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Two Turtle Doves
The Old Testament and The New Testament
God gave His greatest gift to believers, His son Jesus Christ. He also gave us
his word, the Christian Holy Bible made up of the Old Testament and the New Testament,
communicated by the Holy Spirit, first through the patriarchs and prophets and then
through the apostles. The Old Testament was God's covenant with Israel.
Perhaps the simplest statement of the covenant is the sentence, "I will
take you for my people, and I will be your God" (Exodus 6:7). The law, a part of the
covenant, contains God's rules for behavior and for religious practices. The people
witnessed God's goodness, His love, His power, His faithfulness, His righteous anger, yet
continued to disobey. Through Old Testament prophecy, the reader catches a glimpse of the
"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. They lived in
a land of shadows, but now light is shining on them. You have given them great joy, Lord;
you have made them happy. They rejoice in what you have done, as people rejoice when they
harvest grain or when they divide captured wealth. For you have broken the yoke that
burdened them and the rod that beat their shoulders." (Isaiah 9:2-4a [TEV])
The high point of Jeremiah's prophecies contains the only Old Testament
reference to the "new covenant":
"The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new
covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the
covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of
Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the
LORD. "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that
time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on
their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach
his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, `Know the LORD,' because they will all know
me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will
forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." (Jeremiah 31:31-34
Through the prophet Isaiah the people were told of the coming of the Lord:
"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid
for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins. A voice of one
calling: In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD
will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has
spoken." (Isaiah 40:1-5 [NIV])
So, what is this New Testament, this new covenant? In the biblical books God
gave us His word. Through prophecy God revealed His Word, his Son. John reveals the
mystery of the Word to us:
"In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with
God and was truly God. From the very beginning the Word was with God. And with this Word,
God created all things. Nothing was made without the Word. Everything that was created
received its life from him, and his life gave light to everyone. The light keeps shining
in the dark, and darkness has never put it out
The true light that shines on everyone was coming into the world. The Word was
in the world, but no one knew him, though God had made the world with his Word. He came
into his own world, but his nation did not welcome him. Yet some people accepted him and
put their faith in him. So he gave them the right to be the children of God. They were not
God's children by nature or because of any human desires. God himself was the one who made
them his children.
The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his glory,
the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of
God have come down to us." (John 1: 1-5, 9-14 [CEV]).
So Jesus came, He taught, He performed miracles, and He showed the way that God
would have us go in His new covenant with us. And through Christs life, death, and
resurrection, through the grace of God, we are freely given salvation and eternal life.
His promises remain constant and with us today. Jesus himself reveals Gods great
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my
Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there
to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and
take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place
where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going,
so how can we know the way?"
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to
the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.
From now on, you do know him and have seen him." Philip said, "Lord, show us the
Father and that will be enough for us."
Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among
you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show
us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?
The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is
doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or
at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been
doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I
will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You
may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. "If you love me, you will obey
what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be
with you forever-- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither
sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will
not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I
live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are
in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves
me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to
him." Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to
show yourself to us and not to the world?"
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father
will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me
will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father
who sent me. "All this I have spoken while still with you.
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will
teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave
with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your
hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. "You heard me say, `I am going away and I am
coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for
the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does
happen you will believe. I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this
world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and
that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. "Come now; let us leave."
(John 14 [NIV])
Yes, Jesus is God's greatest gift to us. The "two turtle doves",
the Old Testament and the New Testament, testify to His goodness and mercy and love. In
the end He leaves us with Peace and hope, the knowledge that He will return for us, the
promise of eternal life with Him.
Today, the dove, a small white delicate bird, has become identified with Peace.
From the first Peace, when the dove returned to Noahs ark carrying a freshly plucked
olive leaf, a sign that Peace between God and man had returned to the earth, to the new
Peace, our redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Thank You Lord.
~ Gord Evans
Pefferlaw, Ontario, Canada
Daily Scripture Reading:*
[Psalms 93, 96] [Isaiah 62:6-7, 10-12] [Hebrews 2:10-18] [Matthew 1-18-25]
God of Revelation,
You have revealed Yourself to us in so many ways. Your creation abounds with
the stamp of a Creator who is powerful, resourceful and plentiful. Your Son has given us
the means by which we can approach Your Holy Throne in the power of his blood. And yet,
You have also given us Your written word in which we find You, and your plan for our
reconciliation to You. We are instructed to study, to keep, to learn, to live it. Thank
You for yet another way to know You.
*These readings are adapted from the
Daily Office of the Book of Common Prayer,
Year 2. For Year 1 readings, see
Daily Readings, Christmas 1.