In the book of Hebrews chapter 7 and 8 the Apostle Paul speaks about a new and better covenant. This new covenant, or second covenant, has made obsolete the first covenant of the Law given to Moses, for his people. As with a second Will that a person makes to distribute an inheritance, so also this second covenant with his people that God made through Jesus, supersedes the Law of Moses. Because it was made after the first one, just like someone updating their Will, the updated Will is the one legally in effect when that person dies. Hebrews chp. 8:13 says “In speaking of a new covenant,” he has made the first one obsolete.’
Hebrews 8:9 says that this new covenant is not like the first covenant. Paul explains in these chapters of Hebrews that the Law was not able to deal with the consciousness of sin. The Law revealed and exposed sin. The Law dealt with sin through the outward rituals of the flesh. Laws about drink, food, and washing of the body. Atonement for sin was dealt with by the shedding of animal blood. These rituals had to be performed continually to try to alleviate sin.
The sacrifice of Jesus in the death of his own body on the cross for the atonement of sin, was done once for all eternity. Jesus will remain the High priest of God forever. Jesus the Son, is the new covenant that God has established with his people. God has made Jesus the way to himself. Jesus states ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’. No one comes to God except through me. ‘
Jesus is a friend of sinners. We hear this frequently about Jesus’ ministry in sermons, in songs, in comments by believers. The comments are along the lines of ‘Jesus hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors’. Did he? Large crowds followed Jesus. I am sure there were people of all kinds within these crowds. The Bible does not indicate that Jesus went to these kinds of people, but rather that they came to him. Jesus entered a community, people heard that he was there and they brought their sick, their demon possessed, their crippled, blind, deaf, and lame to him to be healed. People came to him to hear his teaching.
Jesus hung out with his disciples. They were with him wherever he went. He took them aside and revealed things to them about the Father. He expounded on and explained his parables to them. He took only three disciples with him up on the mount where he was transfigured before them. In the Bible Jesus exhorts some whom he healed to ‘go and sin no more’.
The apostle Paul exhorts believers many times in the NT to bring forth the fruits of salvation and of their need to turn away from their past sins and to no longer indulge in these sins. Paul explains that our past sinful behavior was of the old man, but we who believe are made new creations. We are to clothe ourselves with the ‘new man’. We are to love righteousness and to flee evil. We are to bring forth righteousness and justice from out of our inner being, to hate sin.
God set up a covenant with the people he delivered from Egypt by Moses. This nation was Israel, the physical genetic descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. A tabernacle was built by Moses in accordance with the pattern of the tabernacle that is in heaven. The true tabernacle. A priesthood was appointed, being the tribe of Levi. The descendants of Aaron, the brother of Moses, were to be the high priests of this tabernacle. Hebrews chapter 7 explains about the Aaronic priesthood and how it was unsatisfactory in making the people perfect. Another priesthood was then given by God to his people which did not descend from the lineage of Aaron but after the order of Melchizedek. The Melchizedek priesthood has no beginning of days and no end of days. This priesthood is eternal because of a life that does not end or die. This is the priesthood of Jesus. He is a high priest forever.
It is my understanding that some Hebrew Roots teaching of today says that we need to observe the appointed feasts of the tabernacle that Moses set up. These feasts are not necessarily the ones God established as recorded in the Bible, but are somehow related to Jewish tradition. The early church had something like this occurring in their midst. Jewish teachers previously practicing Judaism who were converted to Christ, were teaching that the church needed to observe the law of Moses and also to be circumcised.
Paul’s admonition in Galatians is that if the church did this they would be leaving the grace of God and putting themselves under the Law again. In which case they would be condemned by the law and would perish. They would have begun their walk with God in the Spirit and ended it in the flesh. God does not say in the Bible that he is going to add the Gentiles to the Jews. He states that he making a new man of the two that is neither Jew nor Greek.
A recent church message gave the impression that God is busy with ‘bigger fish to fry’ in the world than us, and because of this, God may not be attentive to you and me as individuals when we call upon Him.
God sets out a covenant in the New Testament to be our God and we are to be his people. This covenant requires us to be ‘born again’ as Jesus states to Nicodemus in the gospel of John. Born again, by the Spirit of God. God is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. What God made in creation he made for man. The earth was made for man. The Bible says that God keeps his eye on the righteous. While God is overseeing the affairs of this world he is also aware of every sparrow that falls to the ground.
We have a God who is aware of us. Who works in our lives. Who helps us and teaches us. He is quite capable of attending to all matters that need his attention globally and to be intimately available to each of his own, simultaneously. God is not a man. The Bible says that he is Spirit. And we have been given the gift of his Holy Spirit to be our comforter.
What is God doing in the World today? There is a lot of unrest and upset. Volcanos are erupting, frequent large earthquakes, vicious storms, drought, flooding, extinction of animals and other species, deadly outbreaks of disease, global warming, economic crises, political instability, population uprisings and protests, and so on, and so on…….These are more frequent and wider spreading in the earth.
Jesus spoke about these perilous times to come in the Bible. Not just in the world, but in the lives of Christians too. Times to come where a son will betray his father, a daughter her mother-in-law, parents who rise up against their children, because of the name of Christ.
There are problems in the church as well. Many believers are dissatisfied with the current structure and the current way of doing church in North America and in developed nations. Christians seem to be looking for ‘meat’ that many churches appear unable to deal with and present.
One of the main exhortations in the Bible is ‘do not be afraid’. God looks after the birds. He clothes the fields with beauty and glory that even King Solomon was unable to robe himself in. There is a sense of God being highly supreme and sovereign in the universe but we also know that God is personal. He knows his own. He’s aware of the number of hairs on each of our heads. He knows how to protect us and keep us in himself. Our job is to set our minds and heart on Him. To rebuke the doubt and fear in our minds daily if need be ‘ in the name of Jesus’. To look to Jesus Christ for everything that we need in the days to come.