Bible Covenants - New

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A brief look at the New covenant in the Bible.

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Bible Covenants:

Bible Covenants The New Covenant

Bible Covenants:

Bible Covenants Participants in the New Covenant As Jeremiah indicates, the New Covenant was made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. But the participants must enter into covenant by faith in Christ Jesus, the Messiah king, the Son of David.

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Bible Covenants As we noted earlier, the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants extended the promises to the Gentiles (Acts 3:24-26). God has not abandoned anyone; everyone can benefit from the promises the same way — by faith in the finished work of Christ (Eph. 2:12-18). In this way Christ is the “covenant of the people” (Is. 42:6; 49:8).

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Bible Covenants He made the promises available for everyone. “It is now possible to eventually realize all the promises made to Abraham: geographical, political and spiritual” (Kaiser 22). “In contrast to the old-covenant model in which entrance into the community was through physical birth, the new-covenant community will be formed by spiritual birth” (Pierce 34).

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Bible Covenants The New Covenant community is made up of all those who have the faith of Abraham, that is, faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. They are born again by that faith. God still has a plan for natural Israel (Ro. 9-11), but the “natural branches” must still come to the cross by faith to be grafted back in to God’s purpose (Ro. 11:23).

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Bible Covenants Benefits of the New Covenant As we have mentioned in previous lessons, the terms of the New Covenant are as vast as the kingdom of heaven (Lk. 22:29). It therefore becomes difficult to list the benefits of the New Covenant.

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Bible Covenants However, here are some benefits based on the New Covenant scriptures. Note that several of these are in stark contrast to the Mosaic Covenant.

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Bible Covenants Benefits Scripture Holy Spirit indwells and remains. Isaiah 59:21; Jn. 14:16-17 Intimate fellowship. Jer. 31:33; 32:38; Ezek. 11:20; 2 Cor. 6:16; Rev. 21:3 Law written on minds and hearts. Jer. 31:33; Ezek. 36:27; Jn. 16:13 Comprehensive knowledge of God. Jer. 31:34; 1 Jn. 2:27 Forgiveness of sins. Jer. 31:34; Ezek. 36:25; Eph. 1:7; He. 9:15 Singleness of heart and action. Jer. 32:39; Ezek. 11:19; Ro. 7:22

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Bible Covenants Benefits Scripture Fear of God and ability to obey. Jer. 32:39-40; Ezek. 36:27; Ro. 8 No more war; peace. Ho. 2:18; Rev. 21:4 Relationship based on justice, righteousness, love ( hesed ), compassion, and faithfulness. Ho. 2:19-20; Ro. 14:17 Competency as ministers. 2 Cor. 3:6 Glorious ministry. 2 Cor. 3:8-11 Understanding of the Scriptures. 2 Cor. 3:14-16 Changed from glory to glory. 2 Cor. 3:18 Cleansed conscience. He. 9:14

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Bible Covenants The New Covenant provides what was missing under the Mosaic Covenant — the power to live a godly life. This comes about through the indwelling Holy Spirit. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the participant’s heart brings new birth into the kingdom, enables believers to “know the LORD” (Jer. 31:34), and guarantees the consummation of the promises.

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Bible Covenants The Holy Spirit is the seal of the New Covenant (Eph. 1:13-14, 2 Cor. 1:21-22).

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Bible Covenants “The Old Covenant was a ‘ministry of death’ because it declared the will of God without providing the power to fulfill it, and then pronounced the death sentence on all those who broke it. The New covenant was a ministry of the ‘Spirit’ and ‘of righteousness’ because it provides not only the enablement to become conformed to the image of Christ but also the willingness to obey His will” (Gleason 79).

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Bible Covenants Jeremiah and Ezekiel looked forward to the day when the Law would be written on the hearts of God’s people. They saw a day when the people of God would with fear, understanding, and singleness of heart obey the Lord. They prophesied of forgiveness of sins and of intimate fellowship with God.

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Bible Covenants Hosea saw a day when God would restore a marriage relationship (spiritual) with His people — one based on justice, love, and faithfulness. This is the essence of New Covenant benefits.

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Bible Covenants The New Covenant includes the promises to Abraham, but far more. The inheritance of Christ is now available to believers by faith and will be fully realized in the future (2 Pt. 1:3; Ro. 4:13). This is secured through the Christ Event (He. 9:14-15). Walter Kaiser wrapped all these covenant promises into one and observed:

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Bible Covenants “Therefore the promise is one continuous, unfolding declaration, consummated not only in the arrival, death and resurrection of Christ, or even in the spiritual seed now receiving the gospel which previously evangelized Abraham (Gal. 3:8); but as the general epistles declare, this single promise will only reach its most glorious realization when we ‘abide in the Son and in the Father’ (1 John 2:24) and ‘eternal life’ is fully realized.

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Bible Covenants “It reaches to the second coming of Christ (2 Peter 3:4, 9-10), to our receiving ‘the crown of Life’ (I John 2:5), and even on into the enjoyment of ‘the new heavens and the new earth’ (2 Peter 3:13).

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Bible Covenants “Finally, as John concludes the book of Revelation by describing the new heavens and the new earth, he hears the tripartite formula once more: ‘God shall dwell with them, they shall be his people and he shall be their God who is always with them’” (Rev. 21:3).

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Bible Covenants “This single promise is so unified, yet so all encompassing in its numerous specifications and span of time, that it must be reexamined as the Bible’s own key category for theological organization” (Kaiser 13).

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Bible Covenants As we can see, the New Covenant contains far “better promises” than the old (He. 8:6-7). Christ is currently mediating the promises to us. He will never fail in keeping His part of the contract (He. 7:22; 8:6; 9:15-22).

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Bible Covenants New Covenant Kingdom The Christ Event has inaugurated the New Covenant Kingdom that was anticipated in the Davidic Covenant. What is the kingdom of heaven? The following is a brief description of what the Bible calls the kingdom of heaven.

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Bible Covenants It is relationships – Jn. 17:3. Righteousness, peace, and joy characterize the kingdom – Ro. 14:17; Mt. 6:33. You enter it by being “born again” – Jn. 3:3. It is given to the poor in spirit – Mt. 5:3. It comes in power – Mt. 12:28; Mark 9:1; 1 Cor. 4:20 It is eternal – Ps. 45:6.

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Bible Covenants It will continue to expand and unfold without limit – Is. 9:7; Mt. 13:31ff. It is not carnal things, but a matter of the Holy Spirit changing us – Ro. 14:17. We must respond to the invitation and seek the kingdom with all abandon – Mt. 13:45ff; 22:2ff. It must be taken with driving passion – Mt. 11:12.

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Bible Covenants It requires preparation – Mt. 25:1ff. The believer can experience it now – Lk. 12:32; Col. 1:13-14; (see Ro. 14:17; 1 Cor. 4:20). It will be consummated in the future – 1 Cor.15:24, 50 ; (see Mt. 19:28; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:21; Col. 3:24). It involves judgment and reward at the end of the age – Mt. 13:47ff; Mt. 20:1ff.

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Bible Covenants It will be a kingdom on a new earth of peace and joy – Rev. 21:1-5.

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Bible Covenants Christ will remain on the throne of David in the heavens until all things will be brought under His total control (He. 10:12-13). In that day, Christ will consummate His kingdom and will be recognized by all to be the King of Kings (Rev. 19:11).

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Bible Covenants The Blood of the New Covenant The shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross inaugurated the New Covenant and provided atonement for our sins (1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7). We are now reconciled to God through Christ’s blood. We now have life, resurrection, peace and access to God (Jn. 6:53-54; 1 Cor. 1:19-20).

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Bible Covenants All of this was anticipated by Christ as He raised the cup heavenward and declared: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:25).

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Bible Covenants New Covenant Administration The New Covenant has taken the place of the Old Mosaic Covenant. Things have changed when we pass through the cross (He. 8:13; 10:9).

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Bible Covenants New Covenant Priesthood and Sacrifices We are now a newly constituted kingdom of priests who offer spiritual sacrifices to God (Rev. 1:6; 5:10). Kevin Conner contrasts the old covenant priesthood and sacrifices with the new (Conner 53):

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Bible Covenants OT Priesthood NT Priesthood Of the one chosen nation Out of all nations Out of Israel Out of Jews and Gentiles One tribe of Levi All believers in Christ One high priest, Aaron Christ our high priest One mediator, Moses Christ our mediator

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Bible Covenants OT Priesthood NT Priesthood The Old Covenant The New Covenant Priests, not kings Kings and priests Order of Aaron/Levi Order of Melchizedek Temporal Priesthood Eternal Priesthood Abolished at Calvary Remains forever Shadows and types Substance and reality

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Bible Covenants The Old and New Covenant sacrifices are listed also by Kevin Conner (Conner 57).

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Bible Covenants Old Covenant Sacrifices New Covenant Sacrifices Animal sacrifices Divine/human sacrifice Body and blood Body and blood Animal nature Divine/human natures Unwilling sacrifice Willing sacrifice Offered by a priest Jesus both priest and sacrifice Offering and the one who offers separated Offering and the one who offers are one

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Bible Covenants Old Covenant Sacrifices New Covenant Sacrifices Inferior, sinful substitute Superior, sinless one Offered daily Offered once for all Many sacrifices One sacrifice Never takes away sins Takes away sins Shadows and symbols Substance and reality Fulfilled and abolished Eternally remains Temporal Eternal

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Bible Covenants I would only add that the New Covenant sacrifice of Christ cleanses the conscience and opens the way for us into the heavenlies to have permanent fellowship with God.

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Bible Covenants New Covenant Community The newly constituted people of God are those who by faith have been “called out” of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light (2 Cor. 6:14; Eph. 5:8; 1 Thess. 5:5; 1 Pt. 2:9). The Greek word for “called out” is “ ekklesia ” which means an assembly or Church.

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Bible Covenants The universal members of the Church assemble locally, but the Church is made up of the entire body of believers. The Church is not the building or meeting place—the terminology so commonly used today. Rather, it is the entire community of believers in which God dwells (Eph. 2:21-22).

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Bible Covenants The assembly of Israel in the wilderness is a type of the New Covenant community enrolled in heaven (He. 12:18, 21-24).

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Bible Covenants The old assembly had elders and priesthood. The new assembly has elders and a spiritual priesthood. The old assembly was called the Lord’s bride (Ho. 2:19-20), so the New Testament Church has the same relationship (Eph. 5:23f). Israel was called God’s son, so we are spoken of as children of God, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ (Ro. 8:17; 1 Jn. 3:1-2).

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Bible Covenants The primary purposes of the New Covenant community are threefold: To worship God (Jn. 4:20-24; Acts 2:42-47; Rev. 11:1-2). To minister to one another (Eph. 4:9-16; 1 Cor. 12; 1 Jn. 1:7; 3:18). To preach the gospel in all the world (Mt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:5-8).

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Bible Covenants New Covenant Prophets There are some changes in the role of ministers as we move from the Old Covenant community into the New Covenant community. As an example, we should consider the role of the prophet. A comparison of Old and New Testament prophets may provide some insights into the nature of the changes in the prophetic ministry.

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Bible Covenants Unlike the Old Testament prophet, the New Testament prophet can no longer be a “rugged individualist” standing independent and often apart from the community of believers. The prophets in the Old Testament were bound to God alone and enjoyed a unique freedom because of this position.

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Bible Covenants The New Testament prophet is mentioned often alongside other ministries (Acts 13:1; 1 Cor. 12:28-29; Eph. 2:20; 4:11) and must work with them in mutual submission. Since the Holy Spirit is upon all believers, the prophet finds himself in company with those who also hear from God, are guided by Him, and can provide balance to the charismatic nature of his office.

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Bible Covenants “He is not an unrestricted ruler over others. He is subject to their judgment. He does not stand above the community; like all the rest, he is a member of it” (Friedrich 6:851).

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Bible Covenants Old Testament prophecy primarily dealt with the conditions of the covenant between God and the nation in the Promised Land, although at times it contained Messianic and gospel insight. Prophets were “covenant enforcers” in whom “God announced the enforcement (positive or negative) of His law through them, so that events of blessing or curse would be clearly understood by His people.” (Fee 151).

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Bible Covenants New Testament prophecy primarily deals with the “testimony of Christ” (Rev. 1:2; 19:9) and the gospel of grace is revealed through the prophets (Eph. 3:5) on a grander scale.

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Bible Covenants In the Old Testament the people often sought the prophets for guidance. They consulted the Lord through the prophet (1 Sa. 28:6; 1 Kings 14:2; 22:5, 7; 2 Kings 3:11; 22:13). This was necessary because the prophet was a vital source of knowing God’s will. In the New Testament, all believers have the ability to hear such guidance directly from the Lord.

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Bible Covenants However, this does not rule out the possibility for a New Testament prophet to have a prophetic word of guidance for another. Guidance was spoken on several occasions (Mt. 24:4-5, 13, 15-20; Acts 11:27-30; 1 Tim. 1:18).

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Bible Covenants Since the New Testament believer himself hears from God, whatever is spoken by the prophet must be weighed carefully by the recipient, and accepted or rejected based on the direction of the Holy Spirit in the recipient’s heart. Other prophets should be involved in the judging of the prophecy (1 Cor. 14:29).

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Bible Covenants In the Old Testament, prophecy was generally limited to a few select individuals who were set apart to be God’s spokesmen. In the New Testament, all may prophesy and should strive for the gift (Nu. 11:29; Acts 2:4, 16; 4:31; 1 Cor. 14:1, 5, 12, 39). Consequently, prophecy and prophets should be more numerous in the Church.

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Bible Covenants The gift of prophecy was meant to continue till the Lord returns (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:14-21; 1 Cor. 1:4-9). Those who excel in the prophetic gift should be recognized as prophets. According to Conner, “The Prophet was God’s mouthpiece, or spokesman, through which the Word of God flowed, whether forthtelling or foretelling” (Conner, Church 155).

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Bible Covenants The role of the prophet also included judging other prophecies, which occurred frequently at gatherings of the believers (1 Cor. 14:26-33). Presumably, this judging meant an ability to determine the accuracy of the prophetic word through sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and/or the ability to compare the prophecy to Scripture.

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Bible Covenants Also, since not every believer has the same measure of faith in the use of the prophetic gift (Ro. 12:6), judgment of the prophetic word is required.

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Bible Covenants We must be careful to recognize the value of principles, culture, and life under the old covenants. But at the same time, we must take each one through the cross and into the New Covenant community. Just as much remains from the Old Testament prophetic ministry, so much has changed. The old is fading; the new life in the Spirit remains.

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Bible Covenants Summary Each of the previous divine covenants — Adamic , Abrahamic, Noahic , Mosaic, Davidic — were progressive steps in God’s plan to restore right relationship with humankind. They were temporary solutions till the promise should come.

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Bible Covenants Their ultimate end was the New Covenant instituted by the Messiah, King Jesus, and affected in the life of every believer by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Just as God is ever faithful, let us be faithful to the New Covenant. Let us mark the words of Christ (Mt. 10:38-39).

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Bible Covenants Kevin Conner, New Covenant Realities (Victoria: KJC Publications, 1990). Conner, The Church in the New Testament (Victoria: Conner Publications, 1982 Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1982. Gerhard Friedrich, “Prophets and Prophecies in the New Testament,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament , ed. Gerhard Friedrich, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1968). Randall Gleason, Paul’s Covenantal Contrasts in 2 Corinthians 3:1-11 , Bibeotheca Sacra , 154 (January, 1997) . Walter Kaiser, The Old Promise and the New Covenant: Jeremiah 31:31-34 , Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society , 15 (1972). Ronald Pierce, Covenant Conditionality And A Future For Israel , Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society , 37 (March, 1994).

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