The Unpopular Phinehasic Covenant

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 9:41 AM 1 comments

When it comes to covenants, our tongues speedily speak of the Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Davidic covenants. But allow me to talk about a lesser known covenant. It is really unpopular for I am not aware whether it has a name. Let me label it for now as the Phinehasic covenant and it is found in Numbers 25:11-13. GOD speaking,
Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. Therefore say, 'Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace, and it shall be to him and to his descendants after him the covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.'
Perhaps, one of the reasons of the unpopularity of this story is the uneasiness of retelling it (Read Num. 25 here). The Israelites were protected from being cursed by Balaam but they willingly embraced what Balaam's cursing could not do - being enemies of the Most High GOD. A great number of them, including its leaders, had a dive into a disgusting mixture of immorality, idolatry, and blasphemy resulting to GOD's furious anger exhibited in a plague. And while the unparticipating were weeping at the doorway of the tent of meeting, a Simeonite prince came and brought a Midianite princess with their sexual immoralities and blasphemies (for it is linked to Baal-Peor worship) in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation. "When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he arose from the midst of the congregation and took a spear in his hand and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them" (vv.7,8).

There at least three features of Phinehas that the church of today needs:

His Zeal for GOD
The blessing of perpetual peace and perpetual priesthood that was bestowed upon Phinehas was centrally "because he was jealous for his God." He feels the jealousy that his very precious GOD feels. It was this zeal for GOD that urged him to do more than just weep (while everybody else, including Moses, was left immobile). It was this zeal for GOD that pushed him to arise and grab a spear from someone else's hand. It was this zeal for GOD that drove him to thrust and single-mindedly perform the judgment. It was his zeal for GOD.

His Compassion for the Congregation
I believe that his zeal for GOD was intertwined with his compassion for the congregation. He "made atonement for the people of Israel." He was aware of the damage being caused by the whoredoms of Israel. He had seen how thousands were being plagued (v.9). He was hearing the mournings of the people. He knew that carrying out the discipline was the most loving act he could do for the assembly. How great is the need of the church to see the compassion behind discipline!

His Impartiality for Judgment
Verses 14 and 15 reveal how renowned are the slain pair. They were not just unbranded individuals. They were prince and princess, a pair of future leaders. However, their being prominent did not move Phinehas from performing his divine task of disciplining. On the contrary, Phinehas could have even realized the greater damage that their offense could cause because of their prominence. Impartiality was needed. Phinehas was needed.

May the LORD be pleased to fashion more Phinehas hearts in the church today.

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1 Response for the "The Unpopular Phinehasic Covenant"

  1. Anonymous says:

    So unpopular, in fact, that the Reformation Study Bible barely pauses on the entire chapter.

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