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THE NEW COVENANT HARMONY WITH GOD
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
The secret of the Lord (the Divine Plan) is (already) with (understood by) them that fear (reverence) him, and (in addition to this favor) he will (future tense—in due time, through “that servant”) show them his covenant (which, when understood, will order and classify all the features of that plan).
It has been on my mind for some time to write to you in regard to the New Covenant, and having been requested by several brethren to do so, I gather that possibly it is the Lord’s will. But first let me express my thankfulness to the Lord, and to you as his servant, for all the truth that is shining for us clearer every day, through THE WATCH TOWER articles. I have particular reference to the article in the Nov. 15 TOWER, under the caption, “Ransom Points to Be Remembered.” To my mind the essence, the philosophy and logic of the Sin-Offering doctrine is all stated there in a few words, an unanswerable argument. Praise the Lord!
When Vol. 5 was published, I read it and comprehended
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some of its beauties. Some three years ago you requested my opinion of the Swedish translation of Vol. 5. I therefore read sections of it critically, comparing it with the original. On page 27, Studies (pages 28 and 29 Dawn), I read something which riveted my attention, that had escaped me in previous readings. It was this: “When father Adam was perfect, in complete harmony with his Creator, and obedient to all his commands, a covenant between them was implied, though not expressed; the fact that life in its perfection had been given Adam … and the additional fact that … if he would violate his faithfulness to the great King, Jehovah, by disobedience, he would forfeit his life …—this implied, we say, a covenant or agreement on God’s part with his creature that his life was everlasting, unless he should alter the matter by disobedience, and bring upon himself a sentence of death.” Thus Adam’s condition before he fell was a covenant condition. To this agrees Hosea 6:7 (margin and Revised Version), “They have all like Adam broken the covenant.” This thought is the key.
(1) Adam was in covenant relationship with Jehovah, Vol. 5, SCRIPTURE STUDIES, page 27 (pages 28 and 29 in DAWN). It was not a covenant or agreement in words, but an agreement of Adam’s whole being with God’s law, a oneness resulting from the fulfilling of mutual obligations—God supplying life and its blessings, Adam rendering obedience.
(2) Adam broke this covenant condition (Hos. 6:7, margin and Revised Version).
(3) God’s plan is to restore the race into this oneness, this covenant condition, which Adam lost.
(4) This (future) perfect union or covenant condition was foreshadowed in and by an imperfect (typical) union or oneness between God and Israel. The Law was “a shadow of good things to come.”
(5) The Law Covenant was made on (or during) the “third day”—two days being preparatory.—Exod. 19:10,11.
(6) The New (Law) Covenant will be made during the Millennial “day”—the Jewish “day”—the Gospel “day” being preparatory.
(7) Moses was the Mediator or “go between” of the Law Covenant. He went back and forth between God and the people, making known God’s terms, and bringing back their response.
(8) The Christ will be the Mediator or “go between” of the New (Law) Covenant. He will make known to the world God’s terms for human sonship and covenant relationship, and bring back their response.
(9) The title of Mediator applied to Moses only while the Covenant was being made. Only “at that time” did he stand “between” God and Israel as Mediator. (Deut. 5:5.) His prominence afterwards in Israel’s affairs was in great measure due to the imperfect covenant he established, which necessitated the repetition of its prominent features, renewing the covenant yearly, on the atonement day. In these repetitions Aaron represents the Mediator in his sacrificing and subsequent blessing the people, while Moses represents the Law—Justice—which the Mediator satisfies—a different type from that of the “third day.” (Lev. 9:23.) TABERNACLE SHADOWS, page 82, last paragraph, and page 83, first paragraph.
(10) The Christ will be the Mediator only while he (gradually) establishes the New Covenant, but his prominence will (like Moses’) continue after his mediatorial work is ended. He will, for instance, be Jehovah’s agent in destroying the unworthy ones at the close of the Millennial Age, and be highly esteemed to all eternity by the restored world.
(11) The Jews were blessed with a Law Covenant on the “third day” and were blessed in it for a whole age (in proportion to their faithfulness to it).—Rom. 3:1,2.
(12) The world will be blessed with a New Covenant being gradually made during the Millennial Day, and will be blessed in it to all eternity, an “ever“-“lasting” condition of perfection and union with God.
(13) Jeremiah (31:31-33) states that the making of the New Covenant consists of a writing of God’s law in men’s hearts. When the law has been fully written, the union, not only of their wills, but of their whole being, with God will be accomplished—the covenant condition being fully attained.
(14) Before this New Covenant or perfect union between God and men can be consummated, a twofold work must be done. (1) The “book” must be sprinkled—Justice must be satisfied, and (2) the people must be sprinkled (cleansed, restored—see WATCH TOWER, 1909, page 110, second column, paragraphs 2-4).—Heb. 9:19,20.
(15) The New Covenant will thus be mediated for a thousand years, and consequently will not be in force as a finished thing until the end of that time. THE WATCH TOWER, 1909, page 110, first column, paragraph 2, expresses this thought thus: “And it is consequently after the Gospel Age, when they are pardoned freely for Christ’s sake, and restored to the condition of sinless perfect manhood, that the New covenant comes into force.”
(16) God has never entered into covenant relationship with any who have not first been both justified and consecrated.
(17) Abraham must be justified (by faith) and consecrated (by circumcision) in order to be in covenant relationship with Jehovah.—Gen. 7:9-14.
(18) Israel must leave Egypt (type of the world) and be freed from the dominion of Pharaoh (type of Satan and sin), and they must be (typically) consecrated,—”baptized into Moses” (Vol. I, STUDIES, page 279, paragraph 2), before they could enter into a (typical) covenant relationship with Jehovah.
(19) As reckoned justification ceases with the end of the Gospel Age (Vol. 6, STUDIES, page 112, paragraph 1), the world must be actually justified and consecrated in order to enter into covenant relationship with Jehovah. Their consecration is the antitypical circumcision on the antitypical eighth day. They will prove their full consecration by standing the test coming to them in the “little season” which is the beginning of the eighth thousand-year day. (This thought was expressed by Pilgrim Brother Paul Johnson.)
(20) In the type, females were ignored. Only males were received into the Law Covenant, by circumcision, on the eighth day. In the antitype, at the end of the seventh thousand-year day, the beginning of the eighth thousand-year day, only males will be received into the New Covenant—restitution having previously lifted them to Adam’s condition before he was divided into sexes. See TABERNACLE SHADOWS, page 101.
(21) The Law was one thing, and the Covenant based upon that Law quite another thing. See WATCH TOWER 1894, double number (Oct.), treating the Sabbath. The Law was the terms, while the Covenant was the condition which followed, a condition of oneness and harmony. While the Jews were “under” the Law, under obligations to keep it, they were not “under” the Covenant, but in it. The Scriptures do not speak of any being under any covenant, nor do they give that thought, but always in a
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covenant—under obligations of law in order to be in a covenant condition of blessing.
(22) The English usage of the word mediator forbids the thought of mediating a covenant after it has been made. To illustrate: Russia and Japan were at war with one another. After awhile they were willing to consider peace negotiations, but according to international customs and rules they could not directly confer with one another, but only through a third party, a
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mediator. Ex-President Roosevelt volunteered this service, and by and by peace was concluded. The President then stepped back, his mediatorial work was finished. He had effected a covenant between the two parties. It would be untrue to say that he continues to mediate this covenant or agreement all the time it lasts. So with Christ: He will not establish the New Covenant at the beginning of the Millennial Age and then mediate it afterwards, but the New Covenant will be the result of his work.
(23) The Law Covenant was a failure, as far as giving life was concerned, because Moses introduced the people in their imperfect condition into covenant condition with Jehovah, and, being unable to keep the Law, the base of their covenant condition, they were condemned to death.
(24) The New (Law) Covenant will be a success because the Christ will make mankind perfect before he will introduce them to Jehovah, into covenant condition with Him, when they can fully keep that Law upon which the New Covenant will be based. If the New (Law) Covenant were made with mankind at the beginning of the Millennial Age, or at any time during that age, its Law, being applied to them when they entered the Covenant, would condemn them as the Jews were. And since the world will not then have imputed righteousness, they will be in a more or less sinful or imperfect condition. THE WATCH TOWER, 1909, page 314, column 2, paragraph 2, expresses this same thought that God cannot enter into any covenant with sinners, which corroborates the foregoing.
(25) From the time that Moses killed the animals whose blood was used in making the Law Covenant—from that time and on he was the mediator of it until he had consummated it—he was actually working on the first feature of it.
(26) The opponents of the Truth point us to the present tense of Heb. 9:15 and 12:21, etc., and think they have an unanswerable argument for their view. But allowing the present tense, as we must do, is not that very thing the strongest argument against their theory? To illustrate: Mr. A. is building a house. From the time that the spade is stuck in the ground to excavate for the foundation, the actual work having begun, Mr. A. can truthfully be said to be building (present tense) his house, and may be spoken of as the builder of the house, although there is no framework in sight yet. So Christ, from the time he took the first actual step towards making the New Covenant is engaged in working on it—on its first feature, satisfying Justice—laying the foundations of the house, so to speak. And since the type was due to cease when the first actual work on the New Covenant was begun, it follows that no difficulty is encountered in saying that the typical significance of the Law (not the Law itself) ceased when Christ presented his sacrifice at Jordan, thus giving full play to Heb. 10:9. See WATCH TOWER Bible comments against this verse. And as Mr. A. has no house to live in until he is through with building it, so there is no New Covenant for men to be brought into as long as the Mediator is not through with his work of making it. In other words, Where there is a mediator, there is a covenant in progress, but not consummated yet, and where there is a covenant consummated there is no longer any mediator, his work being done.
(27) As in building a house there are three stages, (1) laying the foundation, (2) the actual building of it, and (3) the dwelling in it when finished; so the New Covenant. (1) One age is consumed in satisfying Justice; (2) Another age in the actual making of the covenant [bringing of men into line with its provisions—EDITOR], and (3) Mankind being in it [in covenant relationship with God—EDITOR] to all eternity. What a wonderful covenant it must be when it takes two ages to make it!
(28) While the typical significance of the Law Covenant ended when the antitypical Mediator came and began to work on the New Covenant, the Law Covenant itself did not cease, and will not cease as long as Abraham’s posterity continue to bind themselves to it by being circumcised on the eighth day. The condemnation feature thus rests upon them yet.
(29) The opponents accuse us of taking off the wedding garment. But on the contrary, they are doing that very thing theoretically. If a man, after attaining perfection at the close of the Millennial Age, should say, “I need a mediator,” would he not ignore and deny his perfection? He surely would. But the perfection which the world will attain to actually at that time is reckoned to us now. If we, after being justified, reckoned perfect, should say, I need a mediator, would we not ignore and deny our reckoned perfection? It surely would seem so. With much Christian love,
Your brother and fellow-servant of Christ,
Your letter is much appreciated. I am in very good accord with it. Incidentally I might say that although the New Covenant will not reach full operation until the close of the Millennium, nevertheless the blessings of the New Covenant will begin to go into effect as soon as the great Mediator shall have applied the merit of his sacrifice “for all the people.” This blessing will begin with the Ancient Worthies, because they already are acceptable with the Father. Under the New Covenant provisions they will immediately get the blessings of restitution to human perfection. They will represent Israel and thus the blessings will proceed through Israel to all mankind.
The mediating of the New Covenant with mankind during the thousand years of Christ’s mediatorial reign will mean the gradual bringing of the willing and obedient nearer and nearer to the standard of human perfection—by the rewards and punishments of that “day of judgment.” The world will be under the blessed provisions and experiences mediated for them by The Christ, but will not be individually introduced to the Father—brought into covenant relationship with God. At the close of the Millennium the perfected world (all rebels being destroyed in the Second Death) will be introduced to the Father on the covenant terms of full regeneration of both mind and body at the hands of the Mediator. Thus it is written, “I the Lord will give thee for a covenant of the people.” (Isa. 42:6.) In other words, while the Covenant will not be in a finished or completed condition until the end of the Millennium, its blessed provisions for the uplift of mankind will operate from the time the Millennial reign begins.
Your brother and servant in the Lord, C. T. R.
— February 15, 1910 —
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