A Better Covenant #7

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah (Jeremiah 31:31 KJV).

Look, the New Covenant—a better covenant!

Considering Israel’s sinful past, how could her people ever have a future in the LORD God’s program? After all, they habitually broke the Old Covenant by worshipping and serving pagan gods. We must remember that, long before the Law/Mosaic Covenant (Exodus chapters 19–24), God had promised to make Israel His people via the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3). The Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional; it depends solely upon God’s performance to bless Israel.

However, sin deceived Israel and she assumed she could make herself God’s people. She wanted that legalistic system at Mount Sinai. God knew it would end in failure—Israel did not. The Jews had to learn firsthand that their works would never, ever be a substitute for God’s grace. Therefore, God let the Mosaic economy operate for over 1,500 years. It was to point them to the Saviour, Jesus Christ. Alas, when He visited them, they preferred the Law and demanded His crucifixion! They supposed they were “good enough,” without a sin problem.

Romans chapter 11 describes Israel’s glorious future despite her failures: “[26] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: [27] For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34). After our Dispensation of Grace concludes, national Israel will be saved at Christ’s Second Coming. Her sins will then be “blotted out” (Acts 3:19-21). Ezekiel 36:21-38 says JEHOVAH God will then put His Holy Spirit in the Jews and cause them to keep His laws—what they could never do by themselves! God will indeed make them His people, one united kingdom (Judah and Israel reunified).

While we are not under the Old Covenant, and yet it condemns us (Romans 3:19,20), so the New Covenant (to be made with Israel in the future) impacts us. The blood shed to ratify the New Covenant can save us, for the same blood that saves Israel saves the Church the Body of Christ (without any covenants—see Ephesians 2:11-22)!

A Better Covenant #6

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah (Jeremiah 31:31 KJV).

Look, the New Covenant—a better covenant!

God did not deal with Israel via a performance-based acceptance system until they wanted it. They preferred to work for the blessings instead of enjoying those blessings God would give them simply because of His grace. Many such people even now favor laboring under the Old Covenant (Mosaic Law). They ignore the grace-based acceptance system available through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork! Christ worked, He paid our sin debt in full with His shed blood, and He resurrected on the third day to give us a right standing before God. We trust Him alone, place our faith in Him exclusively, and His merits are applied to us. We are blessed, becoming God’s righteousness in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Calvary’s finished crosswork is how God will cleanse Israel of her Old Covenant sins. He will also use that blood shed as the basis for Israel’s New Covenant. Hebrews chapter 10: “[10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. [11] And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: [12] But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;… [14] For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

“[15] Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before [Jeremiah 31:33,34], [16] This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; [17] And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. [18] Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. [19] Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, [20] By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;….”

Now, we summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is there any chance more angels will leave God and follow Satan?

A Better Covenant #5

Friday, March 22, 2019

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah (Jeremiah 31:31 KJV).

Look, the New Covenant—a better covenant!

Read Galatians chapter 3: “[19] Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. [20] Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. [21] Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

“[22] But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. [23] But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. [24] Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. [25] But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. [26] For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

What God desires first and foremost is faith, not works. He wants us to trust His Word, the Divine revelation that shows us that we are totally helpless sinners who cannot save ourselves. We need Him to function as our Saviour. Israel did not learn that lesson. Rather than letting it be a mirror to show them their sin, they assumed the Law gave them a right standing before God. Romans 10:1-3 describes apostate Israel during the Acts period: “[1] Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. [2] For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. [3] For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

However, when the prophecy of today’s Scripture is fulfilled, Israel will have finally learned the lesson of the Law….

Distributing the Four Gospel Records? #2

Sunday, March 3, 2019

But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24 KJV).

To whom was Christ’s earthly ministry directed?

It is assumed that Jesus’ utterances in Matthew through John are the most authoritative in Scripture. Are the words of God the Son really greater than those of God the Spirit? Do the Holy Spirit’s words in Genesis through Malachi carry less weight than Christ’s words of His earthly ministry? Certainly not! What we need to understand is not only who is speaking, but to whom is it addressed. If God is talking, but to someone other than us, do we have the right to claim those Divine utterances as ours? Absolutely not!

Christ’s earthly ministry is based on Israel’s covenants: “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision [Jews] for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Romans 15:8). He was sent to Israel only in Matthew through John (today’s Scripture; cf. Matthew 10:5-7; John 4:22); we Gentiles (non-Jews) are not in view. What He taught therein was designed to re-orient Israel toward the pure Law system from which they had drifted (Galatians 4:4; Matthew 8:4). His doctrine prepares an earthly people who have an earthly hope: “The meek… shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). Doctrine in the Four Gospel Records depends on Israel rising to kingdom glory (Luke 1:15-17,67-79).

Now, contrast that with the Holy Spirit’s words through Paul. Paul is God’s apostle—or “sent one,” spokesman—to us Gentiles (Romans 11:13; cf. Acts 26:14-18). We are under grace not law (Romans 6:14,15). We have no claim to earth, as our destiny is the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 2:6,7). Israel is currently fallen (Romans chapters 9–11); hence, her doctrine in Matthew through John is not the most recent Divine revelation.

Matthew through John are certainly inspired of God. We should read, study, and believe them. Nevertheless, they are not God’s Word to or about us. It is no more appropriate to make them fit us than it is to say that we must obey Genesis chapter 6 and prepare for a global flood by building a giant boat. Indeed, right division is key to understanding the right Gospel and enjoying victorious Christian living….

Outlandish Women! #5

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin (Nehemiah 13:26 KJV).

Just who are these “outlandish women?”

Today’s Scripture transpires 150 years after the Jews were exiled from Canaan. Moving westward, leaving Babylonian captivity, tens of thousands return under Zerubbabel and then Ezra (Ezra chapters 2 and 7). Nehemiah follows with another Jewish company some years later. These re-gatherings of Israel; and the re-buildings of Jerusalem, its walls, and its Temple; is the general context of today’s Scripture. Ezra, a priest-scribe, leads Israel’s religious improvements in Canaan. A decade later is Nehemiah’s ministry—the reconstruction of Jerusalem’s city walls (which Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar had leveled and burned a century earlier).

In the last chapter of Nehemiah, the Prophet corrects various abuses of the resettled Jews. For example, they have permitted a Gentile to live in the Temple Complex (verses 7-9)! Moreover, they are not supporting the Levites (priestly tribe) as the LORD commanded through Moses (verses 10-14). Also, they are violating the Sabbath (verse 15-22).

Finally, today’s Scripture in context: “[23] In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: [24] And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people. [25] And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. [26] Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. [27] Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?

Intermarriage with idolaters—remember Solomon?—was the very reason God removed the Jews from Canaan. Unfortunately, returned Israel is repeating those sins. Nehemiah is rightly troubled….

Outlandish Women! #4

Monday, February 18, 2019

Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin (Nehemiah 13:26 KJV).

Just who are these “outlandish women?”

In the centuries following Solomon’s expiration, the Jews increasingly apostatized. The rest of the second round of judgment, plus the third and fourth, came (Leviticus 26:19-26). Not only did idolatrous Solomon mislead Israel while alive, his pagan idolatry was still corrupting the nation 300 years after he died!

Second Kings 23:13 remarks, “And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.” King Josiah, a descendent of Solomon, reformed Jerusalem by purging it of Solomon’s vain religious system.

The fifth and final round of judgment or chastisement on sinful (idolatrous) Israel was eviction from the land of Canaan. Leviticus chapter 26 again: “[27] And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; [28] Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. [29] And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. [30] And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.

“[31] And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. [32] And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. [33] And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.”

These expulsions are the Assyrian captivity (2 Kings chapter 17) and the Babylonian captivity (2 Kings chapter 25). All that said, we can better appreciate today’s Scripture….

Outlandish Women! #3

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin (Nehemiah 13:26 KJV).

Just who are these “outlandish women?”

Leviticus 26:18,19 spoke of God’s second round of punishment or chastisement on Israel if she continued worshipping and serving idols: “[18] And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. [19] And I will break the pride of your power;….” This is political weakening, a division of Israel’s kingdom, that followed Solomon’s death. 

First Kings chapter 11: “[9] And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, [10] And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. [11] Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. [12] Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. [13] Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.”

As today’s Scripture indicates, even though King Solomon was mighty in every way, he had a weakness that Satan unhesitatingly exploited to the fullest extent. His risky dealings with heathen women actually cost him his nation. In fact, the nation Israel that we see in ruins today—lacking a Davidic kingdom, scattered around the world, under Gentile oppression—is directly associated with Solomon and his idolatrous wives. They seduced his soul, and Israel’s national soul soon followed. Israel needs to learn that lesson in today’s Scripture, and we need to as well….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘Remission’ and ‘forgiveness’—same or different?