Everlasting Kingdom: Unraveling the Bible’s Secrets

What is the “Old Testament”, the “Old Covenant”, “Scripture” and the “Word of God”?

A Terminology Exposé

Tertullian’s “Old Covenant”

As mentioned in What is the “New Testament”?, Tertullian was the first to apply the terms “New Testament” to the Newer Messianic Books and “Old Testament” to the collective Hebrew Scriptures. But these terms do not refer to books at all! Also, prior to this new terminology, there was no bias that the older writings were somehow obsolete, and the “Newer Books” were not thought to have anti Semitic overtones.

A “testament” or “covenant” is a contract. The term old testament is only used in 2 Corinthians 3:14. In reality, it only applies to the terms of the contract that Moses received on Mount Sinai, or at most, this unique reference might apply to the Pentateuch—the first five books of the Bible, “when Moses is read”. I usually put the words “old testament”, or as it is in some versions such as the American Standard, “old covenant” in quotes because the term is usually treated as tho it applied to everything contained from Genesis to Malachi, and is used with varying magnitudes of contempt! The hundreds of “old testament” quotations within the “new testament” should be a very strong statement of continuity rather than a disconnect! The New Books are the icing on the cake, but you still need the underlying cake.

Doctrinally speaking, I have no use for Tertullian’s “right to interpret Scripture”. For example, he was also the first to coin “Trinitas” or “Trinity”. Yet Trinity is never mentioned in the Bible, nor are the accompanying terms homousis and ousis. Those terms were adopted from the Stoics. Trinities have been found in Pagan writings ever since the tower of Babylon. He also taught that the Scriptures should only be read “at church”, because he assumed that only the Catholic Church has the right to interpret Scripture and establish doctrine.

Tertullian eventually left the orthodoxy and became a Montanist, a very strict sect that emphasized ecstatic prophetic gifts. He wrote some of his most zealous anti heretical (anti sectarian) works after he became a Montanist—a sect that itself was later condemned by the Catholics as heresy.

Here is the verse that provided Tertullian the imaginary reason for the great divisive chasm now imagined in the minds of most people; separating the old “obsolete” Scriptures from the “new” and “relevant” Texts.

2 Corinthians 3:14-15 But they’ve been blinded [2] in their understanding to this very day, when the Ancient Covenant [“Old Covenant”] [3] is read, because their veil hasn’t been lifted, nor is it apparent to them that the veil was severed [Matthew 27:51] by the Messiah. 15 To this day when Moses [Torah] is read, the veil is still standing in their minds. —The Gabriel Bible

Paul was not attempting to coin new terminology for the Hebrew Scriptures when he mentioned an ancient or old covenant!

In a paragraph, here is the account of when the terms of the “old covenant” were accepted:

Exodus 19:1-8 On the third new moon, on that commemorative day [Gill’s], after the Israelites left Egypt, they entered the Sinai Desert. 2 After they had moved from Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai, and Israel set up camp in the wilderness in front of the mountain.

3 Moses went up to Elohim, and Yehovah called to him from the mountain: “This is what you must say to the descendants of Jacob. Tell the Israelites, 4 ‘You have seen for yourselves what I did to the Egyptians, and how I lifted you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Me. 5 So if you’ll diligently obey My voice, and obey My Covenant, then you’ll be My treasured possession out of all the nations, tho the entire earth is Mine, 6 and you’ll be My Kingdom of priests, and a 'chosen' nation.’ This is what you’ll say to the Israelites.” 7 So Moses went back and called for the elders of the people, and presented to them everything that Yehovah had commanded him to say. 8 All the people answered together, “We will do everything that Yehovah has said.” So Moses brought the people’s answer back to Yehovah.

I envision a very similar situation when Yehovah renews His vows with Israel in a “New (Marriage) Covenant”!

Here is the Biblical phrase for the “Mosaic” covenant:

Hebrews 9:15 This is the reason He became the Mediator of the New Covenant—so that by means of death He could become the ransom payment for those who are breaking [1b] the first [original] covenant, so that those who are called to the eternal inheritance can receive the promise.

Hebrews 9:18 That is why even the first covenant wasn’t put into effect without blood.

What if there was a place in the “New Testament” that said:

“The Old Testament was written by the spirit and is profitable for doctrine, for proving convictions, for correction and for instruction in righteousness, so that a person of God can become very adept and accomplished in every good work”.

Wouldn’t that be a game changer? Well in reality, that is what Paul was saying because the Testimony of Yeshua (New Testament) was prophesied to be inspired and written by the Rock—by the Stone as a separate work from the Scriptures:

Isaiah 8:14-18,20 He [Yeshua Jesus] will be a safe haven. But for both houses of Israel, He’ll be a Stone to trip over, and a Rock to stumble over. He’ll be a trap and a snare for the residents of Jerusalem. [1]. 15 A great many will stumble over Him, fall, be broken, be snared and captured.”

16 In a time of distress, bind up [2] the Testimony and put a seal on [3] the Torah among My disciples. 17 I’ll wait for Yehovah who has 'turned away' from the House of Jacob, and I’ll eagerly look for Him.

18 I and the children [disciples] who Yehovah has given Me are for signs and miracles in Israel from Commander Yehovah who lives on Mount Zion!”... 20 To the Torah AND to the Testimony! If people don’t speak in agreement with these Words, it’s because it [the truth] hasn’t dawned on them [4]!

[1] This is how it reads in the oldest known Scriptures, the Aramaic Targums, “And if you won’t obey, His Word* will come among you for revenge, as a stumbling stone and as a rock of offense to both houses of the leaders of Israel, for destruction and as a snare, because they are fighting against the House of Judah who are living in Jerusalem.” [See 1 Peter 2:4-8] [2] See why the Testimony was written during a time of distress. [3] Literally, “Seal. This is like a seal of approval or a signature on a contract.” It’s a completed deal. [4] Or, as the New Living Translation says: “People who contradict His Word are completely in the dark.”

All but forgotten is Paul’s admonition to Timothy. He stated, before the “Testimony of Yeshua (NT) was even finalized, that the “Old Testament” was the very means to salvation:

2 Timothy 3:15-17 and that from your childhood you were taught from the 'Cherished' Writings, 'things' that can give you the wisdom to obtain eternal life, thru faith in Yeshua Messiah. 16 Every Scripture [1] [literally, ‘writing’] that was written by the spirit is profitable for doctrine for proving convictions, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, 17 so that a person of Aloha can become 'very adept' and accomplished in every good work.

It is obvious that the “Scriptures” leading to eternal Life, mentioned in vs.15-16 above, are referring to the Tanak, mistakenly called the “Old Testament”, since 51 other references to Scripture/s in the Testimony of Yeshua refer to the Tanak. Same goes for “the Word of God”. Not one of the 48 references to “the Word of God” can be shown to refer to the Testimony of Yeshua, look them all up!

There are two references in the Testimony to Scripture/s (of 76 total) that some interpret to include the Apostolic writings (that were still being written) as Scripture. It’s a misconstrewed interpretation of 2 Peter 3:16.

2 Peter 3:16. He writes about these things in all his letters, tho they are somewhat difficult to understand, that those who are ignorant and unstable pervert, as they do with the rest of the Scriptures [6] to their own destruction.

Considering the overwhelming contextual usage of the word “Scriptures”, we can easily see that Paul is not referring to the Testimony (that was still being written here) as being Scripture, but rather that the same “ignorant and unstable” people who perverted Scripture were perverting Paul’s “somewhat difficult to understand” letters. Given that Paul was far more educated that the fishermen who Yeshua first called; and that he was still a Pharisee who had trained his entire life to explain the meaning of the Scriptures, it is safe to conclude that “the rest of the Scriptures” is referring to the rest of the passages of Scripure that these people had already misconstrued.

As I mention in my Glossary under Scriptures, “Had the Apostles claimed to have been adding to the Scriptures, they would have been met with deadly resistance. Certainly there would have been some serious controversy, not just a comment or two that could later have been construed to support the notion of an expansion of the Scriptures.”

Had Paul been introducing an entirely new teaching; that his letters to the Assemblies, and other writings to follow were to be considered New Scriptures, he certainly would have called considerable attention to it, and provided a defense to what would have been considered to be a bold and game changing new concept (if not outright heresy!)

So the fact that the completed body of Scriptures were held in such high regard by the Apostles (Envoys), and quoted from hundreds of times, is in strong contrast to what Christianity soon came to regard them as: obsolete and nearly worthless!

This is not to cast any defamation on the Apostolic Writings. They simply have their own name—The Testimony of Yeshua. I didn’t spend 5,000 hours updating the English of two Aramaic versions of a book I believed not to be inspired!

What John termed “The Testimony of Yeshua”, when he “canonized” it late in the first century was not even thought to be for future generations as much of it was being written. They had thought that they were the last generation of the age:

1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then, we who are still alive, having survived, will be carried away together with them into the clouds to meet our Sovereign in the expanse. And we will be with our Sovereign forever.

Augustine, condemning Faustus the Manichaean, for trashing the Hebrew Scriptures—“the Law of God”, said:

“What else do those preachers of another gospel than that which we have received try to do, but to corrupt us from the purity which we preserve for Christ, when they stigmatize the law of God as old, and praise their own falsehoods as new, as if all that is new must be good, and all that is old bad? The Apostle John, however, praises the old commandment [Hebrew Scriptures], and the Apostle Paul bids us avoid novelties in doctrine. As an unworthy son and servant of the Catholic Church, the true bride of the true Christ....”

The Word of “God” (Aloha) is not a book that just happens to still contain the Hebrew Scriptures. There are no second class Scriptures of any kind. People have no clue that the “first covenant” had to do with Ancient Israel coming out of Egyptian slavery to be married to their Creator (the New Covenant chapter—Jeremiah 31, verse 3 in particular) and that when the New Covenant is put into effect, as spelled out in great detail including a running head start in Jeremiah’s previous chapter, chapter 30, it will be accomplished only when the modern nations of Israel come out of 21st century slavery in the North Country! As it says in the foundational New Covenant chapter:

Jeremiah 31:8 I’ll bring them from the North Country, and gather them from the remotest parts of the earth. Blind and lame people will return as well as expectant mothers and women in labor. A huge crowd will return here.

Jeremiah 23:7-8 That’s why the days are coming,” says Yehovah, “When people will no longer say, ‘As Yehovah lives, who brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.’ 8 Instead, they’ll say, ‘As surely as Yehovah lives, who brought about the 'exodus' of the descendants of the House of Israel from the North Country, and from all the countries where He had banished them.’ They’ll live in their own land!”

The New (marriage) Covenant will bring about what the Old Covenant was meant to do: One nation truly under Elohim!

If you haven’t read The “New Covenant”—Coming Soon! I really hope you do!

See other “North Country” prophetic references in Jeremiah 6 (esp v.22); Ch 10 (esp. v.22); Ch 46 (esp. v.10) and Zechariah 6 (esp. vs.6 & 8).

You may want to check out another Compact Exposé: What is the New Testament?

The End
Lonnie Martin
January 2005

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