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Extending the Covenant

While we have covered enough of the Hebrew Bible to clarify its core message, there is much we have left out: the inspiration of the Psalms, the wisdom of Proverbs, the challenging questions of Job, and many other stories and events all considered meaningful enough to have been included in scripture. We will have occasion to draw upon this material elsewhere.

In the meantime let’s assess where we have come and where we still need to go. By studying the Hebrew Bible in its own context we see that it is not merely an introduction to something beyond itself, but tells a story with a beginning, a middle, and a conclusion. The Bible tells about spiritual history: the history of the Jewish people, who search for God, lose sight of God, and then find God once again. The story's ending is not a cliffhanger but a resolution.

But still we are not done. As Paul asks in the third chapter of Romans, “Is God the God of Jews only?” The Jews have found the Covenant and returned to it, but what about the rest of the world? This Covenant has been established with the one universal God of all humanity. The intimate relationship with God that the Covenant expresses is not for Jews alone. A way must be found to express to everyone, both Jew and non-Jew, that God cares about them too, that the Covenant applies to them as well.

This task was assigned to Jesus, who was the last in the line of the great Hebrew prophets. Jesus’s twofold destiny was to bring the Jewish Covenant to the entire world and to provide the clearest explanation of precisely what it means.

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