Today’s article continues the discussion about Israel.
Dean Davis wrote a comment on Justin Taylor’s post discussing Jesus as the New Israel:
Jesus taught that he had not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). However, in fulfilling the various institutions of the Mosaic Law, he was indeed replacing them with new ones, once and for all. The anti-type (the New Covenant) fulfills the type (the Old Covenant), and so replaces it. The greater fulfills the lesser, and so supplants it. The heavenly body, shaped in eternity past, fulfills the earthly shadow, and so floods the room with a light that expels all shadows. There is no going back (Hebrews 8:13).
In order to understand the idea of fulfillment and replacement better, let us consider a few examples, drawn more or less exclusively from the teaching of the Herald of the Kingdom himself.
Jesus presented himself as the supreme Mediator, a greater than Moses, bringing in a new and greater covenant. Christ and his covenant are therefore replacing Moses and his.
Jesus is also the supreme Prophet, a greater than Moses, Elijah, or John the Baptist, and so replaces all former prophets as the authoritative spokesman of God and teacher of his people (Matthew 17:1f, Matthew. 23:10, Mark 8:28, John 9:17, Acts 3:22).
He is the supreme Priest, a greater than Levi, and so replaces Levi as the one who intercedes for God’s people (Luke 23:34, John 17), offers sacrifice for their sin (John 10:11, 17:19), and assures the penitent of God’s mercy and forgiveness (Matthew 9:2, Luke 7:48, 24:43, John 20:23).
He is the supreme Sacrifice, a greater than all the animal sacrifices offered under the Law, and so replaces them as the one Lamb of God who gives his life a ransom for many, thereby taking away the sin of the world (Mark 10:45, John 1:29).
He is the true Temple, a greater than Herod’s, and so replaces Herod’s with his own Body, which is the true Tabernacle of God (Matthew 12:6, John 2:19, John 10:38, Ephesians 2, 5).
Moreover, because of this, his people no longer worship the Father on earthly Zion, but on the Zion above, in spirit and in truth, whenever they wish and wherever their physical bodies happen to be. In short, NT worship in spirit and truth replaces OT worship in Jerusalem (John 4:21f, 14:20, 17:23, Galatians 4:26, Hebrews 12:22, Revelation 14:1f).
He is the true Sabbath, a greater than the Israelite Sabbath, and Lord over it, with authority from God to give his people true spiritual rest, as well as the Spirit-led worship and work that properly arise from it (Matthew 11:28, 12:48, John 6:29, 15:1f, 19:30).
He is the true Passover Lamb—and his death the true Passover sacrifice—so that henceforth the Passover Feast is replaced with the Lord’s Supper, wherein Christ’s people remember, celebrate, and re-appropriate their great deliverance from the world, the flesh, and the devil (Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-23, John 5:24, 1 Corinthians 11:17f).
Very importantly, his is the true nation (Matthew 21:43), the true flock (John 10:16), the true household (Mark 13:34, Luke 14:23, John 8:35), and the true city (Matthew 5:14) of God, so that Christ’s Church of called out Jews and Gentiles replaces ethnic Israel (who are still beloved for the sake of the fathers, Romans 11:28)—as the true people of God (Matthew 16:18).
And over this nation he rules as the supreme King, a greater than David (Matthew 22:41-46) and Solomon (Matthew 12:24), and so replaces Israel’s many earthly kings with a single heavenly: the High King of Heaven and Earth, the divine Lord of the “Israel of God” (Matthew 28:18f, Luke 19:12, John 18:36, Galatians 6:16).
Much more could be said on this point, and in their letters to the early Christian churches the apostles say it. However, from what we have seen so far, it is quite clear that the Lord Jesus viewed the institutions of the Mosaic Law as temporary physical “types” pointing forward to the permanent spiritual realities of the New Covenant. This truth is profoundly important for a solid, NT understanding of biblical eschatology.