The Covenant of Isaiah 59:21...
Is it an example of oral Tradition?


Isa 59:21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

This verse has been quoted to me in the past in an effort to support Catholic Tradition. At first glance it seems to be speaking about an oral covenant. It talks only about words put in the mouth, but nothing about that covenant being written down. And this covenant clearly IS passed down from generation to generation orally. Is this finally proof of the concept of Catholic Tradition? Tradition, meaning that it is NOT dependent on the written scriptures for authenticity?

First, what is a covenant? It is a promise or contract between two parties, which could be either written or oral, or both. Looking at the verse in question, it is clearly speaking of a covenant made between the Lord God and His people. Just what covenant though, is not clear when you look at just this verse, so let's expand our horizons just a little (something the person quoting verse 21 to me apparently did not do) -

Isa 59:20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.
Isa 59:21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

Looking now at verse 20, is there a covenant to be found there? Only the most important covenant to all of humanity! A Redeemer will come to Zion! The promise or covenant of Genesis 3:15 restated again. Obviously this covenant can be found throughout scripture, repeatedly. Indeed, this covenant will also be on the lips of God's people from generation to generation for all of time since it is the very core of the gospel message.

This is a prime example of how tenuous it is to look for single verse proof texts without making an effort to understand a verse in context. What looks so good at cursory reading turns out to be quite embarrassing to one's case under even the slightest investigation. I can't think of a better example to encourage everyone to read the Bible with an eye to understanding it for yourself. Read every verse in context, and then read other passages that are related to the same subject. This is the only way to really understand what the Bible is trying to say.



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