JEWISH ROOTS OF CHRISTIANITY
PART 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
GOD'S COVENANTS WITH THE HEBREWS
In all, God cut 4 covenants with Abraham and his descendants and none with the Gentiles. The Messiah Himself was a Hebrew, Who lived as a Hebrew and died as a Hebrew. These covenants embody all God's promises and filfillments. By being grafted into the commonwealth of the God's Kingdom, the Church becomes an equal sharer in these covenants.
Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15)
The Abrahamic Covenant is an everlasting covenant of promise and grace. It consisted entirely of God's promises to Abraham & his children & the Gentile nations that would be blessed in Abraham (Gen 12:1-3,7). The promises were promises of great personal, family & national blessings - many offspring, land & eternal blessings. Abraham was the receiving party and was expected to receive the terms of the covenant by faith. Abraham did not earn, merit nor deserve the promises & blessings. It was a promise and blessing of grace to be appropriated by faith.
God Himself walked between the halved animal parts when cutting the covenant indicating that He was making an unconditional covenant with Abraham in that He initiated it & bound Himself to it to do good to Abraham & to his seed. All other covenants with the Jews thereafter were built upon this primary covenant (Deut. 4:31, Ps. 105:8, Gal 3:15-17). It became the basic paradigm for all of God's relationships with His people. God made these promises to undeserving sinners and these promises can only be secured by faith in Him.
God gave the sign of the circumcision, the removal of the reproach of the flesh, to the Abrahamic covenant. The sign on the male reproductive organ signifies that the covenant was to be passed on to and through Abraham's descendants (through Sarah). A covenant meant for Abraham and his seed. God renewed this covenant with Isaac (Gen 26:1-4), then Jacob (Gen 28:10-14) and the promises were passed on to Jacob's 12 sons. Joseph, the 11th son of Jacob had 2 children, Manasseh and Ephraim through his Gentile (Egyptian) wife and both sons were adopted by Jacob and inherited Israel's blessings and birthright. These 2 sons, being half-Gentile became a foreshadow of the Gentile believers to be grafted into Israel. Ephraim is a prophetic picture of the non-Jewish remnant of the Bride of Messiah. Jacob when blessing Ephraim placed him above his older brother, Manasseh and proclaimed that he would be great and he would become father of multitudes of Gentiles (Gen 48:19). Yet they are to remain brothers not enemies.
Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 20)
Renewed with Moses and the nation of Israel at Mt Sinai. The further manifestation, the Torah as the contents of this covenant, providing the guidelines for living in the Abrahamic Covenant. It was a covenant of dwelling in the promise. A person comes to life (become spiritually alive) through the Abrahamic Covenant by faith and thereafter, the Mosaic Covenant brings him into living out that new life in God. Gal 3:10-23 make it clear that no one is justified by the Torah alone for the righteous shall live or be justified by faith, by the Abrahamic Covenant. The Torah does not impart life to sinners, it is life for those already alive. Thereafter, to live out that faith is to live a life of obedience to the Word of God (Torah) by the Mosaic Covenant. The Torah defines the covenant lifestyle. The expected response to the Mosaic Covenant is obedience.
God knew that the Torah itself could not impart life, yet it was not to be done away, so He ordained an animal sacrifice to atone for the sins of the Israelites which covered them year after year, until the perfect sacrifice, the Messiah came. The 7 feasts of the Lord given in Lev. 23 provided the blueprint for the Messiah's first and second comings. In rehearsing the feasts year after year, the Jews ought to have known when the Messiah came but they were blinded at His first coming. Today, the Church and Israel are in danger of missing His second coming. Today the Torah is to be written in the heart and spirit of the Law fulfilled by all believers. But how can one know depth and the intent of God which is embedded in the Law if he refuses to accept the Law. By some of the commandments of Christ, it is made even stricter and can be fulfilled only by one who knows the Law and walks in grace of the Spirit.
The sign of the Shabbat, which is reminder of the high honor to be given to God, was given under the Mosaic Covenant (Ex 31:12-13), first instituted in creation in Gen. 2:1-2. Hebrews 4 equates the concept of the Shabbat with the Good News of Yeshua. The Good News that declares that our rest in God (eternal salvation) is through the finished work of the Messiah. The Shabbat thus is a physical reminder of this truth. When we walk in the Torah, we are in a continual Shabbat rest, ceasing from striving to be righteous for we are already made the righteousness of God in Him. We are free to live out our new holy identity in the Messiah.
Davidic Covenant (2Sam 7:11-16)
Cut with David to establish an everlasting kingdom. A royal, eternal dynasty of rulers and leaders. It demonstrates God's governing authority and government as illustrated in the life of king David and his dynasty, representing the government of the Son of David who will reign forever. It illustrates God's standard and principles in Kingdom and communal life of His people. It involves the understanding of Davidic leadership and kingdom principles for governing God's synagogues, churches and ministries worldwide. The Temple could be a possible sign of this covenant. The Church is not able to progress to the appropriation and fullness of the Davidic Covenant because She has not yet come through the understanding of the Covenant of Law (Sinai) to arrive at the promised land where His everlasting Kingdom would be established.
New Or Renewed Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34)
Jer. 31:31-34 state the cutting of a new, yet not brand new but renewed covenant with the House of Judah & House of Israel, descendants of Abraham. There was a need for renewal because the people had consistently failed to keep the Mosaic Covenant. The fault lied with the people, for they did not mix hearing the message with faith (Heb 4:2, 8:8). They were a stiff-necked people whose hearts were hearts of stone. Thus, it was the heart that needed to be changed not the covenant. Through the sacrifice of the Messiah, God sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in each believer's heart and made it a heart of flesh (Jer. 31:31-33; Heb 10:16) and He wrote the Torah onto each heart.
The Messiah became the central element in the Renewed Covenant, He whom the patriarchs had looked for by faith. He is the Son of Abraham, the Living Torah & the royal Son of David. Today, we have Him in our hearts, still by faith.
The Messiah brought about 2 major changes:
- His sacrificial death provides full atonement for sins and fully replaced the animal sacrificial system under the Mosaic Covenant.
- Through Him, Gentile believers are now grafted into the nation of Israel as promised to Abraham in Gen 12:3.
Through faith in Yeshua, Son of Abraham, Gentiles can now call Abraham their father & David their king & Yeshua Himself their Messiah. This blessing started with Abraham, father of all the uncircumcised who believe (Rom. 4:11). In fact, Gentile believers also bear the Abrahamic sign of circumcision done for them by Yeshua upon their hearts (Col. 2:11). Thus through Yeshua, our Lord, Gentiles have a part in all the covenants that God made with Israel. In Him, Jews & Gentile believers are one. The sign of the Renewed Covenant is the blood of Messiah (Luke 22:20). Through His blood, all the promises of God for Abraham's seed become a reality for any that believes.
Have we arrived at this covenant? By faith in Christ, yes. By life appropriation and realization no, because many are still far from the abundant that Jesus promised. The author of Hebrew warned us - fear in case we fall in the same plight of missing it all. We have to enter by obedience. But obedience to what? Obedience to the wholesome truth of God. The chart below shows why the Church is missing it!!!
OF GRIEVOUS THEOLOGICAL ERRORS
Stamp from the Church's denial of and departure from the Olive Tree to which she was grafted in
|DISPENSATIONS AND COVENANTS||ERRORS AND EFFECTS||TRUTHS AND RESTORATION|
Seeing Abraham as only receiving the promises. Not seeing that Abraham was also preached the same Gospel of Grace and Salvation. Thus seeing OT as lesser truths.
|PROMISES AND GRACE
Seeing that Abraham also was preached the same Gospel (Gal 3:8) and the same grace that we receive today, which is but the same unchanging grace that was taught and passed on to his later generations.
Seeing God as merciless Judge and Creator of imperfect laws, ignoring the grace and mercies of God as also provisions made and taught in the Law, festivals and ordinances.
Where there is no Law there can be no grace and mercies, thus the Church is actually far from understanding the salvation work and ways of God.
|LAW AND GRACE
Seeing the severity, love, grace and mercies of God imparted and extended through the Law, festivals and ordinances.
Understanding the unchanging and ever deepening truths of God through the ages.
|DAVIDIC COVENANT||PRAISE AND WORSHIP
Appropriating only the restoration of praise and worship, which was only one aspect of David's life.
Not able to appropriate other powerful aspects of the Leadership and Kingdom truths of God.
|KINGDOM AND GOVERNMENT OF GOD
seeing and restoring also the Davidic Kingly Leadership and Governmental truths and community life of the everlasting Kingdom into His Church
A covenant as corrective measure and totally contradictory to the Law and ordinances and different from the rest of the covenants
|FULL INCARNATION, MANIFESTATION,
REALIZATION AND FRUITION OF ALL THE LAW, COVENANTS AND GRACE OF GOD
Not the doing away of the other promises, covenants, laws and ordinances
Adapted from a teaching by Anna Lim, El-Shaddai Conventions
Email 'Replacement Theology', 15 Mar 1998, Hebraic Heritage Newsgroup
Email 'How Did The Church Lose Its Hebraic Roots? - Part 1', 15 May 1998 Hebraic Heritage Newsgroup
Take Hold by Ariel & D'vorah Berkowitz, pg.24
RESTORATION OF BIBLICAL PATRIARCHY
HEBRAIC ROOTS OF CHRISTIANITY
Copyright © Israel CS Lim, Apr 1999