Most Christians have fallen for the trap of self-justification to one degree or another. There is a lot of confusion in Christianity as to the relationship of the New Covenant to the Old Covenant. The ‘judeo’ churches can’t properly instruct our folk because they are blind themselves.
Look at the Holiness/Pentecostal people who insist women wear long skirts and long hair. Look at the many factions of the Amish and Mennonite peoples who think they will go to Hell if they drive an automobile or have electricity in their homes. This is the kind of thing you get into when you look for ways to try to earn God’s favor.
Even many Identity Christians, realizing the truth of the Hebrew roots of White Christian Society and the Israelite ancestry of the majority of the tribes which had formed the modern nations of Europe, think that they must revert to keeping many statutes and ordinances of the Old Covenant in order to better please Yahweh their God.
There are Christian men who won’t shave any part of their beards, as we read in Leviticus 19:27: “27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.” Then of course, there is often much arguing among brethren as to what it means to “round the corners of your heads” or “mar the corners of thy beard”, and men seek to justify themselves in the belief that they have a proper explanation. Quite often, they have no true explanation at all, but only conjecture. Some churches even teach it is a sin for a man to have facial hair at all.
Therefore we must ask, is this what pleases God? Or is it just a self-righteousness attempt to justify oneself?
The same law that states “neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard” also instructed Moses, in Numbers chapter 15, to “38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: 39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: 40 That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.”
So if you refuse to trim the edges of your beard, but on the other hand, you are not wearing these blue ribbons on the fringes of your garments, how are you keeping the law? I’ve never seen a Christian with blue ribbons hanging from their clothes. Does that mean all of them are in disobedience? Then if you decide to wear blue fringes, what about where it says in Exodus 35:3 that “Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.” Therefore if you have a gas stove with a pilot light, or even any type of light bulb or lantern, you have a fire kindled in your home. The same is true of any type of furnace or hot water heater, so you better turn it all off before the start of the Sabbath. But, of course, the churches can’t even agree on which day to recognize a Sabbath. It can be confusing and dis-heartening for people. The only thing preachers can agree on is tithing! Because most all of them want your money.
So, is it now obvious, how hard it may be in today’s modern society to live up to all of the precepts of the law? And as Paul had said in Galatians, if you become circumcised, you had better do all of these other things and more. In Paul’s day, there were Judaizers teaching uncircumsized men to become circumsized in order to become justified before God.
For this same reason, the apostle James wrote in chapter 2 of his epistle “10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Attempting to demonstrate one’s righteousness by claiming to keep the law, and not keeping the whole law, one is a hypocrite. For that same reason, Paul of Tarsus wrote in Romans chapter 3:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds [works] of the law. 29 Is he the God of the Judaeans only? is he not also of the Nations? Yes, of the Nations also: 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
We establish the law, but there is no longer a need to keep the rituals, as Christ is our righteousness. There can be some confusion when comparing Paul and James, if one is not familiar with the various expressions of the two men. In Paul’s writings the phrase “works of the law”, or sometimes in the King James Version, “deeds of the law”, are the rituals and other ceremonial ordinances of the Old Covenant law, such as those governing one’s appearance and certain aspects of behavior apart from morality. This is how the same phrase was used in the Septuagint and in the Dead Sea Scrolls which were contemporary to Paul’s time.
In Galatians chapter 2, Paul explained that man cannot be justified by the works of the law, which are the rituals and other things which the law compels a man to perform. Man cannot be justified by these things, so he can only hope to be justified by God, and as the Scripture says, since no living flesh can be justified in His sight, then no ritual or work of the law will ever justify a man. James also said, as we have just cited, that a man who would keep the whole law had better not fail in any point, or he is a complete failure. But in that same place he also explains that a man can be justified by works which are the actions of his life, rather than by the works of the law. Paul did not mention those sort of works in Galatians chapter 2, but in many other places in his epistles he did express the need for a man to perform “good works”, contrary to the “works of the law”. Thus is the difference between Galatians chapter 2 and James chapter 2, and there is no conflict between them as Paul had called for men to perform good works, but not the works of the law. As Christians, we are to love one another. If we love others we will do good deeds towards them. Scripture even says that if we give someone a drink of water in the name of the Lord, we will be blessed for it. In these times, we should leave rituals behind and be kind to others from the heart, and trust in Yahweh’s grace and love for us.
For example, Paul said in Ephesians chapter 2: “8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” If a man could effect his own salvation by rituals, such as circumcision or baptism, and by wearing blue ribbons and never trimming his beard, he would be able to boast that he saved himself, and in essence he would be denying Yahshua Christ.
But when Christ was asked by a certain young man, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 19, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” The response in relation to that question was: “… if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Then the man responded by asking Him which commandments, and Christ answered: “… Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not adulterate, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Now this keeping of the commandments is sufficient if one loves Christ, as He said in John chapter 15 that “10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” But to that Christ had added a new commandment, as He also said in Matthew, which was that Christians love one another. So here in Matthew we read a little further: “20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” These were the sort of works which James had described by which a man could be righteous, and therefore Paul also had written in Hebrews chapter 10, “24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” These are the only things a Christian needs to do to be justified, and then, to be perfected.
But the Judaizers had boasted in keeping the rituals and works of the law, and they sought to bind Christians from among both Judaeans and Greeks to do the same. Addressing them, Paul had explained that Yahweh justified all of Israel through faith, both the circumcised and the uncircumcised, and not through the works of the law. So we must ask: What is the foundation of Christianity? What is the basis for the New Covenant? The greater context of his epistle to the Romans, and especially chapters 1 through 4, shows that Paul was indeed speaking to an audience comprised entirely of Israelites (Whites), either the circumcised Israelites of Judaea, or the uncircumcised Israelites of the ancient dispersions. Then an examination of Romans chapter 4 shows that by faith, Paul referred to the faith of Abraham, to what Abraham had believed, and NOT to what men believed, as he wrote:
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
Because Abraham believed Yahweh, Yahweh promised to justify Abraham’s seed. If one is of that seed, as the promises were passed on through Jacob, then one is justified in Christ. Later, in Romans chapter 7, Paul explained that Christ had died to free the wife, the bride of Yahweh, from the penalties of the law by which she was liable to death. Here it should be evident, that to Paul of Tarsus, the foundation of the New Covenant in Christ is the promise to Abraham, and NOT the Old Covenant, which was made 430 years after the call of Abraham, as Paul explained in Galatians chapter 3 where he wrote, speaking NOT of the Mosaic/Sinai covenant BUT of the covenant with Abraham: “17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” The covenant with Abraham IS the basis for Christianity, NOT the Old Covenant which is the covenant at Sinai where the law was given. Thus we read in Romans chapter 15:
8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles/Nations, and sing unto thy name.
But who were the “gentiles” to whom Paul referred? The word means nations. Notice that the King James Version did not translate the same word as “gentiles” in Romans 4:17, which by itself should betray the dishonest use of the term. Paul had already explained in Romans chapter 4 that the nations of the promises were those nations which had come from the seed of Abraham, so here we cannot imagine that he refers to any other nations but those. In fact, in the very next verse he cites Deuteronomy 32:43, so we will cite more of that passage here than Paul had in his epistle, and assert that Paul certainly did not take it out of context:
43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.
Those nations of Deuteronomy 32:43 are the twelve tribes of Israel, which were prophesied to become many nations, and they did. That is an example of what Paul meant in Romans 4 where he wrote that Yahweh calls things not existing as if they already existed. Our assertion that promises to Abraham and the fulfillment of that promise through the twelve tribes of Israel are the basis for Christianity is supported in chapter 1 of the Gospel of Luke. There, Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, is recorded as having prophesied the purpose of his newly-born son in relation to the Messiah and the salvation of Israel:
68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; [as in Deuteronomy 32:43] 72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, [this is “his holy covenant”] 74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; 77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, 78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, 79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Here it must be evident, that the enemies of ancient Israel are still the enemies of the Israel of Christ today, and that the New Covenant is based on the promises to the fathers, starting with Abraham, and not on the covenant at Sinai. The New Covenant is NOT based on the law of Moses. It is based on the Abrahamic Covenant – NOT the Mosaic/Sinaitic Covenant. This is very important for you to understand. Paul himself upheld this concept once again in Hebrews chapter 6:
13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
With this we should know, that there is no turning back to the Old Covenant, which is the Sinai covenant. Christianity it not based on the Sinai covenant. Rather, it is founded upon the initial promises to Abraham, according to Paul in Romans and according to Luke chapter 1 and the words of Zacharias. In that same epistle, Paul spoke of the end of the Levitical priesthood as Christ was the new “high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” The Old Covenant was hopelessly broken 2,500 years ago. Yahweh Himself announced this, in Zechariah chapter 11. There he referred to the children of Israel as the “flock of slaughter”, because they were under the penalty of death for the fornications and idolatries which caused Him to send them into captivity in the first place. Once again, in Romans chapter 7 Paul had explained how that penalty of death was lifted, as that is why Christ had to die for our sins. So, speaking of the ongoing punishment of Israel and Judah, the Word of Yahweh said in Zechariah:
9 Then said I, I will not feed you: that that dieth, let it die; and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another. 10 And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. [The Sinai covenant was made with all the people.] 11 And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD. 12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. [Now this is a Messianic prophecy relating to what would happen to Christ.] 13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD. 14 Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
Ezekiel chapter 37 prophecies the reunion of Israel and Judah in the two sticks which are joined into one, and that is accompanied by a promise of a new covenant and a Messianic prophecy, so we see that the brotherhood was reestablished in Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer.
If Yahweh Himself announced that He had broken the Covenant, by which He could only be referring to the Old, or Levitical Covenant made at Mount Sinai, then how can any man pretend to return to it? What man can make a covenant with God, and expect Him to be bound thereby? That is the uttermost foolishness, and this concept must be purged from Christian thinking and teaching.
But one must ask, can the Old Covenant be broken? And if so, then on what terms? Many Identity Christians are quick to point out that the terms of many of the Old Covenant laws are “forever”, as we see in many laws that “it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.” But what those Identity Christians are missing, are the original conditions of the entire covenant and giving of the law, which is set forth at the beginning, in Exodus chapter 19: “5 Now therefore, IF ye will obey my voice indeed, AND keep my covenant, THEN ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” The entire Old Covenant was contingent upon whether the children of Israel would be obedient. They failed to be obedient, and after 700 years of patience Yahweh began to cast them out into the captivities. Then after 900 years, as the time of Zechariah was about 520 BC, Yahweh finally announced that He broke the covenant that they had been transgressing and had broken for centuries. Forever was NOT forever any more. Forever ended when the covenant was broken.
The Sinai covenant and the Levitical law in the Kingdom period was the way that Yahweh chose to preserve the seed of Abraham in fulfillment of the promises in ancient times, and the Christian New Covenant is another way by which Yahweh chose to preserve the seed of Abraham in fulfillment of the promises in modern times. Both of these dispensations were planned from the foundation of the world, as Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. So long before the children of Israel were told in Zechariah that the Old Covenant was broken, Yahweh made the announcement that there would be a New Covenant, for example in both Ezekiel chapter 37 and in Jeremiah chapter 31. Therefore the passing of the Old Covenant is obvious in the promises of a New Covenant that long preceded the rather explicit announcement in Zechariah that the covenant was broken by God Himself.
In Jeremiah chapter 31 we see the principle and explicit promise of a New Covenant:
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
With this we must ask, what law is written in our hearts? Not to steal or murder or fornicate or commit adultery or cheat our brethren? Or is it written on our hearts to sew blue ribbons onto the fringes of our garments, cut off our foreskins and let our beards grow wild?
The New Covenant is NOT according to the Old Covenant, which the children of Israel had broken, and therefore we are no longer under the many ordinances or statutes of the Old Covenant which either necessitated the intervention of a Levitical priest, or governed the national conduct of the people, for example, how they dressed and how they conducted their civic duties. Ancient societies did indeed regulate how their citizens dressed, a phenomenon which is as recent as the Roman empire. The New Covenant is according to the laws written on our hearts, and not in the pages of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. We have moral laws written on our hearts, reflected in the basic ten commandments and not in the many legalisms and odd interpretations which result from looking at these ancient ordinances through the perspective of our own modern society.
Far too many Christians seek to establish their own righteousness by attempting to follow the rituals and ordinances of the Old Covenant, things which their own fathers found impossible to do. When Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch, certain Judaizers came from Jerusalem and started to tell the Christians of Antioch that they had to be circumcised and keep the other provisions of the Mosaic law if they were to be justified. Paul and Barnabas resisted them, and a debate ensued. So it was all brought to the elder apostles, to Peter and James and John, for remediation. Upon, this, we read in Acts chapter 15:
6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. 12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles [Nations] by them. 13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles [Nations], to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles [Nations], upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. 19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles [Nations] are turned to God: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. 22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles [Nations] in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: 24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: 25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
Of course, keeping the commandments was already required in the Gospel, so that is not a question here. But the apostles advised nothing about a need for circumcision, or baptism, or haircuts, or beard trimmings, or blue ribbons. What they did advise is that Christians keep the commandments, which we see in the Gospel, and they added three things to that: to abstain from idolatry, from blood and things strangled, and from fornication. I interpret that as a maintenance of the food laws, since it is unlikely that they ever considered unclean beasts to be food, and that race-mixing, or fornication, as well as other forms of sexual activity which fit the use of the term such as prostitution or sodomy, are also forbidden. It is likely that they added these things only to clarify certain things to the Greeks that the Judaeans had already understood.
This is the predicament of the children of Israel: they never kept their end of the Old Covenant, the covenant which was made at Sinai, which was a contract, so the other party to the contract, Yahweh, sent them out of His domain in punishment, and He had a judgment against them. The penalty for the judgment is death.
Imagine entering into a contract with someone and receiving a reward, a certain amount of money, in anticipation of your pledge to fulfill a certain list of provisions. Imagine that you never fulfilled those provisions, so the individual who made the contract with you sues you and obtains a judgment against you for the sum which you had been paid. Then long after you are sued and the judgment was handed down, you imagine in your heart that perhaps you could go back and fulfill a few of the provisions of the contract, which is already long broken and for which you are liable to repay your debt.
But Yahshua Christ had died so that you would never have to repay that debt. So why should you go back to attempt to fulfill any of the provisions? To do so, is to deny the fact that Christ already paid the debt for you. So you better keep the whole law perfectly, as both James and Paul had explained, because denying Christ you certainly won’t have any relief or propitiation from Him. On the other hand, no flesh was ever justified by the works of the law, so you just cost yourself any chance of reconciliation. That is the plight of all Jews, who falsely claim to be Israel and pretend to keep the law, but have all condemned themselves. That is why those who profess that we must keep certain aspects of the law are Judaizers, even if they are not Jews.
As Paul had explained in Romans chapter 7, Yahweh Himself chose to die, to free Israel from the law, and there was a greater compulsion for Yahweh to do that than merely having mercy on Israel. That greater compulsion was the earlier covenant which He made with Abraham. It is in regards to that earlier covenant with Abraham that Paul wrote in Hebrews chapter 6: “13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath… ”
To see what it was to which Paul was referring, we must begin with Genesis chapter 12:
1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Then on to Genesis chapter 15, where we see the covenant to which Paul referred in Hebrews chapter 6:
1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 7 And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. 11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
After the darkness fell upon him, in verse 17 it is described that Yahweh Himself passed through the divided animals. There are records in ancient inscriptions from Mesopotamia and the adjoining countries that this was the way the ancients established a covenant, from before the time of Abraham. So the passing through was the act which Paul describes later in Hebrews as Yahweh swearing upon Himself. This is the first Abrahamic of the covenants, and it is on THIS covenant that Christianity is founded.
This is the faith of Abraham to which Paul also referred in Romans chapter 4, where it reads “Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” But these promises having been passed down through Jacob, if all of Israel were slain on account of the penalties which they were liable to under the law given at Sinai, then Yahweh would have lied to Abraham here. Abraham’s other children eventually produced only bastards. Where Yahweh passed through the divided animals establishing this covenant, that is why Paul said in Hebrews chapter 6 that Yahweh could not lie here, as it was an oath which he swore upon Himself. That is also why Paul wrote in Galatians that the oath which Yahweh swore to Abraham was not made void by the law which came 430 years later, at Sinai. The Sinai covenant was forever based on conditions which Israel failed to fulfill, so it was irreparably broken. This Abrahamic covenant has no conditions: nothing was required of Abraham, and therefore it will never be broken. The basis of Christianity is in this Abrahamic covenant, and not in the Levitical or Sinai covenant. It is an EXCLUSIVE covenant for Abraham and his descendants ONLY. We White people are those very descendants – no one else is a party to this covenant.
This covenant was added to later, where Yahweh made another covenant with Abraham, and that covenant had a condition, but it is an addition to this covenant, and it cannot break this covenant which was already made. So in Genesis chapter 17 we read:
1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. 9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
Then as it continues, we see the condition of circumcision is added:
10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
How could a man pretend to be keeping this sign of circumcision if perhaps he is circumcised at forty years old? He is to be cut off from his people if he is not circumcised when he is only EIGHT DAYS OLD! So what profit is there at being circumcised later? There is none, as now only Christ can reconcile the man cut off from his people.
Then Yahweh made one additional promise to Sarah, which is the promise which Paul explained in Romans chapter 9:
15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. 16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
The promise to Sarah was over and above the promise to Abraham, and had no conditions. The promise to Abraham and the covenant here in Genesis 17 had the condition of circumcision attached to it, but the earlier covenant of Genesis chapter 15 did not. So Yahweh would keep His promise to Abraham’s seed even if they broke the condition of circumcision, which was later incorporated into the Levitical law at Sinai.
This condition of circumcision was explicit. A male child not circumcised on the eighth day would be cut off from his people. So there is not much use being circumcised after the eighth day, and especially many years after, as one’s parents have already sinned. But in reality, long ago all of Israel were cut off from being His people, and taken away in large portions over nearly two centuries in the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. The children of Israel never properly kept the laws which they had promised to keep in exchange for being the special people of Yahweh and having His beneficence and protection. This we see, for example, in Hosea chapter 13: “1 When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.” Of course, Ephraim being used to name the Israelites of the Northern Kingdom, they did not die physically, and they went off into Assyrian captivity, but they were worthy of death, and they were as good as dead in the eyes of their God. So it was said, as part of their punishment, in Hosea chapter 1: “6… for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away… for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God”, and in chapter 3: “4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim”. This last verse indicates that they would be deprived of all of their special religious status and accouterments, and they also discontinued the practice of circumcision.
But with these punishments and admonitions there was also a message of hope and reconciliation, again in Hosea chapter 1, and the language of this message is found to agree with the unconditional covenant which Yahweh made with Abraham: “10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.” And in chapter 3: “5 Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.” And again, where Ephraim had been declared dead, in Hosea chapter 13: “ 9 O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. 10 I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? 11 I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath. 12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid.”
So the children of Israel were cut off from being the people of God, and one of the things they had done to merit being cut off was to turn to idolatry and cease from being circumcised. Therefore the punishment for not being circumcised was executed in those same captivities prophesied in Hosea where it says that they were “not My people”, that they were cut off from God. But the reconciliation is in Christ, and Christ did not demand that the practice of circumcision be instituted anew. Remember, Israel was punished and the Mosaic Covenant was broken, but the Abrahamic Covenant could not, nor can EVER be broken!
Rather, it is prophesied in Deuteronomy chapter 30 that the children of Israel would be scattered abroad as a punishment, and that was the cutting off which happened in the deportations, and there it is also written that they would ultimately be reconciled, and that once they were reconciled, Yahweh would circumcise their hearts – NOT their foreskins! So we read:
1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, 2 And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; 3 That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. 4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: 5 And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. 6 And the LORD thy God will CIRCUMSIZE THINE HEART, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. 7 And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.
So Yahweh would spare Israel on account of the promises to the fathers, and we come full circle once again to the basis of Christianity as it was described in the words of Zacharias in the Gospel of Luke: “72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” We also see that in the prophesied reconciliation that circumcision is of the heart, and NOT of the foreskin, so we read in Colossians chapter 2: “8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ…” That circumcision made without hands is the promise of Yahweh to reconcile Himself to His people and circumcise their hearts which we have just seen in Deuteronomy.
For that same reason, Paul had written in Romans chapter 2: “28 For he is not a Judaean, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Judaean, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Paul was not teaching that the law was done away with. Rather, he was teaching the law of Deuteronomy chapter 30, fulfilled in Christ!
Yahweh God understood when He gave the law at Sinai, on the condition that “if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant”, that the people would not obey, and that they would eventually be cast out and driven off in punishment. The most explicit proof of that is in Deuteronomy chapter 30, which we have cited. Other proofs are throughout the law, such as in Deuteronomy 17:14-15 where Yahweh had foreseen the sin that the children of Israel would commit in 1 Samuel chapter 8, 400 years before it happened, where they demanded an earthly king. So while the original commandment of circumcision was “forever”, the Sinai covenant was “forever IF ye will obey My voice”, and forever ended for both when the children of Israel suffered the consequence of disobedience. In Christ, in their reconciliation, circumcision is of the heart. Now in Christ, God approves of the circumcision of the heart, and it is the circumcision of the heart which was prophesied to be the circumcision upon the reconciliation of His people Israel in Deuteronomy chapter 30. Of course, Deuteronomy is the law, and if anyone professes to keep the law then they must recognize that law.
Our fathers had already suffered the penalty of being cut off from their people, as they also discontinued circumcision. We cannot justify ourselves now by returning and taking upon ourselves the conditions of the Genesis chapter 17 covenant or the Sinai covenant and the law of circumcision and circumcising ourselves, after so many generations of our ancestors are already punished for departing from the law, and after Christ offered Himself as their propitiation. Therefore now we can only be justified in Christ, and to do that we must repent of our sins and return to Him on His terms, and not on our own terms. He does not require circumcision of the flesh, and that is clear in the mandates of the apostles handed down in Acts chapter 15 and in their epistles. So there is no compulsion for a Christian to be circumcised. There is also no compulsion for a Christian to do any of the hundreds of other ordinances in the law. Doing any of them may not condemn any of us, but it will certainly not justify any of us.
We have justification free from the rituals and ordinances of the law, and for that reason the apostles, Peter, Paul and James, all wrote of the liberty which we have in Christ. That liberty is reflected in their epistles as well as in Acts. So Paul encouraged the Galatians, in chapter 5 of his epistle, to “1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” He was referring to the “yoke of bondage” of the Old Testament ordinances, which is how the apostle Peter had referred to the circumcision and other ordinances in Acts chapter 15 where he said “10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” So later, in chapter 2 of his first epistle, Peter warned his readers to conduct themselves “16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.” Then, after warning that those who would endeavor to keep the law are guilty of the whole if they fail in one point, James said in chapter 2 of his epistle: “11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” So the “law of liberty” is to keep the moral precepts of the commandments, without having to follow the many ordinances by which the ancient Israelites were justified under the law, while also being granted mercy if one is merciful, which is an instruction in the parables of Christ.
Christians should be whole Bible Christians, and that is the original meaning and application of the words “orthodox” and “catholic” – ‘down whole.’ We cannot accept our liberty by teaching our brethren that they must keep Levitical ordinances and ritual laws. And yes, circumcision and regulated haircuts and blue fringes are rituals. A ritual is any act that one does for the purpose of appeasement, propitiation or conciliation, to be reckoned righteous or to be justified by a god. This includes facial hair, blue ribbons, long dresses and hair, or anything else. Our historical learning from the Old Covenant is that we cannot justify ourselves by such acts, especially when we break the commandments and fail to love our brethren. As the apostle John had explained, and as Christ had explained in his gospel, true love of God is to keep the commandments and to love one’s brother. The “things were written aforetime were written for our learning”, as Paul also informs us in Romans chapter 15, the moral laws of the Old Covenant stand as an example by which we should interpret the commandments of Christ to this day. But there is no Christian requirement to keep the ordinances that pertained to the maintenance of a worldly kingdom which no longer exists.
We do not have to keep any law that was dependent upon the Levitical priests. Christ is our priest, and He is not of the order of Levi. As Paul had explained in Hebrews chapter 7:
11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
The Levitical laws were designed for a certain time and place, a certain historical period. Therefore many of the laws of the Sinai covenant were peculiar to the maintenance of the Kingdom which the covenant took steps to establish. There was a cultural context and a purpose to them that is forever lost now, or even by the time of Christ. So Paul had also explained that the Levitical covenant was fading and gone – vanishing away. This is found in Hebrews chapter 8: “13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”
Yet to this day men attempt to cling to certain of the Levitical laws, presumably in order to appear holy. Ostensibly, men who seek to appear holy outwardly seek the approval of men, or to vaunt themselves over their brethren. Appearing to be holy had failed our race 2,500 years ago, as our ancestors did not act holy. That is part of the overarching lesson of the Old Testament, that man can never justify himself through works. But the New Testament tells us that if Christ has justified us, then we need not justify ourselves, as there is no other way to be considered just in the eyes of God.
Rituals and ordinances have no place in Christianity, but the Christian should keep the commandments, the moral laws of God, and love one another.
Most of this was taken from Christogenea.org