Hebrews Lesson 112 December 27, 2007
NKJ Psalm 119:9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.
We are in our study of Hebrews. We are in Hebrews 8 and we're not going to stay there very long right now because of the nature of this particular passage. Hebrews 8:6-8 - the writer of Hebrews is transitioning from a discussion about the significance of Christ's present high priestly ministry - that He has a unique priesthood built on the order of an ancient gentile royal priesthood, the order of Melchizedek. Therefore it's different from the priesthood of the Mosaic Law. It's unrelated to the Mosaic Law because the Mosaic Law was viewed from its inception as a temporary law. Therefore the qualifications for priesthood in the Mosaic Law were related to the tribes of Israel and were related to the genetic relationship to Aaron and the Levitical priesthood. In contrast to that, the priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ is a royal high priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. It is a priesthood that is not related solely to Israel, but a priesthood that is related to all mankind. Jesus Christ began to function in His royal high priesthood when He ascended to heaven. In the events of His last days on earth we have His crucifixion in fulfillment of the Old Testament type of the Passover where the Jews would sacrifice a lamb that was without spot or blemish. That went all the way back and looked back to their Exodus when they were delivered from slavery in Egypt. That imagery of the lamb that was without a spot or blemish was an image of the Lord Jesus Christ. When the Lord first appeared to John the Baptist at the beginning of His ministry, John the Baptist said:
NKJ John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
The Jews would understand that to be an illusion to the Passover lamb.
Later in II Corinthians the Apostle Paul refers to Christ as our Passover. So as part of His priestly ministry He offers Himself as a sacrifice on the cross for our sins where He pays the penalty for our sins on the cross. Then He's in the grave 3 days, 3 nights. He ascends on the Day of Firstfruits - everything in fulfillment of specific feast days and types in the Old Testament - all part of the array of predictions of (prophecies in the Old Testament) at least 100 that were precisely fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ at the First Advent. He is resurrected on the Feast of Firstfruits as the firstfruit of those who have victory over death. He has a new body, a new resurrection body, and appears to His disciples with many convincing proofs over the subsequent weeks. He's on the earth for 40 days before He ascends. There's a 10-day period following His ascension before the Day of Pentecost when the present Church Age begins.
At the ascension He physically ascends (as we've studied) through the heavens to the throne of God – to a specific destination – to the throne of God in what the Bible describes as the third heaven. (The first heaven being the atmosphere around the earth, the second heavens the stars and the universe and the third heaven is the throne of God.) He ascends to the throne of God where He is presently seated. The Latin word is sessionum which became a technical word in theology for the session of Christ. He's seated at the right hand of the Father. He is not yet on His throne, the throne of David as prophesied in the Old Testament. But He is seated waiting the deliverance the kingdom by the Father to Him. That deliverance of the kingdom comes when God the Father transfers to the Lord Jesus Christ judgment as per John 5 when Jesus said all judgment would be given to Him. That's the imagery we see and have been studying as a background in our Sunday morning series in Revelation 4 and 5 when the Lamb who was slain is the only one worthy to come forward and open the 7 sealed scrolls. So Jesus Christ is currently in session at the Father - functioning in His high priestly ministry (as we have studied) as an intercessor for believers standing as our advocate (I John 2:2) defending believers accused of sin by Satan.
Of course every time Satan accuses a believer of sin, Jesus says that sin was paid for on the cross. It's paid in full. So the fact that He has this new position, the writer of Hebrews has argued that a new priesthood necessitates a new covenant. And as we have studied so many times in the past, a covenant is a contract and God has… The theologians use the word condescended. I am not specifically in favor of that word. It's not the best. He limits Himself. He is willing to accommodate Himself to the finite nature of His creatures. From the beginning of time God has structured His relationship to man within these legal documents called covenants or contracts.
So we come to the eighth final contract in history which is the New Covenant. That's the subject that the writer is going into here in Hebrews 8:6-8. He says:
NKJ Hebrews 8:6 But now He
The Lord Jesus Christ.
has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant,
That is the go-between of a better covenant - better than the old temporary covenant of the Mosaic Law.
which was established on better promises.
That is this New Covenant has been enacted.
NKJ Hebrews 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.
The implication there with a second class condition is that it wasn't. It had problems because it was a temporary document. The sacrifices didn't permanently pay for sin. It did not solve the spiritual problem. It simply foreshadowed how it would be solved.
Then his point is:
NKJ Hebrews 8:8 Because finding fault with them, He
That is God the Father.
says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah --
So we get our introduction to this covenant in the following verses in the following verses of Hebrews 8:9ff.
But before we get there, there are some other things that we need to study in relationship to this New Covenant. Who was the covenant for? Who were the covenant partners? What is the extent of the New Covenant? How do we benefit today from this New Covenant?
Remember as I pointed out last time – I went through several points related to some summary principles related to the nature of a covenant. It was a legally binding obligation of God to man. It was a pledge from God to man to fulfill certain promises which He had made. It was a legally binding contract. If you want a word substitution, every time you hear the word "covenant" just substitute contract. It can be between two parties who are equal to one another or one who is superior who's imposing it on an inferior. That's the nature that we have with divine covenants. So this is a legal contract. Each one of these contracts describes what God's responsibility is, what He is going to do and what man's responsibility is and what will happen to man if he fails in that responsibility. Then God comes in afterwards with plan B. This is the final covenant in the course of the covenants.
So let's review these 8 biblical covenants. Always keep in mind that there is a theological system that was developed among the Calvinistic reformed theologians in Europe in the 17th century that became known as covenant theology. The covenants in covenant theology are not the biblical covenants. Everybody believes in the biblical covenants because they're in the Bible. It's these theological extrapolations that Calvinism developed in the 17th century that you don't find in the Bible. Those covenants were covenant of grace, covenant of redemption, covenant of works and that's just a theological extrapolation. So we're just focusing on the covenants as described in the Bible.
The first three covenants are gentile covenants. A Gentile is anyone who is not a Jew. Some people don't understand that. To me it's a statement of the obvious, but the Bible looks at two people. You have Jews and you have gentiles - Jews and everybody else. So, in some sense God favors one race because He has a plan and purpose for those particular people. We live in an era today when one of the most horrible things you can be called is a racist. That is if you operate on human viewpoint. So when anybody is going to favor any group simply on the basis of race, that is racism and that automatically makes it evil. See how that has blasphemous implications. God favors Israel; they are the apple of His eye. He favors the Jews above all people - not that they are perfect but because He has a plan. His redemptive and revelatory plan operates through Israel.
But the first covenant is the Edenic Covenant. Sometimes I call this the Creation Covenant. It's outlined in Genesis 1:27-28. Man is to rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the beasts of the field. Male and female are created in the image and likeness of God to be His representatives, vice gerents ruling over all creation. This covenant has a number of stipulations. They're to guard the garden. They're to work the garden. Adam is to name all of the animals. The woman is created in order to be his assistant in order to be his etzer to help the man in fulfilling the God-given responsibilities that he has as God's representative.
We live in a world today where in human viewpoint the feminist movement comes along and says, "Well, to say that the wife is to help the man if fulfilling his God-given responsibilities is demeaning to women and this is a horrible thing."
Once again, "it is this horrible antiquated patriarchal Christian thing that is Neanderthal so we need to get rid of it."
The reality of it is this word etzer – the great thing about the Bible is everything hangs together and complements one another. But you have to take the Bible as the whole, as being the Word of God. Everywhere else in the Bible that you have the word etzer used, the person who is the etzer is God. God is the helper of man. So if etzer is a demeaning role as per the feminists, then that is a statement about the nature of God, that God would be in a demeaning role as an etzer. So you see everything ultimately can be pushed back to some kind of statement about the nature of God. So when the feminists come along with their propaganda and say women don't need to be helpers to the husbands, then they are making a theological statement and blaspheming God because the underlying presupposition is that being a helper is a negative thing. Yet the only other person in the Bible who is an etzer is God. What a glorious thing to be an etzer! That's a God-like thing.
So the Edenic Covenant comes crashing down when man violates the one prohibition not to eat from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. That's at the fall. So God goes to plan B. There's a revision to the covenant. He has a codicil that comes in and there are going to be certain stipulations. Man was to rule over the animals, but the woman listened to an animal. So an animal is the one who brought the temptation and deceived her. So now there is going to be a new relationship with the animals. Animals prior to the fall were herbivores. They were herbivores. They were grass eaters. After the fall some become flesh eaters because now there's death. There's violence that enters in. The man and the woman were to multiply and fill the earth. It was supposed to be a completely wonderful thing with nothing negative. But now the woman is going to have pain in child-birth as a reminder of the fall (the curse). The man who was to guard and take care of the garden, now the ground is going to produce thorns and thistles. There's going to be laborious work involved in production from the soil. The soil is now going to fight man. So now labor becomes toilsome. He lives by the sweat of his brow. All of this is defined as the Adamic Covenant spelled out in Genesis 3:14-19.
But even in the midst of that covenant there is the proclamation of grace that the serpent is going to be crushed by the seed of the woman. This is a prophecy of the fact that Jesus Christ is going to come to defeat Satan and reestablish that rule of man over creation when He returns at the Second Coming as the God-man. So, as the greater Son of David (the greater Son of Adam), He will establish a kingdom ruled by a man, the God-man, and bring the earth back to what God originally intended it to be.
But as man developed from Adam there was sin and disobedience. Men revolted against God, rebelled against God. Evil multiplied itself across the face of the earth. God needed to bring judgment upon the earth because there was also an invasion by the "sons of god" which is a term for angels. There were demons who invaded sexually seeking to destroy the genetic purity of the human race to block the seed of the woman. So there was a flood.
Then in Genesis 9 God gives the second revision of the original creation covenant. In each of these covenants man is still supposed to multiply and fill the earth. There are similarities, but each sphere of responsibility gets modified because of sin and because of judgment. So under the Noahic Covenant now there is going to be delegation of judicial responsibility to man so that man in Genesis 9 is now responsible for policing criminal behavior. Man's life is precious because every human being is in the image of God and so God says whenever man sheds man's blood, man shall shed his blood (the criminal's blood) indicating that human beings now have judicial responsibility to adjudicate criminal action and to execute those who commit murder. This is the basis for human government. It's the basis for law in human society. It's the basis for establishing the whole principle of human government.
There is a promise given with the Noahic Covenant that God will not destroy the earth by water again. This is going to be symbolized by a bow in the sky, a rainbow, which is associated with God's presence in many other passages. That rainbow is a constant reminder that God will never again destroy the earth by water. He will destroy it by fire. It's also a reminder that as long as you continue to see rainbows – just remember that means you are still supposed to execute criminals. The death penalty has not gone out. It also means because it's in the Noahic Covenant that the eating of meat is authorized for human beings. So that means that you're authorized to go have a good steak and good prime rib. You'd better do it now because the implication here is that when the millennial kingdom comes we won't be doing that.
My personal opinion is that God is going to create something that is going to taste just like a good rare prime rib. But there won't be the killing of animals so get your hunting done now. Go out and eat all the steak you can because that will change when we go into the Millennial Kingdom. It will be a new civilization. But until then, the rainbow reminds you that you can go hunt, you can eat steak, you're supposed to execute criminals and God's not going to destroy the earth by water again. See all that's back into that one covenant.
Now after the Noahic Covenant, as time went by man failed again so God had to set up a new system. Now instead of working through the human race in its entirety, God decided He's going to work through one specific family. So He goes to the family of Shem, the third son of Noah (Ham, Shem, and Japheth) and one of his descendents (Abraham). He calls out Abraham who is a believer already in Ur of the Chaldees. He gives him a covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant.
There are three provisions. God promises to give him a specific piece of real estate which is much larger than the current nation of Israel, but it's part of that land grant. It will extend from the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates and cover all the area of much of modern Lebanon, Israel, Syria, and Jordan which is the true Palestinian state. Don't forget that.
After 1948 the original land that was supposed to go to Israel in the Balfour Declaration back in 1918 had been chopped up many times through the 1930's. Instead of giving all of the land which is today Jordan and Israel to the Jews, the decision was made in the 30's and 40's to only give a little bit of the land to the west of the Jordan to Israel and the rest would go to the Arabs. That means Jordan is the Palestinian state. You don't believe Arafat's lies and propaganda that they have rights to land on the west side of the Jordan. They don't. Arabs were given the land on the east side of the Jordan and the Jews were given the land on the west side of the Jordan. But of course the U.N. can't get anything right. The U.N. is just the latest manifestation of the Tower of Babel. The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) is a great failure at this time, which is why God had to work through Abraham.
So there are three provisions in the Abrahamic Covenant – land, seed and blessing. Now each of these is then expanded in subsequent covenants to the Jews. There's the land covenant or the real estate covenant sometimes called the Palestinian Covenant because the term Palestinian used to mean Jewish.
That's why the Palestinian regiment that served in the British army in WWII was an all-Jewish regiment. It did not have any Arabs in it. In fact the only relative of Arafat that was operational at the time was the Mufti of Jerusalem who continuously went to Berlin to encourage Hitler to kill all of the Jews and to help him structure the final solution. It was the Mufti of Jerusalem that was Arafat's uncle who originated all the terrorist activity in the Middle East.
The term Palestine as I showed (What was it? Sunday) talked about that (or one time last week we were talking about… no two weeks ago) spiritual warfare uses the word that our struggle is not against flesh and blood in Ephesians 6:11. The word there for struggle is based on the Greek root pale which means to wrestle or to struggle, which is the root for Palestine. The term Palestine was first given to the land of Israel by the ancient Greeks. It was a word play. Palestine sounded like Philistine but notice it is a "p" and not an "f". It was called Palestine because the root word meant wrestler. Jacob was the one who wrestled with God at Peniel in Genesis so the Greeks got a great laugh about of that. They were going to call Palestine the Land of the Wrestler (Israel, Jacob). It would sound like the Philistines. So now we are still plagued with that. The modern so-called Palestinians want everyone to think that their name comes from the Philistines and that they have an ancient right to the land. Once again it is the devil's propaganda.
So you have the land promise. You have the second covenant that expands the Abrahamic Covenant is the seed covenant, the Davidic Covenant. II Samuel 7 where God promises that David will have an eternal descendent upon his throne.
Then the final breakout covenant of the Abrahamic Covenant is the covenant we're studying, the New Covenant. Now the only other covenant that I haven't listed is the conditional or temporary covenant of the Mosaic Covenant which is given in Exodus chapters 20 through 40.
So this gives us the covenantal structure that we find in the Bible. Here we have the Abrahamic Covenant – three segments – land, seed, and blessing - the land covenant Deuteronomy 30; the Davidic Covenant II Samuel 7 developing the seed, and then the New Covenant Jeremiah 31. Jeremiah 31 is the core passage. It's the only New Covenant passage that uses the words "new covenant", but there are other passages. The Davidic Covenant also had three elements – the promise of an eternal house, the promise of an eternal kingdom, and the promise of an eternal throne. This sets up the background for understanding the New Covenant. The land covenant develops the land promise; the Davidic Covenant develops the seed promise; the New Covenant develops the worldwide blessing promise.
Last time we went through this fairly quickly. You may not get all the Scriptures written down, but we're going to go through each of these to see what they teach us about the New Covenant so you'll eventually get them. Jeremiah 31:31-34 is the central passage for the New Covenant. If you compare that with Isaiah 49:8; 54:10; 55:3; 59:21; 61:8-9; Jeremiah 32:37-41; Ezekiel 11:19; 16:60-63; 18:31; 34:25; 36:25-8; 37:21-28; Hosea 2:17-20 and Amos 9:13-15.
All of these passages tell us something about the New Covenant. The covenant is between God as party of the first part and the house of Judah and the house of Israel as the party of the second part. Now any contract is between two parties. You sign your mortgage agreement and the mortgage agreement is between you and the mortgage company. The mortgage company is the party of the first part and you are party of the second part. You sign a contract with Visa or with MasterCard or whatever credit card you have. It's the same kind of thing. There are certain provisions in that covenant. Those provisions have to do with interest rates, time periods, and other things like that. Your next door neighbor may have a credit card. His credit rating may give him a different interest rate. But just because he has a different interest rate doesn't give you the right to tell your credit card company that his 10% is better than your 12% so you're only going to pay them at his rate. You can't apply terms of somebody else's contract to your contract.
See that's what happens in the study of Scripture is we have these contracts with Israel and people want to come along and say that it applies to the church when the church isn't a party to the covenant. So when we look at the New Covenant the party of the first part is God. Party of the second part is the house of Judah and the house of Israel. There is never a mention of the church as a party to the covenant.
Third is the importance the New Covenant. It provides for the regeneration of Israel. Remember when Jesus was asked by the Sadducees – they came up with this hypothetical case (always one of my favorites.) They come up with this woman and she is married to a man and he dies. She marries a second time; he dies. She marries a third time; he dies. She marries a fourth time; he dies. She marries a fifth time; he dies. She marries a sixth time and they convene a grand jury. No, he dies.
A seventh time and the Sadducees who didn't believe in resurrection say, "Well, who's going to be her husband in the regeneration?"
See that was a term that was used. Regeneration referred to the future kingdom. So that's a key part of this element. Of course He answered the question and said that people are not going to marry or be given in marriage in the kingdom.
So regeneration is a key element. Also it will be a fulfillment of all other covenants and promises to them. What is one of the other covenants (so you are not zoning out from too much sugar at Christmas)? Let's think a little bit. What does one of the other covenants promise them? Land. Okay, now the importance of this point is that the New Covenant is also linked to the fulfillment of the land covenant. That's important because when the people try to come along and say we have some elements of the New Covenant today, I want to know why the Jews aren't in the land. See they try to break these things out and you can't do it.
Fourth, there are ten provisions. I went through that last time. I am not going to repeat them this time. There are ten provisions which reinforce a unique state of salvation for Israel in the Millennial Kingdom. Now we're going to study this because some people have a little bit of a difficult time with this and I will confess that I do too. I am not sure how it works, but I know what the Scripture says so we've got to stick with what the Word says.
Okay. That's our summary - those first four points. Then we come to a fifth point which is a confirmation. God gives other confirmations to this, to His covenants. One of the confirmation passages is in Joel 2:28-32. So turn with me in your Old Testament to the book of Joel, chapter 2. Joel is towards the end. The last 12 books in the Old Testament are called the Minor Prophets - in the Hebrew they were the Book of the 12, but we call them the twelve minor prophets, not because they're of lesser importance, but because they are shorter books. They began with Hosea, Daniel, Joel, and Amos. So Joel is the second of the Minor Prophets.
It's written about 9th century BC, about 800 BC. So, this is very early. This isn't long after the Northern Kingdom separates from the Southern Kingdom. We're studying (I know it's been awhile because of the construction schedule and going out of town on Christmas and everything else)… remember in I Kings after I Kings 9 this division, the civil war in Israel. The ten northern tribes will revolt against the Davidic monarchy in the south and establish the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The Northern Kingdom of Israel begins very early to establish a false religion and idolatry as the basis for their nation.
Jeroboam I is the first king in the north and he will have a golden calf built. He will say (just like Aaron did at the time of the Exodus), "This is the God who brought you out of Egypt."
See historical revisionism is always a part of the establishment of a tyrannical government. As soon as you see people starting to rewrite history that this nation wasn't a Christian nation, there is no Christian influence, we can't have God in the schools and the founding fathers didn't really know anything about Christianity - as long as you have that kind of revisionism going on, pay attention because people are trying to change the foundation of our government which is exactly what Jeroboam I did. So he establishes these two centers of worship in the north - one in the far north at Tel Dan and one in the south in Samaria. He establishes these two places so they don't have far to travel to go to the temple. That's basically the point.
"We don't want to have to go all the way down to Jerusalem. That's in another country now so if we really want to unify, we are going to have our own places and we're going to do it where people don't have to go to much effort to make a sacrifice and worship God."
So he's already accommodating to the lust patterns of the people. So Joel comes along with a prophecy related to the end times - how God is eventually going to restore the breach between the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. But in doing it, there is going to be a cataclysmic judgment called the Day of the Lord.
The Day of the Lord is described in the second chapter of Joel. It is related to the Great Tribulation, that last 7 year period in Israel's history. It's the period of Daniel's 70th week. The Day of the Lord becomes a term for the tribulation period, the judgments that we'll be studying on Sunday morning between Revelation 14 and Revelation 19, specifically, and the culmination of those judgments at the end just before the Lord Jesus Christ returns. So there are a lot of parallels in the first part of Joel 2 to what will happen in all the geophysical problems, earthquakes, the problems in the astrophysical problems, stars the darkness of the skies, all of these kinds of things are going to go on. There is a call to repentance because God would rather people change and turn to Him than go through judgment.
Then we come to Joel 2:28. Now this is a very important passage because this is a passage that Peter quotes in Acts 2 on the birthday of the church, right after the apostles are all standing there and the Holy Spirit descends upon them like flames of fire over each of the 11 disciples and they begin to speak in foreign languages.
The unbelievers that are there, the Jews that are there say, "These people got drunk already?"
Peter says, "No, it's only the 9th hour. It's 9 o'clock in the morning. Sun's not over the yardarm yet. Nobody's had a drink yet."
This is not the result of drunkenness. This is a work of the Holy Spirit just like Joel said. Then he quotes from Joel because Joel…the interesting thing is nothing that happened on the day of Pentecost is prophesized in Joel 2. Nothing that Joel says in Joel 2 happens on the Day of Pentecost. But what Peter is saying is these things that are happening right here are like those events. Now we're going to get into this a little bit as we go through our study – get into some things that are going on today in what I consider to be some wrong teaching. We'll save that for next time where it's a misunderstanding of what Peter is saying there in Acts 2. These are crucial passages – how to understand the relationship between Joel 2 and Acts 2. We've studied some of this in the past. If you remember I went through…When was that? About…I don't know in the last couple of months I was teaching on hermeneutics and we went through the four different ways in which the Old Testament is used in the New Testament based on how rabbis tended to quote and apply Old Testament scripture. That comes some of the study and work that Arnold Fruchtenbaum's done. But we will step around that right now and just look at these verses.
In verse 28, Joel 2:28 Joel says:
NKJ Joel 2:28 " And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.
God is speaking actually.
After what? After the Day of the Lord. After this judgment is completed, the 7-year tribulation period, Church Age believers won't go through that. We will be raptured. We will be taken to heaven before the 7-year tribulation. The 7-year tribulation relates to God bringing Israel to a point of repentance so that they turn to Jesus as Messiah. That's what this is describing.
That is part of the New Covenant terminology. We haven't gone into that but in Jeremiah 31, but when Joel writes in the 8th century he's writing 300 years before Jeremiah specifies the New Covenant. So this is one of the first references to what happens at the end of the Day of the Lord period when Jesus comes to establish His kingdom and to enact the New Covenant.
NKJ Joel 2:29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
See in Jeremiah 31 we're told that the key element of the New Covenant is that all the nation is regenerated. The Holy Spirit indwells and fills every Jew to the point that no one needs to be taught about God because they have an internal knowledge of God. So, there won't be a need for pastor-teachers or evangelists among the Jews at all. So this is clearly New Covenant terminology, New Covenant description in Joel 2:28-32.
We continue to read in verse 30:
NKJ Joel 2:30 "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
All related to the judgments that occur at the end of the tribulation.
NKJ Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.
That is that final judgment that culminates in the campaign of – military campaign of Armageddon.
NKJ Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the LORD has said, Among the remnant whom the LORD calls.
Now that passage is quoted by Paul in Romans 11, which is one of your passages in the New Testament that relates to the New Covenant. In Romans 11:26 Paul says:
NKJ Romans 11:26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
That's the thrust of the Greek houtos there.
That is how they will be delivered and at the end of the tribulation period. What happens if you know the map of Israel, is at the mid point of the tribulation when the Antichrist sets himself up in the Holy of Holies of the Tribulation Temple to be worshipped as God, Jesus said in Matthew 24 that when you see this sign, flee to the mountains.
'Woe to the mother who's pregnant. Woe to the person who is out in the field. Pack up your bags and be ready to flee. As soon as you see that sign, flee to the mountains."
He's talking about fleeing south into the Judean wilderness, which is desert and wilderness. Then you flee south across the barren flats south of the Dead Sea and across into the mountainous region around Petra. Petra was actually was a Nabatean kingdom. But you've seen pictures of that if you've seen Raiders of the Lost Ark where they went in through the Siq, that long narrow canyon into the Petra where they have the façade of the Treasury House. (We had a re-enactment of wedding vows for Bob and Roberta right there when we were there.) That's the northern part. That whole area south of there is rugged, mountainous terrain.
In fact this last year when we were there we went up to the monastery which is up about 1500 feet higher than that area. We didn't go there the first year. We walked up there, and we kept walking up the trail, walking up the trail and coming around the bend and walking up some more. Finally we got there and everybody was resting. I saw this sign up on the ridge. It said, "Great view this way". I said "Okay. I'll walk up there." Well when I got to that sign about 300 yards off across another little valley and up the ridge was another sign that said, "Great view here." So I walked there. Now I have committed about 600 yards and I got there and there is about another 300 yards off there is another sign. That was it. But I kept walking. When I got there, you're standing out on a little point. On a clear day you could probably see 100 miles to Jerusalem. You could probably see the Mediterranean. It was a fabulous view. Just to my left was Mt. Hor. There is a monument on the top of Mt. Hor. I don't know how anybody even a goat could get from one side to the other. That's where Aaron's body was buried. That monument is for Aaron's body.
It is that rugged area that is not easily attacked. In fact the Nabateans who had their kingdom there, were not able to be defeated by the Romans until the Romans captured a turncoat and he told them how the Nabateans were able to get water down into Petra. They had carved these channels along the side of the Siq so that when it rained the run off coming down the canyon would be collected into these channels and rundown the sides of the Siq and then they had dug out these massive 150,000 or 200,000 gallon cisterns. (How could I forget that? We saw hundreds of cisterns when we were there.) These 150,000 -200,000 gallon cisterns and in just a one inch rain they would collect enough water to support a population there of several tens of thousands - 20,000 to 30,000 people for a year. Many of those channels are being reconstructed today by the archeologists. I think so everything will be functional again when the Jews have to flee there. But see they were all covered up. They carved these channels and then they covered them up so it blended in to the sides of the walls. The Romans couldn't figure out how these people got water. Once this turncoat told them how they got water, they came in and they broke the channels so that the water system didn't work anymore. It took about ten days and they captured Petra. Well, that's the area the Jews are going to flee to – between there and an area south of there called Basra. It is there that the remnant that survives that are believers that have responded to Jesus' warning to flee when you see the sign in the Holy of Holies of the Abomination of Desolation. It is there that they will call on the name of the Lord. This is what Jesus says at the end of Matthew 23. He is weeping over Jerusalem. He says:
NKJ Matthew 23:39 "for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' "
That's a reference to Joel 2:32. So they call on the name of the Lord. They'll be delivered. This is when the remnant calls on Jesus. He comes as the Jewish Messiah, delivers them, defeats the anti-Christ and establishes His kingdom and inaugurates the New Covenant when you have this pouring out of the Holy Spirit. In terms of a fifth element of the New Covenant, you have confirmation in Joel 2:28-32.
Now the New Covenant is mentioned in 4 different verses in the New Testament. Just the very fact that we call it the New Testament versus the Old Testament is a recognition of the distinction between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.
Now the first two passages talk about the same event. Luke 22:20 focuses on what Jesus is saying at the Last Supper when He is celebrating the Passover meal with His disciples. We've gone over this numerous times when we have communion and when I've done a Passover meal reenactment. As they go through the Passover meal, there were four different times in the course of the meal when they would take a cup of wine and drink it. Each cup signified something different. When Jesus came to the third cup, it was called the cup of redemption and He assigned it new significance, new meaning. After they had eaten He took the cup (the third cup) and said:
NKJ Luke 22:20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.
It is the redness of the wine that was a picture of the shedding of blood and of death. So a covenant was always sealed with a sacrifice. So the covenant is cut. The sacrifice that establishes the covenant is made at the cross. So when we come to this passage, it seems as if what Jesus is saying is that "after I die on the cross anybody who believes in Me is part of the New Covenant." But, we have to fit this within the whole framework of biblical revelation.
In 1Corinthians 11:25 Paul is referring back to that same event in Luke 22:20 and he says:
NKJ 1 Corinthians 11:25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
I highlighted the word "the" because in the Greek there is a definite article before kaine diatheke. It's he kaine diatheke – the New Covenant.
So there were those who came along and said, "Well, we have a definite article here so this is talking about one specific covenant; but in these other two passages there's no article."
Actually I misspoke a minute ago when I used the word "definite". We have a definite article in English. In Greek, it's just an article because the function of the article in Greek is not merely or it's not only to make the noun definite. A word can be indefinite and have the article; it can be definite without the article. The article in Greek doesn't function like an article in English. When you have people who don't understand that come along and translate the Greek, they make mistakes. For example in John 1:1:
NKJ John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
In the Greek there's no article before that last use of theos for God.
So you have a group of people known as Jehovah Witnesses who came along and said, "See that shouldn't be translated 'the Word was God'. It should be translated 'the Word was a God' because it doesn't have the article. If it had the article it would be 'the God.' But it doesn't have the article so it should be 'a god.'"
But see in Greek, the absence of the article can be more significant and more definite than the presence of the article. In fact one of the things that's emphasized when you don't have an article with the noun is that it's emphasizing the quality of the noun or the essence of the noun. So by not having the article, John is making an even stronger statement that the Word was the essence of God. He was full deity. He couldn't say it any stronger. In fact, if he put the article there it would minimize the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ known as the Word in that particular passage. So that's what's going on in these two passages in II Corinthians and Hebrews 9.
II Corinthians 3:6 says:
NKJ 2 Corinthians 3:6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
But see the translators here put in an "a" in there. The point I am making here is a point of technical Greek grammar. The absence of the article doesn't mean that you should insert an indefinite English article. It's emphasizing the quality, the essence of the noun that New Covenant represents. So as servants of New Covenant it's would still indicate the New Covenant.
Now, just another little point here. Some of you have been to places in Canada and England and you've heard British English as opposed to American English. In British English there are a number of nouns that are inherently definite. You'll hear the British speak of "going to hospital." That sounds kind of strange to us. We would say, "I am going to the hospital." They'll just say, "I am going to hospital." Because they understand the noun is inherently definite. It doesn't need the article with it. "I am going to university." We would say, "I am going to the university." But see they understand that certain nouns are inherently definite. We do too. God is an inherently definite noun. So we don't pray to the God. We don't put "the" in front of God in English because we understand God is inherently definite.
Well, the same thing is going on here. New Covenant is definite without the article because he is emphasizing the quality and the essence and the significance of this New Covenant. The same thing is going on in Hebrews 9:15.
Now the reason I make that point is there have been those (and some of you have heard people teach this) who say that there are really two new covenants and this is the evidence for a new covenant with the church because it talks about a new covenant indicating that there is another New Covenant. But again this is a misuse of Greek to try to use it to arrive at that conclusion. But that brings us to a very important point that we won't be able to get into tonight. That is looking at these issues related whether there is one New Covenant or two New Covenants.
The conclusion that I've reached after years of studying this – I agree with John Nelson Darby who is the first systematizer of dispensationalism that there is only one New Covenant and it's a new covenant with Israel only – the house of Israel and the house of Judah and that the church benefits by way of blessing in the same way that in the Old Testament God made a covenant with Abraham and said, " On the basis of the contract that I have with Abraham I am gong to bless the Gentiles."
In the New Covenant God says, "On the basis of the covenant I am going to establish with Israel, I am going to bless the Gentiles. And, they will be saved."
So that's how the church comes into it.
We'll get into that in more detail because there is some confusion there and there are some important things to talk about. So next time we'll talk about this issue of one new covenant, two new covenants, three new covenants or half a new covenant - whatever. And then we'll start going through all those Old Testament passages to understand the tremendous spiritual dimension of the New Covenant as it will be established in the Millennial Kingdom.
With our heads bowed and our eyes closed.