A review of the book: COVENANT: G-d’s Plan for Israel in the Last Days, by Baruch Battelstein, 66020 San Giovanni Teatino, Italy: Destiny Image Europe, 2005. This article goes beyond reviewing the book as it also offers Messianic solutions to problems stated in the book.
The author offers an exposition of the Orthodox Jewish faith as it emerges from the Abrahamic Covenant in the Old Testament, and also an explanation of end-time prophecies related to Israel and the nations. The book is strictly based upon Old Testament pronouncements without citing any other sources. The Abrahamic Covenant is the central theme of the book, as well as the dire consequences of disobeying it. Israel’s salvation is depicted as a return to the covenant through the dedicated honouring of its precepts.
The New Testament is ignored as if it does not exist. The “Tanach” (the books of the Old Testament) is consistently equated with “Bible,” thus clearly emphasising that the Jewish Bible does not have a New Testament. From the very first chapter it is evident that Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus Christ) is not in the least regarded as Israel’s Messiah. He and His Jewish disciples are not once referred to or quoted, and He has even been removed from the calendar by indicating dates after Christ as C.E. (Common Era) and not as AD. Dates before Christ are expressed as B.C.E. or as years before present. Of course, the author is writing from an Orthodox Jewish perspective and to give any credence to Yeshua would undermine his position as a Jew.
A single positive reference to Christians appears in the dedication and refers to those members of the nations who fear God by believing in His everlasting covenant with Israel regarding their land. The basis of their faith in Messiah is not dwelt upon.
Orthodox Jews have every right to state and defend their beliefs. But they must be mindful of the fact that Christians, and particularly also Messianic Jews, will take more than passing interest in their writings because the New Testament leans heavily on the Old Testament. After all, the Messiah and His work of grace for Israel and all people on earth are the fulfilment of a large body of Old Testament prophecies. In this review we will investigate the author’s exegesis and application of core statements in the Old Testament.
The Abrahamic Covenant
A highly commendable aspect of the book is the author’s insistence that faith is a virtue that goes beyond observing the law: “Faith is based…