|On-Line Bible Lessons|
Pastor Ovid Need
NOTE: The lessons are old, and I would love to go back and add to them, but that would require hundreds of hours.Time also prevents correcting minor errors, e.g., abbreviations in text, wrong abbreviations, mixed tenses in a sentence (though I have tried to catch all of them), caps, etc. There are also some comments at the end of the chapters.
Place your answer in the space provided. Put ANS before each answer. Capitalize, ANS:
In this lesson we would like to gather up a few loose ends from the previous lessons on the covenant. The best way to give the proper application to the covenant is to see what the NT authors do with it. Paul spends more time on it than any other author as he shows us its proper application.
Paul's quote of Jer. 31:31-34 in Heb. 8:8-12 and 10:16, 17 will give us our clearest picture. This is probably one of the greatest prophecies (Jeremiah) in scripture. We can rejoice in it because it includes all of the redeemed in Christ Jesus.
The passage in Jer. 30 and 31 has been called the grand hymn of Israel's deliverance. As we read Jeremiah, we find that he had spoken of the utter destruction while the false prophets had spoken of peace, prosperity and salvation with no cause to fear. Jeremiah's warnings were coming to pass as Babylon had carried away her captives, 29:1. All human hope had been lost and the false prophets exposed but it was to late to avoid Babylon.
Now Jeremiah comes forward to proclaim salvation at the time when all human hope had been dashed. Jeremiah's promised salvation starts in chapter 30 with salvation to all Israel.
In 30:22, Jeremiah picks up the promise made to Abraham back in Gen. 17:7. Jeremiah uses this promise again in 31:33 and Paul quotes it as a reference to the church in Heb. 8:10, reaffirming this with Heb. 10:16-17.
You will also notice that Paul is very careful to make sure that his readers understand that the promise given to Abraham in Gen. 17:7 is a reference to Christ, Gal. 3:16. He emphatically points out that the fulfillment of Gen. 17:7 is not a physical people but is fulfilled in Christ. He is exceptionally clear and takes great care to see that we understand that the heirs to the promise of Gen. 17:7 are those who are in Christ, Gal. 3:29.
This promise of Gen. 17:7 can be traced through the OT as we find it covering the OT physical nation of Israel, also, Lev. 26:12; Ex. 29:45. Yet, in every case it is pointing to Christ as the final and complete fulfillment.
We will find Jeremiah's pattern consistent. Here in Jer. 30:22-24, and in 31:31-37, he pronounces judgment against the sins of God's people, that judgment being total perpetual destruction, Jer. 18:16, 17. Then he gives them the promise of salvation. Then, to keep the promised salvation from giving a false security to the sinner, he goes back to his pronouncement of destruction. "Don't think you are going to get away with your sin without turning from it. This promised salvation is not for those who continue in their hardness in sin."
This would show us that, as we see God's promised judgment against sin coming to pass, we who love God should be able to rejoice in the midst of this judgment. In the midst of the judgment is the promised salvation of God for His people who are remaining faithful to Him, Zech. 13:1 and 9. The scriptures teach that as righteousness (judgment) rains down from heaven, salvation will spring up, Isa. 45:8 (Note, Isa. 45:4 is traceable to the church, Eph. 2:12). Really, justice cannot spring up until righteousness rains down upon sin, Isa. 2:4.
Jeremiah shows us the covenant looking forward to the church, to the time when the Holy Spirit will write His laws upon the heart of the believer. Jer. 31:34, the Holy Spirit is the one who will place His knowledge within the heart. He is not saying here there is no need for teachers since Christ. To say this one would also have to say that the NT books are needless because they were all written after the Holy Spirit came. They were written to further instruct man in his obedience to his Creator.
Jeremiah had told of the utter destruction against Israel. Even Titus felt he was totally destroying this nation as he destroyed Jerusalem. God tells us in Jer. 31:35-40 that although the physical hope of Israel was to be destroyed utterly, the seed of Israel would continue forever. As we have already pointed out, this seed is a reference to Christ.
Therefore, the nation of Jer. 31:36 is a reference to the new nation of Israel, the Church which is founded in, built on and has its being in Christ, Acts 17:28. If Christ ever ceases to be, so will this Nation, I Pet. 2:9.
Jeremiah speaks of the utter destruction of the Old Nation of Israel. All of their human hope of a king, kingdom and priesthood was cut off because of their sin. If you will remember, this was Jeremiah's commission, to cut off so he could build, Jer. 1:10.
Then Jeremiah speaks of a renewed covenant with Israel and a New Nation. He tells us that this New Nation will last forever. He also tells us in 31:38 of the building of the city. Isaiah also tells us of the building of the Lord's house and of the city of Zion in Isaiah, chp. 2.
Paul, as well as other NT authors (and our Lord), tells us how this is to be interpreted and applied. Rom. 11:15 tells us of the cutting off of Israel because of their hardness in sin. Rom. 11:27; Heb. 8:8; Heb. 10:16, 17, etc., tells us of the renewed covenant as he quotes those OT prophecies for the Church.
I Pet. 2:9, Peter identifies the Nation for us which will stand as long as the Son exists, forever.
Heb. 12:22, Paul further identifies the mountain of God, the city of God and the people of God. He further identifies the temple of God, II Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:20.
Also, here, we must take into consideration the statement by the apostle James at the first church counsel in Acts 15:13-19 as they brought Paul and Barnabas into question for taking the gospel to the Gentiles. James could not be any clearer as he points out that the end-time tabernacle of David which had fallen down and was in ruin is now the Redeemed in Christ, Jews and Gentiles alike (there was still a Jewish nation at this time). The latter day Temple of Ezekiel, chp. 40 on, MUST be viewed in the light of James' statement. Ezekiel is telling us of the glories of this beautiful Temple which James identifies.
Heb. 8:12, let us not overlook the promise of God here. Through
Christ and the gospel we have
the removal of sin as far as the East is from the West, Ps. 103:12.
Heb. 8:13 will confirm this. The old Jewish covenant, sealed in the rites and rituals of the mediation laws, is old. Christ made it old and useless. It had started to decay in Paul's day with the finished work of Christ. Paul now says it is ready to pass away. Remember, at this time of the writing of the book of Hebrews, it had not yet passed away. It was still going strong, and Paul wrotes some letters against the influence of the old Hebrew rites and rituals (law) into the new church. The books of Gal. and Heb. are a couple of them. In Heb., especially, he shows the uselessness of these laws.
Paul, here in Heb. 8:13, is looking ahead to 70 AD. At that time the old rites and rituals were totally destroyed as even the priests were slain on the altar. 70 AD was the close of the OT Hebrew religion which pointed to the redemptive and mediative work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord also spoke quite a bit of this destruction, Matt. 22-24. We might add here that the hope and dream of Judaism since that destruction has been the re- establishment of the temple with its rites and rituals. These would now be an abomination to God.
Of great significance here in Heb., chps. 7-10, is the total absence of ANY reference to the removal of the law of God as found in the Ten Commandments. The only reference in these chapters is the removal or doing away with the mediation laws and replaced by the better Priesthood and Sacrifice (mediation office and all things pertaining to it), Jesus Christ. In fact, we will find chps. 10 and 12 reaffirming, even strengthening, the authority of the law-word of God over mankind. There our God is compared to a consuming fire against His people who ignore His requirements upon them, Heb. 12:29.
In this we see that the only difference between the old covenant and the new is: 1) where they are written; 2) The manner in which they were/are sealed. The old written on stone, the new on the tables of the heart by the Holy Spirit of Grace. The old sealed and mediated by the blood of bulls and goats, the new sealed and mediated by the precious blood of the spotless Lamb of God.
If the book of Hebrews teaches anything, it is very clear on this.
Gary DeMar makes a point here in his book, "The Reduction of Christianity". In his footnote at the bottom of pg. 84 he says, "The Bible assures us that gentile believers were brought into the already existing church (Eph. 2:11-22; Rom. 11). The church existed in the wilderness: This is he [Moses], that was in the church [Gr., ekklesia] with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us" (Acts 7:38, KJV).
Let us conclude this summary of the covenant with some quotes:
Keil, (The Fifth Book of Moses, pg. 324), "The distinction
between the new covenant and the old consists simply in this,
that the love of God which the gospel demands of its professors,
is more intensive and cordial than that which the law of Moses
demanded of the Israelites, according to the gradual unfolding
of the love of God Himself, which was displayed in a much grander
and more glorious form in the gift of His only begotten Son for
our redemption, than in the redemption of Israel out of the bondage
Rushdoony points out (Institutes, pgs. 6-7), "There is no contradiction between law and grace. The question in James' Epistle is faith and works, not faith and law. Judaism had made law the mediator between God and man and between God and the world. It was this view of law, not the law itself, which Jesus attacked. As Himself, the mediator, Jesus rejected the law as mediator in order to re-establish the law in its God-appointed role as law, the way of holiness. He established the law by dispensing forgiveness as the lawgiver in full support of the law as the convicting word which makes men sinners. The law was rejected only as mediator and as the source of justification. Jesus fully recognized the law and obeyed the law. It was only the absurd interpretations of the law He rejected."
Also, Hengstenberg's treatment of Jer. 31 is worth looking at, Christology, Vol. I, pg. 698, 724.
We will pick up more "loose ends" as we go along. Lesson 10:1 will contain some more discussion on this.