ANG DATING DAAN WORLDWIDE BIBLE EXPLOITATION BY ELI SORIANO
Topic: “The Faulty Covenant 1”
Many are connecting Hebrews 8:7 to Deuteronomy 4:13 to prove that the “faulty covenant” is the Ten Commandments, thus, their conclusion is that “the Ten Commandments were made obsolete and were no longer binding in the Christian era”.
I watched and heard this teaching from Mr. Eliseo Soriano, a Filipino preacher and leader of the Members of the Church of God International commonly known as The Old Path (Ang Dating Daan), who boasts of being a sensible preacher and is also wanted by Interpol for a rape case filed against him by his former secretary. You can read his articles from this link.
Mr. Soriano’s questions are “Where is baptism in the Ten Commandments? Where is the forbidding of sniffing cocaine and watching x-rated films in the Ten Commandments?” Sure enough, this kind of reasoning appears to support his claim that the Ten Commandments lack so many things. And unsurprisingly he used exactly Hebrew 8:7 and Deuteronomy 4:13 to come up with his erroneous teaching.
Another group that adheres to this false teaching is from this website. If you read the first paragraphs of their article you will clearly see that they too used Hebrews 8:7 and connected it with the verses in the Old Testament that point to the Ten Commandments as the “covenant” (Exodus 34:27-28).
Let’s read the verses again:
Hebrew 8:7-13 “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second…”
Deuteronomy 4:13 “And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. “
Exodus 34:27-28 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.”
Well, if somebody will stop here and will not deeply study the verses, the deceptive chaining of verses will appear as though our critics are correct.
“Covenant as a Thing” and “Covenant as an Agreement–an Event”
The main problem of our critics’ argument is that the “covenant” in Hebrew 8:7 is not the same “covenant” in Deuteronomy 4:13.
While we acknowledge that Deuteronomy 4:13 talks about the Ten Commandments as a “covenant”, but this covenant is a thing: a two-table-of-stones. On the other hand, the covenant stated in Hebrew 8:7 is an event— an agreement.
Here’s the translation provide by Bible in Basic English:
Hebrew 8:7 For if that first agreement had been as good as possible, there would have been no place for a second.
Hebrew 8:8 … I will make a new agreement with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah;
Hebrew 8:9 Not like the agreement which I made with their fathers… for they did not keep the agreement with me…
Hebrew 8:10 For this is the agreement which I will make with the people of Israel after those days…
Clearly, this covenant is not a thing but an agreement. Now we can ask Mr. Soriano: is the set of the Ten Commandments an agreement? Obviously not. The Ten Commandments were the basis of the agreement.
What was the ‘covenant’ that was made obsolete?
Let’s look at the context of Hebrew 8 and see which covenant was made obsolete.
Hebrew 8:10 ” For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel…I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts…”
Notice that the verse says “will put my laws..” and “I will make with…”, that is, ‘to do something with somebody’ means to act with the other party. And so this covenant in Hebrews 8:10 is an event–the act of agreement.
Also, notice that the verse never says “I will create a new set of laws”, nor it says “I will amend my laws.” In this new covenant, we cannot see any hint of the idea “that God will make His Moral Law obsolete and thus make a new one”, nor amend it as what our critics are trying to impart into our minds.
If God’s Moral Law was not made obsolete then there is no need to create another set of Moral Law since there is still an existing one made by a perfect God. And that is exactly what we can read from the next verses. Instead of making the Ten Commandments obsolete, the Bible says God will write His laws in our hearts and minds.
So from this point, we can logically conclude that the old covenant that was made obsolete is not the Ten Commandments. Rather, it was the event-covenant, the first act of agreement between God and Israel.
Was There A Covenant-Agreement-Event That Happened Between God and Israel After God Led Israel Out of Egypt?
Remember that a covenant is an agreement which should have at least two parties involved where each party stating their promises on how to fulfill the covenant. Let’s read Exodus 19 and see if we can find two parties stating their promises which then makes up a covenant–agreement.
Exodus 19:1-8 and onwards:
“On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness.”
“..while Moses went up to God. The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the LORD had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD.
We can clearly see the two parties here: God and Israel, and both stated their words of promises which show their desire to fulfill the agreement. That event that happened as recorded in Exodus 19:1-8 is a covenant–an agreement. That covenant-agreement is exactly the “faulty covenant” that the author of Hebrews was pertaining to in Hebrew 8:7.
The agreement became faulty, not God’s Law. A perfect God will never make a faulty law.
“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes” Psalm 19:7-8 ESV
Why The Old Covenant (the Agreement-the Event) Became Faulty?
With Mr. Soriano’s teachings, the blame is in the Ten Commandments. No doubt you will see the same reasoning from his fanatics. They even reason out that God’s Moral Law – the Ten Commandments are not enough because “obviously it is only ten”. Now, the blame is in God’s law. Ultimately, that erroneous doctrine blames the Law-giver.
The next verse will clearly tell us which one was found to be at fault.
Heb 8:7 “For if that first covenant [agreement] had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second [another agreement]. For he finds fault with them ….because they continued not in my covenant..”
It is the Israel that fell short of their promises, and not the Ten Commandments. “All that the LORD has spoken we will do” was the promise that people failed to do. That is the reason why the old covenant, the old agreement, became faulty. And so a new covenant–new agreement is needed (not a new law).
So What Is The Real Message of Hebrew 8:7?
If we are not so sure of the message for a particular verse, we need to read the surrounding verses to get the context. If that is not enough, then we can use other books written by the same author first before jumping to other books of the Bible. Unfortunately, Mr. Soriano seems to ignore this laudable practice especially if the surrounding verses will prove opposite to what he wanted to get from the verse.
What our critics did is that they read Hebrew 8:7-onwards and immediately jumped to Deuteronomy 4:13 and Exodus 34:27-28! If only they adhere to the context of Hebrew 8:7 and its surrounding verses, it would not be necessary to look for and use other books from the Bible.
The chapters of Hebrew 7-10 are enough to get the real meaning of Hebrew 8:7, and we can summarize it this way:
“That God wants a new covenant with (an agreement with) the house of Israel since the old covenant (agreement) became flawed because of Israel’s laxity in fulfilling their promise (8:7). The new agreement is needed so that humanity can still have the hope of salvation (8:8, 10).
So now in the new covenant we have a High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary and that is no other than Jesus Christ. He is now the Lamb that was sacrificed once and for all (7:27; 9:12). His blood completed that covenant (9:14). In this new covenant it is the same law that God wants us to follow. He even wrote it in our minds and hearts instead of putting it away (8:10).”
Summary of Part 1
It is clear now that the Old Covenant that became faulty is the Covenant-Agreement-Event, and not the Covenant-Thing-Ten Commandments. And the agreement became faulty not because of God’s Laws but because of the people. They failed to do their part in their agreement with God. That is why God is making a better covenant with His people– you and me. In that new covenant, He will not make a new set of laws but rather write the same law in our hearts and minds.