Monday, January 7, 2013

The New Birth predicted in the Old Testament

Ezekiel 36:26-27 26“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

Even though the New Birth reality would not be in full function until after the Holy Spirit came in Acts 2, the prediction of it came centuries before the New Testament.  As we saw yesterday, The Holy Spirit was already doing a work in human hearts, a proto-type to the New Birth called "circumcision of the Heart".  In seeing His work in the Old Testament, the time would be inaugurated for a new, deeper and more abiding work.  When we arrive in our Old Testaments to the prophets, prophets such as Ezekiel and Jeremiah are the primary prophets we look to when grasping what would be the greater work of the New Birth.

The functions and limits of the Old Covenant
Israel as a nation had failed in her covenant obligations to God that He had outlined for them in Exodus 19-20.  Though God had given His promises to His people through the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants, it was in the Mosaic Covenant of Exodus 19-20 that God outlined their redemptive identity.  The Mosaic Covenant or Sinaitic Covenant (so-called because it was made by God with His people at Mount Sinai), spelled out the type of righteousness God desired and expected if anyone is to have any relationship with Him.  This covenant that God made demanded righteousness, but could not deliver it.  God knew that the people of Israel would try to get to Him apart from grace, and so He gave the law to show them their inability to do so.  

The Covenant of Sinai, also called "The Old Covenant", awaited the day God would reveal a "New Covenant" to His people.  Since the people of Israel came to be identified with Moses and the "Old Covenant", the entire age leading up to the cross is called the "Old Covenant" or "Old Testament Age".  A " New Covenant" was needed.  Hebrews 8:7 "For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second."

The glorious revelation of the New Covenant
When God began to reveal His New Covenant promises to Israel in passages like Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 36:25-27, He was originally pointing to a completely future time, the final age in which Christ would reign on earth - the Millennial age.  Israel the nation was promised by God to be restored at Messiah's second coming.  The people as a nation would look upon the One whom they had pierced and be saved. (Zechariah 12:10)  What the New Covenant promises were designed for was to give hope to a nation that had been sent to exile in Babylon for 70 years.  They would become not only a nation once again, but would end up fulfilling the destiny which they forfeited.  

That time for Israel will come, and the New Covenant Promises do ultimately speak to them.  However from what we gather in the New Covenant scriptures (another name for the New Testament), this New Covenant has been spiritually inaugurated in the life of the Church.  When you read passages such as 2 Corinthians 3-5 and Hebrews 8-9, you discover that the "Age to Come" is overlapping with this current church age.  We as Christians, by way of the New Birth, are partaking spiritually of the promises communicated in Jeremiah and Ezekiel.  

How the New Covenant exceeds the Old Covenant

When we turn to passages such as Hebrews 8:7-13, we discover just how wonderful our salvation is in light of the fact that we are spiritual partakers of the New Covenant.  Let the reader take note:

Old Covenant                             vs                         New Covenant
Hebrews 8:10                                                      Hebrews 8:10
-Demands godliness                                             -Delivers godliness
-Principles for holy living                                      -power for holy living
-God was unapproachable                                 -God is approachable

Hebrews 8:11                                                       Hebrews 8:11
-I know about God                                               -I come to know God

Hebrews 8:12                                                       Hebrews 8:12
-sin is shown as sin                                              -sin is forgiven

Hebrews 8:13                                                       Hebrews 8:13
-change is not available                                       -change is expected

As you can see, by gaining an understanding of the New Covenant versus Old Covenant systems, we can better appreciate the background leading up to the work of the New Birth.  I hope this brief summary today has shed light and edified your heart dear reader. 

No comments:

Post a Comment