Hebrews Lesson 114 February 7, 2008
NKJ Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
As Jack noted, it has been since January 3rd since we had Bible class on Hebrews. I want you all to tell me – what was the last thing I said?
Somebody took a nap this afternoon. You're almost as much of a smart aleck as Norm Geisler. Some of you may not know who Norm Geisler is. Dr. Geisler is probably one of the foremost apologists today. He has got multiple degrees, multiple doctorates. He has written dozens and dozens of books. He is a writing machine. One of the interesting things is to get to know Dr. Geisler personally because he grew up in a home where learning was not prized; learning was not emphasized. He did not know how to read until he was a senior in high school. Now he has a couple of doctorates. Of course he writes and writes and writes and writes. It was not discovered that he couldn't read until he was in an English class and they were given an assignment. They were to read The Tale of Two Cities.
So the teacher thinking that there was something amiss with this young Norman Geisler said, "Well, Norman, how does the book end? How does the story end?"
He looks at the teacher and said, "With a period."
So while he was down at the principal's office, they decided that he needed to have some remedial courses and learn how to read.
So y'all are just as quick and smart-alecky in saying, "Well, you ended with amen."
I ended by saying, "It's gonna be a month before we are back here again. So when we come back we're probably going to have to review everything so we can get back where we were."
So, we won't review everything in as much detail, but we will hit the highpoints and begin to move on.
Our passage is in Hebrews 8. You don't need to turn there. We're not going to be there long other than the first two or three slides to orient us. In verses 6 through 8 we are introduced to the major passage in the New Testament on the New Covenant. The writer of Hebrews says:
NKJ Hebrews 8:6 But now He
That is Jesus Christ through His ascension and session at the right hand of the Father.
has obtained a more excellent ministry,
That is "more excellent" in comparison to the high priestly ministry of the Aaronic High Priest in the Old Testament.
inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
So it connects His high priestly ministry to the New Covenant in contrast to the Aaronic high priesthood in the Old Testament and its connection to the Mosaic Covenant. Now in His high priestly ministry today, Jesus Christ functions as our High Priest and He is seated at the right hand of the Father; and we have all these passages we have seen from Hebrews 4 through 5 and into 7 dealing with His intercessory ministry as a major aspect of His priesthood, His high priesthood for the church. That is connected to this New Covenant. So that's one way in which the church participates in the blessing of the New Covenant; and it is by virtue of our relationship to Jesus Christ. I pointed out last time that there are within what is known as dispensationalism…there are four views on how the church relates to the New Covenant – four different understandings. The fourth is the view of progressive dispensationalists. They are neither progressive nor dispensational in my opinion, but we will be a little gracious and at least give a measure of credence to their pious fraud.
So in Hebrews 8:6 Jesus has a more excellent ministry in His priesthood because it is connected to a superior covenant which is enacted on better promises. So, priesthood, covenant, and promises are all linked together in that verse.
NKJ Hebrews 8:7 For if that first covenant
Notice, that's in italics in your Bible.
had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.
His argument has been that the Mosaic Covenant was been unable to do what needed to be done in terms of salvation. It had a limited priesthood, limited application for salvation. So his argument is that if that first covenant had been faultless and it wasn't, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. This is really his whole argument. He is going to quote these next 6 or 7 verses only to establish the fact that because it is called a New Covenant in verse 8, that necessarily implies that the older covenant had to be replaced and was always understood to be temporary and not permanent. So in verse 8 he says:
NKJ Hebrews 8:8 Because finding fault with them,
That is with the older covenant.
He 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 --
That is the opening of Jeremiah 31:31-34, four verses that are quoted directly into Hebrews 8. That's another issue we will get to later on. The point that he is making simply draws on the fact that it is called the New Covenant. He's not getting into any of the details. That's important I think because it helps us understand how Peter is applying another New Covenant passage, Joel 2 to the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.
Most of you were here last week, the week before when Arnold was here. Arnold taught on the fact that Jews had four different way of interpreting Old Testament passages. As they interpreted these passages sometimes they took a literal prophecy and applied it literally.
NKJ Micah 5:2 " But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting."
Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.
Or they took a literal historical event out of Egypt – I called My children – referring to the Exodus. That was applied typologically to Jesus coming out of Egypt after they had escaped from Herod.
The third view was the view called literal historical event. There may be one point of similarity that is connected to an event. In Matthew 2 there is a quote from Jeremiah dealing with the women, the mothers of Judah weeping over their children. So this applied simply to the weeping of the mothers of Judah over the loss, the death of their children in Matthew 2. That's the same kind of thing that you have in Acts 2.
Now this may seem a little abstruse and like a minor point for some of you. I'll connect these dots, but it is very important to understand how the writers of the New Testament use the Old Testament. When you get a passage such as the passage related to Jesus in Hosea 11:1:
NKJ Hosea 11:1 "When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.
When you exegete it in context (I think that's Hosea 11:1) you would never ever think from the context of Hosea 11 that it applies it to the Messiah. But, Matthew comes along and applies it (And that is the correct word to use.) typologically to the Messiah. There was a term that was used by the rabbis for this type of interpretation. I don't remember what it is off the top of my head right now, but that's in contrast to another form of interpretation that was used in the first century called pesher interpretation. And, pesher is spelled p-e-s-h-e-r. If you want a fairly succinct understanding of what pesher interpretation is just Google it. Look it up on wikipedia and the article in Wikipedia is pretty accurate. In pesher interpretation, this became popular in the intertestamental period in rabbinical literature. They allegorized or spiritualized prophecy. Now there is a difference between applying a passage typologically to an event and spiritualizing or allegorizing it. One of the differences is that applying it typologically you're not denying the original historical, grammatical, exegetical meaning of the passage.
But in spiritual or allegorizing you say, "Well that's the literal, historical, grammatical meaning is not important spiritually. What's important is the spiritualized or allegorized sense."
It may have nothing whatsoever to do with the literal historical grammatical sense of the passage. I guess the best term is rabbinical imagination.
Now the reason I have gone through this little detour for you is because I recently learned from a very good source (an excellent source by the way) that in the New Testament department at Dallas Theological Seminary to a man the Old Testament faculty holds to the validity of pesher hermeneutics. This is why I go into some detail like this for you because it's so easy for people to get misled. All of us operate at certain levels in our lives with basing our trusts on other peoples opinions or on some sort of historical tradition with certain (I shouldn't say this but) political parties or certain seminaries and certain churches that because they have a history or track record of being in one way that we continue to trust them and we don't really understand a lot of the politics, a lot of the changes. A lot of these changes are the result of generational changes as younger leadership takes over in key positions. Policies change; procedures change; outlook changes.
I have been accused of bashing Dallas at times. All I am trying to do is recognize that there is a tremendous misunderstanding about Dallas based on what it was. It no longer is a school that teaches the theology of Chafer, Walvoord and Ryrie. It just doesn't. It's not present in the Old Testament Department; it is not present in the New Testament Department and it's not present in the Theology Department. The only department that's still solid is the Bible Exposition Department and there are very good men in the Bible Exposition Department. A number of them are excellent. But, this is one reason that I'm so concerned personally about the establishment of Chafer Seminary because if we want to have quality individuals, quality pastors, trained pastors the only way we are going to get it now is one of two ways. Number one is to have them go to a well qualified seminary with qualified professors who are teaching within the historically received tradition, doctrinal tradition, that we come from that we identify basically as Scofieldian, Walvoord, Dallas Seminary type tradition going back into the 19th century and beyond.
In our history of doctrine class on Monday night we are going to see how we really do fit and in much of what we believe fits within a historical flow that goes all the way back to the times when these various areas of theology were first crystallized and articulated. So we're not some sort of aberration or something that just sort of invented popped up on the scene maybe 100 years ago or 150 years ago, but it is the natural progression of understanding of doctrine from the second century all the way up to the present. Yet what happens and has happened when I studied under Dr. Hannah when I was ThM and later doctoral studies. He used to say the life of a seminary historically (He had spent a lot of time studying the history not only Dallas but other seminaries.) is about 75 years. It's that third generation that loses the vision of the first generation. That's really where we are today. The first generation was Chafer. The first generation he trained was Walvoord, Ryrie, Thieme, Pentecost, that generation. That generation passed on a vision to the baby boomer generation that didn't connect the dots. My generation failed to connect the dots and part of the things that I have said for years – one of the trends of the baby boomer generation (and I saw this a lot when I was at seminary) is an anti-authoritarian way of thinking. That manifested itself culturally in anti-establishment, the hippies, anti-Vietnam. We're seeing that come home to roost at a national political level.
Within the Christian tradition, it obviously limited ways in which people could express their rebellion against authority. One of the ways they did it was to within the framework of so called scholarship overthrow the teaching of the fathers of their tradition which is what has happened today in not only schools like Dallas; but it's happened at Talbot which was really a sister school to Dallas and most of the faculty that taught at Talbot out in southern California graduate school for Viola which is the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. That was an acronym. Also you had Western Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary up in Portland which basically died in terms of its tradition. It lost it in around 1990 or the early 90's. It made a major shift. Major shifts happened at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Those were the major block seminaries in the 60's and '70s.
Yet today if you have a faculty member that is under the age of 45, they are not teaching in the classroom the fundamental truths that were taught forty years ago. That is going to create an enormous vacuum. Training for pastors is going to come either because you have well-grounded pastors with a vision in the pulpit who are training and mentoring young men who will take a class here a class there sort of a melting pot experience to get their basic skills together because there is not one school to go to or you will have a new school develop that will embody these principles for the next 60 or 70 years until they go the way of all flesh. That's where we are today.
It all boils down to interpretation. It's interpretation, interpretation, interpretation. That's the battlefield. We see it not only at the doctrinal theological Bible study level, but you see it at the national level. How do we interpret the Constitution? How do we interpret law? How do we interpret the history of the nation? How do we interpret the vision of the Founding Fathers? Once you cut yourself lose from any form of absolute where you have strict guidelines on how you understand things. In a literal grammatical historical interpretation you still have disagreements, but they are not at the level you do once you sort of slip your anchor to the meaning of words and their historical grammatical context in allegorical or spiritualized interpretation because anybody can come up with their own view of what they think these words mean.
So the boundaries start breaking down. The same thing happens when you interpret law. Nobody understands law in terms of absolute objective sense anymore. We don't live in a nation or in a world that believes in objective knowledge of anything anymore. It's just your opinion. What's even worse is how you feel about it. Who do you feel about that? Who do you feel like voting for? It's all grounded in subjectivism and emotion and experience and nobody wants to think through the issues any more.
If you listen to most all of the candidates running for office today, you need to be asking yourself, "What specifics are you telling me when you want change? What do you want to change? What do you want to keep? Why do you want to change it? What policies are you going to change here or change there? How are you going to improve the economy? Let's have some specific proposals. How are you going to improve the situation in Iraq? Let's hear some specifics."
But, you don't hear that. You hear these wonderful sounding statements that have emotional overtones to them and everybody goes home and says, "Didn't he say wonderful things?"
He didn't say anything. She didn't say anything. I want to be equal. Now you know who I am talking about. Nobody said anything. Nobody has said anything. You get very little content. So nobody knows what they are voting for. They're just voting for an image.
That's what has happened in our culture. It was really boosted by film and then television in the 20th century. As Marshal McClune observed, the medium is the message. The medium really communicated a lot of things so a lot of people became more concerned about how things appeared than reality. That's exactly where we are in an existential world where we don't know how to get in touch with reality. All we have is appearances and feeling. Since we have this little thing running around in our genetic system called the sin nature that is oriented to suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, and when you reject truth all you are left with is lies. You're left with fantasy. You're left with fiction. That's what people construct is – their own fictionalized, fantasized account of reality. Somehow they can make life feel good, feel comfortable, feel good about things. No matter what happens, within 24 hours we're going to spin it in our heads so that it really isn't that bad and it isn't going to happen to us. It would just happen to somebody else. We build these castles in the air. Then we move in. That's called psychosis. We are a nation of psychotics living in dream castles constructed out of thin air. Then some politician comes along or some theologian comes or some pastor comes along and makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. Everybody quits thinking because that supports everybody's little fantasy castle.
Somebody sent around today a link to a 60 minutes show that I think appeared a month or 6 weeks ago having to do with a rather large church in Houston. It meets down there where the Rockets used to play basketball.
In the blog following it where people could listen to the video segments and comment on it, one of the most enlightening came from a Moslem woman who said, "Isn't it wonderful to listen to this pastor because what he says isn't offensive to Jews or Christians or Muslims. We can all come together and listen to what he says and nobody is offended. That's really what we need – is love."
Anybody want a coke? All we need is love……yeah.
Anyhow it is important to get down to these nitty-gritty issues on interpretation. A lot of people don't want to do that in churches.
"Just tell me what it means."
In fact I was talking to a pastor the other day and he has got 3 or 4 people in his church that give him a hard time every time he mentions anything about grammar or anything else. But see, you have to understand something about the details of these different views, these different positions, where they come from, why they're important, how the interpretation of this passage is going to affect your interpretation of Acts 2 and Acts 2 and Acts 3 fit together in terms of a Millennial Kingdom offered to Israel. In those passages there is reference to David and David's throne. You have amillenialists and progressive dispensationalists.
This is why I say they are not progressive or dispensational claiming that on the basis of their hermeneutic, their interpretation that Jesus is now sitting on David's throne in heaven. It's not a literal throne on the earth. It's a heavenly throne. That is going to change. It dominoes.
Theology is like anything else. If the thinking of God is all integrated and it's all internally consistent, it's up to us to try to understand Him and what He has revealed. When we start spinning the dials and changing the relationship of different things to one another, it changes other things. It has all kinds of ripple effects through your thought system - how you understand the spiritual life, how you understand the future, how you understand grace. These things all start to domino. What I am trying to do is at least give you enough information so you know one that maybe what I'm saying isn't something that is just based on an opinion or a knee-jerked reaction or some sort of theological prejudice that I have on the one hand. And on the other hand, it is enough tools so that you when you read the Scripture and when you hear what other people say … and you never know when you're going to be someplace, somewhere and you're going to hear somebody say something and it may even sound good at first; but then you think about it and some of this stuff will come back to you as you think it through and avoid being led astray. That's part of the job of every pastor – is to teach people to think so that they are not lead astray so that they are not deceived by the false teachers, the wolves that Paul warned the Ephesian pastors about that there would be wolves in sheep's clothing that would come in amongst the flock trying to destroy them. So the pastor can't be everywhere. So a pastor has to teach these kinds of things.
There are some really interesting interconnections in all of this some of which I am just beginning to - each time I go through something like this I don't know who learns more you or me. But I always learn more about what it is I believe and what I'm teaching. You just get the overflow from that.
So this passage is a direct quote from the Jeremiah 31 passage. He only quotes it for one reason - to emphasize this word "new". Because it is called the New Covenant, it means the old was temporary. And he quotes four verses to do that. That's the same methodology Peter has in Acts 2. He quotes that whole Joel 2 section, 6 or 7 verses, only to emphasize the point that there is just a similarity between what the Holy Spirit did on the day of Pentecost and what the Holy Spirit is going to do on the Day of the Lord. So it's an application. But there's only one small point of contact. Everything that happens…nothing that is mentioned in Joel 2 happens in Acts 2. Nothing that happened on the Day of Pentecost is mentioned in Joel 2. So why does Peter say this is that? Because, he is making a point of application. But he's also talking about what happens on the Day of the Lord which is a technical term for the final intense judgments at the end of the Tribulation immediately preceding and accompanying the return of Jesus Christ to the earth to defeat the enemies of Israel and the enemies of God and to establish His kingdom. What happens when He establishes His kingdom? Well, as we are going to see as we go through these Old Testament passages, that's when he establishes the New Covenant. So these things are not disconnected because that's what Peter says in Acts and this is over here in Jeremiah and that's over there in Hebrews. They're all talking about things that happen at the same time in the future. To properly connect all of these things together you have to have a well thought out rigorous system of interpretation.
So that's my little rant today about why all of this is important. You have to get into the details because details are really important. It is amazing today. Lazy minds don't want to know details.
"Just give me my fast food at the drive through window and I'll take it home and eat it…but don't make me sit here and learn how to cook or how to go to the grocery store and how to shop or how to make a rue. I will just go buy it somewhere."
Okay. The backdrop to all this are the 8 biblical covenants. You have the gentile covenants that are all basically forms of the same covenant, but there has to be modifications because of sin. The original creation covenant replaced after the fall with the Adamic Covenant which is replaced after the flood with the Noahic Covenant which is still in effect.
Three reasons you're glad the Noahic Covenant is still in effect.
- Because it authorizes capital punishment.
- Because you can go eat a prime rib.
- Because you know that God's not going to destroy the earth by water again.
That's what you are reminded of all three when you see a rainbow.
Then you have your Jewish covenants. The Abrahamic Covenant is the foundation covenant. The three elements are land, seed, and blessing. That lays the backdrop for understanding the rest of history. There is a Land Covenant with Israel that gives Israel the right to the land, but they don't have the right to live in it and enjoy it unless they're in right relationship to God. That's the condition that's embedded within the unconditional covenant. The land is permanently theirs, but they can't live in the house unless they are a good tenant. They can't live on the land unless they are good tenants. They have certain rules and if they break the rules they will be removed from the land. But God promises to bring them back. That's the New Covenant issue – is the return to the land.
Then you have the Davidic Covenant which speaks of ultimate ruler. They can't rule themselves. No man can because of sin. So God is going to give them the right kind of ruler who is a righteous ruler. Then because a righteous ruler has a hard time dealing with unrighteous people, God is going to bring into effect the New Covenant which is going to give the people a new heart. So then both the ruler and the people will be righteous and there will be a righteous kingdom. So God is the one who is going to ultimately going to have to do all the work because fallen man can't. So the Abrahamic Covenant focuses on the Land Covenant, the Davidic covenant. And the New Covenant and then the Davidic Covenant promise an eternal house, and eternal kingdom and an eternal house. This is the basis for Jesus Christ being the Son of David, why He is the Son of David that He will establish a kingdom. He will rule on the throne of David. It's a literal earthly throne just as David's throne was.
Now how and when do all these come into final effect? The covenants are all made early but, they don't come into effect; they aren't established until the Second Coming of Christ. So we have our timeline here. The promises are made in the Old Testament. God makes these promises to individuals and to the nation in the form of the covenants. In the future the promises will be fulfilled. They are not fulfilled yet. They are not in the progress of being fulfilled which is where you get the term progressive in progressive dispensationalism – that they are progressively coming into effect. They're not. The covenants have been given. The basis for the New Covenant has been established at the cross, but there is no inauguration of the covenant until Jesus returns.
Here is our timeline. We have on the left the Old Testament dispensation, the cross, the Church Age and then the future millennial reign of Jesus Christ. The Abrahamic Covenant is given at the beginning of the dispensation of Israel, the Age of Israel in the Old Testament, the beginning of the dispensation of patriarchs. Out of the Abrahamic Covenant you have the Land Covenant, the Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant. Now the Land Covenant isn't fulfilled until the Jews are brought back as a regenerate people and put in the land, which occurs at the Second Coming. The Davidic Covenant is fulfilled when Jesus Christ returns and is welcomed by Israel as Israel's Messiah. The New Covenant is put into effect at that time. I have the dashed line there because the relationship of the church is by application in reference to our position in Christ. It's not that we are a direct participant in the covenant.
So last time I covered about five things. The key scripture we're going through more of these tonight.
- Persons involved in the covenant: God the Father is the party of the first part. The house of Judah and the house of Israel are the parties of the second part.
- One of the passages we're going to get into is going to get into a key passage that you will run into the next time one of those men in a white shirt and a little black tie comes and knocks on your door. He is going to try to justify the existence of the Mormons and their ancient heritage on the North American continent and Jews being over here on the basis of this passage in Ezekiel. And, if you aren't familiar with this obscure little passage in Ezekiel; then you sit there and you go, "Hum. I should have been listening in Bible class."
- It's important because it provides for the regeneration of the nation Israel. I am clarifying my thinking here. This is a national regeneration. There is a difference between national and individual regeneration because national regeneration has to do with the whole nation being back in the land and being given a new heart. But, most of those who are given the new heart at the Second Coming are already believers like the 144,000. They're already believers. The 144,000 are saved at the beginning of the Tribulation. They survive the whole Tribulation because they have the seal of God on them. So they're already believers which means that they are already regenerate. So, when we get into these passages it is very important to think through what this means when God says using a plural "you", "I will give you a new heart." This isn't talking about the fact that they were all unbelievers and then suddenly Jesus is going to come back, snap His fingers and they're going to be given a new heart and now be positive. They have got to be positive before He comes back. They're going to be believers before He comes back. They are going to be believers before He gives them a new heart because giving them a new heart is not the same as getting regenerated today.
Then there are ten provisions. Did I go through those ten provisions last time? I was going to do that this time? I skipped them last time, okay. They were in my notes the first that's why I was confused. There are ten provisions which reinforce this unique state of salvation and the unique covenant with Israel in the Millennial Kingdom.
So what are those ten provisions? Let me go through those now. This is a summary of what you find in primarily Jeremiah but also some of the other passages such as Ezekiel 36 and Joel 2 and some of those passages that are listed. I am going to leave that up on the screen so people can write down all of those references and then we will talk about these ten points
- First point, the covenant was made with the nation of Israel. It's not made with the church. There's no place where the covenant is stated to be made with anybody other than the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In the Ezekiel passage it talks about (Now I am giving away the Mormons thing.) two sticks. You see the Mormons will say that one stick is Ephraim and they came over here and they became the tribe of Lehi or whatever they called it. The other stick is Judah. The stick of Ephraim is the Northern Kingdom and other stick Judah is the Southern Kingdom and God is going to bring them back together in the New Covenant and reunify the nation. So it's not with the church. It's always stated with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Jeremiah 31 and Jeremiah 50:4-5
- Second point, the covenant is contrasted to the Mosaic Covenant. The Mosaic Covenant is temporary. The New Covenant is permanent. The old covenant they broke; the New Covenant they won't break. So the covenant is in contrast to the Mosaic Covenant which depended on the obedience of Israel for its fulfillment. Jeremiah 31:32.
- Third point, the covenant is fulfilled after the Tribulation. This is when it goes into effect is after the tribulation. Jesus Christ is going to…we are going to work through the chronology on this. I still have a couple of points to clarify in my own thinking. But, Jesus Christ returns and then He is going to defeat the armies of the Antichrist, the false prophet and establish His kingdom. Then you have the establishment of the covenant when they are given the Holy Spirit. So the covenant is fulfilled after the Great Tribulation. This is in Jeremiah 30:7.
- Fourth point, the New Covenant will take the place of the Mosaic Covenant and will be written in their hearts, which are currently identified as hearts of stone. But, they will be given hearts of flesh. That's Jeremiah 31:33.
- The New Covenant will feature great spiritual blessings for the people of Israel. All the blessings that God has promised in the past will finally come true and be fulfilled for Israel because these blessings have been conditioned on their spiritual capacity to be able to handle them. So they will get all of the blessings. That's Ezekiel 36:26-30. That's a very important passage that we're going to have to look into not only in terms of those 4 central verses but the context of Ezekiel 36 because remember Ezekiel 36 talks about the New Covenant. Ezekiel 37 and then we start getting into the "dry bones" passage and God rebuilding the nation under the imagery of collecting the bones and then you get into Ezekiel 38 and 39 with Gog and Magog revolution and then Ezekiel 40 and following dealing with the millennial temple. So that's that context there which places the New Covenant in the eschatological or future context at the end of the Tribulation.
- The New Covenant will reveal the glory of God so that it will no longer be necessary to witness to others, primarily in Israel because God's glory is going to be on the earth. Jesus Christ is going to take up His residence in the Temple in Jerusalem. You're going to have the Shekinah Glory there. So all the nations Isaiah 2 will come to the Mountain of God to worship. So there will be a full and complete testimony of God on the earth at that time. Yet people are still going to reject it. What that shows is that the issue isn't how well you witness. The issue isn't how well you argue. It isn't how much evidence you present. If you raised people from the dead, people wouldn't listen to you because they have volition. They're either rejecting God or they're seeking God in the true sense of the word – being a "seeker"…positive volition.
- The New Covenant will feature forgiveness, grace and blessings for Israel. Jeremiah 31:34. The New Covenant will feature forgiveness, grace and blessing for the nation. They will be forgiven and cleansed. Now that's what we'll get into...a fascinating study because when you get into these passages in Ezekiel 36 and especially Ezekiel 37 where it talks about how God is going to cleanse them – He is going to sprinkle them with clean water and make their hearts clean -- the typical response is that this is regeneration. But as I read the Scripture, they are already regenerate. We have to understand what cleansing is in relation to… because that is a different word in the Levitical system. A priest can be sanctified, consecrated at the beginning of his reign; yet he can go wrong places, touch dead bodies, eat the wrong thing and become unclean. So you can be unclean and positionally sanctified. So cleanness is not necessarily equal to being justified or being what we call positionally sanctified. It may be. Jesus uses both words. He used it to refer to the disciples in John 13. "You are all clean, but not all of you." So you have positional cleanness and you have experiential cleanness. I think that what is happening in Ezekiel 37 we will see is that as the nation regathers to be in a sanctified area. Now it's going to be sanctified for the Temple in the presence of God. They will have to be experientially cleansed for the rebellion, for the rejection of Messiah, and for their idolatry of the past.
- In the New Covenant God promises a permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit for every Jew - a permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit for every Jew. This is in Ezekiel 36:27 as well as in Joel 2:28-29. The function of this indwelling is it's different from today and it's different from the filling of the Spirit because the Holy Spirit is going to be in every Jew and in a way that we don't understand or see today because it's not operational today communicating content to the individual so that they know God and know about God so that no one has to teach their neighbor. See that's content; that's communication. So it's not this kind of mystical inner light, liver-quiver kind of thing that Christians want to make it to be. But there is going to be some real content there because nobody is going to have to teach their neighbor. Everyone will know God. That's Ezekiel 36:27, Joel 2:28-29. In the New Covenant God promises the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit for every Jew.
- There will be a universal knowledge of Yahweh among the people of Israel. Everyone will know. Everyone will know and will have a knowledge of God. That is in Jeremiah 31:34. A universal knowledge of Yahweh among the people of Israel.
- The covenant (the New Covenant) includes a promise that Israel will obey God and have a right attitude toward Him forever. So it seems and I haven't found a reason not to accept this, but it seems that there is going to be universal salvation among Jews in the Millennial Kingdom because you have theses passages – every, all.
Now some of you may be saying, "Wait a minute. What about volition?"
Well, I think that what I see through the trauma of what happens to Israel and to Jews in the Tribulation. It becomes so clear in the testimony of the Tribulation of history is so clear and the testimony of those who survive is so overpowering that you won't have any Jews reject Jesus as Messiah in the Millennial Kingdom. That's why you'll have universal salvation – not because God is reaching in and tweaking something and so they are all going to be saved. It's that the testimony is so overwhelming that none will reject it.
So those are the ten points. First point, I will review them real quick.
- First point, the covenant was made with the nation of Israel and the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Jeremiah 31:31; Jeremiah 50:4-5
- Second point, the covenant is contrasted to the Mosaic Covenant which depended on the obedience of Israel for its fulfillment. Jeremiah 31:32. The Mosaic Covenant was permanent, incomplete. The New Covenant will be complete and eternal.
- Third point, the major portion of the covenant will be fulfilled after the Great Tribulation or the whole covenant is fulfill after the Great Tribulation.
- Fourth point, the New Covenant will take the place of the Mosaic Covenant and will be written in their hearts which have been hearts of stone, but now will be hearts of flesh. Jeremiah 31:33
- The New Covenant will feature tremendous spiritual blessings for the people of Israel. Ezekiel 36:26-30
- The New Covenant will reveal the glory of God so that it will no longer be necessary to witness to others. Psalm 72:19; Jeremiah 31:34
- The New Covenant will feature forgiveness, grace and blessing. Jeremiah 31:34.
- In the New Covenant God promises a permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit for every Jew. Ezekiel 36:27; Joel 2:28-29
- There will be a universal knowledge of Yahweh among the people of Israel. Jeremiah 31:34.
- The covenant includes a promise that Israel will obey God and have a right attitude toward Him forever.
Now Romans 11:26 alludes to this. In Romans 11:26 it 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;
The houtos there indicates that the writer is getting ready to explain how all of Israel will be saved. They will be saved when the Deliverer will come out of Zion and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. Some people have had trouble with this. Well, all Israel is going to be saved. Well, how do you know that? Don't some of them have volition? And in a nutshell what happens is that in the Tribulation 2/3rds of the Jews are going to be killed. Only a third is going to survive. The ones who survive in Israel (and that's the focal point here) are the ones who obey Jesus warning in Matthew 24 that when you see the abomination of desolation you are going to head to the mountains and you're going to hide in the mountains and those who obeyed Jesus and go hide are probably either about to trust Christ as Messiah or they already have. So, this is the believing remnant and those who flee to Petra – Basra area down in southern Jordan…hide out there are the ones who are gong to be delivered. That's the focal point there is on deliverance not soteriological justification, but on the fact that they are all going to be delivered because the ones who obeyed Jesus and left. That's the same thing Jesus said in Matthew 24. Those who persevere to the end will be saved. See the problem that has entered into church history from the time of Augustine on is that people took the same there in Matthew 24 to be soteriological justification. That's where you get the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints – that if you persevere to the end of your life then you'll be saved. That's not what it's talking about. Those you actually live to the end of the Tribulation and survive and call upon the name of the Lord to come and deliver them will be delivered. The physical deliverance nuance to say are not spiritual salvation justification. So that's New Testament confirmation there in Romans 11:26.
The key issue for us for the church (by us I mean the church) is the fact that Jesus refers to the cup in communion as the New Covenant of My blood. In Luke 22:20 Paul quotes I Corinthians 12:25.
Then II Corinthians 3:6 Paul 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.
Hebrews 9:15 then says:
NKJ Hebrews 9:15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
He being Jesus is the mediator of a New Covenant. So it seems from these passages on the surface that there is a relationship between the church and the New Covenant and that's been expressed several ways in the history of dispensational theology. One is that there are two New Covenants – one with the church and one with Israel. Chafer taught that; I think Scofield had that; several others have held that view. I don't think that's right. There is no place in the New Testament that specifically states that the church is a covenant partner with the New Covenant.
The second view was that the church participates in the New Covenant only by way of application. This was Darby's view. The New Covenant with Israel hasn't begun though it has been that the sacrifice that it establishes has taken place. I wrestle with the right verbiage to use here. The covenant is cut to use the Old Testament term. The covenant is cut on the cross. The sacrifice that makes it possible is what happens on the cross, but it isn't put into effect until the Second Coming.
The third view was that the church has some part in the covenant. A number good dispensationalists have taken this view. They try to attach our role soteriologically, just within the realm of soteriology. I would say the second view is probably the closest view. I have modified it a little bit. The church participates because of our position in Christ.
Then the fourth view is the progressive dispensational view that it was inaugurated on Pentecost but it's not fully put into effect. The key word you will hear is already-not-yet. We are already in the kingdom but not-yet fully here. Or it is progressively coming into existence and so it's just the gradual thing. Already-not-yet terminology really comes out of a theologian from Fuller Seminary in the 50's and early 60's named George Eldon Ladd. Ladd was also a post-tribulationist, but that terminology got picked up by a lot of Charismatics and the Vineyard Movement because if we are living in some form of the kingdom now and the New Covenant is actually already here and the New Covenant is going to have these expressions of the Holy Spirit and your old men dreaming dreams and your young men seeing visions and all of that in Joel 2, then we need to see that today. That's what they were doing.
I remember pigeon holing one of the architects of progressive dispensationalism in a stacks of the library of Dallas Seminary in 1988 and saying, "Can you give me a clear theological exegetical reason why progressive dispensationalism isn't going to end up validating signs and wonders in this age because of the way you handle Joel 2 and Acts 2?"
The answer was basically, "Well that's not really a legitimate application."
But then there was a guy who came out of Moody who was a progressive dispensationalist and he also argued that we ought to be seeing signs and wonders like that today. You can't escape the implication. If we are already in the kingdom and we already have some form of the New Covenant, then we ought to be having these miraculous manifestations of the Holy Spirit that are descried in Joel 2 and these other passages. But we're not!. That's just similarities. That's why understanding that this is that. This is what the prophet said in Joel 2 is so important. How you understand that phrase…how that phrase is understood in relationship to the Church Age and the New Covenant basically is a watershed interpretation. It changes how you understand the church, how you understand the Holy Spirit, charismatic issues. All these things are related. Just in one little phrase, how you take that can be taken so differently.
Then last time we looked at the first place the New Covenant is really mentioned historically, Hosea 2:17-18 where Hosea said:
NKJ Hosea 2:17 For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals, And they shall be remembered by their name no more.
NKJ Hosea 2:18 In that day I will make a covenant for them With the beasts of the field, With the birds of the air, And with the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, To make them lie down safely.
That's millennial terminology. No more war. So this is the first indication of a future permanent covenant. Then we get into Isaiah and the various passages in Isaiah and that's where we will stop tonight. Isaiah 49:55, 59 - all these passages add different elements and they are very important because they connect the role of the Messiah. Isaiah 42 is in the second part of Isaiah. The first part of Isaiah, 1-39 is all about future judgment on the nation – how God is going to punish Israel. The second part from 40 on is how God is going to redeem them. Liberal scholars in their wisdom say two different themes had to be written by two different people. You have this same kind of breakdown all through the prophets. There is a message of judgment and there is a message of grace. So Isaiah 42 is the message of grace dealing with My Servant which is a technical for the Messiah.
NKJ Isaiah 42:6 "I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles,
Jesus Himself is that covenant. He embodies the covenant with His work on the cross. He will be a light to the Gentiles. That is quoted in a couple of passages in the New Testament related to Jesus' work on the cross because it breaks down the barrier between the Jew and Gentile. So – a lot to get into here. It's going to be fun and interesting to work through these passages.
Let's bow our heads in closing prayer.