The New Covenant Part I
Jesus was crucified during the Passover season. The ‘Passover’ is mentioned 8 times in the passage in Matthew that describes the hours just prior to the death of Jesus. Jesus’ life was all-about, totally about, in relationship to…the concept of ‘Passover’ as relates to God’s concept and system of ‘Atonement.’
The system of ‘Atonement’ was the prevailing concept of the final covenant that God would make with mankind. God the Son was/is the main character of the New Covenant. This final covenant would be a ‘new’ covenant, ‘new’ as denoting ‘more of”, a new addition to a continuing pattern or schematic. God had introduced, by degree, the concept and principles of Atonement / Propitiation from the beginning of human history with the introduction of the ‘innocent third party’ principle. He provided a deeper level of His plan/system with the ‘Passover’ in Egypt where Moses, the children of Israel enslaved in Egypt, the 10 plagues, the death angel, the blood of a lamb applied to the doorway, the death angel ‘passing-over’ the houses where the ‘blood’ was applied. God instructed Moses and the children of Israel to remember the Passover event and celebrate it on an annual basis as a Passover feast. The key ingredients of Atonement; the principle of using the blood of an innocent third party (a sacrificial lamb), the principle of ‘passing-over’ as relates to the system of ‘atonement’…God burned these propitiatory principles and concepts into the minds of His people as ‘His’ way, ‘His’ law. Remember from the prior posts we established that before the beginning of time, God had designed a total program for the ‘restoration’ of mankind from the consequences that were a result of the Fall of man. His restoration program provided that He make ‘covenants’ with mankind. The principle and concept of ‘Atonement’ was the controlling principle of His covenant-ology. So in the season of the Jewish Passover…I mean right in the moment of celebrating the annual feast…Jesus declares that the Old Covenant, the existing Mosaic Covenant and related system and law, was coming to an end…a ‘New Covenant’ was about to be introduced.
Luke says it best in chapter 22, vs 7 NIV “Then came the day of Unleavened Bread (the day in the Passover Celebration Feast when the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed). Jesus sent Peter and John saying ‘Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.’ Then in vs 20 He and His disciples are setting at the table, they just finished eating, and Jesus introduces the New Covenant…vs 20..He takes the cup of wine and says “This cup is the new covenant in MY blood.” Matthew 26:28 gives the same account. A ‘New” covenant “in MY blood.”
Wow. The disciples understood the law and rules of ‘Atonement/Passover’. They understood the principle of Atonement and the significance of the blood sacrifice from an innocent third party. And in that setting, they hear Jesus saying… “I“am going to become the ‘blood’ sacrifice of a New Covenant..for you. Of course the disciples did not at that moment fully understand what Jesus meant…but over the next few days…everything Jesus had said to them about suffering, dying, shedding of His blood, being raised from the dead, and a New Covenant…would ‘all’ become understandable to them in the demonstrated proof and experience of His crucifixion and resurrection. They would come to ‘personally’ know and experience the New Covenant that was provided for them in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The New Covenant was revealed/prophesied in the Old Testament: Jeremiah 31:31, Ezekiel 36:24-27.
The New Testament declared Jesus as the mediator of a New Covenant: 1 Corinthians 11:25, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Hebrews 8:6-13, 9:15, 12:24.
Under the Mosaic Covenant, during the time of Moses, God told Moses that He wanted to come and live among the Israelites: Exodus, chapter 25, vs. 8-9 NIV “Then have them make Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell among them..and make it ‘exactly like this..” And God prescribed the exact ‘detail’ of how He wanted His sanctuary/tabernacle built, what type of building materials, exact dimensions, interior and exterior decorating, and even specified in precise details the furnishings that would be installed in His tabernacle. And then God chose one of the clans…one of the tribes of people from among all of the other tribes of the Israelites. He chose Moses’ brother Aaron and Aaron’s sons. Aaron and his sons were from the tribe of Levi. God appoints Aaron and his sons as the first ‘priests’ and establishes the Levitical Priesthood system to oversee the entire system of Atonement that would be carried out in the tabernacle.
God gave precise instructions for how all of the furnishings in the tabernacle were to be used and in what order. And when the tabernacle was completed exactly as God had prescribed, Moses and Aaron performed the ‘ribbon cutting’, they performed in exact fashion all of the prescribed procedures that God had laid-out to them and when they had performed it all perfectly, God took residence among His people…chapter 40, vs 34 says “Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”
God had a special, intimate, relationship with Adam and Eve. The Genesis account says he walked with them and talked with them. After God separated himself from Adam and Eve as a consequence of the ‘Fall’..there is no record of His walking with and talking with or ‘dwelling’ with a people group. He spoke to particular individuals but did not live among people. And this is because that the imputation of ‘sin’ that Adam and Even imputed to the human race separated God from such level of relationship. But NOW…with the installation of the tabernacle and the system of Atonement…God came to dwell ‘among’/ with His people.
In the next post, we will look at some of the ‘details’ of the tabernacle as it relates to the principle of Atonement and come to understand why/how Atonement appeased God ‘so that’ He could dwell among His people. (God intended, desires, for us to understand all of this OR He wouldn’t have had all of this written down for us. Are you with me? The God, Creator of the universe, wrote a book for you and me to read so that we could know how to have a relationship with Him…so that we would know why we exist..why we are here…purpose and intention…which is…to glorify God. Read the book…know the heart of your God. In understanding the ‘old’ system/covenant of Atonement..you will come to understand and have deeper appreciation and understanding of the New Testament Covenant we have in and through Jesus Christ.
Experience equals revelation. If you had never tasted chocolate and wanted to taste chocolate..would you just look at a picture of chocolate and try to lick the picture, or sniff the picture in order to personally experience the taste of chocolate?????..or would you be able to experience what it taste like or be satisfied simply from having someone else tell you what it taste like? No! You would go to the chocolate maker and have Him give you His chocolate and you would taste and eat of His chocolate and come to personally ‘know’ what His chocolate taste like. You would ‘know’ the taste of chocolate from your personal experience.
Next…the New Covenant Part II