational, yet the Earthly Levitical based administration, though obsolete, was still functioning and playing out their role until it faded away when the temple was destroyed in 70 AD.

This verse comes at the conclusion of two whole chapters devoted to showing the superiority of Jesus’ “Melchizedek’ priesthood to that of our earthly Levitical priesthood. So what is ‘ready to vanish’ must be taken in the context of what has just been discussed. It is the earthly temple and the earthly priesthood ready to vanish, to be rendered eventually inoperable (as did occur a few years later in 70 CE).

We have a choice to make. Either the Word of God is indeed eternal, or it can in fact slowly vanish away.

Either God contradicts Himself in the Bible or the problem is with MAN’S UNDERSTANDING of what he reads.

I would like to submit that the problem is with MAN’S UNDERSTANDING of what he reads.

Does any of the new covenant prophecies mention abolishing God’s law? No. In fact, it states the exact opposite. The whole point of the new covenant is that it is written on our heart and we want to do His law. We are given a new heart, and our old heart is taken away.

Ezekiel 36:26 A NEW HEART also will I give you, and a NEW SPIRIT will I PUT WITHIN YOU: and I will TAKE AWAY the STONY HEART out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be THE COVENANT that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put MY LAW in their INWARD PARTS, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

NEW = NEW HEART that WANTS to follow God’s law
God says that He gave the Holy Spirit to give us the desire to KEEP His law.

Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put MY SPIRIT WITHIN YOU, and cause you
to WALK in my STATUTES, and ye shall KEEP my JUDGMENTS, and DO THEM.

Zechariah 7:11 But they REFUSED to HEARKEN, and PULLED AWAY the SHOULDER, and STOPPED their EARS, that they should NOT HEAR.

Zechariah 7:12 Yea, they made their HEARTS as an adamant STONE …

OLD = STONY HEART that will NOT follow God’s law

When we read all of Hebrews, or even just simply focus on the main point clearly established by the author, we find not one mention, of the covenant being made obsolete.

The only way we can build such a doctrine is to ignore the blatant context given and misuse the ellipse in Hebrews by trying to slide in “covenant” in 8:13 and then ignore the contradictions that result.

It makes no sense to force the covenant to be the root problem statement and the solution to be the making of the covenant obsolete. Clearly the letter to the Hebrews as a whole and in the immediate surrounding text establishes that the problem statement was imperfect man as the High Priest administration and mediator, and the solution was reassigning Yeshua (Jesus) as the perfect High Priest to a perfect Heavenly tabernacle by the means of the eternal order of Melchizedek in the transferring of one commandment.

We do not want to confuse why Jer. 31 was cited by the author in the first place, and thus pull out the incorrect context for the ellipses evident in 8:13 that would destroy the overall theme of Hebrews, and even violates the exact same ellipses in 8:7. It simply makes no sense, unless one has an interest in preserving a paradigm that is dependent upon forcing the discarding of the Law of God as written by Moses.

If anyone teaches that Hebrews states something beyond a simple foretold transferring of the priestly system to Yeshua (Jesus), Yeshua (Jesus) being the perfect sacrifice, and a transferring of the man made tabernacle to the Heavenly tabernacle, then their conclusions are already highly suspect, as Hebrews does not deviate from such in the slightest capacity. The problem stated simply is that imperfect man is operating in an imperfect tabernacle, the offering of imperfect sacrifices was corrected by Jesus Christ (Yeshua) as a perfect High Priest, as a perfect sacrifice, now in the perfect Heavenly tabernacle.

Anyone stating anything more than that, has a bias to attempt to prove.

As fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, I urge you to take all of the above seriously, since these things are relating to our awesome God YHWH, who deserves every bit of our attention and our sincere desire to understand His Word and His ways.

Test everything I have said to scripture. Never take a man’s word for Truth, but test it to the only established Truth we have, God’s Word. This is what we are accountable to at the end of the race. Show yourself approved, and study the scriptures. Contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Seek out His ways and His path. Test your heart and ensure that it desires God’s ways and not the ways of the world, doctrines of men, or traditions of our fathers. As Jesus (Yeshua) stated, we can do many things in God’s name, but if we were not doing it out of pure love and obedience to Him, then it matters not. In fact, our heart can still be so far from Him, that He could state, “Depart from me. I never knew you, you who works lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21)

It is our faith in Jesus (Yeshua) that matters, but if there is no evidence of faith in your life that is demonstrated by a sincere interest in the keeping of God’s commandments, then begin asking yourself why you do not trust God’s ways, but instead rely on man’s ways and your ways. We need to humble ourselves and see Truth in the place where Truth is written. We cannot pretend to invent Truth, but only have it delivered to us through His established Word.

I pray that this study has blessed you. I also pray that as you test the above to scripture, that you bring to my attention any part that might be in error as defined by scripture. Do not allow me to reside in any understanding that could be false, but reach out to me in love and discuss God’s Holy Word with me, and I will make every attempt to do the same with you. In the end, only the Truth matters. In the end, only Truth can end the division in His body and restore unity.

How does scripture describe God’s law?
1. The Law blesses (obey) and curses (disobey). (Deut 11:26-27)(Ps 112:1)(Ps 119:1-2)(Ps 128:1)(Prov 8:32)(Is 56:2)(Mat 5:6)(Mat 5:10)(Luke 11:28)(Jam 1:25)(1 Pe 3:14)(Rev 22:14)

2. The Law defines sin. (Jer 44:23)(Ez 18:21)(Dan 9:11)(Ro 3:20)(Ro 7:7)(1 Jo 3:4)

3. The Law is perfect. (Ps 19:7)(Jam 1:25)

4. The Law is liberty. (Ps 119:45)(Jam 1:25, 2:12)

5. The Law is the way. (Ex 18:20)(Deut 10:12)(Josh 22:5)(1 King 2:3)(Ps 119:1)(Prov 6:23)(Is 2:3)(Mal 2:8)(Mark 12:14)(Ac 24:14)

6. The Law is the truth. (Ps 119:142)(Mal 2:6)(Ro 2:20)(Gal 5:7)(Ps 43:2-4)(Jo 8:31-32)

7. The Law is life. (Job 33:30)(Ps 36:9)(Prov 6:23)(Rev 22:14)

8. The Law is light. (Job 24:13)(Job 29:3)(Ps 36:9)(Ps 43:2-4)(Ps 119:105)(Prov 6:23)(Is 2:5) (Is 8:20)(Is 51:4)(2 Cor 6:14)(1 John 1:7)

9. The Law is Jesus, the Word made flesh. (PERFECT-LIBERTY-WAY-TRUTH-LIFE-LIGHT). (Ps 27:1)(Jo 1:1-14)(Jo 14:5-11)(1 Jo 1:7)

10. The Law is also for the Gentiles (foreigner/alien) who are grafted in. (Ex 12:19) (Ex 12:38) (Ex 12:49) (Lev 19:34) (Lev 24:22) (Num 9:14) (Num 15:15-16) (Num 15:29) (ie: Ruth) (Is 42:6) (Is 60:3) (Mat 5:14) (Eph 2:10-13) (Ac 13:47) (Ro 11:16-27) (Jer31:31-34) (Ez 37) (1 Jo 2:10) (1 Jo 1:7)

11. The Law is God’s instructions on how to love God, how to love others, and how to not love yourself. (Ex 20:6)(Deut 5:10)(Deut 7:10)(Deut 11:13)(Deut 11:22)(Deut 30:16)(Deut 6:5)(Lev 19:18)(Neh 1:5)(Dan 9:4)(Mat 22:35-37)(Matthew 10:39)(Mat 16:25)(Jo 14:15)(Jo 14:21)(Ro 13:9)(1 Jo 5:2-3)(2 Jo 1:6)

Proverbs 28:9 “He who turns away his ear from hearing the Law, Even his prayer is an abomination.”

We are to seek unity in the seeking of Truth (Ephesians 4) and desire to see the 33,000 denominations in 258 countries contend for the faith that was once delivered to all of the saints…(Jude 1:20)

Only when God’s people start doing Bible things in Bible ways, believing and doing all things according to His Word will we finally see unity in the Body.

119 Ministries

www.TestEverything.net

I’m back! I hope the above study done by 119 Ministries, has opened your eyes to see the Book of Hebrews in new light. The true and perfect light which is Yeshua. May your eyes be like Paul’s, as he could see perfectly while on his way to Damascus, but was blind to the truth. His eyes actually opened only when he got blinded to the light of Yeshua and came out a new man. May our new perfect High Priest in heaven be praised for all that He has done for us!