Monday, February 15, 2010

There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God; Hebrews the Rosetta Stone for understanding the New Covenant

This post will begin a series of posts looking at the New Covenant. We have acknowledged that the New Testament shows covenants in transition. We have looked at the Jew – Gentile distinction found in the book of Acts and other places and will look at it in greater depth as we explore the New Covenant. To recap this view it can be seen that the New Testament writings transitioned from John the Baptist the last Jewish Prophet through Jesus, Prophet, Priest and King… to the cross and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus… to the day of Pentecost and the birth of the Jewish church… to Cornelius’ house and the inclusion of the Gentiles… to Acts 15 where the elders made rulings on the Jew – Gentile distinction… to the letters of Paul and others that began to look at the New Creation, lively stones etc. All of this was looking forward to the point of total transition where the New Covenant alone would stand all by itself. Furthermore, they were anticipating a time when all of the Jewish prophecies would be fulfilled. And, they thought that it would be imminent. Audience relevance becomes ultra important in properly understanding this transition. The first question one should ask when looking at the New Testament writings is what would the audience that it was written to think?

It seems to me that so much of modern evangelical doctrine does not properly address and consider this all important audience relevance. This generation, the generation alive in the first century, the generation that had gained adult status during the ministry of Jesus is the audience that is being addressed. The old folks during this time might say that they would perhaps not live to see the fulfillment but, surely the young adults would. It was expected that they would view the fulfillment of all things; the passing of the one covenant and, the complete installation of the New Covenant; the end of the age and, the dawn of the age to come. This is what was considered to be the case when one looks at audience relevance and, there can be no other conclusion.
Personally, I think that the book of Hebrews sheds great light on the passing of the old covenant and the installation of the New. 

The focal point for this event is the destruction of the temple. The tabernacle/temple of the Old Covenant was a pattern for the temple of the New Covenant. The New Covenant temple would not be a stone and mortar building. The New Covenant temple would be made up of living stones that would actually be the arc of the covenant, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and the place whereby God would dwell with men forever. After all the purpose of the tabernacle was stated clearly in Exo 25:8 And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. The purpose of the Old Covenant and the tabernacle/temple was to foreshadow God’s desire to indwell humanity. In subsequent posts we will look at how Jesus then became the tabernacle/temple of God while here on earth and, how he merely became the firstborn of a living temple for God to dwell in on the earth.

1 comment:

  1. Speaking on Hebrews, I agree that it sheds light on the transition from the Old to the New
    Covenant; helping those who were doubting their switch to Christianity. This book Hebrews,
    shows us that Christianity is the true heir to Judaism.

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