by Epiphany Bible Students

A number of covenants are set forth in the Bible, which may be broadly grouped into two classes - word covenants and blood covenants.  While there are a number of word covenants, there are but two blood covenants.  After brief comment on the former, we shall offer some detail on the latter.  Although the blood covenants find their base along with certain details in some of the word covenants, it is the blood covenants - commonly named in the Scriptures the Law Covenant and the New Covenant - that particularly concern the great majority of the human race.

The first word covenant, conveniently styled the ADAMIC COVENANT, is found in the very beginning of the Bible in the first days of human history: “The Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die [“dying thou shalt die” - Gen. 2:16,17 - see Margin].”  The man had no choice in the terms of this covenant.  He must accept it, and abide by its terms, or receive the inevitable result, experience the “dying process” until the grave eventually claimed him - in Adam’s case 930 years of “dying.”  The world is “dead in trespasses and sins” - all are under the death sentence. (Eph. 2:1)  A thousand years is one day with the Lord. (See 2 Peter 3:8 and Psa. 90:4.)

While the Genesis account does not specifically describe this mandate as a covenant, the prophet Hosea (6:7) does say so: “But they [the Jewish nation] like men [“like Adam,” see margin] have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.”  Just as Adam had attempted deceit and shallow argument after his violation of his covenant, so had the Jews done likewise in their attitude toward the Law Covenant.  It is well to note here, however, that there was no written covenant with Adam, as there was with the Jews at Sinai.  Nevertheless, the “treachery” was the same in both cases: both covenants were violated by the human parties thereto falling into sin.  A difference, too, may be noted: Adam was perfect, and had no inclination at all toward sin; thus, his was a deliberate act - whereas, the Jews had been “born in sin shapen in iniquity,” of which more later.

A second covenant is the one with Noah, the RAINBOW COVENANT: “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth [the human social order]… The waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh… A token of the covenant between Me and all flesh.” (Gen. 9:13,15,17)  And further: “With everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee… For have I sworn that the waters of Noah shall no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.  For the mountains shall depart [the autocratic earthly Kingdoms in the Time of Trouble], and the hills [lesser and more democratic governments] be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed.” (Isa. 54:8-10)

The ABRAHAMIC COVENANT is another word covenant: “The Lord said to Abram, Get thee out of thy country… unto a land that I will show thee… and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 12:1-4)  Within this word covenant is the first intimation of the great Plan of the Ages which would restore to mankind what had been lost by Father Adam.  The word Abram means high father; and God presented him with some severe exactions before he could claim the covenant as his: “Get thee out of thy country [Ur of the Chaldees], and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee [Canaan, present-day Israel, especially that part in the vicinity of Jerusalem.].”  The confirmation of this covenant, after Abraham had complied with his requirements, was 430 years before the Law (blood) Covenant was given at Sinai (Gal 3:17).

The foregoing covenant was re-affirmed and elaborated in Gen. 22:16-18, which recitation is styled the OATH-BOUND COVENANT because of its wording: “By myself have I sworn [sealed with an oath], saith the Lord… that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore… and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”  St. Paul refers to this covenant in Heb. 6:13,14: “When God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He sware by Himself, saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.”  All of this was the result of Abraham attempting, at God’s command, to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah, from which the Angel of the Lord restrained him at the crucial moment.  And, while this may also be defined as a word covenant, the near sacrifice of Isaac, and the actual sacrifice of the ram in the thicket (vs. 13) gave a mild hint of things to come later in the blood covenant of Sinai and the still later one of “Mount Zion.” (Heb. 12:18-24)

In the Oath-bound Covenant also came the first intimation that Abraham’s seed would be both heavenly and earthly.  “Now, we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of the promise.” (Gal. 4:28)  And there appears here a very unusual circumstance: Abraham is titled “the father of them that believe” (Rom. 4:11), and with him was the Oath-bound Covenant originally made; yet he himself is not to be of the heavenly seed.  In Hebrews eleven St. Paul directly includes Abraham by name; then offers the summation: “These all… received not the promise; God having provided some better thing for us [the spiritual Isaac, “the children of the promise”] that they without us should not be made perfect.”  Jesus verifies this conclusion in Luke 7:28: “Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he that is least in the Kingdom of God [the Class in which Paul includes himself - the “us” class] is greater than he.”  Thus, Abraham will eventually be one of the children of antitypical Isaac.

There is yet another word covenant, the COVENANT OF SACRIFICE: “Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.”  (Psa. 50:5)  It could properly be stated here that this is a semi-blood covenant, because it involves the death of each individual who becomes a part of it.  The individuals compose the Christ Company, those who “were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God.” (Rev. 20:4)  Not all of them have come to a violent end (as did Jesus, the Apostles, and many others during this Gospel Age), but each one did truly “pour out his soul unto death.”  Thus, each one furnishes the blood, his own blood, to seal his part in this Covenant, even as Jesus also “left us an example, that we should follow in His steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)  Thus, we believe the expression semi-blood covenant is properly placed here.  None of those involved in this Covenant of Sacrifice had his part therein sealed by the blood of other men or animals, as do the two real blood covenants, but each one has heeded the appeal of St. Paul: “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” (Rom. 12:1)


Comes now a consideration of the Law Covenant, the one at Sinai mediated by Moses, as proposed by God and accepted by all Israel.  It is indeed properly described as “the blood of sprinkling,” with the terse summation of it contained in the Ten Commandments (literally, ten words) as given in Exodus 20; and more briefly stated by Jesus Himself: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matt. 22:37-39)  But in its broad sense it began with the Passover in Egypt, when “the blood of sprinkling” of the typical lamb was observed by each Jewish house that awesome night.  And, continuing, it embraces practically everything in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

Jesus said that all of that law was typical - “one iota or one tip of a letter shall by no means pass from the Law, till all be accomplished.” (Matt. 5:18, Dia.)  And St. Paul elaborates upon this in Heb. 10:1-9, Dia., part of which reads: “The Law, having a shadow of the future good things, not the very image of the things, is by no means able with the same annual sacrifices which they offer continually, to perfect those who draw near… Sacrifice and offering and whole burnt offering thou didst not desire, nor didst delight in [which are offered according to the Law]; Then He [Jesus] said, Behold, I come to perform Thy will.  He takes away the first [the continual sacrifices of the Law] that He may establish the second [the better sacrifices,” of Himself and all who have joined with Him by “following in His steps” - See Heb. 9:23).”  In 1 Cor. 10:11, Dia., this “shadow” is further confirmed: “These things occurred to them [the Jews] typically.”

The Law, being an institutional type, must continue until its antitype appears to ‘fulfill” it, to fill it full in every minute detail.  But, once the antitype does appear, the type is no longer effective or obligatory upon those involved.  Therefore, when Jesus “takes away the first… that he may establish the second,” He in one master stroke eliminated all the animal sacrifices of the Law, which in turn left no more room for the Jewish priesthood or the rituals they performed.  However, the “ten words” of the Law still bind those who have not accepted Christ; and that feature of the Law Covenant must still bind those who have not accepted Christ; and that feature of the Law Covenant must continue operative until its antitype, the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34), is inaugurated.

The various features of the Law are distributed over four whole books of the Pentateuch; but the acceptance by the people is contained in just one simple sentence: “Moses took the book of the covenant and read in the audience of the people; and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.  And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.” (Ex. 24:7,8)

We need reminding, however, that the great majority of the people quickly forgot the covenant.  Most of them had not even the will to abide by it; but of those few who wished to do so, it soon became apparent that they were unable to do so.  They were far removed from the condition of Adam when the Lord’s command was given to him in Eden.  He could have done what was asked of him; but even those faithful Jews who earnestly strove to keep their covenant found that what they thought was unto life was really unto death, which prompted St. Paul to write: “I was alive without the Law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” (Rom. 7:9)  He, speaking representatively for all Israel, had come to realize that the Abrahamic Covenant, which assured the blessing of all men, including Paul and all his brethren, had put all of them in the position of eventually attaining life; but, when they place themselves under an ideal beyond their ability to reach, the Law itself then commanded death for disobedience - whether that disobedience were willful or in spite of their best efforts to avoid disobedience.  However, they were blessed when they endeavored to obey the Law. (Josh. 23:3)

The Law Covenant (the first of the blood covenants) also had attached to it certain offices and intermediary persons not found in any of the word covenants.  There was Moses the Mediator; also, a priesthood, prophets and kings who performed certain services that were not parts of the obligations of the people in their promises concerning the covenant itself.

The Law Covenant, with its righteous arrangements for human relations, its superior dietary requirements, and its worship of the one true God in holiness of purpose and avoidance of all superstition and traditional chicanery, was a far step from the religions of Canaan and the east country.  Thus, it is little wonder that Satan attempted to counterfeit such parts of the Plan of the Ages as he understood.  It had been dimly hinted in the transgression in Eden that a deliverer would eventually come to succor men from the disaster he had invited by his willful disobedience.  And as more was added to the Divine Revelation, Satan busied himself by not only counterfeiting what was revealed, but using also his imagination to concoct features as he considered they might eventually be.

As stated previously, the Law Covenant was typical in all its details; but parts of it were to be fulfilled during the Gospel Age, and the remainder during the Millennial Age.  Thus, Jesus was the Gospel-Age antitype of the Atonement-Day bullock, and the Church, His Body, has been the Gospel-Age antitype of the Atonement-Day goat as typed in Leviticus 16.  Inklings of the Ransom and the Sin Offering were gradually revealed as the inspired testimony increased through the writings of the various “elders,” the 24 writers of the Old Testament (Rev. 4:4; 5:5).  As it gradually began to be revealed that Jesus would die and then be raised from the dead about the Passover time in the Spring, Satan busied himself with a counterfeit of this in the heathen religions, specially in that of Babylon.

It will be recalled that Babylon was founded by Nimrod (upstart) - Gen. 10:9,10, whose sinful performances became so obnoxious that he was eventually executed at the instigation of Melchizedek, his body was divided into fourteen pieces, one of which was sent to each section of the then established world, as a warning to others not to continue in his evil ways.  But Satan immediately moved Nimrod’s cult survivors to circulate the rumor that he had not really died, that he was too strong to be contained in the tomb, that he was now risen and placed in the sun.  This quickly led to sun worship under the name of Baal, Tammuz, etc.  And by the time Israel was to lose its national individuality in the Fall of 606 B.C., the belief had been well established in Babylon that Tammuz died every Spring, but he was brought back to life again, and his place in the sun, by three days of violent weeping by the women of that city.

This idea had become so strong by that time that it had captivated certain renegades in Jewry, which aroused the Prophet to write: “He brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord’s house which was toward the north; and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.” (Ezek. 8:14)  Here was the counterfeit of the experience of Jesus: “Women bewailed and lamented Him.  But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.” (Luke 23:27,28)  By the time Babylon had reached its pinnacle, its Satan-invented religion had with certain variations infected the whole heathen world, which inspired the expression from Jeremiah (51:7) - “Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth drunken; the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore, the nations are mad.”

And this same situation found even greater repetition in the Gospel Age through the manipulations of the Roman Church, of which the Apostle John had written in advance of the occurrence: “I saw a woman… having a golden cup in her hand… upon her forehead a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” (Rev. 17:4,5)  Note the close similarity between the two recordings.  We have offered this slight digression here to show how true types of the Law Covenant have been greatly overshadowed by the earlier inventions of the great “serpent” (deceiver) to the extent that most Christians know little or nothing about them.


Some of the prophets were more or less aware of what had transpired, as evidence the words of Jeremiah (31:31-34): “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant [the Law Covenant] that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake [some of which we have described aforegoing], although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts… and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”   The Prophet Ezekiel (36:26,27) writes more of the same: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

The Apostle Paul discusses these Scriptures in the eighth chapter of Hebrews, quoting large portions of them, then summing up in this wise: “In that He saith, A new covenant, He hath made the first [the Law Covenant] old.  Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” - as its various features were fulfilled.  The contrast is very incisive in the first verses of this chapter: “We have such an high priest… A minister of the true tabernacle [not the tabernacle made with hands at the time of the Law Covenant], which the Lord pitched, and not man… But now hath Jesus obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the Mediator of a better covenant [the New Covenant] which was established upon better promises.”

This, the second blood covenant, has been already assured, although its administration is yet future - waiting for the full number of servants to be gathered who shall officiate and mediate it between God and the whole human family.  “Ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched… and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words…but ye are come unto Mount Sion… the heavenly Jerusalem… to God the Judge of all… to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.  See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh… Wherefore, we receive a Kingdom which cannot be moved.” (Heb. 12:18-28)

The Mediator of this New Covenant will be primarily Jesus, but joined with Him will be the entire Christ Company.  They in turn will be assisted by the Great Multitude (Rev. 7:9), and the Worthies - four elect classes (the “just”) who will administer the blessings to those of the “unjust” who will bow with the knee and confess with the tongue that Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:9-11).  Those who “will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:23)

It should be noted here that the New Covenant is eminently superior to the Law Covenant, because it will actually accomplish all it is designed to do.  We say the New Covenant is superior to the Law Covenant, because the Law Covenant was “weak through the flesh.” (Rom. 8:3)  The Law Covenant itself could have no superior if it had been kept by the Jews.  “All God’s works are perfect.”  The imperfection of the Law Covenant was in the human weaknesses of those who agreed to keep it, but could not do so - their own imperfections making them insufficient to cope with the perfection required in the Law.  But the New Covenant, through the better Mediator, will give life to all who will receive it under the easier terms of that covenant.  Under the Law Covenant and its Mediator there was no such provision, and it brought the reverse - death.

Thus, the question properly arises, Why was there a Law Covenant at all if the human acceptors could not possibly adhere to it?  St. Paul offers his usual superb logic on the question in Gal. 3:21-29: “If there had been a law [covenant] given which could have given life, verily righteousness  [justification] should have been by the law… But before faith came, we were kept under the law… wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ [by persuading all the persuadable ones of their inability to save themselves by their works under the law], that we might be justified by faith.  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

The Apostle offers further enlightenment on this in Rom. 10:1-4: “My heart’s desire and prayers to God for Israel is that they might be saved.  For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God [as some of them earnestly endeavored to keep the law], but not according to knowledge.  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God [by accepting Christ].  For Christ is the end [the fulfillment] of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”  But of those who have not accepted Christ, “God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all [in the Kingdom]” (Rom. 11:32); they are to have the broad classification of the “unjust” - unjustified of this Age.  See Acts 24:15 and John 5:28,29.

All of the “just” will have a better resurrection than any of the “unjust.” (Heb. 11:35)  The blessing of the nations through Abraham’s seed will come from the “stars of Heaven” (two elect classes raised as spirit beings before the New Covenant can begin to operate) and from the “sand of the seashore” (the two elect classes who will officiate as perfect human beings on earth).  “The Law shall go forth from Mount Zion [the Heavenly Jerusalem], and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem [in Israel].” (Micah 4:2)  Thus, all four of these elect classes will receive a better resurrection than their former human associates, with those serving from Jerusalem being elevated to the spirit realm after the New Covenant has met all its requirements to make every human being (who will hear the prophet) a king in his own right.  But even at that time it will properly be said that all the Covenant’s administrators (the four elect classes) will have received a superior resurrection to that of the residue of men.  And this leaves no space at all among the “just,” either at the beginning of the New Covenant or at its end, for the non-existent classes taught by the errorists of our day, such as Campers consecrated, quasi-elect consecrated, and Jehovah’s Witnesses’ “large crowd.”

And what shall we say of the non-elect - all those who will have part in the resurrection of the unjust?  All of us know there are many noble people among them, as well as many who are not so noble.  However, among the elect, those who have covenanted to walk a “narrow way” during the ascendancy of sin and evil, there are not many “wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” (1 Cor. 1:26)  And what shall we say of these noble ones of the non-elect?  Will their nobility be overlooked?  No!  They will be greatly blessed, even at the beginning, as they walk up the Highway of Holiness (Isa. 35:8), because it will be easy and agreeable for them to conform themselves to the Kingdom’s righteous laws.  When they recognize God’s love, His goodness and mercy toward them, they will be glad.  They will be among those for whom the promise applies: “Whosoever is athirst come.  And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17)  And what shall we say of the very wicked?  Among them, too, there will be some who will come to love and appreciate God’s love and goodness toward them; and as they seek to extricate their sinful tendencies they will join with those who walk up the Highway of Holiness.

When God’s Plan is fully understood it clarifies God’s past and present dealings with the children of men.  The Bible becomes in its light a book harmonious with itself, with God’s character, Christ’s Ransom, the Holy Spirit’s work, man’s needs and with the facts.  It indeed is thereby demonstrated to be the depository of God’s marvelous Plan of the Ages, as well as the glorious expression of His adorable character.  He thus becomes loved by us with “Love Divine all love excelling,” and with “Joy of heaven to earth come down.”  Let us worship, praise and adore Him, all whose works praise (reflect credit upon) Him.  “Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.  Who shall not fear [reverence] thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name?  For Thou only art holy; for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for Thy righteous acts have been made manifest.” (Rev. 15:3,4, A.R.V.)

“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb… And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.” (Rev. 22:1,3)  “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)

Some comments on Psa. 103:2-4 are pertinent as an aid to demonstrate the working of the New Covenant, and to reveal its superiority over the Law Covenant: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities [by providing the perfect Sin Offering of Christ]; Who healeth all thy diseases [as each one returns from the tomb, he must self-evidently be rid of the cause that sent him to the grave, otherwise he would immediately succumb once more]; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction [“the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His beams” to “redeem them from death, and ransom them from the power of the grave”]; Who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies [physical, mental, moral and religious perfection].”  As Job has written, “His flesh will become fresher than a child’s; he shall return to the days of his youth.”(33:25)

These are indeed “Glad tidings of great joy” which shall be for all people - and we send this forth with the prayer that it will bless, uplift and comfort all who receive it - especially those of the Household of Faith.  “I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.  For thy mercy is great unto the Heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.  Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.” (Psa. 57:9-11)

(Brother John J. Hoefle, Reprint 444, June 1993)



“And His [Jehovah’s] feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” (Zechariah 14:4)

This text refers to the closing of the day of trouble and the manifestation of God’s power in connection with that trouble.  The literal Mount of Olives may have, and probably will have, somewhat to do with the matter.  It is referred to here as experiencing a great earthquake.  No doubt the Israelites will be gathered at Jerusalem at this time, and no doubt the Lord’s favor will be manifested to them there.  This will be at the close of “Jacob’s trouble,” from which the Lord will be present to deliver them.  Our thought is that this will be after the Church shall have passed into glory.  The execution of what is here described seems to be a part of the work of the glorified Church.

We understand that the Ancient Worthies will then appear, and that God’s favor will have returned to the Jews, and that Israel’s temporal blessings will there begin.  This would imply that the Jews will then be under the New Covenant arrangement, and hence that the Church must have been completed.

Symbolically, a mountain represents a kingdom.  The Scriptures elsewhere declare that Jehovah will make the place of His feet glorious.  The word olive always associates itself in the minds of the people of the Orient with the thought of light and nourishment.  The olive oil they use regularly instead of butter.  As the olive furnishes both light and food, the Mount of Olives would represent the Kingdom of God.  Olive oil was poured upon the head of the Jewish kings and priests, and symbolized thus the Holy Spirit.  God’s Kingdom will be for the blessing of mankind.  It will be of two phases - the heavenly and the earthly - and all people may eventually come under its blessed condition.         

(Pastor Russell, Reprint 5437, April 1, 1914)



“I am a lucky Arab.  My grandfather, Mohammed, traveled on foot from his home in Iraq in the early part of the last century looking for work.

“Jews had come to British-controlled Palestine in the thousands, joining the Jews who had always been here, raised a large family, worked hard, and lived quietly   I live in Haifa in Israel.  In 1948 when Israel declared its independence, Arab armies from surrounding Arab states attacked with the intention of destroying the new state.  I was about 15 years old and remember well the radio broadcasts from Arab states telling us to leave our homes and move eastward ‘temporarily’ while the advancing Arab armies wiped out the Jews.  They told us we would then return in triumph to our homes and would have the joy of taking over all the Jewish assets - their homes, farms, shops, cars and bank accounts.

“My father, Ibrahim, was a very wise man, a learned man, and a man of peace.  We had good relationships with our neighbors, Christian, Jews and Muslims.  He gathered the entire family and explained why he did not believe it wise to flee, that he did not believe the Jews would mistreat us.  We stayed put.  We are still here.

“Today I still live in my father’s old stone house with my wife and the youngest of our eight children.  My older children and my many grandchildren all live nearby.  We have never been mistreated, and we are much better off than those Arabs who fled and who ended up in miserable refugee camps being supported by the United Nations and charities.

“I want you to know what my life is like as an Arab citizen of Israel.  I was educated in Israeli schools and universities.  I became a pharmacist and worked in a large pharmacy in Haifa.  I was paid the same salary and received the same benefits as Jewish colleagues.  Now I’m retired.  I receive two pensions; one based on the investment plan to which my company belonged and I contributed.  The other comes from the Israeli government’s National insurance plan.

“I have eight children.  Every month I received a child allowance paid by the government until each became 18.  I know of no other country where this happens, certainly not any Arab nation.

“Our entire family is covered by the National Health Plan, which provides good medical care.  All my children were born in a hospital; my wife received excellent prenatal care and postnatal care.  All medical and surgical [expenses are] covered from the first shekel from birth to death, and when we die, even the cost of burial is covered!

“My children went to school with Jewish children, they were members of the same sports clubs and the community center, and they all received university educations.  Some with state scholarships.

“I pray in a mosque, which was built on land donated by the Jewish National Fund.  I am a citizen, I have a passport, and can travel anywhere, anytime.  I vote in local and national elections, and we have a number of Arab members in the Knesset [Parliament].

“I have a very good life, and so has my family.  I feel for those forced to live under [Yasser] Arafat, for they are being used and abused badly.  I long for the day that Arafat is no more, that a real peace treaty can be negotiated with Israel, so that the Palestinian Arabs can have a better life also.

“I long for the day I can travel to visit cousins in Ramallah without fear of being called a collaborator and executed.  I thank Allah my grandfather came here.  I thank Allah my father didn’t leave in 1948.  I thank Allah my children were raised here, in the only free country in the Middle East.

“We are very lucky Arabs.”

(Author’s name withheld for security reasons, distributed by Naomi Ragan, August 15, 2004)