Jesus’ Blood Sealed the New Covenant
Jesus came to Earth to radically change the hearts of the Israelites and to bring forgiveness for the sins of the world. Because of Jesus’ blood, the New Covenant brings blessing to Israel and all who place their faith in Him for salvation. In part 2 of our three-week series on the New Covenant, we’re remembering and celebrating how Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross sealed this covenant.
The Jewish community knew about the New Covenant before Jesus was born, but the Israelites’ sin stood between them and the full enjoyment of God’s blessing. God promised He would change their hearts and help them live in obedience. Through His sacrifice Jesus not only established His promises to Israel; He also gave all who believe in Him the right to be the sons and daughters of God. Rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus’ blood bought our freedom from sin!
If you missed Part 1 of this series, you can Listen Here!
Steve Conover: Welcome to the Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover and with me is our host and teacher Chris Katulka. I'd like to encourage you to visit our website foiradio.org, to keep up on all things related to the Friends of Israel Today program. There you can listen to all of our broadcasts, five years worth of content with links to our featured products, highlighted in the show or you can support our ministry by clicking on the donate button to help continue teaching biblical truth about Israel and the Jewish people. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Steve, I think we have an exciting show lined up for today for our listeners. We're going to be continuing our study on the New Covenant. Last week, we looked at the history of the New Covenant in the Old Testament. Now, today we're going to look at how Jesus brought the New Covenant through his shed blood. I think it's going to be a great episode to give hope, to give encouragement to our listeners.
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Steve Conover: And now in the news Magen Am, which is Hebrew for “Our Nation's Shield”, is a privately funded Jewish security agency that provides training and protection for synagogues and Jewish organizations. The riots in Los Angeles in response to George Floyd's death produced a lot of destruction and looting. Magen Am worked alongside the LA Police Department and National Guard to ensure potential targets like synagogues and Jewish establishments were protected during the riots.
Chris Katulka: What does a synagogue or Jewish establishments or Jewish stores have to do with the rioting that's happening in LA or even cities all around the country? Well, I'll be honest, a lot of these riots and protests can often lead to a rise in antisemitism, which is the hatred of the Jewish people. For instance, just a few days ago, a flyer was released online that said, "Ending white privilege intersects with ending Jewish privilege." Friends, that's antisemitism. The security Magen Am provides is needed in these days of uncertainty, especially with the rise of antisemitism in the United States. So thank you to Magen Am for protecting our nation's Jewish community. And church, may we pray and may we stand up with our Jewish friends during this time.
Last week, we started a new study, a study on the New Covenant. It's such an important study because if you believe that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world, then you are saying that you are a part of the New Covenant community of believers bound together by the Spirit of God. And we know that Jesus is the one who ushered in this New Covenant. When, on the night of the last supper, he said, concerning the cup that we take during communion, he said, "Drink from it all of you, for this is my blood. The blood of the covenant that is poured out for many, for the forgiveness of sins." This is a study that I hope opens your eyes to the fullness of the New Covenant. Because the New Covenant was something that was promised and rooted by God in the Old Testament.
Now, last week, we looked at the biblical history of the New Covenant. We specifically looked at Jeremiah chapter 31, where God promises to Israel that he would bring about a New Covenant. God was tired of punishing Israel for her continual disobedience. A disobedience that brought about exile and the Jewish people were ultimately kicked out of the land for their perpetual sin. And when Israel is out of the land, Israel cannot fulfill the purpose that God gave them to bless all the families of the earth according to Genesis chapter 12, verse 3. This was all according to what God said in the old covenant, the mosaic covenant stipulated that if Israel disobeys God, he will have to kick them out of the land temporarily though God wanted to provide a way to keep Israel in the land. And the issue was not the Old Covenant, the Old Covenant, the Mosaic law was not the problem actually, the problem was sin. God needed to deal with the issue of sin in Jeremiah chapter 31 though he promised a New Covenant.
So if you miss last week's program, head on over to foiradio.org and there you can find the first installment of this series on the New Covenant as we study the biblical background to the New Covenant. I even tell you a great story of an Israeli friend of mine who came to Christ because he saw how God promised the New Covenant in the old Testament. So if you want to hear this story and you want to catch up on this series, please go to foiradio.org. And there you can find last week's episode and all the episodes that we've been producing for the past five years.
So today I want to focus on Jesus and the promise of the New Covenant in the gospels and what it means for Christians today. Again, Jesus didn't invent the New Covenant on the fly during his life. It was a promise that went back to the prophet Jeremiah who lived nearly 600 years prior to Christ. Jeremiah prophesied that a New Covenant would be established in the future. Now we know that leading up to Christ’s coming, we know this, that there were talks in the Jewish community, even before Jesus was born. There were talks in the Jewish community of the New Covenant. It's found in Jewish literature that was written about 150 to 250 years prior to Jesus's arrival. It talked about a new community of believers who followed God's laws, they were the New Covenant community.
Many believe Essenes who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls thought of themselves as a New Covenant community, awaiting for God to restore Israel, to send the Messiah. So we even know that prior to Christ, there was this hope that God would usher in this New Covenant because the New Covenant from Jeremiah was also the hope that God would restore Israel to the land and give them sovereignty over the land. And God would return to them and bless them and make them the head of the nations, not the tail. And so there's this promise that's connected to the New Covenant that is unique to Israel.
Okay, so let's start with this when it comes to the New Covenant and Jesus. First, what we know about the New Covenant from Jeremiah 31, is that God is saying there is a spiritual issue at play with Israel. Their sin has prevented them from keeping them in the land that God promised them to fulfill their divine purpose. Sin is the problem. So notice, when Jesus comes in the gospels, he's not preaching against the Roman empire and the Roman powers that oppress Israel and the Jewish people. He's not calling out Caesar from the sermon on the mount, he's not calling for a Jewish revolt against the Roman military. No, see Jesus understands that the real reason Rome occupies the land, like the Greeks did before them and the Persians before them and the Babylonians before them and the Syrians before them. The real reason Israel is a tenant under Gentile rule is because of their spiritual condition, which goes back to the original issue of Jeremiah chapter 31. Israel's sin is preventing them from experiencing all of God's blessings. Just as was what was promised in the law.
And Jesus came to tend to the spiritual condition of his people, to shepherd them. Now notice Jesus's greatest condemnation isn't toward the lost sheep of the house of Israel, they are lost sheep because they lack a shepherd to lead them. Jesus's condemnation is often directed toward the corrupt leadership of Israel that led the flock away from God. I always like to tell people, if you think Rome was a problem for God, then you have a very small view of who God is. Israel's problem was an age old problem, which was dealing with the spiritual disobedience that they wrestled with all throughout their calling in the Old Testament. Jesus came to correct Israel's spiritual plight.
So let's go back really quick to what Jeremiah 31 says about the New Covenant. Jeremiah chapter 31, verse 31 and on says this, "There are days coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah, it will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by their hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant though I was like a husband to them declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people." Verse 34. “No longer will they teach their neighbor or say to one another, "Know the Lord." Because they will all know me. From the least of them to the greatest declares the Lord, for I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sin no more.”
God is going to take the law and write it on their hearts and place it in their minds and notice what he says, "I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." God is going to provide a way for Israel through a New Covenant. In Hebrew, it's B'Rit Hadashah. God is going to provide a way for Israel to fulfill the covenant God entered with them. And that will only come through Jesus's life, death, resurrection, and ascension.
And here's something that's interesting. When the Old Covenant was ratified between the Israelites and God, think about this, when God brought the Old Covenant down and it was the tablets, the 10 Commandments and God enters into this covenant with the Israelites, Moses takes the blood of a bull and sprinkles it on the covenant, on the law and also on the people. And there is this moment where the Old Covenant is ratified and God enters into this new coven... Oh, I mean, I'm sorry into this covenant with his people. And so it was blood that ratified the OldCovenant between God and his people. That is the unique connection that was there. God said, "Do you want to enter into this covenant with me?" And the Old Covenant community of the Jewish people said, "Yes, we do. We want to enter into this covenant." That's when blood was sprinkled on the law and on the people to ratify that covenant.
And then listen to what Jesus says, it's very fitting. Listen, at the last supper, a Passover seder. Matthew chapter 26, verse 27 says this. Then he took a cup and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many, for the forgiveness of sins."
The gospel of Luke actually calls the cup, the New Covenant, connecting Jesus's blood directly to the promise of the New Covenant that was made back in Jeremiah chapter 31. Jesus's blood becomes the blood of the New Covenant and it's through his blood that we find the forgiveness of sins once and for all. Even the writer of Hebrews says it this way, "And so he, Jesus, is the mediator of a New Covenant so that those who are called may receive the eternal inheritance he has promised. Since he died to set them free from the violations committed under the first covenant." Jesus becomes the mediator of a New Covenant for his people and their sins are forgiven. Just as Jeremiah promised in Jeremiah chapter 31.
And according to Jeremiah, the New Covenant is a promise made to Israel. And it is, it's a promise for Israel. One day, all of Israel will be saved according to Romans chapter 11. Their sins will be forgiven when they look upon him whom they have pierced, Zachariah chapter 12, verse 10. But even now the New Covenant is also a promise that finds its meaning in the life of all people who place their faith in Jesus Christ. Through the promise made to Israel, all of the families of the earth have been blessed by the shed blood of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Just as Genesis chapter 12, verse 3 promised, that through Abraham and his descendants, all the families of the earth would be blessed by God.
Anyone from any background who places their faith in Jesus Christ is welcomed into a New Covenant community of God.
Now, when we return, we're going to look at what Jeremiah means when he says, "I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts and minds. I will be their God. And they will be my people."
Steve Conover: We invite you to join us for our online prophecy conference, from the comfort of your own home, this year, July 12th, through July 15th. With all that's happening in the world, social unrest, racial tensions, economic turmoil and a pandemic that's affected every nation. Everyone is looking for something to hold on to. The theme of our upcoming online conference is, "Anchored: Hope Secured in Turbulent Times." We'll be discussing the presence of God in our trials as we cling to our Anchor who provides peace when we need it most. You'll hear from my co-host, Chris Katulka, along with Friends of Israel's executive director, Jim Showers and our frequent guest, Steve Herzig and other great speakers.
If you're familiar with the Friends of Israel, maybe you've joined us in person at one of our annual prophecy conferences, but this year with COVID-19 restrictions, we're excited to bring you hope from God's Word online. To learn more about our free online conference this July 12 through July 15th, head over to foiconferences.org. Again, that's foiconferences.org.
Chris Katulka: Welcome back everyone. We're continuing our discussion on the New Covenant. And we're just looking at how the shed blood of Jesus becomes the way believers find forgiveness. Which is connected to the New Covenant promise that was made in Jeremiah chapter 31. And what's interesting about Jeremiah's prophecy of the New Covenant, is that it says God would put his law within them and write it on their hearts and minds. Now check this out, just a few chapters before Jeremiah 31, where God talks about the idea of planting his law within his people in their hearts and minds. Just a few chapters before in Jeremiah 17, God says this about Judah in Jeremiah 17, verse 1. The sin of Judah is engraved with an iron chisel on their stone hard hearts. It's inscribed with a diamond point on the horns of their altars.
Did you see what it says there? Did you hear that? The sin of Judah is engraved on their hearts. It's only a few verses later that the famous verse, we all gravitate towards to show the sinful nature of man's heart in Jeremiah 17, verse 9, which says this, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick, who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart and test the mind to give every man, according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds." Friends again, I come back to this idea that sin is the issue. Sin's Israel's issue and sin is also the world's issue. Look, it was sin that was engraved on Judah's heart that's what it said in Jeremiah 17 verse 1 and only eight verses later, starting in Jeremiah chapter 17, verse 9, it says that every man's heart is deceitful above all things. Everybody's heart, the heart of man, it's not just an issue in Israel, it's a global issue. The heart is deceitful above all things. It's desperately wicked. Sins are engraved on it.
But then you just flip chapters forward into Jeremiah chapter 31 and God promises a New Covenant that would come. God wants to place the New Covenant within his people. Why does he want to do that? The old covenant law written on tablets produces an insincere obedience or even outright rebellion on the part of the people. Listen, I can't... But one of the greatest examples of this that we all deal with is just the issue of driving down the street and seeing the speed limit on a sign. It's an external law. It's right there, 25 miles an hour. And you know what, what happens to the heart of man? "I can push it a little bit. I can do 26. I can do 27. I don't see any cops around. I can do what I want because even though I see what the law is, I can obey it to how I want to obey it." It becomes insincere or even for some, outright rebellion when they drive 50 miles, double the speed limit down the road. It becomes insincere obedience. Even though the law is staring at us right in the face.
But see God's new action in Jeremiah chapter 31 will bring about a new situation, where the people will obey freely and gladly and rebellion will be something of the past. Through this forgiveness and obedience that comes from the New Covenant. God says, "I will be your God and you will be my people." The relationship between God and his people is renewed and restored. And here's what's awesome to me is that through Christ in the New Covenant, we have a relationship with God. We are God's children. We are sons and daughters of the living God. Something that comes as a result of the New Covenant that was promised in Jeremiah chapter 31.
Look even at the end of revelation, chapter 21, verse 3, which is something that I'll be preaching on our online Bible conference that's coming up pretty soon that you heard about in our ad. When I look at Revelation chapter 21, verse 3, right there is the New Jerusalem is coming down, a voice says this, "Behold the dwelling place of God is with man. He dwells with them and they will be his people and God himself will be with them as their God." A future prophetic event, a future reality. When God's people dwell with him forever. A promise that was made back in Jeremiah, chapter 31. A New Covenant, a new way of relating with God. When it's no longer tablets that we stare at with insincere obedience. No, now it is God's law engraved, embedded in our hearts and minds that we might follow him with true obedience. A leading that's given to us by the Holy Spirit.
Steve Conover: Now Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life and ministry of Holocaust survivor Zvi Kalisher.
Mike Kellogg: After living in Israel for 36 years, many know me. Some greet me with, "Shalom," Others say something like, "Are you still alive? People like you should be dead." When I received one such greeting recently I replied, "No my dear, that is not so. It is written “I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord,” Psalm 18:17. What can you a Christian possibly tell me about the Lord, he asked. I said, "The Lord has given me salvation, love and peace in my heart through the Holy Spirit. That is why the Lord has kept me alive through the Holocaust and four Wars here in Israel. So that I can tell others of his mighty deeds." He then said, "You want me to accept this new faith that you believe in? Your Jesus?" I responded, "The Lord Jesus did not come to make a new faith. He came to give us everlasting life through his suffering." "I know all about suffering." He said, sarcastically. I then asked, "Would you like me to read about his suffering?" He agreed.
So I read Isaiah 53, the forbidden chapter for Jewish people. Suddenly this man who was so sure of himself was now interested in hearing about the Lord. Such people have spent their entire lives listening only to the revered rabbis and reading many books of tradition. So when I present facts from the Bible, they become curious and want to hear more. It is important to articulate that Christians do not believe in a new faith, but in the one true God,
People walked by as we conversed. And one man said, "Israel is not the right place for a Christian. If you want to speak about Jesus, go somewhere else, but do not do it here." I had never met people with such deep hatred. For those of us who believe in the Lord, Jesus. They kept repeating, "Jesus came to make a new faith and because you believe in him, you have left the faith of your fathers." I told them, "If you would read the Bible instead of your books of tradition, you would see this is untrue." One said, "You are talking about the new Testament, but that does not belong to our Holy Bible." I told him, Jeremiah 31,31 says, "Behold the days are coming when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah."
The term New Testament is actually the Hebrew phrase B'Rit Hadashah. Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to destroy the law of the prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill." "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled." Surprisingly all were listening closely so I asked, "Do you still think Jesus came to make a new faith? Or do you realize he came to fulfill the Hebrew Scriptures? We must have faith in Him or we will be lost forever." One replied reluctantly, "We must admit you are right." I told them, "Now through the love of the Lord, we can speak together as friends. Strive to learn more about the Lord and his great love for all people and you will be able to stand against the false teachers who abound in our midst." They all responded, "Amen."
Steve Conover: Thank you for being with us today. Chris, why don't you share with our listeners what we'll cover next week as we wrap up our study on the New Covenant.
Chris Katulka: Yeah, the New Covenant has amazing aspects to it. First, it's what we looked at in Jeremiah, it's something that was promised in the past. But, you know what? We are New Covenant believers. Which means as Christians, we are supposed to live with an attitude of the New Covenant. And so next week we're going to discuss what does a New Covenant lifestyle actually look like for a believer today?
Steve Conover: Join us then. Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. And I'm Steve Conover, executive producer.
The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
Apples of Gold: How Can We Believe in Jesus and Still Say We are Jews?
After living in Israel for 36 years, Zvi could walk down the street and be recognized by many. Some greeted him warmly, others greeted him with scorn and ridicule. One man stopped and looked at him in shock and said, “Are you still alive? People like you should be dead!” When Zvi replied by sharing his faith in Jesus, the man accused him of believing in a new religion. With a crowd around him, Zvi explained to them that believing in Jesus was not something new but something God talked about in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Zvi’s story is available in Elwood McQuaid’s book, “Zvi: The Miraculous Story of Triumph over the Holocaust,” available at our online store.
More stories from Zvi are also available in his book, “The Best of Zvi,” available at our online store.
We here at The Friends of Israel Today consider it a blessing to be able to share with you, our listening friends, biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, and it's only possible because of you!
Your gifts help us reach people all around the globe with our message of truth to bless the Jewish people. If the Lord leads you and you believe Christians need to hear the truth about Israel and the Jewish people, we ask that you prayerfully consider a gift so we can continue to bring these truths to you and others as well. Any amount is a blessing to our program and we are so thankful for your support.
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.