Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The New Covenant P12 (06-21-21)
People say, “God is the same yesterday, today and forever and everything is the same.” No, everything is not the same. God changed things when He ushered in the New Covenant. There was an Old Covenant that was replaced. Under the Old Covenant, you had rules and regulations, with the ten commandments along with dietary laws, that say if you do this, then God will do this. There was a temporary covering for sins, a temporary sacrificial system of shedding the blood of bulls and goats that could never take away sins. There were promises under the Old Covenant, mostly physical in nature, of having their physical needs provided for them, and to be God”s treasured possession, if they just obeyed. But the law was never added so man could be made right with God. It was added so mankind may recognize his sinful state, his condition of spiritual death, like a mirror to see dirt on your face, so he may seek a Savior. It was a system that was to only last until the time of Christ.
So what changed? When there is a change in the law, then by necessity, there must be a change in the priesthood, not in the order of Aaron in the lineage of Levi. Only people born in the line of Levi could perform the animal sacrifices required under an Old Covenant, and that covenant was made with the Jews. They could not keep it, as evidenced by thousands of years of history, including the first day when Moses went up Mt. Sinaiu and came back with the ten commandments. By the time he went back up the mountain the Israelites already broke the first commandment and worshipped a golden calf.
The issue is, all of us are born dead in sin, in the sin nature inherited in fallen Adam. Being dead, we could not obey the law. We, as Gentiles, were not even given the law, but we stole the law from the Jews thinking we could keep it. “We can do better than the Jews.” No, we cannot. We also fall flat on our face. Without the love of God in our hearts, and love being the fulfillment of the law, then how could we fulfill the law? We could not. God never intended us to follow rules written on stone. That is a picture of our stoney hearts and our need of a new heart, that Jesus came to give us, the very nature of Himself, God being love, to be offered to us.
That is why Jesus came, to fulfill the law for us, living in perfect righteousness, not by obeying laws on stone, but by walking in love, and God is love and love being the fulfillment of the law, for love does its neighbor no wrong. Having fulfilled the law, He also met the demands of the law, of death being required for sin. He laid down His life for us, in order that after taking away the cause of our death, which is sin, He can be raised to new life, to offer that same life, eternal life, to us, as a gift, to be received by faith.
So His death is what ushered in a New Covenant, for without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. So then, He can set aside the Old Covenant, having met all of its demands, living a sinless life, and can start a New Covenant with man, on better promises, that does not depend on anything we do to obtain it or keep it. Unlike priests under an Old Covenant, who could never sit down, for their work was never done, Jesus sat down at the right hand of God, after crying out from the cross, “It is finished.” The work is done to secure for mankind, a new will kept in heaven for us, where moth and rest can never destroy and where He says “I will remember your sins no more and where these have been forgiven, there is no more sacrifice for sin.” He then said, “I will never leave you or forsake you. I have given you my Holy Spirit, sealed in you, as a guarantee of an eternal inheritance. I will guide you into all truth and I will always live in you and intercede for you.” So the New Covenant has better promises, by an eternal high priest, whom God said, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
Turn to Chapter 4: A New Priesthood in A Closer Look at The New Covenant. We started out in this study talking about the New Covenant in comparison to the Old Covenant, the Old Testament in comparison to the New Testament, or a new will in comparison to an old will. We have many examples of that in our life. The example that the book of Hebrews gives is a will.
16 In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.
We are dealing with the covenant that was not put into effect until the ultimate death of Christ Jesus at the cross, having come to this earth and fulfilled the law, which we as humans could not do and would not do, but He did. He fulfilled all of it. He walked in perfect love and love is the fulfillment of the law. He fulfilled the Old Covenant, the demands of the Old Covenant. We could not. We tried, but there is no way for us to accomplish that. He Himself came, taking upon our flesh, so our humanity was represented totally by Him. Sort of like David and the giant, Goliath, that whoever won that battle was in control of who won it. He provided for all mankind the fulfillment of the law. Now, able through His death and resurrection, to usher in a New Covenant of grace, whereby in Hebrews is explained.
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”[Jeremiah 31:34]
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
To the Jew, it was to put aside your day of atonement, your sacrificial system. There is no more sacrifice for sins. There is no more covering, no more atonement. It has been taken away, which is better than covering. This was a promise of God to us. That was the meaning of the cross.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
That was the reason for the New Covenant. We studied this in chapter 2. The reason for the New Covenant was because we could not fulfill the old. I believe that when God decided to usher in a New Covenant, He certainly was going to do so with better promises. The better promises are that there is no connection to us. We are out of the equation. In the Old Testament, promises were, “You do this and I will do this.” It totally eliminated that. The minute you put us with a condition, we are going to blow it, without question. We have had thousands of years of experience to prove that. As holy as some people think they are, with the bible tucked around their arm and head tilted to one side, ready to either throw up or make their ascension to heaven. I do not care what you look like or act like, no one has ever been declared righteous in the sight of God. You just think you are.
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
This New Covenant is made on better promises. It was a promise of no conditions. “I will do it all. What I ask of you is to believe it or not believe it.” That is not a work. It is just accept it or reject it.
Today, we want to study chapter 4. This book, , is a bible study no one should be without. So let us introduce this topic as you turn to Chapter 4: A New Priesthood.
Have you ever worked at a job you totally despised? Most everyone could answer yes to that question. As bad as your job may have been, you at least had a chair to sit on and you could point at something just accomplished and say, “I helped with that!”
That was not the case for the priests in Israel. They were never able to rest while working their shift; and not even a chair was allowed in their office. A chair was a prohibited piece of furniture in the temple because their work was never done. And, despite any desire to try something new, they were bound to their position because they were descendants of Levi. They had no other option.
You may be thinking, “I bet they could hardly wait to get up in the morning.” Yet, in spite of their job description, the Levitical priests worked tirelessly, day after day, week after week, year after year, carrying out the duties of their office from the day of Moses until the time of Christ. Their work was never done. Despite all the effort, all of this changed. Let’s take a closer look.
5 In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,
“You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”[Psalm 2:7]
6 And he says in another place,
“You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”[Psalm 110:4]
Jesus was declared to be a high priest by God, not by ancestry. The length of His tenure was to be forever. It was not something that Jesus had to work to obtain. It was something that God named Him while He was here on this earth.
11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood
If God could have accomplished or we could have done what God told us to do, and therefore accomplished what God had for us, if that kind of perfection could have been obtained through the Levitical priesthood, then why was there still a need for another priest to come?
– and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood – why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?
In other words, out of the line of priestly ancestors.
12 For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also.
Let us ask ourselves a question? Are you still under Levi, or under Jesus? Who is your priest, Levi or Jesus? You have to make your mind up on that because if you are under Jesus, there has been a change of the law.
People say, “God is the same yesterday, today and forever and everything is the same.” No, everything is not the same. God changed things when He ushered in the New Covenant. There was an Old Covenant. Paul said it this way.
11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
There is nothing wrong with the law, it is holy, righteous and good, but when it flows through me it kills me. I am the problem.
8 But God found fault with the people and said: “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.
God forbid, people would say, “because I am wonderful.” But we could not keep the law. We should have a clue on that at Mt. Sinai. By the time Moses came down with the ten commandments and went back up to report that all had been accomplished, they built a golden calf and were having orgies. They should have had a clue right there. They said, “We will do everything. You just give us the law, and we will obey it.” But they fell flat on their face on the first one. They were worshipping the golden calf before the whole transaction ever got completed. We cannot do it, folks.
I want to emphasize that as hard as you may try, you are not going to do it. Trying to obey the law and trying to live in accordance with the statutes of God, for the lost man, is as impossible as trying to jump over a fifty foot crevice. You are not going to make it. It does not matter if you stumble jumping or miss it by an inch on the other side, you will hear splat on the bottom and the words, “Next.” You are not going to do it. No man has ever accomplished it. We, as Gentiles, who were never given the law, incidentally, stole it from the Jews and said, “You may not have been able to do it, but brother, you watch our smoke.”
We are as dumb as they were. God called us sheep and you do not find a dumber animal than a sheep. They will just walk over the cliff with their leader, and we will do the same. The issue is we need a new heart. We needed a new life. That is what the New Covenant was able to usher in.
In order to do that, there was a change of the priesthood. Perfection could not be obtained through the Levitical priesthood. That is why there is a need for another priest to come. This priest was not in the order of Aaron, not out of the priestly line. It was totally out of the line of the inheritance of Aaron.
11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
We are talking about the Old Testament priests. Every priest stands. Why does He stand? There is no place to sit. Did those sacrifices cover sins? Yes, they did. That was called atonement, covering of sins, until when? The next time. Probably about 5 minutes after you get away from the sacrifices you made. That was an animal sacrifice. It was required by law.
8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” – though they were offered in accordance with the law.
But such sacrifices could never take away sins. That is why God was not pleased with them.
I am convinced that one of these days there is going to be a rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. I am convinced that when that occurs, that after all of these years, I wonder how in the world the Jews think they are getting their sins forgiven, because there is no sacrifice, if they know the bible that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Quite frankly, for them there is no more shedding of blood. Their temple is gone and it has been gone since 70 A.D. So you wonder how in the world did they manipulate those scriptures, or ignored them, for all of these years? If you are still asking for forgiveness, then what God would be saying is, “Where is your sacrifice? You do not have one, and you have refused mine. So where is your sacrifice?” Without the shedding of blood or the forfeiture of life, or sacrifice, there is no forgiveness of sin.
When the temple is rebuilt and reestablished, I am convinced the Jews will reinitiate the sacrificial system. They will start again, sacrificing the blood of bulls and goats in their temple. To me, a direct reflection of spitting right in the face of their Messiah, and saying, “I still do not believe that you died for the sins of the world. And we will initiate our sacrificial system.”
I am also so convinced that there are a lot of Christians that are so deceived that they would rather be a Jew than they would be a Christian. They want to follow the Jewish customs. They want to follow the Jewish holidays. They want to put little hats on the back of their head. They want to be a Jew. I guarantee you that there will be some, probably many, who will go over to Israel during that time and sacrifice an animal. I am convinced of that. That is how dumb humanity is. In so doing, spitting right in the face of their savior.
11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
John 11:46-53 records what took place at a certain meeting of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was a counsel of 71 men, made up of chief priests, the scribes and the elders, which were the Pharisees and the Saduccees. The high priest served as president. They ruled on matters affecting Judaism and Israel and served as the role of a president. They ruled on matters affecting Judaism and Israel. Their decisions were binding on all the Jews, whether in Israel or scattered abroad.
46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
Answer the questions in regard to their opinion of Jesus. Who called this meeting? For what purpose? What was their complaint? From which Israel tribe did the priests come from? From which tribe did Jesus come from? What did the Sanhedrin fear would happen if Jesus continued to gain in popularity? What action did they determine to take as a result?
What killed Jesus? Job security killed Jesus. “I am a priest. I have been made a priest by God.” “No, you have been made a priest because you were a Levi, but God did initiate that.” So you are sitting there and saying, “this man is of such quality and performing such unbelievable miracles, that if we, who rule everything, and have the ability to determine a person’s life or death, if we let this man go on like this, before long everyone is going to believe in him, instead of us. He will become the authority, instead of us, and we are going to lose our place. We are going to lose our jobs. We are going to lose our position. We are not going to be considered the big dogs of Israel.” What killed Jesus? Job security. Do not ever forget it.
49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
One man stood up and said, “You people just do not know anything.” How did he ever come up with that? I do not know. But he literally prophesied what happened, of what Jesus did.
51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God [for all, Jew and Gentile alike], to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
This is, again, a prophecy by Caiphas, who was a high priest. He prophesied that this man Jesus, that they are saying, “If we allow him to go on like this, then he will take away our place and our nation”. What is the conclusion? “If you do not want him to go on like this, what are you going to do about it?” For one thing, kill him. That is the quickest way, just wipe him out. You could beat him up, and they tried that before. You can put him away some place, but if you did, he would just start a new movement somewhere else. So to kill him was the only thing they had in mind at all. So Caiphas was prophesying there. “Look guys, you are fighting against somebody here, that if you let him do what he came to do, our nation will be free.” Did they do it? No. They did not. He prophesied that Jesus was going to die, not only for the Jewish nation, but for the Gentile people as well. He did not say that specifically, but he said the scattered children of God.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace
Paul talks about that in Ephesians. A mystery is a secret that is in God’s mind that is only revealed when He was ready to reveal it and through whom He wanted to reveal it, and by whom He could reveal it, and that is Jesus. Through the blood of Christ Jesus, that wall of hostility between Jew and Gentile will be cut in two, the hostility between God and man. There was hostility. Man could not go into the Holy of Holies. Only the high priest could go through the Holy of Holies, with a rope tied to his ankles, for if he died you could pull him out. No one else can go in there. When Jesus died, that curtain was torn from top to bottom. It was a big and huge curtain, and thick. It was impossible for man to rip it, let alone from the top down. Somebody could have said maybe from the bottom up, but it was from top to down. That enabled all of us to go into the Holy of Holies. No longer just a high priest, but all of us who have been made born again believers, are priests, to go into the Holy of Holies and call “Daddy, Father”, and we receive mercy in our time of need, both Jew and Gentile. The Gentiles to be included was an unthinkable thought. Do you think they knew what Caiphas was saying? Not a clue. There were other scriptures of how God was going to save Jews and Gentiles. I do not think they believed a word of it.
So he was prophesying that God was going to bring all people together. This is what this mystery was, that God was going to save Jew and Gentile identically the same way and make one new man out of the two. He was going to take away the law the Jew had and the Gentile at that time did not have the law. That is what separated them. To this day, the interpretation of the law is still separating the Jews themselves, not only in Israel but in any place the orthodox Jews are. They walk around in their curly cues, with their hats and in black robes, and have rules and regulations they follow tenaciously. On the Sabbath day, you cannot push a button on a Sabbat elevator. That would be work. So they developed an elevator that stops at every floor. You cannot spit on the ground for that could make mud, so that would be considered work, but you can spit on a rock. You cannot have milk and meat at the same meal or in the same restaurant. In their marriage deal, those things are beyond comprehension what rules they have. To be honest with you, they are hated by other Jewish people who are not orthodox. They are totally disliked. That would be no different than the Pharisees. The difference is everyone would be orthodox, except his man called Jesus, who came along and who absolutely rebelled against that legalism. That is why they put him to death. That separation, that adherence to Jewish law, also separated the Jews from the Gentile community. So, what God did at the cross, He took away the law. People just say, “Oh, you cannot do that.” Yes, He did. He took the law away in order to bring us down to the position of lost and dead. You are all going to be saved the same way, through the resurrected life of Christ Jesus your Lord.
With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he [God] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.