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The Covenant Command of the New Covenant

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The Covenant Command of the New Covenant

(03/11/12--added Matthew 25:31-46!
 05/24/11--added Deut. 26:16-19 in the 5th paragraph
 05/12/11--added John 15:1-17 material.
 04/29/11--added paragraph near the end beginning with: "Those Christians who are not living in obedience to God are breaking faith with God."
 04/24/11--added paragraph (currently the 3rd) about Rom. 11:20-22
 03/03/11--added to the 2nd to the last paragraph--beginning with "It has been asked..."
 01/12/11--updated this page with the 08/17/10 updates to match page in donor/student subscription site MCBI; specifically added the material concerning Paul (between Philemon and Hebrews)
 03/28/10--added 1 Cor. 11:29)
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     The Covenant Command of the New Covenant. (It might be good to highlight, underline or otherwise mark the covenant command verses in your Bibles. The following does not give every occurance throughout the New Covenant Scriptures but it gives at least one verse in almost every book of the New Covenant.) This is another area where, at least for many, the OC (Old Covenant) roots have been severed, leading to great misunderstandings of the NC (New Covenant) and YHWH's intended Christianity. How could this have happened? Within the first few hundred years, the Church began to drift away from its OC Hebrew rootings. Some of this was because there were so many Gentiles coming into the Church who did not know the Hebrew Old Covenant system or Scriptures yet they were quickly becoming leaders. Another factor was Rome's expunging of Judaism and with that much of the Church did not want to appear Jewish in any way (a little more on this in "The Problem with Easter"; see also "The Rise of Denominationalism"). One of the problems of today is that much of the Church is viewing the writings of Paul through the eyes of Protestantism and the Reformation and not viewing them in their original context--a new covenant with Israel in which everyone in the world was being invited to become a part of Israel through believing, trusting and whole-heartedly following Israel's Messiah--Yeshua Jesus.
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   To begin, in discussing this new covenant and its command, the term "New Testament," while it may have at one time meant "New Law" (based upon Webster's definition of "testament"), today it can appear to be referring to a new will (as in: "last will and testament"). According to the online Catholic Encyclopedia, the word "testament" came from the Latin "testamentum" (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14530a.htm; accessed 2/18/12) which can mean either "testament" or "covenant" (or even "a will"; http://www.archives.nd.edu/cgi-bin/wordz.pl?keyword=testamentum; accessed 2/18/12). But it appears that the English of this word is merely referring to someone leaving some parting (upon dying) statements. This appears to be another misunderstanding of the Reformers (!) because the New Covenant is not a testament but a covenant, between God and man. The term "New Testament" can leave the impression that Jesus died, leaving only some parting statements and wishes. This would be fitting with the understanding that one did not have to be following and obeying Yeshua Jesus in order to be saved, but this would be completely incorrect! The better understanding of what is called "New Testament" is actually "New Covenant" (and so it should be referred to as "New Covenant"). That this is covenant (as opposed to a testament) is made clear in Heb. 8:8, 10, 13 and 12:24. In Heb. 8:8 and 10, the Hebrew writer is quoting from Jer. 31:31-33 where God said that He would make a "new covenant" with His followers and the Hebrew writer explains that the covenant that Jesus made using His blood was the fulfillment (more Hebrew OC roots) of the Jer. 31:31-33 prophecy (Heb. 12:24; Mt. 26:28; The KJV reads "blood of the testament." The Greek word that is translated "testament" here can be "testament" or "covenant" but it is clear that in this situation it is referring to a covenant (Heb. 12:24). The NIV translates this well as "blood of the covenant"). And Jer. 31:33 specifically says that there will be a law associated with this covenant. It says, "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" (KJV).
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   Those under the OC were required to uphold their side of the covenant, obeying all of YHWH's laws (see Deut. 19:8-9; see also: "1) Was faithfulness required under the Old Covenant?" in "Questions & Responses!").
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   Shaul Paul even shows that the New Covenant is an Hebraic covenant that requires faithfulness. This can be seen in Rom. 11:20-22 which says: Right [or] Rightly/Appropriately, by unfaithfulness [many translate here "unbelief" but it was not because they did not believe, but because they did not obey] they [the disobedient] were broken off, but you, by faith/faithfulness, you have stood! Do not be thinking the lofty/proud/prideful things, but be fearing! For if God did not spare from the according-to-nature [natural] branches, perhaps He will not spare you. Be seeing/beholding/observing/noticing/paying_attention_to, therefore, the kindness/benevolence and severity of God--on the one hand, upon those having fallen, severity, but on you is the kindness/benevolence of God--if you should remain in the kindness/benevolence, since also/even you will be cut off." See also "32) Doesn't Phil. 1:6 guarantee that God will cause every true Christian to remain saved?" in "Questions & Responses!", which shows Shaul/Paul's perspective on salvation security and insight into his understanding of covenant requirements for salvation.
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    To better understand about special commands given along with covenants, it is helpful to go back to even more of the Hebrew OC roots where we can see that there were special covenant commands in the Law of Moses. These were the 10 Commandments. This can be seen in Deut. 4:13 which says (Complete Jewish Bible): "He [YHWH] proclaimed his covenant to you, which he ordered you to obey, the Ten Words [the 10 Commandments, in the Hebrew lit. "ten words"]; and he wrote them on two stone tablets." The 10 Commandments can also be viewed as focus commands because they were very special commands on which YHWH obviously wanted His people to be focused. We can know this by the way He handled these commands and the importance He placed upon them. First, YHWH wrote them with His own finger into stone tablets (Ex. 24:12; 31:18; Deut. 4:13; Heb. 9:4 and others). Next, He instructed that they be placed inside the Ark of His covenant (Ex. 25:16; 40:20) which served as His earthly throne and was kept inside the Holy of Holies in both the Tabernacle and the Temple. Those who entered into the Mosaic covenant with YHWH were committed to keeping these covenant commands or they were considered to be breaking their covenant with YHWH and the consequences of breaking this covenant could be very severe (Heb. 10:28; Deut. 17:2-7 and others). (See also the covenant language in Deut. 26:16-19 in translations such as the Complete Jewish Bible which has: "Today ADONAI your God orders you to obey these laws and rulings. Therefore, you are to observe and obey them with all your heart and all your being. 17 You are agreeing today that ADONAI is your God and that you will follow his ways; observe his laws, mitzvot and rulings; and do what he says. 18 In turn ADONAI is agreeing today that you are his own unique treasure, as he promised you; that you are to observe all his mitzvot; 19 and that he will raise you high above all the nations he has made, in praise, reputation and glory; and that, as he said, you will be a holy people for ADONAI your God.")
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    The covenant command of the New Covenant, and also the focus command of the NC, is basically: "love your neighbor just as you should be loving yourself," the 2nd greatest commandment. This can be seen three times (not just once) in John's record of Jesus' discourse when He was eating the Passover with His disciples (Jn. 13:34; 15:12, 17) and declaring the New Covenant as recorded in Mt. 26:26-28 and Lk. 22:20. One reason why this covenant command has been overlooked is because Matthew and Luke only record Jesus introducing the New Covenant, almost in passing, while John gives us much more of Jesus' actual discourse (Jn. 13-17) while not directly mentioning the New Covenant. But, still, the New Covenant command was given exactly where one would expect it to be given--at the giving of the New Covenant.
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    One of the Hebrew OC connections that has been so overlooked with regard to this is that this command, the 2nd greatest commandment, sums up the parts of the 10 Commandments that deal with how Christians are supposed to be treating others (see Mt. 22:37-40; Rom. 13:9-10; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8-11; also implied in verses such as Mt. 19:17-19). Another perspective on this is seeing these portions of the 10 Commandments and the New Covenant command as being reverse images or mirror images of each other. While all but one of the 10 Commandments that deal with relationships between people are in the negative ("Do not..."), the command in the NC is in the positive--"Love..."! And these fit together so wonderfully and beautifully because when we are loving others we will not be indiscriminately (and without God's direction) dishonoring people (especially our parents); we will not be murdering or even hating anyone; we will not be using anyone and damaging them (and their families or ourselves and our familes) spiritually and emotionally (and even physically) by practicing sex outside of godly marriage; we will not be taking anyone's possessions; we will not be damaging anyone in any way, especially by our words; we will not even be desiring (lusting) to have what belongs to anyone else, but rather will be being happy for them and with them in their blessings! This shows that the OC and NC covenant commands should be being viewed together--the NC covenant command instructing us in what to be doing while the OC covenant commands are instructing and giving us examples of what we are not supposed to be doing. Also, if we are breaking the covenant commands of the OC that have to do with taking care of others, then we are most certainly not keeping the NC covenant command. This is how they are tied together and how the NC covenant command is a continuation and elevation of the Old Covenant!.
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    Many have been under the false impression that all of the 10 Commandments have been completely removed. For those who believe this, just ask them to go through the 10 Commandments and explain which ones are now okay to break. (There is much more on this in part 1 of the forthcoming commentary on Revelation.)
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    As for seeing the importance of this NC covenant command, there is the often-misunderstood verse of John 13:35, "By this all will know that you are My disciples--if/when you love each other." Many have only understand this as meaning: "On such occasion as when love is evident between believers, those who see such love will recognize that those who are sharing this love are the disciples of Jesus." But I believe the thought here is rather, "This is how all will know who My disciples are--they are the ones who are loving each other," directly implying that those who are not loving others are not truly His disciples. In other words, a major test in determining whether one is being a true follower of Jesus or not is whether they are or are not loving and forgiving others. Many will disagree with this but this understanding is confirmed by John (the same apostle who penned this verse of John 13:35) throughout 1 John (see 2:9-11; 3:10, 14-18; 4:7-21; 5:1-4; and indirectly in at least 2:5-6). 1 John 2:9-11 says that those who are not showing love are blind and lost; 3:10 says that those who are loving others are showing that they are the children of God (exactly what John 13:35 is saying); 3:14-18 says that those who are hating others are murderers (in their hearts, or spiritually) and they are lost; 4:7-21 says that those who are claiming to be saved must be loving their fellow-man or else they are deceived and lost; and 5:1-4 says that those who are truly loving God are also loving others. And 2:5-6 says that those who claim to be following Jesus must be living like Jesus did--very much including loving everyone.
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    As the apostle John shows, the 2nd greatest commandment is the covenant law of the NC and this is explains why this "old" command (1 John 2:7, from the time of Lev. 19:18, 34!) is called a "new" command in John 13:34 and in 1 John 2:8. Indeed, this 2nd greatest commandment is both the covenant command and the focus command of the NC and there is much more to see than this for it runs through practically all of the NC. But John and 1 John are the best place, I believe, to begin to understand this. Also, this understanding helps to make clear several Scriptures in the NC that are often misunderstood and some that are even mistranslated!
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    In addition, Yeshua Jesus was teaching salvation through covenant keeping in John 15:1-17 when He was teaching that those who were keeping His commands (including the specific covenant commandment) were remaining saved, because they were remaining in Him spiritually, and that those who were not keeping His commands were not remaining in Him and would be lost and destroyed.
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   This restored understanding sheds light on Jesus' teachings concerning the requirement of His followers forgiving others. How? because if we are not forgiving then we are holding grudges in our hearts; and if we are holding grudges in our hearts, then we are holding hatred in our hearts and not love! Jesus teaches in Mt. 6:12-14 that those who are not forgiving others will not be forgiven by YHWH. This is also taught (by implication) in Lk. 6:37. See also Mt. 18:21-35; Mk. 11:25 (and Mk. 11:26 in the KJV). See also Mt. 5:21-24 and Yeshua Jesus' example in Lk. 23:34.
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   Matthew 25:31-46 shows that that upon Yeshua Jesus' return, He will sort out the saved from the lost. The saved will continue on through the Millennium and the lost will be sent to Hades where they will wait until the Millennium is over to be judged (Revelation 20). This teaching shows that the judgment will be over the Covenant Commandment! How, because the saved will be saved, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and ou came to visit me...I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (Mt. 25:35-40) And the lost will be lost, "For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me...I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." (Mt. 25:42-45). This shows that the judgment at the beginning of the Millennium will be over the second greatest commandment, the covenant command of the New Covenant!
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   To continue through the NC, this covenant law can be seen in a beautiful way in Acts 2:44-45 and 4:32-37 where the believers were fellowshiping together and loving and taking care of each other to the point of even selling their belongings to provide for each other's needs.
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   It can be seen in Romans in chs. 12 through 16, especially in ch. 12 where 12:3-21 show that this love is the will of God (from 12:1-2), and as noted earlier, in Rom. 13:8-10!
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   This is continued in 1 Corinthians (although written at different time periods) with Paul's teaching that Christ's Church should not be separated into divisions (chs. 1-3). There is also the difficult passage of 1 Cor. 11:29. The KJV translates this: "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body." The NIV has: "For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself." The literal Greek is: "For the one eating and drinking, judgment/condemnation for himself he is eating and drinking, not discerning the body." Of course the language of this verse could be interpreted to mean that those who are consuming the Lord's Supper merely as a physical meal and not reflecting on Yeshua Jesus' body are bringing judgment upon themselves (as appears to be implied in the NIV's "without recognizing the body of the Lord"), but it may well be that the/a major meaning of this actually has to do with the covenant command of the NC.
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   The immediate context of 1 Cor. 11:29 begins in 11:17 with (NIV): "In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm that good." Then Paul brings up the harm that is being caused (division, 11:18; some were not being able to participate in the Lord's Supper because some were being gluttonous, 11:21; the poor, and/or those without food were being humiliated, 11:22); and at the end of the immediate context Paul ends with (NIV): "So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment..." (11:33-34). Seeing that the context begins with the problem of people being overlooked and not being taken care of and it ends with the same problem, it would seem to follow that the problem of 11:29 (some not "discerning/recognizing" the body of the Lord) would also have to be the same problem. How can the problem of people being selfishly overlooked have to do with not "discerning/recognizing" the body of the Lord? We can see the association between the two from verses such as Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12, 27 where Paul says that the Church--its individual members--are the body of Messiah Christ! And why would the selfish overlooking of people bring judgment? Because it is hurting people--it is breaking the command of the New Covenant. And so it appears that the KJV translation of 1 Cor. 11:29 fits the context better than does the NIV.
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   There is also the famous chapter on love where Paul says that the greatest among faith, hope and love is love (13:13) and that it does not matter how much individuals may achieve, if they do not have love, their accomplishments are nothing, they are "nothing," "not one thing is accomplished/benefited" (13:1-3).
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   The New Covenant command can also be seen in 2 Corinthians in at least 2:1-8; 6:3-10 (see especially v. 6); ch. 8 and even 13:12.
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   As for Galatians, the New Covenant command can be seen in 2:10, and 2:11ff. where Paul shows that Peter was in violation of the New Covenant law (seen perhaps better in translations such as the NASV, "I [Paul] opposed him [Peter] to his face because he stood condemned...") because Peter was not showing love to the Gentiles when he was not eating with them (cf. James 2:1-9). The New Covenant law can also be seen in Paul's statement in Gal. 5:6, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is strengthening [is helpful], only faith operating/working through love." The NIV shows the spirit of the situation with the New Covenant commandment with its statement, "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." The New Covenant commandment is also strongly seen in Gal. 5:13-14, "For you [plural] were called to freedom, brothers; only use not your freedom for advantage for the flesh [i.e., to chase and/or fulfill the lusts of the flesh; see v. 16], but be serving each other through love. For all the law has been fulfilled in/by one word/saying/commandment [in both the Hebrew and the Greek Old Covenants the 10 Commandments are called the "ten words" (Ex. 34:28; Deut. 4:13; 10:4); see also Ex. 4:28 and in the NC in 2 Pet. 3:5; cf. also 2 Thess. 3:14], in/by the saying, "Love your neighbor just as you are loving yourself." Paul also says in 5:22 that the "fruit of the Holy Spirit is love..." The New Covenant command is also very clear in 6:1-2 where Paul says in v. 2, "Be bearing/carrying the burdens/loads of each other and in this way you [plural] will fulfill the [singular] law [and a commandment is law!] of Christ"! See also 6:10.
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   The New Covenant command can be seen in Ephesians in 4:1-2, 11-16; 5:1-2, 21, 25, 28, 33.
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   As for Philippians, much of this letter is about the New Covenant command (I hope to be offering more on this at a later time). See especially 2:1-10 where this command is discussed and even restated in v. 3. Many have wondered and debated what "with fear and trembling, your [plural] own salvation be working out" (2:12) means. It appears that there was some selfish in-fighting going on at Philippi (cf. 4:2-3; 2:1-4, 14-16) and this was affecting the entire Philippian Church, causing, for one thing, their lack of joy. And apparently because they were fussing it was not possible for them to be keeping the New Covenant command and were thus in danger of losing what salvation they had and it was for this reason that Paul instructed them to be working out their salvation (2:12) by having the mind of Christ (2:5) Who, being the great example, loved others so much that He gave His life for them (see John 15:13).
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   The New Covenant command can be seen in Colossians in 1:4-8 and especially 3:8-4:6. 3:16 ("Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly...") may even be a direct reference to the New Covenant command because the Greek word for "word" that is used here can mean "command" or "commandment" (see 2 Pet. 3:5; cf. 2 Thess. 3:14; see the above Galatians material)! Thus, "Let the word/command of Christ dwell in you richly..." (Another place where there is more than 1 good meaning.)
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   As for 1 Thessalonians, the New Covenant command is very clear in 3:12-13 ("May the Lord cause you to abound and to exceed in the love unto each other and unto all, to establish your hearts as being blameless in holiness before our God and Father in the presence of our Lord/Master Jesus...") and in 4:9 ("And concerning brotherly love, you are not having a need for me/someone to be writing to you for you yourselves are taught by God to be loving each other"). See also 5:8. See especially 4:6 where Paul uses a negative form of the covenant command teaching not to be sinning against others.
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   In 2 Thessalonians, 1:3 says: "We ought to be giving thanks to God always concerning you, brothers, just as it is fitting because your faith is growing and/even the love of each one of you is increasing unto each other."
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   The New Covenant command can be seen in 1 Timothy in 2:15. It can be seen indirectly in 1:5; 6:4 (showing its antithesis, cf. 1 Cor. 13:4) and v. 11. This brings us to one of the most misundertstood and mistranslated passages in the New Covenant, and this is 1 Tim. 5:8. What, evidently, most translators miss is the fact that all of the terms dealing with the subject in this verse are not gender specific. This means that the application of this may not be limited to being only toward men. The verse in the Greek reads more like: "If any person [male or female] is not looking out for the needs of [most certainly not limited to "bringing home the money for"--see the next statement!] his/her own people [relatives, not just immediate family; if this really meant "bringing home the money for" it would mean that everyone (both male and female) must be "bringing home the money for" at least all of their relatives!], and especially for the needs of those of his/her own house/family [this is more the "immediate family"], he/she has denied the faith and he/she is worse than an [male or female] unbeliever/unfaither." To be more precise here, the difficulty in the Greek is partly because of three words (those translated as: "any person"; "worse than"; and "unbeliever/unfaither") that always use the masculine form for both the masculine and feminine genders. Along with this, regular verbs are also not gender specific (here: "looking out for," "has denied"; participles show gender but there are none in this verse.) This means that only the context of this verse can determine if the non-gender-specific subject terms here should be rendered as masculine, feminine or left as non-gender-specific. This occurs in a few NC Greek words and can be easily missed because much of the time the context for these words indicates that the gender must be masculine. Notice also all the verses around this one that are to and about women. Interestingly, the objects in this sentence are in the masculine (specifically: "own people" in "If any person [male or female] is not looking out for the needs of his/her own people..."; and "those of his/her own house" in "...and especially for the needs of those of his/her own house/family..."). But this does not change anything because in the Greek it is customary to use the masculine for a mixed group (males and females). (Surely this verse is not just about men not being loved and taken care of, but then again? :-) .) I am convinced that the other complicating factor in understanding and translating this verse has been the lost understanding of the New Covenant command. I have no doubt that this passage was not written to condemn all men who were not leaving their homes to go and bring home more money than their wives were bringing in, especially when this was written in a very agrarian social setting where no doubt many men stayed near or at home and worked their land and their livestock and raised their children alongside themselves (and really what is wrong with this? Imagine the lifestyles of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). Also, seeing this verse as a condemnation for all men who do not leave their homes and families in order to bring home income can certainly conflict with 2 Thess. where Paul says that those who were being idle and not working should be shunned and shamed yet treated as a brother and not as an enemy (2 Thess. 3:11-15), and most certainly not to be considered or treated as being "worse than an unbeliever/unfaither." These are obviously different situations from eath other. What would make one (male or female) "worse than an unbeliever/unfaither"? Would it not be that if they were breaking the New Covenant command by neglecting their "loved" ones and their daily needs that they would then be breaking covenant with God? This explanation fits with the other material on this command. And let's face it, the indiscriminate mistreating of all stay-at-home dads (as opposed to the supposed more righteous yet more absentee dads--as if money is the more important thing, really now...is this consistent with the teachings of Yeshua Jesus or more consistent the love of money?) and considering them as being "worse than an unbeliever/unfaither" really does not make sense, nor does it fit with Paul's other writings or the rest of the New Covenant and almost certainly not with the ancient agrarian culture. In the Greek it is much clearer that the problem was not that fathers were not leaving their homes to bring home more money than their wives, but that some individuals (of both genders) were not looking out for the needs of their needy relatives (evidently their elderly or otherwise needy relatives such as widows/widowers, etc.; notice the context), and evidently in some cases even the needs of their own needy immediate family members (perhaps even parents and thereby breaking the 5th commandment, depending upon which method one uses to count them). For if they were not loving their relatives and/or their immediate family members as they were loving and taking care of themselves and their own personal needs but rather neglecting them, then they were most certainly not keeping the New Covenant command to be loving others just as they were loving themselves. (Notice that this does not excuse men from neglecting their family's needs. If a man has the ability and opportunity to work and his family's needs are not being met because he is refusing to work, then it would certainly appear that he would then be breaking the New Covenant command of loving and taking care of his family.)
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   As for 2 Timothy, the New Covenant command can be seen indirectly in 1:7, 13; 3:1-5 (showing its antithesis) and v. 10.
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   As for Titus, the New Covenant command to love can be seen in Paul's love for Titus in 1:4. It can also be seen in 2:2 where Paul is telling Titus that older men should be being healthy in love and in 2:4 where he is instructing Titus that older women should be teaching/training young women to be loving their their husbands and children (cf. 1 Tim. 5:8 and the above comments). The antithesis of the New Covenant command can be seen in 3:3 where Paul says that at one time that he and many others were living in sin and selfishness, even being "hateful/hated, hating one another." The New Covenant command can be seen in the example of Jesus in 3:4 where it says that His "kindness/goodness/benevolence and love for man appeared." And the New Covenant command can be seen in 3:10-11 where Paul says that people who, after being sufficiently warned, continue to try to cause division within the Church are "sinning" and are "being self-condemned." Why would Paul say that they are "self-condemned"? It is sufficiently clear that it is because love seeks unity and those who are seeking to divide Christ's Church (denominationalism; cf. 1 Cor. 3) are not walking in the covenant command of love, a point on which Paul has been both very insistent and very consistent.
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   The New Covenant command can be seen throughout Philemon, first in Paul's love toward both Philemon (v.1 which would be better translated as "beloved" or "loved one," not merely "friend") and Onesimus (see esp. vv. 10, 12), then in Paul's statements in vv. 4-7, 9 and 16.
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   There is great proof coming together that Paul understood very well that the New Covenant was a Hebraic covenant with an accompanying covenant law and even that this was actually what he was teaching! Paul taught, though in a rabbinic manner, as if there was only one law--the "law of Christ" (1 Cor. 9:21; one law is idiomatic hyperbole showing that it was the most important). But what is this one law? By the bulk of Paul's teachings, it should be clear that this was not the Law of Moses (see the other teachings in this website concerning this; also cf. the "all things are lawful/pure/clean" of 1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23; Titus 1:15; cf. also Rom. 14:14). Was Paul teaching that all of the teachings of Messiah Christ (cf. Mt. 28:18-20!) are this law? Paul was certainly teaching his followers to be following Yeshua Jesus (1 Cor. 11:1), and this would certainly include all of Yeshua Jesus' teachings (see 1 Cor. 16:22 and Jn. 14:21, 25; 15:10!), but according to Paul's other words, it is clear that he was referring to something else. In fact, Paul's other teachings confirm that this was nothing less than the 2nd Greatest Commandment. How is the 2nd Greatest Commandment the "law of Messiah/Christ"? It is the law the Messiah Christ both gave to His followers and lived out, showing His love by coming to this Earth (Jn. 3:16) and laying His life down for His followers (Jn. 15:13). That Paul considered the 2nd Greatest Commandment the "law of Christ" can be seen in this document and this is corroborrated by such statements as Rom. 13:8 (KJV): "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law." And there is also Gal. 6:2 where he instructs the Galatians to "be bearing the burdens of each other and thus you will fulfill the law of Christ." Consider also Gal. 5:6 (KJV): "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love." And Paul also said that those not taking care of their loved ones (i.e., not keeping the 2nd Greatest Commandment) had denied that faith and were even worse than those without faith! (1 Tim. 5:8) Indeed, all of this does appear to be showing us that Paul believed and was teaching that the 2nd Greatest Commandment is the covenant command of the New Covenant! Paul was teaching that this was a mandatory requirement (cf. 1 Tim. 5:8; 1 Cor. 13:1-3) and this shows that he knew that the New Covenant is a Hebraic covenant faith with mandatory requirements. With all of the above data in "The Faith That Paul Taught" showing that Paul's words could well be referring to Hebraic covenant faithfulness, and with the data that is coming together and showing that Paul understood the New Covenant as a Hebraic covenant faith with law that is required to be faithfully kept, it does appear that Paul was teaching a Hebraic covenant faithfulness with the binding requirement of faithfulness! Further evidence is Paul's teachings about sin and those (even Christians) living in sin (1 Cor. 5; Gal. 6:7-9, etc.). And although there is no question that Paul knew that there would be some who were hearing, even reading his letters, who were in the Church yet who were living in sin (cf. 1 Cor. 5), he was writing to those who were striving for faithfulness (see 1 Cor. 5!; cf. "...by faith you have stood" in 2 Cor. 1:24; Eph. 1:1, 4; 2:1). This now also fits with such statements of his as Gal. 6:9: "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." And in Romans 9-11 where Shaul/Paul teaches how the Jews who are not accepting and following and obeying Yeshua Jesus will be lost, he also warns that those who discontinue following and obeying Yeshua Jesus will be also be cut off, saying: "...Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either." (11:20-21, NIV)! Thus we can see that the covenant command of the New Covenant is the 2nd Greatest Commandment and that Paul's "faith" was actually a Hebraic covenant faith that requires the keeping of this 2nd Greatest Commandment, the covenant command of the New Covenant! Let us thank YHWH that He is commanding for all of His followers to be loving us! Let us also be striving to be keeping this Great Commandment! Thank You, Father YHWH, Yeshua HaMashiach, and Ruach HaKodesh!
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    As for Hebrews, the New Covenant command can be seen in 6:10-11 where the author says, "for God is not unjust/unrighteous to forget/overlook your work and the love which you showed unto His Name, having ministered and currently ministering to the saints/holy ones. But we are desiring that each one of you be demonstrating the same eagerness unto the full assurance/confidence of the hope unto the end." It can also be seen in 10:24-25, "and let us be carefully considering/paying attention to each other, unto the incitement/provocation of love and of good works, not forsaking our coming/assembling together, (just) as it is the custom with some, but encouraging/exhorting each other, even by so much more [or "especially"] as much as you are seeing/watching The Day [of Christ's return] having drawn near."
   
   Now we come to James, another letter that is being misunderstood because many believe that James was teaching the Law of Moses when in fact he was teaching the Law of Christ--the 2nd greatest commandment and the New Covenant law! This can be seen in 1:25 where he says that "the one having looked into the perfect law of freedom and having remained, becoming not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in his doing"! (See also 2:12 in 2:8-12!) James continues this in 1:26-27 with, "If anyone is thinking they are being religious ["religion" was not an evil term at that time; at that time there was good religion as well as bad religion], while not bridling his own tongue but deceiving his own heart, in vain is his religion. Religion that is clean and undefiled before the God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their affliction [the second greatest commandment and James is showing that it is not optional!] and to be keeping himself unspotted from the world." This does not fit with much of the anti-religious religion of today for some reason. The New Covenant law is very strong in 2:8-12 where James calls the New Covenant law "the Royal Law" and contrasts this Royal Law with "respecting faces/persons" [treating some better than others based upon worldly judgments (e.g., because they are wealthy or better looking, etc.)] and says that when individuals do this they are sinning and breaking the New Covenant law! Many have misunderstood this section of Scripture because they did not have an understanding of the New Covenant law! James continues to say that if someone is sinning against another breaking one of the 10 Commandments, then he is breaking the Royal Law--the New Covenant law! See also 3:8-18! See also 4:11-12! (See #36) "What is the meaning of James 4:11-12?" in "Questions & Responses!")
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   1 Peter shows the New Covenant command in 1:22-23; 2:17; 3:8-12; 4:8-10 and 5:5.
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   The New Covenant command can be seen in 2 Peter in 1:7 where the climax of Peter's list of things to be growing in is "brotherly love" (the 2nd greatest commandment) and "(agape) love" (the greatest commandment). The New Covenant command can possibly be seen in the "holy commandment" of 2:21, although in 1 Peter 1:16 Peter quotes the command from the OC (another OC connection) saying, "You will/shall be holy because I am holy." (God, our Father, requires us to be striving to be holy just like Him!) Although (again), following the New Covenant command is also keeping the 10 Commandments and thus this command can rightly be viewed as a holy commandment. It can also be viewed as commandment of holiness because it is--just as are all of God's commandments are both holy commandments and commandments of holiness! More evidence that Peter had the New Covenant commandment in mind here may very well be 2 Peter 3:2 where he says, "...remember the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and by your apostles [of which Peter was one], the command/commandment of the Lord and Savior..." The New Covenant command was spoken by the prophets in their teachings, as witnessed by Jesus in Mt. 22:40, and was spoken by the apostles, as is being discussed here, and also as is being discussed, by Jesus! A contrast to the New Covenant command can be seen in 2 Pet. 3:3 where Peter describes end-times individuals who will be "going according to their own (selfish) desires/lusts."
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   1 John (covered above).
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   The New Covenant command can be seen in 2 John in vv. 5-6, "And now I ask you, (dear) Lady/(Church), it is not as if it is a new command I am writing to you, but that which we were having from the beginning [the beginning of the gospel, even the beginning of the nation of Israel (Lev. 19:18)!], in order that we be loving each other. And/Also this is love, in order that we should walk according to His commands. This is the command, just as you heard from the beginning, in order that in it you should walk."
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   The New Covenant command can be seen in 3 John in vv. 9-11, "I wrote something to the Church but the one loving to be first of (among) them [displaying selfishness and not God's love], Diotrephes, is not receiving us [breaking the New Covenant command]. On account of this, when I come I will remember his works--what things he is doing--slandering us with evil words [breaking the 9th commandment and thus the New Covenant command]. And not being content with these things, he is not receiving the brothers [breaking the New Covenant command]; and the ones wanting to be receiving the brothers he is preventing them from doing so and he is expelling/driving them out from the Church [majorly breaking the new covenant command]. Beloved, do not be imitating the bad/evil but the good; the one doing/working good is from God [is saved]; the one doing/working evil has not seen God."
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   The antithesis of the New Covenant command can be seen in Jude in v. 12 where some lost individuals were not loving others but rather "feeding/looking out for themselves" in the group meals ("love feasts"). Its antithesis can also be seen in v. 19 where some lost individuals were harming others by causing division in the Church.
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   As for Revelation, the document about the End Times, the New Covenant command can be seen indirectly in 2:14, 20-23; 12:17 and 14:12. In 12:17 the followers of God are called "the ones keeping/obeying the commands/commandments of God and having/being the witness of Jesus." In 14:12, the "saints," or "holy ones," are described as the ones who are "keeping/obeying the commands/commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." In 2:14 it is made known that there were some in the Church of Pergamum who were committing idolatry and sexual immorality. The situation was much the same in the Church of Thyatira in 2:20-23.
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   This shows us that the 10 Commandments are not merely all gone. They have been removed as being the pathway to God. Now Christ is the Pathway to God; but God's followers must still be following the 10 Commandments as they are expressed in the NC, most notably through the greatest commandments.
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   Those Christians who are not living in obedience to God are breaking faith with God. This can be seen in such OC Scriptures as 1 Sam. 14:33 (NIV) which translates: "You have broken faith..." Consider for study also: Ex. 21:8 (at least in the NIV); Deut. 32:51 (at least in the NIV; NASB95; ESV); Josh. 7:1 (at least in the ESV); 1 Chron. 2:7 (at least in the ESV); 5:25 (at least in the ESV); 10:13 (at least in the ESV); Ezra 10:2, 10; Hos. 6:7 (at least in the NIV) and Mal. 2:14 (at least in the NIV). (See "1) Was faithfulness required under the Old Covenant?" in "Questions & Responses!") Shaul Paul must have known and understood this and no doubt understood how OC Hebraic faith applied to the New Covenant as well! See "The Faith That Paul Taught" and "The Covenant Command of the New Covenant." This can be seen in the Greek of Rom. 11:20-22 which says: Right/Rightly/Appropriately, by unfaithfulness [many translate here "unbelief" but it was not because they did not believe, but because they did not obey] they [the disobedient] were broken off, but you, by faith/faithfulness, you have stood! Do not be thinking the lofty/proud/prideful things, but be fearing! For if God did not spare from the according-to-nature [natural] branches, perhaps He will not spare you. Be seeing/beholding/observing/noticing/paying_attention_to, therefore, the kindness/benevolence and severity of God--on the one hand, upon those having fallen, severity, but on you is the kindness/benevolence of God--if you should remain in the kindness/benevolence, since also/even you will be cut off." This can be seen throughout the teachings of Yeshua Jesus, such as the parables of the sower (Mt. 13:1-9; 18-29; Mk. 4:1-20; Lk. 8:4-15). See "The Teachings of Yeshua Jesus!/Check Your Translation!" or "Toward The Reformation of Evangelicalism."
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   It has been asked whether followers of Christ must be obeying the 2nd greatest commandment. I believe that the Scriptures are telling us: Yes! especially if the followers have the knowledge that the 2nd greatest commandment is the covenant command of the New Covenant. Loving and forgiving each other are great and wonderful things; they are also not optional for YHWH's followers! Why? Because those who are not being loving to another are breaking the covenant agreement with God--they are not following Christ but rather are breaking covenant with God! See Jn. 15:1-17! Also, YHWH's paradise would not truly be paradise for those who would be feeling or even actually being unloved. Everyone in YHWH's paradise will feel, and truly be loved! And they will be loved by all! Is this not going to be wonderful?! YHWH, You are awesome! The NIV (1984) Study Bible (p. 19) describes the New Covenant as "An unconditional divine promise to unfaithful Israel to forgive her sins and establish his relationship with her on a new basis by writing his law 'on their hearts'--a covenant of pure grace." There is much incorrect about this statement. To begin, those who did not accept Yeshua Jesus were cut off, just as prophesied (Deut. 18:15-19; Acts 3:19-23; see "Which Israel?"). And while it is certainly a covenant of grace, and while this covenant is a permanent one with "Israel" (See "Which Israel?"!), it certainly is not an unconditional salvation for those taking on this covenant. How can people come to the belief that those who take on this covenant have an unconditional salvation? Because they are reading and understanding everything in the light of salvation is "...by grace, through faith...not by works..." But this is to miss the great amount of Scriptural data that this covenant is not unconditional for its followers (throughout the New Covenant Scriptures as the Scriptures above help to attest; see also Heb. 10:26-31; see also the many teachings of Yeshua Jesus (and there is more)--see: "Toward the Reformation of Evangelicalism / (And Check Your Translation!)"). No, a great condition of this New Covenant is the condition of whether or not Yeshua Jesus-followers are keeping the covenant command of the New Covenant. Do not be fooled, salvation is conditional upon the successful keeping of the covenant law of the New Covenant, which includes the teachings of Yeshua Jesus (Mt. 28:18-20), as Jn. 12:47-50 shows us that His commands are the law to be followed and what at least Christians will be judged by (see "Some Important Things Being Missed!"). 
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   From Andrew of Caesarea (date uncertain, "a Greek theological writer and bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia. Krumbacher assigned him to the first half of the sixth century. He is variously placed by other scholars, from the fifth to the ninth century. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andreas_of_Caesarea; accessed 6/3/10)": "Every one will receive a recompense worthy of his deeds. Those who are willing to harm their neighbor will be captured by the devil and will undergo the death of his soul by the satanic sword. For, as the great James says, they are made slaves of that one by whom they have been conquered through their works. But those who have a pure faith and unshakeable endurance in trials will be indelibly written in the book of life. With such may the all-merciful God also find us partakers who consider 'that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed' to the saints and who walk valiantly the narrow way, so that, finding at the end of it glory in the coming age and rest and paradise, we might reign with Christ, with whom to the Father be all thanksgiving and worship with the Holy Spirit forever. Amen. Commentary on the Apocalypse 13.9-10." Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament, XII, Revelation, p. 203.
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   To YHWH and Yeshua and the Ruach HaKodesh be all the glory! Praise God!

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