The various covenants discussed in the Bible have been very well defined by the Harvest Messenger - That Servant; and a clear understanding of the covenants may be compared to a clear understanding of the Tabernacle. If the covenants are clearly understood, the possessor of that knowledge is not likely to go very far astray from the Truth. In fact, the Tabernacle is the central feature of the Law Covenant, which latter is typical of the New Covenant. Every antitype is greater than its type; thus, we should expect the New Covenant to overshadow the Law Covenant as the sun outshines the moon. Much of what follows is taken directly from past writings; but, not being word for word, we have omitted the quotation marks in much of it.
The Old Covenant was unsatisfactory in its results; but the New Covenant will bless all the willing and obedient with eternal life. There were two Old Covenants - the Grace, or Sarah Covenant, and the Law Covenant. Which did the Apostle mean has become old, valueless, and would pass away and give place to the New Covenant? Surely there can be no doubt on this point - he meant the Law Covenant, for he says so. He did not mean the Grace or Sarah Covenant, for he points out that our claim to relationship with God is under that original Covenant. (Gal. 3:29) Our Lord Jesus, by His obedience, became heir of all, heir of the original Covenant and heir also of the Law Covenant.
Of the people there was none with Him, neither Jews nor Gentiles. But by the Grace of God there was provision made, as we have seen, that any Jew, seeing that the Law Covenant was dead, nailed to the cross, might become betrothed to Christ. They did not need to wait for the New Covenant, the provisions of which apply only to those on the earthly plane. Instead, by a faith justification and a consecration unto death, they were counted worthy of begetting to the new nature - betrothed to Christ. And similarly, Gentiles favored of God by the hearing ear and seeing eye of faith, were subsequently privileged to go through the same process, except that they did not need to reckon themselves dead to the Law Covenant, because they never were under it. Otherwise, recognizing Christ’s death as the blood of the original Covenant, typified by Abraham’s offering up his son, these also were reckoned justified and, presenting their justified bodies to the Lord as sacrifices, they were begotten of the same Holy Spirit as the Jews, to be follow-members of the same Body - the Body of Christ.
We come now to the other part of the question: What provision has God made for those Jews who bound themselves under the Law Covenant, from Moses’ day down to the First Advent: and for those who since then have not discerned the death of the Law Covenant, and who will not be made aware of it until after the spiritual seed shall have been completed and glorified? If they have not lost all share and privileges in connection with God’s special mercies, where do they come in? We answer that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and others before the Law Covenant were not bound by it, yet they were not in the fullest sense justified to life until the Abrahamic Covenant had been established at Calvary. Their faith, then, entitles them to a share in the merits of that sacrifice. Likewise throughout the period of the Law Covenant, before it was annulled at the cross, there were Ancient Worthies (Hebrews, Chapter 11) who lived by faith, living above the masses of their time, and who, although bound by the Law, had above it a living faith in the original Oath-Bound Grace Covenant. These in the Divine records were entitled to their share of that Grace when the merit of Calvary’s sacrifice had been presented on behalf of believers, when Jesus “ascended up on high, there to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” Although they lived while the Law Covenant was alive, they foresaw its death and trusted not in it, but in the superior Covenant of Grace. They realized that no matter how much they tried, they could not keep the Law Covenant, because of inherited human frailty. Hence these in due time will come forth to a life resurrection - not because of their relationship to the New Covenant, of which they knew nothing, but because of their relationship to and faith in the original (Sarah) Covenant of Grace. Thus the Scriptures account for the faithful ones of the past under the Covenant of Grace. (See Hebrews, Chapter 11) But what now shall we say respecting those earthly Israelites, who lived not on that higher plane of faith, but of whom the Apostle says, “Our twelve tribes instantly serving God day and night hope to come unto this promise.” (Acts 26:7) Were they all deceived? Will they get those special blessings?
God’s Gifts and Callings Sure - Romans 11:29,32: Nay, we answer, “the gifts and callings of God” are things not to be repented of. He knew the end from the beginning - knew exactly what Israel would be and do, and was not disappointed; and all of the plans and promises to that nation were made from the standpoint of this knowledge. Although the chief feature of the Sarah Covenant was secured by our Lord Jesus as a trophy of His victory over sin and death, and although He laid down His human nature completely to this end, nevertheless, the Divine arrangement is such that the blood of Christ, the merit of His sacrifice of all earthly things, must accrue to the benefit of the natural seed of Abraham, because it all goes to seal the New Covenant, which belongs exclusively to fleshly Israel.
Thus, while natural Israel had been counted enemies for our sakes, for the Gospel’s sake, our only opportunity for gaining the great prize is in connection with the sealing of a New Covenant between God and Israel. (Jer. 31:31-33) How beautifully the features of the Divine program balance! Their loss was our gain, and our gain through sacrifice becomes their gain; and, altogether, the Lord will be glorified! As already shown, the New Covenant will not be sealed, ratified, until the sacrifice of The Christ shall have been finished. And the finishing of these sacrifices closes the work of this great Day of Sacrifice and Atonement. With the second presentation of the blood of Atonement in the Most Holy, at the end of this Age, the New Covenant with Israel will be sealed and the blessing of the Lord will begin to Israel. “For this is my Covenant with them, when I shall take away their sins.” (Rom. 11:27)
ABRAHAM’S TWO SEEDS
Not only did the original promise indicate two seeds of Abraham - one as the stars of heaven, and the other as the sands of the sea - but St, Paul elaborated this thought, saying of the promise, “It is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all [including you who are Romans]; as it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations.” (Rom. 4:16) “Salvation is of the Jews.” (John 4:22)
We have seen how Abraham, as a type of God, is the father of the spiritual seed and how through Christ by provision of the New Covenant, the Jewish nation, dead under the Law Covenant, is to be regenerated by The Christ, the Mediator of the New Covenant; and that this regeneration will commence at the close of this Gospel Age and the opening of the Millennial Age.
But these are only two - “the [Church] holy nation,” and the (Jewish) chosen nation. How do all nations come in? It will not do to say the Body of Christ, the bride class, fulfils this prophecy, because, although they were taken out of the nations, they are not all nations, and do not represent all nations. Each first died to his earthly estate and nationality before he was begotten of the Holy Spirit - to be a member of the Holy nation, the New Creation - a member of spiritual Israel (Rev. 7:4). The Scriptures distinctly show that Christ and His Church, spirit beings, must constitute the Kingdom class, but they also show that the Worthies, and through them the nation of Israel under the New Covenant, will become the representatives of the Heavenly Kingdom amongst men.
HOPE FOR MANY NATIONS
Since God’s favors are thus marked out for the Heavenly and Earthly seeds of Abraham - the earthly through the heavenly - it follows that the blessing of the other nations will come about through their affiliation with these. In other words, we may understand that the Divine Government established in Israel in the hands of the Worthies will be the center of Divine favor, and the people of other nationalities must come to this center for their supplies of Truth and Grace. Thus the Prophet represents the matter, saying, “Many nations shall go and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain [Kingdom] of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for the law shall go forth from Mount Zion [the spiritual kingdom] and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem [the center of the earthly kingdom].” (Micah 4:2)
And thus all nations, peoples, kindreds and tongues shall be brought gradually to an appreciation of the Divine plan, they shall all be blessed with restitution privileges and opportunities and with an enlightenment from the rays of the Sun of Righteousness, which then through the appointed channels (the Worthies and natural Israel) will be flooding all the earth. Thus will the original Covenant have its amplified fulfillment; first, in The Christ, the spiritual Israel; secondly, under the New Covenant with Israel after the flesh; and through these bless all the families of the earth, so that all the willing and obedient may gradually attain to the standards of the children of God and be possessed of the “liberties of the sons of God” - freedom from sin, sorrow, pain and death (Rev. 21:4). As the Old Law Covenant was with Israel only, so the New (Law) Covenant will be with Israel only. Other nations will share it by becoming Israelites, “Proselytes of the gate,” not under the Old but under the New Covenant (Ezek. 16:60,61).
Perversions - Past and Present - Often have we directed attention to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement regarding their attempt to displace the Jews as the chief earthly class among Restitutionists under the New Covenant and the Worthies. During the Dark Ages the Roman Church pursued much the same policy - except with much more force and abuse. Often they concentrated persecution against the Jews - much the same as they did against the Gentile Christian protesters. But in recent years, recognizing that their dominion is tottering, they are beginning to read the unmistakable “handwriting on the wall” - and their attitude toward the Jews has softened considerably.
However, there are other “Christian” organizations besides the above making themselves heard in our day by their antagonism toward the Jew. Just recently one such sect returned our paper on the Jewish situation, with which they enclosed one of their booklets. They take caustic exception to our Scriptural interpretation concerning the present and future status of the Jews. Here is a little of what their booklet contains:
“The evidence proving the present-day ‘Jews’ are NOT ‘The house of Israel’ is endless. History gives abundant proof that the White, Caucasian Race sprang from dispersed Israel. WE ARE ISRAEL.”
In substance, the Witnesses teach the same; They are God’s Israel; they are the “chosen people.” They are ready to proclaim Brother Russell as the founder of their movement, and boast about him (See Isa. 4:1 and 5:13, and Berean Comments) even as they grossly and persistently revolutionize against his clear and persuasive interpretation of those prophecies that emphatically designate “to the Jew first.” Likewise, although in lesser degree, the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement teaches the same, with the exception that they apply these Jewish promises to their new converts since 1954; they teach that their present-day converts will be “first and chief” next to the Worthies, instead of the Jews - thus taking away from the Jews their God-given promises, as they usurp those promises.
Perhaps it is well to recall here the usurpers all during this Age have prevailed in numbers, power and prominence (“In Thy name… done many wonderful works - Matt. 7:22); but this will all be changed under the benign Kingdom reign. “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear!”
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Both the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant are Scripturally styled “The Everlasting Covenant” in contrast with the Law Covenant, which passed away - a failure because of its “unprofitableness.” However, not unprofitable in its precepts, because they are perfect, which precepts will be incorporated in the New Covenant when man will be able to keep them. (Heb. 7:18 and Gal. 3:24,25) The one is perpetuated in the other, even as the spiritual seed (spiritual Israel) will rule and bless thru the earthly seed (fleshly Israel). Note the Scripture testimony that the original Grace (or Sarah) Covenant is everlasting (Gen. 17:7,13,19; 2 Sam. 23:5; Psa. 105:8-10). Also note other Scriptures, which apply the same term prophetically to the New Covenant: Jer. 32:40; 31:31,32; Ezek. 16:60. Note carefully the context in each instance that reference is to the Millennium.
The Blood of the Everlasting Covenant - The blood of the Everlasting Covenant is the “blood of Jesus,” under the Grace or Sarah Covenant (not by the New Covenant which does not yet exist and which is to be made only with Israel). And the blood or sacrifice of Jesus is “the blood of the New Covenant,” yet to be established with fleshly Israel, just the same - only that by the Father’s good pleasure Jesus has now accepted the “little flock” as his members and counted their sacrifice or blood as a part of His own - the sin offering in two parts.
Note how this is set forth in Isaiah 55:1-3. Here believers of this Gospel Age are described as those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. Under the Father’s drawing they come to Jesus now. They are not of those who, blind and deaf under Satan’s power, love darkness rather than light and will need the Kingdom regulations and corrections to make them bow and confess, under the New Covenant arrangement with Israel and indirectly with all nations.
Come now to Hebrews 13:20: “Now the God of peace who brought again from the dead the Great Shepherd of the sheep [Jesus], through the blood of the Everlasting Covenant make you perfect.” Does this refer to our justification from Adamic guilt and reconciliation to God? Not at all! The Father will have nothing to do with us (except to draw us to Jesus for justification and consecration) until after our justification. Then His mighty power, which brought our Great Shepherd from the tomb to glory and immortality, begins to mightily “work in us to will and to do His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13) If we abide in His love, He will perfect as New Creatures by the privilege granted to those who shared in the sufferings of Christ - participated in the shedding of the blood of the Everlasting Covenant, which as the New Covenant will bring blessing to Israel, and then to the world. The Greek word here rendered “perfect you” signifies “knit you together,” that is, make you completely one with the Shepherd as His “members” both in sufferings and in glory to follow.
Other pertinent texts - Let us now briefly refer to some Scriptures, which mention the New Covenant, that we may note their full harmony with the foregoing. We have already examined the one statement connected with our text and see that it applies to the establishment of the Kingdom, as the foundation of the New Covenant blessings to the world during the Millennium. There are just eight other texts in the New Testament which refer to the New Covenant:
(1) “For this cause he is made mediator of a better covenant [not better than the Grace or Sarah Covenant, but better than the Law Covenant], which was established upon better promises.” (Heb. 8:6) Our Lord Jesus had already begun the work necessary to His fulfilling this office of Mediator of the New Covenant. He had laid the foundation, but he had not yet accepted to Himself all the members the Father intended and foreknew and predestinated. We notice from the context that the contrast still is between the Law Covenant and its mediator Moses, and the New Covenant, superior because of its better mediator, the Messiah. Moses could offer only imperfect sacrifices, but Christ, by antitypical sacrifices of the bullock and goat (Himself and His Body), makes satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, and prepares to mediate the New Covenant, which, God has promised shall be His channel of blessing Israel and the world.
(2) In the succeeding verse (8) the Apostle supports his argument by a quotation from the Old Testament promise to Israel of a New Covenant, saying, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.” Clearly this does not refer to spiritual Israel, or to any others during this Gospel Age.
(3) Neither does the next reference to the New Covenant, which is a part of the same quotation from Jer. 31:31, refer to spiritual Israel. “Not according to the covenant I made with their fathers’… and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” (See Heb. 8:8-10)
(4) “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. 8:13) Notice that the Apostle is not saying one word about the New Covenant being for the Church of Christ. His readers understood very well that they came in under the Sarah Covenant. But certain Judaizing teachers insisted that they must be under the Hagar Covenant, as well as under the Sarah Covenant. And this is what the Apostle is disputing. He is making clear that the (Hagar) Law Covenant would not continue, but perish, and that, in God’s due time, He would provide a New Covenant to take its place with Israel.
(5) It was necessary that Jews be redeemed from the “dead works” of the Old Law Covenant and that a New one be made for them by Christ - Head and members. The Old one was sealed by the blood of bulls and goats, but the New one by “better sacrifices.” Antitypically the blood of the bullock has been offered, and events in the world today indicate that of the goat has been presented also. (Heb. 9:14-23)
(6) “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts and in their minds will I write them; and there is no more offering for sin.” (Heb. 10:16-18) The Apostle is arguing along general lines. He would have his readers understand that when an acceptable sacrifice has been offered to God for sins, the transaction is a closed one, and the sacrifice needs no repetition. He shows that this will be so in the future for the world. When the “better sacrifices,” sealing the New Covenant, shall have been offered by God by our Redeemer, and accepted by Him, it will mean the cancellation of all condemnation.
(7) “For this is my Covenant to them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the Gospel they are enemies for your sakes; but as touching the elect, they are beloved for the fathers’ sake.” (Rom. 11:27,28) There is no room to doubt that the Apostle here is referring to Israel’s Covenant, the New Covenant, which God will make with them after this Gospel Day. The time for their deliverance is nigh - the time when He will mediate that New Covenant; satisfy the demands of Divine justice on behalf of the world. Then he will become, as previously intended and declared, the great Mediator of the New Covenant between God and mankind in general. Then will He begin His Millennial Kingdom: “For he must reign until he shall have put all enemies under his feet, and the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (1 Cor. 15:25,26)
(8) “But ye are approached unto Mt. Zion… to the New Jerusalem… to the general assembly and Church of the firstborn… and to Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant and to the blood of sprinkling.” (Heb. 12:24) Here spiritual Israel is pictured as an army marching, and the things at the farther end are seen and to be reached. Jesus is the Mediator, but He has accepted the Church as His bride, His body, and waits her arrival. The picture shows that the New Law Covenant will be established as the Old Law Covenant was, only on a higher plane and through a greater mediator and by better sacrifices (Acts 3:23).
Much of the foregoing is by That Servant - Reprints 4319-4322 - which we continue to believe and teach. If any are inclined to criticize us because we attack and refute the errors that set aside these Truths, we comfort ourselves with the assurance that so long as we “contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints,” we will not only get the criticism of the errorists themselves, but also the “reproaches” of those who prefer peace rather than stand the “heat of the day.” The Truth is not for easy-going Christians. “For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.” (Rom. 15:3) The September 23 Manna Comments by That Servant are pertinent here: “This will mean our willingness to stand for the Truth at any cost and against any number of assailants - against the creeds and theories of men, which would misrepresent the Good Tidings of Great Joy which the Lord and the Apostles have announced, and which, thank God, yet be unto all people. As the Apostle again says, ‘I am set for the defense of the Gospel.’ We can do no less than defend the Truth. The Truth is God’s representative, Christ’s representative, and hence our standard, and as true soldiers we must defend our standard, even unto death.”
A firm stand for the Truth always costs something; and we are admonished by the Lord to “count the cost” before embracing it. “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matt. 10:34) Thus, we often lose friends as we “fight the good fight” and wage warfare for the Truth. But,
What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it has sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.
It is our conviction that the Lord’s promises to the Jews are essential doctrine for our day - because we stand at the very threshold of their fulfillment. The terse summation of those promises is that they will be “first and chief” of the afterborns under the New Covenant (“beloved for the fathers’ sake”) - “to the Jew first.” Thus, we “count it all joy” if cantankerous brethren - “the unstable and unlearned” - cast abuse at us because we champion the Jewish promises in like manner as did That Servant. Any who attempt to “take from” (See Rev. 22:18,19) those promises belonging exclusively to the Jews, and appropriate them for themselves are engaging in Satanic usurpation - whether wittingly or unwittingly; and those who have once been enlightened in present truth, who appropriate those promises belonging to the Jews, are not only engaging in Satanic usurpation, but they are grossly revolutionizing against the Truth. (Psa. 107:11; Rev. 22:18,19)
Not too long since, we exchanged some considerable correspondence with a Doctor in the Ministry of Religion in Jerusalem; and he was warm in his praise of our papers, and of the Epiphany books we sent to him. Although he is no longer among the living, we are persuaded that he was one of those Jews who possessed “the faith of Abraham.” He had the Six Volumes of Scripture Studies; was an ardent admirer of That Servant; and was quite caustic in his resentment of those groups who claimed to be faithful to Pastor Russell’s teaching, but who openly revolutionized against his teaching on the Jewish promises. Because of his knowledge of Parousia Truth, his exposures and refutation of the Witnesses’ errors were among the best we have yet seen.
In Reprint 5689, May 15,1915, That Servant says this: “Those who have been for some time drinking from the fountain of Truth, and feeding at the table of the Lord, where the food is pure, unadulterated, nourishing, should be fully established in the first principles of the doctrine of Christ. Much of the superstructure of “gold,” silver and precious stones should be already erected and the good work of character building should be progressing steadily day-by-day. We should be firmly rooted and grounded in Christ, so that nothing can move us. We should be able to discern clearly between truth and error on every important point [such as the Jewish promises, etc.] We should know what we believe and why we believe it, and be courageous and uncompromising in declaring the Truth which has blessed our own hearts and lives.”
“Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; that I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints.” (Rom. 15:30,31)
(By John J. Hoefle, Reprint No. 320, February 1, 1982)
“Open Up The Vatican’s Archives: In what appears to be the latest in a series of stalling tactics, the Vatican recently announced that it would not open its controversial World War II archives for at least another three years. This unfortunate decision, which is certain to cast a pall over Catholic-Jewish relations, comes less than a year after a joint commission of historians investigating the Church’s wartime role was forced to suspend its activities as a result of the Vatican’s unwillingness to cooperate.
“By further dragging its feet on granting free and unfettered access to its archives, the Vatican is once again raising serious doubts about its commitment to pursue the truth and clarify the historical record.
“In recent years, a slew of popular and scholarly books has generated new interest in the subject, in the process shining the spotlight on the Vatican’s stubborn refusal to open its wartime archives, which are believed to contain a treasure trove of invaluable historical documentation. In October 1999, the Church finally agreed to the establishment of a commission of six historians - three Jews and three Catholics - to study the Vatican’s role during the Holocaust and the question of Pope Pius XII’s behavior. But by July 2001, Hebrew university Prof. Robert Wistrich took the extraordinary step of resigning from the commission in protest, saying, ‘The Vatican has not been cooperative at all up until this point… The Vatican is not really interested in allowing us to pursue our work further.’
“What the Vatican does not seem to fully appreciate is the damage that the archives issue has caused to efforts to mend Catholic-Jewish relations. For centuries, the Jewish people suffered unimaginable persecution at the hands of the Church, from the Crusades to the Inquisition to the blood libels of the Middle Ages. If Jews and Catholics are to succeed now in forging a relationship of mutual respect, it can come about only through a full and open accounting of the past, one in which the sins of the Church are neither minimized nor ignored. Sadly, by delaying this process still further, the Vatican has succeeded only in fueling, rather than healing this unfortunate rife.”
(Excerpts by Michael Freund, who was a media adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office, The International Jerusalem Post, March 8, 2002)
LETTER OF GENERAL INTEREST
Your wishes for the New Year were such a welcome sign of life! Thank you! Myself, this Christmas I did not send out greetings, simply because the tension here is so great that everybody just does the absolutely necessary in order to cope. Even this little is not easy. Jerusalem, too, is very much affected: Hardly a day passes without some frightful, as well as cowardly, terror attack, murder from behind, etc. Life has become unsafe. And the worst of it is that the outlook is gloomy.
And what is so very much depressing is that on the Palestine/Arab side there is no sign, no hint, of ever looking ahead to some rudimentary base of neighborly relations. It’s always, again and again, Jihad, Jihad and again: Jihad - meaning: Out with the Jews!
But this is, needless to say this to you, utterly illusionary: We have our Faith and our lasting Promise. This here is where we came from, where our culture was created and where we are going to stay and to live our life.
Personally I am OK, my health cooperates, and this is what I wish for you also! Be well and do go on with your vital mission!
With ever good wish, Michael Pragai (ISRAEL)
Excerpts from the Nixon tapes: “Look at the Justice Department, it’s full of Jews… The lawyers in government are damn Jews.”
Richard Nixon, to Treasury Secretary, John Connally
“… a wild orgasm of anarchists sweeping across the country like a prairie fire.”
Richard Nixon, on the antiwar movement. (Time, March 11, 2002)