THE NEW COVENANT
"They, like Adam, have transgressed
the Covenant."--Hosea 6:7.
AFTER THE CREATION of Adam, God entered into Covenant relationship with him to the effect that through obedience he might have eternal life. Adam failed; and thus that Covenant was broken. The relationship between God and man was changed. God no longer sustained the life of man and gave him everything for his happiness, but the Divine sentence of death passed upon the entire human race. Because of the undeveloped condition of the earth at that time, everything was favorable for man's death, as unworthy of life. God intimated, however, that He had compassion upon humanity; and that at some later time He would grant a blessing. This promise implied reconciliation to Himself. Later, God made a special promise to Abraham-- "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." (Gen. 12:3.) During all this time God had in view the great Plan which He is now carrying out, the establishment of a New Covenant through a great Mediator between God and man who would sacrifice His life to satisfy Divine Justice.
The time not having come for the development of the great Mediator, God made a typical arrangement with the nation of Israel. That nation was made to represent the world. Moses was made to represent the world's Mediator. At Sinai God entered into a Covenant with Israel, not directly, but through Moses, the Mediator of that Law Covenant. God was bound to give Israel eternal life if they would keep that Law. (Ex. 19:3-9.) Moses was the Mediator, the counselor and the instructor of the people to bring them to the place where they could keep the Divine Law and have eternal life. In due time it was discovered that the Law gave eternal life to none. What would God do? There was perplexity.
"In due time" God sent forth His Only Begotten Son, qualified to be the Redeemer of Adam's race. In due time Jesus, as the Son of God, became the Redeemer, in that He gave His life to be the ransom-price for the world, and began the redemption work. As the man Jesus He could not redeem and restore the world, for it would require His death as a man to furnish the redemption-price. Hence His first work was to lay down His life as a ransom-price, to lay it down in the sense of putting it into the hands of Divine Justice. In harmony with the Divine arrangement, the Father raised Him from the dead to a new nature; and He still had this ransom-price to his credit.
During the Gospel Age He has been imputing the merit of this to the Church class in order that they may join with Him in a covenant by sacrifice, in harmony with the Scripture which says, "Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." (Psa. 50:5.) Christ's sacrifice and the sacrifice of His members constitute the "better sacrifices" than those of Israel in the type. These "better sacrifices" began with our Lord's experiences at Jordan and will continue down to the time when the last member of His Body shall have shared in His suffering, and shall have been made partaker of His glory in the resurrection.
MEDIATOR COMPLETE WILL INAUGURATE NEW
By that time, the great Mediator complete, our Lord and His members, will be ready to inaugurate the New Covenant which God has promised, through the Prophet Jeremiah. (Jer. 31:31.) This New Covenant is intended to bless all the families of the earth, as God said to Abraham. (Gen. 12:3.) The promise is that this New Covenant will be made with Israel. In order to avail themselves of this Covenant, therefore, all other nations and peoples will be obliged to become a part of Israel. Thus eventually Abraham will become the father of many nations. All who will come into harmony with God will be the children of Abraham, in the sense that they will attain to that faith which Abraham had. Both the faith and the obedience will be necessary. As soon as the New Covenant shall have been sealed it will become operative. The Christ will then stand forth to be the Mediator of the New Covenant. [R4903 : page 393]
This Covenant will be like unto the old Law Covenant; but it will be better, superior, the one of which the Law Covenant was a shadow. God will not then deal with Israel directly, but through the Mediator. Primarily, the Ancient Worthies will be fully received and will gladly accept the Mediator and all the terms and conditions of the New Covenant. Since they will be perfect they will be entirely able to comply with its conditions. They will have no weakness of the flesh, as they will be raised from the dead perfect human beings. During the period of the Mediatorial reign the Mediator will stand ready to help and assist all who will come back into harmony with God. None will be brought immediately into communication with God, however, but they will be dealt with through the Mediator until the close of the Millennium, when they will be turned over to the Father. During the Messianic Age all will be subject to the Mediator's arrangements and the Father's arrangements through Him. Gradually the effect will be to take away the stony heart out of all flesh and to restore all mankind to that which was lost--perfection, mental, moral and physical. Those who refuse to participate in this blessing, we are told, will be destroyed from amongst the people. (Acts 3:22,23.) Those who continue to progress will reach the [R4903 : page 394] condition of perfection of heart, of mind and of body which God requires.
MANKIND WILL BE RESTORED TO PERFECTION
At the close of the Mediatorial reign all mankind will be ready to profit by the experiences of the Millennium and will be turned over to God, to Divine Justice. Then they will be actually on the same plane that Adam was before his fall; and it will be for them to maintain this Covenant relationship with God. If they fail, as Adam did, then they will die the Second Death. But if they are faithful they will be passed on to eternal life. The test will be made by God, who will loose Satan for a little season, to demonstrate who will yield to his seductions. (Rev. 20:7-9.) God wishes those to have eternal life who can stand all kinds of tests and whose loyalty to Him will be above the power of temptation.
So we see that preparations for the inauguration of the New Covenant began at the time when Jesus came into the world, and are still going on. These preparations are; first, the development of the Priesthood, the Head and the Body, the High Priest and the underpriests; second, the offering of "the better sacrifices." Thus we have the entire picture--the New Covenant about to be inaugurated, the people about to have the blessing, just as they would have if God had received them to Himself and had dealt with them personally, with compassion and mercy. But He will receive and pass as satisfactory none except those who are perfect. His dealing with the Church now as perfect is in view of the fact that their imperfections are made up for by the Advocate; and they, as the Royal Priesthood, have their standing as New Creatures in Christ.
We understand that the New Covenant goes fully into operation at the beginning of the Millennium and that it brings blessings all through that Age. Under this New Covenant the Lord will take away the sins and stony hearts of mankind. (Ezek. 36:26,27.) But the New Covenant does not become personal between God and mankind until the Mediator steps out of the way. (I Cor. 15:24.) After He steps out of the way, Covenant relationship with God will be established just as with Adam, and God will guarantee eternal life to all who continue obedient to the Divine Law.