Thursday, August 10, 2006

Old Became New

Before I leave for my family vacation to Horn Creek, I wanted to go ahead and start some thoughts on the church as well. Cory has made some great points as he dives into Paul's letters in response to current thinking about the church. Since he is doing that, I'd like to approach the topic from another perspective.

To talk about the church and how the New Testament defines it, we must understand the framework that introduces the institution. Jesus just doesn't magically appear in a vaccum and give us commands, but comes to a people chosen by God, who live in a covenantal worldview.

Since Adam's fall, God has been making covenant promises to save a people. In the Old Testament era, we see this climax with Abraham and Moses and David. God comes to Abraham and promises to make a covenant people through his seed. Some four hundred years later, God sends Moses to rescue the physical seed of Abraham (ie: the Israelites) from the bondage of Egypt.

The Israelites are key in our understanding of what the future church of Jesus would be like. First they are a chosen people by God. God did not choose the Philistines nor the Hittites nor anyone else for that matter. This was an action of God's freedom to choose a people. This is one of the greatest actions in "Redemptive History".

God also chooses to enter into a Covenant relationship with His chosen people. This is simply the nature of things. Everything God has created is in some way bound into a covenant relationship. As creatures of the Creator we are obliged to keep whatever creaturely responsibilities we are created for. Since God had created a special people of His choosing, He also entered into a Covenant relationship with the Israelites. Read Deuteronomy 28 for the detailes of this Mosaic Covenant.

God also entered into a Covenant with King David. He promised David that one would always sit upon his throne.

There is much more that needs to be said, but this is a Blog, not a book. It just needs to be noted again, that God creates with a purpose. God's Covenants in the Old Testament are all pointing to something beyond themselves. That also includes His Mosaic Covenant with the Israelites. National Israel is not the Covenant people of God any longer, but instead have been pointing to something much larger all along.

John's Gospel tells us in prologue that "10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent,[a] nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."

Jesus came to His own. His own did not receive Him. They broke the Covenant relationship under Moses. Instead we will see Jesus instituting a New Covenant, a Covenant that cannot be broken.


TheFilmCritic said...

Some great thoughts here, Howie. I am wondering (now that I am done with I Cor. 3) if we should go through Hebrews and compare and contrast the Old and New Covenants. I don't know for sure - but we'll figure it out soon enough. Welcome home btw.

Howard Fisher said...

I'd like to go through some of the Gospel of Matthew and John as Jesus institutes the New Covenant right under the Old Covenant people's noses. (so to speak)