Title: Doctrine of the New Covenant, part 7.
I read a number of headlines today centering around politics and social issues in America that basically spoke of who offended who and who needs to apologize. None of it had any substance about policy, needed changes in legislation, or arguments for right and wrong that are based on true ethics. I don't expect something like the Federalist Papers, but there was nothing even close. I also read about our former President hosting a world summit for future leaders in which he states something like, "I did say I could change the world, but you could." He and the agenda of those like him are not going away. I read about a presidential candidate who lost and then proceeded to blame everyone but herself. I've never seen anything like that past second grade. I read of a desecrated monument to Francis Scott Key claiming that the national anthem was racist. I also read of other monuments to historical people that have been removed and have become part of a long list in the last month or so. I read of a neo-Nazi website being removed. I'm no Nazi. I hate the idea of supremacy of any race or culture, but I love the law of free speech. I guess I have white privilege. But then again, if the Nazi website can be taken down, can't GTM's? I read an article about the first to be produced AI sex robots. You can change their faces, voices, and how they interact with you. They tell you how great and sexy you are and how much they missed you since you last turned them on (pun intended) and you just push a few options on you tablet to get them going. I read about a study done by the Annenberg Public Policy Center that only 26% of American can name the three branches of government. Finally I read an article about a man who went into a church and heard a sermon based entirely on the movie Toy Story. The point being made was that friendship was good. The person in attendance noted that he could have learned this on the Disney Channel and that apparently Buzz Lightyear was a better role model than the Apostle Paul. This all took about 30 minutes and I stopped. I then thought of something.
If the entire world is going to continue to dive into the ridiculous, benign, non-offending, gray, and unimportant untruths, while they demand that anything that offends them be erased, and if they are going to continue to vigorously pursue instant personal gratification without any thought of the long-term consequences, then you and I have to be bolder than ever about the life and light of our Lord. I don't mean rude, but I mean that you must lay aside any part of your spiritual life that is lackadaisical and slovenly, and yes, that just may offend someone. Does Christ shine through you or not, or only sometimes? Lives are on the line and the world is spiraling fast. It's not that this is the first time or the worst time of apostasy and neglect, but it is by far the most interconnected and worldwide time of such stupidity. The heralds of brainlessness and godlessness have never had more inroads. Does Christ shine through you, and do you take your new life in Christ as your only life, and therefore take it seriously? Do you come to church with reverence for God, so much so that you even dress properly? Do you remind yourself as you are at home among your family, or outside the home in the midst of others of who you are in Christ, and that you wear the full armor of God, and that you carry Christ with you wherever you go? When you are alone, do you remind yourself of the same thing? And if you have been guilty of a slovenly spiritual life, will this opening remark convict you for more than a day or so?
The NT makes it clear that the possessors of the New Covenant in His blood are ministers of reconciliation in this world. It is up to us to reveal Him, our King, to the world He has died for.
We are currently studying the mentions of the New Covenant in the NT.
The New Covenant of JER 31:31-34 is quoted in Heb 8 in order to show that the old covenant was temporary and ultimately to be superseded.
HEB 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
HEB 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless [it was but man could not keep it], there would have been no occasion sought for a second.
HEB 8:8 For finding fault with them, He says,
"Behold, days are coming, says the Lord,
When I will effect a new covenant
With the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;
HEB 8:9 Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers
On the day when I took them by the hand
To lead them out of the land of Egypt;
For they did not continue in My covenant,
And I did not care for them, says the Lord.
Israel in the OT was treated as a minor or child and so she was given the Mosaic Covenant. If they behaved they got the blessing and vice versa. They were taught like children, by object lessons or typology.
The words "lead them by the hand," speak of the fact that the First Testament was given to a people in its minority. Israel was treated as a minor. God put it under laws and regulations. If Israel behaved itself it was rewarded. and if it misbehaved, it was punished. Israel was taught by object lessons as one would teach a child, for instance the tabernacle, priesthood, offerings, the gorgeous vestments of the high priest. If you were to walk into our prep school, you would see something similar, and such objects are not found in the adult classroom.
So we break away from Heb 8 for a time in order to understand the minor of the OT vs. the adult son of the NT church and future Millennium of Israel.
GAL 4:1 Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything,
"child" - nh,pioj [nepios] = an infant. Literally: one who does not talk.
GAL 4:2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.
GAL 4:3 So also we, while we were children [nepios], were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.
"elemental" - stoicei/on [stoicheion] = first things from which others in a series take their rise. Here it refers to the basic principles of the Jewish religion, symbolic, ceremonial, and legal.
This word would be used for letters as the elements of speech. Since Paul is speaking of Jews under the Law, the elementary things are the first principles of the Mosaic Law. They are holy, but they could not be perfectly obeyed. They were given to minors for instruction until the proper time came.
GAL 4:4 But when the fulness of the time came [incarnation], God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
When the fulness of times came:
1) The moment God ordained for the Messiah's coming; 483 years after the edict to rebuild Jerusalem Messiah as prophesied by Daniel.
His final entry into Jerusalem was prophesied to the day. He was coming to fulfill the Law and to usher in a new age. He had been preaching for over three years, all over Israel, that the kingdom of God was at hand. The Jews knew what this was, but they did not know how it would be established. It would not be established by might, as they assumed, which was depicted by the way the Lord entered the city on the back of a colt in the deepest humility. For this same misunderstanding, Peter was rebuked and equated with the thinking of Satan.
2) the Mosaic law had done its educational work, showing to the world that the most highly-favored nation on earth, the Jewish nation, was, despite all of God's blessings and mercy, totally depraved, giving the Gentile portion of the race a picture of its own totally depraved heart.
Think of the potential of Israel all throughout the time of the Law. Think of Joshua's generation and their victory after victory over nations they had no business taking the field against. Think of Jericho and how they, the greatest city in the Levant, shook with fear as little Israel camped within sight. Think of the kingdom David built and which his son Solomon inherited. These were the only times that the nation behaved itself and God showed them and the world how highly-favored and powerful they were with Him. No Gentile nation was given such gifts, and yet, they displayed to the world for all time that man has a totally depraved heart.
3) The Mosaic Law (10 Commandments, legal and social laws, and Levitical system) was done away with and superseded by the gospel of grace centering faith in a historical Savior.
The ethical aspects of the Mosaic Law roll over into the law of Christ, but unlike the old economy, all commands and virtues are performed in the very agape love of Jesus Christ.
The Law is completely fulfilled by Christ in His substitutionary spiritual death for the sins of the world.
4)Due to the power and organization of the Roman Empire, for the first time there was relative peace in the world, making effective missionary travel possible.
Roman conquest made the world from the Euphrates to the Nile to the Atlantic fairly stable and peaceful. Roman roads and their destruction of pirates on the Mediterranean secured travel throughout the Empire.
5) Universal use of the Greek language made the propagation of the gospel much easier.
The earth-stage was set for the greatest event in the history of the human race.
The fulness of times had finally come and Judiazers, who rejected the Messiah, the fullness of times, the New Covenant in His blood, fooled many of the Galatian Christians to go back to the old time of law and ritual. You foolish Galatians.