This program is a rebroadcast from January 14, 2017.
How God Relates With Us, The New Covenant
Last week Chris taught us how God relates to us through covenants, a promise initiated by God to a particular person or group of people. We learned how God entered into the Old Covenant relationship with the people of Israel. Some features of the Old Covenant were faith, purpose, and desire. The problem with the Old Covenant was us; we cannot physically obey all that God required. This week, we’ll hear how God made a New Covenant. This new way to relate to us actually came out of Israel’s disobedience with God. But don’t worry, it was God’s plan all along to send his Son to earth.
If you missed Part One of this series, you can Listen Now.
Steve Conover: This is Steve Conover from The Friends of Israel Today. And continuing from last week, as we move further into 2021, we have selected a favorite series to start us off. Today, we go back into the archives and wrap up our series on an important topic, the old and new covenants. Stay with us.
Chris Katulka: The New Covenant is the promise that God is making to Israel and, if you step back and look at the big picture, a promise he's making to everyone of a new way to relate with God. No longer will God's law be etched on tablets for us to follow, but instead, his law and his commands will be in us.
Steve Conover: This is The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover.
Chris Katulka: And I'm Chris Katulka.
Steve Conover: As we begin, I'll remind you to visit foiradio.org to get your free one-year subscription to our wonderful and informative magazine, Israel My Glory. If you love Israel and the Jewish people, if you love great Bible teaching, and if you believe God has a future program for his people, Israel, as we do, call our listener line at 888-343-6940 and order your subscription. It's free. Again, that's 888-343-6940.
Chris Katulka: Today on the program, we're going to wrap up our series on how God relates with us, the fact that he relates with us through covenants. Last week, we looked at the old covenant. This week, we're going to look at the new covenant. And then we're going to continue talking about the recent UN resolution that was brought against Israel and then finally, Apples of Gold.
But first veteran Israeli archeologists, Gabriel Barkay, was recently almost kicked off of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem by Islamic guards for calling it the Temple Mount. Barkay was leading a group of American students around the holy site, calling it the Temple Mount, since it's the place historically where the Jewish temples once stood. But Islamic guards demanded he call it by its Muslim name, Haram al-Sharif, threatening removal. One of the students said, "We couldn't use the words Temple Mount, in a way saying that the Jewish people don't have a connection to the land, which I think borders on problematic." It certainly is problematic, my friends. This action shows how many are attempting to simply erase Jewish history from its most sacred site, the Temple Mount.
Steve Conover: Well, thankfully we can trust the Lord to continue sustaining his people. Thank you, Chris.
To listen to past programs or to read our notes for today's show, visit foiradio.org. Now we join Chris as he continues looking at how God keeps a relationship with us through his covenants.
Chris Katulka: So we've been going through this idea of how God relates to us and maintains a relationship with us, and I thought this might be a great topic as we begin the new year because it's important to know how God relates to us. I think this is going to help give us a firm foundation as we take our first steps for the year 2017.
Now last week, we talked about the fact that God relates with us through covenants, and I tried to convey that it's only an act of grace that God would come communicate with us and desire to have a relationship with us in any form or any fashion. This is only an act of grace because it's something that we definitely don't deserve. So last week we looked at this act of grace that God would bestow on his people a covenant that he would enter into a special relationship with the people of Israel. This covenant is called the old covenant and sometimes it's referred to as the mosaic covenant, and there were some features of this covenant that we looked at.
First, that faith is a binding factor of this covenant, a faithful relationship to God, and that you have faith in him because faith becomes the driving force of this relationship. Believing and trusting in him become the bedrock of this covenant.
Another concept that you see in the mosaic covenant is that from this faith that we have entered into is that God gives us a purpose. God gave Israel a purpose. Notice they didn't have to enter into this relationship. You can see this in Exodus chapter 23 and 24, God actually gives them a choice. However, when they, by faith enter into this covenant, God then gave them a purpose to become a kingdom of priests. The idea that God was going to use Israel to be a conduit by which he would communicate his message to the world. Again, another beautiful act of God's grace.
And finally, as an outworking of this covenant that he makes with Israel, Israel should have had a desired obedience to follow God in this relationship, a desired obedience to strive to follow the laws that God had given to the nation of Israel.
But the problem with the old covenant, as I said last week, was not God or it wasn't even the laws that he made. It wasn't the mosaic covenant, the old covenant. Instead, the problem was us. In our human flesh, there is no way that we could physically obey all of the different elements of the law that God laid out. It was impossible for us to do. So if you would like to go back and listen to the first message on how God relates with us, you can just go to foiradio.org, and there you'll find last week's show for you to listen to.
But listen to this, this was the reason God was going to make a new covenant, a new promise. And this new covenant was going to be much different from the old covenant, the old promise that he made with the nation of Israel. And we see the impetus for this desired new covenant, this new way that God is going to relate with us. It actually comes out of the disobedience of his people. You can see this in Jeremiah chapter 31. The people of Israel had been sinning, they forgot God, they lost their faith in God, they stopped trusting in God and they embraced false gods. Even the prophet Hosea paints the image of this relationship between God and Israel like a marriage, and Israel became a wife who cheated on her husband over and over again. She became unfaithful to the one who loved her the most.
So when you hear what the prophet Jeremiah is going to say in Jeremiah chapter 31, we're going to see a complete change in the way that God wants to relate with his people. Listen to this, Jeremiah chapter 31 verse 31, "'Behold, the days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant.'" Notice here, the promise of the new covenant is made not in the New Testament it's made in the Old Testament. I have a dear Israeli friend who became a believer in Jesus because he was so impacted by the idea that the new covenant, which is a Christian concept, the Christian theology is mentioned in the Old Testament. So this really radically changed the way he thought about God and what he was doing in the New Testament.
So again, I'm going to read Jeremiah chapter 31 verse 31, "'Behold, the days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. My covenant that they broke, though I was their husband declares the Lord.'" Notice the terminology being used here in Jeremiah 31, a terminology of a relationship, a marital relationship, between God and Israel, this special relationship, and how Israel cheated on God and broke that covenant.
Verse 33, but watch this transition here, "'For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,' declares the Lord, I will put my law within them. I will write it on their hearts and I will be their God and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother saying know the Lord, for they shall all know me from the least of them to the greatest', declares the Lord. 'For I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.'" The new covenant is the promise that God is making to Israel and, if you step back and look at the big picture, a promise he's making to everyone of a new way to relate with God. No longer will God's law be etched on tablets for us to follow, but instead his law and his commands will be in us, etched on our hearts, changing us more into his image and likeness.
The prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel chapter 36 does the same thing as Jeremiah chapter 31. He envisioned a day when the very spirit of God would indwell those who place their faith in him. This is Ezekiel's vision of the new covenant.
What's fascinating about God's desire to relate with us through covenants is that the covenants and promises needed to be signed in order to be made official. I can remember when my wife and I bought our home a few years back, we signed page, after page, after page of pledges. Without those signatures though, without the signatures of both the parties on the mortgage, remember it's just a stack of papers. There's no meaning to it until those signatures bind us together. It's those signatures that bring us and the bank together to make a binding relationship.
When God entered into a relationship with us, both in the old covenant and in the new covenant, it needed to be signed. And what ratified those covenants was not a signature, but the shedding of blood. For the old covenant, it was the shedding of blood of sacrificial animals. Just listen to what Exodus chapter 24 verse eight says when the old covenant was made official. "Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, 'Behold, the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.'" That when Israel accepted God's promise and accepted the relationship that God was going to make with them through the mosaic covenant, the old covenant, it needed to be signed. And it was the blood of an animal that was spread not only on the tablets, but on the people as well, sprinkled on the people that binded God to the people of Israel.
How did God ratify the new covenant? Well, it wouldn't be through the blood of a bull or a goat. But instead through the blood of his Son, Jesus, the Lamb of God, who shed his blood to ratify the new way God relates with us. Because of the work of Christ on the cross, we have God's Spirit and law written on our hearts and we can access God's throne, the throne of grace, whenever we wish. The writer of Hebrews says that we can come boldly before the presence of God in prayer.
But the important thing to see is this, first, to enter into the new covenant, we must place our faith in Jesus, the one who made the covenant possible. Second, from this faith, is it sounding familiar, in Christ God gives us a new purpose, a purpose to be a people of reconciliation, to share the reconciliation we have with God through Jesus Christ, the fact that we now have a relationship with God through the work of Christ. And also that we are called to be people of reconciliation, that we reconcile with others in our relationships around us. And finally out of love and gratitude, that God would even seek to have a relationship with us. We should have the desired obedience to follow and trust him.
My friends, if we can just begin to grasp the gracious act of God, that he would reach his hand out and desire to have a personal relationship with us, I think we'll set ourselves up for a year of great spiritual growth.
Steve Conover: If you take a step back and look at one of the Bible's overarching themes, you'll see it's a beautiful story of redemption. And what's even more beautiful is how God chose Israel to be central in his redemptive plan to repair the world.
Chris Katulka: Which is why last year's Friends of Israel Annual Prophecy conference focused on this very topic, Repairing our World, Israel Through the Ages. This eight-CD box set features The Friends of Israel teaching staff with messages including Israel's passover, a picture of redemption, Israel's promised return, and a message I taught that I'd love for you to hear, Israel's Redeemer Repairs our World. The 2016 Prophecy conference highlights are now available for purchase as a CD set or individual MP3 downloads. Enjoy excellent teaching from The Friends of Israel Bible teachers and think about joining us this summer at one of our annual conferences.
Steve Conover: To purchase your set or download individual messages, visit foiradio.org. That's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Last week, we reviewed the recent UN resolution against Israel that went after Israel's settlement building in the West bank in East Jerusalem, essentially calling all the Jewish people that live in the West bank in East Jerusalem, illegal residents with no legal validity. And as I said last week, the best way to make sense of this resolution is to put it this way, when you see a Jewish person at the Western wall, praying, they're in direct violation of resolution 2334. When you see a Jewish person at the Jewish quarter of the old city of Jerusalem, where they've been for millennia, they are in direct violation of resolution 2334. This UN resolution neglects history completely by calling the Jewish people illegal residents of Judea and Samaria, their ancient Homeland, where they've had a presence for more than 4,000 years. My friends, the sad fact is that they actually have legal validity to be there under international law, yet that seems to be ignored. This resolution ties Israel's hands from negotiating a true long lasting peace with the Palestinians since now the UN has bypassed the negotiations Israel needed.
But for this segment, I wanted to talk about some of the dangers of forcing a Palestinian state right now. I've always been surprised to hear how world leaders from democracies all around the world, push for a Palestinian state now. It's as if they get no special intelligence. They just want to help create a state because they believe the creation of a Palestinian state will simultaneously bring peace to the region. Yet if you look at the facts, forcing a Palestinian state now, like what the UN resolution has just done, it spells disaster for the Israelis and Palestinians.
Think about this, most of the world leaders back Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas because he claims to be the moderate voice of the Palestinians. However, if you look at Abbas' approval ratings among Palestinians today, you'll find a massive discrepancy. Most Palestinians don't trust Abbas as far as they can throw him. Abbas was only supposed to have a four-year term as the Palestinian president, but somehow he's working successfully on his 12th year. There have been no elections among the Palestinians in the West bank since 2005, and there's a reason for that. If elections are held today for the Palestinians, it's more than likely Hamas will win, the same terrorist organization that won elections in 2006 in the Gaza Strip. And today, as a result of those elections, tens of thousands of rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel.
Imagine if Hamas wins elections in the West bank. Now, Tel Aviv and all of its surrounding suburbs and the Israeli airport, the Ben Gurion international airport, are easy targets of terror. And on a governing level, forcing a Palestinian state now could seriously put Israel in a difficult situation.
Another reason Palestinians aren't ready for a state, their children. In Israel, children are educated to embrace peace among the Palestinians. They educate their children on the history of the Palestinian people from a factual perspective and teach their children to treat Palestinians with dignity and respect, with the understanding that war is necessary at times but war isn't the answer. It's not the goal. Peace is the goal.
Palestinian children, on the other hand, are being educated in schools to hate Jews and Israelis. They uphold and value the name of terrorists who kill innocent Israeli lives. For instance, the Palestinian soccer organization named some of its teams in honor of Palestinian terrorists. So when kids root for their favorite soccer team, it's tied directly to terrorism. And instead of educating their children on the facts of who the Jewish people are and their history in the land and the history of the modern state of Israel, they teach them lies on their history to de-legitimize them. Even if the Palestinians change the way they educate their children right now today, it would still take a whole generation of unraveling all of the antisemitism that is present in the minds of Palestinians. Folks, Palestinians have a long way to go before Israel could ever attempt to help create a peaceful existence between the two of them.
Here's my closing thought, now is not the time to force a Palestinian state. The UN and major Western powers should be more aware of the dangers of ramrodding a two-state solution through right now.
Steve Conover: Now Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life and ministry of Holocaust survivor, Zvi Kalisher.
Mike Kellogg: Recently, a rabbi asked if I knew an electrical repairman to do some work at the yeshiva. "I'll do it," I replied. I agreed to do it because of the great opportunity to witness for the Lord, so I went with him to the yeshiva. When I finished, the rabbi asked, "How much should I pay you?" I replied first, "Can you make me a cup of tea?" The boys began to ask me questions concerning why I did not belong to the yeshiva, and when the rabbi returned with a cup of tea he also asked me questions. I told them, "I follow the Lord without the yeshiva." "How?" One asked. "Now, you expect me to be like you, to follow traditions and do no work. The Lord said you work and I will help you."
The rabbi intervened, "If they work, they will not have time to follow God. If they work, they will not have time to follow God." I replied, "I work very hard and have time to thank the Lord and to witness for him." "How?" They asked. "You saw me work here. I also have time to tell you something special about the Lord." "What can a man like you tell us about the Lord?" One asked. "I can tell you things you have never heard." "No, it cannot be." "Have you ever heard about the son of God?" I questioned. "You are crazy. From which book did you take this funny story?" "From the Bible," I replied. "Do you believe in the Bible? If so, please give me a Bible and I will read for you about the son of God."
They gave me a Bible and I read Daniel chapter three, verse 25, "I see four men loose walking in the midst of the fire and they are not hurt. And the form of the fourth is like the son of God." "This cannot be," one insisted. "How can you follow God if you do not believe what the Bible says?" "What do you think of Isaiah 53 and of the other prophets who wrote about the Lord's coming?" They looked from one to another, and the rabbi had no answer. He asked me at which yeshiva I studied. "None. I studied the Bible which was written by the spirit of God, and the Lord teaches me through his spirit. I received him as my savior." The rabbi then asked, "Which synagogue do you attend?" "I go to the house of prayer," I replied. "As it is written in Isaiah 56:7, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.'" "What?" He exclaimed, "You're not Jewish." "I am a completed Jew," I replied. "I believe all of the Bible. I believe in the Messiah that he will return and all who believe in him will be saved." "Now we know about whom you speak," he said. "You gave us many things to think about."
I gave them my phone number and told them to call me whenever they have questions. They listened and treated me kindly. May the Lord open their eyes.
Steve Conover: I'll remind you once more that our latest conference audio set series is available for purchase. Visit foiradio.org to learn more, or call our listener line at 888-343-6940. Again, that's 888-343-6940. Or you can write to us at FOI Radio P.O. box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio P.O. box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. Or simply visit us, as we've mentioned, at foiradio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione, co-written by Sarah Fern. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. And our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. And once again, I'm Steve Conover, Executive Producer.
The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry is supported by the generosity of people like you. In fact, our ministry could not have existed since 1938 without Christians sensing the importance of what God is doing through our ministry. Would you prayerfully consider financially partnering with us? You can find a donate link on our website to learn more about the ways you can support us. The Friends of Israel today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide Christian ministry communicating biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while fostering solidarity with the Jewish people.
2016 Prophecy Conference CD Set
If you take a step back and look at the Bible’s theme you will see it’s a beautiful story of redemption. And what’s even more beautiful is to how God chose Israel to be central in His redemptive plan to repair the world.
Our 2016 Prophecy Conference highlights are available for purchase as a CD set or individual downloads. Enjoy excellent teaching from The Friends of Israel’s Bible teachers. And think about joining us at one of our annual conferences!
IN CANADA? ORDER HERE!
Chris continues unpacking the recent United Nations Resolution 2334 against Israel. Will this resolution bring Israelis and the Palestinians closer to peace? Listen and find out.
Apples of Gold: I Study the Bible
A rabbi asked Zvi if he knew of a repairman that could do work at his yeshiva (religious school). Zvi offered to do the work. After completing the repair the boys at the school talked with Zvi. Hear how God gave him the opportunity through the Old Testament Scriptures to tell the boys and their rabbi about the Messiah.
Read Zvi’s life story by Elwood McQuaid in Zvi: The Miraculous Story Of Triumph Over the Holocaust.
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
Also heard on this week’s show:
»Walk By Night, Ketsa
»Last Look, Ketsa
»There’s a Wideness In God’s Mercy, Timothy Shaw, Timothy Shaw at the Piano
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