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We return in our studies this morning to Luke's gospel, chapter 1.  We are looking at verses 67 to the end of the chapter, a section of Scripture known as the Benedictus of Zacharias.  Zacharias was a priest who had the privilege of being the father of John, who was the forerunner of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.  When John was born, eight days later he was circumcised and Zacharias, in response to the reality of the birth of the forerunner of the Messiah, burst forth in praise starting in verse 67.  He is blessing, according to verse 68, the Lord God of Israel because the coming of Messiah means redemption.  The Messiah Himself, verse 69, “will be a horn of salvation for us.”

As Zacharias offers his praise to God in this passage, he brings before us three great Old Testament covenants: The Davidic, the Abrahamic and the New Covenant.  Because of the importance of these covenants, we've slowed down our study of this chapter at this point and we'll need one more Lord's Day to complete it.

Before we look at the text itself, let me pose a question.  If we were able to gather all of the various and sundry historians of the world together in one place, and ask them a question, this would be the question I would like to ask: "What was the greatest event in history?"  Or, "What is the high point of history?"  Or, "What is the most important, influential, and far-reaching, impactful moment in history?"

Now what do you think the historians of the world would say?  Would it be a battle?  Was that the main fulcrum, the turning point of human history? Was it a war?  Was it events that reshaped nations, or reshaped politics, or power in the world?  Would it be for some the rise of a great civilization like Babylon or Medo-Persia, or Greece or Rome, or Europe or America?  Would it be the fall of some civilizations?  Was the turning point of human history the fall of Babylon, the fall of Medo-Persia, the fall of the Roman Empire?  Is it the contemporary decline in western civilization?

Or maybe some would say it's the invention of something, like the wheel, or the lever, or electricity, or telegraphy, or the computer.

And some might suggest that it was an idea or a theory, or a philosophy, or philosopher; it was Plato, or Aristotle, or Hegel, or Kant, or Nietzsche.  Or some might say it is the invention of democracy or capitalism or free enterprise.  Others might suggest that it was a person.  Maybe it was a pharaoh or a caesar, or a monarch of some kind or a prime minister, or a president.

But one thing would be for sure. We wouldn't get any consensus.  There wouldn't be any one single moment in history, one single, epochal event in history that everyone would agree was the high point.  And I'm glad we don't have to get those historians together and ask that question because really it's already been answered.  It would be impossible today to get a consensus but there was a time when a consensus was possible and when for all time it was established that everything before this event was B.C. and everything after this event was A.D.  History has already answered the question. The most monumental event in all of human history was when God came into the world.  It was when Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of the Most High, was born.  History recognizes that one supreme event with B.C., Before Christ, and A.D., Anno Domini, the year of our Lord, meaning after Christ's coming.  The great event of world history that rises above everything else like Everest is the event which has been most profoundly influential, most impactful, most shaping of all human history, and that is the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, into the world to provide salvation and eternal life for sinners.  That is the greatest event in history.

The New Testament gives us the record of that event.  And to make it as full and complete as it can be, God the Holy Spirit inspired three men...four men — three to write what we call synoptics and with the addition of John — but the Holy Spirit inspired four men to write gospel accounts: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  The story of the coming of God into the world is then understood in its fullness by the composite of those four accounts.  The rest of the New Testament epistles and starting with the history of the book of Acts and culminating in the great consummation of the book of Revelation is commentary all on the significance of what is in the four gospels.  We're looking then at the greatest event in the history of the world. We're looking at it through the eyes of one of the four writers, namely Luke.  And Luke records the coming of God into the world, the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, in chapters one and two.  So we're at the end of chapter 1, about to get into chapter 2 where the actual birth of the Savior takes place.

Now as I said, as we come to our text in verse 67, Zacharias is praising God, praising God because he knows the Messiah is about to be born.  The forerunner to the Messiah, his own son John, has just been born about a week earlier.  Mary, the mother of the Messiah, the mother of the Savior of the world, the mother of the God-Man Jesus Christ, is already pregnant and he knows that because she has just spent three months living with them.  So he knows that the Messiah is about to arrive, the forerunner has been born, the Messiah is only a few months behind.  It won't be many years, Zacharias is sure, until the Messiah will launch His great ministry and, as he says in verse 68, redemption will come to Israel. Redemption will come to Israel because a great, powerful Savior, a horn of salvation, is to be born.

Now Zacharias understands the impact of this, as I have been telling you.  He understands that this fits in with Old Testament promise.  There are three great covenants in the Old Testament that relate to salvation.  One was made to David, one was made to Abraham, and one was made to the nation.  There is the Davidic Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant, and what we call the New Covenant because that's exactly what it's called in Jeremiah 31, where it is explicitly laid out.   God promised to the nation Israel someday they would have a kingdom and a King would come in David's line.  God promised to Abraham and the people who came out of his loins, namely the Jewish people, that someday they would possess the Promised Land and that it would be a time of great and immense blessing and they would serve the Lord in the midst of that blessing so as to be not only blessed but become a blessing to the world.

Well they hadn't yet had the kingdom that God had promised to David.  They hadn't yet experienced the greatness of the Davidic promise and sovereignty and a great King out of the loins of David who would not only rule in Israel but rule with a rod of iron and extend that rule over the whole earth.  They hadn't experienced that yet.  That was to come when Messiah came.

They hadn't experienced the fullness of Abrahamic blessing.  They did not possess their land.  They were occupied at that time by Romans. They had been occupied by Greeks.  They had been under the power of Medo-Persians, under the power of the Babylonians in captivity.  They hadn't received their land and the greatness of blessing that God promised them.  And they hadn't yet become that great blessing to the world that God had pledged to Abraham; and all of that because they hadn't yet received the forgiveness of sins.  How many times had they sinned?  How many times did they defy God?  How many times had they apostatized or defected from God?  How many times had they followed after idols?  How many idols had the bowed before?  And they had not yet been forgiven for all their sins.  There was a generation alive at the time of Zacharias that was apostate, had defected from the true God and was following a path of self-righteousness rather than a path of true repentance and faith and justification.

And so, Zacharias was like the rest, waiting for the redemption of Israel in Jerusalem, waiting for the Messiah to come and come to deliver them from their sins and then to give them the fulfillment of Davidic and Abrahamic promise.  And when he realized that the son who was his own son, miraculously conceived, John, was now born, he knew because he was the forerunner of Messiah, the one who would announce Messiah that Messiah wasn't far behind; yes, even now was being formed in the womb of this young girl named Mary.  And so he is rejoicing over what is coming to pass.  He speaks of David in verse 69.  He speaks of Abraham down in verse 73 because he realizes the Davidic promise, Abrahamic promise, is tied to the arrival of Messiah.

Now just briefly look back at the text.  As Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, we've gone over that in the past, it says that he said, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us."  In other words, God is going to send the Messiah who is going to save us and bring about the redemption that has been promised.

Then in verse 69 he introduces the Davidic Covenant.  The Messiah, the Savior, will come in the house of David, His servant, as he spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets as of old.  And he's going back to 2 Samuel chapter 7, back to 1 Chronicles chapter 17, back to Psalm 89 and back to forty other references in the Old Testament to the Davidic Covenant and saying, this is it, folks, the King has come.   After all, when Gabriel announced the birth of Messiah to Mary back in verse 32, the angel Gabriel said that He will be not only Son of the Most High, but the Lord God will give Him the throne of His Father David, He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and His kingdom will have no end.  So that heightened anticipation.

Surely Mary had informed Zacharias that that's exactly what Gabriel had said, that the Messiah would be not only Son of God, Son of the Most High, but Son of David, the promised King and He would establish His eternal kingdom, a kingdom without end.  That's what the angel told Mary.  I'm sure that's what she passed on to Zacharias.  So he's anticipating this.  This is it.  Israel, attacked through the centuries, deported, Israel occupied, stripped of sovereignty, stripped of self-rule, under Gentile domination, would someday have its independence, some day have its own kingdom, some day have its own great King and some day that King would not only rule over Israel but over the entire world.  The government of the world, Isaiah 9 says, would be upon His shoulders.  Zachariah 14 and verse 9 promises the same thing.  He would establish the kingdom that is indicated in Revelation 20 to be a kingdom of a thousand years on earth.  They were waiting for this.  This was great deliverance from their enemies, and that's what verse 71 says, deliverance, or salvation, from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.

So the Davidic promise had to do with the political entity of the nation, with the national entity of the nation.  That is to say they would be free.  They would be sovereign.  They would be ruled by Messiah who would deliver them from all oppression, all occupation, all enemies, so much so that the Messiah, from Jerusalem, would reign over the entire world with a rod of iron, exercising great and instantaneous power.

That's what he expected to happen because Messiah was coming.  He also expected fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant, verse 72. Also he was rejoicing because mercy was coming, mercy which God had showed toward their fathers in the promise that He gave, the holy covenant, the oath which He swore to Abraham.  Now remember, that was a promise of a land and a great nation and blessing on that nation like no nation had ever known and through that nation blessing to the world.  That was the heart and soul of the Abrahamic Covenant.  Not just a kingdom, but all the land originally promised, and blessing, and to be a blessing to the world.  That hadn't happened.  That would require the Messiah to come.  That couldn't happen until they were delivered from their enemy.  So he says in verse 73...or verse 72, the Lord has now going to show us “the fulfillment of His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to Abraham, our father, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies," which was part of the Davidic Covenant, "shall now be able to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days."

They were going to enter into a time of peace.  They were going to enter into a time of prosperity, a time when without fear of attack or assault or evasion or occupation they would serve the Lord.  It would be a time of holiness.  It would be a time of righteousness, as well as a time of peace.  The Abrahamic Covenant was basically given in the book of Genesis to Abraham, Genesis 12 verses 1 to 7 and in that promise that you'll have a great nation, and your nation will be the source of blessing to other nations and you'll have a land that I'll give to you.  It was reiterated again in chapter 15, reiterated again in chapter 17 of Genesis, and reiterated again in chapter 22, as we told you.  This was the promise of profound and far-reaching and permanent blessing on the nation Israel.

And God, you know, sealed that covenant.  We didn't get into it but I'll just refer to it.  God did an interesting thing to seal that covenant, to ratify that covenant.  In Genesis chapter 15 it says that Abram asked God, "How am I going to know this is going to happen?  How can I be sure that this covenant will come to pass?"  And God did something to make it clear.  God said to him, "Now you go get three animals and cut them in half; a heifer, a goat and a ram.  You get them and just cut them in half and lay them opposite each other with a path in the middle and then go get a pigeon and a turtledove and don't cut them in half. They're small enough start with.  To cut a bird in half, all you get is a pile of feathers, so don't cut those. Just put the pigeon over here and the turtledove over here so you have corresponding pieces of the three animals and corresponding dead birds lying on the ground and a path in the middle."

It’s a strange thing that God is asking Abram to do but he really doesn't argue about it, he doesn't hesitate to do it because it was a somewhat familiar enterprise.  Why?  Because when in the old time...Old Testament era, during the time of Abram, people made covenants, they had ways to ratify or to legalize those covenants.  One of the ways they did it was by blood, blood signifying the seriousness with which this pledge was being taken.  An animal would offer its life, there would be death and the shedding of blood to show the seriousness of this pledge, and so they would cut an animal in half and the two people making the covenant would walk between the pieces, therefore signifying the sealing of that covenant in a dramatic way.  And that's essentially what Abram is doing.  He understands this.

But God does something very interesting in Genesis 15, God anesthetizes him.  God puts Abraham out. He puts him into a deep sleep and then when he's in a deep sleep and completely out of the picture, God Himself comes like a smoking oven and like a burning lamp and passes through the pieces Himself.  The Abrahamic Covenant was unilateral, the Abrahamic Covenant was irrevocable.  It was a pledge that God made to Himself.  It was not dependent upon Abram.  It was God covenanting with Himself, but He ratified it with bloodshed.  Interesting that the Abrahamic Covenant was ratified with bloodshed; so was the New Covenant, namely in the blood of Jesus Christ.

So Zacharias, like all the rest of the Jews, is waiting and he's waiting, as it were, with bated breath for the arrival of Messiah so they can enjoy the fulfillment of the Davidic promise, they can have their own nation, their own King and from that they can rule the entire world.  He's anxious for the blessing that God promised to Abraham, that the nation would be blessed, that God would shower them with blessing and that they would then become a blessing to the whole wide world.  That's what was in his heart.

He says then, "Having been delivered," verse 74, "from the hand of our enemies, we're going to be able to serve the Lord without fear," that is that there's not going to be any enemy that can overpower us, or overtake us.  We're going to be able to serve the Lord without fearing any repercussions because the Lord will rule the whole world.  And then he adds, and we're going to do this, in verse 75 “in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days."

You know, short-term obedience was something Israel had rendered in the past.  It’s true; short-term devotion, short-term worship but never long-term.  It went on for a little while and they defected.  It would go on for a little while and they defect.  They'd have a little bit of a revival and then they'd fall back again.

But there's coming a day when their service to God will be without fear and when it will be in permanent holiness and righteousness.  And, folks, that is what the Abrahamic Covenant intended, that they would be blessed because they were righteous.  They would be blessed because they were holy.  They would be, therefore, a blessing to the world because of that holiness and because of that righteousness.  And it would be permanent all our days.

And Zacharias understands this.  When the Messiah comes that's what's going to happen, deliverance from our enemies and we're going to be all that God wants us to be, blessed by God and a blessing because of that to the whole world.  We'll have our land.  We'll have our great nation.  We'll have our great blessing.  We'll have holiness and righteousness to pass to others across the face of the earth.  Messiah would bring that.

But there was another covenant essential to that, and that's the one I want to address briefly this morning. That's the New Covenant.  It starts in verse 76.  That was just a little review because you need to kind of get the flow here.  Verse 76 all of a sudden turns to the New Covenant.  It's not named as such, but it's clearly identified, as I'll point out in a moment.

Verse 76, "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins because of the tender mercy of our God with which the sunrise from on high shall visit us to shine upon those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death to guide our feet into the way of peace."  Boy, that whole section from verse 76 to verse 79 is so wonderful, the depths of which we're going to plunge next Lord's Day.  But for now, just know this.  He is talking about the New Covenant.  He mentions in verse 77 that salvation which comes from the forgiveness of sins.

Now deliverance or salvation is a big word and it could refer to being delivered from your enemies.  It could be...refer to being delivered from occupying forces.  It could be used to refer to being delivered from attacking forces.  It could be used to refer to any kind of earthly deliverance.  And that was involved in the Davidic Kingdom.  It could be used to being delivered from depression, from famine conditions, from bad social situations, from all kinds of things.  It could be inherent in the Abrahamic Covenant, delivered from anything that steals blessing, being delivered mainly from curses that have come upon you because of your sins.  And I think they saw that.  Certainly the Davidic Covenant talked about a political deliverance and it talked...and the Abrahamic Covenant talked about a...a kind of social deliverance where life would be filled with blessing, as well as having their own kingdom.  But here is the spiritual issue, this is the spiritual blessing that is critical and essential and it's indicated because here is the knowledge of the kind of deliverance that comes, verse 77, by the forgiveness of their sins.

Now we're getting down to the spiritual here.  This is not just societal, it's’s not the universal rule of the Davidic Kingdom or the national prosperity of the Abrahamic Kingdom. It's the personal work of God in the forgiveness of sin in the individual heart.  The New Covenant is a personal one.  As I've been saying to you, the Davidic Covenant is global, if you will. It's universal.  The Abrahamic Covenant is national.  The New Covenant is personal.  Zacharias' psalm of praise goes to the personal because he knows they're not going to have the Davidic rule, they're not going to have the Abrahamic blessing unless they come to salvation personally.  As I've been saying all along, the only people who are going to enter into the millennial kingdom where the Son of David will rule with a rod of iron on a throne in Jerusalem and rule the whole world, the only people who are going to enter into that kingdom are those who have come through the New Covenant forgiveness, the cleansing that is provided by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, where He ratified the New Covenant.  The only people who are going to enter into the millennial blessing promised to Abraham who are going to dwell in the land and enjoy the blessings and prosperity that God has pledged to be fulfilled in that messianic kingdom are those who are...those coming through the New Covenant.  The only people who will be there will be New Covenant believers, those who have been cleansed from their sins, forgiven by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  Of course Zacharias wants to make this very clear.

Now, as he launches into his discussion of the New Covenant, he begins by looking at the child probably holding in his arms, this little eight-day-old prophet son named John and he says, "You, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High," Most High, El Elyon, God Most High, meaning sovereign God.  We discussed that term in verse 32 so we won't go into it again.  But it's’s a wonderful term referring to God as sovereign.  And he's saying to his little boy, and what a proud moment it must have been for that father, "You will be the prophet of God, you will be the prophet of the One who comes as God in human flesh, you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways."  He knows that Mary's baby is going to be the Son of the Most High.  He knows that Mary's baby is the Lord.  He knows that.  And he also knows there hadn't been a prophet for 400 years and here was a prophet, his own flesh and blood, his own little boy.  This prophet would be great and he would, as it says back in verse 17, “make a people ready, prepared for the Lord.”  He was thrilled at the prospect of what his son would do.  His son, he probably knew, was the fulfillment of the Old Testament kind of closing promise, Malachi 3:1, "I'm going to send My messenger and he will clear the way before Me."  And then chapter 4 verse 5, right at the very end of the Old Testament, "I'm going to send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible Day of the Lord."  And Zacharias may well have realized that his son is the fulfillment of that promise in Malachi 3:1, he is coming. He is the one coming to be the messenger to announce the arrival of Messiah.  He is the one who will be like Elijah.  He will come in the spirit and power of Elijah, as Gabriel told Zacharias back in verse 17.  So this is an exciting moment as he looks into the face of this little eight-day-old boy.

But his message is to prepare His ways, to prepare His ways.  The Lord is coming and you've got to get everything ready for His arrival.  “Ways,” meaning the paths along which He will come.  You are the one to get everything ready for His arrival.  John, in John 1:23, John the Baptist, this same child said, "I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord,' as Isaiah the prophet said."  He was the fulfillment of Isaiah chapter 40, verse 3.  He came as the voice in the wilderness, crying out for people to get ready for the Messiah.

And what did he say?  Did he say, “Folks, get on your fancy duds, you know, get on your gold and silver, put on your jewelry, put on your fine garments, get ready for a party because the King is coming and we're about to launch into a great kingdom?"  Is that what he said?  No.  Did he say, "Folks, put aside all your future insurance policies, put aside all the funds and all the things you've stored up for the difficulties of the future, shed all your anxiety and all your fear and all your worry because Messiah is coming and with Him will come Abrahamic prosperity, with Him will come the land and all its riches and all the blessing of God will be poured out on us?"  Did he say that?  No.

When John came preaching, what was the first word out of his mouth?  Repent, wasn't it?  Repent, because no one would enter into Davidic fulfillment or Abrahamic fulfillment unless their sins were dealt with, and no one would receive the forgiveness of sin who didn't repent and seek it.  And he prepared the way for the Lord by bringing people to repentance.  That's what he did.  He preached repentance. That was his relentless message.  Matthew 3, "In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, 'Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'"  But you're never going to receive it. You're not going to enter into Davidic or Abrahamic blessing without repentance.  And then Matthew even adds that he was the one referred to by Isaiah, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make way the... ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'"  And he continued to preach repentance and he even questioned the legitimacy of those who repented.  You remember, remember he questioned whether the religious leaders' repentance was genuine and said to them, "You better bring forth fruit unto repentance."  But that's the kind of preacher he was.  He was so convicting that they cut his head off.

You see, the people were looking for a Messiah who would be a national hero, a monarch, a king like David and set up a throne.  They were looking for a Messiah who would be literally a provider of a welfare state, who would provide all the blessings that they thought were inherent in the Abrahamic Covenant.  That's why when Jesus fed the multitudes and created all the food, they immediately wanted to lift Him up, they wanted to exalt Him as their Messiah and their King because they would see that as the fulfillment of Abrahamic promise, blessing.  But before any of that could happen, there had to come the terms of the New Covenant.

You see, they didn't have any understanding about their true situation.  They thought that because they were Jews and because the covenant of God to David and to Abraham was irrevocable, unalterable, the gifts and callings of God being without repentance and God being faithful — and they rehearsed that again and again and again that God is faithful to His promise and never breaks it — they assumed that therefore it was just a matter of the Messiah showing up and they would get it all.  They knew they needed to be redeemed from paganism.  They needed to be redeemed, as it were, from Roman occupation and Roman oppression.  They knew they needed to be redeemed from the difficulties of life, the struggles of life, the difficulties that they were incurring in their life, they...they thought that when the Messiah came He would just take care of all of that based on Abrahamic and Davidic promise.  What they didn't know was they needed to be redeemed from sin.

And that was the issue and when John came preaching sin, they killed him.  And when Jesus came preaching sin, they killed Him, too.  And when the apostles picked up the message and kept preaching sin, they killed them because the one thing they would not acknowledge was the...was the true heart condition and the necessity for the application of the New Covenant, which was promised in the Old Covenant and provided in the death of Jesus Christ.  So secure they were in the Abrahamic, so secure they were in the Davidic, that when John came and started confronting their dangerous, deadly, self-righteousness, when he brought the conviction of sin and exposed their guilt and their true shame and the judgment of God to fall, they wouldn't hear it.  They executed him.  But his way of preparing them was to preach repentance.  And some heard him and some were ready.

Verse 77 then comes to the New Covenant, this is where we'll stop because our time is gone.  Verse 77 says, and when the Messiah comes He's to give to His people the knowledge of salvation that comes by the forgiveness of their sins.  This is not theoretical.  This is not the kind of salvation that is theoretical or theological or abstract.  This is not the kind of deliverance that is political.  This is not the kind of deliverance that is societal.  This is the kind of deliverance that is connected to the forgiveness of their sins.  That's the issue.

You see, that was...that was the bone in the throat of Israel.  They choked on that one.  They would been happy if Jesus had established the Davidic Kingdom and if He would have unfolded all Abrahamic blessing, wouldn't have been a problem.  But when He introduced this issue of the necessity to recognize your sinful condition and repent and be forgiven, it was intolerable to their self-righteous hearts.  But this is the New Covenant and the only way that Israel will ever be saved. Romans 11 says, "So all Israel will be saved." The only way that the Jews will ever be saved is when they embrace New Covenant forgiveness. And New Covenant forgiveness requires that they acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord because there's only one sacrifice for sin, right?  And that's Jesus Christ.

It isn't only a question of understanding that Jesus was born of the line of David and He is a son of David therefore He's an heir to David's throne.  It isn't only understanding that Jesus Christ is a son of Abraham, born from the seed of Abraham and therefore is the son of Abrahamic promise.  It is also the fact that Jesus Christ though son of David and son of Abraham fitting the qualifications of Messiah, also has to be the Savior of sinners.  He has to be the substitute. He has to be the lamb slain for sinners.  That's what they couldn't accept.  They couldn't accept that they were sinners and they couldn't accept a dead Messiah.  Even after the apostles began to preach this, they executed them.

Someday Israel will be saved.  Someday God will save Israel.  Someday He will remove their blindness.  Someday they'll look upon Him whom they've pierced.  Someday they'll embrace the New Covenant sacrifice in Jesus Christ and they'll realize that Jesus, son of David, son of Abraham was also the Lamb promised as a sacrifice for sin.  And when they recognize that, when they look on Him whom they've pierced, they mourn for Him as an only Son, then, says Zechariah, a fountain of blessing will be opened to Israel.  Romans 11 will come to pass, all Israel will be saved and in the future when all Israel is saved, then Jesus returns. Then He returns to establish the promised kingdom with all its Davidic, Abrahamic and New Covenant blessing.

And as I've said all along, you'll be there and I'll be there. Even if we're raptured before the time of tribulation we'll come back down when Jesus returns to set up His kingdom.  For those people who are saved during the time of tribulation, they'll go into the kingdom in their normal human form and occupy that kingdom with Christ and with the saints that have been glorified and returned from heaven.  But the only people who will go into that kingdom when it is inaugurated are those who have come by way of the New Covenant.  And even those of us who are Gentiles, because we all participate in the salvation provided in the death of Christ, we also will enjoy the Davidic Covenant blessing and the Abrahamic Covenant blessing as well.

The specifics of this I'm going to get into next week and you'll find them fascinating.  We'll start in Deuteronomy 29 and 30 and march through Jeremiah on into the New Testament where Jesus says, "This cup is the New Covenant in My blood," great, great theme of Scripture.  Join me in prayer.

Lord, we have studied this morning like students in a class.  We have looked at great theological theme of covenant and finally we have come to that covenant which is most critical, the New covenant.  You told Jeremiah that You were going to make a New Covenant with the nation and in that New Covenant would come the forgiveness of sins and a new heart and a new spirit, a great work inside to transform.  You reiterated it to Ezekiel and then clearly You fulfilled it in Jesus Christ, who said that His blood, His death was the New Covenant, that You will forgive sin, You will pass by transgression because Jesus bore the punishment for it all.  He bore in His body our sins.  He was made sin for us though He knew no sin.  This is the great New Covenant.  It's this we celebrate at the table now, His body and His blood given for us, for Gentile and Jew, the gateway to all the promises made to David and Abraham.  Prepare our hearts now as we partake.

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