C H U R C H R E F O R M S E R I E S
By Biblicism Institute
God’s purpose begins and ends with the family.
“The only institution which God loves.” Malachi 2:11
It started with the marriage of Adam and Eve and will end with the marriage of the Lamb to His bride the Church Assembly. It’s no wonder that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, performed His first miracle at a wedding in Cana (John 2: 1-11).
Throughout the various biblical covenants God chose the family to enact His will.
THE ADAMIC COVENANT
For the initial covenant God created the first family. Adam and Eve.
“And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ ” Genesis 1:28
Hence began the great journey of the family to subdue the earth. A task that proved extremely difficult following the serpent’s poisonous deception.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’ ” Genesis 3: 1
The end result was Adam’s fall from grace and into sin.
“…sin entered the world through one man…” Romans 5: 12
THE NOAHIC COVENANT
Sin metastasized and corrupted Adam’s descendants.
“The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” Genesis 6: 5
Then God set apart Noah and his family. He saved them from His Judgment which took the form of a killer flood. Once the waters receded, God enunciated His covenant with Noah and his descendants.
“And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.’ ” Genesis 9: 12-15
Thus began the salvation angle of God’s plan for all the families of the earth. However, to ensure such salvation, an everlasting cure for the bondage of sin was needed.
THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
It was shaped with a promise by God to Abraham and his wife Sarah that they would have a son.
“Then God said, ‘Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.’ ” Gen 17: 19
“Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed…” Gen 26: 3,4
The Covenant took wing with Abraham’s twelve great-grandsons who grew into the 12 Tribes of ancient Israel. God then sent Moses as their deliverer to free them from their bondage in Egypt.
It then fully bloomed with Abraham’s offspring Jesus as the Savior of the world (i.e., as the Savior of all the families of the earth), through the everlasting covenant in His blood.
Consequently, the Abrahamic Covenant bifurcated into the following two covenants: the Mosaic Covenant and the Christian Covenant – though some would argue that the Christian Covenant was the culmination of the Mosaic one, itself a culmination of the Abrahamic one and so on and so forth.
In either case, two further covenants became reality.
THE MOSAIC COVENANT
It was a family affair.
God called Moses and his family to deliver and guide their 12 Hebrew families or tribes out of bondage and into the promised land.
The lineage of Moses’s brother, Aaron, became known as the Levites or the Priests, while Moses’s sister, Miriam, was a Prophetess.
“Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.” Exodus 15: 20
God then established the Covenant.
“And Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.” Exodus 34: 28
The final blessings and duties of the Covenant are recorded in Deuteronomy 28:
“ 1 And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God…
15 But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you…”
and Exodus 19:
“…and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
The salvation inherent in the Mosaic covenant was to be sealed every year with the sacrifice of a lamb. It was known as Passover and was to be performed by every single Hebrew family.
“Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household… you will celebrate it as a statute forever.” Exodus 12: 3, 14
With mild exception, such a law was only for the families or tribes of Israel.
“No foreigner may eat of it.” Exodus 12: 43
The entire exercise or raison d’être of the twelve Hebrew tribes was God’s way of nurturing for Himself an earthly home and family for when He decided to visit in the person of Jesus, the Savior of the world.
THE CHRISTIAN COVENANT
It was also a family affair.
God chose Joseph and his wife Mary in order to care for His son Jesus. John the Baptist, Jesus’s cousin, was also chosen. He was to prepare the way for the Messiah.
“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ ” Matthew 3: 1,2
The New Covenant is recorded in all the Gospels.
“And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.’ ” Luke 22: 19, 20
Said covenant was introduced by Christ during Passover rituals.
“Say to the owner of the house, the Teacher says, ‘Where is My guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?’ ” Mark 14:14
It was followed by His Passover crucifixion which his cousin John predicted.
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ ” John 1: 29
There are more similarities with the Mosaic Covenant. The following are a few examples:
1. Wilderness Test. The Ancient Hebrews failed it, but Jesus came out swinging.
“Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness.” Exodus 14:33
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted… Then the devil left Him and angels came and attended Him.” Matthew 4: 1, 11
2. Sold for Silver. Both Joseph and Jesus were sold for silver.
“As the Midianite merchants were passing by, the brothers pulled Joseph out of the cistern. They sold him to the Ishmaelites for eight ounces of silver. The Ishmaelites took him to Egypt.” Genesis 37:28
“Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?’ And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him.” Matthew 26: 14,15
3. Sin Offering. With the Old Covenant it was a lamb, but with the New Covenant God offered up Himself as the ultimate sacrifice.
“Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.” Exodus 12:3
“God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood–to be received by faith.” Romans 3:25
4. The Priesthood. The Old Covenant priesthood was composed of a select group of men, but now thanks to the New Covenant it now encompasses all believers.
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron…’ ” Leviticus 21:1
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood.” 1 Peter 2:9
“And made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father.” Revelation 1:6
5. The Believer’s Home. Just like the slaughtering of the Mosaic Covenant lamb took place in the Hebrew home, church or assembly gathering and communion also take place in the Christian family home. See Church Services Are NOT Biblical .
“…each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.” Exodus 12:3
“To the assembly in your house.” Philippians 1: 1
“Likewise greet the assembly that is in their house.” Romans 16: 5
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.…” 1 Cor 11: 26
The reason for this resemblance is because all the end goals of the Mosaic Covenant, unlike its Christian counterpart, could not be permanently achieved.
“For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4
“For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.” Hebrews 8:7
The Everlasting Covenant in Jesus’s blood frees man from the bondage of sin.
“For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6: 23
Thus the Christian Covenant became the final chapter of the Abrahamic one, a process that started with the Adamic Covenant.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned… For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.” Romans 5: 12, 15
As a result, the Mosaic Covenant was rendered obsolete as further evidenced by the fact that every family anywhere on earth can now participate regardless of race.
“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.’ ” Acts 10: 34
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” Acts 16:31
“By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete is outdated.” Hebrews 8:13
With a powerful new covenant in play, salvation has been made freely available to all families everywhere. Subduing the earth for the glory of God (i.e., the Adamic Covenant) has now become feasible, especially since deceptive and poisonous doctrines from the serpents are bound to fail.
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall raise their voices against the serpents (or malicious ones); and if they imbibe any poison (or poisonous doctrine), it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16: 15-17
The family is God’s plan to bring order to the world.
“The only institution which God loves.” Malachi 2:11
Therefore, evangelists should tailor their missions as much as possible to reach the heads of families. See Understanding the Duties of Ministry .
“For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” Ephesians 5:23
The husband is not only the head of his wife, he is also the one whom God has anointed and commanded to teach his children.
“Fathers, do not anger your children, but rear them in the discipline and in the teaching of Our Lord.” Ephesians 6: 4
Fathers are God’s designated “Youth Pastors” to their children, and their wives their assigned helpmates. This means they are the ones to dedicate their newborns to the Lord, to lead them to Christ, to baptize them – water and Holy Spirit – upon the Holy Spirit prompting them of their readiness, to teach them God’s word, to partake of the Lord’s supper with them, and finally to marry them when the time comes. See The Biblical Marriage Blueprint.
In order for the work of ministry to be effective the family must be reached, and the husband empowered.
In the end, the bride of Christ (i.e., Christians throughout the world) will be the amalgamation of all the blessed families of the earth that God promised Abraham his seed Jesus would deliver.
“And in your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed…” Genesis 26: 4
Read also: Jesus was not a Jew
Read also: Whatever Happened to the Hebrew Tribes?