2/8/2023 0 Comments
The Game Plan - Part 2
“But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises” (Heb. 8:6).
When you turn on your favorite sports channel, you don’t expect to see anything other than sports-related programming. You can, however, expect to see different sports and different teams. That’s what we have in the Bible.
It’s one consistent channel airing God’s game plan with different “teams.” The Old and New Testaments present the plan-related programming. They are the same “channel” but with different “sports.” The purpose of every “game” is the people’s relationship with the God. Just as you would not use the rules of baseball to play a game of basketball, we cannot use the rules of engagement under the Old Covenant and apply them to the New Covenant.
So what links the two covenants together? A better question is Who links the two covenants together? Jesus Christ. There is a shadow or type of Christ in every book of the Old Testament. Likewise, you can find a type or shadow of God’s chronos agenda in every book of the Old Testament.
The Old Covenant applies to everyone from Adam’s time to the pivotal marker of Jesus’ appearance as the Messiah. Jesus came to His own people, the Jews, first. That is why the first four books of the New Testament, known as the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are transitional. Some parts relate to the Old Covenant and some parts relate to the New Covenant. So it is important to see which covenant is being discussed in a passage.
In one sense, the Jews had first dibs on choosing the New Covenant. Yet, when the angelic choir broke the news of the Messiah’s birth, they prophetically declared, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14). The purpose of the New Covenant was to extend salvation to all the peoples of the earth—Jew and Gentile alike.
Even though God’s people (the Jews) rejected Jesus as God’s anointed one, God didn’t totally write them off. They did, however, have to pay the consequences of their choice. We’ll come back to that shortly.
Our point here is to help you see the purposes and connection between the two “sports”—I mean covenants. With the pivotal point of the two covenants being Christ’s first coming, this means that the Church, the Body of Christ, falls under the New Covenant. We find our rules of engagement, our “game book” so to speak, in the New Testament, particularly the books from Romans through Revelation. They contain the basic doctrines or teachings of the New Covenant.
The Chronos Lesson: So if our “game” is the New Covenant, then do we even need to read the Old Testament? Does it serve any purpose for us now under the New Covenant? Yes, because it is part of the same “channel.” Reading the Old Testament shows us: (1) the big picture across the ages; (2) the consistent picture of God’s predetermined times and seasons; (3) God’s faithfulness in the developing picture of the unfolding plan of redemption; and (4) crucial snapshots from the past that foresaw the future—what we call the prophetic puzzle pieces of God’s agenda.
That later reason, in particular, helps us understand the New Testament passages concerning Christ’s second coming as we make the Spirit-inspired connections with the Old Testament prophecies. Jesus taught that we are to understand the chronos times and recognize the kairos signs. Together, both covenants and both the times and the signs, give us the full field of view so that we are not deceived by Satan and his earthly brigade of scoffers and lawless ones.
Still, we cannot overlook that the two covenants are different “sports” and apply to different times in God’s agenda. Case in point, we often hear 2 Chronicles 7:14 heralded as a call to prayer for our nation. “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” The problem is that this rule applies to the Old Covenant, specifically to the Hebrew nation (the Jews).
We’re under the New Covenant, with different rules. Our Commissioner established a different rule: “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover’ ” (Mark 16:15-18).
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