Pristine Grace

The New Covenant
Essay 12
Jesus Christ: He Installs the One New Covenant Sign and Seal
by Bob Higby

The New Covenant

     The Bible contains what we might call a 'theology of wine.' After sacrificing to God and receiving his promise, the first thing Noah did after exiting the ark was to plant a vineyard and drink of its wine. Although this event ended in sin, it signified the promise of God in relation to future history. David also affirmed that wine gladdens the heart of man. Isa. 25:6-9 pictures the great eschatological banquet--when God will abolish death forever, remove the shroud of darkness, and provide the best wine and marbled steak for his people. The promise to remove the shroud of darkness is parallel to the New Covenant promise in Jeremiah 31:34. No person in the redeemed community of God needs to teach his neighbor to know the Lord. All have come to know him, whether new in the faith or mature.

     Although the consummation of these promises is yet future, we begin to experience their fulfillment in the current age. The first miracle of Christ performed at Cana was no accident. It was the beginning of the fulfillment of Isaiah 25 and identifies Christ as the Messiah who provides salvation. The institution of the cup as the only material sign of the New Covenant culminates the promise of Isaiah. The pleasure of the saints in glory is obtained at the cost of the shed blood of Christ.

     The agape festival of the early Christian community was viewed as a foretaste of the glory to come. Believers looked forward to the weekly celebration of Christ's resurrection as the highest point in their earthly lives. In no way did the early communion resemble the 'snippet and sip' ritual of what is currently practiced. The NT believers did not have a privatistic communion of solemn meditiation and fear of partaking. They experienced a joy of fellowship in the gospel that is rarely known today.