Christ’s Fulfillment of the Covenants

Throughout the Old Testament there are several instances of God establishing a covenant.  He did so with Adam in the Garden, with the nation of Israel through Moses where the Law was delivered, with Noah after the great flood, with Abraham and his descendants, and lastly with King David.  These covenants are a part of salvation history that prepared the world for the coming of the Messiah.  Each one of these covenants was important and significant, and each one was fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.  This covenant is known as the new covenant, and it is everlasting.  Regarding this the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “God has revealed himself fully by sending his own Son, in whom he has established his covenant forever. The Son is his Father’s definitive Word; so there will be no further Revelation after him” (CCC para 73).

The Adamic covenant is the first that the Lord had established.  As its name states, it was established with our first parents on behalf of all humanity.  We read in Genesis 1:26-31 about the creation of mankind, and how God rested on the seventh day.  The number seen in the Hebrew language is the number of covenant (Lecture Notes).  However, there is a second part of the covenant that applies after the fall.  God gives the first Gospel pronouncement which is known as the protoevangelium.  Genesis 3:15 states, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel” (NRSV).  Christ is the fulfillment as his death, burial, and resurrection redeemed us from the sin of our first parents.

 

After the great flood mentioned in Genesis, God made a covenant with Noah never to destroy the Earth with water again (Lecture Notes).  The rainbow became a sign of the covenant that God made with Noah.  This can be seen in Genesis 9:13 which states, “I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth” (NRSV).  Man will still struggle with sin, but Christ gives strength in the battle.  The Vatican II document Gaudium Et Spes states, “But the Lord Himself came to free and strengthen man, renewing him inwardly and casting out the prince of this world” (Ostrowski 18).  It also brought into focus the issue of capital punishment in Genesis chapter nine.  It took on a new meaning when Christ was crucified.  The covenant is for all time and for all people, as is the sacrifice of Christ.

God continued in his promise and made a covenant with Abraham.  Genesis 12:2 states, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” (NRSV).  God promised Abraham descendants as numerous as the stars, and this included those by adoption (Lecture Notes).  This was fulfilled in Christ, because having faith in Christ we adopted sons of Abraham as Galatians 3:29 states.  In the Mosaic covenant, God made a covenant with the people of Israel.  Regarding this Dr. Koehne writes, “Through the leadership of Moses, God freed His people from slavery, then made a covenant with them on Mount Sinai” (Lecture Notes).  Christ fulfills the covenant by showing us how to live the law and calling to a higher standard of living as Christians.  This can only be done through his grace and mercy.

Lastly, God made a covenant with King David and said that through his lineage the Messiah would be born.  The promise can be seen in 2 Samuel 7:12-13 which states, “ When  your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (NRSV).

In St. Augustine’s great work the City of God he equates King David to an Old Testament prefigurement of Christ (Newadvent.com).  This covenant is fulfilled because he is proven to be in David’s lineage as is seen in Matthew Chapter one, and his kingdom will have no end.

Crucifixion

Works Cited

Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2 ed.  New York:  Doubleday, 2003.  Print.

Ostrowski, Thaddeus ed., Primary Source Readings in Christian Morality.  Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press, 2008, Print.

Dods, Marcus. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 2. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120117.htm&gt;.

Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version

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Hebrews 3: Superiority of Christ

In chapter three of the letter to the Hebrews the pastor tells his listeners that Jesus is superior to Moses.  This is significant in many respects, and the pastor does this to remind them of their new faith and responsibility to the gospel.  In doing this the pastor uses his great Old Testament knowledge and referenced Numbers 12:7-8 and Psalm 95:7-11 in Hebrews 3:3-5.  This selection from the Pentateuch describes Moses and the agent by which God gave his revelation to the Israelites [1].  This particular story recounts the rebellion of the house of Israel, and parallels the disobedience of the recipients of the letter.  Hebrews 3 is motivational in nature, and is building the case from history that those who rebelled did not see the promised land.  In the beginning of the chapter the pastor that Moses and Christ both function in the house of God [2].  However, Moses was a servant in the house and Christ is the builder of the house.  As a result of him being the builder he is entitled to more superiority than the house itself.  This is important for the hearers to understand because it bring in typology between his letter and the Moses account [3].  Moses led the people through the desert for fourth years, but because of their disobedience he was not able to lead them into the promised land.

Christ is described as faithful, and as a result will lead his people to Heaven if they remain faithful and persevere.  The purpose that Moses served was to point to further revelation, and the fullness of that revelation is found in Christ.  Jesus says this himself in John 5:46 when he says, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me [4].”  The implications for Christians today and very similar to the hearers of the Pastor’s sermon.  We are to hold to the hope that can be found only in Christ.  We see examples of everyday of those who profess Christ, but who do not mature and do not know their faith.  When the first sign of difficulty comes along they are no longer seen in church.  The world today is becoming more and more hostile t the Christian faith, but we must be bold and stand for the truth.  Just like the Hebrews we ill be “considered part of the people of God if we hold fast to the Christian faith [5].”

 

Image result for superiority of christ

 

Works Cited

1.  Cockerill, Gareth L.  The Epistle to the Hebrews.  (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans Publishing, 2012), 153.

2.  Ibid, 153.

3.  154.

4.  John 5:46, New International Version

5.  Guthrie, George H.  The Hebrews NIV Application Commentary.  (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1998), 128.

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