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Christ's first coming was to open up and to develop these covenants so that the great objects contemplated therein from their first inception might be fully carried into completion and entire fulfillment at and after his second coming; for the fruits that these covenants are to ripen into are yet to be manifested in the earth. With these reflections we will proceed to consider some of the remarkable and distinguishing features of these covenants, especially of the new covenant.

REASONS WHY CALLED THE NEW" COVENANT Was the covenant made and confirmed with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the same covenant which, in the New Testament Scriptures, is called the new testament? And if it is, how are we to reconcile this apparent contradiction? For if the covenant made and confirmed with the patriarchs 430 years before the covenant from Mount Sinai had any existence, and the new covenant spoken of by Christ and the apostles, are one and the same covenant, then how comes it that the ancient covenant made with the patriarchs is called the new covenant, and the one that was made 430 years later is called the old covenant?

The covenant which God made with the patriarchs, and the covenant spoken of after, and called the new covenant, are indeed one and the same covenant, and the seeming contradiction of calling the oldest the new, and the latest, the old, entirely disappears when certain facts in the development of the new are considered. The covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was confirmed to them; and what that amounts to Paul makes plain when he says to the Galatians (3:15), “ Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto."

The covenant therefore after being made and confirmed with those three men could not be disannulled or added to. But there was still something wanting before this covenant could be made available to convey the inheritance contained therein, for Paul says to the Jews, “If the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise, but God gave it to Abraham by promise" (Gal. 3:18). Now this want was not to be supplied for a long time, for more than two thousand years, which may be known as the barren period before the seed should come to whom the promise was made. During this long interval, the covenant from Mount Sinai was made and entered into between God and the children of Israel. When this covenant had stood for over fifteen hundred years until it had grown old, then for the first time the seed appeared into the world, contemplated in the covenant made with Abraham, as Paul also shows, for he says, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Gal. 3:16).

Now Moses was the mediator of one covenant, but Christ was appointed of God as the mediator of the other; and the covenant of which Moses was the mediator was not dedicated by his blood, but by the blood of bulls and goats which could not take away sins, and was therefore only employed as representing something better to come. But Christ, as the testator of the covenant made with Abraham, brought that testament into force, as Paul shows, by his death, saying, “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all, while the testator liveth” (Heb. 9: 16-17).

Here then is the secret why the covenant made with Abraham is now called the New Testament. It was now at Christ's death for the first brought into force, so as to be able to convey the things promised therein to the heirs. From the time that it had been made and confirmed, for more than two thousand years it had lain barren and unproductive, till Christ the testator came, and newly brought it into force by his death. The things, therefore, of this covenant we will now proceed to elucidate more fully, and first we will consider the making of the covenant.


The promises made to Abraham did not assume the definite form of a covenant until the things transpired which are written in the fifteenth chapter of Genesis. In the twelfth chapter the Lord had said unto Abraham, “ Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 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.” Abraham obeyed the voice of the Lord, for says Paul, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise ” (Heb. 11:8-9). After Abraham and his wife, and Lot, his brother's son, had entered the land of Canaan, it is said (Gen. 12:7), “The Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.” Again, when Lot separated from Abram and removed to the plain of Jordan, the Lord said again to Abram, * Lift up now thine eyes and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall also thy seed be numbered. Arise, walk through the land, in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee ” (13:14-17).

These were exceeding great and precious promises which God was making to Abram. Afterwards, when he returned from the slaughter of the kings, Melchisedec, king of righteousness and king of peace met him, and brought forth bread and wine, as Christ, who is made a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec, did also to his disciples on the night in which he was betrayed, saying of the bread, “This is my body," and of the wine, “This is my blood of the new testament.” Abram being a prophet would no doubt discern the same things in the bread and wine which Melchisedec brought forth for him, for Melchisedec was a priest of the most High God. And

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it was indeed fitting that an immortal priest of the order of Melchisedec should meet Abram and bless him, in view of the fact that the covenant that God was then making with Abram was, in after times, when brought into force by the death of Christ, to be administered by the Melchisedec order of priesthood, a much higher order than the Levitical priesthood, as we have already shown elsewhere. Melchisedec blessed Abram and said, “Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth, and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he (Abram) gave him tithes of all ” (14: 18-20).

“After these things,” we are told in the fifteenth chapter of Genesis, “ the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in mine house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels, shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteous And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it."

The Lord had now promised Abram a number of times that he would give him this land for an inheritance, and although Abram did not doubt the promise, for it has just been said that he believed in the Lord, inasmuch that his faith was counted to him for righteousness — that is, forgiveness of sins — yet he appeared desirous that God would give him some token by which he might be sure that he himself, personally, would inherit that land, and therefore he said, “Lord God whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” The Lord, in answer to Abram's request, gave him a very notable sign by which he might know that he personally, as well as his seed, would inherit that land, which is as follows. Beginning at verse 9 it is said, “And the Lord said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove

And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.” During this sleep, indicative of death, the Lord made known to him what should befall his posterity after he should die in peace in a good old age and be gathered unto his fathers: that they would serve strangers in a land not theirs, and in the fourth generation his seed would come hither again, that is, the fourth generation counting from the one existent when they went down to Egypt, where they sojourned 430 years to a day. These therefore were long generations, reaching considerably over a hundred years. The Lord spake to Abram as follows, in this vision (verse 13), “Know of a surety that thy

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seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterwards shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. And it came to pass that when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold, a smoking furnace and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.” Thus God accepted the sacrifice that Abram offered at his command, and also in the same day gave to Abram an assurance, as he desired, that he would give him the land.

These things are summed up as follows in verse 18, In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates." Now this covenant not only constitutes a guarantee that Abram and his seed should inherit the land, but it is also a full and complete guarantee that all the promises that God had made to him, and all that grows out of these promises should be fulfilled according to this covenant, which was made by passing between those pieces. And this same day, because Abram believed God, his faith in his word and promises was accounted to him for righteousness, and his sins blotted out, and the principle established that under this covenant God would be merciful to their unrighteousness and remember their sins and iniquities no more, and that the just should live by faith.

This form of making and entering into covenants and the purport thereof, is seen by referring to a covenant in the days of Jeremiah, when Zedekiah the king of Judah had made a covenant with all the people of the land to proclaim liberty to their manservants and their maidservants, in the year of release, according to the law of the Lord. This they did, but afterwards they broke the covenant by taking back their servants, when the word of the Lord came to them by Jeremiah, saying, “I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof, the princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf; I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life: and their dead bodies shall be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, and to the beasts of the earth" (Jer. 34: 18-20). This therefore that God did as recorded in the fifteenth chapter of the book of Genesis constitutes the making of the



Some interpreters have wrongly construed these things and committed the error of calling this the confirmation of the covenant.

This is not a proper division of the word. The confirmation of a covenant contemplates a conditional covenant which has been previously made and which, having stood for a time, if the conditions have been complied with, afterwards is confirmed and established with the person or persons with whom it was made. Accordingly you read in the first part of Genesis 17 what was said to Abram some twelve or fifteen years after God made the covenant with him, as follows, “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee. (verse 7) And I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” From the above it must be manifest to any one that the confirmation of the covenant was still future, for to establish is to confirm, and the conditions the Lord here plainly states, "Walk before me and be thou perfect, and I will make my covenant between me and thee."

But before speaking particularly of the confirmation of the covenant, it may be instructive and an aid to the understanding of this matter to first consider “the manner of men.” Paul says, " Brethren, I speak after the manner of men ; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto” (Gal. 3:15). Here Paul refers to the custom of the children of men who, when they have an inheritance to bequeath to their heirs, proceed to make a will or testament, that the inheritance may fall to the proper heirs, and according to the wishes of the testator. Now in doing this, certain things must be observed; namely, first, the making of the will; second, the confirmation of the will in the presence of two or three witnesses; third, the bringing of the will into force by the death of the testator; fourth, the time appointed in the will for dividing the inheritance among the heirs.

All these features noted in a man's will obtain also in God's will or testament. First, God's will, testament or covenant was made with Abram, as recorded in the fifteenth chapter of the book of Genesis, and the inheritance contained therein consists of the various things named in God's promises to him, for Paul says that God gave the inheritance to Abraham by promise (Gal. 3: 18).

Second, the covenant which God made with Abram was some thirty-five years later confirmed by the oath of God to Abraham: first, when he offered up Isaac; second, when God sware to Isaac; and third, when he sware to Jacob while he was on his journey going down to Egypt to sojourn there, for there were three witnesses to the confirmation of this covenant, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So the confirmation covered a period of about 170 years, commencing with God's oath to Abraham, and terminating with his oath to Israel.

Third, God's will, like man's will, was brought into force by the death of the testator, for says Paul, “A testament is of force after men are dead; otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth” (Heb. 9: 17).

Fourth, the time for the award and distribution of the inheritance among the heirs of promise is determined and fixed by God himself and is to be at the second coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead, for Jesus said, "Ye shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14), and Christ, the testator of God's will, having been raised from the dead, is constituted the administrator of his own estate, for says Paul to the Colossians

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