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Jonathan Bernis - The Layered Promises Of God


Jonathan Bernis - The Layered Promises Of God
TOPICS: God's Promises

Jonathan Bernis: Today, we're gonna be talking about the different covenants of the scripture and how in fact the next is built upon the next. It's a story of God's unfolding plan of redemption for mankind. And Ezra goes all the way back to the story of creation. And of course, God creating Adam and Eve that's really where it begins.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right, kind of the foundational. And maybe we can put the graphic up for our audience at home to see. Jonathan, you've shown it visually as really a pyramid. And as you said, each covenant is built upon the previous. And so the base of this pyramid, the foundational covenant we find right in Genesis chapter one, the Adamic covenant where God says, "Be fruitful and multiply. And I'm giving you dominion made in my image over all the earth".

Jonathan Bernis: Ezra, you can't understand the gospel, the good news and why Jesus came without understanding what we call the Adamic covenant. The Adamic covenant, which comes from Genesis chapter one beginning at verse 26 is God giving man and Adam and Eve, his representatives, authority, dominion. And this I believe is legal. He legally gives them dominion over the earth over all of God's creation. I like to call this the principle of delegation or creation and delegation. God creates the world. He creates every living thing. And then he delegates that authority legally to Adam and Eve and says, "Now you take dominion over the earth". In fact, they were the ones that named the animals.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: And it's something that's very clear and I don't wanna miss it. God creates man in his image. Doesn't say that about any other animal. It doesn't say that about any other creation. Mankind, humankind he creates in his image and his likeness. One of the key elements of that is his articulate speech. And so Adam and Eve name the animals. They have dominion over the earth and God says, "Under my leadership, through relationship with me," and they had a perfect relationship. They walk together in the garden it says until they disobeyed God. But they were given this dominion and told be fruitful and multiply.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: Subdue the earth. That's the Adamic covenant. And that covenant was broken. Not by God, but by humankind by Adam and Eve, when they disobeyed turning over dominion of this world to Satan. And that's why the world is fallen. That's why Jesus had to come. And you can't understand that unless you go back to the Adamic covenant.

Ezra Benjamin: Right and I just wanna hone in on something you said there, Jonathan and it's really impacting me. Maybe it'll impact you listening today at home. The idea of a legal transfer. This covenant involves a legal transfer of dominion as we're made in his image. And you know we think of, when I hear a legal transfer, I think of a contract, right? And either party might break the contract. But the difference here in the covenants God makes with man is he's not breaking his end of the bargain.

Jonathan Bernis: Never.

Ezra Benjamin: Ever.

Jonathan Bernis: He never breaks his. And that's why he's gonna restore the Adamic covenant. And he's begun that process through a name for Jesus, the second Adam. The idea of the second Adam is that Adam who was earthly failed Yeshua who is the spiritual Adam will succeed. And ultimately the Adamic covenant will always be restored when or how rather through the redemption of the Messiah when he comes to this earth. And then we receive a restored state of the earth back to the time of the Adamic covenant before the fall. But to say that God is in domain over the earth is true, but it's once removed. You see? Because the legal authority for dominion over the earth was given to mankind, to Adam and Eve, to humankind. And they actually turned it over to the serpent when they disobeyed God. And we're in the redemptive process of restoring back the Adamic covenant or the earth to the pre-Adamic state.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen, and there's a principle there Jonathan I don't want you listening at home to miss this idea that you know we can say God's got it all. I trust the Lord, he's got it all under control. True, but we have a part to play in each of the covenants we're gonna look at today and I wish we had hours to unpack all of them. God makes a promise and we have a part to play.

Jonathan Bernis: Absolutely.

Ezra Benjamin: And agreeing with him and keeping our part of it.

Jonathan Bernis: And we still have that dominion restored through Yeshua as spiritually, but not fully realized.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: Because the earth still needs to be redeemed but we'll be fully realized but we've gotta go through the other covenants together.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right. So fast-forwarding a few chapters in Genesis the Noahic covenant. And explain that. Give us the elevator speech on Noahic before we get to the good stuff yet.

Jonathan Bernis: So it's a sad covenant with a good ending. And sadly immediately after the fall, we see man, the introduction of evil into the world. We see rebellion. We see murder. Cain and Abel are first generation offspring of Adam and Eve. And Cain ends up being a murderer. He kills his brother.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: And he's then wandering the earth and it gets worse and worse and worse up to Genesis chapter six, where the Bible tells us that the thoughts and the inclinations of man was evil all the time. It deteriorates that badly. And then we're told that God relents he repents for creating mankind. So the saddest verse in the Bible that God's heart is broken and he decides to wipe off the face of the earth, mankind and start again. And he preserves Noah, which is the good news. And Noah and his family become the remnant that survived the flood that the covenant comes at the end of the flood with the recession of the waters where a rainbow forms, where Noah sacrifices clean animals. So we have a concept of clean and unclean and God says this will never happen again. And gives the rainbow as a sign.

Ezra Benjamin: Jonathan, our audience may be listening now hearing Noah and they're starting to tune out. Yeah, yeah I know the story, the arc, the flood, the rainbow. But there's some details here in the Noahic Covenant in the promise God makes with Noah and those who would be his descendents that I think not only are important to us understanding the rest of how the Old Testament plays out, but we see it referenced in the New Testament as well. >> We do. And, by the way, this is not just some parenthetical story to the story of redemption. The world is salvageable, save Noah, and God has to set the reset button, but He promises, this will be the only time that will happen. And then, He establishes a pre-law, if you will, that is followed in Acts 15, according to the rabbis, that the Gentiles, as they come into what is a Jewish faith in the Messiah. And this, it's reversed. The shock in the first century was Gentiles coming to faith. Today, it's what do we do with these Jewish believers? In the first century, they were all Jews, all of the followers of Jesus. I know you're thinking, maybe this is a heretical show. Read for yourself, they were all Jews. They were living out Jewish practice. And then, the Gentiles start to come to faith, believe in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua, primarily in the beginning through Paul, but also through Peter, going to the home of Cornelius. They were Gentiles, and then, they convene a council to figure out, what do we do now? What do we do with the Gentiles? And they came to the decision that they're welcome, that this is God, a God thing, and we'll pick up in Acts 15 with Acts 15:28. It says: "And it seemed good to the Ruach ha-Kodesh," the Holy Spirit: "and to us not to place on you," speaking of the Gentiles: "any greater burden than these essentials:" Acts 15:29, look at it with me on the screen: "that you abstain from things offered to idols," number one: "from blood," two: "from things strangled," three, and four: "from sexual immorality. By keeping away from these things, you will do well". Where did they get this, Ezra? Where did they get this code, this lifestyle code? You don't have to be circumcised, you don't have to keep all of the different laws...

Ezra Benjamin: That were for Israel... yeah.

Jonathan Bernis: 613 that were for Israel. You don't have to keep the dietary laws of clean and unclean animals, but you have to do these four things. Where did they get them from? They got them from the Noahic covenant. This was the Noahic standard, according to the rabbis, that was placed on mankind after the flood, before the introduction of either Abraham or, later, the Mosaic covenant.

Ezra Benjamin: Right. And there's a parallel here, because Noah wasn't Jewish, in the sense. One of his descendants, Shem, and that's where we get the word, Semitic, one of his descendants would go on to be, you know, the forefathers of the Jewish people, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But, this is God's covenant with His expectations of Noah and his family, before there was such a thing as a Jewish people. And so, the believers in Acts are saying, "What do we do with people who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but who aren't Jewish"? And they draw from the Noahic covenant.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah. Go back to Noah. Because this was a code that was established for Noah and his family, and all those that would come after him, and there has to be some code, and it's very interesting to note that there was the sense of clean and unclean. Read the sacrifices that are clean animals. Hey, we need to take a short break, so we can tell you about an incredible opportunity to support Jewish Voice outreaches. Your giving today will be providing medical supplies and clean water to Jewish people and their neighbors, struggling in destitute conditions, in various places like Africa and India. Please, consider what you can do today to help provide medical care, and most importantly, the Good News of Yeshua, of Jesus, to these dear people. We've also got some great resources for you today, we wanna get them to you right away. They will help you. Don't go away, Ezra and I will be right back. >> ANNOUNCER:

Jonathan Bernis: Welcome back. We're talking about the covenants today. You may have never heard a teaching like this before. It's really in the Bible, believe me. Before Ezra and I get back into our discussion though, I wanna say thank you to all of you who are supporting Jewish Voice. We honestly could not do this work without you. I want you to know that your gifts are making a real difference in the lives of so many who would otherwise be unable to get clean water or hear the gospel. Thank you for your generosity. It's really, really making a difference. Jewish people are hearing the gospel and responding like never before and a special thanks to those who have become monthly Shalom partners with us. You and your ongoing support of this ministry is so valued. Okay, Ezra we've taken on way more than we can do.

Ezra Benjamin: True.

Jonathan Bernis: In this program, we've talked about the Adamic, the Noahic we're about to go into the Abrahamic and we've taught on this in the past. So you can go to our website and you can look at a past show where we go into the Adamic and Noahic more thoroughly. This is just too big. We're gonna have to continue this in future programs but I guess let's jump into the Abrahamic.

Ezra Benjamin: We'll jump right back in and push ourselves here. Abrahamic covenant, Genesis chapter 12.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, so this is critical to understanding where Israel comes into it and why Israel is so important because this is a progression. So you've had the flood. Noah and his family have survived and repopulated the earth but you have nothing to connect the promise that God makes in Genesis 3 to restore the time of Adam and Eve in fellowship with God until Genesis chapter 12. And then this figure, Abraham appears really out of nowhere. God had already spoken to him and said to him and Sarah, "I want you to leave your father's household and go to a land that I will show you". And he promises them this, I'll make you into a great nation. I'll bless those who bless you curse the one who curses you. It's a limiting curse and a wide blessing. And then he says that through your offspring, this is huge, all the households of the earth will be blessed. And then he promises him this land is an everlasting possession. And Abraham then has to leave everything behind, trust the Lord on a daily basis. He's eventually led to the land of Israel. He's given the son of promise and that becomes the foundation of what later becomes through Jacob, whose name has changed to Israel. The people of Israel, the Israelites later today the Israelis, the Jewish people, the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And they are the ones that carry the blessing to the world that God has foreordained beginning with Ezra, with Adam.

Ezra Benjamin: Awesome.

Jonathan Bernis: With Adam. I was gonna say beginning with Ezra. That's not where I was going. But beginning with Adam you're gonna take dominion over the earth. You're gonna subdue it. You're gonna be fruitful and multiply. Abraham now becomes the figure that's going to bring about God's blessing to every household of the earth. Now you can look at that two ways. One, the contribution of the Jewish people throughout history. Only go to look at the list of Nobel Prize winners. And you can see the fulfillment of that. When you look the disproportionate number of Jewish people that have been winners of the Nobel Prize in economics, in literature, in medicine just across the board, that's the blessing of God. It's not that Jewish people are more intelligent or better educated, although that's part of the pursuit but it's about being a blessing to the world. But the greater fulfillment is that through your offspring, Abraham, will come the seed, promise. The one who will bring about eternal life to Israel and the nations of the world. And that's a prophecy of the new covenant brought about through the person of Jesus Christ, Yeshua our Messiah.

Ezra Benjamin: Awesome, Jonathan the phrase chosen people comes to mind, right? People say the Jewish people are the chosen people and anybody Jewish or Gentile wouldn't be wrong in saying that. But sometimes it's well, what were the Jewish people chosen for? And there could be any number of answers. You know, my grandmother is in her late 90s and she said, "We're chosen to suffer". Well, I don't know about that. But really, if you look in Genesis, the Abrahamic covenant all the way through to what God does through Moses and what he reveals through your Yeshua, the chosenness is to be a blessing to all the families.

Jonathan Bernis: That's exactly right. And ultimately to bring about the chosen one.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: The person of Jesus, who is the son of Abraham. Now we can jump to the mosaic, the Abrahamic covenant establishes a people all the way through. In Egypt they were the children of Israel. They were the Israelites. That was the Abrahamic covenant. The mosaic covenant is established only after they leave Egypt. And this is again sprinkling of the blood. I said a covenant is cutting. It's a cutting. You have circumcision in the Abrahamic covenant, a cutting. You have in the Mosaic covenant the shedding of blood, innocent animals, right? That are providing substitute atonement. You have the establishment of the tabernacle, the establishment of laws of purification, of laws to govern society. And now you have not just the people of Israel but you have a nation with a set of laws and a way to atone for sin.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: In the mosaic covenant, what does that do? It lays, of course, the foundation for the new covenant that's again, through the shedding of blood but now it's the blood of the innocent final sacrifice. The lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world which directly connects to the mosaic covenant through the Passover.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: Oh my gosh. We're covering hours of material.

Ezra Benjamin: Right, and I wish we had more hours, Jonathan but what's important for you at home to understand is as you're saying, this is one story Adam through to that second Adam to Yeshua, Jesus who redeems not only the Jewish people but all creation, all peoples on the face of the earth. It's one story, covenants built on each other.

Jonathan Bernis: And it fits together like this. This is where the Bible becomes so supernatural. Guess what? A new light is gonna come on. When you begin to study the scripture through the covenants it's all gonna just fit together in an intricate way. You're gonna be blown away.

Ezra Benjamin: It's incredible, Jonathan, and the diagram you've put together I think helps us understand that as we've been saying, one is built upon the other. I think there's some bad teaching out there, and maybe you've heard some of this teaching in your own faith experience, at church, or doing your own research, that somehow, every time God makes an additional covenant, everything else is thrown away. Right? And maybe, you've heard that the New Testament cancels out the Old Testament, and I'm thinking of Jesus' words, you know, people... the rabbis are wondering, is He creating something new here? And Jesus is saying, "No, no, no. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter in that Torah," in the Mosaic law, "passes away. I haven't come to destroy it, I've come to fulfill it".

Jonathan Bernis: That's so important. Nothing is negated, but what is true is that the... and I'll put it in scriptural terms, the light of the new covenant overshadows the Mosaic. It's like you have a flashlight, a good flashlight, but then you turn on the room light, and the flashlight is still on, but it's so flooded now with light. That's what Jesus brings to us.

Ezra Benjamin: It wasn't that the Mosaic law was somehow faulty, that the Torah for Israel was somehow flawed, it's that we, because of our heart problem, our fallen state, we're incapable of ever fulfilling it. And so, I'm thinking of Jeremiah 31, right? Where God says, "The days are coming when I'm gonna make a new covenant". We know it's through Jesus, through Yeshua, with the house of Israel, with the house of Jacob...

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, I want people to see this, so we'll put it up on the screen. You're talking about Jeremiah 31, beginning in Jeremiah 31:31. Yeah.

Ezra Benjamin: Those days are coming, beginning in Jeremiah 31:31, "when I'll make a new covenant," and then, He says, "It won't be like the one I made with their fathers [the Mosaic law], when I took them out of Egypt, because those were laws written on tablets of stone, but the covenant I'm gonna make through the blood of My Son, Yeshua, is the covenant written on tablets of human hearts". So God fixes the heart problem.

Jonathan Bernis: And this is such a great example, because it's not negated, it's just been taken off of tablets, the same law, and written on our hearts.

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly.

Jonathan Bernis: Positionally, we're no longer under the burden of the law. Now, it's in our heart. Ezra, great, great example. Hey, we have to take a short break, so we can share some information about the resources that we're making available this week. They're some of the most important that we've ever offered, so, please, avail yourself to get the materials, and you'll be standing with this ministry. Make sure, though, to stay with us, because when we come back, we're gonna come into agreement in prayer for you, for your family, and God answers prayer, so don't go away.
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