While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal [temporary]; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18 KJ2000)
A few mornings ago I awoke with the Lord comparing in my mind the vast difference between the Old and New Covenants. As a result I have given much thought to this as of late and how those things which are seen are only temporary and why we find ourselves so absorbed in them. Didn’t Jesus leave us a spiritual kingdom which comes without outward observation?
All of Christendom seems to be absorbed with temporal things and concerned about what we shall eat and what clothes we will wear for each occasion. Why is it that “fellowship” as defined in the church scene is reserved only for those who belong to the same club as us? Yet, IN Christ, all who are born from above are members one of another and IN Him there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave or free, male or female, of Paul or of Apollos or Cephas, but rather a NEW Creation, the family of God which is not defined by those things which are seen.
In the Old Covenant, human priests stood as mediators between God and man. In the New, Jesus is our ONE Mediator who stands before God as our High Priest ever to make intersession for us.
In the old system temples were in a fixed place and static, but in the New there is one temple and it is made from LIVING stones, members of the body of Christ, and it is dynamic, moveable and alive! As much as we are attached to our church buildings I have to wonder what covenant we are really of!
In this NEW Creation, worship is not about being gathered in temples and buildings made for that purpose listening to music that puts us in the mood, but rather true worship comes forth from being transformed from within and takes place in the Spirit and in Truth no matter where we are. Our very lives IN Christ are ones that show forth our worship of the Father who has given us all things IN the Son.
In the Old Covenant the city of God was the Old Jerusalem in Israel and subject to invading armies and the corruption of men. In the New we have a New Jerusalem that is likened to the Bride of Christ which is without spot or blemish which comes down from the throne of God prepared for the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. In the Old it was a city of blood. In the New it is a city filled with the Life and Light of the Father and the Son.
In the New creation we are no longer dependent on a priestly cast to “do the God stuff” for us, but rather we are ALL a kingdom of priests. The reformation never went far enough, for most of Protestantism is still Catholic in its design. This universal priesthood of the believer also does away with the question of whether “women can be in ministry,” as does the fact that we are all part of a NEW creation IN Christ. The walls of separation between members of Christ’s body are also torn down as was that earthly temple almost 2000 years ago.
In the Old Covenant men offered up animals for sin offerings over and over, but in the New, Christ offered up His own life and blood once for all and did away with that old temple sacrificial system. Yet why do so many Christians get all excited when they hear rumors that another temple is to be built in Jerusalem and the get goose bumps at the thought of the animal sacrifices being resumed? What covenant are they of?
In the Old men gave a tithe of their increase at the temple. In the New Covenant, God is looking for one thing and that is those who present their own bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable unto Him instead of a tenth of their worldly possessions. If God has our hearts, our possessions are His to do with as HE wills and where His love is in operation among us, no one will be found lacking.
In the Old Covenant families were defined by their blood linage. In the NEW we who are Christ’s are closer than any human blood connection. Those who believe IN Christ are of one UNIVERSAL blood type, the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us and makes us all one.
In the Old Covenant men were governed by hierarchy in the Jewish system. In the new only One is our Head, Jesus Christ, and we are all brethren (siblings). The multitude that John saw in Revelation before the throne of God stood on a sea of glass… no one was elevated over the other. As Isaiah put it, “and the increase of HIS government there will be no end.”
In the Old Covenant men were concerned about what they ate that they might not become defiled. In the NEW Jesus said, it is not what goes into a man that defiles him, but rather what comes out of his mouth. For out of the mouth comes forth the issues of the heart. Defilement is a heart condition.
In the Old Covenant the Torah was worshiped and given a place of honor and kept locked away except on special occasions only to be read by a priestly cast. In the New we who are Christ’s are Living Letters to be read and seen by all men. The Bible itself is only as useful as its truth is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit and I thank God it is as accessible as it is.
In the Old Covenant all teaching was done by men. In the New we have no need that any man teach us, but we who are IN Christ have all receive the anointing of the Spirit and He teaches us all things that we need to know.
In the Old Covenant the ark with its mercy seat where the shekinah glory of God abode was closed off from all men except on one day a year when the high priest entered in through the veil with a blood offering. In the New that veil has been torn from top to bottom as Jesus died on the cross making way for all who believe IN Him to boldly enter into the presence of the Father and His throne of grace.
Jesus told Nathan, “You shall see greater things than these. Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” Ours, dear saints, is an OPEN heaven. Why are we so taken with the things of this earth which shall all be done away with? The time is long overdue when we Christians should be searching our own hearts as to what covenant we are of.
Amen brother…loved this post and the truths bore within. Many choose, generally and in essence, to maintain that veil
Sorry hit return button accidentally. Many “unwittingly” choose to maintain that veil. Like they told Moses….oh no, you go up and talk to the lord..we are frightened of him…you go up and we’ll stay here until you return… That religious spirit has not relented upon our do either. We choose life or death..we choose to keep that veil covering our hearts and lives..that religious spirit and her eunuchs love that veil, for it propels their agenda if you will. Choosing that narrow road is indeed hard and painful…and few who be that find it. I liken today just as when Jesus said to them…”are you going to leave now too?” But where shall we go…. For until we have tasted of the Lord and seen that He is good….we are satisfied with the shewbread still laid out on that temporal altar…
TJ, your last comment about the shewbread brought back a memory. George Davis and I were in a Christian bookstore in southern Wyoming and the owner had made the back room into a “prayer room.” In one corner were ascending steps that I gathered you could kneel on and climb up as you felt closer and closer to God. Along the opposite wall was a small table with a white table cloth and in the middle was a moldy loaf of bread laid out on a silver platter. The whole place smacked of dead religion…things I had seen in the Catholic church as I was growing up. Of coarse out front in the book section one was hard pressed to find any “Christian books” that had any real spiritual content, but rather the standard fair of self-help titles and touchy-feely romance novels. Gone are the days when you could walk into a Christian book store and find books about maturity in Christ and the way of the cross. Men would rather settle for moldy old manna than go out and forage for what God has set out for them that they might “taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Yes…good way to put it – moldy, stale, old manna. The good ole facade
What a good article. I’m finding more and more the differences between the old and new covenants. Sadly, seems most of the organized religious systems of the day still want to follow or mix in the old covenant way of thinking.
This is a contrasting juxtaposition at its best! Keep up the good work, Michael.
I had to smile when I read about the Reformation not going far enough. At the time of the Reformation the Catholic papacy said that the Protestants only exchanged their Pope for a Paper Pope (that is now the Bible). And this is quite true in a way for if we make the New Covenant a whole new set of rules or laws to keep, we totally miss the Heart of the Gospel of Jesus living His resurrected life in and through us and we are totally cut of from Christ. He is all in all … the Way, the Truth, the Life … Righteousness, Love etc. He is the dynamic behind all the things He wants from us. Even our loving Him can only be possible when He has first filled our hearts with His life. We were and never will be able to be autonomous or independent. Believing that we can function or do anything (deciding what is good and evil) is the great deception of Satan. Even faith is a gift from God. Humans are only able to function with a spirit deity being in control of our lives. Sort of like a computer, we are the slaves of the deity controlling our lives. When we come to Jesus, He frees us from the Law of sin and death and brings us into His Kingdom of Light and Liberty where we are free to function as our Pappa intended; displaying His glory and His glory alone.
Hope you are doing well and lots of love to Dorothy.
Mia, Thanks for sharing your observations. Any earthly analogy of a heavenly reality breaks down after a while. I think we are more than computers waiting for a new operating system to be downloaded on us from above, though, it is sort of like that. What is missing in this analogy is the word, “relationship.” We are beings that have been created to be in the image and likeness of God. The image part was easy. God made man after His own image, male and female made He them. But then the “likeness” process began. Man was becoming like God as he walked with his Father in the garden and worked with Him, tending the garden, naming the animals, etc. The transformation came via a relationship with the Father. The process got short circuited when Eve was tempted to choose for herself what was evil and what was good and by eating of this wrong tree of knowledge, she sought to be “like God” without God. She was tempted to take a short-cut and become independent of her Creator. Jesus said that those who come into His sheepfold by another way, other than through the Door, Christ Himself, are thieves and robbers. Eve and then Adam chose to come into the fullness of God by another way, a seemingly easier way that was not dependent on a relationship with their Creator… “just take a bite of the forbidden fruit and you are in” said the Serpent. Mankind still is trying to come into the Sheepfold of God by another way, by book learning and education and by the power of his untransformed intellect, thus we have this “Paper Pope” mentality called “bibliolotry” and seminaries, Bible schools and Sunday schools. As a result the church system is filled with thieves and robbers.
Part of the reason that the Reformation never went far enough and that “the nut did not fall far from the tree” is that many of the reformers were intellectuals that never left their centers of learning. God requires us to surrender our lives over to Christ and be transformed totally with a NEW mind, a new heart and a new Spirit and only from there can we hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow Him alone, thus restoring the relationship that was lost in the garden. Until this complete New Covenant transformation takes place religious man will continue to follow other men whose intellect and charisma they admire and men with those earthly powers will gladly rise up and rule over them as history has proven out. We can not be attached to the kingdoms of men and be members of the Kingdom of our Father.
Yes, you are right! A computer analogy doesn’t come far when it comes to the spiritual. God is so incredibly personal that nothing on earth would be able to describe Him. Our minds just cannot understand such majesty. Your answer reminds me so much of C.S. Lewis’s words that we learn much like a dog walking with his master to be like his master. As we walk in union with our Lord, abiding in Him from moment to moment, we also become like Him as we are renewed from day to day in the Spirit. Have you ever read Lewis’s book, Mere Christianity? What a great book.
Mia, Thanks again for your input. Yes, as we behold Him and walk with Him we are being transformed into His likeness. I might have read Lewis’ book, but it has been many years ago. Thanks for the reminder.
But why neglect God the Father the Head of the Kingdom of God.
Christ the First born King of all the Kings of the Family of the Kingdom of God.
Each of those who have accepted God’s calling and been given God’s Spirit are become
Kings and Priests. Rev 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we
shall reign on the earth.
The Od Covenant was added because of transgressions (unbelief Heb 3:17-18)
The New Covenant was the Covenant of Promise that God made with Abraham.
Fulfilled in Christ to become new at the inauguration of the New covenant on the
Day of Pentecost.
All of Christendom seems to be absorbed with temporal things and concerned about what we
shall eat and what clothes we will wear for each occasion.
All of Christendom seems to be absorbed with temporal things and concerned about what we
shall eat and what clothes we will wear for each occasion.
Is it possible that all of Christendom is plain wrong? Following the tradition of th elders that Christ condemned in Mat 15:1-9 … 9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Yes, Vic, the more that things change in this world system (including church systems), the more they remain the same. The only changes that take root are those that come from being transformed by God through His Son. Jeremiah foretold this quantum leap from a system that was dependent on man to fulfill its requirements (and he never could) to one in which God does it all in us as we abide and rest IN Him:
“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
(Jeremiah 31:31-34 RSVA)
Ezekiel also spoke of this change of covenants saying,
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them.
(Ezekiel 36:26-27 KJ2000)
Nope, not a single “thou shalt” or “thou shalt not,” but rather a NEW heart put in us with His will written upon it and a NEW Spirit, His Spirit put within us. Yes, most of what we see of Christendom today still depends on rules, regulations and the traditions of men and excludes the leading of a very personal relationship with the Father and the Son.
Thanks for your comments.
Amen, we, the elect, the chosen, the sanctified are the NT letters to be seen by men.
Mark, good to hear from you again. One of these day soon we need to get together!
Great piece. The new covenant is truly good news. My heart is filled with awe as I think of the provision of the great salvation that God has made for us. “Let us walk in the light as He is in the light . . .”
As some of the writers of the NT would say, ” Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I joy in the fellowship of your blog. Your phone call was so special.
So good to hear your heart on this matter of walking in the NEW Covenant and not the old. The phone call was good. Next time I hope to get a chance to talk with you as well. God saved me from being entangled with the affairs of men and political activism in 1970 and I will not be returning to that futility. My kingdom is not of this world (kosmos), neither is the Lord’s.
Love you both IN the Son,
Love you both,
I have walked with God for near thirty five years now but I rarely go to Church, nor do I talk to others about my Father. I have lost respect for those who say they lead the church and I’m afraid I have a bad opinion of many of the writers who write about the teachings of God and His Son Jesus. Mostly because they write about everything but what the truth really is. I have read the words you wrote and I can honestly say I enjoyed the message I received while reading your post. Thank you.
Roy, thank you for taking the time to encourage me, my brother. God gave us His Spirit to lead us into all truth, just as Jesus said He would. Tozer once said that God seems more interested in “unlearning us” than He is in showing us anything new. I started out as a Catholic through no choice of my own and morphed into Protestantism on my search for truth only to finally find out that the “Truth” is a Person and everything I was looking for was to be found IN Christ. Good to hear that the Lord spoke to you through what I shared. I try always to write only the words He gives me to share and He had to do a lot of killing in me over the last fifty year to make that begin to happen. God bless you, my brother. BTW, were you ever in the navy? I knew another Roy Nichols once many years ago.
“Didn’t Jesus leave us a spiritual kingdom which comes without outward observation?”
Yes, he did, however, the flesh seems to recoil at entering into that spiritual kingdom. The reason why, I suppose is that entering into that realm of the spirit is not natural to flesh. The two things are at emnity with one another, and the fleshly nature strives for control and dominance to stay in the temporal realm. See, touch, hear, taste, smell; whereas God has given us the Holy Spirit and the ability of having 5 spiritual senses as well.
As a new Christian, I sensed there was more, much more than I was experiencing in church, even though there were operations of the Spirit manifesting at times…(well, as much as they would allow Him to).
If our fleshly nature is satisfied with the exercise of remaining in the “paper pope”; the letter; the dead intellectul form of religion, and never daring to step out of the boat into the unknown, scary, and deeper water of the spirit realm we will never have the courage to bridge that chasm, when Jesus holds out his hand and says, “Come”.
How breathtaking it is just to experience this even in a limited measure. Can we dare to? Or will we choose to stay in the boat where we feel safer and more secure in natural surroundings?
I see what your saying Michael…there is more. The veil had been rent, it’s true…but we had to push through many man made veils just to get where we are now. The only thing holding us back from entering in more fully into that spiritual kingdom would be self…and doubt and unbelief, as I see it. With our feet glued to the dirt of the carnal world.
Wow this blog is so right on..every word you say is so accurate..please keep sending them to me..I love it.
Kenneth, Thank you for your comment. Please pray for me that I might accurately hear His voice and share what I hear.