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A voice from the grave

Jun 30, 2018

A few days ago, I wrote about the three days from June 29 to July 1, which is a type of death and resurrection cycle. Because it stands between the wave-sheaf offering and the feast of Trumpets, it has elements of both resurrections. The three-day pattern that Jesus experienced in fulfilling Passover (death) and the resurrection (wave-sheaf) is repeated from June 29 to July 1, but its application looks ahead to the feast of Trumpets, which is the resurrection of the sons of God.

Today, June 30, represents Christ’s time in the grave before the resurrection on the first day of our seventh month. Early this morning as I was coming out of sleep, I heard a voice from the grave saying, “The New Covenant has the power to raise the dead.”

Paul tells us in Romans 8:11,

11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells us.

This tells us WHO is raising us up. It is God “through His Spirit who indwells us.” I now see a third element in this resurrection power that I had not specifically noticed before. It is the power of the New Covenant.

Now that the Father revealed this, it is obvious. The New Covenant is the promise of God, and ultimately, the promise of God is to raise us from the dead.

God’s Oath to David

That same promise was what Jesus understood and relied upon, for Peter says in Acts 2:30-32,

30 And so, because he [David] was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath [New Covenant] to seat one of His descendants upon His throne, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. 32 This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.

God’s oath to David was based on the New Covenant, simply because it was God’s oath, rather than David’s oath. That promise, Peter says, was the basis of Christ’s resurrection, as well as David’s own resurrection. Hence, the New Covenant promise of God applies both to Christ and to David—and, by extension, to the overcomers who are represented by David.

Take note that Saul received no such promise from God that his throne would be established forever. Saul’s throne ended, because it was based upon his own actions, his own promise, and his own good intentions—in other words, the Old Covenant. Saul’s reign, therefore, could endure only as long as he was obedient to God. He failed, because everything that is based upon the Old Covenant will fail in the end.

But God promised David (and swore an oath to him) that his throne would be established forever. Speaking of David’s seed, God said through Nathan in 2 Samuel 7:14-16,

14 I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, 15 but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.

The core of the New Covenant provision is that iniquity brings correction, whose purpose is to purify and cleanse, so that the person can fulfill his calling. The New Covenant disciplines a person for iniquity, but it guarantees success. That is the promise of the New Covenant. Verse 14 above implies that this is the promise of a father to his son.

This promise is explained further in Psalm 89, which is the culmination of the third book of Psalms (the Leviticus book). Psalm 89:3, 4 says,

3 I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, 4 I will establish your seed forever, and build up your throne to all generations. Selah.

Here David calls it a “covenant,” whereas Peter calls it an “oath” in Acts 2:30. Elsewhere, it is called a “promise.” All of these terms describe the New Covenant.

By contrast, King Saul was not given any New Covenant promise. In fact, the entire reason for his reign was based upon Israel’s rejection of God’s direct rule. The people had demanded a king because they were dissatisfied with God’s rule. So God told the prophet in 1 Samuel 8:7,

7 … “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.”

For that reason, Saul’s throne did not endure. Instead, the word to him was “Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:23). Saul’s rebellion reflected the condition of the hearts of the people as a whole. In other words, Saul was a type of an Old Covenant Church, being crowned on Pentecost, the day of wheat harvest, in 1 Samuel 12:17.

Saul’s 40-year reign was a type and shadow of the Church’s reign (40 Jubilee cycles), in which the Church was disqualified for rebellion and lawlessness. Why? Because Saul had not been given the New Covenant. If Saul had understood the New Covenant, he might have claimed the New Covenant based on the promise to Abraham or even the promise to Israel in the time of Moses (Deuteronomy 29:12, 13). However, the veil was still blinding his eyes, and he did not understand the difference between the two covenants.

Hence, Saul was not a New Covenant king. Saul’s house extends to the church itself in the Pentecostal Age. Though the Church had the potential of receiving the New Covenant, only the overcomers actually lived by the promises of God. The majority remained in the house of Saul as Old Covenant believers, depending upon their own promise/oath/vow to God for their salvation.

That is why the church as a whole will not inherit the Kingdom in the Tabernacles Age but will have to wait until the general resurrection to receive immortal life (John 5:28, 29). Like Saul, they refuse to accept the verdict of God, thinking that their calling is permanent. Such a view is best expressed by the Roman Church itself, which claims that its rule will be eternal. If the Roman church had understood the story of Saul and David, or if they had understood the difference between the Old and New Covenant, they might have changed their thinking so that they could rely upon the New Covenant. But that would have made them the house of David.

The power of the New Covenant is the reason God will raise anyone from the dead. Why? Because the New Covenant is the promise and oath of God, rather than the promises of men. God alone has the power to fulfill His oaths fully and perfectly.

In the time of the first resurrection, the overcomers alone will be raised, because they rely upon the promises of God—among which is the promise to David.

The Universal Covenant

Fortunately, in the big picture the scope of the New Covenant covers all of mankind and the entire earth. The New Covenant in the days of Noah was given to the whole earth (Genesis 9:9, 17). Likewise, the promise to Abraham was that he would be a blessing to all families of the earth (Genesis 12:3). The same language is used in the second covenant (Deuteronomy 29:1) in the final days of Moses. Deuteronomy 29:12-15 says,

12 that you may enter into the covenant with the Lord your God, and into His oath which the Lord your God is making with you today, 13 in order that He may establish you today as His people and that He may be your God, just as He spoke to you and as He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The true scope of this covenant is seen in verses 14 and 15,

14 Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath, 15 but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God and with those who are not with us here today.

God’s oath is always the New Covenant, because its success is not dependent upon man. Neither is the New Covenant merely a statement of good intentions. It is a promise to make it happen, and therefore, if any part of mankind or the earth itself is not put under the feet of Christ, then God’s promise has failed. Paul says that the goal of history is to subject all things to the rule of Christ so that “God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28).

However, God’s oath to David gives us another aspect of the New Covenant. It tells us that God will deal with iniquity. He will discipline sinners as a father deals with his son. Hence, no sinner can escape His discipline. But neither can he escape God’s purpose for his life. The purpose of discipline is to conform all sinners to the image of Christ and to bring all creation to a place of full reconciliation (agreement).

This takes time—something that God has plenty of.

The overcomers have been disciplined since the beginning of time, even as God disciplined David by subjecting him to the persecution of King Saul. David could flee from Saul’s house, but it took years to get the “Saul” out of David. God trained David to be a steward so that he would understand that his authority as king should not usurp God’s sovereignty (as Saul had done).

So the overcomers will be the first to be raised from the dead, for they are the ones who live by the power of the New Covenant. Their trust is in the promise of God, not the promises of men. Their covenant is the second one in Deuteronomy 29, not in the first covenant in Exodus 19. While the rest of the church dies in the wilderness without receiving the promise, the overcomers (like Caleb and Joshua) will enter the Promised Land by the power of the second covenant.

A thousand years later (Revelation 20:7) the rest of the church will be raised and disciplined for a season (1 Corinthians 3:15). Yet they will be given “life” at this time, as Jesus said in John 5:28, 29. This tells me that they will then fully understand the New Covenant.

The rest of the dead—those who had lived and died apart from Christ—will also experience the blessing of the New Covenant. Because the promise of God is to the whole earth, God will discipline them as well by His “fiery law” (Deuteronomy 33:2 KJV). Their discipline will be administered by the same covenant that was given to David. The only difference is that the promise of God will be fulfilled in them at a much later time.

This is today’s revelation. Most of what I have written is not new, but the revelation gives us clearer understanding of the role of the New Covenant in the resurrection and the overall fulfillment of the restoration of all things.

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Category: Teachings
Blog Author: Dr. Stephen Jones