God’s Eternal Witness Through the New Covenant

Back to the Goodnews

By David A. DePra


I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.  For I have said, Mercy shall be built up forever: thy faithfulness shall thou establish in the very heavens.  I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,  Thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations.  (Ps. 89:1-4)


I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him:  With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him.  The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him.  And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him.  But my faithfulness and my mercy [shall be] with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.  I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers.  He shall cry unto me, Thou [art] my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.  Also I will make him [my] firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.  My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.  His seed also will I make [to endure] forever, and his throne as the days of heaven.  If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments;  If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments;  Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.  Nevertheless my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.  My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.  Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.  His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me.  It shall be established for ever as the moon, and [as] a faithful witness in heaven. (Ps. 89:20-37)


Psalm 89 is a prophecy and a promise from God, that through His Son, He will establish an everlasting covenant with His people.  The prophecy begins with God’s dealings with David, but then prophetically switches to Jesus Christ.  Of course, Jesus Christ is often called, “The Son of David.”  Often when the Bible speaks of David, it is a prophetic revelation of Jesus Christ – who was of the lineage of David.  David is often used as a representative of the One who would bring to pass all of the promises God gave, not only to David, but to Abraham.  So when God says that He will establish David, and says that He will establish David’s seed forever, God is referring to Jesus Christ – who is THE seed of David – but then, by extension, all who are IN CHRIST.


What is promised in Psalm 89 are not new promises.  Rather, they are the promises found, in type and shadow, in the Old Covenant, but fully brought to pass through Christ under the NEW Covenant.  Again -- these promises are made unto Christ, and unto those who are IN CHRIST. 


The New Covenant was not only brought to pass by Christ, but that New Covenant IS Christ – the New Covenant is fulfilled through CHRIST IN His people.  But as this Psalm states, all of that is unto an eternal purpose – that Christ would have a BODY that is a WITNESS unto Him – a witness that is forever established in the heavenly, or spiritual realm.


It is important to see that this Psalm is not about the Old Covenant.  The Old Covenant was NOT eternal.  It gave way to the New Covenant.  Simply put, the Old Covenant was a type and a shadow of Jesus Christ.  The New Covenant was Christ Himself – and out from Him – Christ in His people.  Psalm 89 is talking about an unconditional covenant of God given in His Son – but then by extension – given to all those who would be IN CHRIST.


There are two phases that stand out in this Psalm:  The first is verse 4, “Thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations.”  The second is verses 36 and 37, “His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me.  It shall be established for ever as the moon, and [as] a faithful witness in heaven.”  This is the covenant – the NEW covenant -- that promises that God will establish His Son forever, but will likewise IN CHRIST, establish, “the seed,” of Christ.  It is a promise that God is going to have a people who are a living witness to Christ -- which cannot be destroyed, but will be eternal.


What is the, “faithful witness in heaven?”  Nothing less than Jesus Christ being manifested IN His people, and through His people – and then to take it a step further – it is the Body of Christ as an extension and expression of Christ throughout the eternal ages.  That is what God is working towards in the Body of Christ.  God wants a people who are LIVING EVIDENCE of the risen Christ.  Jesus Christ is THE Faithful Witness, according to the Book of Revelation.  But God wants a people who will come to be evidence of Christ – come to be a living witness unto Christ – pointing to HIM as all.  God says that He is going to establish that witness to the glory of His Son – in the heavenlies forever.


The Throne


The Old Covenant was a type and a shadow of the Person of Jesus Christ.  That Old Covenant was to be fulfilled through the nation of Israel.  The New Covenant, however, was Christ Himself – Christ in His people -- and all that would be accomplished and experienced by His people through Christ.  God is promising in this Psalm that not only will, “His seed,” endure forever, but what is accomplished by God through that seed is going to be established forever.  And what is going to accomplished through that seed is represented by the phrases, “build up Thy throne unto all generations,” and, “I will make Thy throne to endure forever.”  In other words, gather up all of these promises of God, and you have a people IN WHOM Jesus Christ is LORD – personally and individually.  You have a people, yes, who are seated in Christ in the heavenlies, but IN whom Christ is seated. 


What God is doing in His people through Christ is not about making those people great, or about giving the Body of Christ glory.  No.  The Body of Christ is to be an expression and extension of Christ unto His glory and under His Lordship and throne. 


It is quite impossible for any of us to be an extension of Christ unless He is our personal Lord.  We are seated in Christ.  But this will have no impact unless this fact becomes our relationship with Him.  He must be our personal Lord in an inward way before we can be those through whom His Lordship is manifested in any outward way. 


God does not simply hand to us authority, or give us a delegated responsibility.  No.  He gives us Christ.  The believer must become a person through whom Christ can live and move.  This requires a work of the Cross whereby our personal interests and self ownership are crucified so that the life of Christ – so that Christ Himself – might govern us.  Only then will the fact that we are seated in Christ have an active and profound impact – both in us and through us.


The New Covenant


Through the Old Covenant, God gave a land to Israel so that they could live in that land to His glory.  Under the New Covenant, God has given a PERSON to His people so that we might live in Christ to His glory.  Of course, this is really a matter of God giving a people to Christ – but regardless – the New Covenant is the promise of God that He will unite believers with Christ in a resurrection union.  He will bring His people into a growing inward realization of Christ, so that those people can live and move to God’s glory.  And as that is accomplished, the outcome is that believers will become HIS WITNESSES both on earth and in the heavenlies – living as extensions of Christ, in dominion out of union with Christ, over the enemy, unto the glory of God throughout the eternal ages.


As we can see, the New Covenant is more than just salvation.  Sure.  The New Covenant includes everything that salvation holds – or better said – the New Covenant includes everything that Christ has done and everything that Jesus Christ is.  In short, what God has promised for those in Christ is that we might eternally experience all that Jesus Christ is – and be vessels through which Jesus Christ can be expressed and through whom He can work.


Can we see that everything that God intends for His Son is likewise intended for those who are IN HIS SON?  This is not to suggest that we receive anything, “because of Christ,” or, “in addition to Christ,” or, “apart from Christ.”  No.  We receive all that God has IN CHRIST – through our resurrection union WITH HIM, and position UNDER Him as Lord.  And that absolutely mandates that He be ALL to us – that we belong to Him – that we are those in whom He has freedom to live and move to His own glory.


The New Covenant is Christ – it is Christ in His people and the eternal impact and eternal purpose through Christ in His people.  That is the promise in Psalm 89:


I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,  Thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations…my covenant shall stand fast with him.  His seed also will I make [to endure] forever, and his throne as the days of heaven…His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me.  It shall be established for ever as the moon, and [as] a faithful witness in heaven.


God has always seen to it that He has a witness to Himself, and unto His Son.  Indeed, this is a promise that this is to all be gathered up eternally – unto a faithful witness in heaven.


Christ in You


…The church:  Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:  To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  Whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which works in me mightily. (Col. 1:24-29)


CHRIST IN YOU – this is the fulfillment of the New Covenant.  Indeed, if you read the words of Paul, it is Christ in His people that is the, “mystery,” that FULFILLS THE WORD OF GOD.  This ought not be surprising, because these are all ONE TRUTH – it has always been God’s purpose to unite His people with His Son in resurrection union – i.e. “Christ in us” – and it is that very union that constitutes the fulfillment of the New Covenant.


We need to stop for a moment and grasp what Paul is saying in this passage, for it is the foundation for so much.  Paul is saying that the Truth of, “Christ in us,” fulfills the Word of God, that is, it is the outcome of everything that God has spoken, and everything that God has done, from the beginning.  It is an eternal purpose that was NOT fully revealed in ages and generations past – the past from Paul’s time – but NOW is revealed.  How was this great reality revealed?  Not merely through the written Word.  No.  The reality of CHRIST IN YOU was revealed by virtue of the fact that Christ was actually joining His people to Himself and dwelling in them.  The Word of God was happening in God’s people.  This was not merely another Word from God, or even the confirmation of His Word.  No.  This was the fulfillment of God’s Word – Christ in you, the hope of glory.


The Truth of, “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” is the Truth of Christianity itself.  Christ in His people is not only the salvation of those who believe, but Christ in His people is THE CHURCH.  And Christ in His people is the foundation and the means by which the Christian life is possible.  That is why Paul says, “Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”  The inward reality of Jesus Christ is to have an eternal impact upon those in whom Christ dwells – as we come into an inward realization of Jesus Christ we are to grow to maturity in Christ.  We are to grow to be those through whom Christ can be expressed.  Yet all of this is based upon the fulfillment of God’s Word – upon the fulfillment of the New Covenant – CHRIST IN US.


God’s Promise


But now hath he (Jesus Christ) obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.  For finding fault with them, he saith, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.  For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”  In that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old [is] ready to vanish away.  (Heb. 8:6-13)


God prophesied that the NEW Covenant would NOT be like the OLD covenant.  But then He also stated what that difference would be:  The NEW Covenant would be INWARD – in contrast to the OLD Covenant which was OUTWARD.  Again – the Old Covenant was a type and shadow of Christ.  The New Covenant fulfilled the entire Word of God because it was Christ Himself – in God’s people.


We see this in this prophecy from Hebrews 8.  God says that He will put, “His law,” in the hearts and minds of His people – Jesus Christ being the Living embodiment of all of the righteousness of God as represented by the law.  God also says that no one would need to be taught by another – but that people could ALL know Him in a personal and individual way.  That means CHRIST IN YOU – in EACH believer.


The New Covenant was sealed by the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.  Believers were first brought into the New Covenant in Acts 2 when Christ came, through the spirit of God, to dwell within believers for the first time.  This was the beginning of the CHURCH – the beginning of those under the New Covenant – and from that time forward everything would be based upon the Person of Jesus Christ and His purpose in His people.


Thus, we see that what God promised in Jeremiah 31, and quoted above in Hebrews 8, is exactly the same promise given in Psalm 89, and likewise given in Colossians 1.  The promise is HIS SON – and all that God intended to accomplish in and through His people – by the means of that Son; by the means of CHRIST IN YOU.


Witnesses Unto Christ


We have read in Psalm 89 that God promises a faithful witness in the heavenlies – which is an eternal witness.  What is a WITNESS?  A witness is someone who personally experiences – to one degree or another – that which takes place or that which already exists.  If that person who is the witness tells the Truth about what they have experienced, they are a faithful or true witness.  If they lie about what they have experienced, they are a false witness.


Jesus Christ stated, just before His ascension, that it was His will that His people be HIS WITNESSES:


And, being assembled together with [them], commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, [saith he], ye have heard of me.  For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence…But ye shall receive power, because the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  (Acts 2:5-8)


Here we see that the disciples were to receive the Holy Spirit.  But Jesus had also promised, “I will come to you.” (John 14:18)  There is no confusion here – there are NOT two indwellings, but ONE.  It means that Jesus would come to dwell in them through the means of the spirit of God – this is what happened in Acts 2.  They were to do nothing until then.  They were to wait for this great promise.


Acts 2 was the first time that Jesus Christ ever dwelt in anyone – the first time anyone was ever, “joined to the Lord and made one spirit with Him.”  (I Cor. 6:17)  It was the first time anyone had been brought under the New Covenant.  And Jesus is telling them the purpose for it:  That they might become HIS WITNESSES.


Now, it would be a mistake to limit what Jesus was saying to merely a message ABOUT Jesus – to limit what Jesus was saying to a verbal or written gospel message.  No.  Jesus was talking about the inward reality of His presence in them – through the spirit of God – having an impact – that impact being that they would BECOME His witnesses.  In short, believers are to become living evidence of the resurrected Christ.


We said that a witness is someone with personal experience – personal exposure – to that which they are bearing witness.  Thus, to be a witness unto Christ – in the sense that God means it – is to personally become the outcome of CHRIST IN YOU.  It is to become one who not only gives testimony to Christ, but it is to become one who IS that testimony or evidence.  A believer is to personally experience Christ.  A believer is to personally come into an inward realization of Christ.  And as that happens, that believer will manifest Christ – and ultimately become an expression and extension of Christ.  This is the eternal purpose that God has in the New Covenant.  It is the, “eternal witness in the heavenlies.”


The very term, “MY witnesses,” suggests that – we are to be evidence of HIM.  That evidence will be the TRUTH – it will be the Truth about HIM, and the Truth about what happens when a human being experiences Christ.  In contrast to that, we must never be witnesses to OURSELVES, or representations of a false Christianity.  What we are witnesses to is going to be the outcome of the object of our faith.  It is going to be the outcome of whether we are walking in the Truth or walking in error.  A believer who is a true witness to Jesus Christ will be the product of our relationship to Him – a living epistle that tells the Truth about Jesus Christ, and what He means to us.


Thus, to become a true witness to Christ means that we must decrease that He might increase.  Self-righteousness must be crucified.  Living as motivated by SELF must be crucified.  A living witness unto Christ will become less and less occupied with SELF, and more and more occupied with Jesus Christ.  There is simply no other outcome if we are to be HIS WITNESSES.


A true witness unto Christ will sin.  But a true witness will point to Christ as the only solution and object of faith.  In short, a witness is a living sign post that points to Jesus – despite all of OUR deficiencies.  It is HIM as our righteousness, grace, and source for ALL. 


An Eternal Covenant


Everyone who has even been joined to the Lord in this age – both those presently living or presently dead – will continue to be joined to the Lord in the ages yet to come.  And what God begins in this age will be released into fullness in the next.  In short, there are eternal ramifications and an eternal purpose for CHRIST IN US.  You will note the next phrase is, “the hope of glory.”  He is our hope – not the hope that we might have our own glory – but our hope of experiencing His glory.


Experiencing HIS glory means that it is God’s intention that those in Christ might experience all that Christ has done and all that Christ is.  But if we experience Him it will mean that He is seen in and through us – that is the outcome and the only outcome.  Again – if we experience His glory then the impact will be that HE is seen, in other words, the result will be that we shall become HIS WITNESSES. 


It is the purpose of God in the New Covenant.  But if that happens – if we experience Christ – and become his witnesses – then it follows that the BODY of Christ will become an expression or extension of Christ.  Just as the human body is subject to the human head or brain, so the Body of Christ is to be subject to the Head of the Body – Jesus Christ.


What does that mean?  It means that Christ wants those who will be to Him those who can be and do what He would do – as HIS BODY.  Not independent of Him – but in concert with Him – out of a complete oneness.  Isn’t that the relationship between a body and the head of that body?  Sure.  We are the BODY of Christ, and MEMBERS of Christ. 


This is what God is working to accomplish in this age.  And He is going to have it.  God has always had a witness to Himself; a witness to His Son.  Before the end of the age, He is going to have one last witness – and even though it will be rejected by most – it is going to the TRUTH.  But all of this is unto the end that God will establish an eternal faithful witness in Christ in the heavenlies.


Jesus Christ is the faithful witness.  But if that is so, then all who are IN HIM must be brought into conformity with Jesus as the faithful witness. 


Can we see that all of this is the SAME TRUTH; the SAME PURPOSE OF GOD in Christ.  Paul said it best in Ephesians:


And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church,  Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.  (Eph. 1:22-23)


Jesus Christ doesn’t need us.  But it is the purpose of God that believers be used to manifest Christ; to become His witnesses.  This is the purpose of CHRIST IN US – it is the fulfillment of the NEW Covenant. 


But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  (Eph. 2:4-7) 

Back to the Goodnews

page counter