The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Covenant World

'God became Man that Man might become God.'

One problem that many have noted with preterism, beside the fact that it's just another 'ism', is that 'if it's all fulfilled, than what do we have to look forward to?'; 'if Jesus already came back, why are we still reading the Bible?': 'YOU MEAN, THIS IS IT?!' The 'problem' is exacerbated with a Covenant Eschatology ( NOT to be confused with 'preterism'! ), which leads naturally to Covenant Protology
( Covenant Creation ( CC ), or the fact that Genesis is not about the formation of Planet Earth, but rather the formation of the Land & Man in the Land; 'the Land', of course, referring to what we call 'the Promised Land', or even, 'the Holy Land'! It must be noted, though, that 'the Land' itself referred, not to the physical geographical features, but to a greater spiritual reality, ultimately, 'God with us'!

Throughout Scripture are scattered what may be called 'Universal Truths': while some may beg to differ on the existence of these 'nuggets', they are rather self-evident! Probably THE most famously memorizable verse in the Bible, John 3:16, reads, 'For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life'. Read in context, some would say, making note of the Greek word translated 'world', this promise was given to the 'world' of the 1st century, both Jew & Gentile. Given that Covenant Protology posits that the 'cosmos', or orderly arrangement, whose creation is recorded in the first chapters of Genesis, is simply the creation of covenant, rather than the material, or physical creation, then it would follow that the 'world' spoken of in John 3:16 is not ( necessarily ) the physical ( biological ) creation, but that same covenant creation. We are faced, then, with the question, 'What constitutes a covenant?'

A covenant, most would probably agree, is an agreement between two or more people, for mutual benefit. In short. a covenant, unlike a mere contract, connotes relationship, of whatever sort & to whatever extent. The Covenant that we see in the Scripture, being personified in Jesus the Christ, infinitely surpasses the legal definition of 'covenant', for one, because it IS personified & for another, because it was constituted by the Creator God Himself, Scripturally speaking of course. One way to put it is that Adam did not asked to be created, or formed; he did not even ask for a wife to be brought to him. Even so, Israel did not agree to be singled out from among the nations. However, both Israel & Adam were in relationship with the Creator God, known as YHWH to the Hebrews. As anyone may note for themselves, this relationship was pretty bumpy at times!

Throughout the Greek & Hebrew Scriptures, we come face-to-face with the notion that the Creator God is our Father & we are His Children, not ( necessarily ) because of physical generation, but through spiritual regeneration ( this is most clearly pronounced in the Greek Scriptures ). Like any good father, He 'chastens'  His children ( Hebrews 12:6 ( Deuteronomy 8:5 ). This is not to say that He holds any malice for them, or delights in their punishment, but because of the Covenant, He disciplines them in order to have a better relationship with them.

Although the Creation recorded in Scripture indeed entails that of a special Covenant, that special Covenant involved the Creator God dwelling with Man, as Man! As this special Covenant, through Israel, blessed all the nations ( Genesis 12-17 ), so we may note that many of these truths, such as John 3:16, are to be understood universally. Matthew 24, for instance, should be understood as a prophecy of the coming destruction of Jerusalem & the Temple, although, even in this fulfilled prophecy, one may note universal truths.

Covenant implies relationship! The relationship recorded in Scripture, between YHWH & His people Israel, was a special one, intended to ultimately bless the entire Creation, not just spiritually, or covenantally ( again, 'Scripturally speaking' ), but physically, or geographically as well. The relationship between a father & his children, as any father ( or mother ) can attest to, goes far beyond the limitations of any writ or agreement! Simply through generation, though rocky at best sometimes, the relationship, or covenant, if you will, still stands. Just as Adam & Israel did not choose to be singled out for special duty, neither did we choose, humanly speaking, to be born into a certain family.

It should be fairly clear by now that the Covenant with Israel was a special One, not simply because YHWH singled them out, but because He Himself personified the Covenant! That the Covenant extends to all Creation should be clear as well. The uniqueness of this Covenant does not require agreement because it is not based merely on one's willingness to enter into a relationship, but on the fact that all Creation are in a relationship with the Creator God.

The Universal Truths of Scripture, then, though not defined as covenantal ( by Scripture ), are yet covenantal in nature. Because the End Goal of the Covenant History of Israel was 'God with us', the Covenant was shown to include all Creation, not just those who chose to 'enter in'! 'The Land' promised to those who would enter in, including the Greater Spiritual Truth of  'the Christ in us', was indicative of the Creator dwelling with ( in ) the Creation! The History of Israel served its purpose, in that through a proper reading & understanding of it, we bear witness to the fact that the Creation is in fact One with its Creator, that Heaven is indeed One with Earth, 'it is what it is' & 'it's all good'!

Charles Haddon Shank

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