Oct 23, 2014
Moses, Jesus, Old Covenant, New Covenant
G'day and welcome to Partake! We are now on day 23 of our series "Glimpses", looking at the story of the Bible in 30 days, from the time of creation through to the time of the fullness of redemption! Last time we looked at the beating, humiliation, scourging, crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus Christ - . Today we look at the significance of Jesus' death.
As we have seen through this series, throughout history, God had made covenants with: Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and the nation Israel through the New Covenant. From the time of Adam & Eve's disobedience, God had promised through these covenants, that He would make things right once more and people could be restored to relationship with Him on an individual basis. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, that was the fulfilment of those covenants. That's why he yelled "It is finished! Into your hands I commend my Spirit!" Can you remember back and see what promises God made concerning in each of the covenants?
Lets look at the last of these covenants: the New Covenant.
This New Covenant is to be contrasted with the Old Covenant or Mosaic covenant as we have called it so far, because this New Covenant finalizes what the Mosaic Covenant could only point to: the follower of God living in a life conforming to God's holy character - and that only through the death of Jesus. How is this so?
The New Covenant, you may remember, had four features: Regeneration, Restoration, Indwelling and Forgiveness. Combined, these show a God of grace! This New Covenant would be all God's doing and not on what any individual person or group could do! WOW! That's, as we shall see, the significances of Jesus' death. But let's go look and the Mosaic Covenant and its relationship to the New Covenant
Moses and Jesus
Moses to the Jews was a super-hero and revered because it was to him that God revealed His will, law and face! Moses was the key figure in the establishment of Israel as a nation! Moses had great zeal for God and was willing to sacrifice everything for God. He had fellowship with God. It was this Moses who was held in such high regard by the Jews.
Yet all this is merely a shadow and a sign of what was to come in Jesus. God's long promised Messiah would need to be greater than Moses! Was this Jesus? Lets go see!
The Mosaic or Old Covenant
Under the Mosaic or Old Covenant, Moses and Aaron represented God's house in Israel; Moses was the Apostle or Prophet and Aaron was the High Priest. Jesus, an Apostle and Prophet as well as being the High Priest, joined the two together. By Apostle, I mean as a Messenger - that's what an apostle is - a messenger or representative. As the Apostle of our faith, Jesus was faithful. Jesus was God's representative for us, making God known to us. Jesus was totally faithful, means to be both trusting and to be capable of being trusted.
Moses was the one to whom the Law was given - the Mosaic covenant under which the Jewish people lived. This covenant with Moses commenced with the stipulation "Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me" (Exodus 19v5). This covenant was to Israel in order that those who believed God's promise to Abraham, could know how to live how God wanted them to live.
This covenant with Moses covered the three areas of life:
- The commandments were given so they would know how to relate socially to God (Exodus 20v1-6)
- The judgments were given in order that they could relate socially to each other (Exodus 21v1 - 24v11)
- The decrees dictated their religious life so that God could be approached by humanity on His terms (Exodus 24v12 - 31v18).
This Old Covenant was never meant to be as a means for providing salvation but Israel was meant to be a shining light to the nations of their God! It was given so that they could realize the helplessness and futility of their own efforts and their need of God's help. It was to serve only as a protective fence until the long promised Messiah came; the long waited for Saviour of all humanity, so that the whole world, Jew and Gentile, could be made right with God through faith and faith alone.
In Comes Jesus
And that is where Jesus comes in. As the Messiah and Saviour, Jesus ushered in the New Covenant, which was promised by God. Remember Jesus spoke about Himself in this role - a lot! And his claims were backed up with action!
We have seen since the beginning with Adam and Eve, that it is sin, which separates humans from God - that's why they were banished from His presence! As a consequence, this leads to both a spiritual and physical death. In the Old Testament, sins were dealt with by blood sacrifices of atonement as coverings for sin, for without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sin. A blood sacrifice is God's way of dealing with sin. These blood sacrifices of the Old Testament signified several things:
- Provided a covering for sin.
- Showed the great cost of sin.
- Was an exchange or substitution.
- Was only always going to be a temporary measure, as it pointed forward to the Messiah and until that time, it needed to be done over and over again.
So how is Jesus better than Moses? The answer lies in the solution to sin. The ultimate solution to sin lies not in the continual animal sacrifice under the Old Covenant with Moses. This is because the blood of animals cannot take away sin but was only ever going to be a veneer or a covering. That was why it was necessary to repeat time and time again!
So we see, it is only through the victorious death of Jesus, that sin is permanently taken away, because Jesus is the permanent sacrificial substitute!
How is this related to the New Covenant?
Remember from a couple of days ago when Jesus said at on his last night "This is the new covenant." The new covenant is a new meal, in order to remind his followers in every age about the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. In the new covenant (Luke 22v20) Jesus claims that his death was spoken about by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31v33-34). It was a new covenant in which God's people will be able to know him intimately, for their sins will be forgiven.
When ever we eat the bread and drink the wine, we remember symbolically Jesus' death on the cross. Some say the bread and wine, mysteriously turn into the actual flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, but this cannot be so. For if that were to be so, the sacrifice would be seen to be done again and again: Jesus would be being re-sacrificed and that is untenable! According to Hebrews 7v27, talking about Jesus' death on the cross: "For he did this once for all, when he offered up himself." The sacrificial death of Jesus was a one time event and the bread and wine are symbolic of that one sacrifice. Jesus often talked symbolically such as when he said he was the bread of life or the living water.
This new covenant was sealed only through the perfect sacrifice of the God-Man Jesus on the cross. His blood ensures the truth of this New Covenant. This New Covenant, sealed by Jesus' death, finalizes what the Mosaic Covenant could only point to: the follower of God living in a dynamic relationship with God.
The death of Jesus on the cross, epitomises God's glory. Jesus Christ, simultaneously fully God and fully man, died on a Roman cross. He took on the sins of the world, paying the greatest price, so that people could choose to be restored to a dynamic relationship with God the Father. But the story doesn't finish with Jesus dying as some tragi-hero on the cross! Oh no! There is more to come! For Jesus said something about being raised on the third day and that he was the resurrection and life? How could this be if he was dead and buried? But for that you will have to wait until tomorrow! Thank you!