Theology and Practice: Missions

Covenants remain the measure of all things.

The mission of Israel was to be a covenant nation. Nothing else mattered. Their identity as the people of the Covenant of Moses was everything. The Covenant itself said that DNA didn’t matter; national identity was based on adherence to the Covenant. Anyone in the world could become a member of the nation by embracing the Covenant.

The whole point was to vivify the revelation of God. They were to be a people who conspicuously lived the truth of God so that anyone could see it clearly. The business of their land and borders was promised as a resource for this mission, but that real estate was not essential to the Covenant. It was not their land; it was God’s. If they were faithful, they could keep it as their inheritance. If they were unfaithful, the land itself would go to war against them.

Now that whole thing is gone. They vacated the Covenant. A critical element in what Christ can to do was give them one last chance to get back on course. He was their Covenant personified. The full authority of that Covenant rested in His Person. They rejected that one last chance, and in so doing, rejected the Covenant. But their mission still stands. So now that mission belongs to Christ and His followers.

This is not Replacement Theology. There is no other Chosen Nation on this earth, nor can there ever be one. Rather, the New Israel is symbolic; it is a nation of hearts, not a human government entity among other governments of this world. The New Israel is a parallel nation rooted in Heaven. But the mission to live by the Word in this world still stands.

Our mission is simply to be a Covenant People. Our embrace of this covenant is our national citizenship in the Nation of Heaven. The Law Covenants still speak to us in terms of conduct. At a minimum, that means the Covenant of Noah in terms of external form. However, our mission in the world presumes moral maturity on the basis of Noah that blossoms into self-death and faith.

What the world around us sees is the Covenant of Noah. If God awakens their souls, then they will see faith, too. But while the mission is to show them our faith, it must be visible first in our adherence to Noah. We shall be within our faith communities a covenant feudal tribe wherever in this world the Lord plants us. We seek no quarrels with the secular governments that rule this world. We shall be among the most patriotic people on that level. But that is merely the tactics by which we portray our fundamental commitment to Christ as Lord.

The world around us should know that we are people apart in that sense. They should know that we belong to the Covenant, and thus belong to each other. They should sense their exclusion on the basis of the Covenant. They should see the winsome beauty of living by that Covenant. We breathe life into the sheer joy of having a home in Eden, of being at one with Creation, including the natural world around us. The power of self-death at the Flaming Sword should be painfully obvious to them as the manifestation of shalom.

We do not persuade. That is in the hands of God alone. We are ready to explain in whatever terms we can muster, and in whatever terms we discern they can hear. The persuasion is in the power of divine privileges, our otherworldly mystical pragmatism in having no great care for this life. We present the paradox of living better in this world because we are seeking to leave it. So long as the Father keeps us here, we seek His glory in how we live. He is the Persuader.

We have a mission to infiltrate throughout the whole world of human existence in making the presence of the Covenant felt.

About Ed Hurst

Avid cyclist, Disabled Veteran, Bible History teacher, and wannabe writer; retired.
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2 Responses to Theology and Practice: Missions

  1. Jay DiNitto says:

    “The Covenant itself said that DNA didn’t matter; national identity was based on adherence to the Covenant. Anyone in the world could become a member of the nation by embracing the Covenant.”

    Wondering if more could be said about this. We moderns like to balk at all the Levitical laws, but they had a practical sociological purpose; even moreso since DNA was secondary. As I understand that time in history, that idea was very uncommon for large-scale organizations.


  2. Ed Hurst says:

    I haven’t studied the question, but I agree the rituals were part of building a sense of national identity.


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