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COVENANTS--Law Covenant Re Jews.
QUESTION (1910)--1--Did the Law Covenant end at the cross, or is it still in operation upon the Jews?
ANSWER.--I answer, that it did not end at the cross, it has not yet ended, it will not end until the New Law Covenant with its better Mediator supersedes, or takes the place, of the Old Law Covenant. That is the only way the Jew can get out from under the bondage of his covenant. So the Apostle says, They are shut up unto it. There is no other way of getting out from under it. Now look! The way any Jew got into Christ was by becoming dead to the Law; he must renounce all hope in the Law and die to it, that he might be married and joined to another, even to Christ. So the Jews who did not do it, and have not done it, are still under the Law, and the only way to get out from under it is to die to it. They will have to stay under it until the better Mediator takes the place of the typical one, and the other antitypical things shall be brought in.
COVENANTS--Law Offer to Jews.
QUESTION (1910)--2--What does the Law Covenant now offer the Jews, seeing that Christ by his obedience captured the prize?
ANSWER.--The prize is gone. Just as if a race-course was open and you were a runner, there was just the one prize, and suppose you ran along that race-course and you were the one that won that prize. Others might run around it for a year and they would not get a prize. So it is with the Jews. They can keep on running and running, but the prize is gone, as far as the Law Covenant is concerned.
A Brother :--Brother Russell, the friends seem to think they can see you better if you get up higher, in the pulpit. (Brother Russell had been standing down on the floor in front of the pulpit, as the pulpit was one of the old-fashioned ones, in fact, it is reputed to be the identical pulpit which Whitfield formerly occupied.)
Brother Russell :--I can't look down on all of you. (Some of us were under the gallery, so he could not look down upon us, the pulpit was so high he could look down upon the rest.)
COVENANTS--Jews Under Old Have Prayers Heard.
QUESTION (1910)--3--Could any Jew under the Old Law Covenant have direct intercourse with the Lord in prayer? John taught his disciples to pray.
ANSWER.--Yes, in the sense that they who recognized the Law Covenant and its Mediator Moses, or those who sat in Moses' seat and who represented the institutions Moses had made and established, and which were included in the Temple and all the privileges of the Jews upon the Day of Atonement and the year following. In that typical sense they were brought near to God and treated as though fully reconciled, although at the end of the year they were recognized as not being in harmony with him, the type had to be gone through with again. Our Lord tells us that two men went up to the Temple to pray, etc. Jesus says, I tell you that that publican and sinner went down to his house justified rather than the other man. So you see, in that sense [Q174] of the word, the whole Jewish people were in a prayerful relationship to the Lord; they were all consecrated; "they were all baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud." They had the benefit of those institutions on their behalf. Others, not Jews, did not have the privilege of having God hear their prayers.
Let us remind you respecting Cornelius, who was a just man. He prayed always, and gave much alms to the people, --three very important points--but his prayers could not come up to God until after the Jewish dispensation had ended, and "the middle wall" had been removed. Then his prayers and alms came up before God. As the result the Lord sent an angel to him who said, Your prayers and alms have come up; send for one Peter, when he shall come he shall tell you the words that shall be to the saving of thyself and thy people.
COVENANTS--Moses and the Law Covenant.
QUESTION (1910-Z)--1--Was Moses out from under Adamic Condemnation?
ANSWER.--If he was a member of the Jewish nation then he was in this special covenant-relationship with God. Adam, when he sinned, lost his covenant standing with God and was sentenced to death. God made a new arrangement with the Seed of Abraham, that he would enter into a Covenant with them as though they were perfect; and to this end Moses became their mediator. We have every reason to suppose that Moses was also a participator in the arrangement as well as being the mediator of it. So we suppose that Moses was under the Law the same as were his successors, and this Covenant, by its arrangement year by year continually, not only put them, at the first, in this condition of typical justification or covenant-relationship with God, but it gave them a whole year of that favorable condition; and only at the end of the year, when the period for which the sacrifice had been offered had lapsed, were they no longer in covenant-relationship with God. Then they put on sackcloth and ashes and, like the remainder of the world, they were sinners, under condemnation, but under more condemnation than the rest of the world because they had the additional condemnation of the Law.
We understand, then, that if Moses could have kept the Law under that Covenant, God would have been bound to give him eternal life according to the promise--"He that doeth these things shall live by them." God did not say anything about Christ or believing in Christ or anything of that kind; merely, he that doeth these things shall have eternal life by doing them. And so we think that this promise applied to Moses and all the Israelites under the Law, and still applies to the Jews. And we believe God would give eternal life to anyone who could do those things perfectly, but this offer was made only to the Jews. They were out from Adamic condemnation in that tentative sense; not that they had escaped, for since they still bore unchanged the same imperfections as the remainder of the children of Adam, they could not do what they wished to do; as the Apostle says, "We cannot do the things that we would." So they had a condemnation as a people which other nations did not have. Adam, individually, had been sentenced to [Q175] death. His children did not have, individually, that condemnation. They were born in "prison"--in this death condition. But in the case of the Jews, God treated them as though they had been separated from the remainder of the world.
"We will keep it. We agree to keep your Law, and you agree to give us life." So, then, these children of Adam, the Jews, who, like the rest of the world, were not on individual trial previously, and had not, therefore, been sentenced as individuals, but were merely sharing the effect of Adam's condemnation--all these Jews were now put on trial for life, and when they failed it meant a special penalty upon them, because they now had an individual trial and failed. Therefore, we see that it was necessary that the Jew, under this second condemnation, or this individual trial and individual condemnation, should all be under Moses as the Mediator, so that Christ could take the place of this Mediator and effect something for that nation. Moses was merely typical of the better Mediator. Therefore, since they were in that Mediator, who was only a type of Christ, God was merely showing to them in a typical way what he will do for them by and by, when Christ will be Mediator of their New (Law) Covenant. --Jer. 31:31.
COVENANTS--Discussion After Division.
QUESTION (1910)--1--In studying on the covenants along the lines we have received from the Watch Tower, we find certain subjects seem to bring up a division in the class when we touch on the mediator. Would you think it wise to continue that service if we found that those divisions came up or should we drop the studies and take up something else?
ANSWER.--I would think the subject of the covenants would be a very proper subject to discuss, and that if any regular brother of the class were present and had some different views, that it would be very proper to give him the opportunity to express what he had to say, but not with a view to his continuing to express it and continuing to interrupt the class at every session. If he has something to say, and is able to say it in a manner that would be interesting, allow him to have his way, because he would have that right you see, justly; as a member of the class he has a right to be heard, but if it be so that the majority of the class are not in favor of his presentation, and do not wish him to continue presenting it, then I think the brother should be asked to discontinue his side of the question, saying, Brother, we gave you a good opportunity and the class heard what you have to say, and they do not care to have it further considered, and you will please therefore not interrupt our studies on the subject. And I would go right along with the lesson and discuss the matter in harmony with the wishes of the class. If, however, the class, as a whole, wishes to discontinue the subject, I would [Q176] know nothing else to do than to follow the instructions of the class, understanding that the class has the deciding voice in every matter.
COVENANTS--Blotting Out Handwriting.
QUESTION (1910)--1--"He blotted out the handwriting of ordinances which was against us and took it out of the way." Would this mean that the Law covenant is now ended?
ANSWER.--This handwriting of ordinance was against us. Who are the "us"? The us are those who have accepted Christ. The handwriting of ordinance is still over the Jews, and they are still obligatory. Whatsoever the Law says, it says to them that are under Law. There is no way to get out from it. They are shut up under it. At the end of this age he will bring in the New Law Covenant, which will swallow up the Old Law Covenant.
QUESTION (1910)--2--Was Jesus developed under the Law Covenant, or the Abrahamic Covenant, or both?
ANSWER.--We answer that Jesus was born under the Law Covenant, and therefore obligated to keep the Law, and he did keep the Law, but the Law would never have made him the spiritual seed of Abraham. He was of the natural seed of Abraham by virtue of Mary's being a child of Abraham and so was related to Abraham.
But in order to be the seed of Abraham to bless all the families of the earth, he would have to be more than the natural seed of Abraham according to the flesh; because, according to the flesh he would never have been able to give eternal life. The most that Jesus could do would be to keep the law and have eternal life for himself, and then he would assist others. If so, Jesus as a perfect man, under the Law, approved by the Law as worthy of eternal life, as the man Jesus, as such he had a right, he was entitled to all the right and privileges that Adam had, and no more, and no less. That, however, would not permit him to be the great seed of Abraham on the spiritual plane. He must get to the spiritual plane before he could give the blessings. How did he get on that plane? I answer, under the Abrahamic Covenant. But how? In this way: God's offer to Jesus, according to the flesh, was that if he offered himself a living sacrifice, then his earthly rights would constitute an asset. It would be a thing of value, something that belonged to him, something that he could use. So, when Jesus kept the Law and merely laid down his life in obedience to the Father's will, that sacrifice was something to his credit, and the Father rewarded his obedience by giving him the new nature. He became a new creature before he arose from the dead, as soon as he was begotten of the spirit, as soon as he made a consecration of his earthly nature at Jordan, when he said, Lo, I come, as it is written in the volume of the Book, I delight to do thy will. There was the place where the Father recognized him and begot him of the Holy Spirit, and he became the Royal Priest of the new nation, and therefore he became perfect at his resurrection, and became the Lord of Glory, who is to bless you and me and all of the race. What will this High Priest do for the people? He has something to do with now. What is that? He has his earthly nature. [Q177] How? It belongs to him, he laid it down at Jordan, and finished his sacrifice at Calvary when he cried, "It is finished." It is complete and to his credit and is in the Father's hands. What is the value of it? It is the ransom price for the sins of the whole world. Has he paid it over for the world? Oh, no, not for the world. It is in the hands of justice and he can determine when it will be paid over. It is just the same as if you had some money in a bank, and when you turn it over you do not pay it to anyone, but when you send a check telling the bankers to pay it over, then it is paid over. Meantime, it lays in the banker's hands to your credit. So Christ's sacrifice has lain in the Father's hands for more than eighteen centuries. When will he use it? At the end of this age, for then he will apply it for the sins of all mankind and God will accept it and forthwith will turn over the whole world of mankind to Jesus and they will be subject to him in everything pertaining to the earth and his Kingdom will begin, for the purpose of lifting up the world, for which Christ has died, and for which he will in due time apply the merit of his sacrifice. What is he doing with his sacrifice in the meantime? He is using it in another way. He says, your sacrifice will not be acceptable, for you have not a sufficiency of merit for the Father to accept it. He says, I will add to your sacrifice enough of my merit, already in the Father's hands, to make your sacrifice acceptable to the Father, and as soon as he accepts your sacrifice then you are counted dead as a human being, and you are a new creature. So it has gone on all through this Gospel Age. This makes all of the sacrifice of the Church acceptable in God's sight, both of the Little Flock and the Great Company, all who make a consecration. It is the only condition upon which the Father accepts any of our sacrifices, the only condition for receiving the holy Spirit. If any fail to sacrifice, it becomes a matter of the destruction of the flesh, rather than of sacrifice. Jesus was developed under the Law Covenant as the man Christ Jesus, but as the New Creature he was developed and got to that position under the Abrahamic Covenant, by virtue of presenting his body a living sacrifice. Notice the Scriptures say, speaking of the Church, "Gather together my saints unto me, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." Who are they? The word "saint" means "holy one." Who will these saints be? First of all, the great saint Jesus, the Holy One of all, the one who was actually perfect to begin with, and became the High Priest on the Divine plane by virtue of his sacrifice. Then all the other holy ones who come in walking in his footsteps, sacrificing as he sacrificed, and associated with him, following in his footsteps. All these are the holy ones, the Lord's jewels, and he is now making these up. That is the only way Jesus became the spiritual seed of Abraham, by the sacrifice of his earthly nature. That is the only way you and I can become members of the spiritual seed of Abraham. Others will not be of the spiritual class at all.
QUESTION (1910-Z)--1--(1) Please explain Heb. 9:15, viz., Revised Version--"And for this cause he is the mediator of a New Covenant, [Q178] that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first Covenant, they that have been called may revive the promise of the eternal inheritance."
(6) Please explain John 13:34-- "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another." Was it a forerunner of the New Covenant he was about to seal for them?
(1) This text shows a contrast between the old Law Covenant and the New (Law) Covenant. The original or Abrahamic Covenant, under which Christ and his Body as the Spiritual Seed of Abraham is being developed, is not in the discussion. The Apostle wrote to those who still trusted in the Law Covenant and declared that it was necessary, not only to believe in Christ, but also to keep the Law and to be circumcised, in order to have any Divine favor. This the Apostle is controverting as untrue. He shows that the Law Covenant mediated by Moses was typical of a superior New Covenant, of which Messiah is the Mediator.
Moses' Covenant was already dead, to the extent that the prize it offered had been won by Jesus. It is still alive, however, upon all the Jews as a bondage from which they could get free only in one of two ways; either by dying to the Law Covenant and to all of its hopes and prospects and renouncing all earthly restitution rights and thus becoming a joint-heir with Christ as a member of Messiah's Body during this Gospel Age; or, accepting the other alternative, get free from the old Law Covenant by transfer, when the New (Law) Covenant shall go into effect as its substitute, at the beginning of the Millennium. Then all Jews and their appurtenances will be transferred from Moses, the incompetent mediator to the Messiah of glory, the competent Mediator of the better Covenant, whose provisions will bless Israel and all the families of the earth willing to come in under its benevolent provisions.
This text has no reference to any except Jews who were under the old Law Covenant. It does not at all refer to Gentiles. It shows that God's provision is that Messiah is the Mediator of Israel's New Covenant and that his death, when so applied, will be sufficient to cancel the transgressions of Israel under their old Law Covenant. This will make it possible for them as a nation yet to attain the earthly part of the Abrahamic Covenant's provision for Abraham's earthly seed, as the sand of the sea shore. Thus eventually Israel as God's "called" nation will receive all that they ever expected-- and more. Israel's promises were not heavenly or spiritual, but earthly: "All the land that thou seest, to thee (Abraham) will I give it, and to thy seed after [Q179] thee"; and as the chief nation of earth they were to teach all nations "every man under his own vine and fig tree."
Those promises are sure as God's word. They merely wait until the "Mystery" of a multitudinous Mediator shall be finished (in sacrifice and in resurrection glory.) Then the "Mystery" Mediator will have sealed Israel's New Covenant by his death as its Testator. Then the "called" nation of Israel will "receive the eternal inheritance" for which they have waited more than thirty-five centuries. St Paul explains this further in Rom. 11:17-29,31.
(3) Your argument is not logical. If our Lord had finished his work of sacrifice he could not give his footstep followers a share therein. (4) The Scriptures nowhere say that our Lord sealed the New Covenant with his blood. Neither was it necessary for him to seal the New Covenant before he would be its Mediator. He was the Mediator of the New Covenant in the Divine purpose and promise centuries before he became the man Christ Jesus. He was the Mediator of the New Covenant when born in Bethlehem in exactly the same sense that he was then the Savior of the world: not because he had sealed the New Covenant nor because he had saved the world, but because he was the One through whom the world's salvation and the New Covenant for its blessing were eventually to be accomplished.
Our Lord has not yet saved the world, nor has he acted as the Mediator of the New Covenant but he will accomplish both purposes during the Millennial Age; and at its conclusion the prophecy will be fulfilled, "He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied." Our Lord was privileged to offer his Church a share with himself in his Mediatorial Kingdom on condition that she would share in his cup of suffering and self-sacrifice--share in his baptism into his death. So doing she shall share his reward of glory, honor and immortality in "his resurrection." (Phil. 3:10.) And sharing his glory and throne as his joint- sacrificer and joint-heir of the promise she would be with him jointly the Mediator between God and men--the world--during the Millennial Age--the work of reconciling the world, or so many of them as may prove willing to receive the blessing of regeneration.
(5) You are not right. There is a difference between a covenant and the law of a covenant. God's Law given to Israel summarized was, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy being and with all thy strength; and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." That Law is perfect and will be the basis or Law of the New Covenant. Moses as a Mediator under his Covenant purposed to help Israel to keep that Law, and God covenanted to give them eternal life, if they would do so. But they were unable to keep that Law perfectly in act and thought and word, and hence they reaped its condemnation of death and not its proffered blessing of life. Under that Covenant Moses was privileged to arrange sacrifices and offerings for sin, and thus year by year so cleanse the [Q180] people for a year at a time from their original condemnation. But he had no means of actually blotting out their sins and no power or right to actually restore them to perfection and ability to keep that Law.
The New Covenant will have the same Law exactly, but the Mediator having by then paid over to Justice the ransom-price of the world, secured by his own sacrificial death, will then have full charge of mankind and be fully empowered to deal mercifully with their imperfections and to help them step by step out of their sin and death condition back to perfection, and to cut off the rebellious in the Second Death. At the close of the Millennium he will present the willing and obedient to the Father actually perfect.
Thus it will be seen that God's dealings with mankind under the typical Law Covenant, and under its antitype the New Covenant, is along the lines of actual obedience to the Divine Law, and not along the lines of reckoned obedience through faith. As obedience to the old Law Covenant held the reward of human perfection and life, so the rewards of the New (Law) Covenant will be similar--eternal life or eternal death.
Quite to the contrary of both of these arrangements, the Church is now called to a "heavenly calling" under the Abrahamic Covenant--to the members of the Body of Christ, who, with Jesus her Head, will constitute the Mediator of the New Covenant. The Church is "not under Law, but under grace," not judged according to the flesh and earthly restitution, but judged according to the heart and intention; and required to sacrifice restitution rights to the attainment of "the high calling" life and glory on the spirit plane as members of the Mediator of the New Covenant.
(6) No, that "New Commandment" represents a higher law than was given to the Jew under the Law Covenant, hence higher also than will be given to Israel and mankind under the New Covenant. The New Commandment mentioned by our Lord is not the Father's commandment at all, but the command of our Head, our Teacher, to all those who have entered the School of Christ and who are hoping to become "members" of the Anointed One--members of the Mediator, Prophet, Priest and King of the new dispensation. Justice could not give this new command: all that Justice could command is expressed in the Law given to Israel, namely, supreme love for God and love for the neighbor as for one's self. This new commandment which the Lord gave applies only to the Church of this Gospel Age. In effect it is this: If you would be my disciples, if you would share my throne and glory and immortality, you must have my spirit. You must do more than keep the Law. You must be more than just. You must be self-sacrificing. If you would share my glory I command and direct that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12.) I have loved you to the extent of laying down my life for you sacrificially. You must have this same spirit and cast in your lot with me in self-sacrifice, or you cannot be my disciples, nor share my glory, and associate in my work as the Mediator for the blessing of Israel and mankind. Whosoever will be my disciple must take up his cross and follow me, that where I am there shall my disciple be. Surely no one can doubt the Savior's meaning--my disciples must die with me. [Q181]
COVENANTS--Abrahamic, Sarah, Sacrificial.
QUESTION (1910)--1--What is the difference between the Abrahamic covenant, the Sarah covenant and the covenant of Sacrifice?
ANSWER.--I answer, that the Abrahamic covenant is the term which is more comprehensive than the other terms. The Abrahamic covenant, you remember, declares that all the families of the earth shall be blessed, but that they shall be blessed through the seed of Abraham. Now there are two features. It implies a blesser, the Abrahamic seed, and also a blessing, through that seed, to all the families of the earth, so that the Abrahamic promise really covers everything God intends ever to do both to the New Creature on the spirit plane and to the human family on the earthly plane. But, following the Apostle's guidance in the matter as he has outlined in his epistle to the Galatians, we see that this Abrahamic promise has various features or divisions. It was first offered to Israel through the Abrahamic covenant, which was the law covenant, as the Apostle explains. It was the Abrahamic covenant, for it was Abraham who begot Ishmael and it was Abraham who begot Isaac; so you see it is the Abrahamic covenant that brings forth these two classes. First the Jewish nation, under the Jewish law, represented by the Hagar wife, the mother of that seed, Ishmael, part of the seed of Abraham, but not the seed of Abraham, because it was said, "In Isaac thy seed shall be called." The special one through whom the blessing is to come to all the families of the earth will not be Ishmael, but Isaac.
The mother of Isaac was Sarah, and the Apostle, in Galatians, points out that Sarah was a type of our covenant by which God brings forth the Isaac class, and then says, "We brethren, as Isaac was, are children of the promise." We take the place of Isaac. Now who are we? Well, we are to share with the Lord Jesus, who is the head over the church, which is his body, and the whole church composes this Isaac seed of Abraham, through which all the families of the earth are to be blessed. First the natural seed of Abraham, and subsequently all the other nations.
Now what has this to do with the covenant of sacrifices? I answer, the covenant of sacrifice is the same as the Sarah covenant. It was Isaac who was offered upon the altar, you in remember; it was Isaac that was received again from the dead a figure, so it is the whole antitypical Isaac (Jesus the head and the church his body) that are offered upon the altar, and are received again from the dead in the first resurrection, and these, then, will constitute the spiritual seed of Abraham, through whom the blessings will go to all natural Israel and to the world. Why is it a covenant by sacrifice? Because it is not possible in God's arrangement for it to be any other way. See? Our Lord Jesus, according to the flesh, was of the seed of Abraham, and according to the flesh he was born under the law, and he was obedient unto the law, and under all that he could do as a man, but he could not fulfill the things God had declared would be fulfilled by the seed of Abraham.
Suppose we imagine that Jesus had remained a man, perfect, unblemished, in every sense of the word perfect, in full loyalty to righteousness and to God; suppose he had remained [Q182] in that condition, without making a sacrifice of his human nature, and died the just for the unjust, he would have had a right to life because God's law promised, "He that doeth these things shall live by them." Therefore, Jesus, obedient to the divine law, would have entitled him to the right of everlasting life as long as he maintained that obedience, and he would have been the greatest of all, the greatest of the whole earth. He might have been a great king, far greater than Solomon, for he had a wisdom and power beyond anything that Solomon had, and a right to all that Adam possessed and lost. "Unto thee shall it come, O thou prince of the flock, even the first dominion." The dominion that Adam had and lost. It came to the one who would keep the law and he would have a right to all the blessings God gave to mankind originally. But what could he have done with the whole human family? O, indeed, he might have told them to eat this kind of food, and beware how they would sleep, how to do this, that and the other thing; he might have given very wise suggestions, wiser than any we have from our learned physicians and surgeons; also wise suggestions about government, etc. He might have had power to make certain laws and to enforce those laws, but what of it? At very most, humanity might have been improved but a little bit, but never could have had eternal life, because all were sentenced to death, because "Dying, thou shalt die." And that sentence of death must be removed before mankind could possibly be released from it. Therefore, had Jesus as the man Jesus exerted himself and assumed the power of a king of the earth, he would have failed to accomplish the things that God foretold would be accomplished as the seed of Abraham; he would not have been the seed of Abraham and could not have fulfilled that promise. What then? God directed the matter, and so God set before him the great and glorious prize of the high calling, that he might be not only the king of the earth, but king on a higher plane; not only a priest and king among men, but a glorified priest on the spirit plane, combining the office of king and priest, after the order of Melchisedec, or typed by Melchisedec. So this was the promise set before him that he should not only have the promise of blessing mankind, but eventually he might be associated with the father throughout all eternity, he might be made partaker of the divine nature.
Jesus accepted that proposition, and without knowing at the time all that it would cost, he said, "I delight to do thy will, O my God." I have come to do thy will, all that is written in the book. What book? O, the book of the divine will, the book that is represented in Revelation by the scroll, written on the inside and on the outside, and sealed with the seven seals. He came to do the Father's will. The Father's will was already established before the foundation of the world, and Jesus came to do the Father's will--everything found written in the book, whatever it might be. Then there was another book in which these things were written, the books of the Old Testament, all the various books, Genesis, the Prophets, the Psalms, etc. They were all a part of the great book that God had dictated to the prophets, who wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, and no man knew the meaning of those things; and, as the Apostle Peter tells us [Q183] even the angels desired to look into these things, but knew not the meaning of those prophecies, and our Lord Jesus, when he came in the flesh, knew not the meaning of them. Why? Because as St. Paul explains it, it is impossible for anyone to know, except as they were specially enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and our Lord Jesus, as the perfect man, who had left the heavenly glory and became man, that he might become our redemption price, was not permitted to know those things, because St. Paul says, "The natural man (even though perfect) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned." So our Lord Jesus, when he went forth at thirty years of age and gave himself at Jordan, laying down his life, saying, I delight to do thy will, O God, everything that is written in the book, he was speaking about things which be did not know, because he did not know the meaning of them. He did not know the purpose of the sin-offering, and of the scapegoat, and the meaning of the types of the goat and the lamb, and the eating of it, and the sprinkling of its blood, and the shew-bread and all of those wonderful types. He did not know and could not know, because they were all sealed and in the Father's hands. They were not for him to know until first he would show his absolute confidence in the great Creator, the Heavenly Father, by giving up all that be had to do the Father's will, everything written in the book. You remember he came to John at Jordan and would symbolize his consecration of his all, and was buried symbolically in the water, indicating full submission of his manhood, even unto death, to do the Father's will. Then he was raised symbolically from the water, to indicate the rising to the new nature to which God had declared he should come. Then what? O, you remember, that as he went up out of the water the heavens were opened up, the great illumination of the higher things. The word heavens in both the Greek and Hebrew signifies "higher things." And in this case the higher things would be these spiritual truths, the higher things that he had not seen before, the things that eye and ear have not seen and heard, neither entered into the heart of man, etc. They were the things God had written in the book centuries upon centuries ago, and he agreed to do those things. Now, then, they opened before him. What was the result? A wonderful illumination! In the same order as you have received the illumination, as Paul says, "You endured a great fight of afflictions after ye were illuminated, etc." What kind did you have, and when? I answer, they came as a result of your consecration, however, your and my illumination to our dear Redeemer. Note the Scriptures tell us that God gives his spirit by measure to you and to me when we receive the Holy Spirit by adoption. We have only a certain capacity, and we can receive only according to our capacity, and only as we get free from the spirit of the world can we be filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, ours is an increasing capacity, but in the case of our Redeemer, he was the perfect one and had full capacity, and there was nothing there to hinder him from receiving the spirit without measure. You remember how it follows that Jesus was led of the spirit into the wilderness. What spirit led him? One of the evil spirits? O no! One of the holy spirits? O no! It was his own spirit, his own mind [Q184] that led him into the wilderness. At his consecration he had declared that he would do all that was written in the book, and now that the illumination came upon him and he began to understand those things, everything began to be clear to him-- the killing of the lamb, the sprinkling of the blood, the eating of the lamb, the sin-offering, the blood of the bullock and goat, the scapegoat, etc.--all these things poured in upon him, all things concerning his death and resurrection. The very things he told his disciples about, saying, "O slow of heart to believe all that were written in the law and the prophets!" All began to pour in upon him now, as his mind was illuminated, and he turned aside into the wilderness, there to have opportunity to see the plan of God from Genesis to Malachi. As a child he heard the law read in the synagogue from Sabbath to Sabbath, and with his perfect brain he could remember every word of it, doubtless quote the old Testament from Genesis to Malachi, but to understand it was another matter. Now under the illumination he could understand, and he wanted to get it all straight before he began his work. The Father was showing him what he should do. He was finding out what was in the book--it was a test to him. Would he be loyal, or would he fail? Had God made too narrow a path for him, and too difficult a way, and would he fail to be the redeemer? You remember how much the Master was interested in this matter. For forty days and nights he was in the wilderness, and so intent upon considering those wonderful things brought to his attention by the illumination of the Holy Spirit that he neither ate nor drank, and absolutely never thought of food; because we read, "When the forty days were ended he hungered." We have had the mistaken thought that Satan was with him and tempted him forty days, but no, when the forty days were ended, then came Satan. And when he was at this weakest point, when he saw what his sacrifice meant, what it involved for him, and when he saw the whole course of his experience marked out, then Satan was permitted to come and tempt him when weak from fasting, mentally weak. The loyalty of the Lord's heart was shown-- his reply was, "Get thee behind me, Satan." None of your plans are worthy of comparing with God's plan, yet you tell me that you have a better plan. I tell you, I will have nothing to do with you. I have consecrated my life to the Lord, to do his will and in his service. That is worthy our attention, dear friends. He did not say, Let us talk it over and discuss it a little. No, that would have been dangerous. "Resist the Adversary and he will flee from you." Jesus resisted so thoroughly, that we do not hear that he ever thought it worth while to come back again.
COVENANTS--Abrahamic Re the Mediator.
QUESTION (1910)--1--Can you quote any statement in the Scriptures to the effect that the Abrahamic Covenant did not have a Mediator?
ANSWER.--We answer that there is no direct statement in those words, nor is it necessary. What is not stated is not to be understood. That is a rule of all reason and logic. It is what is stated that is to be taken into consideration. There was no mediator mentioned. It is for those who claim that the Abrahamic Covenant had a Mediator to prove it. [Q185]
The Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Hebrews (6th chapter) tried to show the strength and power of the Abrahamic Covenant; but he does not tell us of or point to any Mediator as having had charge of it. On the other hand, he does point to God's Word and God's oath as the foundation of that Covenant. He says that is was approved to us by two immutable things--that God could neither lie nor break his oath. The Apostle very particularly shows that the Law Covenant was added to the Abrahamic Covenant and that, added 430 years afterward, it had a Mediator.
So St. Paul proceeds to explain that in the case of that original Covenant, because there was but one party, there was no need of a mediator. A mediator stands between two parties to see that each does his part. Moses was the Mediator of the Law Covenant. He stood between God and Israel. (Deut. 5:5.) On the one hand he represented God and on the other, Israel. But as respects the Abrahamic Covenant there was only one party. God is that One. Therefore there was no need of a mediator. Why not? Because God did not make any condition with which the Seed of Abraham would have to comply. He gave his oath to this covenant, instead of a mediator. God said I will do it; therefore there was no place for a mediator. And there was no mediator. The original Covenant did not say how many additional or subordinate covenants would be made.
As to the promised seed of Abraham, God did not explain how he would secure to Abraham such a wonderful seed as would bless all the families of the earth. Abraham did not know how this was to be done. We know how God secures to Abraham this wonderful seed. He set before his Son the promise of a great reward. And he, for the sake of the glory set before him, humbled himself to become a man. When he left the heavenly glory he was merely preparing to fulfill the Covenant. He was not yet the seed of Abraham. Jesus the babe was of Abraham's seed according to the flesh, but not the seed of Abraham mentioned in the covenant. Even when Jesus was thirty years of age he was not the seed of Abraham referred to in that covenant. It was not until he voluntarily offered himself in consecration at Jordan that he became the seed of Abraham. At that very moment the seed of Abraham began to be represented in him--when he received the begetting of the holy Spirit. He reached completion as the Head of that Seed when on the third day he arose from the dead to the spirit condition. In other words, the Seed of Abraham was not yet in existence when God made that promise or covenant to Abraham.
Then Jesus set before his followers that same joy; and when we consecrate similarly we enter into a covenant with God by sacrifice, as "members" of the Anointed One. We thus agree to present our bodies, to lay down our lives. And we have the promise that God will raise us up as the body to the same exalted condition of heavenly glory to which he raised our Redeemer and Master. "If ye be Christ's (if ye comply with the conditions), then are ye Abraham's Seed and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29.) In a certain sense we are already the Seed of Abraham, but not until we share "his (Jesus') resurrection" will we be the Seed in the complete sense. The first work which that Seed will do will be to extend this great promise that God has made [Q186] world-wide. Its utmost breadth will be attained by instituting a new covenant with Israel by which Israel may attain eternal life on the human plane, and all nations through Israel.
A covenant between two parties, both contracting, requires a mediator. As, for instance, in the ordinary affairs of life, the general law of the State steps in and serves as mediator between all contracting parties. And so in contracts between God and men, it is necessary to have a mediator. But suppose you said to me, I intend to give you tomorrow this diamond ring. Should I ask, Where is the mediator? Who will guarantee to me that you will give me the ring? You would probably answer, There is no need of a mediator; it is a voluntary gift. And so in our Covenant of Sacrifice. It is a voluntary act. God has made a certain provision: "Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear." We agree to enter into our sacrifice voluntarily and our Advocate agrees to help us. If we do these things that we have agreed to do, we get the reward--glory, honor and immortality.
In the Abrahamic Covenant God's oath, attesting his Word, served to ratify the Covenant, to make it binding, to hold it sure. It thus took the place which might have been occupied by a mediator, had there been conditions mutually binding upon the Almighty and upon some of his people. There was no mediator, because, as already stated, the promise was an unconditional one: God proffered to do certain things--to provide through Abraham's posterity a seed capable of blessing the world. Hence no mediator was necessary.
But notice that St. Paul, in speaking of this Abrahamic Covenant (Heb. 6:17), declares that God "confirmed it by an oath." The word here rendered confirmed is defined by Strong's lexicon, to interpose (as, arbiter). Young defines the Greek word mesiteuo, rendered confirmed in our text, "to be or act as a mediator."
COVENANTS--When Will the New Go Into Effect?
QUESTION (1911)--1--When will the New Covenant go into effect, and when will it end?
ANSWER.--It will go into effect just as soon as the mediator is completed--Jesus the head, and the church the body--as soon as the first resurrection will have been accomplished; and we know not how many days or weeks might intervene before the thing will be finally ushered in, but practically what it is waiting for is the completion of the body, the mediator, the completion of the sacrifices, and then his taking his great power and sealing that covenant with his blood, and beginning to put it into effect. We would say it would be very shortly after the last member of the church shall have finished his share in the sacrificing, and is glorified with his Redeemer.
And when will it end? The new covenant will end in one sense of the word, with the close of the Millennial Age, when the mediator, having accomplished the work--having brought the people all up to perfection, all that are willing, and having destroyed the unwilling, the world then brought up to perfection will be turned over to the Father, and the [Q187] mediator will step from between. The Father has agreed to accept them under this new covenant arrangement, he does accept them, and that is the end of the new covenant--so far as this new covenant arrangement is concerned. But, in another sense of the word, there is another covenant that will continue after that throughout eternity. God's covenant with all mankind and with the angels is that if they will be obedient to him they will enjoy everlasting life and have all the blessings he has provided. So, just as soon as Jesus turns over the world to the Father, it is because this special covenant of mercy is ended, and it ends because it will have accomplished its work. Then he steps from between and the new covenant is at an end, having done its work; and the world is back in the hands of the Father as it was before sin entered the world. The Father treats the world just the same as he treated Adam. As he put Adam on trial, and that meant that Adam was in covenant relationship with God, so he will put the world on trial, and that will mean that the world is in covenant relationship with God; they will be on trial to see whether they will stand and personally be responsible to the conditions of obedience; if they will not, they will die the second death. It is pictured in Revelation, 20, you remember, Satan will be loosed, and the trial will affect the whole world of mankind, and as many as are disobedient will be counted to have the spirit of the adversary, and will be destroyed with him. All those who will have the spirit of obedience, and will maintain their covenant relationship with God, will enjoy everlasting life and all the blessings that God has for those who are in full harmony with himself.
COVENANTS--The New Conditional or Unconditional?
QUESTION (1911)--1--Is the New Covenant a conditional or an unconditional one?
ANSWER.--The covenant is a conditional one. That is shown by the fact that it has a mediator. If it were an unconditional covenant, it would not need a mediator. As, for instance, the Abrahamic covenant is unconditional and has no mediator, as the Apostle points out. It is all a one-sided covenant; or, as the lawyers say, a unilateral covenant. It is one-sided, or unilateral, in the sense that it is simply what God himself will do, without having any other condition or making any requirement. The new covenant, however, will be conditional, there will be two parts. God says, "After those days I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah," and the mediator comes in. That mediator, God is getting ready now. Christ is the mediator of the new covenant--Jesus, the head of the Christ, and the church, the body of Christ, will be the great mediator, and stand between God and Israel, and all who get blessings through Israel.
COVENANTS--Time of Mediation the New Covenant.
QUESTION (1908)--2--How long a time will the mediation of the New Covenant Godward require, and how long man-ward? Please, Brother Russell, do not refer me to Dawns.
ANSWER.--I will say, dear friends, the mediation of the New Covenant Godward requires all of this Gospel age. Our Lord Jesus began that work in His ministry; that was all included in what He did; when He consecrated himself it [Q188] was to die, and the object of that death was that it might be the sealing the New Covenant between God and Israel and mankind. The mediation of the New Covenant Godward, that is to say, making matters satisfactory to God in relation to the New Covenant, has taken all of this Gospel age. First of all, Jesus gave His own life, and then when He was leaving the world, and just finishing the matter, He represented His blood and His own sacrifice by the memorial cup, and said to his disciples, "Drink ye all of it. This is the blood of the New Covenant, shed for many for the remission of sins." That is an invitation for you and me, and all who are His disciples, to be sharers in the sufferings of Christ, and that is the same thought you remember given to the two disciples when they asked, "Lord, grant that we might sit, one on thy right hand and the other on thy left in the kingdom." Jesus said unto them, "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?" Are you willing? There was the condition; if they would drink of the cup they might sit on the throne; if they would not drink of the cup they could not sit on the throne. Now this is a matter that is going on now; if you and I become sharers with Christ in the sacrificing class, He accepts us, justifies us, gives us all the merit we have, we make a full consecration to Him, and do all in our power in line with that consecration. He says he will carry the matter through, and we shall be members of that glorious body, and our sacrifices now He will count as His own, and it will be part of His sacrifice; and so we read that we fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. This has been going on now for over eighteen hundred years, and they are not all filled up yet; and not until these afflictions of Christ, not until that sacrifice, is complete, will that blood of the New Covenant then be ready to apply at the end of this age to the sealing the New Covenant, to make it operative. How will it seal it? It will seal it God-ward. All that has gone on so far has been merely the preparation for the sealing of it; then as soon as the last member of the Church has finished his course and the sacrificing is all over, then it will be applied. Who will apply it? You? No. Me? No. Who? Why, Jesus will apply it. Will it be His own blood? Yes. How so? Because you are members of that body. Is it not His own then? "Without me ye can do nothing." Suppose my hand were to talk about what it could do. I would say, Hand, you have nothing to do with this at all; it is the head that does everything.
He has given us permission, or privileges, to come in and be members of that body, but He is always the head over that body which is the Church. Now when at the end of this age He shall apply His blood on behalf of mankind, and thus settle the demands of justice against the world of mankind, it will be his own blood, because He has adopted you and me as His members, therefore whatever sacrificing you do is part of His, and whatever sacrificing I do it is His, because His spirit dwelleth in us. So it is all part of His sacrifice. As soon as the body of Christ is complete, and the sacrificing is complete then the blood of the New Covenant is applied, and as soon as it is applied, presented to God in the Most Holy at the end of this age, immediately, according to the type, the forgiveness of the world's sins is accomplished,--all the Adamic sins are cancelled, and immediately [Q189] Christ takes possession of the world as the great King of Glory that He may bless the world. Now they are to be on trial; they could not be on trial until their sins were set aside, but just as soon as their sins are set aside, immediately they are on trial. So do you not see what proof we have that the New Covenant has not gone into effect yet. That is for the world, and it says so. "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 I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days (What days? The Gospel 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." (Heb. 8:8-12.)
Thank God for the glorious Covenant for Israel, and through Israel for the whole world. Now, then, we have the two parts. It will take all the Millennial age to carry that out. It took the 1800 years of the Gospel age to accomplish the sufferings of the Christ, and the sprinkling of the Covenant to make it operative, and to seal the Covenant with the blood. Then the other side, manward, will take all of the thousand years to sprinkle the people with the truth, and to bless them, so that this New Covenant takes for its preparation for ratifying, the 1800 years of the Gospel age, and the carrying out of that work requires all of the thousand years. It is in the Dawns.
COVENANTS--Time of Mediating the New.
QUESTION (1911)--1--How long is the New Covenant to be mediated manward, and how long Godward?
ANSWER.--A covenant between God and men would of necessity need to be mediated Godward first, because until God's justice is satisfied, nothing could be done for mankind. So this new covenant is not yet mediated Godward at all. The great High Priest is preparing to mediate this new covenant. What is he doing? Well, he has been getting himself ready. He must be an anointed priest. The head was anointed 1,800 years ago, the body is still in process of anointing, and not quite complete; the last members of the church must be included in that anointing before the great High Priest will be ready to do his work.
Secondly, this great High Priest also offers sacrifices. He began with the offering of himself. He has been continuing his sacrificing work all down through the 1800 years of this age, and has not yet finished his work of offering the anti- typical sacrifices and not until then will he be ready to offer the blood, and the blood it is that makes atonement for the soul. Now the blood of Christ is used here symbolically. We do not think for a moment that the Lord Jesus is going to take some literal blood into the presence of the Father. He will take that which blood represents. Blood symbolizes the value of a life that was laid down, the just for the unjust, and he [Q190] will make application of that sacrifice to the Father to justice. And this is the picture you remember in the day of atonement sacrifices when he sprinkled the mercy seat with the blood, that constitutes the satisfaction of justice. That is making the atonement Godward, and just as soon as that application of the blood at the mercy seat shall have been accomplished, God will be satisfied, justice will be satisfied. That will constitute the sealing, the completion of the new covenant, to the extent that the great Mediator of that new covenant will then be fully authorized and empowered to proceed with the new covenant and bring all its blessing to the people. Then for a thousand years this great Mediator of the new covenant will be sprinkling the blood on the people, cleansing the people, purifying the people by the merit of his own sacrifice. He will be giving to them the things they need, and helping them up out of their defilement and imperfection, and thus the work toward God will be accomplished in a very short time indeed, and the work toward mankind will require all the thousand years to fully complete it.
COVENANTS--Number Sealing It.
QUESTION (1911)--1--Respecting the New Covenant, could it be said from any point of view that it will be sealed by one hundred and forty-four thousand and one? That is to say, Christ Jesus and the 144,000 redeemed from amongst men.
ANSWER.--I would not think that a proper view. I do not understand that you and I and others of the members of the body of Christ have anything whatever to do with the sealing of this new covenant; it is Christ who seals it. To illustrate: if it were a document that were about to be signed, and I signed it, you would not say, "Well the thumb signed it, and the first finger signed it," and leave out the left hand that did not sign it. No, I signed a covenant; I signed an agreement. Who signed it? Not my fingers, but it is my head that signed it. It is the "I" that signed it; and when you think of the "I", you think of the individual. You think of the head. You do not address my hand as though it had anything to do with the matter. You do not say, "Dear hand, I appreciate you very much, you did thus and so. The hand has no responsibility; the head has the whole responsibility. In the body of Christ we lose our personality in the matter; we merge ourselves and lose our identity. In the language of the Scriptures we are beheaded, that we may all be members under one head. So you have no head of your own, and I have no head of my own, and this is the sense in which the Scriptures use a woman to represent the church, and the man to represent Christ Jesus; and the Scriptures show that as the husband is the head of the wife, even so Christ is the head of the church. Now then, it is the one personality that is here reckoned with. It is our Lord who seals the new covenant. He might have sealed it without us, but we are privileged to come in and be members of him, and he has the same individuality, and the same head all the time, and the same responsibility toward that covenant. That is to say, all the merit which is necessary, and which goes to make good that new covenant, came from our dear Redeemer's death, and not from anything that we added to it.