Two Covenants & the Better Promise ?

This is His Name     “For this is the Covenant (Oath, Promise) that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the LORD; I will put My laws (instructions in righteousness) into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God (Elohim), and they shall be to Me a people . . .

     And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD ! for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest. And I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember* (mark, keep record of) no more . . . !”     Hebrews 8:6-12

For this is Life eternal, that they might know Thee, the Only True God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent . . . !”     John 17:3

          As the Bible presents two laws, one changeless and eternal, the other provisional and temporary, so there are two covenants. The Covenant of Grace was first made with man in Eden, when, after the fall, there was given a Divine Promise that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head. To all men this Covenant offered pardon, and the assisting Grace* of God (G5485 – divine Influence upon the heart) for future obedience through faith in Christ. It also promised them Eternal Life on condition of fidelity to God’s law. Thus the patriarchs received the hope of Salvation.


     This same Covenant was renewed to Abraham in the Promise, “In thy Seed shall all the nations of the earth be Blessed.” Genesis 22:18. This promise pointed to Christ.That the Blessing of Abraham might come on (generate, bring into being) the gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the Promise of the Spirit through faith . . . !”   Galatians 3:14 So Abraham understood it (see Galatians 3:8, 16), and he trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. It was this faith that was accounted unto him for righteousness. The Covenant with Abraham also maintained the authority of God’s law. The LORD  appeared unto Abraham, and said, “I Am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect !” Genesis 17:1.

Note:   ‘and every command is a Promise !’

     The testimony of God concerning His faithful servant was, “Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” Genesis 26:5. And the LORD declared to him, “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.” Genesis 17:7

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 (Anointed) ! . . . And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the Promise !”     Galatians 3:16, 29 and ref: Romans 8:17

And the Anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man should teach you: but as the same Anointing teacheth you of all things, and is Truth, and is no lie, and even as It hath taught you, so ye shall abide in Him !”     I John 2:27

Though this Covenant was made with Adam and renewed to Abraham, it could not be ratified until the death of Christ. It had existed by the Promise of God since the first intimation of redemption had been given . . .“And the Counsel of Peace shall be between Them both . . . !”     Zechariah 6:12-13

     It had been accepted by faith; yet when ratified by Christ, it is called a New Covenant. The law of God (the transcript of His divine character) was the basis of this Covenant, which was simply an arrangement for bringing men again into harmony with the Divine will, placing them where they could obey God’s law.For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, GOD sending His Own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for (in exchange for) sin, condemned sin in the flesh. That the righteousness of the law might be filled full in us, who walk (live) not after (by the power of) the flesh, but after the Spirit !”     Romans 8:1-4

Another compact (agreement) –called in Scripture the “Old” covenant –was formed between God and Israel at Sinai, and was then ratified by the blood of a sacrifice. “. . . For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people. Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you !”     Hebrews 9:15-20, and ref: Exodus 20:19-22

     The Abrahamic Covenant was ratified by the blood of Christ, and it is called the “second,” or “New” Covenant, because the blood (Life – ref: Leviticus 17:10-11) by which it was sealed was shed after the blood of the first covenant. That the New Covenant was valid in the days of Abraham, is evident from the fact that it was then confirmed both by the Promise and by the Oath of God, –the “two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie !” Hebrews 6:18

But if the Abrahamic Covenant contained the promise of Redemption (ransom, deliverance, atonement by the next of kin), why was another covenant formed at Sinai ? –In their bondage the people had to a great extent lost the knowledge (knowing) of God and of the principles of the Abrahamic Covenant. In delivering them from Egypt, God sought to reveal to them His power and His mercy, that they might be led to love and trust Him !

For this is Life eternal, that they might know Thee, the Only True God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent !”  “And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments (instructions in righteousness), is a liar, and the Truth . . . Thy Word is Truth . . . is not in him !”       John 17:3, 17 and I John 2:3-6

     He brought them down to the Red Sea –where, pursued by the Egyptians, escape seemed impossible — that they might realize their utter helplessness, their need of Divine aid; and then He wrought deliverance for them. Thus they were filled with love and gratitude to God, and with confidence in His power to help them. He had bound them to Himself as their Deliverer from temporal bondage !

     But there was a still greater Truth to be impressed upon their minds. Living in the midst of idolatry and corruption, they had no true conception of the holiness of God, of the exceeding sinfulness of their own hearts, their utter inability, in themselves, to render obedience to God’s law, and their need of a Saviour. All this they must be taught.For it is not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit saith the LORD of hosts . . . And the Words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are Life !”     Zechariah 4:6 & John 6:63“And God spake all these Words saying . . . !”     Exodus 20:1

     God brought them to Sinai; He manifested His glory; He gave them His law, with the Promise of great blessings on condition of obedience: “If ye will obey My Voice indeed (verily, in deed), and keep My covenant, then . . . ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” Exodus 19:5-6

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also . . . !”     James 2:14-26

     The people did not realize the sinfulness of their own hearts, and that without Christ it was impossible for them to keep God’s law; and they readily entered into covenant with God. Feeling that they were able to establish their own righteousness, they declared, “All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.”      Exodus 24:7

And the commandment, which was ordained to Life, I found to be unto death . . . For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold (by Adam’s transgression) under sin !”                     Romans 7:10-14

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are (yet) in the flesh cannot please God ! . . . Marvel not that I say unto you, Ye must be born again . . . !”                                                                                           Romans 8:7 & John 3:6-9

     They had witnessed the proclamation of the law in awful majesty, and had trembled with terror before the mount; and yet only a few weeks passed before they broke their covenant with God, and bowed down to worship a graven image. They could not hope for the favor of God through a covenant which they had broken; and now, seeing their sinfulness and their need of pardon, they were brought to feel their need of the Saviour revealed in the Abrahamic Covenant, and shadowed forth in the sacrificial offerings. Now by faith and love they were bound to God as their Deliverer from the bondage of sin (faithless transgress). Now they were prepared to appreciate the Blessings of the New Covenant !


     The terms of the “old covenant” were, Obey and live: “If a man do, he shall even live in (by) them” (Ezekiel 20:11; Leviticus 18:5); but “cursed be he that confirmeth not all the Words of this law to do them.” Deuteronomy 27:26.For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all . . . For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified !”     James 2:8-10 & Romans 2:13
     The “New Covenant” was established upon “better promises,” –the Promise of forgiveness of sins, and of the Grace (Divine Influence) of God to renew the heart, and bring it into harmony with the principles of God’s law. “This shall be the Covenant (Oath, Promise) 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. . . . I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember* (mark, keep record of) their sin no more !” Jeremiah 31:33-34Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: Yea, we establish the law . . . !”     Romans 3:31

The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone, is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart. Instead of going about to establish our own righteousness, we accept the Righteousness of Christ. His blood atones for our sins. His obedience is accepted for us.
For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him ! . . . Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new !”     II Corinthians 5:21, 17

To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus . . . And this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS !”              Romans 3:26 & Jeremiah 23:6“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore, when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me. For in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure . . . Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me), to do Thy will, O God !”          Hebrews 10:4-7 & ref: Romans 12:1-2

   Then the heart renewed by the Holy Spirit will bring forth “the fruits of the Spirit.” Through the grace of Christ we shall live in obedience to the law of God written upon our hearts. Having the Spirit of Christ, we shall walk even as He walked. Through the prophet He declared of Himself, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Psalms 40:8

Written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God; not in tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart !” II Corinthians 3:3

And when among men He said, “The Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him !” John 8:29    Believest thou not that I Am in the Father, and The Father in Me? . . . for God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth ! . . . the Words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works !”
John 14:10-11, 4:24, ref: 14:20, 10:38, 5:36-38 & 17:21

     The apostle Paul clearly presents the relation between faith and the law under the New Covenant. He says, “Being justified (declared innocent, righteous, holy) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law.” “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh,”–it could not justify man, because in his sinful nature he could not keep the law, –“God sending His Own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 5:1; 3:31; Romans 8:3-4Who also hath made us able ministers (servants) of the New Covenant; not of the letter (writing, book, engraving), but of the Spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth Life . . . And the Words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are Life !”                                                          II Corinthians 3:6 & John 6:63

  God’s work is the same in all time, although there are different degrees of development, and different manifestations of His power, to meet the wants of men in the different ages. Beginning with the first gospel Promise (Genesis 3:15), and coming down through the patriarchal and Jewish ages, and even to the present time, there has been a gradual unfolding of the purposes of God in the plan of Redemption.

      The Saviour typified (foreshadowed) in the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish law is the very same that is revealed in the gospel. The clouds that enveloped His Divine form have rolled back; the mists and shades have disappeared; and Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, stands revealed. He Who proclaimed the law from Sinai, and delivered to Moses the precepts of the ritual (sacrificial) law, is the same that spoke the sermon on the mount.

          The great principles of love to God, which He set forth as the foundation of the law and the prophets, are only a reiteration of what He had spoken through Moses to the Hebrew people: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD (Jehovah, Yehuwah) our God is One LORD: and thou shalt love the LORD thy God (Elohim) with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”   Deuteronomy 6:4-8

And “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Leviticus 19:18. The Teacher is the same in both dispensations. God’s claims are the same. The principles of His government are the same. For all proceed from Him “with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17

– Review & Herald, October 17, 1907
with Scripture references added in italics

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