Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Covenant

When we talk about heaven, we're talking about a "new Jerusalem" - that city where God dwells among His people. Among this talk is a lot of Temple language, a geography that the faithful Jews would have been very familiar with (and it's worth pointing out, at least momentarily, that John's Revelation is thus written to a Christian people deeply knowledgeable of the Jewish faith - a far cry from what passes for Christianity today).

Perhaps one of the most surprising features of the new Jerusalem is that the Ark of the Covenant is right there in the middle of it, right in the center of God's re-created Temple (Revelation 11).

Why is this surprising, and why is it important?

It's surprising because we're prone to believe that Jesus eliminated the law, and that if He didn't eliminate it in our earthly living, then certainly it doesn't remain in effect in heaven. How can we be living in a perfect place eternally with our perfect Father and still have a covenant? Still have ten commandments written on stone and sealed in a holy box? It's tempting for us to think that when we get to heaven, we're all going to be perfect persons and God won't have to tell us how to live any more. We won't need the covenant, won't need the commandments, won't need the jar of manna that's a reminder of His provision...because He'll be right there.

But it's important because it reminds us that we do need it. Even when we're recreated, we'll need it. For all eternity, we will need it. Because we are and always have been, from the very beginning, a covenant people. And it isn't and never has been about our need for moral guidance.

It's about God's love for us.

The covenant in heaven, it's God's reminder for us that He is who He says He is. His glory will be all around us, and you'd think we wouldn't need a reminder, but we do. When we are literally surrounded by something and it becomes a constant and stable part of our day-to-day existence, we're prone to miss the beauty of it. We're prone to forget what it is, where it comes from, what it means. God wants us to always remember that the goodness of eternity with Him is grounded in who He is. It was His plan from the beginning. The curtain in the Temple is torn, which means we always have access to it. And the fact that the Ark is in heaven means we can come back to it whenever we want and see that...eternity is because God is. Good is because God is good.

God's covenant doesn't end with us simply because we die. Rather, God's covenant remains because we live. We are, and always have been, a people of the covenant; we always will be. And not just that.

Our God is a covenant God. He always has been; He always will be. He's not just about love, although that would be enough. He's about commitment. He's in this with us, forever and for always. 

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