Book of the Law vs. Book of the Covenant: Are they two separate books?
Those of you who have come into the Hebraic roots of your faith and have embraced the “front of the Book,” as I like to call it, have come to appreciate and love the Torah and its incredible connections to both our Messiah and our lives today. Its rich principles powerfully transform the soul into the image of the Creator through the power of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, a fairly new doctrine threatens to undermine one of the foundations of our faith—the Law of God. This teaching is a doctrine founded upon a single theory: that there is a difference between the “Book of the Law” and the “Book of the Covenant.” We will prove there is no difference at all and that the teaching is completely contrived by the authors of the doctrine. Proving no difference between the two, but that they are, in fact, used interchangeably and synonymously, demonstrates the falsehood of this teaching.
There are many different ways to disprove this theory but let’s limit our approach to three main categories for our focus so that this article doesn’t end up being a book. These are:
1. No Historical Theological Support from Extra-Biblical Sources
2. Old Testament Proof
3. New Testament Proof
It is unnecessary to go head to head with all of the points made from those who teach this theory. If it can be proven without a shadow of a doubt through these above three categories that the two books are actually one and the same book, referenced from just two different perspectives, then every point proceeding from their premise becomes null and void. Let’s first deal with the easiest point, category one.
No Historical Theological Support from Extra-Biblical Sources
As Solomon once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Our first red flag: there appear to be no historical references anywhere which suggest or even hint at its validity. In other words, in the last 3400+ years since the Torah was given, one would think that there would be at least a handful of ancient extra-biblical resources available where this theory was at least discussed by some credible Jewish source. By the mere absence of such discussion throughout the annals of time that the Book of the Covenant and the Book of the Law are two distinct books, this theory becomes extremely suspect at best and a modern day theological invention at worst. This alone is significant and should not be easily dismissed. If there is one group of people on earth who study the Old Testament more than any other group—slicing it, dicing it, and stretching its meaning beyond the text at times to meet every conceivable idea and doctrine imaginable—it is the Jews. Their skills and talents for digging every possible notion from the Scriptures has been proven throughout time, yielding volumes and volumes of commentary from ancient sages and modern alike with the exhaustive Talmud as proof of their laborious study and discussion. Yet with countless thousands of commentaries, discussions, rabbinic dialogue and literature on every subject imaginable, there isn’t a single discussion anywhere from anyone mentioning the idea of the “Book of the Law” and the “Book of the Covenant” phrases being two separate books. You will find discussions on everything from the two Yahweh’s in heaven to why the Sanhedrin has the power of God on earth, to why people shouldn’t walk on grass on the Sabbath, yet there is no discussion on this two-book theory.
Although an argument from silence is normally a weak argument, in this case it demonstrates the doctrine’s suspicious nature as there really is “nothing new under the sun.” Any doctrine or proposed theory that has bypassed thousands of years of theologians, Bible students and ancient rabbis is either totally new divine revelation, locked up only for the end days, or is simply not true.
From here, let’s allow the Scriptures themselves to speak to the authenticity of this modern day theory so we can determine its veracity.
Old Testament Proof
It is important to disclose that proponents of this theory suggest the Book of the Covenant begins at Genesis 1:1 and ends at Exodus 24:11. This distinction is not made from any authentic exegetical (extracted from Scripture) principle but is instead eisegetically read back into the Scriptures to make their theory more plausible.
On the surface, this distinction appears valid as Moses had the people take an oath to the “Book of the Covenant” in Exodus 24, complete with a blood sacrifice. To a linear western Greco-Roman mindset, the evidence seems clear because with this western mindset, the reader looks at things from a linear perspective. This is how books are written today. But in ancient cultures, especially Hebrew, they often did not write every single detail in linear format. Instead, they would give a short synopsis and then go back and fill in the details later in other passages. For example, Genesis 1:28 tells us “Then God blessed them and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it…,'” yet in chapter 2 we find the details of how they were made and where they were placed in the Garden. In other words, it is very traditional Hebrew writing style to give a macro view first and then fill in the details of that same story later in the text.
This is exactly what is happening here. The macro short version of what Moses received in his first encounter with Yahweh on the mountain was told to the people from Exodus 20:1-23:33. He then went back up the mountain for the full forty days and received the rest of the Covenant (24:18). It is interesting to discover that in the first encounter Moses received instruction that dealt directly with the people and did not include any priestly laws or plans for the temple which had little to do with the common Israelite. And it was the forty day encounter where the rest of the details were given, details that are more executive or administrative in nature. In modern language, Moses made the “employees” (the people) swear to the part of the Covenant that had to do mainly with them and then in the second encounter Yahweh gave him the details that dealt with the “managers” and administration.
Furthermore, when we look at the parallel passage to the Sinai encounters in Deuteronomy we see that it is impossible for the Book of the Covenant to only be Genesis 1:1-Exodus 24:11. The reason is because from Deuteronomy 5 and foreword, Moses in one breath spoke to the people all of the terms of the Covenant that were given to their fathers forty years prior, and in this version Moses goes into far more detail than he did in the Exodus account, adding dozens of commandments that do not exist in the Exodus account. Why? Because this is Hebrew writing. The Exodus account of the “Book of the Covenant” is a macro account and the Deuteronomy account fills in the rest of what was said. In other words, both accounts have to be taken together, just like the creation story in Genesis, in order to get the fuller picture. This fact alone disproves the notion that the supposed Book of the Covenant is only found from Genesis 1:1-Exodus 24:11. If we were to be technical, the Book of the Covenant that Moses was referring to started from Exodus 20 when God started speaking the Ten Commandments and ended at 23:33.
Additionally, as we will discover from this point forward, we cannot use Greek linear logic or western writing style patterns when reviewing the Scriptures at this level. We cannot put chunks of Scripture into nice little boxes and then label them to fit our theories just because they don’t follow our linear thought pattern. The Covenant that the Israelites agreed to was not just the words that were specifically for them and spoken to them in the Exodus 24 passage. It included all of the corporate, administration, and ceremonial laws by extension. From the Hebrew perspective, Moses viewed the Covenant rules for the people as well as all the instructions for the tabernacle, etc. as one book—the “Book of the Covenant”—which was also called the “Book of the Law” because the “Covenant” contained the “Laws.” This is why as Moses retold and reconfirmed the Book of the Covenant—what he had told their fathers in Exodus 24—in Deuteronomy. He literally states in 28:58, “If you do not carefully observe all the WORDS OF THIS LAW that are written in this book…”[Emphasis mine]. Moses uses the phrases “words of this Covenant” and “words of this Law” synonymously. In the mind of Moses and the people, the Covenant is made up of laws, no different than a marriage covenant made up of the vows (laws) or a contract made up of the laws within it. The “Book of the Covenant” is made up of the “words of this Law” and that is why the two are interchangeable.
Let’s prove this further, starting with one of the most powerful passages demonstrating that the two phrases are synonymous.
Joshua 8:30-31 “Now Joshua built an altar to the LORD God of Israel in Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses.”
There are two things interesting about this passage. In the story line, this passage immediately follows the speaking of the commandments starting with Ten Commandments of Deuteronomy 5, which is undoubtedly referred to by those who teach the theory in question, as the “Book of the Covenant.” This “Book of the Covenant” goes all the way through the rest of Deuteronomy and finds itself consummated and renewed, exactly like Moses commanded, with Joshua, here in Joshua chapter 8. The difference is that this time it is called the “Book of the Law.”
The second, and far more profound fact about this passage, is the content of what these two verses say. It tells us that Joshua built an altar exactly as Moses commanded from THE BOOK OF THE LAW. The glaring problem is that the commandment to build an altar is found back in Exodus 20:25, in what both Moses and proponents of the two-book theory call the “Book of the Covenant.” Here it is for reference:
Exodus 20:24-25 “An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I recorded My name I will come to you, and I will bless you. And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone, for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.”
To be honest, this one scripture from Joshua proves without a shadow of any doubt that the original leaders of Israel considered the Book of the Covenant and the Book of the Law the same book, as this commandment is found in what Moses called the “Book of the Covenant” (Exodus 24:7) but Joshua refers to it as the “Book of the Law” in 8:31. Case Closed. But let’s continue for the sake of leaving no stone unturned.
2 Kings 14:6 “But the children of the murderers he did not execute, according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, in which the LORD commanded, saying, ‘Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; but a person shall be put to death for this own sin.’”
This commandment about the sins of the fathers is stated in this passage to be from the “Book of the Law” yet when we go back to where that commandment was actually given, it was given in the Book of the Covenant in Deuteronomy 24:16. And there can be no doubt that the words given in Deuteronomy 24 are part of the Book of the Covenant because Moses starts this entire monologue of commandments in chapter 5 with the giving of the Ten Commandments and continues through virtually the entire rest of the book of Deuteronomy. Note that in chapter 29 it is called “the Covenant” multiple times.
Deuteronomy 29:1 “These are the words of the Covenant which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the Covenant which He made with them in Horeb.”
Not only does this prove that the entire set of commandments given in this book is called “the Covenant,” but it also proves that there was more added to the Covenant than what was spoken to Moses in his first encounter in Exodus 24:7. This point is important because it proves that the Book of the Covenant, which is also called the Book of the Law, was not complete in the first acceptance by the people in Exodus 24:7. This concept of renewal and updating the Covenant can be found throughout the Bible, including such powerful passages of Jeremiah 31:31 where the New Covenant is prophesied to be placed on men’s hearts, as well as the entire gospel of Yeshua being another renewal of the original Covenant.
Let’s continue with Deuteronomy 4:44, which sets up the beginning of the renewal of the Book of the Covenant from Exodus 24.
Deuteronomy 4:44 “Now this is the Law which Moses set before the children of Israel.”
From the very beginning of the speaking of the Book of the Covenant, he calls it “the Law” of Moses, which contains the “testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments.” This is the same language used throughout the Pentateuch regardless of whether it is referred to as the “Book of the Law” or the “Book of the Covenant.” This “testimonies, statutes, judgments” phrase is used throughout the book of Deuteronomy as Moses outlined more of the details of the Covenant. But Deut. 28:58 says, “If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book…” Did you catch that? “[T]he words of this law that are written in this book.” What could a book be called that is filled with “words of this Law?” You got it—the Book of the Law. Yet these same “words of this Law” only eleven verses later in 29:1 are called “words of the Covenant.” Then again, it is called the “Covenant” in verses 9, 12, 14 and in verse 21 it is called a “Covenant” AND the “Book of the Law”: “And the LORD would separate him from all the tribes of Israel for adversity, according to all the curses of the Covenant that are written in the Book of the Law.” Those “curses” are found in Deuteronomy 27, which is the same Book of the Covenant speech that started in chapter 5 but here it is called the Book of the Law AND “the Covenant” Why? Because they are one in the same.
In 2 Kings 22-23 we find another section of Scripture where the Book of the Law and the Book of the Covenant are used interchangeably. After Josiah becomes king in Judah, in his eighteenth year of being king, the high priest informs him that they have found the “Book of the Law” but then the same book is also called the “Book of the Covenant.” Let’s take a look.
2 Kings 22:8 “Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD.’”
After finding the “Book of the Law” he takes it to King Josiah in verse 11 and the king tears his robes. Then he inquires of the prophetess of what is to be done and repents before Yahweh on behalf of the people. He then does the next logical thing—he calls his elders and all the men of Jerusalem together to tell them what was found—just like Moses did (Exodus 24:3-8) and Joshua did (Joshua 8:34,35). But right after he finished calling it the “Book of the Law” he turned around and called it the “Book of the Covenant.” Take a look:
2 Kings 23:2 “…And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the house of the LORD.”
Did you catch that? The VERY SAME book that was found in the temple that was called the “Book of the Law” in 22:8 was called the “Book of the Covenant” in 23:2 when it was presented before the people. It is interesting to note that there seems to be a pattern developing that when it was presented before the people it is called the Book of the Covenant and when it is referenced in general it is called the Book of the Law or the Law of Moses. In any case, this passage is clearly referencing the same book that found in the temple and called by both titles.
The way that the two-book theorists attempt to get around this fact is by saying that two different books were found. This theory not only fails both the common sense test of the plain reading progression of the story but also fails the textual evidence. For instance, this would force the reader to believe that Josiah read a different book to his own elders and men of Jerusalem than the one that caused him to tear his clothes.
Secondly, the Hebrew text itself prevents this reading due to the word “book” being in the singular and not the plural. For instance, in 22:3 it states: “this book,” in 22:8 it says “Book of the Law,” in verse 11 it says, “Book of the Law,” in 13 it says, “concerning the words of this book,” in 16: “all the words of the book, in 23:2 it states: “the Book of the Covenant,” etc… Over and over again in the discovery of this book or the dialogue surrounding it, the book is always in the singular. If there were two books found, 22:13 would not say, “concerning the words of this book that was found,” but would instead say, “these books.” But it doesn’t because only one book was found and it is called the Book of the Covenant that IS the Book of the Law, which IS the Law of Moses.
JOSHUA VS. MOSES
Joshua 1:7-8 “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night…”
Joshua equates the “Book of the Law” with the “Law of Moses.” He tells them that they need to keep the Book of the Law as delivered through Moses when they heard it from him. And when did they hear it from Moses? When Moses started giving them the details of the Book of the COVENANT in Deuteronomy 5, which was a retelling of Exodus 20-24 where Moses called it the “Book of the Covenant” (Exodus 24:7).
Furthermore, there are two academically and scripturally undisputed facts:
1. The “Book of the Law,” the “Law of Moses” and “the Law” are used interchangeably.
2. The “Law” that is being referred to throughout the New Testament would certainly not, from the viewpoint of those who believe the two-book theory, be connected to the Book of the Covenant, but surely the Book of the Law without a doubt.
Two-book theorists suggest that New Covenant believers are no longer under the Book of the Law but only under the Book of the Covenant. With the above two facts as a given, those who hold to this theory are faced with insurmountable problems as the New Testament supports “the Law” in the most positive and binding way. And although I have written an entire 350 page book on the subject defending the Law of God, (that will, Lord willing, be available early to mid 2018), I will present only a few of the scriptures directly supporting the fact that the Book of the Law (aka “the Law”) is still in effect.
But before we continue we need to prove that the “Book of the Law” = “The Law of God” = “Law of Moses” = “The Law.” In other words, we need to establish that all of them are interchangeable and synonymous terms. Although there are literally hundreds of times where these terms are used interchangeably, here are a few to establish this point.
Joshua 8:31 “…as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses.”
The “Book of the Law” is equal to the “Law of Moses.”
Joshua 24:26 “Then Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God.”
The “Book of the Law” is equal to the “Law of God.”
2 Chronicles 17:9 “So they taught in Judah, and had the Book of the Law of the LORD with them; they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people.”
The “Book of the Law” is equal to the “Law of God.”
Nehemiah 8:1-2 “Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought THE LAW before the assembly of men and woman and all you could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. (emphasis mine)”
In verse 1, it is called the “Book of the Law” and in verse 2 it is just called “the Law.”
The “Book of the Law” is the “Law of God” is the “Law of the LORD” which, hundreds of times, is referred to as “the Law.” This point is critical as every single scripture presented from this point forward will be predicated on this fact. Since two-book theorists suggest that New Covenant believers are not subject to the Book of the Law (the Law), then all one needs to do is prove that the Prophets and New Testament authors, in fact, supported and promoted the Law, the very “Book of the Law” that two-book theorists say has been abolished. Let’s start with the most popular scripture in all the Old Testament that deals with the New Covenant.
Jeremiah 31:31-33 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Jeremiah says that Yahweh would again renew the Covenant but this time He would “write the Law (Torah) on their hearts.” “The Law” refers to the Book of the Law. Again, we see the Book of the Law and Covenant language side by side. Yahweh would write the Book of the Law, which IS the Covenant, on their hearts. Incredibly, Yahweh used this same language in Deuteronomy 6 in the Shema immediately after the Ten Commandments. Two-book theorists admit the Ten Commandments are a part of the Book of the Covenant. He wanted them to love Him with all their heart and to keep the Covenant through keeping His commandments, which He calls “the Law.”
Isaiah 2:3 “Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law (Torah), and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Parenthetical notations mine)
This passage concerns the Second Coming of Christ after He arrives for His millennial reign. Note the subject of this passage is the Law being taught to the people of the world, the same Law referred to throughout Scripture as the Book of the Law. If the Book of the Law was abolished there would be no reason for Christ to teach it when He returns.
Proverbs 6:23 “For the commandment is a lamp, and the Law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life.”
If the Book of the Law is no longer relevant then one must conclude that the Law is no longer a light. That is a statement I’m not sure any believer would be comfortable making.
Proverbs 7:1-3 “My son, keep My words, and treasure My commands within you. Keep My commands and live, and My Law as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.”
This is a clear reference to Deuteronomy 6 Shema language—instructions given within what Moses called the “Book of the Covenant,” yet it is called here “My Law.”
Proverbs 28:4 and 9 “Those who forsake the Law [of Moses, aka the Book of the Law] praise the wicked, but such as keep the [Book of the] Law contend with them.” And “One who turns away his ear from hearing the [Book of the] Law even his prayer is an abomination.”(insertions mine)
These two scriptures are powerful. To believe the Law of God is abolished and separate from the Book of the Covenant is to praise the wicked and to hinder your prayers. For those who believe in the two-book theory, this subject could not be more serious as their very prayers could be hindered.
Malachi 4:4-6 “Remember the Law of Moses [The Book of the Law], My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. (insertion mine)
This scripture has no ambiguity. It speaks about the Second Coming of Christ and the final judgment of mankind. And what is the one thing that the prophet said that everyone in the last days must do? “Remember the Law of Moses,” which over and over again is also called the Book of the Law, or just “the Law” for short. If the two-book theorists are correct, then why did the prophet tell us to remember the Book of the Law in the end days? In their view, the Book of the Law was abolished on the cross. Either Malachi was a false prophet or the two-book theory is simply not true. Furthermore, the text refers to “Horeb” as the place where the “Law of Moses” was given. We know that Horeb is simply another name for Sinai which puts us back in the Exodus 20-23 encounter that two-book theorists say is the Book of the Covenant. So if Exodus 20-23 is the Book of the Covenant, then why is it here called the “Law of Moses,” which we have already established is synonymous to the Book of the Law?
New Testament Proof
There is much evidence proving the validity of the Law of God in the New Testament, but space doesn’t allow us to go through all of it. There are four chapters on this subject alone in my upcoming book “Case for the REAL Covenant,” For now, here are a few.
Acts 21:20 “And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, ‘You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law.’”
Which law? There is only one in the first century, the Law of God, aka…Law of Moses/Book of the Law. Are we to believe that James, the leader of the Jerusalem council was unaware that the death of Messiah destroyed the Book of the Law? No, the New Covenant’s foundation IS the Book of the Law.
It is important to keep in mind that there was no such doctrine as the two-book theory in the first century. This is a brand new invention of the 21st century. These were Jews who kept the entire Torah and knew nothing else. Think about that for a minute. If this theory is true today, then, it was true in the first century, and would undoubtedly be one of the greatest revelations of all time, yet there is not a single discussion, explanation, extra-biblical writing anywhere on the subject? If not a single rabbi taught this theory, then not a single Jew knew it existed. The two-book theory would mean that James is wrong for being excited that his converts are desiring to keep the Law. Consider also the following scriptures:
1 John 3:4 “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”
In other words, the only definition of sin in the entire Bible is breaking the Book of the Law. It does not say that sin is covenantlessness. It says “lawlessness” because to not keep the Law of God was the definition of sin.
1 John 2:3-4 “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
And which commandments did John refer to because this is a pretty serious statement? There is no qualifier to which Book he referred to. Should I keep the commandments of the Book of the Covenant or the Book of the Law? The author gives not a hint about which one I should keep, yet says I’m a liar if I don’t keep them. The reason is simple. There is only one Torah, the all-encompassing Book of the Covenant which is the Book of the Law.
Matthew 22:35-40 “Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ (Notice the Lawyer asks him about “the Law,” which we have already proved is equal to the “Book of the Law.”) Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Parenthetical inserts mine)
Let’s take a look at the parallel passage to what Yeshua said in Mathew with the one in Joshua:
Joshua 22:5 “But take careful heed to do the commandment and the Law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Again, we have already established the fact that the “Law of God” is the same as the “Book of the Law” which is also the same as the “Law of Moses” as well as just “the Law.” Furthermore, we have already documented that there was no such theory in the minds of the first century Pharisee that would allow for “the Law” to mean anything other than what the Scriptures already define it as. This means that the Pharisee asked Yeshua what the greatest commandment is from the Book of the Law and the answer given comes directly from Deuteronomy 6:5, which is the beginning of the Book of the Covenant! If there were in fact two books, then that means Yeshua didn’t answer the question. The question was which one was the greatest from the Book of the Law and not from the Book of the Covenant. If anyone should have known that there were two books, it would have been Yeshua. But like the text says, He answered correctly because there is only one book.
Also, we know that the two golden commandments were given in the Book of the Covenant and yet Yeshua says “ALL of the Law” hangs off of them. Since two-book theorists admit that there is law in both books, and Yeshua says that ALL of the Law and the Prophets hang off of the two greatest commandments, then wouldn’t that mean that ALL of the Law (including both books) are intimately connected to these commandments and still valid? They certainly are in the mind of Yeshua.
Mathew 5:19 “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Which commandments should we keep? The Book of the Law commandments or the Book of the Covenant commandments? Again, the reason there is no reference to which book is because there is only one Book, one scroll, one covenant for the one Kingdom. The risk to those who teach against the book of the Law is that they, by default, teach people to ignore the commandments, and thus position themselves as least in the Kingdom.
1 John 5:2-3 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”
Again, which commandments should we keep? The ones in the Book of the Law or the Book of the Covenant? Friends, these are Jews that only have one definition for “commandments” and that is the Torah, the Law of God.
Acts 24:14 “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.”
In this context, Paul is accused of teaching against the Law of Moses (Book of the Law) and his response was that he believed ALL THINGS that are written in the Law and in the Prophets. Not some things. All.
There are literally scores of scriptures I could continue to bring up. Here is a final montage.
Paul said in Romans 3:31 that he “upholds the Law (Book of the Law),” in Romans 7:22 he “delights in the Law,” in 7:25 he said that with his mind he desires to keep it, and in 8:7 he said that only those who are carnally minded are not subject to the Law. He also said in Romans 6:1 that we should not continue to break it just because Christ came and that it is good if it is used lawfully (1 Timothy 1:8). James said that we should not be mere hearers of it but actually do it (James 1:22-25) and in 2 Timothy 3:16 it says that “ALL SCRIPTURE” is to be used for doctrine, reproof, correction and training in righteousness—our standard of living.
Proponents of two-book theory are left with only one option: that every single time the Law of God is mentioned in the New Testament it must be referring to the Book of the Covenant law. This is nothing more than a complete assumption to fit the two-book theory and rests on no academic or scriptural foundation whatsoever. We have already proved that when the Pharisees, Yeshua and the disciples said “the Law” they were referring to the Book of the Law which in reality is all part of the “Covenant.”
It is hermeneutically irresponsible to read into the text a suggested interpretation beyond the clear and textually supported intent of the authors themselves. And this intent is clear through the myriad of scriptures in both the Prophets and the New Testament. They repeat the phrases found in the Tenakh, such as “Law of Moses,” “Law of God,” “the Law,” etc., all referencing to the same Book of the Law that consists of the instructions of the Covenant.
There is simply no supporting documentation of this theory existing outside of this 21st century theological invention. And now you know why. The Scriptures offer no supporting documentation. Furthermore, because historically the first century Jews had no idea of this two-book theory, we can conclusively rely on the fact that every time the Law of God is mentioned in the New Testament, it refers to the only thing that their entire religious culture believed it meant: The Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures.
We learned that the “Book of the Law” and the “Book of the Covenant” are synonymous and used interchangeably throughout the Biblical text. One of the most powerful examples we visited was Joshua 8:31 where Joshua built an altar according to the instructions that Moses gave “as it is written in the Book of the Law.” The problem we discovered is that commandment was given in Exodus 20:25, which is in what both Moses (in Exodus 24:7) and the two-book theorists call the “Book of the Covenant.” So either Moses was wrong in calling it the Book of the Covenant, Joshua was wrong in calling it the Book of the Law or both “books” are actually one book called by multiple titles. We have substantially documented the latter to be the truth.
Finally, we not only proved that the two book titles are used interchangeably, but we corroborated that the “Book of the Law,” the “Law of God,” the “Law of Moses,” the “Law of the LORD,” and “the Law” are all synonymous phrases. We then applied this truth to several New Covenant prophecies as well as a variety of New Testament scriptures on the topic and discovered that both the Prophets, Yeshua and all the disciples not only supported the Law of God, they encouraged others to learn to keep it, telling them that the only way to truly love God is to actually keep the laws of the Covenant (1 John 5:3).
My friends, do not be deceived. The Torah (which means “instructions” in Hebrew) is from Genesis all the way through Revelation. The entire Book is the revelatory instruction manual for the believer’s life. Every commandment and statute may not be able to be kept perfectly today for a variety of reasons (there is no temple, not in the land, not under a theocratic government, no Levitical priesthood, etc…), but “not one jot or tittle shall in no way pass away until heaven and earth pass away.”
When Yahweh made covenant with the first couple in the Garden, He gave them the rules of the Covenant (i.e.. “Don’t’ eat from the forbidden tree.”). Those rules were not separate from the Covenant. They were the Covenant. It’s what the Covenant was made up of. When a man and a woman get married they make a covenant at the altar, making vows to keep the rules of the marriage covenant. Are we to believe that those are the only rules of the Covenant and every rule created after that is irrelevant? Anyone that has been married knows that the “Ten Commandments” (the marriage vows) are only the beginning. The rest are learned along the way. In the same way, the Israelites were given their marriage covenant over time as well.
There is one scroll of the Covenant that contains all the scrolls of the Laws and the Prophets, just as Yeshua said in Mathew 22:40. And it was this “Law Book” called the Book of the Covenant, that was placed on the side of the Ark of the Covenant as a witness to the people that they would be held to this standard. In other words, it would stand as the Judge against them if they broke it. Notice the “Book of the Law” was actually part of the Ark of the Covenant. It was not called the Ark of the Law. It was the Ark of the Covenant that contained the Law in categories (the stone tablets) and in detail in scrolls on the side. The “Book of the Law,” the Cherubim, the jar of manna, the staff of Aaron, the Mercy Seat—all of it—was part of the Ark of the Covenant. You could not separate the Book of the Law from the Ark of the Covenant any more than the Cherubim themselves. Each part makes up the whole. One Ark, many pieces. One body, many members. One God. One Book. One Covenant. One set of rules. Period. CASE CLOSED.
Though this article may seem long, it only addressed three of the numerous paths to disprove this theory. For example, we could have looked at the “proof texts” these teachers took out of context and contorted to support their theory. They use Ezekiel 20:25 to demonize the “Book of the Law.”
“Therefore I also gave them up to statutes that were not good, and judgments by which they could not live; and I pronounced them unclean because of their ritual gifts, in that they caused all their firstborn to pass through the fire, that I might make them desolate and that they might know that I am the LORD.”
They used this verse to say that the “statutes that were not good” refer to the “Book of the Law” which they say was given after the Golden Calf incident (also untrue). Their theory says that the Book of the Law was a curse to them for their sin of the Golden Calf. This accusation contradicts countless scriptures. Everyone from King David to Yeshua to the apostle Paul calls it good, holy, perfect, a lamp unto our feet, etc…
Historically, this prophecy in Ezekiel occurred almost 900 years after all of the Torah commandments were given, so it is impossible for verse 25 to refer to God giving them the “Book of the Law.” The truth is that Yahweh was not talking about His Law at all. God is not the only one who has statutes and judgments. He gave them over to the statutes of their enemies—statutes that were not good. The context of the chapter and even surrounding verses prove this out. Let’s go back to verse 23 to get the immediate context.
“Also I raised My hand in an oath to those in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the Gentiles and disperse them throughout the countries, because they had not executed My judgments, but had despised My statutes, profaned My Sabbaths, and their eyes were fixed on their fathers’ idols. Therefore I also gave them up to statutes that were not good (not Mine), and judgments by which they could not live (because He said His bring life).” (Parenthetical inserts mine)
Since they did not keep HIS statutes, He gave them up to the statutes and judgments of their enemies. That is why He says that He is going to scatter them among the Gentiles, which we know from history meant captivity. The next couple of verses also prove that He is not talking about His own Law and statutes: “and I pronounced them unclean because of their ritual gifts, in that they caused all their firstborn to pass through the fire, that I might make them desolate and that they might know that I am the LORD.”
In other words, because they transgressed against the Law of God and decided to serve other gods of wood and stone (v. 32) He gave them over to the very statutes and judgments of the other nations that would enslave them. Basically He was saying, “Since you have abandoned MY Law, MY Sabbaths, MY statutes and MY Judgments, and have decided to keep the statutes and judgments of other nations and other gods, I am giving you up to them and you will find out they are not any good and they don’t produce life.”
This theory fully rests on the existence of two different books, yet we have concluded that there can only be one book. All other interpretations of Scripture that flow from this theory are not supported, as demonstrated above in Ezekiel 20:25. Once the foundation has been removed the house cannot stand on its own. In other words, all additional doctrine flowing from this theory must be considered false and irrelevant if the foundation of the theory is proven spurious—as in this case.
In the end, after careful examination of the evidence put forth by the proponents of the two-book theory, it can conclusively be said that both the “Book of the Law” and the “Book of the Covenant” are, in fact, synonyms of the one and the same book.
Let us all return to the REAL Covenant of our ancestors—that is founded upon ONE Law that forms ONE Covenant, stemming from His love for ONE people, led by ONE King, and forming the ONE new man.
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