Huh ? There’s nothing in this Portion about a war dog ? OK, well, just hang on a moment. This week’s portion is Deuteronomy 3:23 through 7:11 entitled ‘Va’etchanan’ or ‘I pleaded . . .’ So what’s that got to do with an old Disney movie ?
Well, for those that know the movie, the plot is about a young army recruit, an old trainer and a german shepherd that just can’t seem to cut the mustard. But at the last minute, this ‘washed-out’ pooch is the only option and must pass the test the next day. So all night, the old trainer ( he can’t go to the testing site) sets with the recruit and the dog reminding them of all they need to remember, going over and over their training one last time. Over and over the old trainer keeps saying, ‘ oh yeah, and this is the most important thing . . .’
Well, every time this Torah portion rolls around that movie comes to mind. The good ol’ pooch is Israel, the recruit is Joshua and the old trainer ? Well, that would be Moses. And in this portion and others to come he is reminding the people over and over of their training and all that they need to remember. ‘Oh yeah, don’t forget, this is really important . . .’ He can’t go to the final testing site with them, so he is reminding them one last time.
There is much in this portion that we need to remember; things like “To you it was shown that you might know that YHVH, He is God; there is no other besides Him” or “”Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that YHVH, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other,” and don’t forget “When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days, you will return to YHVH your God and listen to His voice.”
But the one that stands out most for us begins in Deutoronomy 5:1, for this is the description of what we should understand and recognize as ‘The New Covenant’.
What ? That’s right, The New Covenant. In verse two Moses states- ‘God made a covenant with us at Horeb . . . this is not the covenant He made with our fathers’. Why ? For this is the New Covenant. For the first and only time, God of Creation enters into a covenant relationship with a nation He called out and formed. Up to this point, every covenant made by God has been with an individual or a couple; Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, even Hagar and Ishmael. But now, God has formed a family and set up His new household with all the guidelines that are needed for and by this New family . . . the family promised to Abraham.
The English word ‘new’, in reference to ‘new commandment, new covenant or new testament, appears over a dozen times and only once is it the greek word for ‘new’ as in brand new, never existed before. It is the word ‘neos’ from which we get words like neo-natal. Every other instance is the greek word ‘kainos’ which means to ‘renew, refurbish or make like new again’. That one instance for ‘brand new’ – neos – is in Hebrews 12:24 where it states ‘ Yeshua is the mediator ( intercessor) of the NEW Covenant. So what does that mean ? We are not going to presume to be able to give a comprehensive answer but to this one point we will speak. Yeshua is the intercessor of this New covenant given at Horeb, which is a type and shadow of Messiah and not the other way around. The blood of bulls and goats does not forgive sin, but the sincere obedience from a grateful heart – the circumcision of the heart – coupled with Yeshua’s intercession postponed the judgment until the ultimate atonement could be made on the cross, all in the Father’s perfect timing. Abraham’s faith was reckoned unto him as righteousness. Abraham was saved the same way we all are – faith in the Word of God and the Blood of Messiah.
The New Covenant ? Torah. The intercessor for this Covenant ? Yeshua, the living Torah.”
In the movie, Chips the wayward german shepherd finally ‘gets it’ and performs just as the old trainer had hoped. Under the tutelage of the ‘old trainer’ and the leadership and relationship with the ‘recruit-turned-soldier’, Chips is transformed into all he was meant to be. The same is true for us as a part of the citizenship of Israel. Under the teaching of Moses, the Apostles and Prophets, and most importantly the leadership and relationship with Yeshua, the commander of the Hosts of Heaven, we are transformed into all we were meant to be – we are meant to be like Him.
Shalom – J & R