Old Covenant-- revoked or fulfilled?


#1

This thread is prompted by the thread on Robert Sugenis and Bishop Rhoades. Though that thread concentrates on other matters, this subject is brought up in some of the links attached. Sugenis accuses the Bishop and, indeed the Church, of heresy when it teaches that the Old Covenant is not “revoked”. He claims that it was always taught that the OC was “revoked” and now (for the sake of the Jews) the doctrine has changed. In short, he claims that in not teaching that the OC was revoked, the Church is guilty of teaching that there are “dual covenants” and that the Jews may be saved outside of the New Covenant. I find this absurd and have never read any teaching of the Church that would indicate that anyone can be saved outside the New Covenant of Jesus Christ.

I have never thought of the Old Covenant as “revoked”, but rather fulfilled. My understanding is that a covenant is irrevocable. Is that correct? God said to the Isrealites “if” you do all that I say (keep commandments etc) “then” you will receive X, Y, Z blessings. “If” you do not do all that I say, “then” you will receive a curse. The people did not hold up their end of the bargain, they received the curse, Jesus took the curse upon Himself. In my view, God didn’t “revoke” the Covenant, He gave the Isrealites exactly the consequences He said He would and He sent His only Son to bear the curse for not only the Isrealites but for all humanity.

On the other hand, there seem to be some New Testament scriptures that would support the idea that the Old Covenant is revoked. Some of the verse’s that people show to support the idea that the Old Covenant is revoked are:

Heb 7:18 There is indeed a setting aside of the former commandment, because of the weakness and unprofitableness thereof:

Heb 10:9 Then said I: Behold, I come to do thy will, O God: he taketh away the first, that he may establish that which followeth

2 Cor 3:14 But their senses were made dull. For, until this present day, the selfsame veil, in the reading of the old testament, remaineth not taken away (because in Christ it is made void).

So what do you think? Is the Old Covenant “revoked”, “set aside”, or “abrogated” as many Christians, including Robert Sugenis would argue? Or, rather, was the Old Covenant fullfilled by Jesus Christ? It seems that one could argue that the sacrifices commanded by God in the Old Covenant are indeed set aside; they are no longer necessary because of the one Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. However, I feel it is inaccurate to say the covenant was “revoked”?

By the way, CCC 121 flat out says the Old Covenant was never revoked, and I think that may be the section that set Robert Sugenis off on the matter (claiming it is heresy, etc). However, CCC 121 seems to be referring to Old Testament scripture rather than what is commonly referred to as the Old Covenant (Mosaic).

PS. Let me flatly affirm, with Bishop Rhoades and all other faithful Catholics that the only way to salvation, for any human soul, including the Jews, is through Jesus Christ.


#2

Sungenis uses the term “revoked” and “fulfilled” interchangeably. I was thinking the same thing you were, but I read carefully and noticed in one of his recent writings that he made it clear it was fulfilled. He was using the terms interchangeably. The term “revoked” is misleading, implying it was valid but taken away.

The Old Covenant mentioned in the CCC is in reference to the OT Scriptures only, Sungenis has said this many times.

It was fulfilled in multiple senses, first it pointed to Jesus, it provided moral guidelines for Christian life updated by Jesus (Mat 5; Mat 19; etc), and it pointed towards love (Rom 13:8-10).

The quote Sungenis is mad about is in the US Adult Catechism which makes an ambiguous (at the very least) claim that the Old Covenant was not revoked and doesnt appear to be talking about the OT Scriptures.


#3

The Old Covenant is superceded (replaced, supplanted). There is no purpose, beyond aesthetic and cultural sensitivities, in following the Sinai covenant. Christ has made a new and everlasting covenant to which all people are called, and there is no salvation outside of it.


#4

Thanks for your responses. Perhaps this is just a lingustics thing but I definitely do not think that “revoked” and “fulfilled” are interchangeable. If God would have revoked the Covenant it would mean suddenly changing either His promises and/or changing the responsibilities of the Isrealites. If 500 years after Moses, God suddenly said “Well, you guys have been doing your part, but I’ve decided not to give you the promised land”. That would have been a revocation!

I don’t have the US adult Catechism. Regardless, the Catechism is simply a summary of the Church’s teachings. It seems likely to me that occasionally there may be some wording contained in a summary document that may be subject to misinterpretation. However, Sugenis has been around long enough to know that the Church doesn’t teach “dual covenants”.


#5

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