Monday, 1 February 2021

Covenant Benefits

 Scripture:  Matthew 26 v 27 - 28: "And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

28  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."

Jeremiah 31 v 31 - 34: "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 
33  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

Both the Old and New Covenants carried great benefits for Israel plus the New Covenant extended to those who are born again Christians, a new creation, of which the resurrected Jesus was the firstborn.

The Old Covenant was to establish Israel as a nation in her own land, which extended to the Euphrates River from the Mediterranean coast.  It was marked by male circumcision on the 8th day after birth, which started with Abraham.  It centred around the Law of Moses, and the Ten Commandments.  It covered every aspect of Jewish life to this day.

The majority of Jews believe Jesus was an imposter whose body was stolen out of the tomb by His disciples to give authenticity to a new spiritual life and commitment.  Two thousand years later there are a multitude of Christian believers and a growing number of them are Jews.

The Law was given to show Israel her sinful ways in order to correct her.  When Jesus died on the Cross His final cry was "It is finished".  His death and resurrection ushered in the dispensation of Grace, where He took all sins of Jews and Gentiles upon Himself to pardon and forgive the whole world simultaneously.  

John 3 v 16 - 18: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

Everything hinges on believing in the name of Jesus, a name that is higher than every other name.  It denotes a Person, God's Son, who is in perfect righteousness with His Father, our Father, for eternity. If we believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for the forgiveness of sins, we will be washed in the Blood of the Lamb, and be born again, a new creation no longer "only human" but uniquely joined to the Godhead.

In Isaiah 53, one of the most profound prophetic chapters in the Old Testament, is the pronouncement of the One who would be killed, bearing the sins of Israel, He also took all our griefs, suffering and sickness, our bruises and shame.  Unfortunately, this one chapter has been banned and discarded by decree of the religious authority of the Jews, so they are prevented from knowing it, unless they are curious.

The disciples of the New Covenant have many benefits which include eternal life.  We will live forever with God in Heaven, a place we know as Home because we originally came from there.  Our spirits are eternal, and can never die.  If we do not live according to the scriptures and reject the salvation of Jesus, our eternity will be in Hell.  No other options.

Other benefits are healing of diseases by the laying on of hands by the brethren, and in serious cases through fasting and prayer.  Also being released from demonic oppression which is not automatic and needs appropriate ministry and prayer.  The gifts of the Holy Spirit include discernment of spirits which is essential to deliverance from demons.

In Mark 5 the most demon-possessed man in the Bible, living among the tombs in Gadara, has a meaningful encounter with Jesus.  The many demon spirits inside him under their ruler, Legion, discussed with Jesus two things - was He come to send them to Hell before the time, and they did not want to leave that territory.  "Before the time" meant that Jesus had not yet died and they knew they had a legal right to be on Earth till then.  So Jesus agreed and sent them into a herd of pigs that suicided over a cliff into the sea.  The tormented man was set free, clothed and in his right mind.  The citizens chased Jesus away.

It does mean that when Jesus gave His disciples in perpetuity the authority to cast out demons, He expects us to continue to do it.  In His name, demons have to flee.  Scientists in laboratories labour for years to find a cure for diseases that are brought by demons.  You cannot cure, or heal, a demon.  It must be cast out and sent back to Hell.  Illnesses that mutate are demon-controlled.  Satan's mind games and tormenting of humans continues until we make a stand against him.

We must discern by the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are diseases that can be healed, and which must be bound and cast out.  Demons have a signature smell and that's one way of discerning them.  Interesting how in this pandemic the sense of smell has been blocked.  Just saying.  Connect the dots and learn the wisdom of the Almighty.  

Part of our Covenant Benefits is God's protection against the plans of the enemy to bring fear, pain, accidents, calamities and disasters upon us.  He says He will make a way of escape for us and He does miracles to accomplish that.  The whole Bible is filled with God's promises to those who love Him and are willing to serve Him in small or large ways.

He gave His all to redeem us from curses, and people with evil intentions, and will rescue us.  God loves us with an everlasting love and has clothed us in righteousness.  He is our peace, our freedom and our life.  Let us honour and love Him with grateful hearts.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, the depths of Your Covenant with Your people have not yet been seen in their fullness, but Your promises are real and we are very thankful.  Help us to fulfil Your expectations of us by giving us understanding of every word in the Bible.  In Jesus Christ's name.  Amen.