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Neither will there be any more pain, because God will make all things new Rev. Communion with God! The consummation of the covenant of grace! Keeping God's Covenant in the Church. Herman Hanko. There is, according to the Scriptures, the closest possible relationship between the truth of the covenant and the doctrine of the church. So close is that relationship that I am convinced that we do not exaggerate if we say that the covenant of grace that God establishes with His people in Christ could never come to realization in history without the church.

God establishes and maintains His covenant through the church of Christ, particularly as that church comes to manifestation in the midst of the world in the church institute. God chose to Himself a church in Christ. When Paul begins his epistle to the Ephesians, he calls the church to join with him in a doxology of praise to Him who has chosen us in Christ from before the foundation of the world Eph. Christ and the church are so much one that it is impossible to speak of Christ without speaking at the same time of the church. There is no Christ apart from the church.

There is no church apart from Christ. They are one, together the elect of God.

Chapter 1 (v.1) - The Unicorn Keeper

When the Scriptures emphasize that the church is one in Christ, that is covenantal language. We are His body, Scripture tells us. We are joined to Him by a true faith. He is our Head. We are nothing apart from Him. All our life comes from Him. We are His and He is ours. This identity of the covenant and the church was prefigured already in the old dispensation.

The very centre of the life of that church of the old dispensation was the temple. In that temple God dwelt in the midst of His people. Israel constituted the church because the temple had been established there; that is, because God had taken up His abode in Zion and called His people to dwell with Him in the temple.

But because the temple was a figure of the covenant, the temple itself was not and could not be the perfection of the covenant. It was only a figure because God dwelt in the Most Holy Place , in the innermost sanctuary, and the nation of Israel could not enter the temple beyond the outer court.

That meant that, from one point of view, God and His people dwelt together in covenant fellowship because they dwelt together under one roof. They lived together in the same house. But at the same time, because it was figurative and because the fulfillment had not yet come in Jesus Christ, God and His people could not come very close together.

It was almost as if a young man married a young woman and, though they were united in marriage, and though now that they lived together in one house under the same roof in the fellowship of marriage, nevertheless, the wife lived in the one end of the house and the husband lived in the other end of the house. They could not come together. The distance of the intervening rooms separated them from each other.

That was the way it was in the old dispensation.

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God was in the pillar of cloud that filled the Most Holy Place the same pillar of cloud, by the way, that had led Israel through the wilderness for forty years, and the same cloud that took our Lord Jesus Christ to heaven at the time of His ascension. Israel was in the outer court. Between God and His people a heavy veil, the altar of incense, the table of shewbread, the candlestick, the whole Levitical priesthood and, above all, the altar of burnt offering separated the two. The blood of atonement had not yet been shed.

It was prefigured in the sacrifices, but Israel could not come near to God, as near as it is possible to come, until atonement had actually been made. That was the typical covenant fellowship in which God dwelt with His church. The church, the existence of the church, depended upon that temple. When the temple was destroyed, that was the end of Israel as a church to all intents and purposes, and the nation was scattered among the heathen.

I am referring to the cleansing of the temple by our Lord Jesus Christ at the time of the Passover. On two different occasions Christ cleansed the temple of the buyers and sellers who had made the house of God a house of merchandise. Our Lord cleansed the temple at the beginning of His ministry and at the end—almost as if it were His inaugural sermon and His farewell sermon.

That cleansing of the temple infuriated the Jewish religious leaders. It infuriated them, I suspect, because they were embarrassed.

They had been made to look like fools in the eyes of the Jews. But it was above all a challenge to their authority in the nation. Who are the ones whom God has appointed to be responsible for what takes place in the temple? If you chase us out, you must claim an authority that is higher than ours. We would like to know what that authority is that is superior to ours and that gives you the right to determine what should take place in this temple and what should not.

To that question, the Lord gave a very striking answer, which at first glance seems almost to be evasive. They mocked. This temple has been in building for forty-six years and it is still not completed. Who do you think you are that you can build the temple in three days? Those words of Christ stung so badly that they never forgot them. Save thyself. There is the idea of the covenant. That old temple was a symbol of God dwelling with His people under one roof. But it could not be the reality.

God and His people were too far apart from each other to enjoy the full intimacy and the richness of the fellowship of marriage. That old temple is Mine because it is a shadow cast by Me over the whole of the old dispensation. I have the right to do with it what I will because I own it. This body, the true temple, is Mine.

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I will do with it as I please. And I please to do the will of My heavenly Father. So you Jews, who will hate me enough to kill Me, will yourselves destroy this temple. But following your act of destroying this temple, when I raise it up in the resurrection, the true temple of God will be built. The cleansing of the temple was an amazing event in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That it stands at the very beginning of His earthly ministry is intended to impress upon us the fact that our Lord, in the entire earthly ministry in which He was engaged, culminating in His cross and resurrection from the dead, was building the temple of God , the true temple, where God would dwell in covenant fellowship with His people.

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Christ is the temple of God. The perfect sacrifice for sin has been made. The blood of bulls and goats need no longer be shed. The veil of the old temple was ripped from top to bottom. Christ entered into the Most Holy Place, and He took us along. Not the typical Most Holy Place of the earthly temple in Jerusalem , but the inner tabernacle of heaven itself where God dwells.

In Christ, that perfect fellowship of the covenant is attained. Every word in that text is important.


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  • Darius: Lord of Pleasures (Lonely Lords, #1) by Grace Burrowes.

But, says Paul, the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him bodily.