Covenant, Heaven, and God With Us

In the fall of 2010, a Bible Study group had ended its current study and a member had asked to do something on Heaven.  Preparing the study, I was looking at Revelation 21:3-4 (and other passages as well):

Behold, God’s dwelling is with men: He will dwell with them, and they shall be His People; God Himself will be with them and be their God.  God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; …

I was startled by a thought: this is backwards!  Our concept of heaven is “when we get to be with God”; but Jehovah’s concept of heaven is “when He gets to be with US”!  Yet the more I thought about it, the history of the Bible is how God is constantly trying to get close to us: Jesus’ birth; His Name, “Immanuel” (God is with us); “Wherever two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there in their midst” [Matthew 18:20]; the Holy Spirit’s presence in our hearts; Jesus in us and we in Him [John 14]; even the Tent of Meeting in the wilderness, where Jehovah surrounds Himself with His People; as well as God coming to Adam and Eve in the cool of the day – even after their rebellion.

It turns a Biblical thought-pattern around.  Rather than God aloof on His throne, bidding us to approach Him, provided we do this and that; instead, God yearns to get close to us, His driving force is to connect Himself with us.  Jehovah is reaching out to enjoy our company, our companionship – and, as Matthew 18 above shows, He even likes to just “hang out” with us.

It is no great leap of logic then to see Covenant, not so much as rules and obligations as much as the oneness of Blood/Life/Soul which Trumbull identified in his book The Blood Covenant (see last post).  In one sense, God cutting Covenant with Abraham should not surprise us, since the Bible is full of examples of Jehovah “invading our space.”  Yet on the other hand, it should literally floor us.  In fact, that is the very thing that makes some people embrace evolution: they cannot conceive of how this tiny world with its miniscule people could be of any interest to a supposed Creator of the vast universe.
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It does boggle the mind!  Is it any wonder that Psalm 8 would identify just that surprise?  Much less, as Hebrews 2:6 points out, that Jesus would be born into this creation’s existence?  What is even more is that this is not a “necessary-evil” drudgery for God, but rather His delight: “as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you” [Isaiah 62:5].

This is a very necessary foundation as one approaches Covenant, especially if one sees the Jonathan and David’s Covenant as not based upon contract, rules, or treaties but rather that “he loved him as his own Soul/Life[/Blood]” [I Samuel 18:1,3].  That kind of picture then is in total harmony with the cross and John 3:16, “For God so loved the world …”  This then is the definition of Jehovah’s Covenant: it is the Love of God revealed in a specific action, which is to bring reassurance and comfort – as well as obligation -, in the same manner as marriage does.

Just as marriage is two people who want to be together and share everything with each other, so also Covenant.  It is not obligation laid upon someone by the authority of the other, but rather the eager commitment of each to the other, because that is something that erupts from the heart, that is, “he loved him as his own Soul/Life[/Blood].”  The wonder of God’s Covenant is that the almighty Creator should so intensely desire to do this with mankind.


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