ALL THINGS NEW
Harold E. Stough
"And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, 1 make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. 1 am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. 1 will give unto him that is athirst of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and l will be his God, and he shall be my Son" (Rev. 21:5, 7, cf. Heb. 12:2).
BEFORE BEGINNING, and even attempting to begin the consideration of things new, it is essential to consider things old and contemporary, for the Creator, the Maker of things new, must also be the Creator of things old, the beginnings. And the Triune Godhead consisting of the Everlasting Father, the Eternal Son, and the Spirit Who at Creation 'moved upon the face of the waters'. It is 'in the kingdom of his dear Son; in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins'. He is 'the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist" (Col. 1: 13-17). The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews stresses this Omnipotence when in the opening words he says "God ... hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom he made the worlds ".
"Appointed Heir?" He was and is always the Son. But one can only be heir by succession or appointment. In His case, the latter, for at His baptism, the Voice from heaven says of the beloved Son, according to the Moffatt translation, 'This day have 1 become thy Father.' Thus He recognises the Everlasting Son as His Heir. This the Jews of His day recognised when they said, 'This is the heir, let us kill Him and seize on His inheritance'.
If He, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, made the worlds, and He has now the Power, the Glory and the Kingdom, then He can 'make all things new.'
WHAT ARE "ALL THINGS?"
I. First is a new relationship with God for the individual. Paul tells us in the Epistle to the church at Ephesus (Eph. 2:1-18) "in times past we all had our conversation in the lust of our flesh (vs. 3) but God hath quickened us (vs. 5, et seq) ... and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in, heavenly places in Christ Jesus ... for by grace ye are saved through faith: it is the gift of God... ye are made nigh by the blood of Christ, for he is our peace ... for through him we both have access by one spirit unto the Father"...
II. A New Covenant for Israel. The Old, or Mosaic, Covenant was conditional. It had the well-known 'if' and 'but' clauses which promised great blessings for obedience to God's laws which had been delivered to Moses at Mount Sinai and consisted of commandments, statutes and judgments, and, conversely, curses for disobedience. These laws Israel chose to disobey and fell from the heights to which God had raised her. But now a New Covenant is promised which is unconditional. Instead of 'if you will' God says 'I will'.
"Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that 1 will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that 1 made with their fathers in the day that 1 took them out of the land of Egypt... 1 will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people " (Jer. 31:31, 35-37).
This is explained further in Hebrews 8:7: "for if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second". Paul amplifies this when he points out that Israel had to be redeemed from the law. "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons " (Gal. 4:4-5).
III. A New Commandment. (John 13:34): "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another, as 1 have loved you, that ye also love one another." There is no justification whatsoever in assuming that this one commandment can take the place of the Commandments of the Old Testament which our Lord confirmed in their entirety.
IV A New Priesthood of Christ. In the Old Testament Aaron, the Levite, Moses' brother, founded the priesthood, and the Levites had an inheritance in all of the tribes, but without a specific land grant as the other tribes had. It was to be a continuing order within the Israel economy. But the priesthood changed as mortality claimed the holders of the successive priests. Hebrews (chapter 7:23, 24) explains: 'And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: but this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood, wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them ". The Psalmist makes this abundantly clear: "The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek" (Ps. 110:4). This whole theme is dealt with fully in the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Readers are asked to read this chapter in full, noting particularly verse 1 which says most definitely that Melchizedek is a 'priest of the most high God'. or Elyon El, the God of Nations, a further descriptive Name of God, not Jehovah, His Name for Israel's God and the Aaronic priesthood. Thus our Lord is described as The Desire of all Nations. (Haggai 2:7).
Just as we have a new priesthood of Christ, Israel has a New Priesthood in Christ. It is most important to an understanding of the Kingdom Message, always to remember the words of God that Moses was instructed to say unto them:
"Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar, (i.e. purchased) Treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation" (Exodus 19:4, 5, 6).
But theologians and Bible teachers seem determined to teach that the Church is the new Israel, the old Israel having failed and thus were discarded. They do not seem to realise that if Israel failed then God failed. Thus the admission that God is not Omnipotent: He made promises He couldn't keep! To justify this astounding and alarming conclusion they turn to I Peter 2:5-10, and the unproven assumption that Peter is writing to individuals who comprise the Christian church. Not so.
He is writing to Israelites, naming the places to which they had been scattered: 'Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father'. The elect? Isaiah, in many chapters and verses stresses this. For example: "For Jacob my servant's sake; and lsrael mine elect, l have even called thee by thy name: 1 have surnamed thee" (Isa. 45:4; 42:1; 65:9 etc).
Peter, therefore, is but reminding these Israelites of their Sinai inheritance when he writes: "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ ... Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light ... which now have obtained mercy".
The church's role is to minister unto the nation - not replace it!
V. A New Creature - Those in Christ. The ones who now are in Christ have the blessed assurance that death doesn't end life, only mortality. For "We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens ... yea though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more", (see also John 2:19, Matt. 27:40). "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; Behold, all things are become new. And all things, are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 5:1,16,17,18).
There are so many subjects that could be included in this theme of All Things New, such as: A New Creation, A New Economics, A New Royalty, A New Righteousness, A New Jerusalem, A New Glory of His Presence In Us, A New Heaven and a New Earth, A New Topography, A New Restoration to Edenic conditions, A New Light, A New Heaven Married to a New Earth.
A book could be written covering these and other subjects. It has! and that Book is the Bible, 'rightly divided'.
Only our Lord can restore. He does, and He makes All Things New.
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