Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hebrews 8


Have you ever heard the term trust markets?  It was new to me.  It’s like insurance, doctors, and college textbooks. 

I was thinking this week how much our world is based on trust.  At the same time our trust is eroding, as well as our common values and mutual respect, so we are afraid of lawsuits.  We have a new employee at the college who is the OSHA director, which means every time we have any kind of function we have to fill out forms about where the food is coming from, who is cooking it, what’s in it, etc.  What it shows to me is that in a way our society’s trust has eroded. 

We can’t have trust without faithfulness.

What other types of agreements in our world require trust and faithfulness.

In chapter 8 the book of Hebrews is moving from a discussion of Jesus superiority in terms of the past legal system to his superiority in terms of our present relationship with him.  The Old Covenant with Israel was perfect in terms of God’s part in it, but imperfect in terms of the Israelites (or anyone’s) ability to hold to it.  Even though in a covenant with God, God does all the real work, our part is to accept and obey.  They did not. 

But when they were at their lowest point in exile, through Jeremiah God promised a new covenant based on personal relationship and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  We still don’t do anything in the covenant but trust and obey, and God does all the work.

There are more than two covenants, though, in the Bible.  Some others  are
The Noahic:  The Noahic covenant[Gen 9:8-17] applies to all of humanity and to all other living creatures.[1] In this covenant, God promises never again to destroy all life on Earth by flood[9:11] and creates the rainbow as the sign of this "everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth". (from Wikipedia)

The Abrahamic covenant, which is where we understand what really goes on in a covenant (Genesis 12, 15, and 17:  three parts:  to make Abraham the father of a great nation, to give the land of Israel to his descendants, and to be the father of the faithful.  This is important through the whole Bible because the prophets and New Testament writers want to remind Jewish readers that they are not a descendant of Abraham just genetically but they also have to be a descendant spiritually, having faith and obedience in LORD God as Abraham did.

The key here is that it is God who is putting himself in the covenant to be faithful to Abraham, not the other way around.  Traditionally the inferior is expected to do that, but here the “master” does.

The Mosaic Covenant (in the law)
Priestly covenant:  Aaron and his descendants would be the priests in the temple/tabernacle

The Davidic covenant, establishes David’s descendant(s) as the monarch of the united kingdom.

So which one is the writer of Hebrews talking about?  I would say the ones specific to Jews, the Mosaic and priestly. Noah’s is to all mankind, Abraham’s is about all the faithful, and David’s is about Jesus as his descendant.  Those are not really what the writer of Hebrews is talking about here, but how the law and the priests and sacrifices didn’t change the innate “being” or “hearts” of people long term.  
On the other hand,  (from Wikipedia)
“The New Covenant is a biblical interpretation originally derived from a phrase in the Book of Jeremiah, in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is often thought of as an eschatological Messianic Age or world to come and is related to the biblical concept of the Kingdom of God.
Generally, Christians believe that the New Covenant was instituted at the Last Supper as part of the Eucharist, which in the Gospel of John includes the New Commandment. A connection between the Blood of Christ and the New Covenant is seen in most modern English translations of the New Testament[21] with the saying: "this cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood".[22]
Christians see Jesus as the mediator of this New Covenant, and that his blood, shed at his crucifixion is the required blood of the covenant: as with all covenants between God and man described in the Bible, the New Covenant is considered "a bond in blood sovereignly administered by God."[23] It has been theorized that the New Covenant is the Law of Christ as spoken during his Sermon on the Mount.[24]
When Jesus said at the Last Supper, this is the new covenant in my blood, he is not just making this up at the moment, but is referring to that promise in Jeremiah that the writer of Hebrews quotes at length (it is the longest Old Testament passage quoted in the New Testament). 

So, the question I ask is, what does this new covenant mean to us today? Was it just Messianic, to take place after the second coming?  Why does Jesus then say the cup of suffering and death he is about to do is the new covenant in my blood. (we take the cup he is holding to be symbolic of what would happen the next day). 

The challenge to this lesson is that under this new covenant, we not only have eternal promises but we have the indwelling Christ to perform those promises through us.   With all these verses in mind, I think we have to reframe how we think about our everyday lives.  We live under a new covenant that is about internal relationship and power

I John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Ephesians 1: 13: And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.
Col. 1: 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Ephesians 3:17-19  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

1 John 3:24   The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

John 17:23   I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

John 17:23   I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

2 Timothy 1:14   Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

Romans 8:11   But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

1 John 2:27  As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

Ephesian 1:16-21.  I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

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