Wednesday, August 31, 2011
A Letter From Jesus
I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary.
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
He Who Holds the Seven Stars in His Right Hand
He Who Walks Among the Seven Golden Lampstands
The Son of Man"
(based on Revelation 2:1-7)
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Living under the New Covenant (part I)
"We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:
'No eye has seen, no hear has heard,
no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him'
"but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 'For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?' But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:6-16)
However, just like the time of Paul writing to the Corinthians, today:
"Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as wordly--mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, "I follow Paul [modern: Calvin]," and another, "I follow Apollos [modern: Arminius]," are you not mere men?" (1 Corinthians 3:1-4)
"We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore, let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity...." (Hebrews 5:11-6:1)
So how do we grow in our maturity? By the constant use of solid food from the Holy Spirit.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
New Covenant Recap
A. I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel
B. I will put my law within them
C. I will be their God, and they shall be my people
D. I will forgive their iniquity
E. I will remember their sin no more
A. New Maturity
B. New Land Focus
C. New Mission
D. New Temple
E. New High Priest
F. New Sacrifice
i. Passover Lamb
ii. Day of Atonement
iii. Regular Sacrifices
iv. Inaugural Sacrifice
A. Living under the New Covenant
B. Eschatology from the New Covenant
Friday, May 13, 2011
New Sacrifice under the New Covenant (IV. Inaugural Sacrifice)
"Then [Moses] sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the LORD. Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, 'We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.' Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, 'This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words." (Exodus 24:5-8, see also Hebrews 9:19-22)
Likewise the new covenant started with blood:
"[Jesus] entered once for all into the holy places ... by means of his own blood. ... Therefore, he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood." (Hebrews 9:12, 15-18)
Therefore, just with the old covenant, "God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank," (Exodus 24:11) it is with the new covenant: "after supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." (1 Corinthians 11:25-26)
Thursday, May 12, 2011
New Sacrifice under the New Covenant (III. Daily Sacrifices)
The priests never had time to sit down; they were always working. "... you shall offer to the LORD two male lambs a year old without blemish day by day as a regular offering. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight" (Numbers 28:3-4)
This daily sacrifice would be around 700 lambs a year*. Furthermore, "on the Sabbath day, two male lambs a year ... this is the burnt offering every Sabbath, besides the regular burnt offering." (Numbers 28:9-10)
The Sabbath sacrifices would add another 100 lambs. But it doesn't stop there: "at the beginning of your months, you shall offer a burnt offering to the LORD: two bulls from the herd, one ram, seven males lambs a year old without blemish." (Numbers 28:11)
On top of these sacrifices a required two bulls, one ram, seven male lambs a year old, and a male goat were offered on the first day of Passover and on the day of the firstfruits. On the first day of the Feast of Trumpets and on the Day of Atonement one bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old, and a male goat was also offered each year. Then during the Feast of Tabernacles a total of 71 bulls, 15 rams, 105 male lambs a year old, and 8 male goats were sacrificed. (Numbers 28:16-29:38)
But it doesn't stop there. It is almost uncountable the amount of sacrifices that individuals and their families brought for burnt offerings (Leviticus 1), peace offerings (Leviticus 3), sin offerings (Leviticus 4-5:13), and guilt offerings (Leviticus 5:14-7). Each family was also to sacrifice a lamb at Passover. At the time of David's Census, Israel had 800,000 valiant men who drew the sword. This number is probably a good estimate on the number of family units.
"And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a SINGLE sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.... For by a SINGLE offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." (Hebrews 10:11-14)
It was truly finished!
*: The Jewish calendar has historically been based on the moon. A twelve lunar month period is approximately 11 days different than one solar year. An extra lunar month is added every 2 to 3 years.
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
New Sacrifice under the New Covenant (II. Yom Kippur)
"Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom." (Matthew 27:50-51)
"The LORD said to Moses: 'Tell your brother Aaron not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die.'" (Exodus 16:2)
On the traditional Day of Atonement, "Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household." (Leviticus 16:6)
On this day of Christ's Atonement, "he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption." (Hebrews 9:12)
Aaron would then choose a goat by lot: "The goat chosen by lot falls to the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat." (Leviticus 16:10)
"The next day [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'" (John 1:29)
"[Aaron] is to take some of the bull's blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover." (Leviticus 16:14)
"God put forward [Jesus Christ] as a propitiation [sacrifice of atonement, atonement cover] by his blood." (Romans 3:25)
"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrews 10:19-22)
Monday, April 18, 2011
New Sacrifice under the New Covenant (I. Passover)
Some 1,300 Passovers later (assuming the Passover lamb was not sacrificed in the Time of the Exile), we find Jesus in an upper room saying: "This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many." (Mark 14:24)
Jesus Christ is the New and Last Passover Lamb establishing the beginning of the New Covenant.
"The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect." (Exodus 12:5)
"You were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." (1 Peter 1:18, 19)
"On the first day remove the yeast from your house, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel." (Exodus 12:15)
"Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth." (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)
"When I see the blood, I will pass over you." (Exodus 12:13)
Monday, March 07, 2011
New High Priest under the New Covenant
The author of Hebrews gives an exposition of Psalm 110:4 from Chapter 4 verse 14 through the end of Chapter 7. He then takes this exposition and connects Melchizedek with the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31 from Chapter 8 verse 1 through the end of Chapter 10.
This full exposition and connection should be read in its entirety.
The clear take away:
Jesus Christ is the New High Priest under the New Covenant!
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
New Temple under the New Covenant
At the same time, "three times a year all the men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD." (Exodus 23:17) Therefore, after Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, the temple became the center of worship and the central focus.
Just as a child is kept near the home growing up, God's People were given a centralized land with a centralized place to worship. However, when a man reaches maturity, he is no longer under a paidagogos and will "leave his father and mother" (Genesis 2:24). Now with a new maturity, God's People have a new mission which is centrifugal (center fleeing).
So where has God's sanctuary gone that has been central to his People?
"Do you not know that you [plural] are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you [plural] are that temple." (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God." (1 Corinthians 6:19)
Just as God's Spirit entered the tabernacle,
But wait there is more!!
"Remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh ... remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise." (Ephesians 2:11-12)
Gentiles were forbidden in the temple precinct [space enclosed by walls]. Recall the accusation against Paul: "He has brought Greeks into the temple area and defiled this holy place." (Acts 21:28)
"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. ... has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility ... So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God in the Spirit." (Ephesians 2:13, 19-22)
The new temple even grew!
Monday, February 28, 2011
New Mission under the New Covenant
"And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'" (Matthew 28:18-20)
The only way to reach all nations is to go outside the camp. Under the Old Covenant, God's People were centripetal (center seeking); however, under the New Covenant, God's People are centrifugal (center fleeing).
The New Covenant requires a new conquest, not the military conquest of a piece of territory, but the conquest of the whole world through the preaching of the gospel. Now the whole inhabited earth has become the
"Put on the whole armor of God ... For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. ... Fasten on the belt of truth ... put on the breastplate of righteousness ... put on shoes for your feet with the readiness given by the gospel of peace. ... opening the mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel." (Ephesians 6:11-20 some liberties taken)
"Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him." (2 Timothy 2:3-4)
New Land Focus under the New Covenant (cont.)
"For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them [Mount Sinai, see Exodus 19]. ... But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly [ekklesia] of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant ..." (Hebrews 12:18, 19, 22-24)
Monday, January 17, 2011
New Land Focus under the New Covenant
Jesus appeared to take the focus off of the land between the River and the Great Sea when he tells the Samaritan woman: "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem." (John 4:21)
Before his ascension, Jesus told his Disciples that they would be his witnesses "in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8) Jesus' focus was now larger than just the original Promised Land.
However, I believe Jesus' redefined the Promised Land when he said, "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." (John 14:2-4)
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.'" (Revelation 21:1-3)
"By faith Abraham made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." (Hebrews 11:9-10)
However, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob "did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." (Hebrews 11:13-16)
Our land focus no longer has to be earthly. We have a new mission (see next post). "Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come." (Hebrews 13:13-14)
Monday, January 10, 2011
New Maturity under the New Covenant
"Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith woulb be revealed. So then, the law was our paidagogos until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under paidagogos, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith." (Galatians 3:24-26)
"And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise." (Gal. 3:29)
Before Christ, Abraham's offspring were under the law like boys under a guardian. When Christ came, Abraham's offspring became men.
"I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a bondservant, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world." (Gal. 4:1-3)
Therefore, as those who are no longer under the guidance of the law but are mature, we should act like adults. "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me." (1 Corinthians 13:11)
Saturday, January 01, 2011
New-ness of the New Covenant
1. New Priesthood
2. New Sacrifice
3. New Temple
4. New Land Focus
5. New Mission
6. New Maturity
I will cover each of these changes in more depth in the upcoming days.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
The New Covenant (part 5)
"I will remember their sin no more."
It is hard to grasp that the All-Knowing, Omnipresent, Eternal Lord can forget our sin. But not only does He put our sin 1. OUT OF HIS MIND (Jeremiah 31:34), He puts our sin ...
2. OUT OF HIS SIGHT
"You have put all my sins behind your back." (Isaiah 38:17)
3. OUT OF REACH
"You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea." (Micah 7:19)
"As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:12)
4. OUT OF EXISTENCE
"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more." (Isaiah 43:25)
"I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist." (Isaiah 44:22)
All that is needed to fall under this New Covenant is to "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you--even Jesus." (Acts 3:19-20)
"'Come now, let us reason together,' says the LORD. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)
To Whom Be Glory For Ever and Ever. AMEN.