PART ONE: THE FIRST COVENANT
1 - What Is A Covenant?
2 - The Covenant with Israel
3 - The Holy Assembly
4 - The Torah
5 - The Sabbath Covenant
6 - The Feasts of the Lord
7 - Other Nations Enter the Covenant
8 - The Desecration of the Covenant
9 - The Promise of A New Covenant
PART TWO: THE NEW COVENANT
10 - The New Covenant
11 - The Holy Assembly
12 - The Torah
13 - The Sabbath Covenant
14 - The Feasts of the Lord
15 - Gentiles Enter the Covenant
16 - The Desecration of the Covenant
I was raised in a main stream denominational church and throughout my Religious education I was instructed in the doctrines of the Church. The first time that these doctrines were challenged was when a member of a prominent cult showed me scriptures that revealed that I was in a church that taught false doctrine concerning the deity of Jesus Christ. This bothered me because although I understood the doctrines of my church I could not back them up using the scriptures. I began to wonder if what I had been taught was really the truth. I decided that I needed to find the truth myself and I began to diligently search the scriptures to see what they said about the deity of Jesus. After many months of study I found my answer, Jesus truly was and is God in the flesh. With that knowledge, I have taken the opportunity to witness to Members of this cult by using the scriptures. But, as I was to find out, God was not finished with my studies in the scriptures, there was a great deal more to learn.
Several years later I was married and began attending my wife's church. This church was of a different denomination and I soon found that many of their doctrines differed from the church that I was raised in. I again began to study the various doctrines of the two churches seeking after the truth. It was through these studies that the Lord gave me a desire to study his word like I had never before experienced. I began to dig deep into the scriptures and the more I dug the more I learned about God and the more I realized I had much to learn.
In my search through the scriptures I studied the books of the Bible, people, events, objects and places. These studies took me from Genesis to Revelation. The more I read and studied I began to notice many similarities between the Old and New Covenants. One example of this is the bread of life. John 6:32,33 tells us that the bread that fell from Heaven, while Israel was traveling through the wilderness, is a picture of Jesus who is the real bread of life. I also found many similarities between Israel and the Church and between the covenant of the First Covenant (Old Testament) and the covenant in the New Covenant.
Each time I came across one of these similarities, I wrote them down in my notebook. Over the years I had accumulated a great number of these and decided it was time to do a serious study on what I had been discovering. This book is a result of that study.
The most interesting discovery I found as I studied the similarities between the Old and New Covenants was that I began learning many things about Israel, the Church, and God and his covenants which I had never been taught nor read about before. At first this scared me. I felt that I was becoming a radical and I felt that no one would believe this. It was at this time that the Lord led me to a man who was able to help me. I was sharing with him what I had discovered in the Bible and he put me in touch with a group of believers who met in my area called Messianic believers. Messianics are Jews and Gentiles who see the Bible as one book about God's people and not two books about two different people and see Yeshua as the Messiah. Messianic Believers desire to learn and teach that the roots of Christianity are in the First Covenant and the Jewish people. As I talked with one individual in the group I found that what I had been learning in my studies were in fact what they teach. This confirmed to me that what I had been learning in my personal studies was the truth.
The majority of the Bible is recorded in two languages. The First Covenant was written in Hebrew (with the exception of some passages in Ezra and Daniel which are written in Aramaic, a dialect of Hebrew), While the New Covenant was written in Greek.
We can look at these two languages as Islands; each separated from the other. The words, styles of writing and sentence forms in the Hebrew scriptures are different than those in the Greek scriptures. We can study Hebrew words in the First Covenant or Greek words in the New Covenant but we rarely compare how words of one language are related to the other. But there is a bridge between these two Islands. This bridge is called the Septuagint.
The Hebrew language has been in existence for over 3500 years. Throughout this entire time, the Hebrew language has been a spoken language, unlike all the other ancient languages that have become extinct. During the days of the First Covenant, Hebrew was the language of the nation of Israel. In the fourth century BC the Jews who were exiled into other lands began to adopt the language of the culture they lived in such as Greek and Aramaic. When the Jews were allowed to return to the land of Israel some migrated to Israel and the Hebrew language once again became the language of the Jewish people living in Israel. We can see this same sequence of events in this century. From about the second century up until this century the majority of the Jews lived outside of the land of Israel and again adopted the language of the area they were living, Russian, German, Italian, etc. Although the Jews learned and used the languages of the land, they continued to teach and learn Hebrew in the synagogues for the purpose of prayer and study of the Bible. When the state of Israel was reestablished in 1948, those Jews who migrated back to Israel from distant lands began using the Hebrew language and once again became the language of the land of Israel.
The Jews that were scattered around the known world during the exile predominately spoke Greek and Aramaic. The Bible was written in Hebrew and therefore not accessible to the Greek and Aramaic speaking Jews. Jewish scholars translated the Bible into Greek, called the Septuagint, and Aramaic, called the Targum. Both the Targum and the Septuagint are helpful tools in understanding how the Jewish Scholars interpreted the Hebrew scriptures, but for this study we are only interested in looking at the Greek Septuagint since this is the language of the New Covenant. Much of the Septuagint translation is a word for word translation. This means that each Hebrew word was translated into an equivalent Greek word. With the Septuagint, we now have the ability to compare the Hebrew words in the First Covenant with the Greek words in the Septuagint. We can then take those Greek words used in the New Covenant and compare them with its Hebrew equivalent.
Let us use one phrase as an example. Genesis 1:2 says, "and the spirit of God was hovering over the waters". The word Spirit is the Hebrew word "ruach" and God is the Hebrew word "elohiym". The Septuagint translates "ruach elohiym" into "pneuma (Spirit) Theos (God)". When the New Covenant was written into Greek, the authors continued to use the Greek phrase "pneuma Theos". So when Yeshua was baptized we read in Matthew 3:16; "and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove". In the Greek the phrase "Spirit of God" is "pneuma Theos". By using the Septuagint we can now translate this into Hebrew which is "ruach elohiym".
Not only can we translate the Greek into Hebrew; we can also take our definitions of Greek words, from the First Covenant. For example the Greek word righteousness is "dikaios". We usually take this word to simply mean being right with God. If we translate this word into Hebrew using the Septuagint we have the Hebrew word "tsedikah". Now we can look at the definition of righteousness from the First Covenant. The First Covenant gives us a better definition of righteousness, which we will look at later in this book. As we will see, the First Covenant definition of righteousness is far different than that which the church teaches.
The Churches teachings on words in the Bible are usually based on their usage in the New Covenant Greek words only. Then these definitions are used to interpret the First Covenant Hebrew words. But this is the opposite of how it should actually be done. After all, the writers of the New Covenant were educated in the scriptures (the First Covenant only at that time). When they used a word like righteousness, they were drawing upon the First Covenant for its meaning. Therefore, the Greek New Covenant words have their foundations in the Hebrew First Covenant.
The first part of this book deals with the First Covenant. We will be examining some Hebrew words to understand their definitions based on the First Covenant. In the second part of this book, we will be looking at some Greek words that are related to the Hebrew words we looked at in the first part. With this method we will be able to bridge the gap between the First and New Covenant languages.
Approximately 90% of the doctrines of the church are based on the letters of Paul in the New Covenant only causing three problems in Church doctrine. First, the First Covenant is not taken into consideration when Biblical doctrine is studied. The church considers the First Covenant as obsolete, irrelevant, antiquated and therefore, not worth the in depth study that the New Covenant is given. Because of this, the Bible cannot be fully understood without seeing the influence that the First Covenant has on the New Covenant.
Secondly, the gospels themselves are looked upon in much the same way as the First Covenant since the teachings of Yeshua are based on the First Covenant Torah. Many of our churches believe that once Yeshua died on the cross, the Torah, and the First Covenant, were done away with. This means that the three and one half years that Yeshua taught is meaningless today.
Thirdly, the apostles wrote these letters to individuals and churches. What was the purpose of the letters? The majority of the letters were written to address specific problems within the churches. I believe this is why most of the Sunday sermons are on how to correct problems within the churches and in the lives of its members. What did the Apostles use to teach the churches correct doctrine? The First Covenant scriptures, the very scriptures we often ignore.
Today we have thrown out the First Covenant foundations and only accepted the teachings of the letters in our churches.
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on [Messiah]." (Colossians 2:8)
Through the past 2,000 years Satan has deceived many in the churches to believe in a different Bible and different teachings than that which is outlined in the scriptures. Many of the teachings in the church are based on human traditions and not on the Bible. Examples of this are the holidays, or holy days, which the church celebrates, such as Christmas and Easter. But, as we will see in this book, God never commanded us to observe these days, which by the way have their roots in pagan worship. But God did command us to keep certain days holy (holidays) as an everlasting ordinance throughout all generations, Jews and Gentiles alike. This and other subjects will be discussed throughout the pages of this book.
Yeshua was faced with this type of problem 2,000 years ago. The Jews of his day were obeying the traditions of men rather than the commands of God (Mark 7:8). It happened then and it is happening again.
The New Covenant is not a new teaching for a new church. The New Covenant is a continuation of the teachings of the First Covenant for the people of God, both Jew and Gentile alike. The New Covenant is mostly a commentary on the First Covenant. Every teaching in the New Covenant can be found in the First Covenant. In fact there are 343 quotes of the First Covenant in the New Covenant. This is an average of 1.3 quotes per chapter. There are about 3 times this many references to the First Covenant in the New Covenant. This brings the total number of quotes and references in the New Covenant to around 1,500 which is an average of 4 quotes and references per chapter and 55 quotes and references per book. The remaining portions of the New Covenant are teachings based on these First Covenant quotes and references.
I must warn you that much of what you read here will be contrary to what is being taught in the churches. But I assure you, that the principles outlined in this book are not only my personal beliefs but are also the beliefs of a rapidly growing movement of God.
If you find yourself saying you do not believe the teachings of this book, then I challenge you to do your own study. If you do not believe what I am bringing out in this book, ask yourself why. Too many people are spoon-fed their beliefs from the pulpit and not from personal study.
We often believe what we believe because we are told this is what we are to believe. Do your own study to prove me wrong, don't just rely on someone else's opinion.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (1 Peter 3:15)
I strongly encourage you to study your Bible using lexicons and Interlinears. You can see the original words from the original languages in the Bible. Better yet, learn Hebrew and Greek, it is not as difficult as you may think.
When you look at the scriptures in the original language you can see exactly what word the original author used. The problem with a translation is that you are at the mercy of the translator who tells you what he thinks the original word means based upon his predetermined theology. We will see some examples of this later.
Copyright © 2004
Jeff A. Benner
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