Monday's Messianic Taste of Hidden Manna #58
Breaking News: The Inauguration of the New Covenant
The Breaking News of a New House with a New Covenant
One morning when I was but a young boy, my parents announced that we were going to go for a ride in the car after school. When my brother Michael, my sister Mary, and I asked where we were going, Dad and Mom said that it was a surprise. Of course, we got very excited. To our amazement the ride only took a few moments, as we only drove 266 feet from our house on Pine Street to the intersection of East Street, and then another .6 miles down East Street. On the way, we passed my Uncle Gene’s store on the corner of East and James Street, Mullaney’s Market and Package Store. A few minutes later, we passed my Uncle Ed and Aunt Anne’s house on East Street. Just seconds later, we passed my Uncle Gene and Aunt Kay’s house on East Street. Then, we learned that the street dead-ended at the wooded area behind Bliss Brothers Dairy (a dairy, restaurant, and ice cream shoppe). As we turned around at the dead end, we were told that one of the Bliss brothers and his family lived in the last house on the street. We then drove a few yards to a house that we had never visited before. When our parents told us that we were going to get out of the car at this house, we asked whose house it was. All they said was, “Let’s go see”. To our surprise when we walked into the house, it was empty. Our parents then took us for a tour of each room, then the big basement that was complete with piano, and finally the incredibly large side and backyard. While in the backyard, we asked again whose house it was. Dad and Mom replied, ‘ours’! We were so excited about the breaking news of a new house that we ran circles around it a few times. Later, we found out that the new house came with a new family ‘covenant’ of mutual responsibilities, including healthy chores, in order to manage the household. We loved the ‘new covenant’ in the new house.
The Breaking News of the Inaugurated New Covenant
That childhood story is meant to help remind us of the breaking news of the inaugurated new covenant. When Yeshua the Messiah first appeared among His own, He inaugurated the promised new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah (on behalf of all nations) through His all-effectual life, suffering, death, resurrection, ascension, and sitting down at the right hand of God (YHWH) to inaugurate the kingdom of God. This was all grounded in the one true God’s covenant of shalom (wholeness, completeness, soundness, sufficiency, satisfaction, harmony, peace) or holistic wellbeing as expressed in passages such as Isaiah 54:10, “‘For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but My loyal lovingkindness will not depart from You, and My covenant of shalom will not be removed’, says the LORD, who has compassion on you”. It was also grounded in the promise of the wondrous Good News as expressed in the central passage of Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the one who heralds Good News, who proclaims shalom, who heralds Good News of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’”! While the inaugurated new covenant first involves the promised inaugural restoration of Israel, it is clear from Luke-Acts alone that this restoration got significantly underway so as to commence the outreach to the nations. Hence, the inaugural new covenant is to be celebrated by God’s covenant Jewish people as well as ethnic peoples from all the nations alike who enter it through Messiah Yeshua.
The Inaugurated New Covenant is to be Celebrated Every Day!
What is to be celebrated today and every day by those who belong to God and Messiah is the inauguration of the new covenant! Arguably, the following three passages of the Tanakh (Torah, Prophets, & Writings) are the most central expressions of it: Deuteronomy 30–33; Jeremiah 31 (especially vv. 31–40); and Ezekiel 36–37. I would urge you to pause here and read all of these chapters now. They should fill us with encouragement, perseverance, and hope about what God has always been in the process of doing first and foremost in and among His people Israel, and then on behalf of all the nations—in a manner that starts out as small as a mustard seed but eventually grows into a tree (see, e.g., Matt 13:31–32). Have you entered the mustard seed form of the new covenant? The question from Zechariah 4:10 applies here: “Who has despised the day of small things”? In its mustard seed form, it appears largely invisible. In its coming fullness as a fullgrown tree, it will be wholly visible to every set of eyes everywhere in the heavens and on the earth!
The Inaugurated New Covenant Gift of Transformation
Notice that the inaugurated new covenant comes with a gift of profound transformation related to our speaking, thinking, being, behaving, doing, and living! As we saw in the passages above, this profound transformation, by means of an unprecedented yet not full measure of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) of God, involves the circumcision of the heart. Such a wondrous procedure enables us to love the LORD our God with the whole of our heart, being, and muchness—at a whole new level. This is the new ‘obedience of trust producing trustworthiness’ that frames the Book of Romans at Rom 1:5 and 16:26! This is the new ability to love our ‘neighbors’ as ourselves, which is the summational ethic of the Scriptures found late in the Book of Romans at Romans 13:8–10!
All this is possible by no longer allowing ourselves to be shaped by the age that preceded the inauguration of the new covenant (Rom 12:1a). By sharp contrast we are to allow ourselves to be transformed by the renewing of our mindset (our way of thinking, seeing, perceiving, engaging, and responding to the world) as a profound gift that accompanies the entrance into the new covenant! This allows us to live no longer according to the ‘old age’, but according to the newness of all things associated with the inaugurated Messianic age! That’s because we are transferred out of the domain of darkness into the inaugurated kingdom of the Son of God’s love (Col 1:13). That means we are NOW in the inaugurated new creation spoken of in Isaiah 40–66 (especially 65–66). We are in fact able to ‘walk in newness of life’ (Rom 6:4 & 7:6) in such a manner as to provide the world with a foretaste of the new creation resurrection life now!
The Inaugurated New Creation is to be Celebrated Every Day!
Paul (Sha’ul), a Pharisee who eventually entered the new covenant in a most striking and supernatural manner (see Acts 9), heralded the new covenant new creation: “So then, if anyone is in Messiah, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived” (2 Cor 5:17 CEB)! However, as we showed in Messianic Taste of Hidden Manna #52, the hope of the new covenant new creation is actually first found in Genesis 49! Recall that the imagery of Gen 49:11–12 suggests that the days of the coming king will be accompanied by a restoration of the abundance of the Garden of Eden. Hence, we saw that the 'end' is in view from the beginning in the Scriptures. Oh, that our understanding of all of this would be made full. I am talking about being filled up in our understanding, but more importantly enfleshing all of this in our daily living! And, if our expectations of the new covenant new creation have not been met, it is because we have confused the mustard seed and largely invisible inauguration of it, with the coming fullgrown tree and wholly visible permanent form of it! I beg you not to make this mistake, but rather to enter and celebrate the inaugurated new creation every day!
Bringing the New Covenant New Creation to Bear on All Aspects of Life
The new covenant ushers all those who enter it into the inaugural reality of the new creation. They then bring the worldview and way of life of the new creation to bear on every aspect of life, by the power of the Ruach (Spirit) of God, to the extent possible given the limitations of circumstances in human kingdoms and empires. In fact, it’s all about living into the ‘sphere’ of the new Messianic age while suffering the consequences of heralding its Good News here in the present evil age (Gal 1:4). A wondrous example of this for us again is the Community of Messiah followers at Philippi. While living in a decisively Roman colony, they lived out their citizenship in the kingdom of God in Messiah in the heavens—in their earthly citizenship in Philippi. While eagerly anticipating the fullness of the kingdom of God and Messiah to come, and praying for it daily, they practiced the following ethic: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are worthy of respect, whatsoever things are right, whatsoever things are of moral integrity, whatsoever things are admirable, whatsoever things are commendable—if there is anything of exceptional civic virtue and if there is anything worthy of praise—concentrate on these things”. (Phil 4:8 HLG).
With Paul in Ephesians 1, my ceaseless prayer is that the eyes of our understanding would be enlightened to clearly see all of this in a manner that transforms our thinking, speaking, being, behaving, doing, and living! And, Paul’s seeming extremism in this regard was solely due to his unquenchable desire that no one would miss out on the breaking, and in this case inbreaking, news of the inaugurated new covenant with its inaugurated new creation!
Are you wholeheartedly all in?!
In your service always, Henri Louis Goulet