PMT 2016-087 by J. Vaden Cavett
(This is Part 2 of a study began in the last blog posting)
In Deuteronomy 28 the Lord declares the curses that will fall upon Israel if they break covenant. One feature of this malediction is to be found in verse 30. It reads, “You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall ravish her. You shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it. You shall plant a vineyard, but you shall not enjoy its fruit.” This curse is pronounced as a covenant sanction for those with whom God was making covenant. As we know, like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with the Lord (Hosea 6:7). So, God promises to make a New Covenant based upon better promises. Isaiah refers to this New Covenant as The New Heavens and Earth.
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people….They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit;they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord, and their descendants with them…. The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy ?mountain, ‘says the Lord.” (Isaiah 65:17-25)
Confronting the Anti-Christian Bias of the American News Media
By Marvin Olasky and Warren Cole Smith
Issuing a clarion call for Christians to reclaim American journalism, Olasky and Smith examine the influence of worldviews on reporting, objectivity, sensationalism, and crusading; the impact of legal, ethical, and technological changes; and the changes brought about by the 24/7 news cycle, the Internet, and social media.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
There are several striking features of this prophecy. First, this passage is undeniably covenantal. In the New Heavens and Earth the covenant curses of the Old Covenant will be turned into benediction (vv. 21-22). Also, this passage takes place during the same period as Isaiah 11, which we already established takes place in the latter days, which Isaiah describes in chapter two, and which Peter describes as being upon them in his Pentecost sermon. So, if we follow the relationship these passages have to one another, the New Heavens and Earth begins with the resurrection of Christ, the second Adam, the New Man. We live in the New Creation.
So, what does all this mean? This means that Isaiah creates the expectation (which is confirmed by the New Testament) that the Lord’s Messiah (God himself, as is clear from Isaiah 9) will reign and his government shall have no end. Jerusalem shall be a mountain that will consume the earth in the knowledge of God and the nations shall flock to the holy city to inquire about the Messiah. His law will go forth from Jerusalem and the earth will experience unparalleled peace and prosperity. This Kingdom is the Church, the Lord Jesus’ body, and of its increase there will be no end. Christ must reign until he puts all things under his feet and the earth becomes his footstool (1 Corinthians 15).
This doesn’t mean that every individual on earth will be converted; for, it is plain from Jesus’ parables of the Kingdom that there are both scoundrels and saints in its citizenship. The Kingdom of God is made up of wheat and tares that will be sorted at the judgment. The Kingdom is a giant net that engulfs good and bad fish alike, fish that will be picked through at the resurrection. But what implications does viewing the Visible Church as the Kingdom of God have?
Redeeming Pop Culture
by T. M. Moore
Why is it important for us not to ignore the culture around us? How can we engage, influence, and advance pop culture, and how can we put popular forms to good use in God’s kingdom? Moore urges us neither to flee from popular culture nor to immerse ourselves in it blindly.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
It must be realized that Jesus explicitly connects his reign and Kingdom with baptism in The Great Commission. In Matthew 28 Jesus tells his disciples that “[all] authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him” (28:18). He continues, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (28:19). You see, the sign and seal of the New Covenant is the sign and seal of the New Creation in Isaiah 65. Baptism is the badge of citizenship that every citizen of Christendom carries.
The reign of Christ is never ending, and it is explicitly political in Isaiah 9. The government is upon Christ’s shoulder. This means that the reign of Christ is manifested when the law of God goes forth from Zion (the Church) and transforms legislative actions. When the Church is in control of the state, then the peace and prosperity spoken of by the Prophet will come to fruition. Many will doubtless laugh at the idea of peace, even within the Church itself. However, let me remind you that the Church isn’t what it will be. Jesus is still cleansing her of spots and blemishes (Ephesians 5). Also, the Church is constantly growing up into maturity (Ephesians 4). When Christ has put national governments under his feet, his Bride will be ready for the task. But what does this have to do with baptism?
Trinitarian baptism is more than a simple act of obedience to an irrational command given in an age when such signs were thought to be magical. No, baptism is political. Baptism is proof of citizenship in the kingdom of God, and baptism is a vital part of God’s purposes to expand the Kingdom of his Messiah. So, why does baptism matter? It matters because, in it, we are given the status of “citizen”. It is difficult to remain apathetic towards baptism when the political nature of it is realized. We don’t want to find ourselves on the wrong side of history when all is said and done.
When the last enemy, death, is defeated, we don’t want to find ourselves defeated along with it. The nations will flock to the Church and submit to Christ in baptism. The world will be Christianized and the earth will be as full of the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea. The question we must ask is, will we be among them?
Jonathan Cavett is a writer and instructional designer at an alternative finance company. He is co-founder of TheCovenantHerald.com and their newsletter, The Covenant Quarterly.