Letter To The Jews / Chapter 15

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15: A Second Covenant

Now, if Moses had delivered all that was necessary for life, what need would there be for a prophet like him? The prophets that came later, such as Isaiah and Jeremiah, all spoke in the name of YHWH, but were not considered to be the prophet like Moses; so what message would distinguish this prophet from all the other prophets?

And how would YHWH hold accountable those who do not listen to his words? For most of the generation who heard Moses, died in the wilderness, before even setting foot in the land promised to them.

And what would the prophet himself be like? For it was said of Moses, “The man Moses was humble, far more than any man who was on the face of the earth.” 1

Now, Moses delivered the Law covenant to Israel, but YHWH, through the mouth of Jeremiah, spoke also of a different covenant:

“Look! Days are coming, says YHWH, when I will make with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant; not like the covenant that I made with their forefathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which covenant of mine they broke, although I was their master, says YHWH.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says YHWH. I will put my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they will be my people.

And they will no longer teach each one his neighbor or each one his brother, saying 'Know YHWH'; for they will all know me, from the least to the greatest one of them, says YHWH; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” 2

Now, quite apart from when this is to occur, we can also ask how it would be brought about. For it is easy to understand how law can be written in the heart in a metaphorical sense. But a new covenant means a new contract entered into by the people. The first covenant was entered into in this manner:

“And he sent young men of the sons of Israel, and they offered up burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of bulls to YHWH. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in bowls, and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.

And he took the book of the covenant, and read it aloud in the ears of the people. And they said, 'All that YHWH has spoken, we will do, and be obedient.'

And Moses took the blood, and spattered it on the people, and said, 'Look! The blood of the covenant, which YHWH has made with you in accordance with all of this.'” 3

And right then, Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and 70 of the elders went up and saw the God of Israel, even as they were eating and drinking. Then Moses was invited up the mountain by himself, and he remained on the mountain with YHWH, while the cloud covered it.

And so, if Moses became the mediator of this first covenant between YHWH and his people Israel, and the people said, “All that YHWH has spoken, we will do, and be obedient,” and Moses spattered the people with blood that represented and sealed the covenant between them and YHWH, then what is the means by which this later covenant, spoken of by Jeremiah, would be made with the people? Would that be the ultimate purpose of the prophet like Moses?

1 Numbers 12:3. 2 Jeremiah 31:31-34. 3 Exodus 24:5-11.

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