The New Covenant
I was thinking about something and I want to know what you think about it. Okay, so there are only two natures- satan nature and Christ nature. No independent self. The Word became flesh and dwelt among men and then died and rose to inhabit man. So prior to Christ, everyone was under the dominion of the satan nature? My question (I think) isÖ.. how did God so closely connect with certain men? Enoch walked with God. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Moses foreshadowed Christ as a deliverer. David was a man after Godís own heart and asked God not to remove His Spirit from him as had happened to Saul. Isaiah and others spoke Godís very words. Elijah was whisked away in a fiery chariot to be with the Lord. And on and on. I know that Godís Spirit has always been active on the earth and that God can do whatever He wants. I guess I donít understand His relationship to man prior to Christ providing a way to inhabit the Spirit of man. Thank you again for your time.
The Cross is an eternal event, seen in time to our eyes 2000 yrs ago. But Revelation says the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth is in the midst of the Throne. (Rev 7:17; 13:8) All in God is eternal, which is outside of and interpenetrating "time." Therefore the benefits of Calvary have always been available, both pre-Cross (in Time) and post-Cross, since the Cross in Time is but a picture of what has always been eternally.
Look at 1 Pet 1:10,11
"10 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow."
That is saying that the prophets, whom we consider "Old Testament," spoke by the Spirit of Christ which was IN THEM. (Bible words, not mine.)
Or Luke 2:25-27
"25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple."
Or Mark 12:36
"For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool."
Or Acts 1:16
"The Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus."
Or Ezekiel 2:1,2
"1 And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.
2 And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me."
And of course Jesus said, "Abraham rejoiced to see my day." Abraham was before the law, so what "covenant" did he walk in? "The just shall live by faith" -- the NEW Covenant (which is really the only covenant). And to prove Abraham "saw" his day, what did Abraham say to Isaac when they were on their way up the mountain of sacrifice?
"And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together."
I could go on and on and on with quotes both from the Old & New Testaments, because divine "indwelling" is just as much Truth in what we call the "old" testament as in the "new." Paul makes the argument, in Romans 4 and Galatians, that life in the Spirit has ALWAYS been what it means to walk with God, and many many the world over have known this since the dawn of man.
He says the "law" or "old covenant" was added because of "transgressions," (Gal 3:19), because it is the "transgressions" against the law (and the law doesn't even have to be codified and written down, because our inner being has the law of God written in it), which serve to act as a schoolmaster bring us to Christ, by making us see our helplessness. And I want to stress the word "helplessness," because it has never been God's design to make us believe we are worthless scum (i.e., "the total depravity of man"), for we are not, (even the hairs on our head are precious to Him), but that we are HELPLESS to do anything of ourselves.
(The "depravity" was never man's, but that of the usurper who ran our show. This is an aside, but what parents would want to impart to their children that they are worthless scum and depraved [which is a wicked word] beyond measure? Certainly we want our children to understand their need of learning, their need of teaching and of maturation, but always with the basis that they are precious and worthy of growing up into fully living adults. Children are diamonds in the rough, as we are in our days when we don't know the Lord, and walk in darkened understanding. But it by God's DESIGN that we should walk there, in order to experience the futility of supposed independence, and by fully experiencing that "negative" we are prepared and fitted to be vessels of full usage by the Father of Spirits. [Rom 8:20])
We in our time lumber over teachings that have come down to us, such as "dispensationalism," that make it seem as if God did things one way "back then," and in the "now" He does things another way. (If you think about it, that was the attitude of the Pharisees. God spoke to Moses, "back then," but they didn't believe in a direct contact with God NOW.) God has always been the same, and walking with Him has always been the same. ("Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever.") The picture in the Garden of Adam and Eve in their creation starts out with DIVINE LIFE filling the human "clay" and giving it life. The fact that a usurper invaded the clay only submerged the Divine Life deeper into its inner depths, but it didn't kick it out altogether, or man would simply have become a raging devil and been out of earshot of God.
Life is now, and always has been, ONLY INNER CONSCIOUSNESS. There is no other life. Did the "Old Testament Saints" (as some call them) know union with God in a conscious sense? Perhaps some did, I don't know. It's not plainly stated. But what is "grace" except the filling of the Spirit? God cannot impart some "thing" called "grace." He can only give Himself. Grace IS God living in and empowering human beings. "And Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." (Gen 6:8). Now, we've always been taught that "grace" is "unmerited favor." I'll go part way with that, but it's not by any means the whole picture. "Grace" can only be a God-empowered life, which means God indwelling & being the Life within the life of the creature.
You mentioned Abraham -- "And Abram believed in the Lord, and it was counted unto him as righteousness." Paul uses this in Romans 4 to prove what we call "justification by faith." But what is "justification by faith"? Is it simply a judicial act, whereby God (way off up in heaven) notes the fact that you have believed in Him, and makes a notation in His "book of Life" that you are now among the elect? No, hardly! It is not a simple contractual arrangement, where you have filled a part (believing) and God "counts" you righteous, even though you're not, really. NO NO NO NO NO!!!!! You are "counted" righteous not by some mental accession to a set of doctrinal principles, but because you have RECEIVED HIM, which means (even though we don't know it at the time) that you have received HIM into your heart, which is your innermost self, i.e., your spirit. The "righteousness" isn't some "positional" righteousness which is not really real, but rather the Presence of God in His Holy Temple, which is YOU, and me! "The Lord is in His Holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him." (Who is "his holy temple" and who is made of "earth."? -- Hab 2:20.)
This is what Abraham did, even though he may not have had an outer consciousness of the fact. When Abraham "believe in the Lord" he RECEIVED HIS SPIRIT into his inner spirit. He had an "inner" consciousness of the Spirit of God indwelling him, which acted as "grace" in his life to cause him to walk in the ways of God and do God's will. Abraham was a NEW Testament man, because it is ONLY a New Testament man who can walk in grace! Remember, when Paul quoted "the just shall live by faith" he was quoting the "old" testament, an obscure verse in Habbukuk 2:4.
What was "revealed" in the New Testament was what was already foreshadowed in the Old but now made manifest, that ALL men could see from the Day of Pentecost. Because of the Fall, mankind thought of God as apart from themselves, but He never has been, and never can be. God is not separated from us, except in our consciousness and our faith. Never! He is not even separated from the devil, except in his consciousness and faith.
Jesus continually pointed to the "promise of the Father" which would come after His resurrection and ascension. What was that Promise? Peter refers to it in his famous Pentecost sermon: Joel 2:28, 29. "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh."
Perhaps the issue is confused a bit by what Jesus said to the apostles at the last supper. "Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." (John 14:17) Jesus was speaking of their consciousness, which was about to be changed forever. Because Jesus came to show forth the truth that God dwelt IN man, Emmanuel, but as I said above, we'd all grown up with a consciousness that saw God as separate and apart from us. The concept of God indwelling man was as foreign to the multitudes of Israel as eating pork. To them, God's "holiness" also meant His absolute transcendence, His complete and total "apartness" from man. The word "holy" means "set apart." So therefore the greatest their outer consciousness could perceive, perhaps even for those who walked in faith, was God being "with" them. But Pentecost broke down the wall of separation forever, as the vail of the Temple was "rent in twain. The vail separated the "Holy Place," where regular priests could go and burn incense to the Lord, from the "Holy of Holies," where God's Spirit dwelt in Glory and Fulness, and where only the High Priest could go, and that only once a year. Before the temple vail was torn in two, the highest that man's consciousness had been given up until that point was the "holy place," where we could come, as if apart and separate from God, and offer sacrifices of repentance and praise and worship. The Cross rent the Temple vail in two, and in Pentecost the effect was finally fully revealed. "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." (Rev 21:3)
To go into the "Holy of Holies" meant to be IN the presence of God, the actual dwelling place of the Glory of God. Which is a picture of ONENESS -- union. And what did the High Priest do the one time a year he went into the Holy of Holies? He "interceded" for the people, which is again a picture of being ONE with God, as Jesus our High Priest "ever liveth to make intercession for us." (Heb 7:25) When we are "one" with God, we are joined with Him in His love-flow of intercession for others, the high-priestly life.
Why do I say this is "oneness" with God? Because "flesh" cannot enter into His presence. Only that which is "one" with God can know Him and dwell "in" Him. The regular priests could go and offer sacrifices and burn incense, but they were forbidden to enter the holiest because this is still a picture of separation, apartness from God. The High Priest, in going into the Holiest to act as an intercessor, was acting AS God. This is the picture given us on Mount Sinai, even amidst the very giving of the law. Moses could go up to the mountain, which nobody else could even touch since they would be destroyed if they did, because Moses knew inwardly no separation in his consciousness and faith -- he knew what it meant to walk in grace, in the Spirit. Moses was given "union" when he experienced the "burning bush." Whereas the children of Israel still only knew God as apart and separate from them. They only knew themselves "as flesh," trying to keep the law, which of course they could not. Flesh cannot approach unto God. "No man shall see God and live." "If any man will lose his life, he will find it."
So when Jesus said to the apostles that the Holy Spirit was "with them" and would later be "in them," He was not talking about physical locality, but rather CONSCIOUSNESS. Peter certainly already "knew" the Lord, because Jesus said, "Flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." But Peter's consciousness was still separated, still seeing God up there, himself down here, always TWO. But in Pentecost, ONENESS is revealed. "I and my Father are One." The Spirit of God dwells IN man, and is the speaker, the doer, the power, the love, the reality of the transcendent Father, in mortal flesh.
That is the New Testament, and is the fulfillment of our sonship in God through Christ. We grow up "into HIM."
Hope that helps, but maybe it might muddy the water even more. But thanks so much for asking and giving me the opportunity to ramble around a bit.
All my love,