The New Name for Covenant

Covenant is God’s earnest desire to become intimate with humanity, to join Himself to humans.  With Abraham, we have seen God commit Himself totally, to the death if He should break Covenant, fourteen years before Abraham is called upon to reciprocate through Circumcision.  With Jonathan and David, we discover that the foundation of Covenant is not a deal or a contract, but rather a self-commitment in Love to the Covenant-partner.  With Moses, we are shown that God considers His Glory to be His goodness, grace, mercy, Love (HESED), forgiveness and justice, not a focus on His majesty, power, control, and so forth.

That same desire that has the same commitment based upon that same Love which expresses that same Glory is also in the New Testament.  The difference between the Old and the New Covenants is that God is not expecting a better people who would somehow be better than Israel of old, but rather the difference is in God’s commitment.  In the Old Covenant, although coming extremely close to physically committing Himself in His Covenant with Abraham, that last step of shedding His own Blood can’t be taken – He does not have Blood to shed.  Any Blood in Covenant is always by proxy, by a bull or a lamb or so.

Bethlehem changes all that.  God has Blood, which He does shed in Covenant: for the Old Covenant, His Circumcision connects through all the generations back to Abraham’s Circumcision and what had basically only been anticipatory now becomes a full reality: Blood is joined to Blood, and with God time-distance is nothing.

However, the New Covenant has a far greater twist.  The inkling is found in Isaiah:

Behold!  My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in Whom My Life/Soul delights!  I have put My Spirit upon Him; … Thus says God Jehovah,… “I, Jehovah, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will preserve You and give You as a Covenant to people, as a Light to nations, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison – those who sit in the darkness of confinement.  I am Jehovah, that is My Name; and My Glory I will not give to another…  [42:1, 5-8]

 

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“My Servant…, My Elect One in Whom My Soul [Life, hence Blood] delights” [42:1] will not symbolize, represent or initiate Covenant, but rather would be the Covenant.  But Covenant means two persons becoming one – it is a relationship, so how can any single person be Covenant?  That is like saying a single person is marriage.  That doesn’t make sense!

Unless – unless in Jesus there really are two Persons in one flesh, in one Blood.  If He were two, God and human, and yet one Jesus, then He would be everything that Covenant has been describing throughout all the centuries.  He would literally be Covenant walking around on two legs, the reality of Covenant ‘in the flesh’!  That whole animal that represented Covenant back when God first cut Covenant in Genesis 15, that animal that would be torn apart if the Covenant was broken foretold the oneness of Jesus and the impossibility of breaking this Covenant without “tearing apart” Jesus.  And God has to be personally involved – no proxies! – since His Glory will not be attributed to any other than Himself.

If Jesus is the New Covenant, then we must be in Him to be in Covenant – and that is a favorite theme of St Paul, how we are to be “in Christ.”

The New Testament doesn’t use the word for Covenant very often.  That’s because there is a new Name for it – or rather Him: Jesus.

 

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