Covenants 05

In substance, if not in context, the Covenant of Moses still stands.

That is, if you were to keep the Covenant of Moses as it was intended — as taught by Jesus — all the promises and curses still work the same. What has ended is the identity of those God would adopt by that covenant. Israel refused to be Israel. The leadership had hijacked the words and ignored the actual meaning of the covenant. They lost the privilege of calling themselves “Israel” because the sum total of that name was tied up in the covenant itself, not merely the provisions of the code.

It was the name of someone who had seriously struggled to gain God’s favor, and in honor of that commitment, his name was changed to Israel (“struggles with God”). The implication was overcoming obstacles (the carnal self) to stand in the Presence of God. Pharisaism took God for granted, as if He were over a barrel, trapped by His own words. The vassals had come to see themselves as the sovereign. They were arrogant enough to reject the Son and His message because they felt that God was subject to their claims, not the other way around.

So Jesus said flatly that their place in this world would be given to another nation. However, this new nation of Israel would be utterly divorced from any human national identity. It would no longer be possible to confuse the basis of the covenant; God could raise up natural descendants of Abraham from the stones on the ground. Paul said the true children of Abraham were his spiritual children, those who embraced his faith, his covenant commitment to God.

So the Covenant Law was updated in the Person of Christ. He is the Covenant Law, the manifestation of grace, God calling people back to Eden. The Flaming Sword is now the Cross. Yet, the substance of faith behind the Covenant Law of Moses hasn’t changed. It’s still the same personal covenant between Lord and vassal, by which He adopts a nation for His name.

If you fail to grasp the continuity of Old and New Testaments, you’ll never understand “grace versus law.” By the same token, something really did change at the Cross. Instead of working your way through law to discover grace, you can be granted grace from the start so you can go back and make sense of the law. Never forget: the New Testament churches had only the Old Testament for their Scripture for a very long time. They were instructed to study the Old Testament to understand the promises they had inherited. They were supposed to discern how the Covenant Law speaks to their own context, and gives shape and meaning to Christ.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Since the Jews refused to accept this update of the Covenant, having long rejected the substance of the original, their national identity has been dissolved. The Covenant was their whole identity in the first place. But they rejected the judgment of the God they claim, so He has turned them over to another deity, the one they served already: Satan. The Book of Revelation calls them the Synagogue of Satan. That is their new patron deity; he gleefully adopted them under their old identity, as they refused to accept their new identity.

So the Covenant is no longer a nation of bodies, but a nation of hearts. The covenant of that people, that land, that time in history, is now a covenant of hearts, in all places, for eternity. The Covenant Law is no longer a book of words, but the Person to whom those words have always pointed. He revealed Himself directly. We can now understand the words in the written Covenant Law.

And while the Covenant of Noah still binds the entire human race on the level of law, it’s just a simple manifestation of the eternal Covenant of Christ. We use the written record of the Covenant of Moses to understand the whole thing. Without the Old Covenant, there is no New Covenant. They are one and the same from where we stand today; only the context has changed.

It has been the same Covenant since before the Fall.

There’s still more.

About Ed Hurst

Avid cyclist, Disabled Veteran, Bible History teacher, and wannabe writer; retired.
This entry was posted in teaching and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Covenants 05

  1. Jay DiNitto says:

    Seems like modern Judaism treats God like another party in a contract, rather than the head of household like He posed himself to be.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Moon Day Review — The Rear View Mirror | Σ Frame

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