5. discredit the covenant
This "bait and switch" also applies to the covenant. The bible talks about the two witnesses. Witnesses testify. This is called a testimony. This is why we have the word, testament. Many scholars are trying to figure out who (As in people) these witnesses are. I don't care. Part of the problem is that people try to force everything to be literal. This is why I say Rastafari is among the most enlightened because it understands and uses symbolism with more natural agility. But I digress. The OT and NT are testimonies. This much is beyond contestation. Honestly, the things I don't like about the OT are kind of fixed in the NT and vice versa. There is a balance there that stabilizes the bible as the foundation for a religion. A religion is kind of like the coating of a pill that helps the medicine get to where it needs to go. But the actual medicine is its spirituality. That is the part that is necessary for the inner man to be repaired and to grow. But without the religious coating, many people would never accept that spirituality.
Christians want to confuse terms. They see "old covenant" in the bible and think that it means the same thing as the "old testament". But here's the problem with that. When the bible refers to the old covenant the new testament doesn't exist yet. The bible, at that time, was the Torah (law) + the Prophets + the writings. So what is the old covenant, really?
First, we have to know what the word means. A covenant is a promise, but it's basically like a contract. "IF you do this, THEN I will do that." You have a part. And the other party has a part. When JAH made a covenant with the people, the contract made them "his people".
And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.
5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
In other words, his loyalty would be with them instead of any other human lineage. And therefore if they fought with another lineage or nation, Jah would take their side. And they would offer burnt offerings to maintain this relationship because that is what virtually all priests of the ancient world told people to do.
And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, JAH God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.
Note in Exodus 19:4 that the covenant is something people have to keep. It is not a 1 way street. It is not an obligation that JAH was required to continue no matter what. Sidenote, before we get into what the people had to do, let's note that in verse 10 it says "10 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes," which is the inspiration for why the elders of the tribe of Judah thought that washing was necessary for people to be holy. Even though the Levites were charged with the priesthood, it clearly states in verse 6 that they were to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. There was a different order of priest outside of the Levitical line and that's what Samson was based on and that is also what the dreadlocks is based on.
15 And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives.
side note: why? Because it would make them "unclean" (physically)
Exodus 20 now...
24 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.
this is the standard practice for all gods so this version of God is no different. Note that this is in Exodus 20 right after the 10 commandments were spoken so this is part of the same covenant with the 10 commandments, not some alternate reality where 500+ mitsvah are included but the 10 are not. The law continues in exodus 21 because you have the law and you have the JUDGMENTS. In other words, what was the remedy or penalty for specific cases? Just because the 10 commandments say "don't steal" doesn't mean you can commit fraud or con someone into giving you their possessions. The exact penalty for "thou shalt not kill" for example is in verse 12. And it goes on to talk about what the penalty should be if the person didn't die or if they died from wounds later on. Towards the end of 21 and into 22 you see the penalties for stealing. The wages (result) of sin was death, but that was not the penalty of every one of the 10 commandments. So if you throw out the judgments... you really cannot fairly judge anyone who breaks the law. "outdated"? No. You can't simply remove penalties for breaking the law. That would create a lawless society and that would be chaos. When the Israelites were occupied by other nations they had to follow those nations' laws and face those nations' judgments. But on top of that, they still tried to keep up their own standards.
Note that rape is not included in the 10 commandments but is addressed in Exodus 22. Thou shalt not bear false witness is continued in Exodus 23 and the sabbath details are there too with the other feast days attached. There is also an angel involved and starting from 22+ this is the first covenant.
22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
So at the end of Exodus 23, the contract has now been completely spoken as far as what the people had to do in order to become "God's chosen people". And they had to verbally agree to this contract so we see this in the next chapter.
3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.
So everything up until this point is all part of the first covenant.
7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.