"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21
I. The concept of a “New Covenant” replacing the various Covenants between G-d and the Jewish people is illegitimate.

A. The Torah as a Contract

The Torah (the Five books of Moses, i.e. Genesis through Deuteronomy), which constitutes the basis of Jewish Law and the prophecy of Moshe Rabeinu (Moses our teacher), tells us in several places that it is also an “Everlasting Covenant” between Israel and the All Mighty. In the 28th and 29th Chapters of Deuteronomy we see a summary of the terms (also described in Leviticus) of the contract. It instructs us that if we observe the mitzvot (commandments described throughout the Torah), we would receive manifold blessings, but if not there would be series of punishments, each increasingly worse. But at any time, the Torah says, we can “cure” (a legal term for resolving any breach of contract) our breach of contract by doing tshuva (repentence) and once again observing the mitzvot.

B. The Torah Cannot Be Replaced

In the Book of Deuteronomy G-d tells us that He has given us the complete Torah and that, “Lo bashamayim hee” (It shall not come from Heaven), there would be no further revelations related to the Law or amendments to the Contract. Deut. 30:12. See also Deut. 4:2 (“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your G-d which I command you.”)

C. There Have Been Many “New Covenants,” But None Has or Can Replace the Torah

The Covenant at Mt. Sinai was not the first, nor the last covenant between G-d and the Jewish people. See, e.g. Gen. 8 (with Noah); Gen. 17 (with Abraham); Gen. 28:10-22 (with Jacob); Joshua 1 (with Jews who entered Israel). In every case, the prior covenant was not replaced, but merely reaffirmed, expanded or codified existing practice. Not one of those covenants is or has ever been “obsolete.” Yet, missionaries claim that the Torah — G-d’s Covenant with the Jewish people as a whole — has been superceded by a “New Covenant” and replaced by a “New Testament.” Hebrews 8:13. In support of their position they refer to the Jeremiah 31:31-34 where the prophet predicted that there would be a “new covenant” in the Messianic Age. Indeed, Jeremiah did make such a prediction, but the verse implies no rejection of the Covenant of the Torah (aka “the Law”), but rather says that the Law shall be “inscribed in the hearts” of the Jewish people (i.e. they will not have to study the Law, as before, but all of its details will be known “by heart” and practiced by every Jew without question.

D. The “New Testament’s” Differing Views of the Torah

The main source for missionaries in their claim that G-d has supplanted Judaism with Christianity is the Christian Bible. Yet, it appears to be an unreliable source and the result of a tortured editing process between the followers of Paul, and those of James, the half-brother of Jesus. This is especially apparent with regard to their different views of Torah law. The Epistles of Paul say not only that the Torah was replaced by the “New Covenant,” but that is also something that was “obsolete” (Heb. 8:13), “kills” (2 Corin. 3:6) and a “curse” (Galatians 3:13). This is not only an insult to the Jewish people, but an insult to G-d! Missionaries who follow these teachings (nearly all of them as far as I can tell) suggest that G-d knew, when He gave the Torah to the Jewish people, that they would never be able to fulfill it. Put another way, G-d created doomed His Chosen people from the start and that He had no intention to fulfill all of the promises He made in His contract with them. This is absurd. Why would G-d do that? Was the Omniscient G-d only playing with us? This view of Paul that the Torah was impossible to follow is directly contradicted by the Torah itself. The Torah, it says, “is not too hard for thee, neither is it far off.” Deut. 30:11. King David called the Torah Laws “perfect,” “sure, making wise the simple,” and “pure, enlightening the eyes.” Ps. 19:8-9. Compare Paul’s comments with those by Jesus and James. Jesus, himself accepted the Torah as obligatory, saying that not only was the Written Torah eternal, but accepted the understanding of the Pharisees (the rabbis whose teachings would be later recorded in the Mishna, which is part of the Talmud) that the Written Torah is supplemented by an Oral Torah which provides details about how to fulfill the commandments, and that these regulations were taught by Moses and passed down from generation to generation. In Matt. 23:2-3, Jesus says that the Pharisees “sit in the seat of Moses; therefore all they tell you, do and observe.” His brother James, too, required strict observance of the Torah Law in its entirety. James 2:10-11. These conflicting testimonies, along with numerous explicit contradictions between the Christian Bible and the Hebrew Scriptures, makes the Christian Bible suspect either as an accurate historical account or as the Word of G-d.

By Bruce James (Baruch Gershom)

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