Week 10 – The King is Coming!

Image result for why israel matters

Welcome back, study friends!  Last week, as we gathered around the virtual study table, we focused on the invitation that must be offered in order to bring the King (Jesus) home.  That invitation is found in Matthew 23:39, where Jesus said:

 “For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

So, that is our backdrop as we move to this week’s study.  Jesus is coming back, but will not “barge onto the scene.”  He is waiting to hear the Jewish people declare “Baruch haba b’shem Adonai!” (Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.)

While on earth, Jesus taught “kingdom lessons.”  His promise to Abraham included land and descendants…a kingdom on earth.  The land given was Israel, but until 1948 it was difficult to imagine a kingdom made up of Abraham’s descendants, as the Jews were dispersed all over the world and Gentiles ruled the “kingdom” designated to the Jews.

But, when the nation of Israel was re-born in 1948, that opened the opportunity to establish “headquarters” once again.  Today, Israel is back in the land and Gentiles no longer rule the kingdom.

Biblically, God must preserve them.  Romans 11:29 tells us the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable, and He is not a liar!  He intends a kingdom, and a new kingdom is coming.

When God called Abraham and promised a kingdom, He had a worldwide kingdom in mind.  Romans 4:13 tells us Abraham was heir of the whole world, thus the inheritance was worldwide, not only the Jewish state.

God also had in mind a worldwide family, made of more than simply Abraham’s physical descendants.  As we discussed last week, Galatians 3 (particularly verses 7 and 29) tells us those of faith…those who belong to Christ…are Abraham’s descendants!

God is bringing together one flock with one Shepherd…united in Christ via the covenants we studied over the past two weeks!

Let’s close out today’s discussion with this:

For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
~Romans 2:28-29

Just as God called a pagan Gentile (Abraham) as father of the Jews, He invites us as Gentiles into His family as well!

We’ll continue these thoughts tomorrow, so be sure to check back then!  Blessings!

The Third Great Covenant: New Covenant

Image result for why israel matters

Wow, we’ve covered some exciting ground this week!  Thanks for following along, and I hope you are blessed as we study the third great covenant today.

Over the past two days, we have established that the Abrahamic Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant function as a 3-legged stool, making all necessary.  The Abrahamic Covenant is the covenant of DECISION because God decided to preach the gospel to Abraham in order that, through him, all the nations of the earth would be blessed.  God decided what the Abrahamic Covenant would accomplish.

However, it wasn’t enough.  The world has a difficult time recognizing the need for salvation, thus God gave the law to Moses via the Mosaic Covenant.  This covenant of INSTRUCTION, teaches us our need for salvation (the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant), but in and of itself, it cannot save us!  The law is our tutor, not our savior!

So, we have God’s DECISION (Abrahamic Covenant) and INSTRUCTION (Mosaic Covenant), but we still lack the ABILITY…the third leg of the stool.  That is accomplished through the New Covenant, so that’s where we will focus today.

We spent yesterday in Galatians 3 and you’re encouraged to go back there again today.  Verses 10-14 tie the Mosaic Covenant to the New Covenant.  Notice what verses 10-13 tell us:

  • Living under law is a curse
  • No one is justified by the law
  • The law is not of faith

The kicker:  Christ redeemed us from the law!  How?  2 Corinthians 5:21 provides that answer:

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Now, go back to Galatians 3:14!  Did you catch it?  Jesus became sin on our behalf…and it is through Him that we receive the promise of the Holy Spirit!

The apostle Paul is pointing us to what Jeremiah prophesied:

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.
~Jeremiah 31:31-32 
[Emphasis mine]

According to Jeremiah, God is making a different covenant than the one He made with Moses.  He is making a New Covenant, and guess with whom He made it!?!  The house of Israel and the house of Judah……the Jewish people!  The New Covenant is a JEWISH thing, not a Christian thing!  Sometimes I think we have tried to hijack a Jewish covenant and make it our own.

Jesus’ death on the cross made the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant possible…to the Jew first!  But, because God preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, then commissioned him to be a blessing to all the families of the earth, we as Gentiles get to partake of a covenant made with the Jewish people and extended to us!

Wow!  What a plan!  The New Covenant is the third leg of the stool.  It is the covenant of ABILITY.

And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
~Galatians 3:29

The 3-legged stool stands…each part based on the character of God.  The INSTRUCTION of the Mosaic Covenant, coupled with the ABILITY of the New Covenant, allows us to benefit from the DECISION of the Abrahamic Covenant.

But there’s more….and you’ll have to come back tomorrow as we tie up all the loose ends.  This is fabulous stuff that only a God infinitely bigger than our own imagination could ever conceive.  We’ll talk more tomorrow, but chew on what we’ve studied this week.

The Second Great Covenant: Mosaic Covenant

Image result for why israel matters

Welcome back, study friends!  We’re digging into three great covenants that all must function together, lest they lose their power!  Scripture reveals several more covenants, but we are focusing on:

  • Abrahamic Covenant
  • Mosaic Covenant
  • New Covenant

Each is backed by the character of God, and cannot accomplish God’s purpose if left to stand alone.  Therefore, the three work in conjunction with one another.

Yesterday, we examined the Abrahamic Covenant, identifying it as the covenant of DECISION.  God (not Abraham) decided the parameters of the Abrahamic Covenant and, more importantly, He decided to preach the gospel to Abraham in order for his descendants to become the vehicle of world redemption!

Thus, we see the importance of the Abrahamic Covenant…yet it isn’t enough!  God decided to provide salvation, but the world doesn’t recognize the need!  Therefore, we need instruction and ability.

The Mosaic Covenant is the covenant of INSTRUCTION.  God tells the Israelites, in Exodus 19:5-6, they must obey His voice and keep His covenant.  He laid a foundation of law and gave the Jewish people 613 specific laws to follow.

Why?  He knew they would not be able to fulfill the law.  Is this some sort of evil trick?

Of course not!  He gave the law via the Mosaic Covenant to reveal the need for the Abrahamic Covenant!  We’ll hang out in Galatians 3 today, so I encourage you to open your Bible there.  First, notice verses 19, 21 and 24, where we learn:

  • Law was added because of transgressions.
  • If the law could impart life, righteousness would be based on law.
  • Law is a tutor that leads us to Christ!

By itself, the Mosaic Covenant doesn’t do the trick.  It can INSTRUCT us about sin, but it can’t save us!  However, let’s couple it with the Abrahamic Covenant.  Again, in Galatians 3, we learn:

  • Verse 8: All nations are blessed through Abraham
  • Verse 11: Law will not save us
  • Verse 19: Law was given to show us our need
  • Verse 24: Law is a tutor
  • Verse 26: We are children of God by faith
  • Verse 19: It is the Abrahamic Covenant (not the Mosaic Covenant) that makes us God’s children!

Thus, you see, the Mosaic Covenant is vital to helping us understand the need for the Abrahamic Covenant!  But, God’s DECISION and INSTRUCTION are still not enough!  We need the third leg of the stool: ABILITY.

That is the New Covenant, and we’ll take a look at it tomorrow.  This is great stuff, so I hope you’ll stick with us.  The study gets better and better from here!  See you tomorrow.

The First Great Covenant: Abrahamic Covenant

Image result for why israel matters

So, here we go!  Though there are several other covenants in Scripture, important on their own merit, there are three that are inextricably necessary:

  • Abrahamic Covenant
  • Mosaic Covenant
  • New Covenant

Each is backed by the character of God, and together they represent a 3-legged stool.  If any of the three are taken away, the stool collapses, and God’s character is in jeopardy.  That just can’t be!

Thus, let’s examine the Abrahamic Covenant.  We have spent time previously on this covenant, but let’s glean specific details that link it to the other two.  To refresh, read Genesis 12:1-3.  It can be broken down into three parts:

  • God’s instruction, which Abraham obeyed (verse 1)
  • God’s promises (verses 2-3b)
  • God’s purpose (verse 3c)

Notice, it was God (not Abraham) who DECIDED what the covenant would entail.  Thus, the Abrahamic Covenant is the covenant of DECISION.  In fact, God decided long ago to preach the gospel to Abraham, making his descendants the vehicle of world redemption (Galatians 3:7-8).

As foundational and as important as the Abrahamic Covenant is, though, it is not enough!  Yes, God decided long ago to provide a means of salvation to both Jews and Gentiles, yet the world is not convinced we need salvation!  Thus, we need instruction and ability!

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the Mosaic Covenant – the covenant of INSTRUCTION!  These three covenants fit together, so don’t miss tomorrow’s study!