Jesus the Messiah came to restore the House of Israel and to reclaim the Gentiles from their gods. His mission began with the Incarnation. He humiliated the powers of darkness at the Cross, where He redeemed His people. His mission continues today in the work of the Church.

Jesus is the Messenger of the Covenant, spoken of by the prophet Malachi. Reflect on his words.

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, says Yahweh of hosts.

-Mal. 3:1

This text would have been understood as parallel to the return of the Shekinah to the Temple mentioned by Ezekiel (ch. 43:1-9). The House of Israel expected their Lord to return in the same way He had sanctified the Temple in the days of Solomon (1 Kgs 8:10-11). However, the fulfilment was unlike their expectations: the presence of Yahweh came to the temple of stone, but Yahweh had a new temple, a temple of flesh.

Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

 Then said the Jews, “Forty and six years was this temple in building, and will you rear it up in three days?”

But He spoke of the temple of His body. When therefore He was risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that he had said this to them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

-Jn. 2:19-22

The Messenger of the Covenant had come to bring a new covenant that would usher in the promises God had made. The author of Hebrews discusses at length the weaknesses of the Mosaic Covenant, and Paul writes in Galatians about how the Mosaic Covenant was never intended to be permanent: it was meant to be a restraining and guiding influence until the people were ready for the New Covenant.

The New Covenant is meant to bring us towards the perfected state, the New Eden. We have experiences of this now in a manner analogous to the “first fruits” principle of the OT: we see healings, exorcisms, prosperity, visitations. Jesus is ruling from His throne NOW. But at the same time, we have the “not yet” element to the covenant, we await the global Eden of the restoration prophesied by Jesus.

Jesus as the Messenger of the Covenant came first to the House of Israel. When they return to their Lord, then, as Paul says in Romans, we shall see the resurrection of the dead and the restoration of all things. They rejected the Messenger, Jesus, and in doing so rejected the One who sent Him, the Father. The rejection is not final (pace replacement theology/supercessionism). Until that time, pray for the restoration of the House of Israel, of which we are seeing glimpses already, and sing with sincerity O come, O come Emmanuel.

I recommend the Covenant and Controversy series, which can be accessed here:

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