Tag Archives: The 2 Houses of Israel

Old Covenant abolished by New Covenant? Part I

One of the biggest arguments in Christianity is, whether the Old Covenant is in effect today or whether it is abolished and no more. I would like to pose a different question in the midst of all this confusion and misunderstandings.

Which Old Covenant?
Some are in the belief that there are only 2 Covenants in the Scriptures. Contrary to this belief God has made several Covenants with man from the beginning of creation. Before we can say that any Covenant is abolished, let us understand what these Covenants are and what God has said about them.

First of all, we need to understand what a Covenant means. A Covenant is an agreement between two parties. The party which has more authority/power could make a Covenant with the other party which includes or does not include certain conditions. After the other party in return agrees upon the Covenant, it is in effect. Blood was spilled as a sign of these contracts in ancient times.

The words “Covenant” and “Testament” written in the bible are the same. In the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, only one word is used wherever “Covenant” or “Testament” is seen in our English translations (Strong’s Greek Concordance – G1242 – διαθήκη – diathēkē – dee-ath-ay’-kay – a disposition, that is, (specifically) a contract (especially a devisory will): – covenant, testament).

Covenants God made with His creation

  • Covenant with Adam (Gen 2:16,17) (Hosea 6:7) –
    This Covenant had conditions. If Adam obeyed, he would have eternal life. Disobedience would cause him to die.
  • Covenant with Noah (Gen 9:9-17) –
    This is an Everlasting, Unconditional Covenant made with Noah, his seed & all living creatures. God promised that He will never again destroy the whole earth with a flood. The sign of this covenant was the Rainbow.
  • Covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3, 6-7; 13:14-17; 15; 17:1-14; 22:15-18)
    This was an Everlasting, Conditional Covenant. God asked Abraham to leave his Country first. Then He required him to believe in the promises. He made sure Abraham knew about the slavery of Israel for 400 years. God gave him and his seed the land of Israel. God wanted him to walk before Him and be perfect. The sign of this Covenant was that every male of his seed and every servant bought with money, was to be circumcised. All the blessings which were promised were certified as Abraham obeyed even unto the degree of sacrificing his only son.
    This Covenant was renewed with Isaac (Gen 26:3-5, 24) and Jacob (Gen 28:13-15, 46:2-4)
  • Covenant with Israel through Moses (Exo chapter 19-24)
    This Covenant was a Conditional Covenant with many Everlasting Commandments/Laws(Exod 12:17,24, 21:6, 28:43, 30:21, Lev 3:16-17, 6:17-18, 20-22, 10:9, 15, 16:29, 34, 23:14, Num 19:21). While the person who kept these Commandments would be blessed, the person who broke it would be cursed (Deut 11:26-28). The sign of this Everlasting Covenant was the Seventh Day Sabbath (Exo 31:12-18)
  • Covenant with Aaron ( Exo 40:12-15, Num 25:12,13, Neh 13:29)
    God made an Everlasting Covenant with Aaron and his descendants to be the priests alongside the Tribe of Levi which was also consecrated for priestly duties.
  • Covenant with David (2Sam 7:8-16, 23:5, 2Chr 13:5, Jer 33:20,21)
    God made an Everlasting Covenant with David, where His people would always be ruled over by a descendant of David hinting to Messiah Yeshua(Hebrew name of Jesus) who will reign and rule over “His People – Israel”(Luk 1:32,33).
  • Covenant with the 2 Houses of Israel through Yeshua (Heb 8:8-10) (Jer 31:33,34) (Heb 13:20)
    The New Covenant which we are all familiar with, was spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 31. In verse 31, He says that He will make a New Covenant with The House of Israel & The House of Judah. In verse 33, He says that He will write His Law on peoples hearts. This is the same Covenant spoken in the Book of Hebrews chapter 8. According to verse 34, This Covenant will come to fulfillment when God’s kingdom is established with Yeshua ruling as king, as no one will need to teach another about God anymore.

Blood of the Covenant
Major Covenants with His People were always put into effect by shedding of blood.
1. Noah sacrificed animals before God made the Covenant (Gen 8:20)
2. Abraham sacrificed animals before God made the Covenant (Gen 15)
3. When God made the Covenant at Sinai, Moses sprinkled the Blood of the Covenant
(Exo 24:8, Heb 9:19,20)
4.Yeshua renewed the Covenant as per God’s Word in Jer 31 through shedding His blood (Mat 26:28, Mar 14:24, Luk 22:20, Heb 10:29, 12:24, 13:20)

Now that we understand a bit more about the Covenants in Scripture, lets look at what is commonly known as the Old and New Covenants.

Old Covenant vs. New Covenant
As you see above, there are many Covenants God made with His creation. Many of these Covenants were made by God as Everlasting Covenants as the Scriptures show us. What people generally mean by “Old Covenant” is the Covenant God made through Moses (The Mosaic Covenant) at Mount Sinai, while the Scriptures have also been broken into and commonly known as “Old Testament” & “New Testament”.

As our focus is on this Mosaic Covenant, and whether it is done away with, let us look at some important facts about this Covenant before we make our conclusions and find answers for any of the persisting misunderstandings.

  • The Mosaic Covenant is called an Everlasting Covenant and God says that He will not break His Covenant (Judg 2:1, Lev 26:44, Psa 89:34, 105:8-10, 111:7-9, 1Chr 16:15-17, Deu 5:29, 12:28)
  • The Mosaic Covenant was written with the finger of God (Deut 4:13) (Exo 31:18, 32:16)
  • The Mosaic Covenant was made with all 12 Tribes of Israel (Exo 19:5,6, 24:4)
  • The Mosaic Covenant was there for 3 reasons.
    1) It would bless the person who obeyed (Deut 11:26-28)
    2) It would curse the person who disobeyed (Deut 11:26-28)
    3) It would show right from wrong, sin from righteousness (Rom 7:7)
  • The Ten Commandments are the conditions, and part and parcel of the Mosaic Covenant (Deut 7:9, 4:13, Neh 1:5, Dan 9:4)

If the Old Covenant (Mosaic Covenant) is abolished after Yeshua, then we can no longer have the 10 Commandments. Jesus himself said we cannot break the least of the commandments, and that not the minutest detail will pass from it as long as heaven and earth exists (Mat 5:18,19).

The questions arise when you read some of the epistles of Paul, The Book of Hebrews and some verses in the Gospels. Paul and other writers of the “New Testament” seem to be saying that the Law and the Old Covenant is done away with, in some places.

We have a serious problem with our Bible if there are contradictions in the Scriptures. One verse cannot disagree with another. One author cannot disagree with another Author. All Scripture has to be in perfect harmony, as our God is not a God of Chaos, but of perfect order and peace.

As we saw earlier, The Mosaic Covenant as well as the New Covenant mentioned in Jer 31 & Heb 8 are both Everlasting Covenants. So how can one abolish the other? The New Covenant could be better understood as a “Renewed” Covenant. One does not abolish the other, but the “Older Covenant” is renewed by the “New Covenant”. This renewal happened by the shedding of the blood of Yeshua. If the Old Covenant was taken away, there would no longer be any Commandments. We would no longer need to adhere to God’s Laws, which mean there would be no yard stick for judgement. All of us will receive judgement at the end of time, according to Scripture. And God will not judge by our standards, but His own. If we were free from God’s Commandments, to do as each of us see fit, how would the righteous judge be able to judge us?

What about all the verses that say the Old Covenant is done away with?
Doesn’t Heb 8:13 say that the Old Covenant is ready to vanish away? Didn’t Jesus say the Law is Finished in Joh 19:31? Are we not free from the Law, and under Grace? Isn’t the Law a Curse? Wasn’t the Law nailed to the cross? Some even say that we do not have 10 Commandments any longer, and that we have only the 2 new Commandments that Yeshua gave us. In the next part of this study, we will delve into the meaning of “Law” and try to understand some of these misunderstood verses and see whether we can unravel the true meaning in them.

My request to you, is this. If you believe in a certain doctrine, Test it. See whether it is in perfect harmony with all of the verses in the Bible. If there are contradictions, most probably, something is wrong with the understanding you have. I hope this study has given you something to think about, and that it will help you to better understand the Word of God.

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The Parable of the Prodigal Son & the 2 Houses of Israel

Many of us have grown up reading the Parable of the prodigal Son. And we have all identified with this disobedient child. We have been taught that the prodigal son is the common sinner and the Father is God Almighty. Is this interpretation correct? If it is correct, who is the other jealous son? Is there another interpretation to this Parable? Today, we will delve into one of the most used Parables in Christianity, and in my opinion, one of the least understood.

Before we begin studying this Parable, I believe all of us need a working knowledge of one of the most important, yet, one of the least discussed facts in the Bible. And that is “The 2 Houses Of Israel” also known as “The divided Kingdom of Israel”. Some of you must be knowing a lot about this subject. Some of you might have heard it somewhere at sometime. But most of the Christians around the world have no clue to this Historic Event that changed everything in the Scriptures, and the prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled concerning this subject. So let us get down to it.

What are these 2 Houses of Israel? A brief look at Biblical History
After Moses led the 12 Tribes of Israel (the generations that came from the 12 Children of Jacob) out of Egypt, God appeared to “His People – Israel” and gave them Commandments and led them to the Land of Israel. At this time there was no King over Israel, and God Himself reigned King over His People. After Moses’ death, Joshua acted as “Judge” over Israel and many others were appointed after Joshua(Book of Judges) for a span of around 450 years(Acts 13:20). When Samuel was acting as Judge over Israel, the people asked for a King to rule over them, to much displeasure from Samuel & God Himself(1Sam 8:5-8). After Saul’s reign, David was appointed as King and he ruled over all 12 Tribes of Israel/Jacob (2Sam 5:3-5). After David, Solomon was anointed King and when Solomon was old, his many wives made him sin against God (1Kin 11:4-7). As punishment, Solomon’s servant Jeroboam received 10 tribes to rule over, and the rest were ruled by Solomon’s son, Rehoboam (1Kin 11:30,31/ 1Kin 12:16,17). Rehoboam ruled over the Tribe of Judah & Benjamin, collectively called the “House of Judah” (1Kin 12:23). From this point onwards in the Books of 1st & 2nd Kings, Jeroboam and his Sons ruled over what was called “The House of Israel” in the north of the land while Rehoboam and his Sons ruled over what was called “The House of Judah” in the south of the land. After much rebellion against God, and not giving ear to the Prophets, The House of Israel was taken captive to Assyria(2Kin 17:6,18,23). The Majority of them were scattered among the nations(Hos 8:8, Jer 31:10). Even though, The House of Judah, was much better than The House of Israel, they also disobeyed God and was taken captive to Babylon(Dan 1:1,2). But God let them return back to their land after 70 yrs in exile(Jer 29:10, Ezr 2:1, Neh 7:6). The people who are called Jews today, are mostly, the descendants of the House of Judah. And the House of Israel has been dispersed among nations according to all of the prophecies of Scripture. These descendants are worshiping there own gods without knowing who they are, living in countries around the world(Deut 28:64, Neh 1:8,9, Eze 12:15). And God has said that He will bring back these people from the ends of the Earth.

These 2 Houses are specifically mentioned throughout the Scriptures
1Kin 12:21, 2Kin 23:27, Isa 5:7, Jer 3:18, 5:11, 11:10,17, 12:14, 13:11, 31:27, 31:31, 33:14, Eze 9:9, Hos 11:12, Mic 1:5, Zec 8:13, Heb 8:8

The scattering of His People was prophesied before it happened
Lev 26:33, Deut 4:27, 28:63-68, 32:26, Jer 9:16, Ezek 20:23, 22:15,

God has promised to bring back the scattered and rebuild His people
Deut 30:1-5, Isaiah 11:10-13, 27:12, 43:5-7, Jer 3:12-15, Amos 9:9, Ezek 11:17, Ezek 37

These 2 houses will become one people
Eze 37:16-19, Jer 3:18, 50:4,  Hos 1:11

Yeshua was sent for the Lost sheep of the House of Israel
Mat 15:24, John 11:52

Yeshua will rule over these 2 Houses forever
Luk 1:33 (The House of Jacob is the “House of Judah” & the “House of Israel”, together)

Everyone including the Apostles knew about the scattered
John 7:35, 1Pet 1:1, James 1:1, Acts 21:21

So what does the Division of Israel have to do with the Parable of the Prodigal Son?
I believe that the correct interpretation of this Parable can only be understood by someone after studying what happened to Israel, and what was prophesied about them throughout the Scriptures. consider the following explanation. (My Interpretation is added in underlined font)

Luk 15:11  And he said, A certain man(Father God) had two sons(The two Houses of Israel – Hos 1:10,11):
Luk 15:12  And the younger of them(The House of Israel/Ephraim – Jer 31:20) said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. (God blessed them abundantly with their inheritance – Eze 35:15)
Luk 15:13  And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. (The House of Israel sinned against God, doing all that they pleased, and was finally exiled – 2Kin 17:18)
Luk 15:14  And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. (In Exile, the house of Israel got scattered among the nations – Deut 4:27)
Luk 15:15  And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. (Among the nations they have become slaves to other God’s – Deut 4:28)
Luk 15:16  And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. (They fell to the depths of uncleanness – Hos 9:3)
Luk 15:17-19  And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. (They will finally understand their error and return to the Father – Jer 31:16-19)
Luk 15:20  And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. (The Father showed His ways through Yeshua, to whomever was in error – John 14:24)
Luk 15:21  And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. (The House of Israel is coming back to him with repentance – Acts 5:31)
Luk 15:22  But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: (The Father accepts the repenting House of Israel, and gives them back their rightful position – Hos 14)
Luk 15:23  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: (Yeshua was sent for the Lost of the House of Israel – Mat 15:24)
Luk 15:24  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. (Through Yeshua the House of Israel is alive again through a renewed covenant – Heb 8:10)
Luk 15:25-28  Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. (The House of Judah has a hard time accepting that the Father could accept the children that had disobeyed Him – Acts 11:3&18 , as the House of Judah did not keep company with other Nations – Acts 10:28)
Luk 15:29  And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: (The House of Judah, for the most part, have always been obedient to God – Hos 11:12)
Luk 15:30  But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. (The House of Israel, on the other hand has always been in harlotry with other gods – Jer 3:6)
Luk 15:31  And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. (The House of Israel, unlike Judah, was given a bill of divorce and put away by God, Almighty resulting in their exile and scattering- Jer 3:8)
Luk 15:32  It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. (God will accept the repenting House of Israel, making his brother, The House of Judah, jealous – Rom 11:11)

FAQ 01 – Why would the House of Judah that has 2 tribes be called by Judah’s name?
According to Gen 49:10 Jacob prophesied that the ruler-ship shall not depart from the Tribe of Judah. David and all the Kings after him, including Messiah was from the Tribe of Judah. It could be because Judah was a dominant Tribe with the right to rule.

FAQ 02 – Why is the House of Israel called the House of Israel if it had only 10 tribes?
The reason could be, that they were the Majority, with 10 tribes. In some instances, the House of Israel is also known as Ephraim(Hos 6:10 ; 11:12 ; Eze 37:16). Ephraim was a son of Joseph. According to Josh 17:17/1Chr 12:30, the tribe of Ephraim, were a great people. (Also read, Hos 5:12,14 ; Judg 10:9). Jeroboam, the 1st ruler of the House of Israel after the division, was also from the tribe of Ephraim(1King 11:26)

FAQ 03 – Do we have to be physical descendants to be His? (Also read the Definition of Israel)
Whether you are a physical descendant or not, when you accept God Almighty, you become part of His people with the right to the inheritance given by God (Eze 47:22,23, Eph 2:12). Remember, that the House of Israel got scattered to the furthest corners of the earth. Because of this, anyone could be a physical descendant. Even if you are not, we can still be adopted into His People. Remember how Ruth, a “Moabite” woman, the great grand mother of David and from whom Yeshua, our Savior also proceed, became part of Israel. In Ruth 1:16, she says to Naomi, for where you go, I will go; and where you lodge, I will lodge: your people shall be my people, and your God, my God“. The important thing is to accept our maker with the right heart.

I hope that this post gives you a short glimpse to one of the main subjects in Scripture – The 2 Houses of Israel which showcases God and His plan to bring a people for Himself out of all nations. Most of the Parables as well as phrases that Yeshua uttered can be easily understood by having a knowledge of the back of the Book. Reading the New Testament alone, keeping aside the History of God can, and have, led to a lot of misunderstandings in defining who we are and what God is doing in the last days. The parable of the prodigal son, is such an instance, where the correct meaning cannot be understood without knowledge of the Scriptures. Start searching, start reading, start learning, for yourself. Do not believe anyone’s words. Believe only in His Words. May He lead you to the whole Truth!