Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom (Psalm 45:6).
The Lord Makes a Covenant of Peace. With a phenomenal act of power, the LORD showed the power of His might in an extraordinary way, only 1556 year after creating Adam, which was only 10 generations later with Noah in a world flood (Genesis 5:1-32). The LORD rebuked the evil works of mankind while providing a foreshadow, a herald of salvation in the world flood. And the first everlasting covenant was given to Noah. The Most High swore peace, when He swore to not cover the earth with water and sat His bow down in the cloud; after Noah reverently feared the Lord by constructing the ark to be saved, becoming a herald and heir of righteousness by faith while condemning the world for its wickedness (1 Peter 3:20); (2 Peter 2:5; Genesis 6:6-8; 9:8-17; Isaiah 54:9-10; Hebrews 11:7). Noah foreshadowed the peace of Christ Jesus (2 Peter 2:5). The flood waters remained upon the earth for an entire year, but then just 420 years and 10 generations later, the LORD would make another covenant with Abraham (Genesis 11:10-26). In both cases, the LORD spoke of a future promise if they obeyed, and both men acted upon it. They believed God and it was credited to them as righteousness (Genesis 15:6; Hebrews 11:7). God is always searching the earth looking for the heart that believes what He has spoken. Faith is not 'blind' as some suppose, for God is making Himself known by speaking to you; or through miracles, visions and manifestations. You can feel His peaceful presence. God is a Spirit; His invisible attributes and divine power can be known as you grow in knowledge and wisdom.
The Call of Abraham. True to the disobedient nature of man, he began to settle - ignoring the Lord's command to fill the earth. After the flood, the people migrated to the east, and settled in the plain in Shinar (Mesopotamia) (Genesis 11:1-2), with Nimrod, a forth descendant of Noah through Ham, established this first kingdom (Genesis 10:6-14). Abraham's father Terah, a ninth descendant of Noah through Shem, was living in Ur of the Chaldeans in the southeast territory of Mesopotamia (Genesis 11:10-28). As we see from several accounts, first by Abraham himself and Stephen a devout believer in Acts - the LORD called Abraham, while he living with his kindred in his father's household in his native land, Ur of the Chaldeans, to leave and go to the land the LORD would show him (Acts 7:2-4; Genesis 24:7) being guided by an angel. So getting the call, Abraham's father, Terah took Abraham and Sarah (Abraham's wife), and Lot (grandson of Terah, and his father died in Ur) from Ur (Genesis 15:7). They were going into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled; and Terah died there (Genesis 11:27-32; Acts 7:1-4). With the call of the Lord upon his life to leave his country and kindred to go to a land God would show him, Abraham at the age of 75 left Haran (Genesis 12:1-3; Acts 7:2-4) after his father died, and went to Canaan to settle in Shechem (Genesis 12:4-6). Then the LORD appeared to Abraham in Shechem by the oak of Moreh, and promised to give the land of Canaan to Abraham's offspring (Genesis 12:7). The beauty of this promise is that Abraham and Sarah were both old and it would take a supernatural act of God to bring it into being.
SIDE NOTE: The call upon Abraham's life being in Mesopotamia is cited in several accounts. First by Abraham while instructing his senior servant to get a wife for Isaac when Abraham said, 'The LORD, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father's household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, "To our offspring I will give this land" - He will send His angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there (Genesis 24:7). And secondly by Steven in the book of Acts, when he gave the account before the high priest, The God of glory appeared to Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, 'Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.' (Acts 7:2). And this makes the most sense as to why they all were leaving Ur and heading to Canaan in the first place, but stopped for awhile in Haran where the father died. They probably stopped due to health issues with the father, until he passed away, and then Abraham continued to fulfill the calling upon his life, by leaving his countrymen to go to the promised land of Canaan. Should the call of happened at Haran, that was not make sense, because that is a transient location not the place of his kindred in Ur. We certainly know there was a specific call upon Abraham's life - and he was believing God and obeying. The Babylonian kingdom was built by Nimrod four generations from Noah, and and the LORD intervened and stopped the building projects, calling the tower to heaven the tower of Babel for He dispersed the people and divided their languages. The dispersion would have happened sometime prior, but not by much, to Abraham, as he was 10 generations from Noah, only 420 years. It's likely that Abraham would have known of the power and present working of the Lord. The land the LORD was giving to Abraham was inhabited by Canaan, Noah's other grandson through Ham. Abraham was to disposes the land of the Canaanites, who were cursed by Noah for the evil of Ham.
Belief Through Trials. Abraham's first few years of obeying the LORD were filled with trials and a barren womb, while he lived in tents in the land promised to his offspring. He experienced famine so he had to go to Egypt where the LORD had to protect him from poor decisions, and the LORD blessed him with wealth regardless (Genesis 12:10-20). Then he had territorial disputes with his nephew lot, and he had to call upon the Lord for help. Lot took the choicest land, but the Lord appeared and promised all the land he could see would be his (Genesis 13:1-18). Then after being settled, four kings defeat the five kings in the area, the valley of Siddim, and take possession of the land and all the plunder, including Lot and all his household and belongings. Abraham assembles 318 men of his household and goes and defeats the four kings gaining everything back (Genesis 14:1-16). On the way back from the defeat, Melchizedek, the king of Salam (peace) who is an eternal priest of God meet and blessed him by saying that Abraham is blessing by God Most High and that the Most High delivered Abraham's enemies into his hand. So Abraham gave a 10th of everything to Melchizedek. (Genesis 14:17-24). Abraham was able to see the power and might of the LORD, the creator of heaven and earth work on his behalf so Abraham grew in faith and in relationship with the Lord (Romans 4:20-21). We are made strong through the trials (the testing of our faith) producing steadfastness, making us perfect and complete, lacking nothing - at its fullness (James 1:2-4).
#1. The Covenant He Made with Abraham. After these things, the LORD appeared in a vision and decreed a covenant with Abraham, by saying, Fear not, Abram (Abraham), I am your shield; your reward shall be very great (Genesis 15:1). Oh praise God, for this is the blessing we live under today! But Abraham being human, like us, first asked questions of the LORD, for he remained childless. The LORD confirmed that his very own son would inherit the promise, and they would be as numerous as the stars (Genesis 15:2-5). Abraham believed and it was counted to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:2-5; Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23). Then the LORD made a covenant with him, with the animal sacrifices at the age of 75 (Genesis 15:8-21). When Abraham was 99, the LORD reestablished the covenant, Behold,my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations ... And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you (Genesis 17:4-7), and He changed his name from Abram to Abraham and sealed the covenant with circumcision (Genesis 17:1-14). Then the LORD spoke to Abraham about Sarah, and he changed her name from Sarai to Sarah here, but He also said, I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her (Genesis 17:15-16) and He added, But I will establish My covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year (Genesis 17:21).* It was 24 years, from the first mention of offspring at age 75, until the confirmation at 99 that Sarah would conceive and have a child the following year, and when he would have a child, Isaac, when he was 100 and she was 90. Abraham believed the LORD was able to fulfill His promise without weakening in his faith but instead he grew stronger, even knowing that he was as good as dead at 99 and Sarah's womb was dead; being fully persuaded God has the power to do as He promised. This is why his faith was credited to him as righteousness. But this was not for him alone, but also for us, who believe God raised Jesus from the dead for our sins and raised to life for our justification (James 2:23; Romans 4:16-25). It is the promise of an everlasting covenant (Genesis 17:6-8), through faith (Genesis 15:1-6), that every believer is Christ stands upon today (Galatians 3:29). * Now, the Lord made the Covenant with Abraham, but said He would make it with him and his descendants, so we it being fulfilled until it reaches the point of an everlasting covenant with Israel. Sarah and Abraham were specifically promised a son, who would inherit the blessing - a foreshadow of Jesus. So they got their promised son, with the hope of the future blessing they would not see in their lifetime - that their offspring would gain the promised land (Acts 7:5; Hebrews 11:8-22, 39). Now that we have the establishment of the covenant with Isaac, we have to look closer.
#2. The Oath He Sworn to Isaac. Now, we see have the LORD taking the covenant to Isaac, which doesn't appear to be a big deal upon first glance, but we find there are critical details we must discover. The LORD said, The covenant He made with Abraham, the oath He swore to Isaac. (1 Chronicles 16:16; Psalm 105:9). We see the oath pertains to the LORD providing a wife for Isaac. For the LORD swore the covenant with an oath to Abraham that his offspring would get the land - and his son Isaac would get a wife from their home country and the LORD would send His angel before the high servant as he traveled to get her (Genesis 24:7; Luke 1:73a; Hebrews 6:13-20). Note, this is reference to the Father sending his High Priest Servant to get his wife, the bride, the church with His holy angels. So the oath was with Isaac to give him a wife from Ur of the Chaldeans, instead of Canaan. He was at the age of 40 when this was fulfilled in Rebekah becoming his wife; and he loved her and who comforted him after his mother's death (Genesis 24:1-67; 25:20). She was childless until Isaac prayed to the LORD, and she gave birth to twins when he was 60 years old (Genesis 25:21, 26). Now this is critical because one child was loved by God, Jacob and the other Esau was hated by God; while they were in the womb to show that it is not by human works but by the will of the Lord (Genesis 25:22-23; Malchi 1:2-3; Romans 9:13). First, the LORD is showing the power of His might for all history of mankind is established by His will through His divine decrees. For we see, - In order that God's purpose in election might stand, not by works but by Him who calls - for God chose to have mercy upon whom He chose to have mercy (Jacob) and He harden those He chose to harden (Esau) (Romans 9:6-18). Then secondly, we see this is a critical point, for there is now a divide or distinction within the line of Abraham. Because of the twins, one loved and the other hated, we have two people groups being formed, the sheep and the goats, and the free and the slaves. One is designated as the elect, the called, the chosen, the free, the believers, the covenant offspring, the seed of Abraham, the children of God, the heirs to the throne, and those born of the Spirit; while the other people group are not chosen, the sons of disobedience, the children of the flesh, the unbelieving, the slaves, the children of this world. So we can now see where the divide occurs to support the scripture, For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but 'Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.' This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. (Romans 9:6-8). And, The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble; they shall burn them and consume them, and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau, for the LORD has spoken (Obadiah 1:18). And as any Great and Might God would do, He foreshadows everything - and this divide was foreshadowed with the Sarah (a free woman) and Hagar, the Egyptian (a slave woman) with their children Isaac (born through promise) and Ishmael (born through the flesh), respectfully. Sarah represents the Jerusalem from above which is free. Hagar represents Mount Sinai in Arabia bearing children to slavery. (Galatians 4:21-31). With the oath made to Isaac and his two offspring, we the first distinction of those born of Spirit and those born of flesh. To address the most lingering issue, all have fallen short of the glory of God and all have gone after their own ways, so all are destined to destruction. But out of God's great mercy, He chose to save a portion. Paul notes the words spoken by the LORD to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion (Romans 9:15). Or more plainly stated, God is the potter we are the clay, and He has the right to make a vessel for honorable use and a vessel for dishonorable use (Romans 9:21). For He showed His power by creating the vessels of dishonor to show His wrath, and how He patiently endured, suffering their iniquity, so this would show the magnitude of His mercy - for He prepared this all before the creation of the world (Romans 9:19-26). For His mercy triumphs over the judgment of His wrath (James 2:13) for He has shown grace to some, though they were not worthy.
An Elaborate Plan. The LORD is a personal, but powerful God, who wants to be known and be in covenant with His people. It would be wonderful to think we have reached the end, but it's not the end yet. There remains a significant problem for mankind which the LORD must resolve, for we are unable to overcome it ourselves. Mankind is still bound to sin and death. As Adam sinned and sin and brought death to the whole world - for all sinned (Romans 5:12), and death reigned from Adam to Moses (Romans 5:14, 17), until our Savior put the next part of His magnificent plan of restoration into place - the law. The grand finale won't be just yet, as this elaborate system gets worse before getting better, because there were several issues that have to be addressed, in order to set people free and then achieve the ultimate full will of the LORD. Remember, the LORD had a greater prize then to just set mankind free from death; He is working all things together for the good of those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). He wants to make sons and daughter, children of God, heirs to throne of grace in the eternal kingdom of God.
A Side Note on Sin. Often you hear that God is too holy or righteous to look upon sin, which is taken from Hababbakuk 3:13, but in the same breath Habbakuk says that God does look upon it and he can't understand why. In fact the bible states, The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth (Genesis 3:5a). Additionally, if God couldn't look upon sin, then you must deny the life and works of Christ, who was God in the flesh, for He looked upon sin even to the point being crucified as an innocent man. The scripture must support scriptural interpretations to be true. God would have wiped mankind out with the flood, but instead, from a loving heart He redeemed them. And to that point, we find that according to the will of our God and Father, Jesus gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age (Galatians 1:3-4). The Lord used an elaborate system of redemption that included the old covenant, the law. Initially, He would bind everyone up in disobedience, under the curse of the law; so that He could demonstrate His great mercy by setting them free (Galatians 3:19: Romans 11:32).
# 3. He Confirmed the Covenant to Jacob by a Decree (The Law). This is the first part of the tactical strategy to redeem man; involved a great act of judgment and mercy of God.
The Exodus. The LORD heard the cry of the tribes of Jacob in their captivity in Egypt, so He chose and rose Moses to lead them out, 430 years after Abraham (Exodus 12:40-41; Galatians 3:17). The LORD foretold Abraham of this 400 year captivity and the plan of redemption (Genesis 12:12-16). In the time of Joseph, Pharaoh gave the best of his land, Goshen (means drawing near) in the land of Rameses to his father's household when they arrived due to the severe drought in Canaan (Genesis 47:1-11). So Jacob and his 12 sons lived in the land and multiplied. But time passed and the new Pharaoh knew not Joseph and he feared a revolt, so he ruthlessly enslaved them as forced labor in the building store cities, Pithom and Rameses (Exodus 1:8-14). The LORD raised up Moses, for He heard their cry (Exodus 3:7). As a sign of His miracles power, the LORD sent 10 plagues upon Egypt, and for each the plague passing over the people of God. And with an outstretched arm, the LORD led His people out with mercy upon them but with a great deeds of terror and judgement upon Egypt (Exodus 6:6; Deuteronomy 34:12). At the time of the exodus, there were 600,000 men, plus woman and children leaving Rameses Egypt (Exodus 12:37). As the walls closed in upon them with the Red Sea on one side and the advancing Egyptian army on the other, In fear, God's people rebelled by grumbling against Moses and the LORD (Exodus 14:10-12; Psalm 106:7b). Yet the LORD saved them by parting the Red Sea for them to pass and allowed the waters to cover over Pharaoh and his army (Exodus 14:19-30). The Lord did this for His name's same, for He wanted to make His name and His mighty power known as the LORD, by getting glory over Pharaoh by redeeming His people from their enemies (Exodus 14:4, 13-18; Psalm 106:7-8). The people rejoiced with a song for they knew the LORD and trusted His words, however, they didn't waste time in forgetting His works and spurring His counsel by not waiting for it (Psalms 106:12-13). Israel saw the great power of that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in His servant Moses (Exodus 14:31).
The Journey and Grumbling Begins. Disparagingly, the people grumbled and rebelled against Moses and the Lord as they traveled from place to place. For they left Ramses via the parted Red Sea to Succoth, then Etham, then Pi-hahiroth, then Migdol, then facing Habiroth they set out from the midst of the sea traveling a three day journey into the wilderness of Etham (Shur) and camped at Marah (Numbers 33:5-8). At Marah, there was bitter water so they grumbled against Moses for the second time, and he cried out to God who provided the answer (Exodus 15:22-25). They tempted or tried the LORD, as if He couldn't provide clean water after His great signs, wonders and grievous acts against Pharaoh as He brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand (Deuteronomy 6:20-25). So the LORD tested them by establishing a decree that they should listen, obey and be right in His eyes to withhold the plagues of Egypt from coming upon them (Exodus 15:25-26). They left there for Elim, then camped by the Red Sea, then to Dophkah in the wilderness of Sin (Numbers 33:9-12). Here the entire congregation grumbled against the LORD concerning food to which the LORD heard their grumbling and supplied quail, manna and dew; but these disobeyed His commands for gathering their supply of bread (Exodus 16:1-36). They set out and camped at Alush then to Rephidim (Numbers 33:13-14). The people quarreled with Moses about water, to which they provoked Moses to anger becoming bitter in spirit, so he asked why they test the LORD in such a way, and they responded with grumbling in asking why he brought them out of Egypt to kill them by thirst, so Moses cried to the LORD, and He instructed Moses to go strike the rock of Horeb for water to flow out, and this didn't go well on Moses account because he spoke rashly with his lips, so they called the place Massah and Meribah because they quarreled and tested the LORD there (Exodus 17:1-7: Numbers 20:13; Psalm 106:32-33). While at Rephidim, the gave them victory with an attack from Amalek against them (Exodus 17:8-16). From Rephidim they went to the wilderness of Sinai, Horeb, and camped at the base of the mountain while Moses would go up the mountain to talk with God; which was only two complete months since they left Egypt (Exodus 19:1-3; Numbers 33:15). With Moses interceding for the people, the LORD says if they obey they will become a kingdom of priests and a holy nation to which they respond they will (Exodus 19:3-8). So the LORD requires them to consecrate themselves, wash garments and be ready on the third day to hear the LORD speak to Moses in a think cloud so they will remember it forever (Exodus 19:9-11). On the third day, the LORD speaks the 10 commandments to Moses and Aaron on Mt. Sinai, in hearing of the people down below, with thunder and lighting, thick darkness from clouds and bellowing smoke, and a loud trumpet blast with the whole mountain trembled greatly. Afterwards, the people were terrified and ask to not have the LORD speak to them but instead to just hear from Moses. To which Moses replied for them to not fear for God came to test that they feared the LORD so they would not sin and then stood far off (Exodus 19:16-25; 20:1-21). The LORD confirmed through Moses that He spoke directly to them from heaven so they're not to sin not have other gods but are to make sacrifices to Him (Exodus 20:22-26). The LORD spoke the words of the covenant to Moses on Mount Sinai then the people agreed to keep all the words of it (Exodus 24:3). Then Moses went up on the mountain and God wrote the ten commandments on two tablets, and he stayed for 40 days and nights, but LORD told Moses to go quickly for they acted corruptly by having Aaron make a gold calf for them to worship as the god who brought them out of Egypt. The anger of the LORD burned and He swore in His wrath to kill them and blot out their names from under heaven. Moses ran down the mountain which was burning with fire. Upon seeing the calf and them dancing, Moses dropped the tablets, and went and destroyed the calf. He assembled all who were on the side of the LORD and commissioned the Levites to kill 3,000 people that day (Exodus 32:1-29; Deuteronomy 9:6-17, 21). The next day Moses went to make atonement for Aaron and the people, In fear of the LORD, Moses lay prostrate before the LORD for 40 days and nights asking the LORD to remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and in honor of His name's sake to not kill them so the Egyptians would not be able to claim He only took them out to kill them. He asked for the LORD to not blot their names out, but the LORD said He would blot out of His book all who sinned against Him and He sent a plague. The Lord told Moses to go to the promised land with an angel leading them but that He would not go. Moses pleaded with the LORD that if He found favor with him then for Him to go, and asked if His presence isn't the very thing that makes them distinct from all the people of the land, to which the LORD replied that He would do the very thing Moses asked for he found favor in the sight of the LORD. Then Moses asked to see His glory, and He agreed to show the back side least he did for no one can see God and live. (Exodus 32:30-35; 33:1-23; Deuteronomy 9:18-20, 25-29). Then the LORD told Moses to cut two new tablets and to make an ark and come back alone onto the mountain. He rose early the next day and went and the LORD descended on a cloud and proclaimed His name to him and passed before him. Moses quickly bowed to the ground and worshiped. He stayed another 40 days and nights, and the LORD made a new covenant with him, and wrote the 10 commandments on the second set of tablets (Exodus 34:1-28; Deuteronomy 10:1-11). For all the days that Moses knew the people, they had rebelled against the LORD (Deuteronomy 9:24). This detailed history lesson, serves to show that regardless of what the LORD did for these people, they were stubborn and rebellious, refusing to honor or obey, even though they knew Him. From when they left Egypt until the day of entry into the promised land, they provoked the LORD to wrath (Deuteronomy 9:6-8). They knew God as they heard His voice directly and saw His miracles, signs and wonders, yet they would not honor Him. They made a calf in Horeb and worshiped a metal image. They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass (Psalm 106:19-20). Although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of an immortal God for the images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things (Romans 1:21-23). Nothing the LORD did was enough for them. They maintained a constant state of dissatisfaction and complaints against God. All His goodness and mercy was overseen. The covenants they made meant nothing to them; they only said what they had to say at the time. Words were meaningless to them: the words the LORD spoke and the words they spoke. There was never a true friendship with God established, as was with Moses. They didn't fear, honor or love the LORD as Moses did. There was never a true Godly sorrow for their actions that produces repentance leading to salvation; they had a worldly grief that leads to death (2 Corinthians 7:10). This is the foreshadow of those who would follow Jesus as He went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee which is the Sea of Tiberias and He had 5,000 following Him. He told them they were only following Him because of the food and how they grumbled against the words He spoke for they had no understanding for they didn't love the Father so they wouldn't know the Son (John 6:1-71).
The Next Half of the Journey. As they set out from Mount Sinai, they began to grumble along their journey, they complained in the hearing of the LORD and He sent fire among them and Moses prayed to make it stop and they called the place, Taberah, meaning fire (Numbers 11:1-3). And at their next encampment, some got craving and began to grumble about the food supply again leading the whole assembly exceedingly angry against the LORD. Moses had reached his limits and told the LORD he couldn't carry all these people himself. The LORD answered that request, by sharing some of the Spirit on him with 70 elders to help carry the burden. Moses wished that all the people of God would have the Spirit with them. A prophesy for the future. The LORD promised to send so much quail for a month that it would come out of their noses. They had to bury the dead bodies there so they called it Kibroth-Hattaavah (Numbers 11:4-35). They set out from Kibroth-Hattaavah and journeyed to Hazeroth. The prior incident sprouted an uprising from Moses' brother, Aaron and his sister, Miriam as seeds of doubt took root within them. For they complained that he had a foreign wife, a Cushite despite the fact that he was married before God called him to lead the people out of Egypt. So they began to question Moses' authority by doubted that the LORD only speaks through Moses, for they said He spoke through them too. The LORD summoned them to the tent of meeting and confirmed Moses and departed in anger. Miriam became leprous and Moses had to intercede. After this, the tribes set out from Hazeroth and camped in the wilderness of Paran. (Numbers 12:1-16). They traveled through this wilderness and camped at 18 locations, before camping in Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin (Numbers 33:17-36) which would prove to a fateful place for the entire assemble, including Moses, Aaron and Miriam would die without entering the promised land, except for everyone under the age of 20. This location is where their complaint against the LORD was significant enough for the LORD to declare that everyone 20 and older would die in the wilderness as they wondered around for 40 years awaiting the generation to pass away. Only their children would enter the promised land after they all died. This came about when 10 of the 12 scouts that Moses sent into Canaan came back with a bad report. They reported the people of the land were giants and they'd die trying to take the land. They spread this bad report throughout the entire assembly grumbled against the LORD. Upon hearing the decree they assembled and attempted to take the promised land by force, without Moses as their leader and without the ark of the covenant - to which Moses warned that they would surely not succeed. And the Amalekites and Canaanites beat them down (Numbers 14:1-45). As if this wasn't enough, then Korah, son of Izhar, lead a revolt against Moses and Aaron. The LORD responded by swallowing the rebels (Korah, Dathan and Abiram) and their whole household up in the ground and they went down alive to Sheol and fire came out and consumed the 250 men offering incense (Numbers 15:35). But the next day, the entire assembly came against Moses and Aaron by blaming them for these people's deaths. No accountability for their transgressions, they only blame it on God and God's holy people. Moses told Aaron to take his incense into the assembly for he knew God enough that he know there would be a plague. Aaron did as he said and he stood in between the living and dead and the plague stopped; 14,700 people died (Number 16:41-50). While at Kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin, the assembly grumbled against Moses and Aaron again. So the LORD told Moses to speak to the rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water, but Moses struck the rock twice. Even though water came out, Moses and Aaron did not honor the LORD in the presence of the people so they were not permitted to take the people into the promised land (Numbers 20:1-13) and apart from that, their sister, Miriam died and was buried here (Numbers 20:1). The people set out from Kadesh to camp at Mount Hor, where Aaron was summoned to the mountain top to relinquish his role as High Priest to his Eleazar and go among the assembly and die, because he rebelled against God at the waters of Meribah (Numbers 20:22-29) which is now the 14th year since they left Egypt and Aaron was 123 years old (Numbers 33:38; Deuteronomy 32:50-51). Amist their grief, a neighboring nation decides to attack. Arad, the Canaanite king, who lives in Negeb plotted to attack but they vowed to devote the entire city to destruction if the LORD would give them these people. The LORD permitted it and they did, calling the place Hormah (Numbers 21:1-3). But as they were leaving Mount Hor they went by the way of the Red Sea going around Edom and the people became impatient and began to grumble against Moses asking if the LORD brought them up out of Egypt to die. The LORD sent fiery serpents among them and Moses and to make a bronze serpent and lift it up on a pole to make it stop (Numbers 21:4-9).
They forgot their God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt, wondrous works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. Therefore He said He would destroy them. Then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in His promise. They murmured in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the LORD. Therefore he raised His hand and swore to them that He would make them fall in the wilderness, and would make their offspring fall among the nations, scattering them among the lands. (Psalm 106:21-27).
The Unbelievable Mercy of the LORD. Despite the endless grumbling and revolts of the entire assembly, the LORD still showed mercy to His children. When Balak the son of Zippor saw what happened to the Amorites, he tried to curse them using Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor. When they made several attempts to curse them, the LORD made them bless them instead. This is truly unfailing love and kindness - for even a rebellious nation. But the people disregard this, as they've done everything else. Their words mean nothing by which they bound themselves in a covenant so while they lived in Shittim they indulged in sexual immorality with Moabite woman and they began to worship their gods, which yoked themselves to Baal of Peor, provoking the LORD to anger to burn against them. The LORD told Moses to kill all those who yoked themselves to Baal of Peor, in the sight of the assembly in daylight, to turn away His fierce anger. While the people were weeping for what just happened a man brought a Midianite woman into his tent. Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron took a spear and ran it through the man,Zimri son of Salu of the tribe of Simeon and Midianite woman, Kozbi daughter of Zur a tribal chief. The LORD promised the everlasting priesthood with his house (Numbers 25:1-18; Psalm 106:28-31).
Moses was chosen to be their mediator, judge, prophet and leader to take them from the darkness of captivity to the promised land.
After the exodus on Mount Sinai, Horeb, the mountain of God, the LORD had Moses bring the people to the base the mountain to pronounce the covenant with them, individually. The Lord spoke directly to them, as they heard His voice so their hearts would fear Him and remember His name; He gave them the ten commandments so they would not sin (Exodus 19:1-25; 20:1-26; Deuteronomy 5:1-33). He wrote the commandments of the covenant on tablets of stone and instructed them to be placed in an ark of acacia wood, known as the ark of the covenant (Deuteronomy 9:9, 15; 10:2-4). The LORD is personal God who wants to be known and respected; which comes from a right understanding in reverential fear of the magnitude of His eternal power and divine nature. Moses confirmed that the LORD chose them as a treasured possession, to be a holy people (Deuteronomy 7:6) and that He faithful to keep His commandment with steadfast love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands, and He repays to their face by destroying them those who hate Him (Deuteronomy 7:9-10). The covenant was established with additional words being added to those proclaimed on Mount Sinai (Deuteronomy 29:1, 12-13). The LORD will not forgive anyone who has a root within them bearing the poisonous and bitter fruit of blesses themselves in their own heart, by saying, I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart; rather than forgive, the anger of the LORD's jealousy will smoke against that person and they will receive the curse of the law with their name being blot out from under heaven (Deuteronomy 29:18-20). The choice was set before them that day, the choice of life or death, good and evil (Deuteronomy 30:1, 15) with heaven and earth as witness (Deuteronomy 30:19). And He told them, it is not hard for them to keep as it's not far off; it's not in heaven nor beyond the sea, but in their heart and mouth (Deuteronomy 30:11-14). But the LORD said if you drift away, you will die and not live in the land (Deuteronomy 30:18). The words were then written in the Book of the Law by Moses, and placed beside the ark of the covenant, even with the two stone tablets inside, to serve as a witness against them (Deuteronomy 31:24-26). NOTE: this is the symbol of Jesus beside the throne of God with judgment (John 5:19, 22, 24, 26-27) as Jesus even says, But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for He wrote about Me (John 5:45-46).
Beware, lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, 'I shall be safe, thought I walk in the stubbornness of my heart' (Deuteronomy 29:18-19).
The priests were decreed to wash their hands and feet, so they would not die as a decree forever (Exodus 30:21) which is why Jesus feet were cleaned with Mary's hair and the reason He washed the apostles feet - the ritual then for the symbolism of washing away of sins - via repentance and forgiveness. ** The do right in My Eyes - would remain with them throughout their history, as we see the LORD rendering His judgment of each reigning king of both Israel and Judah throughout scripture in the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. No one was without sin, but the LORD can see the intentions of their hearts. He was looking for the person who loved Him and His law, and tried to obey, despite some mishaps.
A Two Step Process. First, our wonderful Lord and Savior is going to resolution sin, not death. Even though death reigned (Romans 5:14, 17) we start with sin, for sin is at the root of death. For we know, when lusts conceives it brings forth sin; and when sin is mature it brings forth death (James 1:15). Or it can be stated, that the wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23), as death is the payment of the completed work of sin. What a dreadful thought. And I promise this dilemma gets worse before it gets better. For the remedy of sin, was the law given to Moses; which would actually bind people in their trespasses and bring judgment upon them (Galatians 3:19a, 22-23; 4:15). This is were it's easy to understand the scripture when it says, It's a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of a living God (Hebrews 10:31) but there is hope. Although the law was given to Moses, it was declared and decreed to Jacob of the 12 patriarchs, the nation, Israel, often referred to as Jacob (Luke 1:33; 20:37; Acts 7:8; Psalm 14:7). The law of Moses would bring judgment and bind people under transgression; so Jesus could be born under the law and live to righteousness, thereby setting people free from sin and death, while accepting their judgment so He could give them His righteousness and the free gift of eternal life (Hebrews 7:18; 9:15; Romans 4:13-15; 5:14-21; 8:1-4; Galatians 3:15-29; 4:1-7). The LORD is glorious!
This can help us understand the significance of His name as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The Inner Workings of the Law. One man, Adam, brought sin into the world, for all sinned, which made death spread to all mankind (Romans 5:12-13, 19) because sin brings forth death (James 1:15) and the result of this is that one man's sin led to condemnation for all (Romans 5:18) as the law brings wrath (Romans 4:15). Here is where it gets worse before better. The law made nothing perfect (Hebrews 7:19b; Galatians 3:21) all who rely on works of the law are under a curse - for if it's your path to righteousness, then you have to fulfill all of it (Galatians 3:10-11). Since man cannot fulfill a perfect moral law within himself, the scripture imprisoned everything under sin (Galatians 3:22-23) because the reality is that before we knew God, we were slaves to everything, enslaved by things by nature which are not gods; being held captive to the weak and worthless elemental principals of this world (Galatians 4:3, 8-9) for the law came to increase the trespass, but where sin increases, grace abounded all the more (Romans 5:20). That is a sneak peck at the exquisite wisdom of our Mighty LORD, for this set up was to enable His rich mercy to pour forth upon sinful and condemned flesh. Unbelievably divine! Anyways, so sin was dead and I was alive in the flesh, until the law brought a knowledge of sin, but now I am dead and sin is alive - because sin, awaken by the law, seized an opportunity to use the law against me to deceive me, to arouse or produce my sinful desires, in all types of passions and lusts to bear the fruit of death (1 Corinthians 15:56; Romans 3:20b; 7:5, 7-11). For sin reigned in death, under the law (Romans 5:21). To recap this idea, sin was dead so the law was given to awaken it, so people could be trapped in the judgment of the law for their sins - which increased all the more to further imprison them. Once everyone was enslaved, then redemption could come. Now back to the law, overall the law was defined as, the ministry of death (2 Corinthians 3:6-7), the ministry of condemnation (2 Corinthians 3:9) because, I was alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died (Romans 7:9) as the law gave sin power (1 Corinthians 15:56b). so we were held captive under the law, like children under a guardian or manager set in place by God through angels (Galatians 3:19-25; 4:2). In summary, death reigning and sin was asleep, so God intervened to redeem man, by arousing sin by the law which would enslave us, so He could set us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 5:17; 6:23; 8:2) so the law was brought because of sin, and sin increased (Romans 5:20; Galatians 3:19) when God sent His Son, born under the law to redeem man (Galatians 4:4). Since I do what I don't want to do, this proves that it is sin at work in me waging war against my mind making me captive to the law of sin that dwellings in my flesh for my flesh serves the law of sin (Romans 7:23-25). Exquisite! At the wedding feast, they saved the best wine for last (John 2:10)! Certainly, He did.
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17).
The Blessing of the Old Covenant (Testament). The old covenant (testament) relied upon the 12 tribes swearing to uphold the covenant (Genesis 21:23) with either blessing or cursing based on them abiding by it (Deuteronomy 30:11-20). The people agreed to love the LORD their God with all their heart, soul, and might while keeping His commands in their hearts and fear the LORD and keep His commands; being a people holy to Him - while making no covenant with the surrounding nations (Exodus 24:1-18; Deuteronomy 5:9; 7:2, 6; 10:20; 11:1, 5-6; 30:16). As we see, Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel. (Exodus 19:5). He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. ... You shall be blessed above all peoples. ... And the LORD will take away your sickness (Deuteronomy 7:13-15). He promised to do marvels for His people (Exodus 34:10). The covenant offers to multiply all they have: their harvests (grain, oil, wine), their herds, their silver and gold, and their wombs (Deuteronomy 7:13-15; 8:13). And He established the covenant to give them the land of Canaan (Exodus 6:4). You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18a), and, keep the words of this covenant to do them, that you may prosper in all that you do (Deuteronomy 29:9). He would destroy their enemies, provide security and have them fear nothing (Deuteronomy 12:10; 20:4; Leviticus 25:19). Nations would fear and dread them so they would live in peace (Leviticus 26:6; Deuteronomy 2:25). They would lack or want for NOTHING! And He would walk among them and be their God and they would be His people (Leviticus 26:12). In His outpouring of provision, you see His love for He dealt extravagantly with them.
The Punishment (Curse) for Disobedience. The LORD loved them and wanted to bless them and be known by them. He gave them the choice between good and bad, life and death - but he knew they they spur His statutes and their soul abhors His rules and chose evil leading to death, by forsaking Him and breaking His covenant (Deuteronomy 31:16; Leviticus 26:15). He prophesied to Moses they would break His covenant by whoring after other gods kindling Him to anger; I will forsake them and hide My face from them, and they will be devoured (Deuteronomy 31:17). So that in that day, they will ask, Have these evil come upon us because our God is not among us (Deuteronomy 31:18)? Knowing they were included to do evil even before bringing them into the land, so the LORD taught Moses a song for the people to sing which would serve as a witness against them (Deuteronomy 31:19-22). The LORD outlines a progressive disciplinary plan with five levels for repeated disobedience, with a seven fold return on their sins: initially He will turn from them, allowing their enemies overcome them and rule them; secondly, He will break the pride of their power and strength; thirdly, He will loose wild beasts upon them, reduce their numbers, children and livestock; fourthly, He will bring a sword upon them, break their bread supply, bring pestilence upon them and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and lastly, He will destroy their high places of pagan worship, desolate sanctuaries, lay their cities to waste, caste their bodies in streets, have them eat their own flesh, devastate the land, scatter them and I will unsheathe the sword after you (Leviticus 26:16-33). However, in graciousness and mercy the LORD followed up by establishing that while they are in the land of their enemies, He will not spurn them by breaking His covenant to them, for He is the LORD their God. He will remember the covenant with there forefathers. But while they are in exile the land will remain desolate to enjoy its Sabbath rest and they shall make amends for spurning rules and abhorring statutes (Leviticus 26:42:-46).
The Broken Covenant. The Israelites did exactly what the Lord said they would do, they pursued other gods; forgetting their God. The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left (Isaiah 24:5-6). After establishing themselves in the promised land they quickly went astray, due to the sins of Solomon and the kingdom was divided. Israeli was divided into the Kingdom of the South, Judah with capital Jerusalem and the Kingdom of the North, Israel with capital Samaria. Judah remained faithful initially, but Israel was forsook the Lord from the onset. In time, they both strayed further and further away. They honored God with their lips but their hearts were far from Him (Isaiah 29:13; Ezekiel 33:31; Matthew 15:8). They desired His blessing but attributed it to other gods, as they lusted after the gods of the heathens, which were no gods at all. The Lord performed many miraculous victories to show that He was the one true God and gave many warnings, but they abandoned their relationship. They would not uphold the covenant they willing made with the LORD (Genesis 21:23). To their own peril, they pushed Him away enough until He finally fulfilled the curse which was Him breaking away from the covenant. (Leviticus 26:14-16). There is nothing new under the sun, and today God performs miracles and speaks through His prophets but people ignore Him.
The Unsheathed Sword. The LORD has spoken, 'I have drawn my sword from its sheath; it shall never be sheathed again (Ezekiel 21:5b). This is truly divine, but you ask what is the unsheathed sword? If only you could understand a carcass of a dead lion with honey inside - that you can feed upon (Judges 14:8-9), then I need not explain any further. 'So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:32-34). That's right, the sword is the word of God, our Lord and Master - Jesus Christ. The double-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). NOTE: The first time, He didn't speak, but the second time - He will!
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shown (Isaiah 9:2).
The Promise of the New Covenant (Testament). The Lord is so gracious, that before He broke away, He decreed an eternal covenant with them. Knowing the end from the beginning, the Lord told Moses they would rebel but He decreed to restore them (Leviticus 26:44-45) and when He said, The LORD will vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their power is gone and there is none remaining, bond or free (Deuteronomy 32:36). And again He promised His weeping prophet, '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 (Jeremiah 31:31) and, I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them (Ezekiel 37:26). In those days and at that time, I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and He shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days, Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. (Jeremiah 33:15-16). The LORD can be trusted for He is a God who knows the end from the beginning. He really is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13). He is showing His steadfast enduring love, mercy and grace that He wants to lavish upon His people, despite our weaknesses and failures - His love endures forever.
And the heavens proclaim His righteousness, for He is a God of justice (Psalm 50:6).
The Law of Moses Has Been Fulfilled: It Has Ended. One the technical level, every covenant has it's own unique set of rules and standards established between the members. The law was established in this fashion with both having to uphold their end. And Jesus said that He fulfilled the law but that He did not nullify it (Luke 22:37; Matthew 5:17). And Paul teaches that the Law was brought to an end (2 Corinthians 3:XXXXXXXXX) And the LORD has established His own covenant with it's own law (Hebrews 7:18-19). What does this mean for the Jews - has the LORD forsaken them? The answer is yes and no. Nothing can be easy, when attempting to understand the perfect will of God. No, when the Israelites rebelled against Him, the Lord broke the covenant with them (XXXX). Even thought Jesus lived up to the righteous requirement of the covenant, He has yet to complete it for He is seated at the right hand of God making intersession for the Gentile saints but it won't be complete until He returns to become the rightful and true King of the Jew on His second coming. At that time, they will all be back at the promised land and He will remove the veil from their eyes, He will give them their triumphed victory battle over their oppressors and give them peace (Revelation 19:11-21; 20:1-15; 21:1-27; 22:1-21).
The Proclamation of the New Covenant. To show the graciousness of the LORD's rich tender-hearted mercy, the Lord came to His people at their lowest point, and he made an everlasting covenant - God is so glorious! At their lowest and most shameful and painful point in their existence, when they were reaping what they had sown, the LORD came in His abundant mercy and provided a way of escape. But not only a way out of misery, but an eternal promise of restoration and provision. At the point, the Northern Kingdom, Israel, had been taken into captivity by Assyria. And a little over a hundred years later, the Southern Kingdom, Judah, had been overtaken by the Babylonian. And the last two major prophets, Daniel and Ezekiel, were also taken into Babylonian captivity. The weeping prophet, Ezekiel received the proclamation of the everlasting covenant of the scepter, rulership, of the Kingdom would come from the house of David. The LORD declared that He would forget their idols and detestable practices and save them from their backsliding by cleansing them. And now He would take the two sticks, 2 scepters or rulers of the divided kingdoms, would come together to one scepter. And it would be the servant of David who would be their one King, their shepherd forever in the united Kingdom, Israel (Zion, includes us all) of His everlasting covenant. (Ezekiel 16:59-63; 36:22-38; 37:1-28; 39:25-29). This was to fulfillment the blessing Jacob gave Judah that the scepter would never depart from him (Genesis 49:9-12). And to fulfill the promise spoken directly to David through the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 7:4-17); (1 Chronicles 17:3-15). And to fulfill the dream given to Solomon of the scepter remaining with the house of Dave, after he completed the temple, You (David) shall not lack a man to rule Israel (2 Chronicles 7:11-22). And the prophetic word spoken to His prophets of the coming of a new and everlasting covenant through the branch of David (Isaiah 55:1-5; 61:1-11; Jeremiah 32:36-44; 33:14-26: 50:4-5; Zechariah 3:6-10; 8:1-23; 9:9-17; 12:1-14; 13:1; 14:1-21; Zephaniah 3:9-20; Haggai 2:1-23; Hosea 3:1-5; Amos 9:11-15).
, until Christ came to reveal the promise obtained by faith in Jesus Christ might be given by those who believe, whom are the offspring of Abraham - even among the gentiles - who are sons of God (Galatians 3:22-26) until the Lord would come and set us free with His perfect law of liberty (James 1:25) the law of the Lord, Christ Jesus (Psalm 19:7). Now the law is spiritual (Romans 7:14b) and we delight in the law of God in our inner man, our soul and mind (Romans 7:22). So sin was shown to be sin, sinful beyond measure, for it produced death in me from something that was good (Romans 7:13). You have been set free from sin to become slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:18). And Jesus did what the law could not do, being weakened by the flesh (Romans 7:4). And at the right time, God sent forth His Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh to condemn sin to the flesh, by having Him walk according to the Spirit, not according to the flesh; to redeem those under the law, so that they might receive adoption as sons of God (Romans 8:3-4; Galatians 4:4-5). He did this because we couldn't fix the problems we created for ourselves. He did this because He loves us and wants a relationship with us - one that is in right standing, were we understand that He is God and we are not. Having seen the mighty works of His hand with ending wisdom, love and life we can honor and glorify Him. How glorious a plan - how divine are His ways. He is rich in mercy, grace, wisdom and abounding in love.
The New Covenant (Testament). The LORD calls His people back to Himself in the new and everlasting covenant, but first the mystery of the gospel is revealed that the Gentiles are being grafted into that branch (Romans 11:11). And the peace and fullness of the promised anointed One will fulfilled upon His second coming. At which point, the LORD will draw His people unto Himself in His Kingdom, both Jew and Gentile. Jesus is the branch or root that forever holds the scepter of Israel. Again, understanding that Jesus is the promised Messiah (Christ, anointed one) of the Jewish people, can help us grated in gentiles, wild olive branches, have a sober reality of our salvation so as to not take it lightly - just as Paul cautioned (Romans 11:1-36; Nehemiah 8:15-16). Understanding the fullness of the gospel will help abolish the false doctrine of substitutionary theology, for God has never forsaken His people, it is within the Lord's timing - and He is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand, instead He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but He wants everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), because of His great love.
Why Even Bother with the Old Covenant? That is a great question as there are several reason. First, so man could really begin to understand and worship God, for He is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth (John 4:24). And secondly, so God could redeem us from our own peril by make purification of His people after resolving the issues of sin, death and judgment by paying the high price to purchase us to be adopted as children of God. Let us first examine, the Spiritual aspect of God. The new covenant is a direct relationship with God, who is Spirit, so it is a Spiritual covenant involves everything in the visible and invisible realm (1 Timothy 1:17; Colossians 1:15-16; Romans 1:20; Hebrews 11:27). The old covenant was a foreshadow of the new one, and was established in the physical realm so we could see and begin to understand. Additionally, it was based on man's participation to show that mankind is absolutely incapable of upholding God's moral law. They carried the law, the principles of moral excellence for 2000 years to show they could never achieve it, without the intervention of God. This proved Satan's original claim against God to be a lie, for man was never able to be like God within himself (Genesis 3:4). The moral standard remains as a requirement for both covenants, but we claim the righteousness of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30-31; Romans 5:17; 10:4). Fundamentally, God is a good God so He has ethical standards, or rules of engagement of how we all should interact. He is love (1 John 4:8), so everything He establishes is based on love. The moral law of the old covenant was reduced to love in the new one.
The Wild Olive Branch (Gentiles) is Grafted into the Original Olive Branch. Paul clearly identifies the inclusion of the gentiles (wild olive branches) into the original olive tree (Jesus) by stating some of the original olive branches have been cut off, a partial hardening of the Jews and they are now considered enemies according to the gospel, as they were not able to obtain what they so earnestly sought, in order that the wild olive branch, the gentiles could be grafted in (Romans 11:7; 17-21; 25-29); but Paul makes it clear they were hardened due to unbelief (Romans 11:20). They did not want Him, now they get to see a people want and enjoy Him, and this is to make them jealous as they made Him jealous (Romans 11:11). And the elect, those who believed in the promise to Abraham, were saved (Romans 11:7). Considering this, that their disobedience resulted in riches and reconciliation to the world, and the Gentiles (Romans 11:12, 15). So he cautions us to not be arrogant about this, but to tremble; and consider God's kindness and sternness: sternness to the original olive branches (Jews) who have been cut off, and in kindness to the wild olive branch (us) who was grafted in, provided that we continue in His kindness (Romans 11:20-22). We are to be reverent because we do not support the root, but it supports us (Romans 11:18). We are the firstfruits, and if the firstfruit is holy; then the whole lump is holy, so when Jesus returns - all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:16, 25-27)! God assigned everything over to disobedience, so that He could have mercy on all; so we were the firstfruits to receive mercy from our disobedience, now they will receive mercy for their disobedience -of which they now are considered enemies (Romans 11:28-31).
The Blinding of the Jews. This is at the heart of why the Jews wanted to kill Jesus, because He did not appear as they thought He should. This is much like people today who image their own Jesus who fits their needs without infringing on their desires while denying the existence of a sovereign God who reigns with rules and authority, and trivializing the reality of heaven and the lake of fire as real places where their soul will end eternity. The Jews knew the Messiah would come from the root of David and overtake their enemies, so they believed that if He came, He would have lead a revolt against the Roman Empire which was oppressing them. There was a partial hardening of their hearts, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come into covenant (2 Corinthians 3:14; Romans 11:25) for the same veil remains unlifted from over their hearts as it did when before when the law was read (2 Corinthians 3:14-15). They wanted a magnificent victory over their oppressors. Instead, Jesus came riding upon a donkey with the idiom of 'kill them with kindness.' The only thing they wanted to kill was Jesus.
God exalted Him at His right hand as Ruler and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. (Acts 5:31).
The New Covenant. As far as the new covenant,
this is based on the Son of Man who was worthy to be crowned with the glory of God (eternal life) so He was able to enter into the everlasting heaven, which is where the God the Father, the One true God resides. Jesus sits in the third heaven, the everlasting unshakable heaven, the heaven which was never created but just is. He is the mediator of the covenant; every covenant needs a mediator, a go-between. He is what connects us to God.
(Galatians 3:8, 22). Instead of God being known to only a select few, it's all of us. Instead of God's Spirit dwelling in one location, now His Spirit dwells within our hearts. We can take the glory of God to the ends of the earth now that He is within our hearts. We believers (Jew and Gentile) now based on our belief from the Abrahamic promise, now we can enter into God's presence with Jesus as our new mediator of this new and better covenant, that is based on God's ability to uphold and sustain it. And as the children of the promise, for Abraham's promised blessing was to him and his children, now we are heirs to the blessing and inheritance, through the better covenant of the blood of Jesus. As we established prior this one is the real and true one, it's the one based on spirit in the unseen realm where life really exists. Because we are serving in the real reality, we are free from the physical limitations of the first covenant, but we are to use our freedom wisely, as children of God. Never using it to harm our weaker brother or sisters, for remember the golden rule - that God is good and He desires to always extend love. This is where the teachings of Jesus come into play, because He is the mediator or go-between for us and God. This is why we always pray to the Father in the name (power and authority) of Jesus. Since Jesus is our connection to God and He established this covenant, then everything that He said is critical for us to understand the 'terms of the relationship,' if you'll allow me to state it that way. It's really simple, because it's just a life of love and forgiveness. If you ever become confused, then just start over the next day, when joy is new and you are refreshed and begin to walk it out again, with love and forgiveness. It's really that simple, but we are hard of hearing and we harden our hearts, so additional revelation and instruction is necessary on our behalf.
To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17).
The Reconciliation of God's People to Himself. The Lord never wanted separation from His people which is why He promised reconciliation in an eternal covenant. He changed the way He relates to them, for instead of holding them to their ability to obey a perfect, pure and moral law, which they could never do; alternatively He based it upon their belief in the finished work of Jesus Christ upon the cross. Hallelujah! Praise the LORD - for He is good, all the time. Can you believe that? Just drink that down deep into your soul. In order to be in covenant with God, who is perfectly righteous and holy, you must also be perfectly righteous and holy. This is something that man cannot do, on his own. So instead God sent His only begotten Son to take the wrath of our disobedience upon His own flesh, so that we might inherit the righteousness of Christ to be able to enter into the presence and covenant of a holy God (Romans 8:4). Unbelievable! Because this is a perfect righteousness, lacking in nothing, being complete and whole, we are now able to enter in behind the veil to the mercy seat of God to get our blessing, abundance and inheritance as children of God. All we have to do is believe that He is the personal and loving God who would do such a thing. When we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts, we can receive.
Now the But now instead of it being established through a select group of priests, prophets and kings - now everyone is included. We all (believers - promise still stands) have been invited to the banquet feast. In the old, only the priest were able to eat - now we all (believers) are priests so we get to eat! And instead of this covenant being consecrated with the blood of bulls and goats, it's consecrated with the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus.
The Shift in Teaching. With the onset of the new covenant and a new mediator, there is a new teaching. This is why the teaching changed with the onset of John the Baptist, the forerunner for Jesus. Do you see all this fore-'stuff'? God shows the end with the beginning. Again, this is so we will know how awesome and amazing He is. Lets allow the scripture to define the shift in teaching, The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it (Luke 16:16), and, The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1) was written in Isaiah to be preached by the one voice crying in the wilderness, which would be John the Baptist (Mark 1:2-4). And the war began with this shift as we also see, From the days of John the Baptist until now (even now) the Kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force (Matthew 11:22); and of these wicked people, we learn, Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment (Psalm 73:6) and their mouth, The mouth of the wicked conceals violence (Proverbs 10:11). But we are protected by the true and living God, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; You save me from violence (2 Samuel 22:3) and Who brought me out from my enemies; You exalted me above those who rose against me; you delivered me from men of violence (2 Samuel 22:49; Psalm 18:48).
A Real Spiritual Battle. The new relationship with God is a wide opened access to the real heaven, but there are real demons and a real devil who wants to stop or hinder your connection to God. He wants to stop you from receiving answered prayers and blessings from heaven and he wants to stop your praise and worship of God. This is why the bible teaches us to not think of Jesus in the flesh any longer, and not to think of anyone, including ourselves in the flesh. We are to think in the spiritual realm. And we have a real enemy so we are in a real spiritual battle - in the invisible realm. This is exactly why the old covenant was established in the physical; for it is our example of how to fight the invisible fight. We are strengthened when we understand that we live by faith and not by sight, but we are equipped when we read our old testament to understand how to use our weapons of warfare. Jesus taught his disciples and the Jews to look to the scriptures, the old testament, for it speaks to Him, for He said, 'These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.' Then He opened their minds to understand the scriptures (Luke 204:44-45). The old scriptures speak to His coming and give a deeper insight as to what is really happening, they are there for our benefit and our understanding. A deeper knowledge of God and what is happening is in knowing both the old and the new covenants; for they both speak of Jesus; one foretells of His coming and the other is His coming. Them other make the full scripture which the Spirit will speak to you about and remind you of the words of Jesus, so if you don't know it then how can He bring it back to your remembrance to help you in your hour of need (Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10, 24; Luke 4:21; 22:37; 24:27, 32, 45; John 2:22; 5:39; 7:38; Acts 17:2; 17:11; 18:24, 28; Romans 1:2; 4:3; 10:11; 11:2; Galatians 3:8). Not knowing the truth, which is the entire word of God, then you slip into error; as our Lord said, 'You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God' (Matthew 22:29). And remember this was said before any of the new testament was written. We read, 'Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching (1 Timothy 4:13). For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope (Romans 15:4). And, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). They had enough word, rama, spoken in the old testament to enter into God's promise. We have all the spoken word, so we have no excuse.
Walk in the Spirit Equipped and Ready for Battle. This is the spiritual battle, we are currently fighting which is in the spiritual realm, where we really live and exist. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules (Ezekiel 36:27). This is the reason we are to no longer think in the flesh, but to live, breath, think and exist in the Spirit. If you never shift to 'Walking in the Spirit,' you're never going to win the battle. This is partly what Jesus meant when He said, that you must be 'born again' for you have to be born into the Spirit realm. When you're born, you're a baby, but you must grow up into a warrior. Reading and knowing the Scripture (old and new) is what will equip you the most for the battle.
The Lord has identified and unified all His children from across the earth, throughout time, in the Spirit through faith in the promise given to Abraham. His love is rich in mercy and wisdom. God's glory is made manifest, which is Him demonstrating His divine character and eternal power through the mediation of the covenants. Divine wisdom! It is all too clear, that He loves us with an everlasting love. Jesus is the promised King of the Kingdom of God. And as the King, He has kingship (lordship) which is the supreme power and authority to sovereignly rule the dominion or realm of His Kingdom. And His Kingdom overshadows everything, forevermore. He is the sovereign Lord and Master of everything - forever. And since He is a High Priest, He mediates this new and better covenant. As the supreme King, He is the judge of all. And every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord (Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:11).
Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith (Hebrews 13:7).
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing well (James 2:8).
In Summary. The law of Moses is essentially contained in the old testament (covenant) which required participation of both parties; while the new testament (covenant) is based on the finishing work of Christ upon the cross - for those who believe with an enduring faith. The descendants of Abraham are not physical descendants but are the children of God by faith; and God sent His beloved Son to die for the remission of their sins so they can be raised to eternal life. The promise to Abraham still stands for all who believe, and the gates of heaven are still opened offering the elect blessings, security, freedom, rest and eternal life. At the fullness of time for the age of the gentiles, then the Lord will come to be the king and mighty warrior to deliver His people from their oppressors, to give them freedom and peace. On the Day of the Lord, they will know that Jesus is LORD.