Transitioning From Old to New Covenant
(Read John 1:1-34) The Gospel of John starts off with an amazing disclosure of who the Son of God was in eternal past, and then how He was manifest as Jesus Christ on the earth, and is now full of Resurrected Glory as the only begotten.
And what is critical to a Christian is comprehending the great transition, and to say Jesus Christ was manifest in the flesh, with the clearest of revealed perspective. After having seen and declared brilliantly the supernatural origin of the manifestation in flesh, John’s contrast of Jesus with Moses is enlightening….. “For the (Old Covenant) law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
Jesus did not come to give the Law of Moses a boost of familiarity in order to further its influence or to help Moses advance the Law’s precepts, but came in answer to the Law. That is, to fill with meaning and manifest, what the law did not.… the Father in His fullness, “in Grace and Truth”.
The Law of Moses was, to the Chosen People of God, the vehicle by which was intended to manifest and advance mainly those certain attributes of the Sovereign God…His Holiness and Justice… but THAT NOT BEING THE FULLNESS OF GOD, (which was also testified by him who gave the law… Exodus 34:6,7) which the law could not adequately portray.
The Law’s purpose being that man, although now acutely aware of God’s required holiness seen within the Law, is yet slow and stubborn to recognize his inability to have an acceptable goodness outside of his own proud abilities within himself. Thus, the Law must/was given to bring weight/burden upon the conscience and reveal his own inabilities to be holy, and humble him, to see his great need. Thus scripturally understood, the Law given by Moses brought/brings the ministry of law, condemnation, and death…. with intent to point to a Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Therefore Moses was not a minister of life, but of death. (Romans 7:6-11) The Law made/makes demands of Justice on man, which he sees he cannot comply. Thus the Law of Moses came first , before “grace and truth,” the answer to the Law.
That OC law, given by Moses, convicts men of sin, in view of God’s Holiness and Justice and points towards the need for a Redeemer Messiah. The NC (New Covenant) Law reveals sin more darker, with greater burden, but greater purpose, and greater means to attain unto all the attributes of the Father, that by grace and the truth in His Son. And to finally see the exceedingly sinfulness of sin (Romans 7) in their/our inability to answer to His Justice and Holiness by keeping OC law in its entirety and pureness, and seeing the overpowering strength in the weakness of flesh in the Old Man, establishes our critical need for the grace (power of influence upon the heart) in the Truth of the fullness of the salvation plan intends to bring NC Sons unto God.
John the Apostle records John the Baptist’s words, “Behold the Lamb of God…”. The Lamb OF GOD (as opposed to lamb of man).
NO jot or tittle of Moses or the prophets can fail, to this, NC Scripture attests. BUT NOTE: It is not failed if fulfilled or filled with meaning. No learned Christian denies that the lamb of offering represented in OC is fulfilled and is filled with its intended meaning IN JESUS CHRIST. And in this sense, this particular OC shadow has passed away into the reality, and in full recognition of that, no harm, only honor, has come to Scripture, leaving the OC Scripture intact for the next to discover; its relevance maintained.
Truth seeking Christians must learn how to rightly divide OC and NC Scripture
THE LAW OF MOSES reveals sin (leaven) and then lays it as a weight upon our conscience in order to unsettle us. If this awareness of sin then is upon us, Justice must be answered, or we will suffer Justice’s decree. Turning to meet that Justice in CHRIST brings grace and peace.
For a Christian to see in the Laws of Moses, a moral sin (a sin that must be concurrent with NC sin) and the Spirit lay the weight of warning rebuke upon the conscience, as often is the case, and is as we see, a scripturally valid means to do so, that is, to point to Jesus Christ’s offering to satisfy Justice. This satisfying of Justice must then be sought and obtained by NC means: The Lamb of God.
Here is the unholy conflict: The confusing of OC type and shadow that has been fulfilled or filled with meaning in the NC. An answering to Justice served in OC, such as Wars, authorized killing, and an eye for an eye, tithing, observing of the Sabbath day, feasts, etc. These teach NC principles and the meeting of Justice on some levels while yet maintaining much OC observance in its original shadowing application which being contrary to, was sin in the OC, but in the filling up of meaning in Christ, is not.
By not rightly dividing the Word, many have confused Covenants and their respective Laws and lay a weight upon the conscience of a sin contrary to the Spirit’s conviction. Compounding the error, they, as Believers, look to obey Moses’ law as a means to satisfy a wrongly perceived NC Justice, while asserting the need to repent (in Jesus Name??) and now observe the laws of Moses to attain forgiveness and approval of God in order that they might have relief from weight of conscience, implying or blatantly stating we receive grace and peace of the NC to fulfill OC law.
This wrongly portrays the OC application to the NC. It confuses the Covenants, does away with the Exclusive Authority of Jesus Christ, and effectively does away with the need of the Lamb of God. His NC appointed Sacrifice to meet the disquieting of NC revealed sin. This is why we cannot as Christians have two different authorities. “This is my Son…hear ye Him.” (Matthew 17:5) This is the NC ground.
To look to the Laws of Moses to answer NC Justice is to attempt to purge the leaven from conscience with a ”lamb provided by man”, which has no power to purge. (Hebrews 9)Paul discloses to us this false approach in mixing Covenant Law in practical terms in Galatians 5:6-9….and to God, it is the “…little leaven that leaveneth the whole lump.”
The Israelites, under the Law and Prophets, were held to its standard of holiness to maintain the just favor of God. If they did, the promised material and earthly blessings were theirs: health, prosperity, land, victory over their enemies etc….(although there were/are shadows/hints of the blessings of spiritual fullness of the Salvation in Millennial and eternal glory but unable to be fully comprehended inside OC Torah alone).
Jesus came as Prophet, Priest and King, full of the Father’s grace and truth in great contrast to Moses, who was merely the Law giver. Jesus manifest TO FULLY REVEAL God as The Father, The Son, and The Spirit in the fullness of Godhead, His Attributes, and that to the entire population of man.
Jesus Christ came as Savior, the only Begotten Son of God, in order that He might through Faith in Him, bring many SONS UNTO GOD. There were/are other sons of God; as Angels and Israel are so called, but none before as these….born of the Father, the Son and the Spirit. Not just sons of God but SONS OF GOD FULL OF GLORY, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.
Only the Son Coming from the Father, manifesting in the flesh of man as one of the Persons of the Godhead, very God of very God, could possibly prevail and make known the manifest Wisdom of God, in fullness of grace and truth. That is to say, the only way to supersede the old man in the weakness of his flesh, by He Himself coming in that flesh, without sin, withstanding those temptations that caused the first Adam’s death, and the 2nd Adam now unjustly murdered by satan, thereby condemning sin in the flesh, being then First Born from the dead, securing and bringing into being a New Creation, those SONS of God. (Hebrews 1,2,3)
MISCONCEPTIONS OF JEWS AND CHRISTIANS
According to *Alfred Edersheim’s thorough research of historical Jewish culture at the time of Jesus Christ’s first Coming, Rabbinic understanding and teaching did not hold to NT Scripture teaching in regards to “Original Sin”. That is to say that they thought and taught Adam was created with 2 natures, as so was all men since. One was the inclination to do good the other the inclination to do evil. Although the original sin was considered to be that of Adam, it was due to his having the evil inclination within him already, before the Temptation. That God had created Him with it, and not as the NT teaches that sin, as it relates to man was advanced at the Garden by the wiles of satan, resulting in the corruption of the entire man, spirit, soul and body, and is the basis for man’s need of redemption, that entered into the World through Adam’s sin, and that thereby every man born thereafter was wholly a sinner in need of the 2nd Adam.
Rabbis in Christ’s time therefore had not correctly interpreted Torah and understood or taught the origin of sin scripturally and thought it always a part of created man’s makeup. Thus, in a way, man’s original sin was deflected from man to God, but that God-given evil inclination could be overcome by study of the Torah and good works. As a consequence, the Jewish hierarchy had no real sense of “sin” as something they needed a Savior for, and thus their rejection of the forerunner John, his message, and of Jesus Himself.
To further bolster their sense of having no need for a Savior from sin, they had taught that at Mt. Sinai, after Israel received the OC, that some righteous had gained unto a nature that now was free from the inclination to sin, and were even greater in that regard than the Angels.(Psalms 82:6) But that state being short lived until the Golden Calf incident where they then again became subject also to the evil inclination.
Although many of their teaching ideas were based on the OC as it relates to the future need of the Messiah, that primarily through His great leadership, establish again in Covenant with God the Jews’ preeminence over the other Nations, there was little to no sense of need in the removal of sin by the Messiah’s vicarious sufferings. Much less the means by which He was going to accomplish this, His Overcoming the Temptations of satan in a spiritual warfare, at stake, the whole World and all man’s eternal destiny. (Genesis 3:15)
Continuing in the first chapter of John’s Gospel, we move to John the Baptist and Christ’s Baptism. We understand from Scripture that John was called to prepare the way for the Kingdom of God, which was preparation for Jesus Christ, who was to be the King of that Kingdom. Again, the Jewish understanding of the Kingdom of God would be in line with their understanding of what their need was for a Messiah. It was more in anticipation of a material and physical utopia with them at the forefront of an Earthly Kingdom.
John’s call was not a call to armed resistance, but to repentance and a certain water immersion (perceived outside traditional Judaism) and a call preparatory to the (an unperceived) Kingdom of God (the Father, the Son and the Spirit).
As it relates to sinful men’s baptism, a preparatory “baptism of repentance”, but as it relates to the sinless man’s Baptism, “the fulfilling of all righteousness”….that is to say a humble submission to fulfilling the Will of the Father as it relates to His Kingdom Coming.
Therefore His Baptism was the last act of His personal life. Now His fullness in completeness, “I must be about my Father’s business”… “Here am I” “lo I come to do Thy Will”….. “Hallowed be Thy Name…Thy Kingdom come…” The Holy Spirit descending in Power and fullness upon Him, and the attesting Word from above “Thou art My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased,” who has walked submissively, instructively and patiently all these years as a Son of Man.
GOD’S GREATER PURPOSE IN CHRIST WAS MORE THAN THE SALVATION OF MAN.
And NOW AT THE CALL OF THE BAPTISM, He began moving to establish that Kingdom upon the earth with the Will of the Father, “Thy WILL be done on earth as it is in Heaven…” And what other purpose must this One without sin, have, than first to dethrone the god of that present Kingdom and the author of that present sin and death. And to that end was then that first great descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of the Dove, in the Wisdom and Power of that Spirit leading Him entirely in the Father’s Will, He determines to go forth, and therefore immediately commencing the spiritual battle, the Spirit leads Him into the wilderness, where He is tempted by satan 40 days, proceeding on in the power of the Spirit He preached, healed, delivered and set at liberty them who were bruised. He began establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth. And eventually, that WILL of the Father led Him through the Garden’s great test of His own Will, then immediately to the Cross and into Hades was the combat of wills fully and finally realized in Resurrection Power! This Grand Wisdom, had satan known he would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. (1Corinthians 2:6-80)
Judaism never conceived of such an idea because they had not conceived of such a need and purpose being fully fulfilled in a suffering Messiah.
Jesus Christ’s overcoming consecration is now the cornerstone of the Temple forming The Coming Kingdom. The Power afforded in His offering is not external in the observances of the shadows of things past, but in Power of the Spirit/spirit following the Words of Jesus Christ when brought under the burden of conscience, conforming internally my will to His Will and then living accordingly in NC Laws of Christ.
*The life and times of Jesus The Messiah. (Book 2 chapter 5).
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