"For this cause he [Christ] is the Mediator of the New Testament [Covenant], that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first Testament [Covenant], they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." (Hebrews 9:15)
The Apostle, we must remember, was addressing Christian Hebrews who were in perplexity in respect to the Law Covenant. That Covenant had existed for more than sixteen centuries, and the Jews had supposed all along that under it they were to be God's favored people and accomplish all the work that was first brought to light in the Covenant made with Abraham. Many of the Hebrews, therefore, after coming into Christ, accepting Him as the Redeemer, felt that somehow they must still maintain their relationship to the Law Covenant, its ordinances, etc. The Apostle, in his Epistle to the Galatians, attempted to counteract this erroneous theory, which he calls a Judaizing influence. He told them that if any of those who were Gentiles by birth should in their mistaken zeal and earnestness become Jews by being circumcised, thus coming under the domination of the Law Covenant, they would thereby be indicating that they had forfeited their standing in Christ; and, as he pronounced it, Christ would profit them nothing. (Gal. 5:2)
In his Epistle to the Hebrews St. Paul wished the Christian Hebrew brethren to take the larger, broader, truer thought respecting the Law Covenant and everything pertaining to it — its sacrifices, its mediator, its Law. He wished them to recognize it as merely a typical Covenant; that it prefigured a New Covenant; that its mediator typified a better Mediator, The Christ; that its bulls and goats of sin-offering typified the better sacrifices by which the New Covenant would become operative, the better sacrifices being those of the better Mediator — Jesus the Head and the Church His Body.
St. Paul had already pointed out that the privileges of this Gospel Age, so far as the Church is concerned, are chiefly those of sacrifice — that "if we suffer with Christ, we shall reign with him; if we be dead with him, we shall live with him"; that we must seek to copy Him in self-denial and share His Kingly honor, His service as the great Prophet, Priest, and King of the Millennial Age, to bless Israel and all the families of the earth.
In his endeavor to make this matter plain (Heb. 9:13,14), St. Paul points out that before the Law Covenant went into effect, it was necessary that blood should be shed; saying, "For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Here is a contrast between the institution of the Law Dispensation, the Law Covenant, and the institution of the New Covenant. And the first effect of this better blood which is to seal the New Covenant is to cleanse our consciences from dead works. The Apostle does not here refer to it as having been for all Israel, but for those Jews who had become Christians but had been bound by the Law previously, that they might see that now the true sacrifice had come; that this was sufficient to satisfy all the claims of Justice and put away from their minds all consciousness of sin, to assure them that all of their sins were thus covered and that they might now render acceptable service to the living God. "And for this same cause [that is, because His blood was sufficient to cancel all sin] He is the Mediator of the New Testament." He has not only purged us from a consciousness of sin, that we may serve God and become members of the Body of Christ and accept Him as our Advocate and trust in His finished work on our behalf, but He has by the same sacrifice made such an arrangement with God and with Justice as will constitute Him the Mediator of the New Covenant for all Israel. The Apostle is not here saying that the New Covenant is operative now, nor that we are under this Covenant; quite to the contrary. He is speaking of the Jewish nation, as we shall see.
The remainder of the fifteenth verse (Heb. 9) declares, "By means of death for the redemption of transgressions that were under the first Testament [or Law Covenant], they which are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance." We are not, therefore, to consider the ones here "called" as referring to those who receive the high Calling — joint-heirship with Christ, the Spiritual Seed of Abraham — but we are to understand the Apostle here to mean the Jewish nation that was called — all of this Jewish nation who would come into accord with the Divine arrangement. The same Apostle (Rom. 11:29) says, "For the gifts and the calling of God are not to be repented of." That is to say, God having called the Jewish nation to be His peculiar people, having made them definite promises respecting the blessing of all nations, has no thought or intention of abrogating those promises. Every Covenant, every promise that God has ever made and everything that He has ever done, He has foreknown its full import and its results, and He has done nothing hastily. Israel, therefore, is the nation which He has foreknown to be the one He will use in connection with His work of blessing all of the families of the earth; as the Apostle says (Rom. 11:27), "For this is my Covenant with them, when I shall take away their sins.”
THE BLINDNESS UPON THE JEWISH NATION IS A MYSTERY
In the 25th verse of the same chapter he informs us that the blindness upon the Jewish nation, until the fullness of the Gospel Church has come in, is a Mystery. God is now gathering out only a special few of the Jews and a special few from all nations to constitute the Spiritual Israel, to whom appertain the highest feature of this Abrahamic Covenant or promise; and then, as soon as this Spiritual Israel, which will constitute the Prophet, Priest and King, is complete, the Deliverer — taken from Jew and Gentile — shall come forth. That will be the fulfillment of the promise that "the Deliverer shall come forth out of Zion and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob," for this is God's Covenant with them, with the seed of Jacob; as we read (Jer. 31:31), "After those days, saith the Lord, I will make a New Covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah." This thought is confirmed when we consider the fact that the Gospel Church were not all under the first Testament or first Covenant, but only the Jewish nation.
The trend of the Apostle's argument, therefore, is that Christ, the Mediator of the New Testament, becomes such by means of death for the redemption of the transgressions under the first Testament, or Law Covenant. In other words, the Jewish nation needed to be redeemed in a special manner before God could use it as His channel for blessing the other nations.
Since the Mediatorial work or the Millennial Kingdom is to be accomplished through natural Israel, and since all the families of the earth are to be blessed through them, it follows that nothing can be done until Israel shall have been recovered from their present outcast condition. Then the blessing of the Lord will go forth and the Mediatorial work will be accomplished through natural Israel. We are to distinguish between the work to be done through this nation and the One who will do that work. It will be the Mediator of the New Covenant who will have the power to confer the blessings — the Great High Priest, the Great Prophet, the Great King, the Great Mediator. There could be no blessing outside of this Great One; and this Great One, as the Apostle Paul and all the other Apostles clearly show, is composed of Jesus the Head and the Church His Body.
THE NEW COVENANT TO BE MADE WITH THE JEWS
No doubt many Jews are now faithless and unbelieving because of the long period of blindness upon them, and perhaps in their hearts are hungering after the promises. When the light of the New Dispensation shall begin to dawn upon the world; when they shall begin to see the resurrected Ancient Worthies as recipients of Divine favor; when they shall see their brethren beginning to be blessed under the ministration of this new Kingdom, then many of the Jews who are now blinded and unbelieving will manifest true faith and be obedient and turn unto the Lord. But we are not to understand that any one will become an Israelite unless he has the faith of Abraham, sincere faith, trust in God, faith that will be manifested by obedience.
Then as the people of the various nations shall gather themselves to the Lord and seek to come into harmony with Him, the way of approach will be by coming into accord with the Holy Nation — God's representative Kingdom in the world — and thus they will come into harmony with the Spiritual Christ, the Great Prophet, Priest and King. Eventually, by the close of the Millennial Age, those who prove faithful will be turned over to God, even the Father. Such will then be fully in accord with Jehovah and fully in Covenant relationship with Him.
The New Covenant is not to be made with any others than the Jews, for no others were in Covenant relationship with God. The words "New Covenant" seem, therefore, to indicate the repetition of God's favor to Israel under the better Mediator, who will bring the glorious blessings that they had expected under Moses, but failed to obtain because of the inability of Moses to make satisfaction for their sins; for the blood of bulls and goats could never actually take away their sins. The antitypes of these, the sacrifice of the Lord and the members of His Body, must first be accomplished before this New Covenant with Israel could supersede the old or Law Covenant, which it then will do.
Hebrews 9:16 reads: "For where a Testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator." In the case of Moses the death of the Testator was represented by the slaying of the bullock and the goat. In the case of the Antitypical Moses, the death of the Testator is shown in the sacrifice of our Lord and the Church His Body. The ability of Christ to give a Testament or Covenant, or to make a Covenant, should also be seen. As the man Jesus He could not make this Covenant. Why? Because as a man — not Spirit-begotten — he could merely have given His human life for mankind and then would have had nothing left for Himself; or if He had retained His earthly life He could have established only an earthly Kingdom and never could have given eternal life to any one subsequently. He might have blessed them with wise laws and regulations and improved conditions over the present time, but never could have given them life, and the perfections and blessings that He will be able to give under the New Covenant.
HOW THE LORD BECAME A TESTATOR
In order to be a Testator and give eternal life to the world, it was necessary that our Lord should carefully follow the Plan that God had arranged: First, by His own obedience He should demonstrate His loyalty to God and receive life on the Divine plane as His reward; second, that then, by taking up His human life which He did not forfeit in anywise, He should have that human life and its rights to give to Israel and through them to all mankind. He is thus a Testator. He is thus one who bequeaths something to others. He bequeaths it not while He is alive, as a gift, but He gives it as a Testator, as that with which He parts in death. So our Lord Jesus, as the Great Mediator of the New Covenant, will give to mankind the human rights and privileges to which He had a right by virtue of His perfect obedience to the Divine Law. He invites us, not to share those rights with the world, not to come under His Mediatorial reign and be sharers in restitution privileges, but, according to the will of God, to do something else, viz., to join with Him in becoming Testator, to lay down our lives and thus be sharers with Him in the spirit of His great work, that we may also share with Him in the actual features of that work during the Millennium.
The very first difficulty encountered is that we, unlike Him, have not perfect bodies that we could give as perfect sacrifices; hence God's arrangement for those who have this sacrificing attitude of mind is that they may be dealt with by the Lord Jesus and that He may, as their Advocate, impute to them His merit, His restitution rights, to make up for, to offset, their blemishes and imperfections, that they may offer unto God a sacrifice that would be pleasing. We see that He does not give to these who are now called, either the Mediatorial blessing of the Millennial Age or the restitution conditions which that Mediatorial reign will confer. He gives to them that which will serve His purpose for them much better; viz., an imputation of His merit for past sins, to allow their sacrifice to pass the Divine propitiatory satisfactorily. Even then their sacrifice would prove imperfect and unsatisfactory because of inability to carry it out to a completion, did He not continue to be their Advocate. With every blemish and imperfection that is unwillingly theirs they can go to Him as their Advocate and obtain mercy and have the cleansing from all sin through the merit of His sacrifice.
THE JEWS "WILL OBTAIN MERCY THROUGH YOUR MERCY"
Thus we see the great Testament which is in Christ's blood and to which He refers, saying, "This is my blood of the New Testament." Instead of applying that blood of the New Testament to the world or to Israel, He applied it first for the Church. It must all pass through the Church, so to speak. "Drink ye all of it"; be ye all sharers in my cup, for unless ye are sharers in My cup ye cannot be sharers in My life. It is His cup; and He gives us a share of it. We are not worthy to have any direct dealings with the Father, but the Father, nevertheless, had us in mind from "before the foundation of the world," as the Apostle says (Eph. 1:4). Hence we are not to understand the Mystery — the selection of the Church, the Body of Christ — as being an amplification of the original Divine Plan, but merely the carrying out of a part of that Plan not previously disclosed or revealed.
So, then, it requires all of the Gospel Age for the Church of Christ to drink of His "cup" and be "baptized into His death." When the last member shall have drunk of this cup and shall have been baptized into His death, and shall have finished his course, then all the sufferings of the Priest, Head and Body, will have been accomplished — the sufferings to which the Lord refers through the prophets as "the sufferings of Christ and the glory that shall follow." The sufferings began with the Head and have continued all the way down to all the members of the Body; and as soon as these sufferings shall have been finished The Christ will be crowned with glory, honor and immortality beyond the vail.
When we drink of this cup of the New Testament — His blood or sacrificed life — we have communion (participation) in the death of Christ (1 Cor. 10:16,17). We are also to be participants in His special life on the Divine plane (1 John 3:2), and thus sharers with Him in this work of making the Testament, or Covenant, which will go to Israel and through Israel to the world. This is further admitted by the Apostle in Romans 11:25-28. Speaking of the time when Israel shall be recovered from their sins, when the Deliverer, The Christ, Head and Body, "shall come forth out of Zion and turn away ungodliness from Jacob," when God will make His Covenant with them and take away their sins, the Apostle adds, "They shall obtain mercy through your mercy." (Rom. 11:31)
This will be the mercy of God operating through Jesus and the mercy of Jesus operating through the Church. So it will be God's mercy in one sense; it will be Jesus' mercy in another sense; and it will be the Church's mercy in a third sense. This mercy will go to the Jews. What mercy is this? It is this New Testament. How? Through the death of the Testator, Christ the Head, and the Church the Body. And what will Israel get by this Testament or Will? The earthly life and earthly rights which The Christ laid down in sacrifice; all will go to Israel. All those rights to life eternal, and all those things lost in Adam and redeemed by Christ, will go to Israel alone — in fact, to none of them but Israelites, indeed. So during the Millennial Age it will be necessary for all mankind to come to these people of God to get eternal life and to share in this Testament or Will of Christ — in order to become Israelites indeed, that they may thus be heirs of this Will, which gives eternal human life and all the earthly rights which Jesus had and sacrificed, and which He imputed to us, and allowed us to join in sacrificing together with Him.
(By Pastor Russell, Reprint 4623-4625, June 1, 1910)
It should be noted that the above was written by Pastor Russell in 1910 before the High Calling was closed. He stated in Reprint 5632, Col. 2 that the Kingdom was set up September 21, 1914. The forty-year Harvest was closed at that time, because it had accomplished its design, the selection of all the Wheat class. The year 1914 is particularly marked in the Scriptures as the end of the Gentile Times. The stone was cut out of the mountain by that time which meant that all the Saints were sealed in the heart but not in the forehead. By 1916 they were all sealed in the forehead, i.e., they had come to an intellectual understanding of the Truth.
It should also be noticed that Pastor Russell states in the above that all the Saints must be sharers in His "cup" and "baptized into His death." So they all must suffer unto death with the same suffering that He suffered. Whomsoever has not experienced that suffering since the end of the Harvest cannot be of the Saint class.
CHRISTIANS AND ISRAEL
“Christians and Israel” is the caption of a significant article appearing on page one of Outpost, publication of “Americans for a Safe Israel,” December 2001 issue.
Written by Herbert Zweibon, this writer finds it historically important to review. Mr. Zweibon is co-editor of Outpost, with Rael Jean Isaac and Ruth King.
“Christians and Israel: An attitude of indifference toward Israel may have settled upon a segment of American Jewry - witness the significant decrease in recent months in the number of American Jews visiting Israel or choosing to study there - but the level of pro-Israel sentiment among Bible-believing Christians has remained as high as ever. This is not merely ironic; it contains an important lesson about possible future sources of influence on American-Israeli relations.
“In a recent column in The Jerusalem Post, Jonathan Rosenblum pointed out that ‘many of Israel’s staunchest supporters in Congress have traditionally come from states with small Jewish populations, e.g. Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, Senator Tim Hutchinson of Arkansas, Attorney General John Ashcroft, formerly a senator from Missouri, and house Majority Whip Tom DeLay.’ Nor did they have close ties to mainstream Jewish groups, which are diametrically opposed to them on domestic issues. Rosenblum continues: ‘These men support Israel not because of the mainstream Jewish community, but despite it. Their views are shaped by their own consciences and reflect the consensus of their overwhelmingly Christian constituents. Devout Christians constitute the bedrock of American support for Israel. Such Christians number in the tens of millions. Unlike American Jews, they are not embarrassed by criticisms of Israel in certain left-wing circles, and do not cancel tours to Israel after each terrorist incident… Christian supporters of Israel open up their Bibles and read that Israel is the Promised Land, promised to the Jews.’
“We at Americans For a Safe Israel have long recognized the political significance of the fact that tens of millions of conservative Christians feel deeply, even passionately, about the importance of preserving the integrity of the Land of Israel and protecting the Jewish state against its enemies. They are outraged by American pressure on Israel to withdraw from its Biblical heartland, Judea and Samaria. They understand that the Oslo accords have been a disaster for Israel. They know Arafat is an unrepentant terrorist, that there is no real difference between Arafat, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and these Christians have demonstrated their sentiment, over the years, by repeatedly undertaking joint political action projects with AFSI.
“In November, the Christian Coalition and other Christian Zionist groups took part in AFSI’s ‘Don’t Sell Out Israel’ rally outside the State Department, followed by meetings with dozens of members of Congress. At these meetings we made it clear that the Christian conservatives represent tens of million of voters, and an abandonment of Israel could have real electoral impact - because the issue of Israel is important to them in a deep and personal way.
“On page 3 of this Outpost, we have reprinted the text of a Christian Coalition appeal to its members, urging them to flood the White House with calls and letters opposing the establishment of a Palestinian state. How many Jewish organizations are doing anything comparable?” (By David Horowitz, The Jewish Press, January 11, 2002)
“ISRAEL REELS IN DEADLY DANCE: Escalating violence, old enmities bode all-out war. JERUSALEM - Gloom hangs like a cloud over this corner of the Middle East after a week of unrelenting violence. Just when it seemed as if the Palestinian-Israeli conflict couldn’t get worse come dire warnings of greater atrocities ahead.
“More terrorist attacks. More military operations. With rhetoric escalating, attacks surging and no prospects for negotiations, the parties stand ‘on the brink of the brink,’ said one dejected diplomat. The prelude, said a recent Israeli newspaper headline, to ‘a future all-out war.’
"The new year brought a three-week lull in the violence. Then, in the course of a week, it all unraveled. End the violence, say the Israelis. End the occupation, say the Palestinians. And every day, each side, deaf to the other’s cries, buries its dead.
“’You have the Israelis saying, ‘No negotiation under fire.’ And the Palestinians saying, ‘Negotiations only under fire,’ because otherwise Israel doesn’t listen,’ Ascherman, a Pennsylvania native who lives in Israel and directs Rabbis for Human Rights, said.
“Another obstacle to peace, many analysts say, is the personal enmity between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, sworn enemies whose feuding goes back more than 20 years.
“Adding to the current stand-off are Arafat’s mistakes. After a series of Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians last month, he capitulated to international pressure by declaring a cease-fire and arresting some militants. Then his credibility plummeted January 4 after Israeli commandos captured a ship under Palestinian command, smuggling 50 tons of weapons to the Gaza Strip. Israel maintains Arafat was personally involved.
"If peace talks are to resume, it may be in spite of these intractable adversaries, not because of them. ‘These leaderships are blindly and imperiously leading the two peoples to disaster,’ Haaretz, the Israeli daily, wrote last week. ‘Yasser Arafat issues empty slogans. Ariel Sharon [talks] about readiness for painful concessions without presenting any plan.’
“So Palestinian militants pledge more attacks until the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, which began 35 years ago, is no more. Israel pledges to defend itself without compromise. And the gloom intensifies.
(Excerpts, By Michael Matza, Philadelphia Inquirer, January 27, 2002)
“Be of good courage, and he will strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” (Psalms 31:24)
That Servant wrote this Scripture and comments from the Daily Heavenly Manna for January 22 especially for the saints of the 40-year Gospel Age Harvest. That Servant was given the text Psalm 50:5, “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” In the First Advent Jesus appointed the 12 Apostles and in the Second Advent appointed Brother Russell as That Servant of Matthew 24:45-47. The Apostles wrote from Divine inspiration, as did some of the Old Testament prophets. The Apostle Paul, who learned more of the Plan of God than anyone else, said it was unlawful for him to tell it to anyone, including the other Apostles. The Apostles asked Jesus how long it would be until the Kingdom, and He said: “It is not for you to know the times or the season, which the Father hath put in his own power.” (Acts 1:7)
In the Second Advent more light was due and That Servant was given sufficient light to know that the Jewish Age is typical of the Christian Age. This caused him to study the 16th chapter of Leviticus, a type of the Atonement Day sacrifices. It also gave him a clear understanding of the doctrine of Restitution, which had been lost for years. It caused him to write Tabernacle Shadows, which some have characterized as the biggest “little book” that was ever written. No one with a clear understanding of that book will ever be confused on the Plan of the Ages.
This 16th chapter of Leviticus caused Brother Russell much difficulty. He spent three days in intense prayer and study; at the end of which he had a clear understanding of The Plan of the Ages. He gave us Tabernacle Shadows, the six volumes of Studies in the Scriptures, the different books he wrote, and the Watch Towers, the Reprints of which are seldom quoted, copied or read. However, if we read 1 Cor. 10:11, Dia.: “But these things occurred to them typically, and were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the Ages have come,” we will understand that the Jewish Age is typical of the Christian Age.
When the Apostles teachings were given to them by inspiration of God, none of them understood what was given to them. The Apostle Paul knew more than any one at that time, including the other Apostles, but it was unlawful for him to tell, as it was not due until the Second Advent. He gave us the Scripture 2 Tim. 2:20, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth,” which gives us the four elect classes.
The light had come for That Servant to interpret the Scriptures. It was his task and no one else’s. So he “searched” the Scriptures. He made mistakes, but he corrected them later. One big mistake was his belief that all the trouble would be over by 1914 and the Kingdom blessings taking place. He correctly taught that the World War should begin in 1914, and the beginning of the Kingdom (Acts 17:31) would be set up. The Kingdom was Set Up to reign with Christ in September 21,1914, i.e. all the saints were sealed in the heart by that time. All saints were not in the 40-year Harvest, but the last members were to be gathered in that Harvest. The Harvest wasn’t to “make” saints, but to gather those already made. Of course they had to be sealed in the forehead (learn the Truth before they could reign with Christ).