An Understanding of the Term New Testament

People have been led to believe that the “new” testament has replaced the “old” testament, meaning one does not have to keep (obey) the Torah anymore. Nothing could be farther from the truth. For the past 100 years or so people have been taught a type of Biblical Dispensationalism. This theological system says that history has been divided into separate periods. There are usually seven, but there may be some derivations. For example, there was a dispensation of law that began at Sinai and went to Pentecost. Then the dispensation of grace began. God is said to have acted in different ways during these dispensations. As the age changed, God’s rules changed and the laws of the previous dispensation didn’t apply because they were of the “old” dispensation. The new laws were called the “new” covenant. The dispensational teacher sees separate groups and separate rules, all the while saying that God never changes!

When the Scriptures were made into chapters and verses by the Catholic Church and the monks, the books of the Tanak were labeled as the “old” Testament, and the gospels and epistles were categorized as the “new” Testament based on an understanding that the one canceled out and were replaced by the other. We believe and know that this interpretation is incorrect, to say the least. God made a single covenant with Abraham. It was elaborated on with Moses and Yeshua is the agent of God to bring it all about. God has not changed.

The “new” covenant is not actually “new.” The Hebrew word for “new” in Jeremiah 31.31-34 is the word “chadash” and it means “renewed” or “refreshed.” It can mean new, but it comes from a Hebrew root meaning renewed. The new moon is called “Rosh Chodesh” which means a renewed moon because it is not a brand new moon every month, it just has gone through a cycle. In other words, the New Covenant, or Brit Chadasha, is a “renewed covenant” of continuous progression from the others, not separate, but coming out of the others, expanded and clarified.

For instance, when a couple “renews” their wedding vows it is not understood as replacing the first ones, but it is a “refreshing” of the vows, a natural outgrowth of their lives together. In the same way, God has divorced Israel and Judah (Jer 3.1-8) due to their spiritual adultery and will “renew” his vows and covenants again through the work of the Messiah. The reason there is a new covenant is because God divorced his people but is going to bring them back to himself by faith. This covenant is made with Israel and Judah, and a non-Jew must be grafted into it by faith. This is the premise for Paul’s Olive Tree theology found in Rom 11.1-24. This covenant has nothing to do with a so-called “church” and never did and never will.

Here are the provisions of this covenant, and they all have their roots in the previous covenants: the Torah will be written in the heart (desires) of the believer; God will maintain a special relationship with Israel and Judah; all Israel will be saved and know the Lord in a redemptive way; all sins will be forgiven; all the promised land will be given to Israel; God will multiply Israel; the Temple will stand again in Israel (Jer 31.33-34, 32.41-44; Ezek 37.26-28). There are two words for new in Greek. One is “neos” and the other is “kainen.” Neos is usually understood as a “new” and “kainen” means “renewed.” This is the meaning every time “new” covenant is translated as “new” testament. The New Jerusalem is a “renewed” Jerusalem, a renewal or a continuation, a refreshing of the previous covenants going back to Adam. This covenant is not “neos” or new, but “kainen” or “renewed” because Yeshua said himself that he did not come to destroy the Torah, but to give it meaning (Matt 5.17-19. The word “fulfill” means to give it meaning, or literally to make it pregnant with meaning through the Ruach Ha Kodesh. So the idea that the New Testament replaces the Old Testament is a false teaching and is full of faulty theology. It is to be understood as a “renewed” covenant, a renewal of the original vows so to speak. It is a “coming around” of God’s work as if in a cycle. Anyone who tells you that the “new” has replaced the “old” in this context does not understand the Scriptures and you should seriously question their ability to interpret anything else, and it is a clear example of Replacement Theology.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Festivals of the Lord, The Tanak, Tying into the New Testament

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