ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 11

Introduction to
T H E F I N A L Q U A R T E R O F T H E B I B L E describes the fifth covenant that God
made with humanity. This covenant flows directly from the ones that
came before it. But at the same time, it presents such a contrast to
those old covenants that our Bibles are divided into two “testaments”
(another word for “covenant”) to express this difference. The First
Testament, comprising three-quarters of the Bible, describes the life
of God’s people—Abraham and his descendants, the ancient nation
of Israel—under the first four covenants (made with Noah, Abraham,
Moses, and David). The New Testament centers on the story of Jesus
the Messiah, the culmination of the First Testament’s long history. The
work of Jesus resolves all the narrative threads of the Bible as he fulfills
God’s intentions for Israel, for humanity, and for creation.
The prophets of Israel had said that a new covenant of a different
kind was on its way. As Jeremiah put it: “‘The day is coming,’ says the
Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and
Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors
. . . I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on
their hearts.’” And Isaiah announced, “People from many nations will
come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the
house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk
in his paths.’” This would fulfill God’s covenantal promise to Abraham:
“‘All the families on earth will be blessed through you.’”
All these things that the prophets foretold are fulfilled in the life and
ministry of Jesus. In him, God came to earth as a human being both to
show and to teach his ultimate intentions for humanity and creation.
Jesus explained and lived out the deepest meaning of the Scriptures
and their story of God’s people. He also offered himself as the ultimate
sacrifice both to bring peace between God and humanity and to make
peace between all people possible.

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