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The New Covenant

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Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.[1] In the same way, the New Covenant has its regulations for worship and for sanctification. It has its own sign like the rainbow was a sign of Noah’s covenant, and circumcision was a sign of Abraham’s covenant, and the Israelites had a ‘Book of the Covenant.’ So also there are regulations, terms, conditions, signs and a Book of the Covenant for us. Each covenant has a name given by the Lord, sometimes implied, other times made plain. Usually the covenant is called by the name of its purpose. Thus the covenant with Noah is a Covenant of Life; Abraham’s is called the Covenant of Blessing; and so on.

For us, Jesus made the name of His Covenant with the Father plain for us. He said:

· “This is My blood of the (New) Covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”[2]

· “This is My blood of the (New) Covenant, which is poured out for many.”[3]

· “This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you.”[4]

· “This cup is the New Covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”[5]

When you put it all together, it reads: “The New Covenant in My blood is this cup, which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins, for many and for you. Whenever you drink it, do this in remembrance of Me.”

Thus, the supper of the Lord is to enforce the Covenant, its purposes and its beneficiaries. Its purpose is the forgiveness of sins and the remembrance of Him. Its beneficiaries are many, including you. Thus, every time, not just when we drink the wine and eat the bread it is not the only remembrance, for, in fact, every time we forgive one another and forgive those who sin against us and are indebted to us, that is the true remembrance of Him, for He died so that His blood and body could be shed and broken up in order that the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins might be written on the clay tablet that is His flesh with His blood as the ink.

The appearance of Jesus in the Gospels, the baptism, the preaching, the signs and wonders, the miracles, the teaching and the decree on the Mount of Transfiguration, all of these were foundational and conditional to the establishment of the New Covenant and whenever the covenant was renewed in the Old Testament, there was a process that had to be enacted before the Covenant was re-established.

It always started with repentance from sins, and for us, it was a repentance from the sin of not listening to Jesus. After that repentance came the reading of the laws, terms and conditions of that covenant. And in our case, it was the period of our personal reading, highlighting, writing, singing and practising the words of Jesus, followed by a confirmation that the repentance had been accepted and the work was accepted with a demonstration of the power of God, be it the Cloud of Glory filling the Tent of the Tabernacle or the Temple of Solomon or fire from Heaven.

In the case of the New Testament, it was the baptism of the Holy Spirit followed by a period of power ministry of blind seeing, lame walking, deaf hearing, lepers cleansed, dead raised and the Gospel preached to the poor. Whenever the setting up of the conditions for the housing of the covenant was completed in the Old Testament, there were always shouts of joy and thanksgiving from the people. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burn offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown.[6]

When Solomon dedicated the Temple, it is written: When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from Heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the Temple. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the Temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshipped and gave thanks to the Lord.[7] For their covenants were Covenants of Inheritance and Kingship, but when the Lord set up the Covenant with Solomon for the Repentance of Sins, there were to be no shouts of joy or songs from the people. But rather, Solomon said, “if they have a change of heart… and repent and plead with You… then from Heaven… forgive Your people, who have sinned against You.”[8] The prayer and pleading of the people surely included tears. Now, look at the difference between the Covenants of Inheritance and Kingship where shouts of joy and thanksgiving came from the people, with fire, consuming fire, coming from God and with what comes from God when the Covenant of Repentance is enacted.

In Nehemiah 8, when the Israelites finally returned from Babylon, the Law was restored and was read out of the Book, this is what came from the people: All the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.[9] As they repented and enacted the Covenant of Repentance, there were no shouts of joy or thanksgiving from the people as in the previous enactment of the other two covenants, but there was still joy, for Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”[10]

In the midst of that enactment, though the people wept and grieved, there was no fire from the Lord, but something even greater than fire; the joy of the Lord was there. When Nehemiah said, “For the joy of the Lord is your strength,” he meant that though you weep, God is giving His Joy and what is the joy of the Lord? What does God enjoy?

What filled Jesus full of joy as it is written: At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was Your good pleasure.”[11] What things, but this: “Rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.”[12] Through faith in Christ, all who repent have their names written in the Book of Life, the Book of the New Covenant, for Jesus was in the process of establishing the New Covenant. In fact, when Jesus was praying, saying, “I am coming to You now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of My joy within them,”[13] He had not yet established the Covenant. But when it was finished in its entirety after His resurrection, Jesus declared the terms of this New Covenant in the fullness of its power and authority. “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you. Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”[14]

The fullness of Jesus’ joy was to see the Father enjoying Himself in His good pleasure of forgiving the sins of those who repented and believed in Him. This is the joy of the Lord that is our strength. God enjoying Himself in His good pleasure of forgiving the sins of those who repent is the joy that is our strength. And to participate in what God is enjoying, we must also forgive those who sin against us, and those who are indebted to us just as God is forgiving those who sinned against Him and are indebted to Him, even us. When we fail to forgive, we have no strength, and when we have no strength, we cannot be pillars of the Temple, for the pillars of a building do not require power, but rather, they require strength.

Although power and strength are similar, they are different just like the two faces of a coin. To understand power and strength and their difference, take the cannon as an example. The power in the cannon lies in the explosive of the shot and the weight of the shot as it comes out, but the strength in the cannon lies in the strength of its barrel to contain the explosion and the anchoring of the cannon to stabilise the direction of the shot.

It takes the power of the Holy Spirit to drive out demons and to perform miracles and even to bring that which you say to come to pass, but it takes strength to forgive and to endure. That is why those who called out to the Lord, “‘Lord, Lord,’”[15] were rejected for they only had a power ministry of driving out demons and doing miracles and prophesying, presumably even the power to bring that which they say to come to pass, for they only need to believe and not doubt for them to receive whatever they say, yet the Lord did not know them for they did not know the Lord.

When the seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your Name,” Jesus told them, “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.”[16] The real joy of the Lord, the rejoicing of the Lord, the ‘re’ meaning second helping, second measure, second serve of the joy of the Lord, lies in the forgiveness of the sins of those who had repented and believed. Had those of Matthew 7:21-22 said, “Lord, Lord, we preached repentance and forgiveness in Your Name, and the Holy Spirit confirmed Your word,” then they would have truly known what gives the Lord true joy, the full joy that comes from the second outpouring.

Now to forgive means that you have people sinning against you, people who are insulting you, persecuting you and falsely saying all kinds of evil things against you, like messengers from Satan, thorns in your flesh, and others who are indebted to you, people who are constantly dependant on your help as well, as if they cannot get up and help themselves. To carry these two loads, you will need strength and endurance. Thus, when you forgive those who sin against you and those who are indebted to you, the joy of the Lord is yours to give you strength, which is why the Lord said to Paul, “My grace, (My favour and loving kindness and mercy) is enough for you, for My strength and power are made perfect… in weakness.” [AMP] “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” [NIV] “…for power is perfected in weakness.” [NASB] “…for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” [OKJV][17]

The strength comes first and that comes from the joy of the Lord. Indeed, where it is written: Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,[18] we tend to think in terms of the power that came out of Him for miracles, but we forget that He was crucified before the foundation of the world so that forgiveness of sins was already His anchor before sin came in. Strength was already in the Lord for the joy of the Lord was His strength also, the joy that comes not from creating or displaying awesome miracles of power, but the joy that comes from forgiving. Before the power, Jesus was already full of strength, like the cannon before the shell was placed in the gun, its barrel was already made with sufficient strength to withstand the blast and was already well anchored. Therefore, strength comes before power, strength to forgive and endure, and power to deliver.

That is, in fact, how the Lord gave us the Holy Spirit when He said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” First came the strength, the strength and authority to forgive, and then the power to deliver.[19] We have received the power, there is no doubt, for the blind has seen, the lame walk, and we preach the Gospel to the poor, three out of six, but the deaf do not hear, lepers are not yet cleansed and the dead are not yet raised.

It is like we are halfway there, and we are. We have received the power to bring people to repentance, for when God wanted to bring Israel to repentance, it was always by subjecting them to a power greater than them, be it plagues, locusts, famine or war. But we have not yet received the strength of the Lord, the strength to forgive and endure.

Now is the beginning of true oneness with each other as God is One. Not only do we have a common unity of purpose, even speech like the people of Babel, all doing our bit for a common purpose, but having the strength to endure and to forgive one another so that nothing ever can separate us. The Oneness of the Lord is not just a oneness of purpose or speech, but a oneness that is girded in Their commitment to endure and forgive One Another if need be, which is why the Father could endure Jesus being made sin that we might be the righteousness of God, even though He hates sin. That is why the Lord endured the cross and its shame, even being forsaken by the Father on that cross, bearing a shame that was not of His will or doing. That is why the Holy Spirit can endure the Father pouring Him out on all flesh.[20] They can endure all things of One Another because, if need be, They are always prepared to forgive One Another of Their indebtedness to Each Other, not sin, for God does not sin, but indeed, you may say, They are indebted to Each Other. The Father to the Son, the Son to the Spirit and the Spirit to the Father, for They helped Each Other to become more than what They were; God the Forgiver when sin came into existence through the creatures They brought forth as Their model and Their image.

Now, the fullness of the glory of the Lord is ready to rise, when you as one people, speaking the same language, have the same purpose to listen to Jesus, to practise His word, to follow Him under the supervision of the Holy Spirit, and have the same joy to forgive one another and to endure with one another as God endures and forgives.

Now then, the New Covenant, which was begun with the repentance of sins with the power to convict, is completed with the forgiveness of sins with the strength to endure.

And those who overcome, yes, overcome unforgiveness, and overcome with joy in forgiving the many, will then have the strength to be a pillar in the Temple of God. “Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the Temple of My God.”[21] A pillar needs strength and that strength is the joy of the Lord. To be a pillar in God’s Temple you need to enjoy what He enjoys and rejoice over what He rejoices over. God rejoices over repentance and enjoys forgiving.

So, look again at the New Covenant.


 

[1] Hebrews 9:1

[2] Matthew 26:27

[3] Mark 14:24

[4] Luke 22:20

[5] 1 Corinthians 11:25

[6] Leviticus 9:23-24

[7] 2 Chronicles 7:1, 3

[8] 2 Chronicles 6:37-39; 1 Kings 8:47-50

[9] Nehemiah 8:9

[10] Nehemiah 8:10

[11] Luke 10:21

[12] Luke 10:20

[13] John 17:13

[14] John 20:22-23

[15] Matthew 7:21-22; Luke 6:46

[16] Luke 10:17, 20

[17] 2 Corinthians 12:9

[18] Luke 4:14

[19] Acts 1:8

[20] Joel 2:28

[21] Revelation 3:12

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