A new people, a new temple

Everett Fox, in his translation of the five books of Moses, points out that covenants were widely used to establish political relationships between kings and vassals, granting privileges and obligations for the parties involved. But no other ancient society “conceived of the possibility that a god could ‘cut a covenant’ with a people.”

Calvin writes, “and this is the main and principal thing which the prophets celebrate in the redemption of the people… that God made known His testimonies to His redeemed, and bound the people, whom He had purchased, to Himself by a new covenant.”

Fox goes on to say that the law given in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy “blurs the distinction between religious and secular, and treats all law as a matter directly related to God. He is the source of laws; they are the expression of His will; and breaking them is a direct affront to and act of rebellion against Him (contrast, for example, the modern American view).”

So, even though, as God says, “all the earth is mine,” He has chosen a people on which to place His own name, His treasured possession, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. This was not meant to keep them excluded from contact with other nations – they were to be a kingdom of priests to call and lead and teach the other nations to follow God, just as He said, “my house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations.”

Now all nations have been called and it is no longer a distinction between circumcised and uncircumcised, but between the sons of Adam and the sons of Christ. Jesus said, “and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”




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