bible discrepancy

If the Old Testament Law was meant to be temporary why is it always called eternal, enduring, and everlasting?  

old testament covenant eternal


Why is the Old Testament called eternal?

Most evangelicals say that the Old Testament was meant to be temporary covenant, one that was planned to be replaced by a better covenant, if that’s the case, why is this covenant (or series of them) in the Old testament frequently called an “everlasting covenant” not a “temporary covenant”? In fact, in Psalm 19:7 the Law is called perfect, which leads us to wonder, why should a “perfect” Law need replacing? (See below for examples)

Why does OT eschatalogical prophecy of the future include a restoration of Old Testament Law?

In fact Zechariah has a prophecy regarding the end times (Zech14:4-13) which undeniably shows the “the Day of the Lord.” In this prophecy The Lords feet rest on the Mount of Olives, there is eternal daytime, no night, and God ushers his reign of peace for the whole earth. During this eternal kingdom, God commands all nations to obey Old Testament law and celebrate the feast of Booths (Zech 14:16-19). Likewise, we see temple sacrifices continue in this vision of the future (Zech 14:21).

A few examples of Old Testament edicts described as Eternal/everlasting

“The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as an ENDURING covenant” (Exod 31:16)

“The secret things belong to Yahweh our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children FOREVER, that we may follow all the words of this law” (Deut 29:29)

“A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an EVERLASTING covenant.”  (Gen 17:13)

“God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an EVERLASTING covenant for his offspring after him.” (Genesis 17:19)

“The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the EVERLASTING covenant.” (Isaiah 24:5)

“it is from the people of Israel as a covenant FOREVER.” (Leviticus 24:8)

“It is an EVERLASTING covenant of salt before the Lord to you and your descendants with you.”(Num 18:19)


Some biblical authors viewed God as having the ability to deceive, others did not

Do the Biblical authors agree on who God is? In many cases they do, in others they do not.

Most biblical scholars say that the Bible was written by a diverse group of people with differing views and opinions about political and social issues (one only need look at some of the differences between the Hebrew Bible with it’s nationalistic focus, to the New Testaments pacifist ethics.)

As the Oxford Companion to the Bible (edited by leading Princeton/Harvard scholars Bruce Metzger and Micahel Coogan) asserts: “The Bible thus speaks with many voices, and, from the time of its emergence as an authoritative sacred text, readers and interpreters have noted its many repetitions, inconsistencies, and contradictions.”

How the biblical writers view god

There are diverging traditions in the bible, like the two stories of Judas death

There are many cases where multiple traditions are interwoven in the Bible. Sometimes we know why these developed, other times, we can only guess.

One example of diverging traditions is the death of Judas, which has two different biblical accounts or traditions that cannot be fully reconciled. While some have tried to reconcile it (indeed one can find many conservative Christian pastors focus on one of the many differing elements of the story, the death itself, and try to hypothesize how a person can both hang himself, and die by falling head first, at the same time) yet most scholars generally agree these are different accounts. This discrepancy is acknowledged by academics from all traditions (Catholic, Evangelical, Protestant, & Secular), see below.

judas death bible contradiction

Kim Paffenroth, Catholic scholar:

“The actual details of the two accounts are irreconcilable. This difference in content creates quite a different meaning for Judas’s death in Acts. Luke’s version of Judas’s death does not include the poignancy (or notability) of suicide (as in Matthew), but rather portrays the death as the kind that should (or must?) happen to wicked people. He shows an interest in relating the death more graphically and grotesquely when he adds the detail that “all his bowels gushed out.” (1)

Bart Ehrman, secular scholar:

“According to Matthews Gospel, Judas hanged himself, and that after his death the chief priests used the betrayed money to purchase a field in which to bury strangers in Jerusalem. They called it the Field of Blood, because it was purchased with “blood money.” The book of Acts has a different account of Judas’s death and its relationship to this field. It is probably impossible to reconcile the details of these two accounts.” (2)

Craig A. Evans, Darrell Bock, Andreas J. Köstenberge, Conservative evangelical scholars:

“The two accounts appear to be independent traditions. A point often overlooked is that the existence of two distinct traditions suggests that Judas’ scandalous death was a widely known fact in the early church. Clearly we are not certain of all the details given the differences between Luke and Matthew.”  (3)